When you want to be able to grow your business and generate more leads, it can be hard to know where to put your dollars. Half the world will tell you that if you’re not on social media then you’re already dead in the water, whilst the other half will wax lyrical about nothing other than the need to rank on Google.
To give you an idea where the balance lies, we’ve put together the first meaningful guide you’ll find anywhere online. You’re not going to see scare stories, or incredible get rich quick feats, just simple honest advice you can put into action. If that sounds like just the sort of thing you need, read on.
What is SMM?
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is the term used for promoting your business through common social media channels. Here are what the 3 main players are used for by successful businesses:
- Facebook: Redirecting people to homepages, selling products directly, and posting ads
- Instagram: Promoting visual content, rapidly growing followers, and promoting high-end or aesthetically pleasing products
- Twitter: Customer feedback and service, opening a two-way dialogue, and previewing new longer-form content
You can see straight away that each platform has its own USP, and that figuring out how to strike the right balance for your business is going to be all about having a clear direction. But before we get to that, let’s take a closer look at the world of SEO.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about producing relevant content that people want to see so that it ranks well in search. The keyword to remember here is ‘relevant,’ because that’s all the Google algorithms care about. Their job is to show the right content, to the right people, at the right time. When you think about it like that it’s really no wonder that everyone has been telling you to target keywords.
The secrets of a powerful SMM campaign
When you want to be able to build an SMM campaign that has a transformative impact on your brand, there are a whole host of things you need to take into account:
- The voice of your brand needs to be accurately conveyed
- You need to find content that adds value, and that people care about
- Giving something away for nothing is now the norm — discount codes, how-to videos, etc
There’s far more to it than signing up for services like Trust My Paper and Buffer, and hoping that writing posts and scheduling them will be enough. Let’s delve into the detail so you have everything you need to know.
Post regularly, or not at all
Whilst we’re certainly not advocating you take the second option, you get the point that it’s essential to post on a regular basis. There’s nothing more likely to get your account unfollowed en masse than sporadic posting, using endless retweets to recycle content, or just being plain old boring. Create a content calendar so that you’re posting something new and engaging every day, and create themes for each day of the week. It’ll give you the structure and direction you need to get things up and running.
Take inspiration from the latest trends
When the whole world is talking about something, the conversation will be taking place on social media. This means it’s the place you need to be, and your social media game needs to be current and on-topic. Take the time to stay up to date, and it’ll be obvious when a new trend is ready and waiting for you to jump aboard. Just remember to keep it professional and relevant, you’re still speaking on behalf of a brand here.
Post topical content as well as business-orientated content
If there’s a holiday coming up, a major sporting event or a much-loved artist has finally made their long-expected comeback, SMM allows you to leverage it. It’s easy to do, and it’ll humanize your brand in a way that nothing else can.
Use SEO terms in your posts from time to time
Last but not least, you need to use SEO terms in your posts. Many people don’t think to do this, and instead, put all of their money into paid ads. But why not do both? You want to keep it to a maximum of 2 keywords per post and make sure they still read fluently. The great thing about this is you’re then using your SMM campaign to reinforce your SEO efforts.
How you can get ahead with SEO by ranking in search
Take a look at sites such as Grab My Essay and SEMrush, and ask yourself what they have in common. The thing you’ll notice is they perfected their on-page SEO.
Start with your on-page SEO
This is your chance to get your website in the best possible shape it can be in, and it makes sense to start here. It’s where you’re going to redirect browsers and followers, so you need to make sure:
- Content contains relevant keywords
- The website is easily navigable and loads fast
- Content isn’t overwhelmed by overstuffed keywords
- Your headings are large, bold, and rich with keywords
- You’ve used ALT text for every image on your site
- Internal linking is sensible and intuitive
Master these 6 simple things, and you’ll have the foundation for a successful SEO campaign that will see you moving up the rankings.
Now focus on the off-page
Sites like Studicus and PicMonkey invest a lot of time and money in off-page SEO using techniques such as:
- Backlinking so your site appears more relevant to Google’s crawlers
- Creating a branded presence on relevant industry review sites
- Guest posting and social bookmarking to build a reputation as an expert guest blogger
“It can be tempting to throw out a few social media posts, and create an overly elaborate backlinking strategy on day one, but that’s not the best way to go about things. Get your on-page SEO sorted as a matter of priority, and then use it as the foundation on which to build the rest of your efforts.” — says Daniel Evans, Head of Content Strategy at Best Essay.Education.
Why you need both for a successful business
You need to be visible in search, and you need to be searchable on social media if you’re going to be a success. That’s because most people either go to Facebook or Google when they want to find out about something. If you’re not showing up on one of them because you’ve put all your focus on the other, you’re going to be missing out on a lot of potential new leads. That doesn’t mean you should devote equal time and money to SMM and SEO though. The best approach is to first perfect your on-page SEO. Your website is your own piece of online real estate, and it’s where you’re ultimately sending people, whether via Facebook or Google. Get the basics right first, and then think about expanding into more complex backlinking projects, and spending weekly on paid social ads.