Both Bing and Google are now using social media activity to help shape and determine search engine results pages (SERPs). This is based off the notion that a user will be more interested in seeing content that their friends and others in their social network have already shared or read versus content that hasn’t been accessed by anyone in their circle.
Because of this, companies need to get more proactive on a positive, community-driven social media strategy that can help drive engagement and promote user activity via social media.
The first step towards creating a positive and engaged social media presence is to have SEO-crafted social media profiles, and then to cross-connect and promote the company’s social media and websites. Be sure to have the company’s URL featured in all social media profiles. This type of cross-linking will help the company have a respected and consistent online presence.
Once the company has set up their online presence, begin promoting customer social sharing and involvement. Install the Facebook Like Box, Twitter follow buttons, Google+ plugins, and a LinkedIn company badge in the company’s header, sidebar, or footer. Then, install social sharing buttons (like the Sharebar WordPress plugin) into all blog posts or applicable content pages.
It’s important to remember that even though sharing buttons and plug-ins may be installed, the content needs to be interesting and original in order to actually be shared. Write and publish content that is original, has a catchy headline, provides a service or teaches a lesson, or brings up ‘tired’ ideas in a new way.
Besides making sharing this type of original company content easy, holding contests through social media and blog posts (Rafflecopter is a great social media involvement contest tool) can not only influence customers and visits to share content, like posts, and follow or connect via social media, it also increases positive brand awareness. Many users are more likely to read blogs and social media posts that give away desirable prizes alongside useful content than blogs that simply talk about themselves and share the same links repeatedly.
Even though high-quality repeated sharing through social media can influence SEO rankings, it’s important to be involved in social media for the right reasons. Namely, to get involved in the conversation about the company that is already happening (whether the company is there to respond or not), to share new products and services, and to help customers use their company in the highest capacity possible.
Graphic created on Wordle.
Kelsey Jones runs her own social media and search marketing business, The Social Robot, where she helps clients grow their online presence. She was voted one of the top 100 marketers of the year by Invesp in 2009 and has worked for Yelp, Run.com, and Bounty Towels. Check her out at The Social Robot and on Twitter @wonderwall7.