What Social Media Engagement Accomplishes For Businesses
At its core, social media is about engagement through sharing, which for businesses means targeting their product range, items, or services to attract a potential customer or customer base. Collectively, products, services, and articles are known as content, and it is through offering quality content that you can achieve success across your channels. Social marketing has around 900 million users worldwide and covers every range of topics you can imagine. In addition to engaging a potential customer and customer or reader base, social media is also relevant to search engine optimization. Social media is a unique format as it helps you promote your content to your audience and in turn drive traffic through people sharing your content with others and through SEO. However, perhaps more important than this, social media with its online reviews helps a business build trust, and almost every brand you can think of uses social media for this reason. Think of it like this: you come across two companies that offer the same services; one has 250 likes on Facebook, the other 43, which one would you choose? So whether you’re an online retailer, affiliate marketer, offer a service like tuition, or run a news site, social media can help you build your business online. Google estimates that by 2015, UK consumers will have purchased £40 billion worth of products and services online.
Popular Social Networking Sites and Their Uses
Getting familiar with the nuances of social media’s role in promoting your business can cause more than its fair share of headaches. Here is a list of the most popular social networking sites and their uses:
Facebook is predominantly for sharing. They can be products, articles or services. Simply put, it is to share your content with as many people as possible.
Twitter is all about sharing news on any topic. Don’t let the word news make you feel like it doesn’t apply to products. New product launches, new stock ready to sell – Twitter is good for all of these.
Google+ is partly a combination of the two and has become important for search engine optimization, if nothing else.
Blogs are a great way to impart news and expertise to your readers, customers and customer base, or followers. It offers a good way to attract visitors to your site through search engines.
YouTube is all about showing videos to a wide audience. Businesses use it all the time to sell products and services. Since YouTube is owned by search engines, videos tend to rank high in search engine results. You can also use YouTube ads to generate a secondary income stream.
Pinterest and other bookmarking sites are very good at displaying visual products. If your business sells something online, be it a product or service, be sure to post on Pinterest and as many bookmarking sites as you can find.
Social media and search engine optimization (SEO)
Good search engine rankings are all about quality unique content that is well shared and well linked to from other websites. By sharing your content on social sites, there is a better chance that people will like you on Facebook, retweet with Twitter, or share the pin on Pinter est. Links are important for good SEO and posting your content on social sites provides a link from the social site to yours, and in all cases this can point to a specific web page. By web page I mean a specific solution, service or article. This also ensures that Google indexes the web page. That is, it adds it to its database, ensuring that it can be found in search engines.
Finding the best social networking sites for your business
To find the best social sites for your business, think about what your business is trying to do. If your business sells products or services, use social sites that display images and videos to sell the product. YouTube, Pinterest, Delicious, and Instagram are really great for showcasing products. If you’re in the sales game, make videos of your products, take good professional photos and find them on these sites, and be sure to link the images and videos directly to the content on your site. If you sell on eBay or an affiliate seller, try linking directly to the product page where a potential customer can purchase it. Also, put the products on your Facebook page or my space, Google+ page and Twitter. For service providers, a slightly different spin on social media promotion is needed as, in most cases, a service provider will sit in the middle of visual social media and web-based social sites. text. This also applies to affiliate merchants. If you can, represent your services with an image or icon, and post the image or icon on visual sites. Use videos to showcase your services – If you can get customer testimonials, well, that’s gold dust. Regularly blog and tweet the articles, along with information about the industry. This engagement will help build trust with all of your existing customers, showcase your skills, and help you get found by people who want to become new customers.
social media advertising
If you have the budget to do it, Facebook offers click-based advertising like Google Ad Sense, or it can be used to gain likes. It is usually in instances of experimentation. For affiliate marketing revenue streams, clicks will expose the user to your revenue stream, while a Like will ensure that every time an article or new product is posted, they will be informed. It’s trial and error and it seems to work well for some companies, but others have lost faith in it.
By now, you’ve probably guessed that updating social sites, especially if you post a lot of content daily, is hard work. Larger companies employ people to stay on top of things, something many startups don’t have the budget or time for. It is possible to help automate the updating of your social accounts by using automatic syndication sites.
A social media strategy
Step 1 – Create a Facebook Page, Twitter Account, and Google+ Business Page
These have their uses regardless of the type of business, and they all help considerably with SEO. Be sure to create business pages on Facebook in addition to Google+. This keeps your personal details and indeed your social media life hidden from your customers and offers better options for promoting a business.
Step 2: Identify the social networking sites that are most important to your business
If your site sells products, make a list of all the online video and bookmarking sites you could find and create accounts. Be sure to use Pinterest and YouTube. Whether your business is for services, information, or is for an affiliate marketing income stream, you want to get the word out in as many ways as possible. Use blogging sites like Tumble, Blogger, and WordPress. org to syndicate your sites and services, and try to create news content if you provide services to showcase your expertise in your field.
Step 3 – Use Social Media Tools Like ‘If This Then That’
‘If this then that’ or ifttt.com automatically updates your social accounts. This is easy to set up and works by distributing the information across a large number of social sites automatically as soon as a site is updated. This, as you can imagine, saves a lot of time. However, be careful to ensure that business-appropriate social sites, such as bookmarking sites for online retailers, appear the way you want them to appear. Automatic syndication has limitations and often the links and images do not appear as you would like. However, and especially for syndicating blog posts through an RSS feed, it is a very good time saver for promoting your business through social media. Not all social networks can be syndicated this way, but it’s worth creating accounts on syndicating sites to promote your business. The more social media sites you post to, the better.
Step 4: Use #hashtags
Every time you post your content, be sure to use appropriate #hashtags. This will help users find your content when they search for it. So if I’m selling tires on eBay, #tyres, #cartyres, #car, #treys is good, and for sports news, #sports news, #football #cricket, etc.
Step 5 – Once it starts
Once your content starts making its way into the web 2.0 world, keep an eye on your accounts for feedback. Focus on the sites you’ve identified as important to your business, and respond to questions and comments. When replying, try to be helpful and not abusive, even if the commenter is not nice. Professionalism goes the way.
Step 6: Participation
Twitter and Google+ show current topics and these include popular topics that people are discussing. It’s worth doing a few Twitter searches to see what people are talking about in relation to your business, and to make a contribution to the discussion. This is a good way to make connections and hopefully achieve more success.
Step 7: Monitoring Success
It has been confirmed that monitoring success is quite difficult for social media. Unlike SEO results, which can be measured in clicks and content engagement, it’s not as simple on social sites for a variety of reasons. If you provide news, you may feel that 10 comments on a story is a good sign of success, while 100 likes on a product video on YouTube with no obvious link to sales probably isn’t immediately obvious as positive. However, it’s worth remembering that even though people may not get directly to your main site through social sites, you may direct them to come back later. Always keep in mind that social networks are for sharing content, so any like, comment or retweet is positive.