Unless you currently live inside a cave or underneath a large rock, you should already be fully aware that the Internet – and Internet marketing – has moved rapidly in the direction of leveraging social media channels as a way of promoting websites and businesses.
However, social media only works to promote your site if your visitors (1) know you're active on social media sites and (2) can easily find your social media pages from your website (and vice versa).
Therefore, integrating social media components into your website is of critical importance for every website design.
There is no single “right way” to add social media components to your website design. The style you choose will depend entirely upon the type of website you have and the look/feel of your site design. With that in mind, here are four ways to integrate social media components in your website design.
These days, most businesses that are successfully utilising social media are placing very visible links in very visible places upon their website. It's easy to find attractive, free icons for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. Grab these icons, re-size them so that they are basically all the same size, then place them either right at the top of your page or in another prominent location.
If you're using a platform such as WordPress, it shouldn't be hard to find a free or cheap social media plugin that draws the eye to your social media links. For example, have you seen those floating vertical bars on blogs and news sites that give you a chance to like or share an article you enjoy? These floating bars are easy to find as plugins for your site.
Facebook and Twitter, two of the biggest social media players, both offer free code that makes a stream from your account visible on your website. However, don't use this code on your site unless the social media stream you're highlighting is quite active. If you're still building up your social media account, wait until you get some regular activity going to integrate a live stream on your website.
As a general rule of thumb when it comes to website design, you should never sacrifice functionality for aesthetics. It's most important that access to your social media pages is easy to see on the page, leads the visitor to the correct place and encourages promotion. It's important, but less so, that you have the most beautiful social media links or icons in the world. Focus on functionality first; make it pretty later.
I'm Burty, a geologist and freelance web designer based in Vancouver, Canada. I like music, gadget and love to sit in front of my computer.