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The Benefits of Social MediaThere are multiple benefits to being active on social media. Sites like Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn have rapidly become essential for businesses, particularly local ones. It can be difficult to get people’s attention when there is so much competition, but using social media is a great way to make an impression.
- Increase the number of people that see your content
- Boost your reputation as an expert in your field, or the go-to business for your industry
- Move your business up in the search rankings
- Get others to spread your content around the Internet for you
- Gain insight into your market
- Build natural, high quality links
- Search engines rely on social media information
Maximize Your ReachJust posting from time to time on Facebook or Twitter won’t give you much advantage over your competition. You need to interact and engage other users in order to get more followers. With more followers on your account, you can expect your links to spread far and wide. Google tends to rank sites higher if they have social media users vouching for them through retweets and shares. This is a painless way to spread the word about your company, though it does require a little effort to get things set up. To maximize your reach within social media you need to: Be consistent. It can help if you have a specific purpose in mind. What do you want to get out of social media? Are you trying to build up your numbers? Get people to sign up for something or purchase something? Having a clear goal in mind can help you stay consistent to your brand. Post on a regular basis. There are thousands of social media accounts that are abandoned. You don’t want to be confused with these people. It’s easy for your followers to unfollow your account if you aren’t regular. Try to post at least once a day or every other day. Depending on the site, more often may be appropriate. Interact with others. Make a point of searching for topics related to your industry and then commenting or otherwise interacting with other social media users. Public messages can be useful, since they indicate to everyone that you are active. Engage your followers. There are a few ways you can really get your social media followers to interact on your account. The more activity there is, the less you need to do in order to spread the word about your business. Everyone else will do that for you.
- Hold contests
- Ask questions
- Add social media buttons on your website
- Post images or videos
- Keep your information short and easy to read
- Respond to comments and messages
- Share testimonials
- Spread tips and useful information
Making Use of the Top Social Media SitesWith hundreds of social media sites available, it can be difficult to decide which one to use. Each site has its own pros and cons, but it’s usually a good idea to establish a presence on just one or two sites before you begin to expand. While a professional social media marketer can handle multiple accounts, it can be too much to deal with when you are trying to run your business as well.
Google+This is one of the most valuable social media sites out there when it comes to local search engine optimization. If you can only use one social media network, then begin on Google+. I know that sounds crazy, because really none of your friends are using it, but trust us. Google does. The first thing you should do is create a Google Places page. This is a local business page where you can add your NAP and any other information. Since Google places a lot of importance on the information you put on your Google+ account, this can be a very good way to ensure that your information is ready to be added to Google’s search results. It can even increase your chances of getting into the local pack or carousel. As with all social sites, make sure you fill out as much information as possible. Complete every section of the business page to ensure that Google has all the necessary facts about your company. This will also help when people click through to your page. Include your local keywords throughout the title and description, without keyword stuffing, to give Google a better idea of what you do. You’ll be given the option to verify your email and website. This helps increase your authority and will help people trust your company more. Once you are verified, everyone knows that you are the real deal. Just getting your business set up on Google+ is a great start, but you can take this much further. Posting regularly, setting up circles and commenting on other people’s content can increase your visibility. When others begin to share your posts and links, you automatically gain more authority. Interaction is key on all social media networks, including Google+. Remember that Google often uses your status updates on Google+ and showcases the recent ones in the Local Knowledge Panel. Make every one of those updates count by thinking carefully about what you want to say and using at least one keyword.
- Links to interesting or useful pages
- Photos relevant to your niche
- Retweets of interesting or helpful information
- Mentions or thanks to other Twitter users
- Product or sale announcements
- Fun shots of products
- Local events your business attended
- Behind the scenes in your company
- Happy customers
YouTubeThough YouTube is a video site, it is also a social site. Google treats YouTube very well and it is not unusual to find videos from the site on the first page of results. Even if you aren’t looking for a video, the results often return one or two. Videos are simple enough to make, depending on the type. You don’t need a full production studio to create a value packed video. Even scrolling text can be used if it provides enough value. A Powerpoint presentation can be used as a video or you can simply talk into the camera. Whichever method you choose, uploading the video to your own business YouTube account gives you a chance to get ranked on Google. You can include your URL in the video description, but far more valuable is the amount of words you can fit in a description. Don’t pack the description with keywords, but do use some sprinkled throughout. The video description can be fairly long and it’s worth using it. Remember that Google can’t track content within a video, so it relies on the description for ranking purposes. You will find that most videos have minimal information. Offering a video that will actually help your customers is the best option. A useful video will be more likely to be shared. If someone comments on the video, their comment is usually connected to Facebook, as are likes. All this cross-posting means you get extra exposure simply by adding a short, helpful video. You can also share it yourself across your various social networks.
FoursquareWhen it comes to local businesses, Foursquare is extremely useful. The site lets registered users “check in” when they enter a business. If your business is set up with Foursquare, you can offer deals or special discounts to anyone who checks in. It’s also easy to see who is a regular, by how often they check in at your store location. You can reward these regulars with special offer, as well. The main advantage of Foursquare is that it promotes customer loyalty. The various offers that people receive for checking in at a specific business keep them coming back. The regulars specials are even more incentive for people to stay loyal. Setting up your Foursquare account is fairly simple. If it has already been set up as a location, you can simply claim it and ensure that the NAP is correct. You can include a few keywords in your profile, though it’s never a good idea to overdo it. Every time someone checks in to your location, the info will be posted on their social networks. This can give you a boost in ranking, as well as increase your visibility on Twitter and Facebook.
- Writing a proper description. Some people just toss a hashtag or a couple of words into the description field, but most won’t change the description at all. Writing a locally optimized description of the photo and site content can help you improve your SEO.
- Using a large photo. When someone clicks on an image in Pinterest, it opens in a popup window which shows the image in a larger size . . . if it has the right resolution. Make sure your pictures are at least 500 pixels across.
- Pin other people’s stuff. Make sure you pin plenty of articles or useful information that relates to your niche from other people. Nothing looks more suspicious than a social media account that has nothing but self-published, promotional information.