Three Reasons for Social Media
- By Corey Smith
- May 01, 2012
Have you contemplated adding social media to your marketing efforts? Most small and medium-size business owners don’t know where to start with social media and wonder if there is even a value in running such a campaign for their businesses. Social media’s primary purpose is about being social, and it’s through that social aspect that word-of-mouth is empowered.
Too often, I hear business owners complain about social media. I’ve heard all the reasons why social media is bad:
“I don’t want people to know what I am doing.”
“I can’t mix my personal life with business.”
“I don’t understand why anyone would want to hear what I have to say.”
“None of my contacts are on social media.”
I’ve heard plenty of other excuses too. In fact, the list is as long as the day.
I think these reasons for not wanting to participate in social media show a level of shortsightedness because they imply that we aren’t willing to look at social media from an objective or realistic point of view.
Let’s first look at the statistics of social media so that we can put a framework around the three primary reasons for social media. Certainly, we could come up with many more data points supporting them, but I think you’ll get the idea from the following five:
- 96 percent of Americans have used Facebook (Business Insider).
- 46 million Americans check social media profiles daily (Edison Research).
- 50 percent of SMB owners report gaining new customers through social media (Mediabistro).
- 51 percent of Facebook users and 64 percent of Twitter users are more likely to buy from the brands they follow (Mediabistro).
- Of SMB decision-makers that use social media, 86 percent use Facebook, 41 percent use LinkedIn and 33 percent use Twitter (Zoomerang).
Even with these stats, the reality is there are three primary reasons why businesses need to seriously consider social media as a part of their overall marketing strategy. Failing to understand these three critical aspects will cause you to miss out on spectacular marketing opportunities for your business.
Search engine optimization
When other websites link to your website, you get a vote for your credibility and relevance. It has been a long-standing tactic for search engine optimizers to generate inbound links to their websites to help build search engine credibility. In fact, spammers love this tactic, as they can often get many links in comments on other people’s blogs and websites.
When you post a link in your social media channels, your link becomes another inbound link to your website. If those in your network share that link, it means that you have even more inbound links.
However, link-building is not the only benefit. Social media posts (profiles, articles, etc.) are indexed in the search engines (assuming your privacy settings don’t prevent that). Many times, your social media profiles and status updates (e.g., tweets) will even appear above your website in the search engines, which will then have a chance of driving traffic to you.
Don’t forget, search engine optimization does not mean you’ll get traffic.
When I started my latest blog, I had no rankings in the search engines. In the beginning, Google had no idea that my new blog even existed. Long before the search engines took notice, I was able to garner a fair amount of traffic. I was able to gain this traffic through posts to my social networks.
Even now, after the rankings for my personal blog are growing and people are seeing my blog more often in the search engines, I can look back and analyze my traffic and see a direct correlation between traffic and posts I made in my social media outlets. When I post a link to my blog, depending on what time of day and how compelling my message is, I can see a reasonably consistent amount of new traffic. If the post on my blog is particularly compelling, then I can see that number double or even triple because of the sharing of other people within my network.
Remember that getting traffic does not mean you are going to make a sale.
As I mentioned before, social media’s primary purpose is to be social. However, it’s more than just the social aspect. It’s about actively fostering relationships with new people.
I think it’s laughable when I hear the comment, “None of my friends are on social media.” To presuppose that the only people you should connect with on social media are people you already know is a major fallacy in the way social media is intended. Virtually all social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, were founded on the idea that you can connect with people you’ve never met before.
The hallmark of social media for business is that you can create and build new relationships. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, you have an opportunity to build new relationships with people you don’t already know.
There is a catch to all this. While it’s great that you can gain a stronger presence in the search engines and garner new traffic to your website, there is a requirement.
That requirement is that you have strong relationships. Search engines such as Google, Bing, etc., understand the influence of your network. The stronger your influence, the more weight they will give to your posts. The more people you influence, the more traffic you will generate.
You can also destroy your influence by posting only links to your website and never providing any value. No matter how many people follow/friend you, if you are always asking them to do something (go to a link) and never return anything (information, engagement, humor, etc.), they will begin to ignore you. That will negatively impact your search engine optimization and traffic. So the moral is: Be social.
This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Recharger.
Corey Smith is the author of “Do It Right: A CEO’s Guide to Web Strategy” and Chief Web Architect for Dealer Marketing Systems. You can connect with Corey at www.coreysmith.ws.