Moving into the seventh part of this series, Social Media Marketing, this is a monster area for Online Marketing and is a vastly growing area. The theme to this series will still be the same, with an end result of achieving a boost in your rankings online to increase sales, leads and revenue through SEO.
SEO is mostly about optimising your website or blog for the Search Engines but through the rise of social media websites these websites have not gone by unmissed by Google, Yahoo and Bing. So to ensure you’re taking advantage of the leverage in people who use these websites I will cover some of the key areas that will point you in the right direction of success online in this growing area.
As social media grows online and the memberships on websites such as Facebook breakthrough and grow beyond 500 million members, it’s a good time to stop, take note and look at how to leverage the customer base on these sites.
In the name alone “Social” suggests you need to appeal to your target audience socially, you need to look at and cover some core areas of bringing together your Online Marketing strategy to interact in all of the core modalities of how humans communicate, VAK – Visual (What is seen), Auditory (What is heard) and Kinaesthetic (What is felt).
Why Old Marketing is dead
Through the advent of the internet and the advances in web technology allowing us to communicate instantly with one another, pin point our online advertising right down to the locality of a town or city, buy securely online in an instant and test a measure Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) like never before… Its no wonder old marketing is dead – the old way of putting an advert in a paper and waiting, even hoping, for customers to find you and then wishing that they will call or visit your showroom once seeing your advert. Well if that isn’t setting alarm bells ringing for you just reading it, it did me just to type it.
We are at an age where we are talking more online, taking recommendations of friends as apposed to what a company says on its website or its sales literature, we can compare products at the drop of a hat and buy from anywhere in the world and through social media it brings all of these key social activities and many more together.
What’s it all about?
Social Media in itself is as I’ve mentioned a big area and for the purposes of this blog I will only cover the interaction between Social Media and Search Engines as another route to drive your success online.
Most of the social media sites online offer some form of profile facility where by you can either create a profile for an individual or company profile.
Create your profile
Setting up your profile on some of the top social media sites offers may benefits with SEO. Often the profile pages allow you to add your website address, blog address, RSS feeds; offering a valuable back link to your website. Although many of the links come with a “nofollow” attribute added to the link meaning that the search engines will pass no rank onto your site from the social media website. This is ok, because the Search Engines will still do a number of things when they rank / read these pages. Your conversations, updates and news feeds will be absorbed by the search engines adding to there results database. Just look at the following images below to see how the search engines are already reading and ranking social media sites amongst normal web pages.
Social Media on Search Engines:
Some of the key Social Media Sites I use that offer a profile page for personal and business use are;
- Facebook – Social community and friends
- Twitter – Micro blogging with followers
- Linked In – Professional networking
- You tube – Video sharing
- Digg – Article and Web page bookmarking and following
- Scribd – Document creation, become an author share your articles
- Photobucket – Photo sharing
My advice if you aren’t using social media websites is – start to use them now.
Think about how you will use them because they are here to stay, just consider this for a moment. Of the 500 million people registered on Facebook there are 24 million plus from the UK alone, and with a population of approx 63 million people in the UK that’s over one third of the population. I may be wrong in thinking – but Im sure some of your customers are in there amongst the 24 million registered UK users?
I actively encourage you to make social media part of your Online Marketing Strategy, I have gained customers through it and so have many others.
Leverage your marketing
The one cool thing about Social Media is that all of these websites are all integrating with one another, creating one of the greatest Marketing tool kits at your disposal. Think about this for a minute – You create a new product, you upload a free PDF to Scribd showing how your product works, you upload a short articles on Ezine Articles covering the new product, you upload a free demo video on You Tube showing some useful tips that your customers find really useful this automatically updates your Facebook page – Followers, customers and friends comment and interact with your updates, this automatically updates your twitter feed, this in turn updates your LinkedIn profile.
Not only are you there in real time with your customers and potential customers, you’re taking your marketing to a whole new level of market penetration.
All of this happening with only having to update a few web sites, moreover whilst all of this social media stuff is happening the search engines are ranking and reading it all (provided permissions have been set to public) – Giving you more from less.
How Search Engines are integrating with Social Media
Google and other search engines are reading and scanning Social Media websites and with more on the rise, it is now possible to develop websites specifically so that Google will read and recognise users pages as profile pages.
This HTML example on Google’s Webmaster tools shows how to do this:
For the Social Graph API, we will count the rel=”me” link even when included with a nofollow.
Google Webmaster Tools.
Social Media is an important part of any Online Marketing Strategy whether it is for business or a personal project. The ability to create a following, interact with customers on a number of different communication modalities and penetrate a target market with such precision is awesome. The fact that search engines have adapted to include social updates in their results shows a big swing in marketing online, and emphasises the importance of having a true marketing mix, working many strategies to achieve your marketing goals online.
SEO and Social Media go hand in hand and it’s through clear focused goals, that will allow you to truly benefit from these marketing tools.
The final bonus blog in this series will cover “Test & Measure”. This important ingredient in the SEO and Online Marketing mix is really the nugget with which you will understand how your marketing can evolve to become a true force and vehicle for Return On Investment (ROI) online.
Read the follow up to this blog: SEO 8 of 7: Test & Measure.