At the South By Southwest Interactive conference in March, Twitter CEO Evan Williams announced a new service called @anywhere. When it’s released (date still unannounced), @anywhere will allow website visitors to tweet about websites or follow people who are associated with a site without navigating away from the page that they are on.
Let’s take a look at how this can apply to small business websites. While we at Union Street Media have been encouraging clients to integrate Twitter into their online strategy for some time, @anywhere offers a whole new level of functionality. Previously, the most you could do was insert links from your website to your Twitter page so that people could follow you and tweet about your site. This required directing people away from your website, which from an engagement standpoint, is not optimal.
By using @anywhere you will be able to keep people on your website even as they follow you, and they’ll be able to tweet about what they find on your site. The end result will be a more integrated user experience that will translate into more valuable tweets. For example, rather than tweeting “look at the great property on this website,” someone visiting a real estate site will be able to look at the property while writing and reference the information more easily: “Look at the exposed wooden beams in this house.” The more value people add, the more likely others will take notice.
In the other social media camp across the river, Facebook has introduced their “Open Graph” functionality. This initiative has sparked huge privacy concerns as it will allow integrated websites to mine user data from Facebook in order to personalize website content. While this is a necessary and worthwhile discussion to have, we’ll save this topic for a future blog post. For now, we’ll examine how some of the other features of Open Graph can be utilized effectively for business.
One major feature for business owners is the ability to add a “like” button to any page on a website:
This functionality, much like Twitter’s @anywhere, will allow users a more seamless way to bookmark and share third party information with friends. Clicking on your “like” button will add a link to your website on the visitor’s personal Facebook page. Giving visitors the opportunity to link to your page in under a second should logically result in a much greater level of interaction than is they are required to cut and paste links. If someone wants to drive people to your website in a value added way, you should give them every opportunity you can and make it as easy as possible!
In short, @anywhere & Open Graph broaden Twitter and Facebook from being social media platforms to hybrid platforms with integrated social bookmarking utility. For small business owners, this functionality is just another way to encourage interaction on your website. As we all know in the web world, the more interaction and connectivity you have, the more likely you are to get noticed. The moral of the story is: Use Open Graph & @anywhere to be everywhere.