This is a guest blog post written by Andrea Hewett, Social Media Business Director
for Holt Marketing and Management Services, Inc.
You’ve probably heard it said over and over that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is impacted greatly by Social Media and that Social Media is the key to improving your ranking on website searches. If you haven’t, then visit this site for the definition of SEO and you’ll see what I’m talking about. The truth is that although this can be proven through analytics, most aren’t finding the results they had hoped for.
This happened to me when I started a home-based business. While I was quite successful when cold-calling and had top sales, I knew I only had so many contacts that I could reach by phone. I started using Facebook to try to generate leads. I posted offers, shared new product information and even private messaged people requesting to meet with them. However, I received only a few responses and fewer sales. Because of this, I chose to educate myself on social media and what causes the most problems with generating results. Here are the top 3 problems I found:
Problem #1: Lack of Focus on Content
Many people do not know that content is the true key to driving business to your website. While you definitely want to post often enough to be kept in mind, it is not smart to share large amounts of trivial things just to be at the top of the news feed. When combining social media and business to generate sales leads, you have to be sharing something of value. Of course value is perceived differently by individual, which brings us to the next problem…
Problem #2: Not Knowing Your Target Market
You are probably thinking that this is a no-brainer that every business owner should know, and you would be right. While some can, you really shouldn’t waste your efforts trying to sell ice to Eskimos. However, this isn’t what I mean by knowing your target market. What you need to think about with social media is which sites best represent your target market:
Facebook is the epitome of social networking; with people from every demographic, including kids and senior citizens, it is used to connect with friends and family, play games, deliver news and advertising (actually pretty much anything goes here).
LinkedIn is a professional networking sight, so the overtone is primarily serious with an emphasis on careers, forming business relationships and sales leads, providing information, news and innovation.
Twitter is a micro-blogging social site about sharing information and ideas in an instant, with short concise messages (not unlike an instant messenger) to a broader audience. While many types of people use twitter, the main purposes are to find trends, celebrity-watch, increase brand awareness, publish blogs and other written works, promote e-commerce sites (and spam), provide expert knowledge on specific products or services, and engage people to develop a relationship and provide good customer service and support.
Tumblr is a micro-blogging and social networking site favored by the under 25 crowd that wants more interaction with close friends. The site is used primarily to share photos, memes and gifs. This is best for businesses with strong visual content interested in a younger demographic that is more likely to share.
Google + is a Google-built social network that allows for brands and users to build circles. This is used to increase brand awareness by connecting directly to people interested in what you have to offer. Because Google owns over 65% of search engine market shares and serves over 25% of internet traffic, it has a great opportunity for Search Engine Optimization.
Pinterest is a social site about discovery, used primarily for do-it-yourself projects, fashion, decorating, recipes and party planning projects. It has approximately a 70/30 female to male user ratio.
Instagram is a social sharing site centered around pictures and videos. In addition to the use of hashtags, brands find this site useful for posting pictures that consumers can identify with.
Of course there are many other choices to consider in social media; YouTube, Flickr, FourSquare, Yelp and too many others to point out, but these are the most widely used in business today. Since each site boasts its own unique audience based on interests and personality type, you need to market to the sites that best represent who you want to reach.
Problem #3: Forgetting to Diversify
Just because you have a target audience and want to put yourself in front of as many potential clients/customers as possible, that doesn’t mean you should narrow your focus completely. You want to cast a bit of a wider net because all people are different and although more of your potential target market might be on Facebook, there are some that want nothing to do with it. I recommend choosing 3-4 sites to post to. This will not only increase your reach, but also help with SEO. The main thing to remember, is that all sites are unique. If you are posting the same offer to each site, you should consider the main focus of that site and cater to its core user.
I know this is a lot to contemplate. You can go my route and spend countless hours taking courses, researching, writing and re-writing, testing out what works and what doesn’t OR you can focus on your business and hire a professional to do it. Whether you choose to do-it-yourself or have Holt Marketing & Management Services, Inc. do it for you, we have the resources to help you get started. Click the link above or call us directly at 989-791-2475 Ext. 13 and ask for Gary.
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