There are several reasons why you should invest heavily in social media to build an online presence. I don’t mean invest a large sum of money, but rather invest time and effort in connecting with your current and potential future customers. After all, they are likely spending a decent amount of time on these sites every day, anyway. You may as well become a part of their online lives. (read this article and this article for some surprising facts about social media usage)
If you take a look at the image to the right, you can see that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter hold 3 of the top 10 frequented sites around the world. If you were unaware of this, a light bulb should be going off in your head informing you that you need to have a presence on those sites, regardless of your business and what services and products you offer. Your customers are people. People use these sites heavily. You need to get in front of them.
Of course, actually getting your information to the people is a bit more tricky. Lucky for you, though, all three options provide advertising options. This is a quick method to get in front of the people who are most likely going to be interested in your products. Facebook probably has the most comprehensive advertising capabilities as far as hyper targeting your audience; however, there is still a lot of concern over whether or not your ads are actually being seen by your targeted audience. To see what I mean, check out the following video:
This video is almost a year old and Facebook has made changes since then, but from personal experience, you can still end up getting railroaded by Facebook and the clickfarms from around the world. If you have a large enough budget and a high ticket item or service, you may be able to offset the loss of advertising due to these clickfarms and bogus advertising, but at the end of the day, who really wants to throw money away?
At a minimum, you should be utilizing these services to connect with your customers. It doesn’t take much to ask your customers to like your business on Facebook or ask them if it’s ok to add you as a friend or contact. Most people wouldn’t be too bothered by it. This works in favor in multiple ways. First off, you start to build a following. With more likes, followers, or subscribers to your pages, the more authority you are seen to have. This can be important for how these social media sites actually rank your site if someone were to utilize their service to check out businesses that offer your products and services within your area.
On top of that, you can keep in touch with your customers. Depending on what you offer and how friendly you are with your customers, you can send them simple reminders that they need to renew a service or let them know a new product came out that they might be interested in. Even if you aren’t buddy-buddy with them, you can still post, tweet, or upload, and anyone following your business could end up seeing what you have to say.
You want to at least update once a week. What this tells your followers is that you are still here. They will see your name and they will remember you. If you can get them to engage, even better. You can hold contests (ask everyone to share an update and one person will be selected at random to win something of your choice), ask for feedback, or just talk about local happenings. People love to connect and if you spark their interest and they respond and engage, their actions will show for their friends to see (FREE ADVERTISING!).
– Note: If you hold a contest, check with the social media site you are engaging on as they have specific rules for contests and the last thing you want to do is find yourself in some legal trouble.
Beyond the customer engagement and benefits you’ll see on the social media sites, having a social media presence also helps with your search engine optimization. Once again, we go back to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter being 3 of the top 10 most frequented sites on the internet. Take a moment and think about what those sites are used for.
These sites are used for connecting and sharing. If you have a particularly good something to say, post, or tweet, you may experience something called “going viral”. Essentially, when something goes viral, it becomes overly popular on these social sites (and many others). What do you think it would do for your business if a post from your company page suddenly went viral? What if that post had a link back to your website? Not only would thousands of people see your post, but they would also have quick access to your website.
The chances of a post of yours going viral is slim, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. What we have to look at is a smaller scale. You don’t have to go viral, but if you have a post or a page that is popular enough, that is going to do wonders for your website and its rankings (assuming it has proper on-site SEO). Google and the other search engines can track social signals (shares, likes, retweets, etc.). If one site is suddenly getting a huge boost from social signals, what do you think Google is going to do? That’s right, they are going to boost your site higher in the search engine rankings.
Google wants to deliver the most comprehensive search engine to its users. They want you to find exactly what you are looking for when you use their search engine. This is a very complicated process, for sure; however, it’s getting easier thanks to social signals. The way Google’s algorithm is currently moving towards is focusing more on social signals than ever before. And why not? It makes perfect sense. If a site is experiencing a high volume of social signals, it is clearly popular and what people are looking for.
For instance, let’s say a new prototype flying car was just designed. There is a video circulating online through all of the social media sites. It’s getting millions on views on YouTube, getting likes on Facebook, and getting retweets and favorites on Twitter (and everything else the other social media sites offer). This video is only 2 days old. Now, for the past 4 or 5 years, at the top of Google search for the term flying car has been a website that is mostly just a fan site of flying cars. It’s just a few simple drawings and some text. Nothing special. No social signals. After this video has received all of this attention, what is most likely to end up at that number 1 spot for the search term flying car? It’s going to be what everyone is currently liking, favoriting, and tweeting about.
Let’s get back to your business. If you have a local business, then you don’t necessarily need millions of views, likes, etc. You just don’t. If you had that, it would probably look suspicious anyway and Google would take notice. But if you engage with your customers on a regular basis and they respond, you could easily start to see a major boost to your rankings in Google.
In no way am I guaranteeing you will see positive movement in your rankings if you engage in social media. There are a lot of factors that are ultimately going to determine where you rank and for what terms, but if everything is in place, a good social media presence and engagement certainly isn’t going to hurt.
As always, if you are interested in discussing this further for your business and would like to schedule a consultation, please refer to our Discovery Application.