In the last ten years, social media has become a mandatory component of organizational marketing. You have to tweet, post, share, like, recommend, or <insert latest social media verb> your content. A few years back, I wrote about how social media is like exercise—you know you should, and there are definite payoffs when you do, but you have to be consistent.
All that said, there are right and wrong ways to do social media, especially as it integrates with your website. While social sharing buttons are the current industry standard and best practice, there’s one social media element I consistently protest: the Twitter feed.
I don’t have anything against twitter, per se. In fact, I like it just fine. But when someone comes to your website, you want them to stay, explore, read a few articles, maybe comment or sign up or interact in some way. The Twitter feed takes away from that. How? Well, let’s see.
1. Twitter distracts users.
Imagine a user comes to your website looking for some information about membership. They browse through the homepage where your “Become a Member” call to action is displayed prominently. They’re just about to click when an article in the Twitter feed catches their eye—it’s so fascinating! What an interesting tweet! And just as they were about to become a member or make a transaction, suddenly, they’re off favoriting and retweeting and browsing through everything Twitter has to offer, and you are altogether forgotten.
2. Not everyone tweets.
Known by 87%, just 7% of Americans use Twitter. That means that fewer than one in 13 Americans who know about Twitter, actually use Twitter. Why are we giving up so much prime real estate on our website for a social network that’s likely irrelevant to many of our users?
3. You can’t back it up.
It’s great to have a social media presence, but if you’re not actually maintaining your social media accounts, it makes you look bad to put that presence front and center. If you don’t have a detailed social media plan and a person dedicated to posting and interacting on social media, you don’t need a feed on your website. It will only serve to highlight the fact that you’re not active on social media, and what does that achieve?
Consider this: the average time spent on any given website is just under a minute. When they are on your site, they read about 25% of the text on the page, which means what they do read needs to be quite compelling if it’s going to make an impact and encourage action. Use the prime real estate on your website for calls to action and content that encourages interaction with your organization. The payoff will be much greater and more immediate.