Social Media SEO can be considered a sub category of web marketing, search engine marketing or search engine optimization, and is one of the best ways for all businesses from small to large size companies to use internet marketing in a truly effective manner.
Social media marketing encompasses any social media you can think of, but the big two are Facebook and Twitter. Just because some of the competitors aren’t as big doesn’t mean you should ignore them, though. The definition is also shifting, and sites like YouTube fit into that category as well.
Google Plus is a good example of a social network that has relatively few users (65 million for Google Plus, about 750 million unique monthly visitors for Facebook (they actually have more users than that, but many of them are robo users or users who for all intents and purposes have let their accounts die).
Blogs would also be considered social media. They can easily be linked into Twitter and Facebook, and allow for a free exchange between you and your readers (and between your readers and your readers). That sets it apart from the main web page, which is mostly content going out without much interaction possible.
That is why social media in all its forms is so important to a concerted online marketing or promotional plan. This takes a consistent effort on the part of the business or organization (some charities make excellent use of social media) but it is worth it in the long run.
Here are the top 10 Most Popular Social Networking Sites as derived from an average of each website’s Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast as of August 2014, in order of estimated unique monthly visitors per site (ascending) is:
1. Facebook 900,000,000 unique monthly visitors
2. Twitter 310,000,000 unique monthly visitors
3. Linkedin 255,000,000 unique monthly visitors
4. Pinterest 250,000,000 unique monthly visitors
5. Google Plus 120,000,000 unique monthly visitors
6. Tumblr 110,000,000 unique monthly visitors
7. Instagram 100,000,000 unique monthly visitors
8. VK 80,500,000 unique monthly visitors
9. Flickr 65,000,000 unique monthly visitors
10. Vine 42,000,000 unique monthly visitors
This list will shift in very short spans. Facebook at the moment has the largest audience, but the other sites can be worth the time it takes to join, depending on exactly how you are going to be putting your social media presence into use. This list used to include popular sites like Orkut, Ning & MySpace.com which have slowly lost popularity over the years.
There are several strategies that work across the spectrum, and there are sites which the above list does not contain, such as blogs and YouTube.
A basic social media strategy would look something like this. Identify the 2 or 3 most useful social media outlets for your individual needs and sign up for accounts. In this instance, let’s use YouTube, Facebook and a Google or WordPress blog.
The goal in all of these is not to be repetitively promotional, though. You will want to do some promotional posts, but you want to give people good advice in your area of expertise, expert opinion on various subjects dealing with your business or other interesting and relevant content. That way when you do something promotional it will stand out.
Imagine a local hardware store – they write a blog about redoing your walls in another decorating scheme, and that links to a video that you post on YouTube which shows an employee actually using the techniques described in the blog piece. You may want to embed that video into the blog as well. Whether you do or not you would still link to the YouTube page that holds the video.
With Facebook, create a post and link back over to your blog or video. With this, one action is taking place across multiple levels in your social media platform. It is when strategies are coordinated in this manner that they are most effective in two areas. The first is branding. The second and more important aspect in the area of social media marketing is the content. If it is helpful and entertaining to your customers and visitors they will keep coming back. Facebook can easily be transferred to a “ask us any question and we’ll give you honest advice” type forum, with the best questions being followed up on in a blog post and new video.
All of these entities then link back into your blog and taken as a whole will make up a large part of most businesses online marketing efforts.
It is equally effective for online businesses, attorneys, real estate agents, local retail shops and restaurants. In fact, for local brick and mortar stores social media can be the most powerful of the tools that Organic SEO practices offer, and Twitter is great for local businesses. Videos posted to YouTube can be a fun way to build a community as well.
Using these strategies does take a sustained effort, whether you do it yourself or pay someone to do it. Your blog should be posted to at least once every one to two weeks, and Facebook and Twitter might see three or four posts a day.
This involves reading what people who have friended you say, both in your blog and on Facebook and Twitter. The type of posts you will want to make involve answering a question or helping someone with a problem (say, recommending your plumber) or you can say something that will contribute to an ongoing conversation.
Just remember, this is a public forum. You will almost never want to inject politics or religion in your posts, or at least be careful to be extremely sensitive to anyone who might be out there. An offhand comment can take on a life of its own!
Social Media marketing can be very effective, whether you are trying to increase the popularity of your personal website, your band, a movie project or a brick and mortar business. It takes a sustained effort, but it is within the reach of anyone to develop a good online presence and build a cohesive online community of fans and customers.
This is just a brief overview of Social Media SEO, for more information click here to contact me, Greg Beddor or give us a call at 503-896-2209.