There are many things to consider while starting a new site, few of them as important as recognition and brand awareness (brand in this case meaning your site, not just a logo or name). Through the massive popularity of various social media platforms, the game has changed drastically.
As with most things, you must take the good with the bad. You get easy access to millions upon millions of people in a way that simply couldn’t be done before – meaning word spreads faster than ever. From the same reason stems the greatest affliction for the proverbial “content”.
There’s so much information out there it’s getting harder and harder to differentiate. Add to that the constantly dwindling attention span and you’ve cornered yourself an everlasting struggle to stay relevant.
Today we’ll talk about how to most effectively use social media and how taking advantage of it can make or break a new, up and coming site, focusing primarily on the startup – before and immediately after the site goes live.
Every site starts with an idea. Once you know what you’ll be doing you’ll lay out the groundwork to complete what you’ve envisioned. Now it’s important to point out that we’ve taken some liberties with presumptions regarding how you’ll actually be going about completing your vision.
To cover the most widespread array of cases, our assumptions are that you’ll be starting and managing the site mainly by yourself (at least in the beginning) i.e. no outsourcing – if you’ve hired someone to get things of the ground for you, chances are they know what they’re doing. Piggybacking off the first assumption, we guess you’ll be using WordPress as your platform of choice, since statistically it’s the most commonly used. Everything going further, from a purely technical standpoint (apps, plugins, widgets etc.), will be in reference to this.
With that out of the way, we can concentrate on what we’ve been meaning to go over from the start, a coming soon landing page.
The importance of starting right with a coming soon landing page
So, you have your idea, you’ve figured out the steps you’ll need to go through to make it happen – how do you increase your chances of success by raising your marketability. First impressions matter, so you need yours to be top notch. Believe it or not, for a site, first impressions can be made even before the site goes live.
Once you’ve registered your domain there is no reason to keep it empty, so we see more and more “Coming soon” pages for sites. The coming soon page has three great purposes. As we’ve said, it provides a placeholder for your domain giving relevant information about the future site, it can create hype about the site, and it can be used as a way to redirect visitors. Let’s break those down.
As a placeholder for an impending site you get to give your potential visitors a sneak preview of what they can expect. Be sure to provide only truly relevant information and be clear and concise. Focus should be on your main theme/idea and when the site will go live (if you have that info). Creating striking visuals can go a long way in generating hype for the site.
Try to use something that relates both to your overarching theme and your visitors. Essentially, they should remember it after they leave and ideally tell others about it. Finally, after your visitors get to the page you can redirect them to your side content.
There are numerous ways you can redirect them, but we’ll focus on ones that use social media icons/links. However, before we go into more detail, it’s important to know what you’ll be working with.
Since there are so many options for Coming soon pages, you won’t have to build anything from scratch, just use one adopt and adapt one provided to you by the many services. To save you some time, we’ve gone through a bunch of these and came with two that stand above the rest – Under construction page and Coming soon and maintenance mode, both of which are premium plugins, however, in both cases you’ll get more than your money’s worth.
Get to know the plugins
As you’ve probably guessed both solutions are WordPress plugins and both cover a multitude of features you’ll need to create a great page that will make your site hit the ground running once it goes live. Let’s quickly get to know what makes these plugins so special.
First of all, we have the UnderConstructionPage. It has an absolutely fantastic editing tool that works just like a visual editor, meaning you see everything you’re doing and it’s all updated in real time. There’s no coding required since you can customize and position all the elements with just your cursor.
We’ve talked about the importance of striking imagery – here you’ll get access to over a million high resolution and 4K images to incorporate as your background, probably more than you’ll ever need.
Not only will the images be top notch, but you’ll also get to use one of the 210 customizable, professionally crafted templates or just build your own from the ground up. All this means the frontend is covered, but so is the backend – you’ll be able to monitor in great detail all the information regarding traffic flow, enabling you to make necessary changes to improve the page even further.
The Coming soon and maintenance plugin also has the enormous database of over a million high quality images and over 120 templates. Even though there isn’t a visual editor present, you’ll be able to customize everything easily.
The elements are pretty much universal in all these cases, so you’ll get the hang of it even quickly if you’ve used something similar before. The one thing that’s unique and really sells the plugin is the SEO option. A function like this is somewhat rare for a plugin of this type, but here you’ll get it for a more than reasonable price. Something like this is important if you want to focus on a specific target audience instead of going for the whole spectrum.
How to bring it all together
You now have the knowledge of all the tools you’ll be using, but what should you do with them. Well, the main premise, as we’ve already said in the first few sentences, is raising awareness, making the people know your site is there. Because of the widespread use of social media in all conceivable target audiences, it provides the perfect way to reach out to all of them.
There probably isn’t a person around who doesn’t use at least one platform (from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and many others). While you’re building up your site to go live, which is a mammoth task by the way, you can redirect them to these platforms where it’s much easier to create and maintain a presence. Just think how much easier it is to create a Facebook page, or Twitter account for your business in compression to a full-fledged site.
Using this availability can be done in numerous ways. You can use it purely for marketing enticing your potential visitors with various teasers, to get them hooked, or releasing content in an abridged form where they’ll be able to get the full thing only once the site goes live.
Alternatively, you can take a full dive and set up everything to work as an extension of the future site.
If you’re opening a web-shop, sell your items right away through the social platforms, if you’re providing a service offer it with contact info right away, or if you’re creating a time sensitive site like a news outlet, start posting. Either path you choose, the most important thing is the connection to the home site, that’s the nexus and everything else in service to it.
Naturally, not all the options you get with social platforms works for everything – you can’t really sell items if you have an assortment that’s as big as an average supermarket – the platforms just aren’t designed that way. In those cases, marketing should be your primary focus.
However, if you’re selling photographs or providing tech services there is absolutely no reason to show and ultimately sell your work before your site is live. With a good connection to the home site, the eventual transition from the platform to the site will be seamless, natural even. Everything that’s already on offer will just become more accessible with a UI that’s actually designed for this kind of thing (galleries, carts, in-site payments, etc.).
How to best use each social platform
Like, we’ve said, there are numerous ways to get what you want across, but let’s be specific. We’ll go over some tips and ideas on how to maximize your potential regarding marketability. Before going further, you need to figure out what platforms will work best for you since there is no universal answer.
Some sites will benefit most from LinkedIn, while for others it won’t work at all, but will have great success with Instagram. To put it simply, you need to know your content and your target audience. There is no really wrong answer, you could use all of them, but that’s just not optimal most of the time. So, there is one universal thing you should do, no matter your other choices – build up a following.
The more followers you have, makes it that much quicker for your content to get around, your products will be displayed to a bigger audience and if you provide services you’ll be the first thought on their mind.
If you’re having trouble with deciding what kind of content you want to publish, give videos a serious consideration. While creating a YouTube account isn’t directly related to social media, you can post those videos on Twitter or Facebook. Videos are the most impactful media right now, so you’d be ignoring it at your own peril and they can really be about anything. You could use them as straight up ads, comparisons, how to videos and basically anything else that comes to mind.
For those who want to take it to the next level, you could always pay for an ad campaign, it’s so common nowadays with more and more businesses utilizing it. It’s also pretty cost effective. For a relatively small amount you’ll be featured on numerous feeds you wouldn’t get to otherwise. If there’s any doubt about the results be sure to compare your numbers before and after such campaigns to determine with certainty.
A great way to quickly increase your follower numbers is to create giveaways that are locked to a specific platform. Usually, these types of giveaways require your visitors to register, subscribe and/or follow your site in order to participate. Most of the time, no matter if they win or not, they’ll browse through what you have to offer, since they’re already right there. These types of campaigns are especially good when starting out. Your main concern is to get people interested in and excited about what you’re providing them – free stuff is always the right way to go.
Finally, if all else fails to live up to your expectations you could always hire influencers to share your products with their followers. If you’re just starting out and don’t have any kind of relevant base to rely on, hiring someone who has isn’t something you should dismiss, that’s what they’re here for.
As we’ve said in the beginning, first impressions matter. Getting on the right track and building on that is the only way to successfully grow your site in the juggernaut that sets the market. Unfortunately, the start is also the most delicate part. While your primary concern is to get the word out, most of the time you have to factor in things like time constraints and budgets. Using social media platforms to get the buzz going is easy, quick and cost effective. You can even use plugins and tools to translate your entire site to serve visitors from various geographies.
Taking all that into account don’t forget that connection is key. It won’t do much good if your visitors prefer your Facebook page to your actual site. Before and immediately after your site goes live the emphasis should be on the platforms and coming soon landing page, but afterwards it should slide in favor of your home site. If this shift is done correctly, you’ll create a stable base of visitors that will just be further replenished by people getting to you through social media platforms.
After everything we’ve gone over, the last thing we would like for you to leave with is to be creative. Nothing we’ve provided is set in stone and if you find something that works for you, go with it. Our goal was to bring all the intricacies closer in the most general way to cover as much ground as we could – use our suggestions, but don’t be bound by them.