We’ve been hearing how “social media is here to stay” and how it’s not a fad from a lot of folks online. Well, that’s true. It shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, people are social creatures. Our entire existence has been built up around being social. Social media are just tools that facilitate the nature social behavior people crave, only they are online instead of in person. So, yes, social media is here to stay and its far from a fad. That means you need to leverage the tools available to increase your social interactions with your prospects and customers and improve your SEO.
Search engines are more and more using social media signals in their search algorithms. Both Google and Bing have explicitly state this, and recently Bing even went a step further and started including Facebook content int their results (though you need to install an app to make it work since your Facebook posts are private). Since social media signals can be easily manipulated, search engines are moving carefully and only give a small amount of weight to social media signals in their search algorithms. As time goes on, we can expect that search engines will increase the value of social media signals.
While social media signals have a small amount of weight in search engine results relative to other signals, they still carry some weight and the opportunity to increase traffic to your website.¬¨‚Ä† As such, it’s important that you start using social media to your advantage as well as prepare for when search engines have no choice but to increase the weight of social media sites in their results.
Include Social Media Share Buttons on Your Websites
Social media is basically free marketing and promotion of your business. Social media is also a form of social proof. When others see that their friends shared a post they are likely to give that more credit than if it came from someone they didn’t know. People trust their friends and family. Seeing your information shared by them on social media sites provides a heavy dose of legitimacy and even trust.
Social media also has the potential to increase traffic to your website. When someone “likes” your post, it shows on their Facebook feed. Everyone that follows them has the potential of seeing that they liked your post. If you make it easy to tweet your post, then everyone following that user sees the tweet. If another person retweets, then their followers see it. The opportunities to spread your content (and even go viral) are immense.
Posting to Google+ is even more important. Google appears to be giving posts to Google+ and perhaps even +1s extra search engine optimization oomph by indexing those pages almost immediately after they are shared. Google+ doesn’t yet have a writable API to allow for automatic posting like Facebook and Twitter, though we suggest taking the extra effort to post to Google+ even if you are not actively using the social media platform otherwise. The SEO value is too good to pass up.
A side benefit of using social media share buttons is that you get a feel for how your audience is responding and thinking about your posts, products and services almost in real-time. It’s easy for you to see how someone responds to a new post when you have social media sharing buttons on your site.
Remember, your website and your blog are the foundation of your inbound marketing efforts. Your website should have social media sharing buttons on every post and you should share your content on major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+) and any other social media sites that are relevant to you and your industry.
Increase Your Social Media Activity Online
If you haven’t been actively engaging your prospects and customers through social media then now is the time to start. Increasing your social media activity will increase your brand awareness and improve your online presence. At a minimum, we recommend setting up a Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn business profile, and a Google+ profile and page. People use these social media networks; yes, even your prospects and customers.
We also recommend looking into using niche social media platforms to determine if there is value for your business. Pinterest is growing rapidly and sending a lot of traffic to websites that post images and videos. SlideShare is great for businesses that create presentations. There are social media sites for every interest and industry. Find where your customers are and start there, then find where your prospects might be and look to expanding your social media to those networks.
Using social media isn’t going to make your ranking or traffic to skyrocket over night. Social media is another piece of the ever-expanding puzzle of search engine optimization and content marketing. All of your marketing efforts together are what provide you with that extra bump in search engine rankings that might just put you ahead of your competitors. Of course, not all businesses have active social communities. That shouldn’t worry you or stop you for using social media. People expect to see the social media sharing features and one day they may choose to use them. That is the trend so you should be prepared.
Check out our services to see how we can help you create a social media marketing plan and help build your online presence.