It's no secret that a lot of the web's traffic is redirected through search engines like Google and Bing, with some sites getting anywhere from 75% to 90% of their inbound traffic through search engine queries. The remaining percentage of incoming traffic comes from a combination of different sources, one of the largest of which is social media redirects. While it may not seem important to cater to the minority of clicks in this case, it's important to remember that search engines also use social media content to determine their search engine algorithm values in a search. That means that the more social your site is, the higher it can rank.
Ignoring your social media potential with a website is a big mistake, and as a designer, it's important to take advantage of what you have available to make your site as successful as possible. Modern users also expect some form of social media interaction and information to be available on a site, especially any site that wants to appeal to a younger demographic of tech savvy users. Here are a few ideas on how to improve your site's social skills.
- Shareable content is a big one. Responsive website design lends itself well to the ability for users to share links between platforms like desktop and mobile with a consistent presentation, and reasonable loading times for both parties. You should try to keep content as easy to digest as possible, which works well with clean UI design. If you're using e-Commerce, then it's all the more important-- references from social media are a great source of sales conversions during sales or new product launches.
- Social media buttons that make sharing content as easy as just clicking a single, easy to find link on your page. These buttons should be available on every page. They can, and should, be placed in areas that don't obstruct any other fields, yet remain highly visible. Social media links at the bottom of important news stories or new product pages are also great, so long as they aren't buried below walls of text. Don't get too liberal with the social media interaction either; your Facebook message feed isn't a proper replacement for a comment section, for example.
- Encourage reviews and discussion where applicable. Reviews on products or comments on news stories keep users coming back to see how other users have responded to what's been posted. It may not seem like a social media function per se, but comment sections are undoubtedly a hotbed of activity.
Social media integration, best of all, is almost always free of cost. The networks themselves are free, many of the tools to integrate functions are free, and user comments are free. If you're looking for ways to boost your site's organic SEO potential in a small package that doesn't add much to your bandwidth, there's few that are as universally productive as social media avenues, however you choose to pursue them.