Social Media: Update - May 2013
By Irene Williams
If you own a business or help with the marketing of a business with any kind of online presence, it’s likely that you’ve been contacted by a search engine optimization (SEO) company. The company might have captured your attention with talk of “first page search rankings.” And, let’s face it, in today’s “screen and be seen” society, it’s important that potential customers can find your business quickly and easily online.
However, before you invest in a paid SEO program, consider how you and your team can effectively set the foundation for better search rankings by dedicating a portion of your time each day to social media strategies. Even if you eventually hire a pro to manage these tactics, you’ll be well served to know the core components of increasing your online visibility. Following, you’ll find a few easily implemented strategies to boost your online presence.
Digitize your elevator pitch. The good old elevator pitch: it’s a handy statement that encapsulates who you are and what you do in a concise blurb that can be quickly shared and easily remembered. Businesses today need to revise that pitch for the digital world so that it can do the speaking for them online and help make them findable for customers. How can you do that?
To start, add keywords. Think like your prospective customer. What words or phrases would they use to search for the goods and services you offer? How would they narrow searches to find your business by geographic location? Include those terms in your biz description.
Secondly, use this pitch consistently. The same pitch should be repeated on all your web properties: in your website’s title tag and description (website meta data); on the home page of your website; on the home page sidebar of your blog; and in all about sections of your social media profiles
This approach is helpful to the humans searching the web for information, as they get specific, reinforced messaging about your business at every point. And it’s also helpful to the technology of search engines that scan web content looking for consistent content to properly index and categorize your business so that it appears in the proper search results.
Get the “Plus” of Google properties. As the dominant player in search and the owner of several highly searchable sites, Google merits unique attention if you want to be more findable online. Include the following elements in your web-based marketing to up your game: Google+ profiles for individuals and for your business (create specific profiles for each of your locations); a YouTube channel (yes, your various locations can benefit from their own channels as well); and Google local business pages for your various physical locations.
Across these various profiles and pages, be sure to use the aforementioned digital elevator pitch so that Google’s technology can identify your business consistently and accurately. Also, include links back to your Google+ profiles in all About sections, as well, to get more “Google juice” for your site. Invite customer reviews for your Google local business pages; after ten reviews, you’ll gain some added Google juice and provide valuable information to the humans searching for your business.
Go social. Social media is here to stay, and business owners who have tried to avoid it should change their tune pronto. If you’ve already gone social with your business, it may be time to review and refresh your business profiles and your strategy for managing/maintaining your content.
Social media is an essential way for your business to meaningfully connect with your customers and stay top-of-mind. It’s the ultimate “fish where the fish are” scenario, as most of your customers are likely very active on social sites. Additionally, it’s a great method for boosting SEO. Search engines love fresh content, and social posts allow you to be current and dominate searches related to your specific business name. Here are a few tactics to get the most from the top social sites.
Facebook: Update the about section with your keyword-rich description. Post regularly, so that you have more chances of appearing in your followers’ newsfeeds; don’t fret about posting too frequently if your content is interesting, relevant and conversational. Use lots of photos in your posts, as they’re most noticeable within newsfeeds and inspire the most response. Consider paid promos for select posts to increase visibility with friends’ friends; these promos can be very affordable and have easy-to-measure results.
Twitter: Update your About information to match your other online profiles. Commit at least ten to 15 minutes daily on the site: reading others’ posts, following accounts that are relevant to your business, and sharing pertinent information that you feel contributes to the online conversation. Use hashtags in your posts to make your content more findable within Twitter and beyond, and share links back to your own online content.
Pinterest: Update your About information. For each Pinboard you create, include a keyword-rich description of the board. Pin items regularly—some activity daily is best—using keywords and search terms in captions on every pin and including web links. Focus on pinning original content as much as possible. Add watermarks to all images you pin to embed attribution and branding onto the images and ensure your biz is known as the content originator. Share pins directly from your own website as appropriate. Pinterest can generate lots of traffic back to websites, so use wisely and regularly for results.
Instagram: This vibrant photo-sharing site is a social media powerhouse. As with most social sites, you’ll see better results through consistent use. This site inspires you and your team to prioritize the capturing of images that will not only provide fodder for Instagram but potentially create stock photos for use on your other web properties as well. Spend ten to 15 minutes daily connecting with relevant parties, sharing and posting.
LinkedIn: Treat LinkedIn as its own search engine, being sure to keep your business page and individual staff profiles current and filled with keywords. Become more findable within LinkedIn’s direct search by making connections with people in your industry, posting regularly and participating in group discussions.
Blog strategically. Across the board, content—quality, relevant, fresh content—has proven to be the king of online marketing strategy. That’s where blogging comes into play. Yes, blogging takes time and effort, but it can bear SEO results that are worthy of the investment. If you’re ready to add impact to your online presence, make blogging a priority, using these basic tactics to maximize the endeavor.
First, keep topics tight and manageable. You’re a businessperson, not a feature story writer. That’s fine! To ensure your blog is effective and interesting, simply stick to the topics most tied to your keywords and search terms. Keep content to around 350 words per post (integrating keywords abundantly), use plenty of photos (always giving attribution and links back to sources), and stay on topic for your business.
Second, consider Wordpress. Wordpress is a blogging platform and nimble content management system that has lots of integrated SEO benefits. Though there’s a learning curve, as with any such service, Wordpress offers more guidance regarding the use of categories and tags, two tools that allow you to associate keywords with your posts to make your content more findable. Likewise, this platform makes it simple to add alt text (alternative text) to photos, which makes images accessible by search engines.
Lastly, use keywords in titles. Blog titles are important for SEO. Forego cutesy, pun-ny headlines, and instead use titles that will most likely mimic your customers’ search terms.
Think mobile. Your customers have gone mobile, and your marketing should follow suit. Almost half of Americans own smartphones, and they are increasingly accessing web and social content via their mobile devices. It’s essential that your messages reach customers on the go. Thankfully, if you implement the ideas above, you’ll be pretty far down the path to take your marketing mobile. All search engines, social sites and blogging platforms consistently update their technologies to make content accessible for mobile devices. If your website doesn’t offer a mobile version, consider making that upgrade ASAP to ensure your customers have the best experience in finding and interacting with your business’ content.
Yes, there’s much to consider and much to do when it comes to building your business’ online presence and search ranking. The good news is that you can earn your place by providing consistent, relevant content that connects with your customers. By offering quality, you’ll reap the results: a business truth that applies online and offline.
Copyright 2013 Floor Focus