Social networks have proved to be every marketer’s haven, forcing every business to play by their rules or perish. For any business looking to boost online sales and increase brand recognition, its website must have certain social media features. Those social features increase visibility and brand presence in the minds of customers, current and potential.
It’s neither costly nor difficult to add the following 7 social features to any website, with plenty of free to cheap options available, along with some extra programming work for your web developer. Let’s begin:
1- Live Chat
You can create a free account on Skype and publish your username / phone number on your website, or you can also install one of those Live Chat / Live Support software. Nothing beats the personal touch, and when customers hear a human voice, they tend to listen more. Eventually, live chat helps in bridging the gap and building trust with your clients.
“The human voice is the organ of the soul.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
2 – Regular Podcasts
A podcast is simply any type of digital media, like a video or audio file that visitors of your website can download / view / listen to. A podcast comes out on regular intervals (weekly / monthly / quarterly), and usually contains content that’s interesting to potential clients and new visitors alike. The aim of any podcast is to lure visitors to know more about you, your services / products, and how such services / products will add value to their lives.
3 – Social-Login Support
Asking your website’s visitors to register for free accounts is of utmost importance, but it includes extra work for those mortals who are known for being so lazy. This extra labor sends visitor away, but social networks come to the rescue. Visitors can now login to many websites using their accounts on Facebook / Twitter / Linkedin / Adobe / etc. In doing so, bounce rates drops significantly, giving way to more social activities that lure those users to register with you.
4 – Sharing Friendly
If users like what they read, they’ll want to share it with their friends and family. A smart social-friendly website would make it very easy for them to achieve that. Make your content very easy to share on any social network. Add sharing buttons near each page’s title and at the end. Remember that Like and Share are different concepts, liking is good but sharing is better.
5 – Gamification
Videogames lure players with rewards to keep them playing more, and so can websites with their visitors. By offering perks, discounts, online badges and coupons, in return for certain social activities, websites reward their users and get them coming back for more. Social activities include (but not limited to) liking / sharing, re-tweeting, registering, filling profiles, commenting, answering polls and eventually entering their personal info.
6 – Permission to eMail
People are notorious for forgetting, but you can get their permission to remind them when you have a new interesting post or a special offer. On your website, place a mailing list subscription form, and encourage people to subscribe. Needless to say that if you spam, your emails won’t be read, and you will lose an important channel of communications with your clients.
“Life without absorbing occupation is hell – joy consists in forgetting life.” -Elbert Hubbard
7 – Testimonials
People are motivated to follow other people’s behavior, as physiological studies have shown. Ask your happy customers and users for testimonials, then share it with the world. Most read, Most wanted and Top selling, those categories are most sought after by visitors, as they want to cut to the chase and get the real deal. If others are buying a certain product, then there must be a good reason for that. Wisdom of the herd (or collective / group wisdom) is not a force to be taken lightly. Used wisely, it can increase your engagement rates, and hopefully, your sales.
“Don’t be discouraged by the size of your network. Inspire one person and you are doing good.” ~Guy Kawasaki
[Image credit: Flickr / kdonovangaddy]