If there’s a social media lesson to be learned *so far in 2014, it’s this: don’t depend on a single network. When Facebook changed its algorithm earlier this year to eliminate “spammy” links, the organic reach of brand pages fell, and the need to boost posts (translation: pay for advertising) rose. The takeaway in terms of SEO? Diversify your social presence to ensure your customers find your content, regardless of algorithm tweaks.
So, rather than saying goodbye to the social network (because Facebook advertising does work!), we recommend saying hello to a few others. If increasing your businesses visibility and reach is important to you, consider the following social platforms:
Most industry experts agree that now is the time to go Google+. It may have taken awhile to takeoff since its 2011 launch, but Google+ is growing (it’s now the second largest active social network) and is expected to surpass Facebook in total users within the next few years. Content marketing strategy is more important now than ever–with good search engine rankings being awarded to engaging and relevant content rather than keywords–and Google+ is all about content. The Plus One button makes it easy for your audience to share your content, and the added +1’s validates the quality of your content and signals Google to better your search engine ranking. Create a Google Plus page if only to take advantage of the SEO push; at the least, this means your brand name will appear closer to the top of Google searches, accompanied by Google map directions to your place of business.
Aside from being search engine friendly, other Google+ benefits include:
- Circles: in which you can group your contacts, and make privy to different content;
- Hangouts: face-to-face video chats where multiple people can communicate simultaneously; and,
- Authorship markup: a headshot and byline displayed alongside your links in search results; these “rich snippets” of information establish credibility and have a higher click-through rate.
It’s very rare that we encounter a business that shouldn’t be on Twitter. This microblogging platform offers businesses the unique social ability to interact and engage with customers and to network with pretty much anyone you want. Used for branding, marketing, customer service and more, Twitter is now a very important place where customers go to share what they know, and learn what they don’t. Don’t be left out of the conversation.
Pinterest, Vine, Instagram
Pictures are priceless, especially when it comes to driving engagement. Articles with images, such as infographics, always get more views. Most businesses benefit from including a visual component to their social marketing, which might mean Pinterest, Vine or Instagram depending on the nature of the business. The latter two support microvideos, which are particularly trending right now.
Thanks to easy content management systems like Tumblr and WordPress, blogging can be a simple and inexpensive way to publish original content, and drive traffic to your website and social media sites. In most cases, blogging can’t solely support a social media strategy but when paired with other platforms, such as Twitter, it’s a great way to showcase your expertise, and (via guest bloggers, reviews, or quotes) build strategic relationships.
One caveat when dabbling in different social media: always be on-brand. Ensure that visuals and messages (voice and tone) on all platforms are aligned with your overall brand. Make a point to reevaluate your social media marketing strategy throughout the year by benchmarking best practices. Follow social trends and adapt your strategy accordingly. This will guarantee that you’re putting your social energy where it matters most for your business.