June 15, 2010
Social media marketing is an essential tool for any business. Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are among the most popular sites regularly visited on the internet and can generate large numbers of visitors and new sales leads.
Many businesses are already utilizing social media marketing as part of their ongoing business strategy, but a large percentage of these are not aware of the essentials required to fully maximize social media to its full potential.
Here are 5 important criteria that need to be addressed in order to run a successful social media campaign.
1. Search Engine Rank Awareness
Social media profiles now make regular appearances in search engine listings. The major search engines are placing greater importance on these profiles as they tend to possess regularly updated topical content and provide quality information that search engine users are looking for.
Any social media profile should be created with search engine placement in mind. Ensure that relevant keywords are placed in titles, and content, and that any links use keywords (located within the anchor text). Brand names should be clearly visible to increase the likelihood of search engines displaying a social media profile for brand-related search queries.
Having a social media profile appear in SERP listings will increase traffic to that profile and could subsequently lead to additional traffic to the main business website via that profile.
2. Additional Site Traffic from Social Media Posts
Search engines now index and display individual social media posts in their search results. The search engines consider these posts topical, relevant and useful to their users – 3 of the main criteria search engines look for when ranking a page (or submission).
Posting quality submissions on social media sites and including links back to a main website, or webpage, within these posts can seriously increase website traffic – if the posts are indexed and displayed in search engine listings.
Social media bookmarking sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon and Slashdot have been known to drive thousands of visitors to websites. Submit blog posts – and website content – to these sites and there is a good chance that these submissions will capture the interest of readers and result in increased website traffic.
3. Use Social Media for SEO-Based Links
Links back to a main website can be placed in most of the social media profiles. These are useful links from high authority websites and good quality backlinks influence where a website is ranked within a search engine.
Many social media bookmarking sites now apply the NOFOLLOW attribute to links due to abuse, but there are still some major platforms that continue to use the DOFOLLOW attribute. At the time of writing, these social bookmarking sites still allow DOFOLLOW links:
Even if a bookmarking site applies the NOFOLLOW attribute, links within posts can still pay dividends. Regardless of their SEO-based backlink power, people will still follow these links back to a main site and this means increased traffic and greater site visibility.
4. Target Specific Markets
The simplicity of creating a social media profile allows for the creation of multiple campaigns. A good business strategy should run a main social media profile and then look to create smaller, laser-targeted profiles that cater for very specific niche markets related to the main business interest.
If a business sells a wide variety of products, it should look to create individual profiles that target the different categories of products sold. This tactic allows the business to concentrate on each subset of product, as well as the potential customers searching for these specific products, or type of products. By breaking down social media campaigns, a business can provide relevant, topical information that caters for very specific individuals.
Where other businesses try to capture all potential buyers in one huge net and can only offer generic information to a wide scope of readers about the entire range of their products – the clever business, with their niche market profiles, will reach out to each subset and be able to offer them exactly what they are searching for.
5. Improved Brand Recognition
Many businesses fail to realize the importance of social media profiles when it comes to increasing brand recognition. These social media platforms have millions of daily visitors and provide an unequalled resource for rapidly promoting a brand, or product.
Having a main website ranked high in a search engine for that particular brand name is great – as long as enough people are performing search queries using that specific brand-name keyword. Social media provide an easier solution for promoting brand recognition and this factor should be forefront in any social media strategy.
Make sure the brand is clearly visible in a profile – include it in the profile title and bio; promote the brand discreetly in sporadic posts and if there is a brand-related business logo, this should be placed on the main profile page.
It has been suggested that a person needs to see, or hear, a brand name seven times before they consider becoming a customer. Social media offers a business the best solution for reaching the largest potential audience.
By utilizing social media marketing and concentrating on these 5 important criteria, any business can potentially increase website traffic, sales leads and easily reach targeted customer bases. Social media marketing is starting to become very competitive, but not everyone has learned to optimize their campaigns and fully utilize the power of social media marketing. The business that learns to adapt its strategies and play to the strengths of social media is the one that jumps ahead of the competition.
D M Gray writes for the ‘Facebook download’ (http://www.chitchat.org.uk/) Chit Chat for Facebook. The ‘chat messenger’ (http://www.chitchat.org.uk/) application enables users to send ‘Facebook messages’ (http://www.chitchat.org.uk/) from their Windows desktop.