Social Media is no longer just about websites where people post and share information. These networks are continuously growing and becoming an influential piece to the overall search-ranking puzzle.
Social profiles are beginning to impact search rankings and this is likely to become increasingly important as a business tool.
Companies who are active on these sites and followed by many users have presumably proved themselves to be interesting and useful, and therefore are likely to have good websites. As a result Google is incorporating this assumed authority into search results.
How Influential is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media marketing undoubtedly influences search results, but presently there is little evidence as to how much impact it really has. The world’s leading SEO experts predict that the weight of a quality social media presence will become vital in building a powerful online presence.
Some SEO specialists have conducted research on the social sharing of links and how this impacts search engine results page rankings. They found that having 2,500 unique users sharing a URL had little impact on search results, whereas over 7,500 shared links to a website almost guaranteed a top five search ranking.
It is clear that the social sharing can benefit your business and it should therefore be something that you try to increase.
Google also looks at your viral rating, the frequency and relevancy of your updates, but most importantly, user engagement and quality of content shared.
What to Share
There are an abundance of opportunities to share through social media in order to increase your social profile and overall online engagement. Remember that the key to social media is increasing your followers and the content that they share.
Content that will influence shares include infographics, articles, blog posts, news, videos, images and quotes. People will share this content as it is new and interesting. Consider who your target market and followers are, and choose language accordingly. Your target audience can also affect which social media channels to focus on, so it is vital that they are identified.
The Other Added Benefits to Social Media Marketing
Social media is not a driving force for search ranking, however this form of marketing can have many other added benefits which may supersede those of traditional SEO. You can quite easily increase website traffic, customer engagement and brand awareness.
What to Do
It is best to not only incorporate SEO strategy into your marketing plan, but to test and measure the impact. The best approach to social media marketing is to understand your audience and then deliver content that meets their desires and interests. Good content has always been the key to success online.
To test a particular method of social media marketing effectively you need to be consistent. If you post sporadic updates it will be far more difficult to measure your success or see what influences a sale or enquiry.
From the offset you should create a plan of what you aim to do each month. This plan does not need to be pretty or sophisticated and the person responsible for your websites marketing should use it. A simple tick list will be perfectly adequate. Attempt to interact with your audience daily. Social media isn’t 9-5. People are active on the commute, at weekends, and in the evening. You can easily run social media through your smart phone and tablet device and with the appropriate apps installed you’ll get an update whenever someone interacts with you.
Taking your social media marketing to the next level, you should begin to use systems such as Hootsuite to manage and automate your social media marketing.
Hootsuite has a highly efficient free version which will be sufficient for most businesses. You can view, edit and post on all social profiles at once, as well as schedule posts. Set aside half an hour at the beginning of each week to schedule a series of posts at times when you won’t be able to manually publish them.
What to Avoid
As with all search engine optimisation and online marketing methods, people want instant results and are unprepared to master social media marketing. Unfortunately success rarely comes to these types of people. For most businesses, social media marketing is not a quick road to success. It takes time and effort to succeed online. Building a quality audience of potential customers should be your main aim, unless you’re a company such as Coca Cola where brand awareness is everything.
It is possible to pay for followers, and you may think that this will increase your social media presence. There are no quick fixes though, and these systems will likely provide poor quality followers. It is more sensible to use your social media budget in other areas.
Inactive and unused profiles are picked up on by search engines as well as by the social networks themselves. There are systems which you can use to find a lot of relevant users to follow, but if you over use them it will be very obvious and you can end up having your account suspended.