Among other things, we’re in the business of building websites, and we’ve inserted more social media icons into a site than you can shake a stick at. The truth is that nearly all businesses have succumb to the power of social media, creating accounts in multiple platforms. Interestingly enough though, few businesses really use it to its fullest potential. Social media does have the ability to alter audience behavior and perceptions, and according to Google, it’s sway is only getting stronger. To better build your brand, your following, and your presence on the web, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
Think of social media as an investment in which you put in time and gain returns.
The more time you spend on your social media, the greater the outcome. This could mean several things. First, treat social media like an ongoing conversation and remember those basic social rules. Just as in other social situations, people become more interested in you once you have expressed an interest in them. In the social media world, that proves all the more true. Engage your audience by asking them questions and responding to their posts or tweets.
Secondly, double down on your investment by using social media as an additional customer service outlet. Encourage your audience to share their stories with your product or service, and assist them when they have complaints or questions. You could also use this time to thank your audience for their continued support, or to share company successes in a way that implies cooperation. By keeping up with your audience and treating your online friendships more like actual friendships, your audience will stay engaged and your brand will grow.
For a successful example, consider Perc, a coffee roasting company here in Savannah, Georgia. Perc has quite a following despite its small size, and the company works continuously to maintain its audience on the web. A quick look at Perc’s Facebook page shows that the company really interacts with its audience. Among the posts are a word of thanks (“Roasted all day the past two days and will be firing her up bright and early tomorrow—thanks y’all”) and even some light-hearted customer service. In response to a follower’s question of whether he could get Perc coffee delivered to Brooklyn, Perc responded with a shop link and a “BOOM!” Even better, most all of Perc’s posts are accompanied with photos, which have been liked several times over. This leads us to…
By better using social media, you improve your search engine ranking.
A more meaningful use of social media improves your online presence in two ways; you connect better with your audience and you also gain a higher search engine ranking. Google has released updates that tend to favor social media content rather than the traditional keyword-laden stuff. Not only does Google believe that this will trim the fat, but it also realizes that social media content is audience driven and and therefore, audience proven.
Google reasons that this process separates the real, interesting content from that which was created solely for the purposes of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Social media content is often pulled from a company through shares, pins, and retweets. This differs from other content which companies have pushed to audiences. Google has recognized this difference and now uses it as a ranking signal. This tells us that if we want our websites in Google’s top ten results, then we should create shareable, tweetable, and linkable content on our sites and on our social media pages.
Social media does have the ability to affect your online presence, your customer service experience, and your brand overall. Using it correctly can bring you closer to your audience, and through search engine ranking, it can bring your audience closer to you. Isn’t that worth sharing?
Want to read a little more about social media and the shift away from SEO? Check out these articles:
“The Inconvenient Truth About SEO” by Paul Boag, Smashing Magazine
“The Death of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, and Real Content” by Ken Krogue, Forbes
“10½ Ways to Take Advantage of ‘Social SEO'” by Cheryl Conner, Forbes