Developing an Effective Social Media Campaign for Small-Mid Size Businesses
It is pretty much an accepted fact that every business must have some kind of social media presence. While all agree that small and mid size businesses (SMBs) should have a social media campaign there is little guidance on exactly what that entails and what it should be.
Social media networks are in what is referred to as “the cloud” today which really means that they reside on servers on the internet and are accessible pretty much anywhere there is an internet connection. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus are daily destinations for most users and in addition to the personal chatter many use these networks for sharing news, discussions, as well as getting information on brands and products.
Cloud SeedingSM; Planting Your Content in the Right Places
Cloud Seedingsm is our SEO and SMO strategy that pushes content into the Cloud and onto social networks. The idea behind this is to have quality content about your product or service posted on a variety of social networks. There are two reasons we advocate what we call Cloud Seeding, first and foremost is to reach customers and prospective clients with engaging and useful content and to develop your brand. Secondly, there is a definite SEO benefit from having quality content in a variety of places.
The SEO value of this content varies widely for each network. For example, Pinterest is hugely popular right now and can drive traffic, BUT Pinterest posts have zero SEO value as all of the links are “No Follow” links which means that Google and Bing spiders will not index these links. From an SEO standpoint Pinterest links are effectively invisible. Google Plus remains a fraction of the size of Facebook, but Plus 1’s, shares, and posts on Google Plus are a definite SEO boost. While Facebook links do not count for link building, most agree that Likes help and have an SEO boost. So while the direct value of social links may be lower than other links (for now), there is an indirect SEO benefit and a definite traffic and brand building benefit to a social media campaign with rich content.
Get your Social Media and Cloud Seeding Campaign rolling!
What Content Goes Where
- Website: content specifically about your products and services.
- Blog Posts: Your blog is a great place to talk about “how to” use your products, share customer success stories (as long as they deliver value to the reader), and provide insightful content relevant to your industry and area of expertise. It is vital that your blog provide useful and interesting information and is not a sales pitch.
- Facebook & Google Plus: Your blog posts should be shared here and in addition share relevant posts from other sources such as news media, industry publications etc. Many users will see your Facebook and G+ posts in their stream so it is important to make your posts interesting, useful, fun, and most of all ZERO spam. For B2B and most B2C brands we recommend posting no more than once a day, for many posting 2 to 3 times per week is adequate. Brands in the entertainment sector can post more frequently.
- Twitter: the stream on Twitter is like a live news feed and the rules are very different here. Treat Twitter like a real time discussion. Posting your blogs here is a great idea and in fact you should repost them at different times as those on Twitter at 6PM did not likely see the link to your latest blog you posted at 9:15 AM this morning – but don’t go crazy and spam it. It’s also great to share information relevant to your industry from a range of other sources. Don’t assume that your Twitter followers saw today’s post on your Facebook page, they are often different users or may not have seen it.
- Pinterest: although Pinterest has zero SEO value it drives traffic. Pinterest is not content driven, it is image driven. It is basically a digital scrapbook you can share. If you are going to participate in Pinterest it is vital that you post about several topics and not just about your stuff. If you have great pictures to share AND you are interested in sharing other pictures then Pitnerest is for you. You can set up different Boards (categories) that interest you. Be creative, diverse, and have fun with it.
- Social Bookmarking, Tumblr, Digg, etc: these social networks are much smaller, but the user bases are very active and share a more than most users. This is a tougher group to engage. They are very savvy and mediocre content will be outed quickly and spammy content can result in outright rude remarks. Make sure your content and posts here are very high quality and provide useful information.
How Social Networks Connect-Interact with Your Website
Your website is the hub of your Digital Marketing content and your blog (part of your website) is a vital part of that hub. The first step is to have a website and blog rich with quality content that is useful and informative.
Pay particular attention to the useful and informative part. No one wants yet another sales pitch or a page of content droning on and on about how you are the leading widget manufacturer or your widgets are the best or the cheapest, save that dribble for TV or radio ads if you still run them.
- Website Content: this is your repository for product/service information. Make sure you have an Information Architecture that flow well and is easy to navigate. You should have individual pages for each major product or service.
- Blog: this is where you add detail, updates, and provide editorial insight into you products, organization and industry. Your blog content is pushed out to Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter, as well as your website.
- Facebook and Google Plus: blog content will get pushed out to Facebook and Google Plus, and posts may link or relate to specific products,events or past blogs.
- Youtube: if you have video then by all means share it on Youtube and then post it on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and even your blog if it is relevant. In choosing videos to share make sure that they deliver value to the users and provide either useful information or they are entertaining. If you have “how to” videos your customers will appreciate these, just make sure you share and post them in the right place and appropriately.
- Articles and Press Releases: articles are sometimes written for third party sites or blogs and this can be good for SEO if done right. It is vital that the content be unique – it absolutely cannot be duplicate or copied content, and it must be good quality content. These article sites or blogs will link back to your website or blog and in some cases social networks may link to these articles which help with the authority ranking of the articles.