Like it or not, social media is quickly becoming a requirement for effective online marketing.
There is evidence Some people suggests that Google rewards websites that get a fair amount of social shares with better search rankings.
Apart from the search rankings, however, social media works very well as a listening tool. For example, you can learn:
- The exact keywords/phrases people are typing in to find your products/services
- What people like/don’t like about your business
- What really interests people about your company
As the web becomes an increasingly social place, replacing in-person interaction, social media will only become more important for SEO. So of course, the big question becomes: which social networks should you use, and how do you use them?
Which Social Media Sites Make Most Sense to Use?
There are actually many, many social media sites beyond the major ones you know. But, it’s not important to be present on all of them. The main 5 your business may choose to be present on are:
Currently the largest social network with more than 1 billion users, Facebook is very appropriate for businesses. It works best for interacting directly with current customers. One great strategy to grow your followers is to hold a contest/giveaway of some kind, but make sure you follow Facebook’s super-strict contest guidelines.
Twitter has 140 million users and works well as a B2B tool and a tool for interacting directly with consumers. You have much fewer characters to work with (140), but you get real-time feedback.
Marketers are still trying to make sense of this one. Google+ has 400 million users, has gotten them faster than any other social network, but still has a very low engagement rate. However, it does have a high future growth potential, and it is a great way to connect with tech-savvy men/business owners ages 25-40.
If you need to generate qualified leads, nothing works better than LinkedIn. Leads coming from LinkedIn are highly qualified and convert at a rate better than any other social network. You can also create a company page. To get the maximum benefit, join groups and answer questions, positioning yourself as an expert. Leads will eventually come to you.
Like Google+, marketers are still trying to make use of this one. It has approximately 20 million users, 79% of which are female. It works much differently than any other social network – by pinning photos. Businesses that do well with graphical advertising, like restaurants, would perform well on this network.
How Do You Use Them?
In most cases, it makes sense for your business to be present on all of these social networks. But, the challenge comes in: do you take the time to manage them all yourself, or do you hire someone else to do it?
If you’re a small business, you can do it yourself. But, if you want to create a serious presence and get real business from these networks, you are going to have dedicate significant financial or time resources to each. If you’re just starting, here’s a basic social media strategy you can use that doesn’t take too much time:
- Post 3-5 updates per network per week
- Use a tool like HootSuite, where you can manage all of your social networks in one place
- Make sure 80% of the content you post is not your own, but still is valuable to your audience (if you push to much of your own, people leave your social networks and go somewhere else)
- 20% of the content you post can be your own or special offers
- Post at various times of the day to see which times offer the most engagement
- Use a call-to-action in some posts – ask people to share/like/comment on the posts
- Use various media types (video/pictures/infographics etc…)
- Avoid using just plain text, as people read that type of post the least
- Don’t post the exact same content to each – switch up the messaging
To get started, that’s pretty much all you need to do. From there, you can decide how you would like to proceed and what works best for your social network(s). Enjoy growing your audience and your search engine rankings from your social media strategy!
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Dan Stelter is a SEO Writer with special interest and expertise in content development and production.