Social Media and Your Website: A Match Made in Heaven?

Earlier this month, I joined other website and social media experts at the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Lunch & Roundtable on “Using Web & Social Media Effectively and Efficiently” to share insights and discuss the latest website-social media integration trends. Meeting with fellow web/social media strategists and the diverse audience (government to nonprofit to commercial) was a great opportunity for us to learn from each other.
Given the exponential growth and expansion of social media’s influence on marketers and public relations professionals, it is no doubt that we are all looking at new ways of integrating these various communication platforms to have a seamless and effective message for our brand. During the roundtable, we exchanged real-life success stories of how social media is being leveraged to boost website performance and increase audience interaction. Here are some take-homes from the roundtable:
    • Nonprofits and associations – even the federal government – are working hard to appeal to a younger, more mobile, and more social audience: social media is a powerful engine to help achieve this goal. Being a social media enthusiast is great, but make sure your audience is listening! Is your audience on the same social media platforms you are on? Are you successfully gauging their engagements, and how?
    • If you are a PR/marketing staff, you probably have experienced (to some degree) the difficulty of managing all social media and website updates efficiently. Integrating social media management tools and your content management system’s (CMS) social features can help streamline the process, thus saving significant time and resources.
    • Your social media should be a supporter, not a competitor of your website. Use social media messages to drive your followers to the great content you’ve created on your website. “Social” is the key: it doesn’t help if your audience doesn’t share your content. Make it easy for them to do so by giving them the tools required.
    • Having great content is key – but is it enough? Make sure that quality content is readily available and easily found. If your content is hard to find, you will lose your audience very quickly. Have a content strategy in place that focuses on not just the content but also takes into account website usability, taxonomy, and search functionality.
Finally, I thought Hillary Berman of Popcorn & Ice Cream made a great point when she said (I’m paraphrasing):

“Social media is not free. It’s a lot of work to maintain a social media presence.”

It’s tough to cut corners and expect success. Like anything in business, you’ll get out what you put in. Stay tuned for my updates on digital communication trends for associations and nonprofits later this year – I’m looking forward to learning and sharing at the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Technology Conference and the Technology Affinity Group (TAG) Annual Conference.
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