It’s a mistake that both SEO firms and users see time and time again. As more small business owners decide to market their company properties through social media, they end up blundering through the process with little results to show for their efforts. So the best and brightest minds of the faltering business scratch their collective heads. What are we doing wrong? Why aren’t people following us? Why aren’t they sharing our posts?
The fact is most businesses inevitably find themselves operating almost identically to every other company out there. Although every marketing consultant will try to tell you that Facebook can be a goldmine for conversion rates (and it certainly can), many people are disillusioned by the standard sales pitch. While any social media user can become the potential patron of a business, posting content that focuses exclusively on selling goods or services only serves to turn away would-be followers.
So how does a business actually manage to improve itself on Facebook or Google+ without relying on conventional sales tactics? The answer lies in being able to build up fans for one’s listing, as well as finding ways to engage users and motivating them to share your content. Being effective on social media begins by soft selling your brand and getting people to trust you in a variety of ways.
Keeping the Tone Casual and Entertaining
Although a company will want to maintain an air of professionalism when creating content to be shared on a social network, that doesn’t mean it needs to be stuffy about how it’s properties are being presented. Social media users react quite strongly to feed updates and shared images that are as every bit as interesting as they are informative. It only makes sense that people click on those links that are most relevant to them, and so a company should be doing what it can to take advantage of this.
There are multiple methods which can be employed when trying to find content which appeals to one’s potential demographic. Major news magazines and feature-based writing is always a good draw, especially when the sources of these pieces are well-recognized outlets. Video is also an incredibly popular means by which to grab users’ attentions. There are also multiple other forms of media that SMB owners can use in as well, such as regular podcasts from the company or Q&As.
Encouraging Users to Keep Coming Back
In the business world, no one wants to feel like they’re just a customer. Part of the joy of social media comes from being able to build up connections with people and groups you may never see for yourself. This is something that every company will want to keep in mind when posting. Should a business’ update or posted content receive comments from users, then a representative should do what he or she can to reply to posts and keep that momentum going.
If a user begins to feel that his or her presence means something to a business, a certain level of trust is earned that will prove invaluable in converting followers into future clientele. This level of trust also improves the impact of those overt sales pitch-related posts that a business may make from time to time. Simply put, a user who has grown accustomed to dealing with a company will be far more likely to click on posted links for time-sensitive bargains, upcoming promotional events and any other revenue-centric activity.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to enlist the aid of experience social media companies so as to streamline these efforts. Should readers have any additional questions, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just yesterday, Google made a pretty significant announcement of which every business owner should take note. In an attempt to further combine its social media efforts with its focus on independently-owned companies, Google has integrated its Google Places program into Google+ Local. While the benefits of this consolidation many not be immediately apparent to everyone, the potential this move has for small business owners is considerable to say the least.
According to a quote from an article on Search Engine Watch, Google’s Vice President of Product Management cites the appeal of the mobile user market as being the primary incentive behind the change. By bringing Google Places program directly into the company’s social media platform, smartphone and tablet owners will encounter business listings more frequently when they use the Google+ app or browse the network via browser. Google claims that this will allow companies that have registered on Google+ to significantly improve their level of engagement with mobile users.
An announcement video released yesterday also emphasizes a new feature that those companies listed on Google’s social network will certainly appreciate – user reviews with scores. Businesses on Google+ can now receive reviews from customers by way of Zagat, in addition to written comments. This official scoring system allows potential clientele to look up a business’ rating and help make purchasing decisions. Combined with the fairly decent amount of traffic that Google+ sees these days, customer interaction levels for companies on the network will rise significantly as a result.
Using Google+ to its Fullest Potential
Regular readers of my blog will certainly see what all this adds up to. Although Google+ doesn’t boast anywhere near as many active users as Facebook or Twitter does, the features being offered to companies going into the network are quite attractive. As Google+ users can now easily interact with and review any business previously found on Google Places, company owners need to redouble their efforts on the social media site. The following are just a few ways that businesses can improve their Google+ listings:
- Fill out as much information about your company as possible. According to an entry on Google’s blog, companies that were previously listed on Google Places should edit the details of their business through the old Places portal. This information will be immediately reflected on the Google+ listing as well and will help customers learn more about you and your business.
- Upload beautiful and eye-catching images. Google has been touting its network’s emphasis on large images and sleek presentation as being a big deal for businesses. Company owners should use high-end digital cameras or hire a photographer to produce original photos for their social media page.
- Encourage customers to review your business on Google+. People loved being asked for their opinions, and channeling those efforts through the newly revamped Google+ Local program means having a place to show both praise and criticism.
Of course, the SEO experts at WebiMax will be periodically checking in on Google+ Local to see how the new program fares. As always, I can be reached at email@example.com should readers have any questions.
The last two weeks have been an incredibly stressful time for every web-focused company. Between Facebook’s recent woes concerning its IPO and General Motors pulling out of its in-network marketing, there’s been more than a little bit of uncertainty in the SEO and online marketing communities as of late. Many of our readers no doubt have their own growing concerns over the state of all-things social media and search engine-related. While current events may have everyone second guessing the viability of their social network strategies, in truth there is no reason to panic.
What about Facebook?
Anyone who watches major news network programming or reads the latest headlines will be familiar with the immense amount of criticism falling on Facebook at the moment. Over the course of the last seven days, Facebook’s underwhelming stock performance has led to a lot of serious questions regarding the effectiveness of the company’s in-network ads as well as whether its mobile efforts will pay off in the end. It’s gotten to the point where even notable SEO experts are making similar inquiries.
Although Facebook’s future is uncertain, that doesn’t mean that businesses should shy away from the social media site here and now. Many of the arguments taking place between pundits over Facebook are based on speculation, and the possible outcomes of these predictions won’t come to pass for months or years to come. While it’s easy to fall prey to the sort of fear-mongering that is common to network television, small business owners need to remember that FB will continue to be a valuable asset to their online marketing efforts.
How is that Done?
If anything, companies operating on Facebook should be focusing less on their in-network PPC campaigning and more on building up a solid social media following. The world’s most popular social network recently hit the 900 million user mark, and this milestone shouldn’t go ignored. In particular, business owners will want to remain dedicated in their efforts to expand the size of their follower base while simultaneously engaging those users that subscribe to their news feeds. This can be done in a number of ways:
- Search for groups or organizations that may share interests that match what your company specializes in. Do what you can to interact with their members and gain their attention.
- Post original and interesting content that is worth reading. This can be done by posting links to blogs and other company properties that may host these materials.
- Comment on breaking industry news that has everyone talking. Users will often take the time to add their thoughts to these posts if they are asked for their opinion.
Despite Facebook’s current predicament, the fact is that the social network still has every bit of impact it had before the company went public. The only difference is the amount of discussion taking place at the moment. Should readers have any additional questions or comments regarding their Facebook operations, they can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few days ago, Google unveiled its newest search feature, Knowledge Graph, to network users. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the announced program, Knowledge Graph is being launched as a sidebar addition to the company’s search engine results. While the company’s SERPs will stay the way they’ve always been, the new feature will serve up interesting facts, details and relevant information for popular keywords entered in queries. Google has stated that it has plans to bring the function to mobile platforms in the future as well.
Although Knowledge Graph has yet to become available to all Google users, numerous SEO companies already have their own stance on how the feature may affect the current state of online marketing. In the recent months, Google has been responsible for some of the biggest and most impactful changes in internet advertising. As a result, everyone in the SEO community is keeping a watchful eye on the company and will be for some time to come. While marketing agencies will let their clients know about important news, business owners should still keep aware of these latest happenings in order to actively improve their web prevalence.
What Should SMB Owners Take Away from Knowledge Graph?
Aside from the supplemental nature of Knowledge Graph, Google’s newest network feature also gives us some insight into the sort of trending page elements that the company regards in high importance. Between the information-based focus of Knowledge Graph and the strength of Wikipedia in the company’s SERPs, one can see that Google wants more informative sites these days. Yet while this realization is made readily apparent through Google’s recent efforts, not everyone is taking advantage of this fact.
Creating Quality that Search Engines Want
Many of the WebiMax blog readers are small or startup business owners who are looking to get their online properties well-represented on every engine’s search results. Although Google’s ranking trends are not entirely indicative of what other search engines are looking for these days, the company does tend to set the pace for what is seen on most SERPs. If anything, it’s a safe bet that the same sort of informative content that Google’s search algorithm finds desirable will rank well on competing engines.
In order to have better traction in the SERPs, more businesses need to work on creating content for their online properties that is not only informative to readers but also interesting. While not every page of a company’s website may have space for this type of content, a business should always devote some time to creating it where it can. Often times, company blogs and user-maintained pages act as hubs for news and information that readers will find engaging. Other venues for this type of content may include employee sites that focus on related topics and are linked to the aforementioned blog.
While it’s still uncertain where Knowledge Graph will eventually lie in Google’s overall business plan, there are still several useful conclusions that can be drawn from the new network feature. Should readers have any particular questions, I can be contacted at email@example.com.
Although social media users swap countless IMs and posts across PCs and laptops every month, most people fail to realize the amount of direct messaging that takes place between mobile device owners through those same social networks. According to a blog published just a few days ago on the New York Times website, a number of recent studies all point to the conclusion that social media apps are quickly replacing standard phone SMS as a primary form of mobile communication. One particular report states that the amount of text messages relayed by cellphone owners in the Phillipines on a monthly basis has decreased by more than a third from 2010 to 2011 (down to 400 texts from around 660).
Yet, what does this all mean to the standard small to medium-sized business owner? Well, aside from the obvious fact that Facebook and Twitter are quickly replacing traditional phone texting, it’s important to recognize the ever-increasing need for a strong social network presence in the business world. As conversations continue to take place in greater frequency between social media users, companies want to be a part of that dialogue more than ever. It’s one thing to have a prominent link on a Facebook page or Twitter feed, but becoming a talking point in these back-and-forth messages is even more worthwhile.
Maintain an Undeniable Network Presence
Often a luxury exclusive to multi-million dollar corporations, wide-scale recognition on social networks is considered by many business analysts to be the ultimate goal of any social media optimization. At the end of the day, once the ad campaign is over and the dedicated bloggers, tweeters and status updaters have gone to bed, a business owner wants to rest easy knowing that all that hard work is still finding traction. While getting to this point can take months – or even years – of hard work, getting a campaign started on the right foot can make all the difference.
For the best social media results, small business owners and experienced marketers alike need to remain active when seeking out target demographics. By searching for interest groups, watching how the competition approaches their own campaigns, keeping up with industry-related news and always staying active with posts, a social media listing can establish the follower base and ongoing attention it needs to succeed. A dedicated effort on social networks can eventually establish one’s brand across a wide audience and keep traffic going to a page consistently.
Earn, and Keep, the Attention of Potential Followers
Getting communities on social networks to notice a company is not unlike being the center of attention at a party. Although companies can end up handling thousands of followers at a time, getting people to engage a business takes the right approach. Aside from constantly posting new blog content via Facebook and other social media outlets, companies can also remain relevant on social networks by interacting directly with users. In particular, running a contest is a fantastic way to get new followers to jump onto a business’ social network feed. Raffles and community-driven competitions for consumer goods and various leisure items often provide great incentives.
Of course, it can be difficult to secure these users once a contest has ended. Should a business try to use giveaways to bolster its online following, it’s important that it attempts to continually engage these new followers outside of the contest itself. A social media campaign manager should always try to ask questions and for feedback, do community spotlights or even feature posts from social media users. This type of community response rewards users for being actively involved with a company and provides a solid way to keep people following.
Supplement Social Network Activity with even more Activity
While the old adage of “less is more” certainly applies to social media campaigns, businesses still want to make sure their voices are heard. Although one should take care in not turning away users through excessive posting and in-your-face advertising, it’s a smart move to supplement campaign efforts through additional social networks. In particular, Twitter is an excellent avenue through which companies can spread additional links and updates for their other social media assets while not overwhelming followers on other networks.
Maintaining a strong presence in social media conversations is a true challenge that offers as many rewards as it does obstacles. Should readers have any further questions regarding the right practices for social media success, I can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among all the various search engines for which SEOs develop, it’s Google that time and time again gets the most attention from online marketing firms. Between continual updates to its search algorithm and ongoing releases for new user apps, the world’s biggest search engine company has truly become a force to be reckoned with. While competitors may try to get the edge on the company, Google’s current market share puts it well ahead of the pack.
According to a recent survey from comScore, Google controls over two-thirds of the search engine market at this point. Following in second and third place are Microsoft and Yahoo which saw around 15% of the average monthly search engine traffic each. While even a small percent of several hundred million users is nothing to scoff at, Bing and other search engine activity just pale in comparison to Google’s current user base. It’s because of this immense number of monthly users that small business owners need to focus on becoming better ranked in the Google SERPs.
Getting Friendlier with Google
It’s a given that a company will want to have a strong showing on Google’s result pages, but not everyone has the sort of SEO-focused behaviors in place necessary to rank highly. Although search engine-friendly website development and original content generation are top priorities for many web-savvy companies, most businesses drop the ball when it comes to establishing themselves with trending Google keywords and topics.
The Right Keywords at the Right Time
While it’s incredibly difficult for anyone to know for certain what needs to be done for a page to secure the number one SERP spot on Google, many internet advertisers recommend timely keyword selection for their clients’ websites. Since programs such as Google Webmaster Tools allow anyone to look up trending search terms and popular keywords, optimizing a webpage’s focused terms towards more effective ones is quite easy.
If a business owner finds that certain terms relevant to his or her industry are tracking better than others, improving a site’s ranking may be as simple as substituting a handful of keywords. Of course, it’s important to remember to never implement irrelevant keywords. More than ever, Google is cracking down on those sites that try to improve their rankings through keyword stuffing. SMB owners should only put in popular keywords when they are 100% relevant to the page’s existent content.
A Sociable Relationship with Google
As time goes on, Google+ is playing an increasingly more pivotal role in the company’s search engine. A few months ago, Google rolled out “Search, plus your World,” an initiative that includes content from Google+ in the main search engine results for those network users who are logged in. Due to Search+, more companies are becoming involved with the company’s social network in hopes that it will help their presence in the SERPs.
While the effectiveness of a strong Google+ campaign in yielding better traffic through organic rankings is still unproven, it’s something that many companies are actively pursuing. Even if activity on Google+ doesn’t result in significantly better SERP showings, the social media strength gained through a successful campaign on the network is still worth the while. Since Google+ is very much an up-and-coming social media network, more businesses should try to establish themselves on it to begin with.
As long as Google maintains its current growth and overall success, it will continue to be a major player in the SEO community. As such, it’s vital that businesses focus on the search engine as the primary source of their organic linkbuilding efforts. Should readers have any questions regarding how to get Google to notice their company, I can be contacted at email@example.com for information.