Posts Tagged ‘website’
Thursday, April 15th, 2010
This second post concentrates on selecting the right social media websites for the client, and how to try to ensure that traffic to their main site is maximised.
As I mentioned in the last post, my client in this case is an actor and the site is designed to both help him get new work, and to chat with his fans.
Firstly we looked at what type of content he was going to be able to put up on the site. In this case we came up with: –
- Video of his acting gigs and profile videos
- Photos, both as screen captures from his acting roles and profile pics that he has done
- Status updates from Facebook (he is on Facebook pretty much every night)
On top of this, I added Twitter as the ideal way to post messages while he is working on a set, and blog posts for longer stories he writes about some of the funny things he gets up to.
A Bit of Background on Twitter & Facebook
If you don’t move in web circles you will still probably have heard of Twitter and Facebook, but just to give you a bit of background: –
- Facebook – currently the largest social media website in Australia and the world. This is typically a closed system where only people you specifically allow, will be able to see your content (although Facebook is trying to change this). Facebook is most often used to connect friends that may have drifted apart, but is also used as an online meeting place for like minded people.
- Facebook Fan Pages – These are special Facebook pages that are open to outside searches and can be accessed by anyone. People can post comments, photos, video, events and more. Once you have a certain number of followers, you can also get a custom URL. In our case we got http://www.facebook.com/frankieoatway so it is nice and easy to remember.
- Twitter – the current darling of the social media world, news and tech community, where twitter usernames are now the de facto name badge. Twitter allows you to post short messages of 140 characters or less that say what you are doing there and then. They can be sent via the Twitter website, many phone applications and even SMS. These are great for very quick messages posts and are totally open to searches and casual visitors.
Both of these sites are great community builders and can drive a lot of traffic to a central location if you provide links to good content on your own website.
Having taken care of the text based social media, we need to look at blog posts, which is almost the same, but longer!
Blogs started off as ‘web logs’ which were basically online diaries, but have evolved to cover pretty much anything up to very large news organisations. The great thing about blogs is that they are easy to update, and Google loves them as content is always being refreshed.
There are various blogging platforms including Drupal, Joomla, Squarespace to name just a few, but the 500lb gorilla is WordPress.
I have to admit that I am a WordPress fan, it is very easy to post to via the web, email or iPhone apps, you can set up static pages and there are 1001 plugins to add functionality to the system. It’s also free, and easy to install (many hosting companies will install it for you). You can also buy or create themes that customise your sites look and feel to just the way you want it.
As we were going to have our own hosting and URL (http://www.frankieoatway.com), WordPress seemed an easy choice to make. This was particular because of the ease of posting and changing content for the less technically minded, but also because of the links that can be set up to social media sites, and the text (RSS) feeds it produces that can be used in many other ways.
So we seems to have our text based information published. Next we look at some of the other media we need to incorporate.
The next content type we had to look solve was how to spread photos around the other social media properties, and back to the main WordPress website.
There are quite a few choices here, but sticking with the big boys, you have Flickr (owned by Yahoo) and Picassa (owned by Google). Both of these allow you to upload photos, organise, distribute and even edit them.
This was a difficult choice I have to say, but in the end I went with Flickr, probably because I am more familiar with it, but also because they have a very simple uploader I can just put on my clients computer.
Video was an easy choice. Youtube has the widest reach and is easy to use. Setting up a channel also makes sure your video is collected together. The downside is in this case is that videos are limited to 11 minutes long, and in our case, that has meant we will also need to look at other channels such as Vimeo for short film releases.
Keeping It Together
When setting up these sites it’s important to try to keep things together, so that you have a consistent brand image across all the media you use. In our case we have used the same profile photo, same bio info and have managed to get the same url for all of the sites. That makes it really easy, as you can pretty much type in the URL knowing what you are going to see and once you land on the page the right person is confirmed by the profile photo.
In our case we were lucky as Frankie Oatway is not that common a name. We managed to get: –
As you can see we have consistent branding to avoid confusing messages to people who may want to see Frankies site.
The next post concentrates on how we planned to connect the sites so that they all talk to each other and updating one will trickle down into the other sites when and where we want it to.
Saturday, April 10th, 2010
This is the first in a series of posts looking at how social media can be integrated into a website, what advantages it has and why you would do it for particular clients.
I recently put together a website which integrates a clients site requirements, with social media such as:
These posts are a summary of what I have learned along the way. They include a summary as possible of my thought process, planning and how I implemented the integration.
Why Integrate Social Media into a Site
There are many reasons why you might want to integrate social media into a site including:
- To take advantage of existing community you have developed – This depends on whether you already have an active Facebook or Twitter following, for example. Taking advantage of these existing friends/followers can help drive traffic and interest in your site.
- To improve the visibilty of your site to search engines – Often getting a new site in front of Google can be difficult. However, Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages are being spidered by Google all the time, so links from these sources will help get your site initially spidered. The other factor is that creating these pages will get you inbound links to your website which will help with your ranking. How much it helps, coming from a social media site, nobody knows, but I’m guessing that the more followers/fans you have the better, and the more specific your discussion the better.
- To spread your content as widely as possible – One of the biggest problems I see is people with good content, but just not getting it out in front of their audience. By distributing your content as widely as possible you increase the chance that your content will be seen, your site linked to, and your product or service bought. This takes a bit of a leap of faith from marketers more used to control of their information stream, however structuring your content appropriately makes sure your name is out there, and that you are not annoying your readers/viewers.
- Ease of use, for a client used to social media sites – I threw this one in there because it is increasingly the case that clients, who may not know how to drive a websites CMS system, do know how to use Facebook and Twitter. By integrating these into your site, the page stays current, Google spiders it more, and there is also often more topical interest from clients.
There are more reasons than I have here, but hopefully this will be enough to get you thinking!
In the case I’m going to look at, my client is an actor, Frankie Oatway, who’s career has all of a suddenly taken off after a move from England to Australia. He is a big user of Facebook with quite a few followers, but had never had a website before and wanted to keep everything as simple to manage as possible.
As an actor he was looking to develop fans, but was also looking to show his work as widely as possible to attract casting agents and may potentially release short films on the web.
In this case it was very apparent that Frankie was the brand, he is full of life and a really nice approachable guy. Social media was the therefore key to get his content in front of as many people as possible along with links back to his site (ideally with a high ranking in Google, for his name) so that agents could find and contact him should they need to, and fans could just have a chat with him.
The next post covers how we decided which social media to use and how we should develop his site.