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Designing for Social Engagement

Businesses invested in social media are aware of the benefits it can deliver. While social media is a long-term investment focused on increasing brand visibility and recognition through consumer engagement and relationship building, it can pay out enormous dividends over time. A social presence is particularly useful when your website is publishing original content with value to your consumer base.

By creating content designed for social sharing, you can essentially turn a normal blog post into productive inroads with prospective customers, using a shared link to bring new traffic to your website. From there, you have the opportunity to produce a conversion — but only if you have a well-developed website waiting on the other end of the link. I repeat, if there’s no ill web design waiting for users who click through, they’ll bounce faster than the king of the four square courts. Whether you do it yourself or hire some professional Web designers, make sure it looks good!

Ultimately, social media can become another conversion and revenue stream if you use smart development strategy at every point. Read on for tips to make sure your online strategy is aligned to maximize social opportunities.

Creating content worth sharing

Developing a social brand should be the first focus of any company. In the early stages, you don’t need to worry about creating phenomenal, mind-blowing content as long as you keep the quality high and consistent. Instead, start cultivating followings on major social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, to create a broad base of followers.

Once that base is established, work on increasing the uniqueness and quality of your content. Whether you offer whitepapers, blogs or static Web pages, the things you produce need to be relevant and useful to your consumers in ways that point to the value of your business. These aren’t explicit marketing materials, but they all need to relate to your company’s mission and your value to prospective customers.

As you develop your following and people consume your content, you’ll see more people sharing your content with others. Not only is social sharing a high-exposure, low-cost form of marketing, but it’s a great way to gauge what content is most valuable to your followers.

From content consumer to product consumer

By sharing your website’s content online, you’ll draw followers to your website. When that happens, they become social referrals and potential sales or lead conversions. That’s where your website comes in. As your content is making a case for your company’s value to the consumer, your website should make it easy for them to identify and enter the conversion process.

To do this, you need a simplified Web design that makes your marketing mission clear. Your site’s various links and images need to be simplified so they aren’t distracting — you want consumers to immediately recognize where and how to begin the conversion process. If you can get online referrals this far down the funnel, you’ve got a good chance at securing a conversion.

Efficiency in the conversion process

Once in the conversion process, the trick is in seeing consumers through to the conversion’s completion. This is an efficiency game you have to play well to maximize your opportunities. Online consumers are deterred by seemingly insignificant obstacles. Every line of data you request — address, phone number or email — decreases the odds of potential customers completing the process.

Similarly, every step in the process — every time they have to click “next” or wait for processing to take place — gives them a chance to reconsider their purchase. The more you condense steps and minimize workload, the better. The proof is in the numbers: the easier you make the process, the more conversions you’ll accrue.

By optimizing every point in the consumer process, you can increase the efficiency of your website. From there, focus on creating worthwhile content that engages your consumers. The more useful and worthwhile your content, the more social shares — and, ultimately, referred traffic — you’ll generate from this rich resource.