Social media is a ubiquitous phrase that for many working in digital marketing and the world of search engine optimisation (SEO) is seen as a tool to help drive traffic and promote offers through specific advertising campaigns.
But, for many businesses, even after several years of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter being in existence, opportunities are often lost. This is either through an unwillingness to be engaged in something that generates scepticism amongst traditional businesses or because the true potential of a good social media plan has never been discussed or explained.
‘But, Facebook’s not for me!’
How many times do we hear ‘Facebook? – I don’t want to get involved in that – seems like a waste of people’s time.’? Quite a few.
It’s an understandable reaction and, in many respects, it’s a point of view that can make sense to the uninitiated – what exactly is the point of Facebook (or any other social network such as Twitter)? ‘What’s wrong with talking to our customers?’ people often say.
The point is really quite simple – it’s an online space through which the public can share things, comment on things and keep in touch with each other. It’s more than that too – it’s also a forum for showing-off, displaying personal egos and exhibiting personality.
So, whilst it’s understandable from a business owner’s point of view that there may not always be obvious benefits, social networks are about real conversations between potential customers. Facebook provides a forum for engagement between people about everyday things. So in effect, it is a way of talking to people – and those people may want to associate themselves with your business as a way of telling the world who they are and what they think.
Once this is understood, a business wanting to promote products and services to a new market of customers can find a way to do so by using social networks to emulate the way individuals use it and by tapping into the egos of those users too. They can also build loyalty to their business, be it locally specific or on a broader, national level. This of course involves time and patience.
Is using my time spent on social networks worth it?
This is the ultimate question for a business – and one to which we believe the answer is yes, of course it is.
Consider the following:
- Social networks are free to use,
- In the UK alone, Facebook has over 38 million users,
- Access to social networks is not restricted to desktop computers; users access their social network accounts from smartphones, tablet computers, laptops and Internet ready TVs.
With easy, continuous access to so many people in so many ways, why would you not take the opportunity to use social networks to promote your business – for free?
Social media and SEO
There are also secondary benefits of using social media. One of these stems from the fact that it’s becoming increasingly obvious that social sharing supports traditional SEO techniques, such as link-building.
The last couple of years have seen much discussion within the SEO industry as to which kind of social signals Google considers when formulating its rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
One recent post by social media specialist Dan Zarrella explores how social sharing can influence the creation of links naturally to a website – and the results point favourably to the creation of social campaigns for this purpose.
Using data collated from social networks Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, Dan has found a clear correlation between the number of likes, shares and tweets on these networks with an increase in inbound links – an important part of successful SEO. This further strengthens the argument for businesses to get involved with social media as a means to give additional visibility to their online capital in search results.
Clearly, social media promotion can help potential customers find you, talk about you and then buy from you.
What are your competitors doing?
If you’re still not convinced, then why not take a look at how your competitors and other businesses are using social media. You may find that for your niche, there is little activity giving you an open playing field in which to make your move and dominate.
You may find there is lots of activity to compete with – but this shouldn’t dishearten you. Take a look at what others are doing and learn, replicate and improve on the kinds of promotion they are pushing through social networks.
Either way, social media should not simply be dismissed as a fad. Yes of course things change, move on and go out of fashion, but it’s never too late to get in on the act and utilise every online channel possible – especially if it’s free to use!
Further advice about social media
If you’d like to understand the possibilities that social media can bring to your business in terms of promotion and search marketing, then please get in touch with us at The Floating Frog.