3 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Social Media

Okay, we’re on Facebook – now what?

 imagesMany small-to-medium sized businesses recognize they need a social media component of their marketing, but don’t specifically know what the benefits are – or worse, simply implement social media because everyone else is doing it. But be assured, social media is great for business, and there is plenty of documentation to support the wisdom of running social media campaigns.

Smaller businesses (and larger ones) usually face time and budget constraints and see social media as just one more set of tasks to attend to, with only a vague idea of its value. Most companies create a Facebook page and/or a blog, and might adopt Twitter or a Pinterest page if they’re especially committed to social marketing. All too often, though, a company sets up its blog or Facebook page, uploads a few pictures and comments, then lets them languish. Not only is this wasting some great opportunities to grow your business, it can actually negatively impact your company’s presence on the Web.

But let’s talk about the three big reasons you need social media for your business – and some ways you might be doing it wrong.

Branding. You already have a website, and you are already marketing your business in several channels. Now you have to make sure your company maintains its presence on the web and is visible among its competitors. You want to speak directly to your customers and partners, and social media gives you the opportunity to do that in infinite detail. It’s a huge gift to marketing, which until recently was mostly comprised of static, one-way messages.

And, by growing and improving your Web footprint, you can better manage perception of your brand. Some clients are skittish about using social media for fear of opening up their pages to negative reviews or complaints. Handling negative feedback is a skill in itself – but if done right, can actually increase other users’ confidence in your brand. By responding promptly and taking customer issues seriously, you can end up giving customers a more positive perception of your company than they had before.

Competing. With a strong company blog, Facebook page and other social media platforms, you’re not just keeping up with your competitors for the sake of seeming “as important” on the Web. Searchers are out there parsing your website and your competitor’s, comparing services, pricing and getting a feel for who you are; they are subconsciously observing “social signals” that all contribute to the overall impression of your company, finally influencing whether they choose to work with you or not.

But that’s only half the battle. In the competition for internet eyeballs, the single most important thing you can do for your company’s website is to keep it fresh. Google tells us this again and again in their social media and search engine optimization announcements: You must keep your site dynamic and fresh with new content. This usually means having a blog on your page and keeping it current with fresh stories, posting as often as possible. It helps to have everyone in the organization to pitch in, even if you have to resort to a virtual Idea Box. Everyone has a tip of the day or a story or a photo to share. Post company milestones, events, industry news, employee profiles. These are all valuable company assets, and you should be using them. (See What Not to Do, below.) This ultimately will help your company compete – and improve customer perception by leaps and bounds.

Growing. The time and energy you spend increasing your company’s visibility in local, national and mobile searches are well worth it. Yes, you are already spending an x amount of budget on advertising channels; in today’s business climate, social media is not only an incredibly important component of marketing, it actually increases the value of your other marketing efforts. By strategically interweaving your advertising and social media, you get an extra boost from each platform you use.

Think of Google and social media as your friends – if you use them well in the manner they were intended they be used, you will be rewarded with an ever-greater Web presence, greater goodwill and trust by users. The basic goal of Google has never changed: To deliver the best content that users will want to see, use and share. In a word, to improve the experience of using the Internet for everyone. Keeping this principle in mind as a guideline will help your company stay on track to growing the best possible Web presence it can have.

Things Not to Do With Your Social Media Campaigns

Ignore them.  Forgetting to post new content is the fastest way to drop in organic search rankings, disappear from the first page of search results and guarantee that you stay there. We can’t emphasize this enough. Which is why we’ve mentioned it three times already. On Google, Content is King. This means you have to post fresh, original content on your blog and other channels regularly. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece every time, just make sure it gets done. Shoot for putting up a post at least once a week, so the search engine crawlers can discover it, index it and reward the site with better ranking.

Duplicate them. The corollary to posting good content is to make sure you don’t do it the same way twice. If re-writing for Facebook or Tumblr, create a completely different introduction and change up the content. Google will actively penalize your website if it finds duplicate content anywhere. It can take months to recover from this happening, so avoid posting it! This includes repeating information within the site itself.

Auditing your social media campaigns and building them out are things we’re happy to work on for you. If you have any questions about these topics, please feel to leave a comment here or contact us directly. We’re here to help!