3 easy ways to add social media to your website

The Harvard Business Publishing blog has a whole section of articles aimed at business managers.  Below is one about how to get started with incorporating social media into your online presence.


If you’ve got an experienced social media team, a solid budget and an appetite for innovation, you can create an original online presence that engages your customers or supporters in an entirely new kind of online experience.

But many organizations lack the time, budget or experience to start from scratch. That doesn’t limit your social media options to a generic corporate news blog or a standard-issue Facebook page. Here are three great options for robust social media presences that let you manage cost and risk by building on existing tools and established best practices.

1. Suggestion Box

What is it: Invite your customers, supporters or employees to submit their ideas and suggestions for new products, services or improvements. Community members get to rate submissions so the best ideas rise to the top; it’s your job to ensure top suggestions get implemented.

Great for: Consumer-facing brands open to product/service input; member-driven NGOs looking for policy or service ideas.

Examples: Dell Ideastorm , MyStarbucks Idea, Threadless

How to do it: Build your own site using a content management system; many now offer a Digg-style submission and voting system as an add-on. Or use a pre-fab solution like the Salesforce software that powers Dell’s site, or the turn-key Uservoice, designed specifically for managing customer suggestions.

Where to spend: Invest in the implementation of a few user-submitted ideas as soon as possible; then use your media team to publicize the fact that you’re listening. Once people know their ideas will turn into action, it will be easy to motivate participation.

Where to save: Don’t build your own submission-and-rating system from scratch. There are lots of turn-key options available.

Where to get help: Make sure you have a community manager who can reach out to potential early adopters — like the customers who already blog or tweet about your project. And if your product development team is less than thrilled about taking direction from consumers, hire an organizational development expert who can help you evolve into a more nimble and responsive organization.

2. Widget

What is it: Create an interactive badge your customers or supporters can place on their Facebook pages or blogs. A widget can display your latest news, deals or contests, invite Twitter-style updates, or solicit donations.

Great for: Popular brands with young, web-savvy customers who love to wear your logo; non-profits with young, eager-to-help supporters.

Examples: innocent drinks, Dove Fresh Takes, Ask Your Lawmaker

How to do it: Use a service like SproutBuilder or WidgetBox to create a simple widget with content updates powered by your RSS feed; for non-standard approaches, a web developer or programmer can create something from scratch.

Where to spend: Design skills and interactivity to make your widget stand out from the pack; outreach and incentives to encourage people to install the widget.

Where to save: If you’re soliciting donations, use a widget or development kit designed for online fundraising, rather than creating your own donation system.

Where to get help: Widgets that exist to serve up content (like videos) thrive when they’re presenting really great media, so hire a great filmmaker, photographer or content development team. If your widget prompts action (like donations or media forwarding) get strategic help from someone with a track record in online campaigning.

3. Deal-of-the-day

What is it: Create an online presence that lets people know about a special, time-limited offer. It could be a product available in limited quantities, a discounted service, or donation matching. Update your offer regularly so there’s a reason for your audience to check back frequently.

Great for: Companies with new products or services they want to publicize; businesses with stock to clear; non-profits who want to balance their big-donor relationships with more grassroots fundraising.

Examples: United Airline “Twares”, Future Shop, Pizza Hut’s Facebook page

How to do it: Create a Twitter feed or Facebook page that you update once a day (or even once or twice a week) with a special offer. Promote your feed or page to fans or potential customers so they can track deals in real time.

Where to spend: Offering a real deal by taking a hit on profitability–or even taking a modest loss — so that your deals are meaningful (10% discounts don’t cut it). If you’re a nonprofit, invest in donor relationships with individuals or companies who can offer to match donations.

Where to save: Limit the number of items available for purchase or set a ceiling on matching donations so that you control your maximum outlay.

Where to get help: A social media ambassador or web-savvy publicist can help get the word out about your great offers so that you attract followers.


What do you think? Do these ideas sound feasible? Have you started your social media journey somewhere else?  Tell us about it here!

Explore posts in the same categories: Marketing, Second-hand resource, Web 2.0

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