What's the value of a "like" of a fan page on Facebook or even a "recommendation" of a piece of content if your customers aren't converting? Is it worth your efforts to continue if your customers and visitors are not ultimately doing what you want them to do? With all the hype around social media these days and the amount of traffic that both Facebook and Twitter can potentially drive, it's more important than ever that you look at the usability and conversion factors on your website, before and during your social media engagement.
Just because you started a fan page, doesn't mean:
There's a lot more to implementing a successful social media strategy than just getting "likes" and "thumbs up" on content. At the end of the day, why are you doing this? Is there an end goal to your efforts that you want to reach, like gaining email subscribers, getting people to comment on content, or even purchase products or services? If you don't know what your end goal is, it will be pretty difficult to understand if your efforts in social media communities are worth the time and resources you are spending.
Just because you are engaging people in social media communities and bringing them to your site, doesn't mean:
Making sure your site converts is just as important to social media as it is to search marketing. Driving people to a site where calls to action aren't clearly laid out will only make your efforts in social media fruitless and more often than not, make your bosses believe social media "doesn't work." This is why it's important to decide what goals you are looking to attain before you start your efforts and test whether or not those tasks can be clearly completed.
Social media marketing isn't always the magic cure businesses hope it will be. Just because you started tweeting about your special deals, doesn't necessarily mean people are going to buy more because of what's being put out in your Twitter stream, especially if you have a usability problem with your site. In fact, if you have a usability problem with your site, social media marketing efforts might even compound your problems, more than just applying search marketing tactics.
In search, people don't really engage. They put a word into Bing, Yahoo, or Google and are served up a bunch of results. They go to the sites and see if it matches their criteria and based on what they see, they perform an action - either it's your call to action or they leave. If they leave, your business never hears about it. With social media, people have a place to voice their opinions and a lot of times they do just that. If you are sending them to your site and your site is tough to navigate and find content, the people you are sending there will let you know, thus letting their own networks know, thus compounding a frustrating situation.
Here are a few tips to help your social media strategy incorporate usability and conversion from the beginning:
At the end of the day, let the data tell the story of success or failure with your social media strategy.
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Liana "Li" Evans is the author of the award winning social media marketing book, "Social Media Marketing: Engaging Strategies for Facebook, Twitter & Other Social Media" and she is the president and CEO of Da Li Social, as well as an adjunct professor for Rutgers University's Mini MBA Program. Liana has also been featured in the books "Online Marketing Heroes" and "Video Marketing An Hour a Day." As an established online marketing industry veteran with over 15 years of experience she's focused her unique skillset to specialize in integrated marketing and how companies can successfully strategize integrating all online marketing channels as well as offline traditional media. Her deep technical combined with a public relations background enables her to partner with clients for establishing successful online marketing campaigns that combine cross-channel tactics cohesively.
Li was the search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing architect for such companies as QVC and Comcast (Fancast) and has consulted with several other different sized companies such as AOL MovieFone. Her wealth of knowledge in dealing with large e-commerce and content sites allows her a wider perspective into what it takes to launch successful marketing campaigns in the online space.