It’s no secret that social media plays a huge role in today’s digital marketing practices. Users of social media have adopted it for purposes beyond leisurely networking. Social media is now a quintessential destination for businesses to establish their brand, publish content, promote and sell said product, as well as connect with their customers. Likewise, more and more consumers are turning to social platforms seeking this type of material and engagement from the brands and services they use or are interested in.
But it may be news to some that the newer wave of social media has an impact on more traditional (but still important) forms of digital marketing, like search engine optimization (SEO). The truth is, your business’ presence on social media goes hand-in-hand with your relevance and rankings on Google. Here’s how:
Creating an Audience
One of the first factors of social media that can increase your SEO is your audience, which is your number of followers. Google gives ranking credibility to social media accounts with a substantial number of followers. But you’ll need more than your personal network of friends and family to “like” your brand page; we’re talking a few thousand or tens-of-thousands of Facebook likes or Twitter followers to really influence your search rankings.
Growing your followers to this level can be a lengthy process for smaller, less-established brands, but it’s a vital effort to your overall social media strategy and online presence. Be wary of services offering proxy-followers: “bots” or fake accounts you can pay for to add to your followers in bulk. The benefits of these services are only skin-deep. They allow you to boast a large audience (which hopefully compels real users to follow suit), but these faux-followers won’t make an impact on your rankings in search. Google uses sophisticated systems that detect the authenticity of the accounts that follow you.
To grow your followers organically, you have to promote your social handles through every medium of your business. Don’t be afraid to add a “follow us on Facebook!” tagline to the end of your email communications. Search relevant terms, phrases, or even hashtags to find users that are talking about things related to your field of service, and chime in on the conversation. If people are tweeting their woes of a poor experience with a competing brand or retailer, send them a message about how you can better address their needs. Social media is all about communication and outreach, so use it to your advantage to build your audience.
Take your social branding beyond the internet. Consider tangible merchandising such as business cards, receipts, packaging, etc. and branding it with your social handles. The goal is to let your consumer market know that you’re on social media and that they should be following you.
Broadcast Your Content
Equally as important as building your audience of followers is to present that audience with consistent and compelling content. From videos to infographics to articles, social media is your hub for branded content and the chance to represent your brand, products, or services to your followers.
Optimize Your Content
Like material posted to a website, you can optimize your social media content in a way that helps it rank in search. From thorough descriptions to strategic titles, consider the audience and message of your content, and incorporate relevant search terms when and where you can.
Get People to Share
Social media’s overall function as a large-scale sharing platform also significantly lends itself to SEO, as it encourages and increases external inbound links to your page. If your followers find your content intriguing or relatable enough to share on their own timelines, that content is now visible to a broader network. As more and more people share your content, which links back to your social profile, you gain more ranking authority with Google.
The key to utilizing social media content to improve your SEO is to make sure that content is well-produced and relevant, and compels people to view and share. Also consider implementing special promotions that incentivize followers for sharing, like an entry into sweepstakes or an exclusive discount.
As with any digital marketing strategy, you always have to consider your brand’s overall mission when developing your approach to social media. There may be platforms or trends that just aren’t fitting for your industry or audience, and social media just may not be an important focus for your brand overall- and that is perfectly fine. If you are considering social media tactics—in tandem with search marketing— consider an SEO firm that touts a specific focus or expertise in social media to assure your efforts are economical and effective.