Using company or personnel online profiles to generate links is a tricky subject.
Some people think it is spammy or misleading, especially when someone creates profiles for the sole purpose of getting links.
However, even though there are shady marketers out there that intend to twist the purpose of profiles, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it in a genuine way.
It is possible to have real profiles that share your information, background, and accomplishments, while also using it for more than just a way for people to find you online.
Having online profiles on the main social networks and websites your core audience visit is not only important to online visibility, but it can help you grow your network, which can organically lead to more inbound links for your content.
Below are some of the best ways we’ve found to use profiles to help get quality links.
1. Outreach with an Executive’s Profile for Better Response Rates
Connections made with a real person get higher engagement and provide better trust than the same activities done with a company profile.
Many online users have learned to ignore messages and requests from brands on social networking sites, simply because there are just too many companies on there trying to get users to buy their products or share their content.
Personal connections continue to matter. It is possible to use network building as a way to share content on an individualized basis, but it does take some work to grow the relationship first.
Some digital marketing teams log into executive’s personal profiles to add friends or connections, or to follow-up with existing contacts to help build relationships. This helps executives get to know others in the industry, which can lead to a reciprocal relationship of sharing and promoting each other’s content.
However, while this seems like a good way to offload some of the social networking, it can have a lot of potential drawbacks.
If the executive doesn’t know what was said and then happens to talk to the connection in person or on the phone (or even in email), it can make them seem disingenuous and untrustworthy. If a team is helping an executive with their social media, make sure they are still involved in the process.
2. Forum Profiles Can Be Used to Build Relationships with Highly Technical People
Most people are on the basic social networks, like LinkedIn and Facebook. But there are many more niche networks and forums that are commonly used daily by those that are deeply involved in a certain industry.
Try to find these online communities and get more involved. You’ll find that there is often more depth to the questions and discussions, leading to a lot of good opportunities to build trust and get others interested in your content (provided it’s useful to the discussion at hand).
Some sites to check include Reddit, which has thousands of “subreddits” or threaded discussion boards based on a specific topic, and Github, which is a portfolio hosting and online community for programmers and developers.
Because these are highly technical forums, it doesn’t make sense to go in and start spamming discussions with your links.
Try to integrate with the community by answering questions, getting involved, completing your profile, and staying active before even attempting to share your own content.
When you share your content, make sure it’s actually useful to other users. Otherwise, you may find yourself being ostracized for trying to commercialize the discussion.
3. Use LinkedIn to Share Your Content with the Right People
When possible, ask your executives to get involved with your online activity or set up a sharing schedule (with their permission) to regularly share content on their personal social media profiles.
LinkedIn is the perfect platform for this, as executives can have their own profiles and can share content as needed.
Because executives have more personal credibility, their link suggestions are much more like to be taken seriously by users than a company profile simply sharing links to their blog.
The executive’s profile is “vouching” for the content, making it more trustworthy.
When possible, ask executives for their insight or commentary on an article that can then be shared with the link.
Users like hearing the opinions of influential or high profile people, so adding this personal touch can help increase interest.
4. Reach out to the Social Profiles of People Who Are Authorities
LinkedIn is great for building personal credibility and sharing content, but you can also use Twitter, forums, and Facebook to do outreach and get others interested in your content.
On Twitter (and Instagram), it’s a common practice to follow people in your industry you hope will follow you back. Taking the “first step” toward building a relationship can help get you noticed organically and hopefully start a relationship.
After following someone, send them a tweet mentioning something they did recently, such as podcast they were on or an article they wrote. This can show that you admire their work, and people are much more likely to take an interest in someone that they know already appreciates what they do (because it doesn’t feel like they have to win them over – it’s already done!).
Building genuine relationships with influencers or authorities in your field can be a fulfilling way to not only grow your online visibility, but to also learn from some of the best minds in the business.
As these influencers and authorities begin to trust you, you can ask them about sharing your links or if there is a way you can continue to help one another promote new ventures and projects.
5. Promote Your Content with Facebook Ads to Drive Traffic, Shares & Links
WordStream founder Larry Kim is a master at getting tons of traffic to his content, and he has shared in presentations and in blog posts how this strategy has lead to big gains. He even did a webinar about this topic for SEJ.
Essentially, with the right targeting and even as little as $50, you can get your content in front of the right people on Facebook.
When you have clear and concise targeting, the ad spend is lower, and the user interest is usually a lot higher.
Try to target exact interests or industries (e.g., manufacturing VPs in the U.S. instead of simply users who have an interest in “business”) and make sure your content title and description shares exactly how it is useful to the people you’re trying to target.
As the ad garners more visibility, you’ll see a trend in natural links as well, as users who see the ad share the content with their own networks. This helps it grow organically, making your ad budgets stretch much further.
Getting shares and links for your content using online profiles and personal outreach certainly isn’t the fastest way to build links, but it is one of the most genuine and usually has the greatest long-term impact.
As you grow your network, you’ll find that people are more likely to share content from people they know, like, and trust. By focusing on building your online profiles by staying active, sharing interesting and relevant information, and promoting the work of others, you’ll find that it often comes back to you in a big way.
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