3 Steps to a More Socially Accessible Website

According to Nielson's latest U.S. Digital Consumer Report, 81 billion minutes were spent on social networks or blogs in 2011. To help put that number in perspective, consider that in 2005 it was "only" 6.6 billion minutes.

This explosive growth in consumers' use of social media means that the time to make your site more socially accessible is right now. Because of this potential for a dramatically larger audience, small businesses and online retailers must be prepared to serve social cravings with the most appropriate tools for engagement.

As you consider your options for capitalizing on the tremendous social growth curve, here are a few tips to help you attract website visitors and ensure that your site is truly socially accessible.

Feature popular products, fresh content

Elevate trending products that are likely to be most interesting to your site's visitors. This area should be prominently featured and pull the user in to the shopping/converting experience with new and fresh content or product ideas.

Feature video content

You don't have to spend a lot of money to create a professional - looking product demo or feature video to place on your small business website. With the low cost of digital cameras and smartphones that can capture video, adding a captivating A/V element to your site is as easy as picking up your mobile device and shooting.

Check out a small business success story from Orabrush, which two years ago didn't have product on shelves in any retail store. Using creative videos such as its Bad Breath Test (wsm.co/KEERoE) that was posted on YouTube and Facebook, the company was able to attract the attention of Walmart as a major retail partner to sell its products.

Socialize your content

If you have products for sale on your site and are not offering a way to socialize the content via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., then you are missing out on the opportunity to bring new traffic and shoppers back to your site. While adding a "Like" button will help you to get a foot in the door in terms of Facebook potential, your site visitors will want more options for sharing.

Consider what else is out there and how your visitors will use these resources. To start, check out the following links for adding the most popular social buttons to your sites to help make them more socially accessible:

Facebook : YouTube : Pinterest : Twitter : Google+ 

Other social sites: Remember to be sure to provide a variety of other social actions on your site, so that no matter how your site visitors want to socialize, they will have plenty of available options.

Whatever you decide, remember that there is a wide variety of low-cost, low-barrier and low learning-curve options to help you get started. If you haven't made your site socially appealing to your most avid fans, you are missing out on a potentially game-changing opportunity for your small business.