Most companies over the years have decided to embrace social media for their online marketing channel. However, the majority of businesses are not using this key business tool to its full potential.
It has been proven in recent years that social engagement is a key factor to boost a website's authority. Social signals from some platforms are unofficially used within the Google ranking criteria.
Read the following post to see how businesses are currently using social media, what they should be doing and the number one social platform you need in your business marketing strategy.
Why Should Businesses Use Social Marketing?
All firms should invest in social marketing, not only to increase brand awareness but also to add value and build relationships within your industry. When creating a social marketing strategy, the only thing that is of importance is to add value and ensure that your content is benefit driven.
Most people use social media to broadcast their own content, providing information to their customers based on: latest news, sales promotions and providing promotion heavy blog posts. This content is all about the company and of no or little benefit to the reader/consumer.
As social marketing is one of the key factors for increasing a website's social authority, domain authority and Google ranking position, it's generally a good idea and utilisation of time to create “high quality” content to ensure you increase your social currency. The higher the level of social signals and engagement the more favourably Google will look on the website.
What Are Social Signals?
Social signals are created whenever a user interacts, shares or comments on a webpage article or a post on your social site.
Do Social Signals Increase Google Ranking?
This is a hotly contested subject, one which differs in opinion depending on the country you live in. People such as USA based SEO expert Brian Dean from Backlinko and his recent article on Google Ranking Factors, and UK based expert Matthew Woodward Google Ranking Factors & Signals, have carried out their own studies in this area. With the answer being that no-one really knows. But if we look at it from Google’s point of view they only want to show the results that give the user the best experience. If a website has a large number of external links from authority websites, but nobody is talking about this website over social does this look a bit suspicious to Google?
The answer is yes and this is what caused the massive downfall of a number of Private Blog Networks as these high authority sites had no social engagement and therefore looked unnatural.
Google is all about natural signals and if a website has very little social interaction, then it would downgrade it against a website that has a higher social engagement.
To increase social activity businesses should be adopting a benefit based social marketing strategy.
The Top 5 Things Businesses Should Be Doing On Social Media To Increase Your Social Signals?
- Engage with your customers - use social media as an extension of their overall customer service
Action Tip: Keep an eye on your social content and reply to customers' queries. On Facebook, once you have created your post, monitor the comments and answer people’s questions/concerns. You can even give your customers further directions to get in touch (call you, up-sell or pop in).
- Talk to people in your industry – interact with influencers in your industry and build relationships
Action Tip: Find large Facebook groups and pages populated by people in the industry/location, then follow them. Make sure you interact on their pages (likes, comments and shares). You can then direct-contact them and they will know about you as they will have seen your name pop up a number of times.
This also works great for outreach and building influencer partnerships within the industry.
- Promote other peoples content – dilute your only content to add value for your followers
Action Tip: By following and engaging with some great social pages this provides you with a large amount of fresh, unique content that adds value to your own website/social pages. If it is based upon content subjects you have previously covered, this enhances your own content/brand message while also adding value to your readers/social followers.
- Create value added content based on customers queries and enhance their experience
Action Tip: From reading blogs, forums and other industry websites you can pick up some really good ideas on creating content that is based upon customer data. By reading industry social media you can usually find certain questions that get raised a number of times by your customers and you can create a piece of content around these queries. The old adage, if one person asks a question, how many more people have the same query but just don’t ask it?
- When writing content, reference other peoples' work and invite them to respond over your social network
Action Tip: Create content that references other people within the industries work, case studies or articles. By placing these influencers in your content you are then able to then contact them and ask them to share and engage in your content as they have been mentioned as an expert within the piece. This is also known in the industry as “ego baiting”
By adopting this strategy you can see that this is all about sharing and adding value and is not company focused like the most companies strategies (most businesses use social marketing to promote and broadcast company centric material).
By creating this sharable content strategy people are more likely to share it and reference the company, aiding in the social interaction and boosting the social signals to enhance a websites ranking position.
Number 1 Social Platform for Business Marketing: Google Plus (G+)
The Google owned property is very much under the radar and a growing platform. Although smaller than other social networks, the platform has a far higher relevance. Google has previously gone on record saying that engagement on this channel has no relevance to ranking position placement. However, many people in the industry have seen the opposite, some studies have shown a massive increase in ranking. Neil Patel from Quicksprout created an infographic based on How Social Signals Impact Search Rankings.
The G+ community groups tend to be utilised by industry people who are keen to network, rather than end-user consumers. The G+ network is ideal for building relationships, engaging with others in the industry and sharing ideas/content for the benefit of the customer.
In closing, social is the traditional marketing “word of mouth”, if people are talking about your company sharing their views and experiences then other people will listen. The key here as with other forms of marketing is to add value to the user experience and have the expectation that you will receive nothing in return.
The relationship and trust is more important than the one-off sell.
Does your social media strategy follow this framework? Do you find it difficult knowing what content to produce for sharing on your social media platforms? For more information on how we can assist on a social media strategy, contact us: email@example.com