Marketing Using Social Media
The attraction, especially for small to medium sized businesses, is obvious. Social media platforms enable companies to reach more customers, a whole lot more. Customers, the ones that you want, your customers, are increasingly connecting and interacting with businesses and brands through social media channels. That's why any SEO company in the US will tell you that it should be a no-brainer to begin building a presence on these platforms, and to do whatever you can to gain the attention and interest of your target audience on them.
We create a customized game plan for every customer we work with, using a combination of tactics such as social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization, search engine advertising and strategic website design to bring your company new levels of growth.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
SMM, for short, refers to the process of leveraging social media sites to increase website traffic and gain some attention. It's a form of internet marketing that presents unique methods of achieving marketing goals to companies and SEO experts. Successfully promoting or encouraging the sharing of content of all kinds, be it in the form of words, image, or video, is the primary goal of social media marketing.
Now, if you're part of a fairly large company and the budget isn't an issue, then hiring SEO specialists who are educated on the specifics about social media is probably a good idea. However, we wanted to provide a guide for those smaller businesses that often work with limited budgets.
So, check out the information below and, hopefully, planting the seeds of your own SMM plan won't be a problem.
It All Starts with a Plan
The first thing you need to do when setting out to build a social media marketing strategy is to design a plan. But to do that, you need to first think about your objectives. Your goals, the endgame, must always be in mind. As they say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“A goal without a plan is just a wish,Ã¢â‚¬Â and wishing for customers won't bring them any closer to converting. You don't have to be a NJ SEO expert to know that.
So, a brainstorming session is often a good way to get the ball rolling. You can begin to openly ask the questions, and hopefully come up with the answers, that will ultimately give shape to the campaign. For instance, what is it, exactly, you want to achieve through social media? Do you know who your target audience is? If so, where do they hang out? How are they using the various social media platforms? What specific message do you intend to use these platforms to send to them? For more about the kinds of questions you should be asking at this stage, check out our SEO consulting services.
Form Your Goals
Some of the possible goals of a social media marketing campaign:
- Increase traffic to your website
- Convert users into customers
- Create an identity and personality for your brand
- Raise brand awareness
- Connect and communicate with your target audience
It's only after you clearly establish your objectives for your SMM plan that you or the SEO specialists you're working with can seriously measure your return on investment.
Some Basic Social Media Marketing Tips
Once you put in the necessary time to determine the specifics of your campaign in terms of your distinct goals for the operation, then you should start to apply these basic SMM concepts and practices to your campaign:
The Master Plan
Again, without a plan, an SMM campaign is like a chicken without a head. It's not just about brainstorming to find the right goals and concepts either. Keyword research and development should factor in heavily too, among other things. Luckily, just planning is a fairly cheap SEO service.
Content is Still King
Just like its reign has continued across all forms of internet marketing, content sits on the throne of SMM as well. Consistently providing valuable content in all its various forms, whether infographics, images, videos, or just plain old text, is integral to any internet marketing strategy. Every SEO company in the US knows that.
Consistency is Still Key
Just as content's reign as king doesn't change on social media platforms, a consistent projection of your brand image also shouldn't be modified. Social media platforms are perfect for this type of function, but their different atmospheres and voices shouldn't dictate drastic changes to your brand identity.
Blogging Presents Unique Capabilities
Blogging, a highly affordable SEO service, allows you to share a variety of quality content with readers. The unique part about blogging is its customary casual tone, the level of honesty it projects. You can use your blog to support your SMM strategy by filling people in on your recent social media activity.
Links Still Matter
Like we said earlier, the primary objective with social media is to encourage the sharing of your own original content. However, if you find other sources that provide content that you think your target audience will find valuable, link to them. You'll not only gain trust, but possibly some links back to you as a result.
Keep an Eye on the Competition
SEO is a highly competitive industry and, if you're not keeping track of the competition's strategy and success, you can be sure they're watching you. By watching them, you can find information about keyword development, links, and which techniques are working for them that you should think about employing.
Keep an Eye on Yourself
Constantly tracking and measuring data, integral to any aspect of search engine marketing, is the only way to see if your SMM plan is working. Google Analytics is a great tool to use to determine what's working and what aspects can be phased out. Just remember to attach tags to your various SMM efforts to keep track of them.
Get to Know the Big Social Media Players
As social media has taken off, many bandwagon sites have sprung up. The ones that matter, though, have all managed to create a unique atmosphere. If they didn't, they wouldn't be the ones that matter. So, just as each platform has its own environment, the way you or the SEO experts you hire use each platform should be customized to fit that environment.
This social media giant is casual in nature. Friendly is the name of the game, as people come here to relax and hang with friends. That's why maintaining an active presence is so important, as is the creation of a Business Fan Page with the aesthetic as a central concern.
Facebook is a highly visual platform, so page layout is important. From there, like with any social media channel, the goal is to start a conversation about your brand and keep it going. Posting relevant content in the form of images, video, or articles is a must.
Like Facebook, Google+ is a friendly, casual atmosphere. It's a great place to share links, images, and videos. Also, the Google+ Circles feature allows you to separate followers into groups. That makes targeting a specific group very easy, a huge advantage for SEO specialists in any industry.
The Hangout feature is another element of Google+ that's contributed to it becoming Facebook's biggest competitor. Video conferences and other uses of this feature present new and unique tools to SEO specialists. A how-to video related to a practice in your industry or a video chat with an industry expert can gain your brand a ton of trust. Also, Google+ Communities provide a great way to get feedback and input.
This social media platform is all about the image. However, just because it sounds like a one-trick pony, that doesn't mean there isn't a multitude of ways you can use Pinterest as part of your social media marketing campaign.
Like Facebook, you'll also have access to additional benefits when you create a Business Pinterest account. So, whether you're a small business that wants to display your products or you're just looking to define and shape your brand personality, Pinterest can help. If you're still unsure, let our NJ SEO experts guide you.
Twitter may be the best social media marketing tool for sending out updates across the internet. Success isn't just found through people finding out about you and your company either. Follow users who tweet content that has some type of value in your industry, and you could be looking at some new followers as a result.
Just like all the other social media platforms, you want to actually be social. Don't just throw out formal-type tweets about updates, discounts, and promotions. Mix in some personal, light, fun content too. Also, as always, keep the conversation going. Answer any questions you receive and, if a user says something positive about your brand, retweet it. With Twitter, open dialogue and genuine communication is the name of the game. So be authentic.
We've went over some of the more light-hearted, casual social media platforms so far. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a little more professional in nature. Their Groups feature presents an incredible resource for starting a conversation with industry people and sharing content.
LinkedIn's Recommendations feature, essentially a display of reviews of your company from other LinkedIn members, presents more ways for your brand to gain credibility and trust. So, encourage recommendations from clients. Also, like all social media platforms, conversation is key. That's why consistently looking through the Questions section and providing answers and solutions whenever possible is so important.
It's no secret that video content has become a very important tool for SEO specialists, and YouTube has been a huge part of its explosion in popularity. Although, many first-timers make the mistake of trying to design a video production with the goal of going viral solely in mind. That kind of thinking rarely leads to success.
The real concern when creating a video should be about producing something relevant, useful, or interesting for your target audience (how-to's are great). Google has a particular fondness for videos and will boost you up the search results rankings for using them. So, design a video production people will love, and the search engines will follow suit.
Location-Based SMM Tools
Social media platforms like FourSquare and Yelp are often the perfect tools for brick and mortar-type businesses who are just looking to jump into social media marketing.
The first step: Register your company on these various sites and make sure all the information is accurate and current. Then, you may want to think about adding incentives like discounts or coupons. The thing about the users on these location-based SMM platforms is that they're usually using mobile devices, where leaving reviews is made convenient and easy. So, make sure to check out what people are saying about their experience and, more importantly, try to give them something to leave happy about.
Reddit may be the best platform for sharing content, but it has to be engaging and relevant, or look out. Any knowledgeable SEO company in the US knows that this social media community is full of tech-savvy users who won't hesitate to scold you for posting purely sales-driven content. It truly must be compelling, pertinent, and most of all, authentic.
Like any social media site, the attitude and personality of the people who populate it must be considered. On Reddit, they're not just tech-savvy; they're also typically young and liberal. So, you need to think about the kind of content this particular audience would enjoy or find helpful, and feed it to them.
Now You Know
Now, hopefully you have a better understanding of how each social media platform presents its own set of tricks, and its own unique methods of bringing the benefits of those tricks to your SMM campaign. But trust these SEO specialists, that's not all that these tools can do.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of social media, for businesses who want to create a genuine relationship with their customers, is that its various forms give them the opportunity to truly learn from their audience. No one's putting on airs on these sites. It's real feedback from real people, and there's simply no better way for a business to gain a true feel for the pulse of their current and potential customers.