Welcome to Web 2.0. Social media will be your guide!
From December 2010, when Google confirmed social signals from Facebook and Twitter are used to determine search rankings, to the present day when the search giant reinstated the SEO-value of social signals, the critical need for a powerful social media presence has only increased.
Today, you need to “emit” strong social signals for Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other search engines in order for them to feature you high on search engine results pages (SERPs). Strong social signals get you higher SERP ranks, increased traffic, stronger engagement, and higher conversion rates. Strong social signals are instrumental in demonstrating brand power, credibility, and authority. In fact, they can help you achieve all objectives of your marketing functions.
This has given rise to three questions that concern SEO and SEM experts the most:
- How do you emit strong social signals?
- How do you obtain strong social signals in the first place?
- What powers social media success?
To all three questions, there is just one answer – dynamic content!
Of course, you’ll need to create engaging content first. Here are six steps to do so:
1. Know Thy Audience
Tailor content specifically for your largest target audience segment. Say you’re a luxury brand that relies on Instagram for most of its social signals. It helps to know that 80 percent of the Instagram populace is female. On the other hand, 53 percent of Facebook users are female, so it’s more balanced there.
Collecting detailed demographic data will help you understand the most appealing types of content for the target audience. It will also help you set the right tone for communicating with your audience. Folks on LinkedIn, for instance, may be less fond of your humorous posts but those on Facebook or Twitter will likely love them!
2. Know the Right Type and the Right Time
The right ‘type’ of content is the content that creates the highest engagement for you. You probably already know which posts get the most likes, comments, shares, and retweets for you. Focus on creating more content based on the same type.
In general, infographics are the most engaging form of content across all social media platforms. They are 30 times more likely to be read than pure text-based posts. Simultaneously, the Facebook populace has warmed up to the idea of engaging with videos; between the months of May and July last year, video views on Facebook grew by 50%. Since videos have been touted as the future of marketing, creating video posts for social media platform makes good marketing sense.
In addition, ensure your posting schedule is in sync with the right ‘time’ to make a social media post. Engagement is typically the highest on Thursdays and Fridays (18 percent higher than on other days) on Facebook. Mondays to Thursdays are generally good for making Twitter posts and Tuesdays to Thursdays for LinkedIn posts.
3. Be One of Their Own
Being current is one of the easiest ways of being engaging. Create content based on the recent news/events/innovations in your industry (and the super-popular ones outside your industry) to join in the conversation that is already happening. Leverage the power of hashtags on Facebook and Twitter to be found easily.
Similarly, follow trends that your audience is following. They’re posting selfies? You post selfies. They’re taking the ice-bucket challenge? You take the ice-bucket challenge. The idea is to create a sense of camaraderie and sociability through social media content.
4. Be Consistent
Familiarity breeds fans. The more consistent you are in posting on social media, the more familiar your brand name will appear to your audience and the more comfortable they’ll feel in communicating with you. The trick is to create high-quality, high-value posts consistently, which can frankly be overwhelming.
Nifty content-curation tools make your work easy by scouting the web, finding relevant, high-quality posts, and sharing them on your behalf.
- With HootSuite, you can post interesting content, make responses, follow conversations, and measure engagement and conversions.
- With TweetDeck, you can filter great Tweets, line them up for posting, engage with followers, and manage Twitter content easily.
- With DrumUp, you can automate the sharing of popular and trending content or post them yourself after the app shares them with you, based on your keywords and other search criteria.
You’ll find several other tools to do similar jobs, but the three listed above are the most simplistic and require minimum effort.
5. Engage Through Engaged Employees
Employee participation gives your brand voice, a face, and is the key to forming a “connection” with your audience. Encourage people from within the brand to open semi-professional accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other social networks. Their job here would simply be to hold conversations. They don’t have to sell anything. Just engage.
6. Bribe ‘Em Just a Little
No, not through money, silly! But special offers, previews, discounts, and other deal sweeteners that motivate people to engage with you. Instagram and Facebook are great places to host photo contests and to create engaging campaigns. The #bareselfie campaign on Instagram and the #ALSIceBucketChallenge on Facebook are two examples of how ordinary brands can become fan-engagement rock stars using creative campaigns, contests, and special offers. You can create your own example!
Remember, there is a correlation between the activity and engagement levels on your social profiles. However, spamming your page with irrelevant content is going drive traffic away.
The key to success on social media is to be regular and stay relevant!
Featured Image: mkhmarketing via Flickr
Image #1: ra2studio via Shutterstock