Regardless of whether you've a spanking, up-to-the-minute Wordpress site, or one built on a bespoke content management system, old as time itself, there's no excuse for your business site not to sport some form of social integration.  Whether you are able to install the odd plugin, or have to get into the guts of the code, it's important to know which elements to focus on.  Here are 7 ways you can integrate social media into your website, to propel your traffic-grabbing ability and brand awareness into new territories:

 

1. Social Profile Links


Cross-pollination is key, to port your visitors into your social networks, and in the other direction, to get your social connections visiting your site.  If you've a Facebook Page and/or Twitter account, make sure you've prominent links in your header.  Keep your desired customer journeys in mind - if it doesn't make sense to lose traffic, even to your own social profiles, from certain pages, then just don't include links there.

 

2. Social Sharing Links


This should be the staple of any blog post or web page of any standing, on your site. Including sharing buttons means that the many or few readers and visitors you have, at least have a chance of sharing your content with their networks. This is the fuel, giving your content the chance to gain reach, and to connect with the very people who NEED to see it. Make sure to include the "Big 5" as standard ... Facebook (Like), Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ (+1) and Pinterest.

 

3. Disqus Comments


Comments make blogs social, but some comments engines are more social than others. When it comes to choices, it's been quite a close-run thing between Disqus and CommentLuv. Both capture great social interactions, additional to the standard on-blog comment - I often find myself opting for Disqus, which records shares and comments via Twitter, recording it as a "reaction". Go one step further than the norm, and choose a more social options than the "out of the box".

 

4. Tweet Feed


I make this recommendation with a smidgeon of trepidation. It seems the new norm, to have your latest tweets shown on your website, so ask yourself why! There's no doubt that this is a great way to show your site visitors that you are social, and also to give them some insight into what you share there. So long as you're a smart tweeter, and offer compelling views, this can again be a great way to cross-pollinate visitors. Take a long hard look at your Twitter feed before sharing - you may do more harm than good!

 

5. Facebook Like Box


Having people like your brand on Facebook, from within the confines of your site, is one thing. The social proof that comes form showing people who, of their own connections, have already liked your brand - that adds a little va-va-voom to the proposition. A Facebook Like box does just that, and lets you grow your Facebook fanbase, whilst retaining your visitors.

 

6. Pin it! Buttons - separate for added focus


OK, so we covered this one in the sharing buttons, but it bears repeating. Not least because there are some criteria for benefitting from having a Pin it! button on your posts and pages. You'll need a decent-sized image, for starters - ideally one that compels people to share. Infographics are a no-brainer, provided you have access to them, but whatever your business, you have the ability to create a visual representation of your offering - one that is worth your visitors sharing with their growing army of Pinterest followers.

 

7. Email signups via FB Connect


Activation is an important step we've discussed in previous posts on the subject of growth hacking. Having some way for visitors to "opt in" to you and your content, and giving yourself the ability to retain your "users" can cause a step-change in the opportunities that come your way. One such way to get that activation is to have people sign up, for newsletters and digital downloads - whatever you can conceive of, that adds value - and signing up via Facebook or other social sites is an easy way for your visitors to do just that. You get all the contacts details with half the effort.

There you are - 7 ways to bring the social to your website. Which ones are you already using, and what effect have they had on traffic and retention? Which ones will you be adding to the mix?