November 30, 2009 by Alain Saffel
Social media and SEO. You hear about them everywhere these days. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Oh, they’re all great ways to promote your business and you’ll make millions, or so the story goes.
What’s the reality? Social media can be a great tool to promote your business, if it’s done properly. It’s also a great way to connect with your customers and clients. SEO is critical if you want to have your website ranking well in search engines.
If you’re wondering about how to get started in social media, I found a few excellent social media tips to help you get started. What they all boil down to is having conversations with people and you should also realize that social media isn’t going to replace all of your other marketing activities.
I use social media as a marketing tool, but I don’t rely entirely on it. I see social media as an extension of the way business has been done for as long as there’s been business: personal connections. All social media does is make it easier for you to make connections and communicate with them.
I work with a number of clients doing search engine optimization and other services. Social media has been quite beneficial to my business.
Obviously, traffic doesn’t benefit your SEO directly, but indirectly it can. With consistent writing of great blog posts or articles, traffic will keep coming back to your site (a little promotion doesn’t hurt) and those links will also increase.
Traffic - So, you just wrote a great blog post, titled “Top ten online marketing tips for…” Great. If you’ve got a blog with loads of traffic, people will see it quickly. Maybe you don’t have a lot of traffic, but it really is a great post. Why not promote it on Twitter or LinkedIn? Of course it should be a topic that potentially appeals to your audience. Social media is a great way to pull traffic in to have a look at something you’re promoting. With people potentially retweeting and hopefully linking to your great article or blog post, it helps to raise the profile of your site.
Links - As anyone familiar with search engine optimization knows, inlinks are one of the SEO elements that are helpful in increasing your search engine rank for desired keyword phrases and building your Page Rank. If your post really is a good one, there is the potential for those viewing your article deciding they like it enough to link to it from their website or blog.
Articles written with the goal of gathering as many links as possible are often known as “linkbait.” In the eyes of search engines, more links means more authority. More authority means higher search engine rankings.
In the articles I have listed at the bottom of the page there are good discussions about the value of links from within social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. There are some benefits from these links, but they’re limited.
I’m not sure I’d really rely on links coming directly from Twitter results. First, I just don’t see that many search results from Twitter when I’m searching in Google. Second, those results don’t stick around for that long even when you do see them.
There’s always a bit of a honeymoon effect for Twitter results. They may rise quickly, but then disappear almost as quickly. Not only that, but I believe that Twitter’s database may only go back a few months. Apparently Twitter management has indicated they’re saving your Tweets, but they don’t seem to be accessible for a great length of time in search engines.
Social media: not hard to use
Social media can be a great for promotion, conversations and brand building, as well as SEO. I’ve found myself recommending it more and more to clients as a way of promoting their businesses as well. It’s not hard to use social media, but you definitely have to be aware of some of the pitfalls in using social media tools for promotion.
If you’re considering getting into social media and aren’t familiar with it, do some reading. It may be worth getting some social media coaching to help with your social media strategy. Like any kind of marketing activity, it certainly pays to get it right. It can hurt to get it wrong.
More reading on SEO and social media:
November 16, 2009 by Alain Saffel
Being in the field of marketing, I often see marketing campaigns, online and offline, that make me go wow! Then there are the campaigns that make me feel embarrassed for the people who’ve put them on. And then there are those where you wonder just what the hell the marketing people were thinking.
The Kingsway Mall in Edmonton put on one of those “what the hell were they thinking” campaigns to celebrate their grand re-opening recently.
They are putting on a shopping spree. Sounds good. The shopping spree is in New York, London or Paris. Really? Celebrate the grand re-opening of the mall by winning a trip and shopping spree to places that will put the mall to shame? Or, celebrate our grand re-opening by spending all this money somewhere else?
The slogan for the campaign is “see shopping in a whole new light.” I’m hoping they’re referring to Kingsway Mall. If I were to head to London, Paris or New York, I’m sure I’d come back to Edmonton and see how different it is here, and likely the shopping just isn’t as good.
Sure it’s a great prize. I think I missed the point of the campaign though. Wouldn’t it have been better to keep the people in Kingsway Mall here in Edmonton? Imagine the possibilities if they’d done a real push in traditional and online media in Edmonton.
They could get the contest winners on an even bigger shopping spree in Kingsway Mall. Follow them around with photographers and videographers showing how great a time they were having on their shopping spree… at Kingsway Mall! They could be leveraging social media like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr to broadcast the whole shopping spree, but also to pull people from those social media sites into side contests to get them out to the mall as well.
It’s a shame really. They missed a golden opportunity to marry traditional and social media and really do something exciting that would really keep the focus on Kingsway Mall.
Keep people on your site
This situation with Kingsway Mall reminds me of websites that use Google Adsense ads or banner ads to make money. That’s not a bad thing, but I’ve also seen it on some corporate websites where they’re trying to convert visitors to customers.
Adsense can be a lucrative way to make money, particularly when you’ve got a lot of great content and the site is has proper SEO. But then, that’s usually the primary goal of these types of sites: pull the visitors in with great SEO and content, and hope they click on an ad so we can make money! Sounds simple? It is, but it’s not easy.
I just don’t understand why you would want to create a corporate website in hope of convincing visitors to contact you, buy a product immediately or take some sort of action beneficial to them and you.
Instead, you give them a reason to leave your site for something else that may tickle their fancy, all in the hopes of making a few bucks on Adsense. Most people don’t make much on Adsense either, so wouldn’t it make more sense to keep them on your site and hope that they avail themselves of the opportunities your site gives them?
The other thing is that Adsense serves up ads related to the content on your page. So, you could actually end up having Adsense ads from your competitors! Insanity! Yes, I know you can filter the ads, so you can stop it to a degree.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to put your time and effort into making your site better and trying to convert those site visitors you’ve worked hard to attract (hopefully with great content, design and SEO) instead of letting them leave your site for a few Adsense dollars?
If you’re considering using Adsense or banner ads to make money on your website, you’d better really think about whether or not you should. Is making big bucks on ad revenue your goal? If it’s not, I’d seriously reconsider putting them on your site.