Should Your Business Utilize Social Networking As A Marketing Tool?

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It wasn’t all that long ago I was on the fence about using social networking as a marketing tool. The reasons for this were quite simple. I saw that, while social networking could bring your regular website more business – it could also pull it away. Worse, it could confuse customers who don’t understand the differences between a regular website, social networking, and how they work together.

There is also the matter of time. Having a website (depending on the type), can take a fair amount of time to add products to, make posts, etc. Using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as a marketing tool requires time communicating with the world about your business. If you don’t do this, your pages will look abandoned. When people see this, they might just think your business is idle. Many businesses fall into this trap.

My opinion on the importance of social media has changed rather dramatically over the last two years. Why the altered perspective? Largely because Google has rolled out (or maybe ‘pushed out’ would be a better term), a major update to their search engine algorithms. This update is called “Penguin.” Penguin has set a lot of website owners and businesses reeling. Many sites that were previously ranked at the top of most Google searches all but vanished overnight. As one might imagine, many good folks are not happy about this.

Is Google Giving Penguins A Bad Name?
A Real Penguin – Far Less Dangerous Than Their Virtual Counterpart

Despite the chorus of complaints – Google, being the powerhouse of a corporation that it is, will continue to do pretty much as they please. Matt Cutts (head of Google’s web spam team), has tried to enlighten people about the positive objectives of this rollout, but this hasn’t done much to ease the pain of those who have been damaged by Penguin.

 

Penguin Is Not All Bad

An important factor to consider, when thinking about the move toward greater social media link importance, is that the number of users within these communities continues to grow. Twitter and Facebook have solidified their positions at the top of the pack (for good, or for bad). As a result, PC and mobile applications directly connected to these networks are very easy to find. This obviously leads to more traffic to those sites – and possibly yours as well. Increased site traffic equals better search-rankings, and more profit potential.

Having observed this trend, Google has begun to make social interactions much more important to search engine results. The good news is that Facebook and Twitter have very strong anti-spam policies in place, which effectively adds new layers of protection to search engine listings based upon those network interactions. The bad news is that simple link backs aren’t going to matter as much in the future. To quote Burl Ives and Bob Dylan – “The times, they are a-changin'” – like it or not.

 

What is a business to do?

These best strategies to approach the future with confidence:

  1. Build a professional looking website that is the base online location for your business. MidState Design stands ready to help build your business’s online identity today!
  2. Build pages for Twitter, Facebook, and any other social networking sites that might interest you. MidState Design offers these services to you at very reasonable costs!
  3. Allocate time for making posts and interacting. This is the only real way of building up your networks on social networking sites.
  4. Keep your social media content as fresh as possible.
  5. Connect your main website to any social networking sites your business belongs to. Offer incentives to get people to ‘Like,’ ‘Follow’ (etc.), your pages on those sites.
  6. Don’t overdo it! Resist the temptation to join every social media site available. Embrace moderation. Quality is at least as important as quantity.
  7. Avoid accepting ‘reciprocal link’ offerings from sites that appear ‘spammy’ or otherwise undesirable. Likewise, do not spam forums and blogs with your website link. Again, moderation is the key here.
  8. Do not ‘keyword stuff your pages. Google is really cracking down on this & rightfully so. Avoid being penalized by creating great content.
  9. Make sure you have a link to your website on your social media profiles.
    Doing this one thing makes it much easier to find your official website.
  10. Share your main website link whenever possible. People will be able to visit your social networking sites from there.
  11. Remember that your social media pages are a direct reflection of your business and treat commenters accordingly. People are watching.

 

Helpful Tips From The Small Business Association
Learn more about how to make a social media plan for your business via the U.S. government’s Small Business Administration website.


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