As I mentioned in an earlier post, SEO as we know it is dying. Instead of creating hordes of backlinks to help your site gain authority in the search engine rankings, the new trend in optimization includes a heavy dose of Social Media Clout. In other words, the backlinks you need to be developing should come from interactions with your community through your social sites – not artificial backlink building, which has been the SEO norm for years.
Social media gives your website a leg up in the online world, and as I also mentioned, we’ll be focusing on it quite a bit for a while now. Today’s post will go over the basics of social media and talk about how we can make the most of it. Then we’ll get into a series of how to use each of the major social platforms to help build our online presence.
So, what exactly is social media?
According to a quote from Groundswell, it’s “people connecting via technology to get things they need from each other, bypassing traditional institutions, like corporations.” Social media has evolved since Charlene Li and John Bernoff first made that statement, though, as today, most corporations have jumped on the social media bandwagon.
Other than search ranking improvements, what are the benefits of using social media?
- It’s free
- It enables you to connect with a global audience
- It lets you check out what your competition is up to
- It increases your web traffic
- It helps create visibility and awareness of your products, services & yourself
- It establishes your credibility (ever heard the phrase “social proof”?)
- It lets you collaborate with others on projects
- It can shorten product development time
- It generates leads and sales
- It strengthens your brand
What are some steps toward social media success?
- Before crashing the party, listen to the conversation – Each social media platform has its own unique purpose and personality. Get a feel for each one instead of just barging in.
- Define your target audience – Knowing who you’re trying to reach will help you determine which platform to focus the most attention on.
- Determine your social media objectives – What do you hope to accomplish using social media? Look through the above list of benefits and decide which items are most important for you and your business.
- Plan your strategy – You will save time and frustration by planning a social media strategy instead of just randomly posting without purpose.
- Establish your presence – The first step when joining a new social media platform is to fill out your profile as completely as possible. It’s also a good idea to keep your social profiles as uniform as possible throughout all the social media platforms you participate on.
- Position yourself as an expert in your field – You can interact with useful information and tips, respond well to questions asked by others, create relevant groups, etc.
- Build a following – This is best done organically. As you follow, like, connect and post useful content, others will begin following, liking and connecting back with you. It does happen fairly quickly, but don’t pay someone to build your social media audience for you (people do charge to do that). The point of social media is to build relationships, which takes time and effort. And seriously, you’ll benefit most from those connections who have also benefited from you.
- Provide value to your community – That is how others will benefit from you, by reading and implementing the content you share. Be useful, helpful, and friendly, and soon your social media clout will begin to grow.