Controlling Organic Social Presence Through Website Optimizations
According to GlobalWebIndex, the average person has 7.6 active social media accounts and, according to Nielson, visits 89 websites per month. As social media continues to evolve to meet the everyday needs of users, website owners are faced with the same challenge: how to provide users relevant information and a quick, seamless experience. Omnicore notes that every 20 minutes, one million links are shared on just Facebook alone, further indicating that the digital landscape continues to drive direct information sharing from websites to user’s personal social accounts. Website features like links to profiles, social share buttons, and open graph (OG) tags are ways that brands can provide a seamless user experience between owned webpages and social accounts.
Start by Knowing your Audience
In today’s world, there seem to be new apps and social platforms popping up every day. The good news is that each audience will show an affinity towards particular platforms. That’s why it is important to take an audience-first approach when choosing where you want to invest time and resources. Think about the kind of experience and content your audience is expecting in that moment and place. Patients and HCPs alike go to platforms like Facebook to connect with their communities. They expect content from their friends and families, groups they engage with (think advocacy groups), and potentially even some of their favorite brands.
On the other hand, LinkedIn is a great place to connect with HCPs. This was shown in a Media Vitals survey that found HCPs use LinkedIn more than any other social platform for professional use. In fact, Rx product and medical device campaigns must be unbranded on LinkedIn. This puts some boundaries on content strategies a brand may own, however, HCPs may still be interested in sharing information with their networks within the platform.
Connect Your Assets
Now that you’ve decided which platforms are most engaging for your audience, you will want to connect all of your assets or make it easy for your audiences to share your content. This will allow for continued engagement, enable more control over strategic messaging and compliance, and organically increase brand awareness. There are a few tactics that can be implemented on your websites to enable it to be a stronger digital hub for your brand. Some of these tactics do not even require your brand to have owned profiles on the social channels.
Links to profiles
Links to profiles are clickable icons that can be added to your website that will link visitors directly to your social profiles. These icons can raise awareness of those profiles, and potentially increase brand engagement with those assets by shortening the path to discovery. It is recommended that these icons are added to the header and possibly the footer of your websites. This will keep a consistent experience across your website, and will be present for site visitors no matter what page they enter the site through. You must have social profiles on the channels that are linked to in order to utilize this tactic, and it can be implemented for almost any channel.
Utilize Social Sharing Buttons
Another option for improving the organic footprint of your brand is Social Sharing Buttons. These are one-click links that allows for quick content sharing of website content to social platforms. When a site visitor clicks on an icon, they are brought to the relevant platform. The user will be prompted to log in to their account, if they are not already logged in. From there a post from their own profile will be automatically created with a link to the content they originally came from. Adding these buttons can increase referral traffic to your site by creating a simple way for site visitors to share information with their networks, and generate earned media. Make it easy for your site visitors to share content that they think their networks would also enjoy by placing these buttons in prominent places on your website. This can be at the top of the page, along the left or right rails, or sticky buttons that scroll along with a visitor as they move down the page can be used. Not every page needs to be shareable. For example, a site visitor isn’t likely to share a sitemap page, but may be inclined to share a coupon or exciting clinical data. Organically shared content can generate free clicks while originating from a credible resource (consumers within fellow consumers network). Brands should also consider where their audience exists online. As mentioned above, a patient isn’t likely to share information on LinkedIn so consider only including Facebook and Twitter buttons. You do not need a profile on each platform, and there are third-party tools or plugins to make implementation of these buttons even easier.
Control Messaging When Others Share: Open Graph Tags and Twitter Cards
These HTML tags allow website owners to control the messaging and appearance of posts shared across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many other platforms. These tags control images, titles, and descriptions when someone enters a link into their post across multiple social platforms. Each platform will automatically input what they identify as the most relevant information from the website if these tags are not present on the destination page. This can cause compliance issues, or a poor user experience as algorithms may truncate content leaving out crucial details. When a brand is able to control messaging and the look of a post, even when it is shared by a person or organization, the brand is able to ensure all information is compliant and impactful. As we know, the majority of time spent on these platforms are on mobile devices. According to US ComScore data, 90% of daily Facebook users access the platform via mobile devices. This makes it all the more important to get audiences to stop the scroll. Brands have a better chance at this with open graph tags and Twitter cards as images can strategically be chosen to be more eye catching. Additionally, brands are able to take up as much real estate as possible by maximizing image sizes and character counts. A profile is not required to implement these tags.
Here are some examples of how a post may populate when a URL is shared:
Give your Audience a Way to Find and Share your Content
In 2017, Google reported that the average banner Click-Through Rate was 0.13%. Keep in mind that microsite ads may get less clicks due to audiences visiting the microsite for a more specified purpose. Therefore, a CTR around 0.1% should not be considered low-engagement.
The internet is becoming more seamless as technologies advance. It is important to provide your site visitors an easy way to engage with your brands. Links to profiles will shorten the path to deeper engagement with your brand by allowing site visitors an easy way to discover and engage with brands in additional spaces. Social Sharing Buttons make it easier for your audience to become advocates by creating a one-click link to share content with their networks. Open Graph Tags and Twitter Cards allow brand marketers to confidently control brand messaging even when someone else is sharing links to a brand owned website. This is especially important in the Pharma space as it is necessary to keep messaging within FDA regulations. These tactics will turn your audience into advocates for your brand even if your brand doesn’t maintain its own profiles or campaigns. The overall improved user experience can help increase awareness by making it as easy as a click of the mouse for site visitors to share your content. Of course, every strategy should be measurable. Success should be measured in a case by case scenario. Take a baseline measurement of historical performance, and monitor performance as these features are added to your websites. Continue to optimize your strategies to generate more shares and clicks as your audience engages with your brand. Reach out to your CMI/Compas team if you are interested in discussing how these tactics can work for your brand.