The ‘golden egg’ for business owners is ensuring products and services are seen by hundreds or even thousands of prospective buyers, and today’s marketing environment is providing businesses with some incredible opportunities to do just that.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
The internet has become a beast for many businesses, unable to achieve high ranking for their websites and hit a magical page one position, meanwhile watching competitors experience exponential growth by doing so. Some would say in an SEO savvy world, page one positioning is pretty much impossible to achieve for competitive search terms, but I beg to differ.
SEO has evolved dramatically over the past 2-3 years. Gone are the days when business owners needed to spend hard earned cash on employing ‘specialist’ companies who is submit monthly nonsensical and irrelevant articles to online directories. SEO is now in the realm of content marketing – the more relevant the content on your website to the content posted elsewhere on the web, the higher the relevancy of your website overall against the search term in the digital eyes of the search engines. Yes your website should be set up accordingly with all the appropriate terms in your title bars, meta descriptions, urls and content, but these technical aspects of search marketing are now not so prevalent. Open source platforms are in the main already SEO compliant so coding changes make little difference, although there is an argument to be made in keeping your coding clean and tidy when building a website to help optimisation.
Keyword rich domain names?
A few years ago, the CEO of Google stated that the company would try to stamp out keyword rich and relevant search terms within domain names. Evidence suggests they may have updated the algorithms to recognize this a little, but they certainly haven’t put a stop to it. Check out any search pages to see exactly what we mean, and you will find domains that match your search term in many cases.
It’s all about content
Search engines look for relevant content now, and social media provides a hierarchical platform for placement of relevant content to point directly to your website. Social media pages and your blog provide a perfect resource to point good content to individual and relevant landing pages on your website. A continuous proactive strategy of this nature will continually help you to grow your search engine presence.
But there are further changes afoot
Being social is about engagement, influence and leverage. In fact, your social pages are arguably the most important asset surrounding your businesses web presence. If people want to find out about your company, they go to your website. If they want to understand the true personality behind you and your business, they will visit your social pages. Check your analytics and find out how many people click your highly visible social media links. I say highly visible though!
So why, if most internet experts recognise the power of social interaction are there businesses posting up a continuous barrage of promotional posts around their products and services. Do they not know or understand the power of leverage?
We act for many B2B and B2C clients in managing their social media presence. The one big factor, which is illuminated on a daily basis, is yes we want to be promoting our business offering, but the amusing and engaging relevant but non promotional posts are the ones that gain the biggest reach and engagement. People want to see your human side through social content, not to be continually sold to on an hour-by-hour basis.
Getting the right mix
Social media for business is about providing great customer service, genuine engagement and leveraging fans and followers to come and view or find out more about YOU whether this is your reputation on LinkedIn or your business personality on Facebook/Twitter. Utilising non-promotional content or attitudes can help you leverage that prospect to come to your page. When they arrive they can view what you have to sell, but keep them entertained with content that is engaging.
The right balance between promotional and leveraged content is really dependent on the business. The nature of some businesses allows them to sell without selling. If you are a venue or leisure attraction, you can be posting content about the funny or interesting event that happened last night. The fact it happened at your great venue helps you to continually leverage the reasons more should attend.
Every business is different!
The only way to decipher what works for your business is to test and evaluate continually to see what creates the best engagement on your social profiles. Content needs to be researched and managed properly. It needs insight as Facebook so aptly describes it. With insight you can start to create a social media strategy that will not only raise your profile and help you to sell products and services, it will also have a direct impact on your websites ranking.
Remember, be social and express your business personality, don’t continually sell, or your audience will switch off. The social media platforms have provided us with lots of advertising opportunities to sell now, and we should utilise these to our advantage.
If you are embarking on social media advertising campaigns, make sure you split test with images, content and demographic profiles to get best results. You may find the non-promotional ads would still be more beneficial or bare greater returns. I am continually surprised by differing results while split testing images and content on our clients ads, but I was surprised twenty years ago when designing a campaign of advertisements for magazine, and how one advert could out perform another 10 fold with a change of image or even just a couple of words in the headline.
Social media marketing is an art form, and since the dawn of what we call integrated marketing, we have been testing and monitoring our words and images for best results, whether it is an advert in a printed publication, or a £50 Facebook advertising campaign. If you don’t test you will never find out what your optimum return on your investment could be.
So content marketing or relevant use of content is what makes the search engines tick nowadays, and being social is what makes the audience tick on social platforms – I would suggest a social attitude right across your content, is the right strategy for your business, but test, test and test some more – you will be surprised by what you can achieve!