Recently a client forwarded us some interesting articles and thoughts on Social Marketing. The information included this statement that really stood out to me:
People don’t want to talk about brands or companies,
they want to gossip about their family and friends.
What do you think?
This is where we’ve always struggled with Social – how do “boring” industries like Pest Control engage their customers through Social Media? Who in their right mind would want to share about the bed bugs in their home?
Let’s make it clear that at 1st on the List we don’t specialize in Social Media and don’t push our clients to invest heavily in Social. However Social almost always comes up in each and every SEO campaign we run.
Here are our key thoughts on Social that we think will help you get in the right frame of mind when thinking about your online visibility.
Understand Your Visibility on the Internet and How They Interact
Essentially there are three main types of visibility on the Internet:
- Organic rankings – ie. SEO – on Search Engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.
- Paid listings – ie. PayPerClick or AdWords – where you pay to have your website listed at the top of Google search results.
- Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Houzz, Pinterest, YouTube – where your target market spends a lot of their online hours.
Overall none of these directly affect each other and should be considered as separate approaches to getting visibility. It’s not to say that branding and exposure from one doesn’t affect the others, but the effect is indirect.
For example, a person may first come to your website from clicking on your Paid Ad. The next time they may remember your brand and do a search in Google. The following day they may see one of your ads on Facebook. This is all to say that it can become hard to measure at exactly what point you gained the visitor as a customer. Where was the tipping point?
Different Social Platforms for Different Types of Businesses
Just because everyone is on Twitter doesn’t necessarily mean you should be too! Facebook might help ever so slightly with referrals but should you pay someone to spend 10+ hours per month running your Facebook page?
It’s important to think through where your customers are spending time, what Social platforms lend themselves best to your industry and what you will gain from each one. For example we designed a website for a local Custom Home Design firm. At the time they photographed over a dozen of their houses to feature on the site. At the same time they added all of these images to their Houzz profile. One of their photos has been added to 700 Ideabooks and counting! Talk about exposure. Within a couple months of having the pictures on Houzz they got a call from a new client who basically hired them on the spot, because he liked the Houzz pictures that much.
So Social can work in bringing in business … if it is done smart.
Create a Social Footprint That Makes Sense
Companies and brands should have some type of Social Footprint that makes sense for their type of business. The footprint should also be where their target market is spending their time. Ultimately, Social Media should be used to help enhance the main business drivers where a small investment helps the other marketing approaches. Notice how I didn’t say Social Media should become a main business driver.
Good Luck Tracking ROI
It can be very tricky to confirm ROI with Social Media. There are more failures than successes with large spends on social media. Furthermore the media misrepresents the benefits by trying to connect one isolated success to all types of businesses. It just doesn’t work that way the majority of the time.
Branding Sells and People Expect You to Be Social
Branding is a major part of the online landscape. While social may not generate a lot of sales today’s online traffic is aware of what social is and have come to expect that companies will be part of the Social world. Websites that have no social presence can risk being viewed as not keeping with the times. Social Media can also help differentiate you from others. Social is a great place to show your brand personality and connect on a personal basis with customers.
Social is Just another Cost of Doing Business
Social Media has become just another cost of doing business. The smart and successful businesses find ways to tie social in with their main business drivers. All in all, branding helps sell. Look for low cost ways to brand your company every chance you get. Maybe that is just creating Facebook and Twitter profiles so your brand is present there in case people want to connect with you in that way.
SEO and Social – The Missing Connection?
So more Facebook likes will improve my rankings right? Wrong. There is no direct impact between Social and SEO. However … just as people expect you to be present on Social Platforms the Search Engines also expect that websites will have some form of social presence. They even created Google+ specifically for this purpose. Ultimately the Search Engines take clues from all around the web for where your business is active, being mentioned and has claimed profiles. The farther and deeper your reach across the web the more credible and established your business becomes.
What is your perspective on Social Media? Have you been successful with your Social endeavours? We’d love to hear your input – drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!