Drupal is often touted as the ultimate CMS engine for SEO. And while that's very much true, not enough people talk about what you can accomplish from a Social Media standpoint as well. I happen to think that Drupal, while being a top CMS for SEO, is also tops for social. Here are ten of my favorite tips and tricks for bringing your Drupal site up to speed in the age of social. These tips include everything from modules to general best practices.
1. Start a blog
This should go without saying, but for argument's sake, let's assume you don't yet have a blog. Your blog will be the catalyst for social activity on your Drupal website. It will supply the content, ideas, and inspiration to spark conversations and social media sharing. Fortunatly for you, your Drupal site comes pre-equipped for blogging. Just turn on the blog module in Drupal core, and you're good to go!
2. Turn on comments
The second step, and often the scariest, in making your Drupal site more social is also one of the most crucial. Now that you're creating high quality content on your shiny new blog, you need a place for people to add their own thoughts! Naturally, this occurs in the comments section. Yes, you may open up your company to negative commentary, but it's a necessary (and manageable) risk. Look to enhance your comment system with the Disqus module, which brings social sharing features, a slick admin interface, and intelligent spam filtering to your Drupal site.
3. Add the Twitter button
Tap into one of the largest social networks on the web with Drupal's Tweet Button module. This module integrates Twitter's official Tweet button, and allows users to Tweet your content with the click of a button. Given that many Twitter users are also heavy content sharers, this is a good way to make sure your content is shared.
4. Integrate Facebook
Similar to the integration of Twitter above, it would be foolish to ignore the marketing channels available to you through Facebook. Use Drupal's FB Social to integrate Facebook's popular social plugins into your Drupal site. This allows you to add your businesses like box, as well as the like button to your content.
5. Add sharing widgets
While traditionally a big fan of the minimalist approach to social sharing widgets, it may be beneficial to incorporate modules like Add to Any, Share This and Add This. These modules will help you add the ability to share on a variety of niche social networks, without making your blog post look like your favorite Nascar driver's car.
6. Use Feedburner
Use the Feedburner Drupal module to provide e-mail and RSS subscription options for your readers. Take this a step further and add call-to-actions encouraging subscriptions through custom blocks and CCK fields.
7. Structure appropriately
More of a best practices tip, it will be important that your content is formatted and structured in such a way that people will not only want to read all of it, but they'll want to share it as well. This means using lists liberally, creating scannable text with short paragraphs and headers, and leaving your content open ended. A catchy title helps, too.
8. Guest blog
Wait a minute! This blog post is about making your Drupal site more social! Why are you recommending I blog on someone else's site?
Besides the SEO benefits (backlinks), guest blogging allows you to tap into new audiences with your content. Portions of this new audience will read your content, click through to your site, and hopefully become new subscribers - thus giving you a larger audience to engage and share with. Look at sites like My Blog Guest and Blogger Link Up for guest blog opportunities.
9. Practice social seeding
If you have multiple people on your team, or within your company, encourage that they practice social seeding. That means asking them to leave comments on company blog posts and share new articles of their social networks. By having some seed comments on a new blog post, you encourage more engagement - people like to feel like they're joining an in progress conversation.
10. Use the Page Title module
Sure, this beneficial Drupal module usually has a bit more of an SEO slant. But did you know it can help your social media efforts as well? The Page Title module works by separating the meta page title (what you see at the top of your browser) and the content page title (what your visitors see). This means you can create your meta page title with a SEO slant and your content page title with a social slant, capitalizing on both search and social traffic.
There you have it! What are your favorite modules and tricks for making your Drupal sites more social? Leave them below in the comments!