We’ve spoken quite a bit about Search Engine Optimization, and we’ve only scratched the surface there, but it’s time to move on to social media. Once you’re doing the minimum amount of these things, we can start digging in-depth into each one. Until then, we need to get everything rolling in the right direction.
This week, we’re talking social media because it’s so easy to do. Seriously. That is, if you remember to do it.
It’s easy to forget to post to social media, especially when you’re first starting out. You have to make an effort to do it. Put it on your to-do list. Add a daily reminder in your phone if you need to. Whatever it takes to remind you to log in, do it.
Social media helps you stay in touch with your clients and customers.
This is the real secret sauce of social media.
A lot of people think that you should use social media to post out links to your pages, events, blog posts, and whatever else, and then cross your fingers and hope it goes viral.
That’s one thing you can do, but you’ll be disappointed.
The real secret sauce of social media is the engagement. You need to be interacting with your clients, customers, and potential clients and customers.
You should still definitely post blog posts, events, and anything else relevant to your business, but don’t make it the focus of your social media or else you will be disappointed.
Some really great quick tips on engagement are to ask followers direct questions. Reply to their posts. Interact with them on a friendly but professional level. If you met their kids, ask how the kids are doing. Ask specific questions about them, such as how baseball is going.
If you don’t know enough about your clients to ask stuff like that, you should get to know your clients better.
Another important thing is to respond to anything sent to you from clients. You’ll need to log in to your accounts frequently. At least daily. This way, you don’t go days or weeks (or worse) without responding to something someone said.
Social media also ties in with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
It’s often debated how much social media affects SEO, but sites doing research and educating on the subject, such as Moz, have ran studies and reported that a good social media campaign does improve SEO as well.
The two main things invovled in social media and SEO are backlinks and social signals.
Backlinks are links that come from one site and point to yours. They can be internal, meaning they point from one page to another on the same site. They can also be external, meaning they point from one website to an entirely different website.
When search engines judge how good a website is, one of the metrics they look at is how many other websites are talking about them, like through a backlink. A backlink is sort of like a “recommendation” in the search engine’s eyes.
There are also “nofollow” and “dofollow” backlinks. A nofollow backlink tells the search engine to NOT count it as a recommendation. A dofollow tells the search engine to DO count it as a backlink.
It’s debatable how much each of those count in the search ranking algorithm, and we may never have an answer. Many SEOptimizers don’t believe nofollow links are worth anything, while some do. Even the validity of dofollow links is under scrutiny these days.
Most, if not all, social media websites are nofollow when linking to a website.
A social signal would be something like a like or retweet on a Twitter, a like or share onFacebook, and maybe even replies or comments (respectively). As the search engines don’t like to tell us everything they count (so that we can’t abuse the system), it’s hard to know what is what.
It is theorized that all of these interactions and engagements help with SEO.
Even if they don’t, social media has it’s own merits when it comes to internet marketing. You need to be taking care of your brand’s social media whether it helps your SEO or not.
Sharing your content is a great place to start.
As I said earlier, sharing your content on social media is not the end of the list of things to do with your accounts, but it is the beginning.
We’ll talk more about content marketing in the future, but any time you post a blog post, you should share it on your social media.
Any events you have, you want to post them, too.
There are a few sites and apps you should be posting on regularly.
We’ll get more into how to use each specific website and app later, but right now we just need to get started with a few:
- Facebook page
These are a few important social media accounts you should have.
One key thing to note is that you shouldn’t have more than you can handle to post on, but definitely the more the better. If you only have time to post to a Facebook page, then build that up as your main social media. You’ll miss out on opportunities on Twitter, Instagram, etc, but it’s better to have one or two accounts running well than a bunch of accounts running poorly.
It’s important to know and understand the strengths of each platform.
Facebook has different strengths than Twitter and Instagram, and Snapchat is its own beast altogether. Building a guide for each platform will need to be their own things, which will be done in the future.
But, let’s take a look at one single tenet: visually appealing posts have a far higher click rate.
Instagram is focused on images and video, and doesn’t even offer another option, so no matter what you’re hitting that mark there. Snapchat’s the same way.
But, Twitter and Facebook pages both have the options to only post text. Do not do that.
What you want to do is accompany any text and links with an image, or video if possible. Gifs (silent, moving images) particularly catch people’s eye.
Any time your posting something with text and a link, make sure you include a relevant image. Simply text and a link get lost in the shuffle of everything else people see. An image will help with that a lot.
That’s all we’ve got for social media today. In the future we’ll dive deep into some different platforms and plan out how to use them for your business.
Until then, here’s some homework:
Set up your social media accounts. At least Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. Snapchat and any other platforms (like Tumblr) are optional. Once you’ve created the accounts, brand them. Put your logo where it belongs, a short description of your services, and of course a link to your website.
Then, make your first post.
It’s important you curate your posts to show what you’re all about. Someone should know what you do as soon as they visit your social media page.
If you post a picture of a house you designed, and then a picture of your kids eating hot dogs, and then a picture of the beach from your last vacation, people coming to your site are going to be a bit confused.
Even if you’re John Smith, Building Designer in Florida, and John Smith has three kids, keep the family stuff to your personal profile. Your brand profile needs to be about your brand.
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Garrett Mickley is the Communications Director for AIBD and has over eight years experience working in digital marketing.
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