Social networking, social media marketing and its impact on SEO has exploded in popularity in recent years. From the humble beginnings of sites such as Geocities and Tripod, we later got Friendster before MySpace and LinkedIn hit the scene, and we then began to see some of the big names that we recognise in social media today, such as Facebook and Twitter, and eventually Google+. Originally social networks were intended as a way to have all your connections in one place, whether that connection was that friend you’ve known since you were 6, that person you met on the train, or members of your family. Social networks allow you to connect to the people who mattered to you and interact with them accordingly. It soon became apparent that this vast network of individuals was a gold mine for businesses to utilise, and soon everyone from multinational corporations to local bricks and mortar stores started to make use of these services in a way that benefited their users as well as the companies themselves. Below is a list of just a handful of the benefits that these sites can have.
Key Benefits of Social Media Marketing
- Low Cost
- Reach a Large Audience
- Boost SEO
- Improve Brand Identity
Social networks appear to be one of the easiest routes to getting some attention focussed on your brand and a great way to aid your SEO campaign. Social media at its base level costs nothing to utilise and gives you the opportunity to potentially reach millions of people in one hit, without the hindrance or cost of print media, or other advertising alternatives. Effectively the only cost is time, but using social media to bolster your company’s presence and give your SEO campaign a boost can have its pitfalls. Just as with any website and blog; having frequently updated unique content is paramount for success, as lack of new content will make your old content look dated and your presence on whatever social network you use will appear undervalued. It’s the same theory behind having the same display in a window of a shop all year round; eventually people will stop coming back to look at your shop window if nothing ever changes. You need to give people a reason to come to your social networking page, and if your content is only updated once a month or less, then that will likely be how frequently they check your content, if at all. One of the big downsides of an abandoned social network page is that it won’t just devalue the page itself; in the eyes of your existing and potential clients it can devalue your brand, more so than not having a page on that social network likely will.
Direct Your Efforts in the Right Direction
Figuring out where to direct your social media efforts, as with any content that you produce, requires knowing who your audience are. You want to produce content that will reach people relevant to you and your company, make it engaging so that the people who view it connect with it and want to share it with others. To achieve this it’s important to know that whilst almost all social networks in this day and age take a broad approach to whom they attract (as in most instances it’s better to be a one stop shop for everyone), some social networks have more active communities for different topics. For instance, LinkedIn is notoriously Recruitment, Human Resources, and business focussed, so if you happen to be a recruitment agency, then it makes more sense to have a big presence on LinkedIn. Facebook and Twitter have expanded to a stage where they attract attention from a number of businesses who want to target specific groups of people with their company message, however Facebook and Twitter still focus on the end user, so are very beneficial to business to consumer (B2C) companies, rather than business to business (B2B) companies. Google+ has developed an active community in many technology fields, such as web development and design, but Google+ is still an essential site for almost all organisations (which we’ll come to shortly) no matter their sector.
Be Friends with Google
How the goliaths of the social media industry have interacted with the undisputable king of the search engines over the years has altered from company to company. Deals between Google and the big social networks have come and gone, and in some cases come back into play, with each network providing their data to feature prominently in Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The opportunity to have your company and your message be widespread is more effective than ever before. Not too long ago Twitter struck a deal with Google that gave Google additional access to users tweets, beyond the data that they were already accessing through crawling the twitter website. Whilst this initially didn’t lead to a noticeable change, as tweets where already showing in Google’s SERP, testing has begun to integrate tweets directly into the SERP results, and this will likely continue to become more prevalent as time goes on. This means that Twitter will probably become more vital to business owners than it was before, or as vital as Google+ has become. Both Facebook and LinkedIn have long had options available to make profile or page information visible to Google, and whilst links to them are visible on Google, it doesn’t appear that the same level of integration that Twitter may well experience is in effect as of yet.
Google+ is a Different Beast
We’ve already gone into some detail about why Google+ is so important to business, but it’s important to know that in relation to other social networks, Google+ is different beast that needs to be wrangled in a different way. When Google+ came out of its beta-invite-only cocoon, its focus was on being the next Facebook, and whilst it gained a lot of traction and momentum as a viable alternative to the social media giant, it never quite overtook it in terms of what were then key functions and a lofty number of users. What Google+ did do well was to provide new and unique functions that weren’t prevalent at the time, but are becoming essential in business now. Google Maps has been given greater integration into Google’s search engine infrastructure, and has pride of place at the top of their SERP when a relevant enquiry has been made. Appearing in a Maps listing on Google’s SERP requires having a fully verified My Business page on Google+ and can give a great boost to your SEO campaign. In addition to the usual networking features that come with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, Google+ allows for users to leave reviews for a company and their products and services. This means that once a sufficient number of reviews have been received an aggregate rating for your company will appear underneath your listing on Google’s SERP. This can be a fantastic way for a company to legitimise themselves in the eyes of a prospective client who may not have been aware of your company before, and give weight to a lesser known brand.
Google is Playing Favourites
Seriously, Google is playing favourites. While the all mighty big brother of the web might appear impartial when using the Colonel’s secret algorithm to rank web pages accordingly on its SERP, as far as social media results are concerned, Google favours its own social network. When Google receives a relevant search query, it gives preference to Google+ articles and YouTube videos over those that are similar on Facebook and Twitter. This is another important reason to have an active Google My Business page on Google+, and by active we mean incorporating everything we’ve mentioned before, but also including photos. Google, and for that matter human beings, really like Google+ photos with lots of visually stimulating content, so be sure to get the camera out, take pictures of your place of work, get a few snaps of the people you work with and get them up on your company’s Google My Business Page. Aside from giving a face (or multiple faces) to your company, which is always pleasant to people who want to use your services, Google likes to know that you’re a real company with real employees, and Google is more likely to push content that it likes.
What Michael Bell One Can Do For You
At Michael Bell One we provide everything from content creation services including blog writing, copy edits and rewrites, through to fully fledged SEO campaigns that can include social media marketing. If you would like some assistance with social media marketing, are interested in our hugely successful SEO services or any of the other great digital marketing services that we offer, please get in touch with me (Jake Judd) or David Park today by calling 01273 478822, completing our online contact form or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.