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Thinking About Using Social Logins on Your Website?

social login options“90% of people have encountered social login before, and more than half of people use it.” ~Janrain


Social logins increase the time people spend on a website and apps and can help increase the purchase of goods and services by reducing the need to create an account or remember log in information. Therefore, an increasing number of websites are using social logins as a way for people to quickly create accounts for purchases or to access membership only portions. Social logins allow people to use their Facebook or other social media account credentials to sign in instead of creating unique usernames and passwords. Social logins have great benefits, but website owners need to be aware of all aspects before implementing them.

Let’s briefly explore some of the pros and cons of using social logins on a website or app:

Pros:

  • One less login for people to remember
    With multiple accounts, people have difficulty remembering sign in information. A recent Janrain study shows 50% of people who use social login do so because of this issue.
  • Easier conversions, especially on mobile
    Because of the registration ease, people are more likely to stay on the site to purchase goods and services, especially if trying to accessing the site via mobile. Ever try to fill out a registration on a smartphone? Not easy.
  • Gain tremendous visitor data
    Social login provides you with instant demographic and psychographic data about your customers, which improves segmentation, personalization and targeting efforts. Just think of how much data Facebook has on you.
  • Greater personalized experience
    Since you have a greater amount and depth of visitor data, visitor experiences can be much more personalized.
  • Less spam / mistargeted messaging
    Greater visitor data means your communications are less likely to be considered spam or mistargeted.
  •  Possible lower cart abandonment
    If people have to register to purchase items in their carts, many will abandon them rather than create an account. Gigya is working on integrating billing information into its social login solution to make purchases even easier.
  • Social logins provide familiarity
    If your brand is not well-known, seeing the familiar logos of Facebook, Twitter or other social media networks can provide visitors with a greater sense of familiarity and comfort.
  • Possible fewer failed logins
    Without having to remember usernames and passwords, there is the possibility of fewer failed login attempts. Recovering log in information is frustrating, and many people will not complete it. Successful log ins mean people will stay longer on the site or app and possibly make more purchases. 
Cons

  • Data accuracy
    People do not always provide accurate data when creating a social media account or may no longer be using the email accounts they signed up with. Also, you may not get any information depending on a person’s privacy settings.
  • Loss of control to a third party
    If Facebook, Twitter or other network goes down or has some difficulty, then people will not be able to access accounts on other sites using their social login. Also, a customer may cancel a social media account. If that account was used to sign into your account, her account with you is also cancelled.
  • Security issues
    If one of these social identity providers is hacked, then all accounts a person uses that profile to sign into can also be compromised.
  • Lack of trust by consumers
    For people who choose not to use social login, Janrain reports the three most common reasons include lack of trust of the company using their information appropriately, fear of the company posting to their social media feeds and fear of being spammed.
  • Missing consumers not on social media
    For various reasons, not everyone uses social media. Therefore, if you only use social media login, you are missing a large audience. Think revenue.
  • Mixed branding
    Some companies, like MailChimp, feel having the logos of social networks so prominent on their sites give the false impression of an implied endorsement and dilutes brand identity with a NASCAR-style logo covered page.
  • Too many options
    With multiple social login options, you may create friction you were trying to avoid because now the visitor has to choose between multiple networks.
  • Lack of customer email addresses
    Not all social identity providers allow for access to email addresses. Email advertising is still a strong marketing option.
  • Visitor forgetting which social login used
    Unless people use the same social media account for all social logins, they will periodically find themselves in the same predicament as when they created unique usernames and passwords.

If you decide social login is right for your website or app, follow these simple best practices:

  • Have a true purpose for using social login. Do not do it because others are.
  • Choose the networks actually used by your websites. Facebook is the dominant one per Gigya and Janrain, but option preferences vary by website type, geography and other factors. For Q4 2013, Janrain reported that for sites using its platform 45% of consumers used Facebook while 35% used Google. Gigya reported 51% and 28% respectively.
  • Update your privacy policy to meet the requirements of the social media identity providers you are using.
  • Do not ask for more data than you need. You can always ask for more later on in the process.
  • Be transparent about exactly how you will be using visitors’ information.
  • Place the social login in a prominent position.
  • Provide the option for an email registration.

As you can see social logins provide numerous benefits with a drawbacks. If you are not sure whether to go this route, you may wish to experiment with it for a while to see how your visitors respond. Many sites benefit, but MailChimp found a simple copywriting change was more effective for it.

Have you used social login on sites and apps? Do you have a social login solution for your own website or app? Leave comments or questions in the box below.

Avoid the Lure of the Shiny Object Syndrome in Social Media

social media shiny objectResist the lure of the shiny object syndrome if you want your social media efforts to be successful. For some businesses, when a new social media tool or network is launched, they quickly add it to their arsenal. They are spellbound by whatever is the latest and greatest. Then, they find themselves overwhelmed and unable to gain traction. They suffer from the shiny object syndrome.

Do you have the shiny object syndrome or want to avoid it? Before you set up another social media account, ask yourself these questions about your current ones:

Does this network further the implementation of our strategy?

All your tactical efforts need to support your strategy. If not, then you risk moving your company in the wrong direction and wasting time and money.

√ Is our target audience using this network?

If your target audience is not using a network or is minimally using it, then spending time on it does not make sense. You want to go where your audience is.

√ Is this network appropriate for our brand and products or services?

Not every social media network is appropriate for every brand. Some are better for B2B while others are better for B2C, and each network has its own tone to it. If you are unsure, research case studies, reviews, etc. to make the determination about the match.

√ Do we have the resources available to create content, engage people and monitor on this network?

Social media requires a lot of time and effort. Regardless of your social media team’s size, you want to be vigilant about how much you take on so you do not become overwhelmed, dilute your efforts or sabotage your success.

If you answer no to any one of these questions, place that network on a list to be deleted. If the answers are yes, then continue your efforts. These same questions can be used to review any potential additions. If the answers are yes for a new one, then start creating your strategy and content for it and set up the account.

Start with only a couple of networks. Develop your presence on them, and become proficient in using them. Then, start testing the most promising of other networks, keeping what works. Think rifle approach, not shotgun.

Trying out something new is fun, but using a measured, strategic approach to social media will help you avoid the shiny object syndrome and have your social media efforts be more successful.

Have you caught the shiny object syndrome or avoided it?

 

Facebook SEO – Social Signals in Search

 

I am often asked about Facebook’s role in organic search rankings. We all want any advantage we can get to boost our presence in Google. I could provide the standard stock answers:

  • Be Real
  • Encourage Engagement
  • Have Fun
  • Post Photos

Those are all great tips, but those only take you so far. Facebook optimization is very similar to optimizing a website. A great looking page will only get you so far. You still need to follow some general best practices when thinking SEO with Facebook.

Before getting into those, I wanted to highlight a few other areas.

Keywords
Any SEO plan always start with keyword research. Without knowing what you are optimizing for, then SEO efforts become meaningless. Through discussion, research, and competitive comparison, the list can be refined to a core list of 10-20 keywords. Keeping the list of keywords short makes it much easier to pull from when looking to optimize Facebook posts and descriptions about your company.

Facebook Graph Search
Facebook introduced graph search in Spring, 2013. With this new search tool, Facebook pulls information from its billions of accounts, plus supplemental information provided by Bing.

The new Facebook search is based on a social graph. That means that search results are based on your personal connections. Just like Google results, rankings are becoming irrelevant. What you see in your Facebook results will most likely be different than what I see. That does not mean that optimization tactics cannot apply, in fact they are even more important than before to stand out.

EdgeRank
Ever wonder why you see certain posts in your Facebook feed? That’s because of EdgeRank, Facebook’s formula for deciding what shows in your news feed. In short, EdgeRank looks at weight and time when knowing what posts to show in your feed. If the post is still timely, active, gaining comments, likes, and shares then it has a higher EdgeRank. That leads to more likes.

I am aware of Jessica Lee’s recent post on Search Engine Watch: “EdgeRank is Dead, Long Live Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm!” However, reading the entire article we see that it’s not really dead. It’s just a name change.
To quote Jessica:

“Conceptually, the EdgeRank algorithm is alive, but the word ‘EdgeRank’ is dead.”

Until a better name is developed, I’ll stick with EdgeRank.

Optimization
When looking to optimize for Facebook, it’s not that different than techniques used to optimize for a web page. Title, Meta Description, Headers, Content are all relevant to Facebook as well. In fact, there is often a corresponding element on Facebook that matches website elements. I’ll go through some of those common SEO elements below and how they relate to Facebook.

Page Title
While many techniques have come and gone with SEO, Page Titles are still a top priority. When optimizing for Page Titles on a website we emphasize keywords and length. Within Facebook those same concepts apply. There are several areas that act as Titles within search results.

Page Name
When Facebook pages show up in search results, it will show the page name first. Although, from an SEO perspective the tendency is to stuff keywords in the page name, that’s not ideal. You still want to emphasize your brand and let Facebook know you are a legitimate business not “gaming the system”. Facebook has disabled generic, keyword-stuffed, pages in the past. The optimal approach is to work them both in the name. Keeping in mind the first word is the most essential element.

Facebook Pages in Google Results

Posts
When sharing any information on Facebook, remember the keyword research you’ve already done. 
It’s important to try to work a targeted keyword in as early as you can into the Posts. Ideally, just like HTML Title tags, the first word is essential.

Posts in Google Results

Meta Descriptions 
We know Meta Descriptions is an old school SEO practice. They use to have a dramatic effect on search rankings, however, it’s fair to say that has stopped. Meta Descriptions are not ranking factors now, but still extremely essential because these often show up in search results. The better their description and relevancy to the searchers intent, the higher the click-through-rate.

Posts – The same Meta Description philosophy can be applied to Facebook Posts. It’s often the Facebook post that shows in Google search results under the title of the page. Because Google has limited amount of space, it’s important to get to the keyword and call-to-action fast. All other sentences are needed and great for users on Facebook, but within search results the first sentence is the best.

About – The about section is also equivalent to the Meta Description when pages show in Google search results. Again, a larger message is great for Facebook. In fact, that’s encouraged. However, the first sentence is crucial. Analyze your about section and make sure you have a targeted keyword at the beginning of a well-written, grammatically clean, paragraph.

After the first sentence, the next 155 characters are also important. That’s because when new pages are found its first 155 characters that are often displayed in Facebook search results or before a page is “Liked”.

Notes
An area that is often overlooked in Facebook optimization is Notes. The Meta Description and Page Titles rules apply to Notes as well. As seen in the Google result below, Facebook Notes can be picked up. Keywords need to be targeted in the Notes Title and in the first sentence of the Note.

Facebook Posts in Google results

Facebook Posts in Google results

Traffic vs Engagement
The above information contains some great tips to optimize your presence in search results, whether in Google or Facebook results. However, engagement is always more important than traffic. In fact, engagement leads to more traffic. Don’t get caught trying to chase the quick visit. You may get some immediate numbers, but a long term strategy and engagement plan will result in many more visitors, and more importantly customers.

Establishing Social Authority

(This article was originally posted on JohnWEllis.com as part of the Social Signals in Search series.)

Rankings have long been affected by authority and, historically, authority is often measured by inbound links to a website; meaning that the more quality links a site has, the more that site is considered an authoritative site.

Although, link building is still a large part of SEO, we now have to consider social media authority in search marketing because, as I have discussed in prior posts, social media has a direct effect on search engine rankings

Companies with higher social media authority can gain more ground in search engine rankings by building strong social profiles and followings.

Multiple factors go into determining social authority including: 
  • Number of replies or comments
  • Automation vs. manual
  • Relevancy of messages
  • Association with other online groups

Tips to Earn Social Authority:
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating a strong profile and to get the most out of social media.

1) Automate minimally.
Some automation in social media is okay, but it has to be supported by manual intervention and monitoring.

2) Associate with people who will share.
If you are connected to people that are interested in your topics, they are more likely to share your updates.

3) Mix it up and be entertaining. 
Don’t be predictable with your sharing, add a mix of photos, questions, comments, and post things that encourage interaction.

4) Don’t overexpose the message.
You know that annoying commercial that you see on TV or that person that posts the same content over and over … don’t be that.

5) Meet IRL.
Meeting in real-life with people makes a personal connection. People are more like to share your information if they know you on a personal level. It’s old-fashioned networking.