It’s the marketing and branding tool that’s on everybody’s lips: social media. As more and more business and customer interaction moves online, social media can form a highly important aspect of your marketing and advertising plan. Used correctly, the dark arts of social media can drive traffic to your site and help improve your overall SEO. However, using it poorly or not following basic online etiquette can have disastrous results with your more internet savvy customers. So what’s the magic formula to social media greatness?
Becoming a Social Media Magician
From giving your brand a personality to developing relationships with your target market, social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter can go a long way to giving you the most bang for your marketing buck, particularly in the SEO arena. While SEO previously focused on your site’s content and linking, your social media signals can now positively impact how your site is viewed by search engines. Essentially, the bigger the footprint, the more likely you are to get attention. But what are the commandments to getting it right?
1) Choose your path carefully. There are hundreds of social media avenues you can pursue with your company. However, the old “shoot anything that flies, catch anything that falls” adage does not apply here. Why focus your efforts away from the major medias that will garner you the most attention? First, and probably most obvious, is setting up a Google+ account. Google is now incorporating information from G+ into their search results, making it invaluable for SEO. The other two obvious choices are Facebook and Twitter, which are quite likely the most popular social media avenues on the planet. As the sharing of images becomes more popular, Pinterest will also become important for your future marketing plans.
2) Get your followers on board. Though it will be tempting to post a series of sales-related items on your social media, the whole point of the game is to engage your target market and build your audience. Try to lure in the casual visitor with shareable content. Retweet your followers and ask questions to get your users involved. Your mantra as a social media magician should be “engage, entice and enthrall.” Regardless of what your mother told you in school, using social media to boost your SEO rankings is a popularity contest. Simply put, the more followers you have, the better it is for your SEO bottom line and the better the branding marketing.
3) Drive that traffic home. This isn’t a hard call. The most important aspect of social media is driving traffic straight to your website. One of the best things you can do in that respect is to have a blog attached to your site that you regularly update. Not only will search engines index your articles and like that you’re providing regularly updated content, but your followers can share your pieces, comment and keeps the conversation flowing. Be sure to update your blog at least 2-3 times per week to get the maximum return.
4) Tell the world. What’s the point of being on social media if you’re not telling the world about it? Adding buttons to your blog, website, outgoing emails and any other communications your company has will encourage your customers and business partners to add you to their lists. Check the follow lists of your competition and add or invite their users to become part of your circle. Additionally, cross-check your email list against your social media outlets to ensure you’re not missing out on anybody.
Common Mistakes: What Not To Do
The development of social media has brought with it a whole new form of etiquette, and getting it wrong can result in lost followers or annoyed customers. Try to think about how you would react to certain situations. When in doubt, always aim to stay polite and attentive.
1) Fail to follow back. Few things inspire the ire of Twitter and Facebook users quite like not getting their follow back once they’ve followed you. Show your customers you care about what they’re talking about.
2) Ignore questions. Feedback from your followers can come in many forms. From direct tweets or posts to private messages, if someone’s taken the time to engage with you, take the time to respond to them. Doing so in a timely manner will go a long way to fostering a good relationship.
3) Overposting. Social media is not like advertising in the sense that users do not want to be inundated with your marketing messages. Sure, your company’s message every once in a while is important. But, so is providing content your followers will enjoy reading and sharing.
Getting your social media magic up to full gear is an easy and fun way to engage with your audience and customers. Its impact on improving SEO is also a huge bonus to your site and your company. By engaging with your users on a regular basis, you can develop your business to be an industry leader.
Author, Domonique Powell, is a small business owner. She believes that the use of a branding marketing company can be very helpful for emerging businesses.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/webtreatsetc/4050775142/