How to Successfully Integrate Social Media Into Your Site

Matt Mickiewicz

While attending Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, I had the chance to hear Bob Buch from Digg present tips and case studies on integrating social media marketing into your or your clients’ websites.

Digg Traffic

“Each story that makes it onto the frontpage of Digg gets a minimum of 20,000 clicks back to the publisher. The best stories will get 200,000 – 250,000 clicks. Digg sends 80 million clicks per month to 3rd party websites,” says Buch.

How are other sites benefiting?

  • TheOnion gets 600,000 page views per month from Digg users
  • Wired.com gets 1 million page views per month from Digg users
  • Telegraph.co.uk, the most successful Digg integration partner, and most popular broadsheet newspaper in the UK, gets 5.5 million page views per month from Digg users.

Key to success: Focus

If you have one of these on your sites, you’re doing it wrong:

Social Media Marketing Toolbar

A much better integration looks like this:

Good social media integration

In other words – less is more.

Use the Smart Digg Widget

The Smart Digg widget shows the number of votes to date and is massively more successful than a regular “Digg This” icon without the counter.

Integrated Most Popular Widget

Digg Widget on Telegraph.co.uk

Digg Widget on Telegraph.co.uk

One of the most popular elements on many content websites is a “Most Popular Content” box which highlights 5-10 popular articles based on recent page views. Time.com found that the “Digg Widget” integrated into their site, got 5X more interaction than their own “Most Popular Articles” box and massively increased their own traffic as a result of tons of additional Digging activity.

Facebook Connect

Popular tech news publisher TechCrunch saw registrations increase by 100%, while capturing additional demographic data on their users by integrating Facebook Connect.

While unusually successful, Bob notes that most websites see an increase of 30-80% increase in registration, and an additional 15-80% in comments and user generated content as a result of a clean Facebook Connect integration. You can even import user photos and other demographic data back into your site – such as location, gender, and other information that might otherwise drag down your sign-ups if integrated into your own registration process.

One of the biggest successes of Facebook connect is being able to virally spread your message, by appearing on the “News” wall for users who use post on your site, vote, upload, or otherwise interact with your site.

With each Facebook user having an average of 120 Facebook friends, this is a very quick way to expose your brand to a lot of people, really quickly, while providing “social proof”.

Further reading:

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  • http://leonpaternoster.com/blog leonpaternoster

    I like the idea of coralling your readers down one route rather than letting them decide which service to use (perhaps one is enough).

    Incidentally, The Telegraph is the UK’s most popular broadsheet paper, The Sun is the most popular paper.

  • http://www.patricksamphire.com/ PatrickSamphire

    leonpaternoster is correct about The Telegraph. It’s also worth noting that The Telegraph website isn’t the most successful of newspaper websites. I believe it still lags behind The Guardian.
    Still, 5.5 million page views is nothing to sniff at. :)

  • http://www.27stars.co.uk 27stars

    definitely liking the limited integration – I feel near panic when faced with as many icons as your first example!! Simpler is better.

  • http://navin.biz Navin

    Good value article. Thanks.

  • Lee

    AddThis has an excellent social button feature. It’s on many of the large sites. In fact, I have seen it used more than any other ones. It’s good because the visitor isn’t faced with all these buttons on the page, only when he pops up the window. There, you can choose to display just a few of the more popular ones and the visitor can always go to a larger listing.