With the recent Penguin and Panda updates, websites in every industry have begun to change the way they approach SEO and marketing in general. Instead of focusing on impressing search engine algorithms webmasters and marketers are now focusing more on genuinely impressing people so that they will want to share content with other people through the social web.
There are a number of obvious advantages to using social media and we could simply leave it at “it’s necessary because all your competitors are doing it”, but to really give you an idea of why you would be missing out if you fail to utilise social media in 2013 we’ve compiled the following list of reasons:
1. Gaining Authority In Google
Reading social signals is one of the ways Google and other search engines are evolving to become more efficient at detecting spammy linkbuilding efforts. Google’s logic is simple – if a page has a significant presence in social networks and people with real authentic accounts are sharing it then it must contain high-quality content that provides a good match for searchers.
According to Moz social signals are actually becoming more important than any other type of metric used by the search engines, which is why they’ve posted an entire guide on the topic for those of us looking to maximize our social media potential.
2. No Better Way to Spend Your Budget
While conventional SEO techniques like content distribution and keyword targeting are still necessary components of a balanced campaign they’re no longer as important as having a social presence. With hundreds or even thousands of targeted followers in your social network you’ll have the ability to easily promote and share your marketing efforts and content with the masses in a viral fashion.
In 2012 the average internet marketer reported devoting approximately 40% of their budget to social media, and that statistic has risen to nearly 50% in 2013. That means most marketers are now devoting at least half of their budget to social media campaigns. Google+ alone has seen a 9400% increase in popularity in just the past year.
So, what do you spend your budget on once you’ve made the commitment to invest in social media? Most of your budget should be spent on share-worthy content, infographics, or media that is designed to capture attention and promote a social following. The rest should be devoted to social account management and data analysis.
3. Building Brand Trust and Awareness
Social networking does more than just provide secondary search engine benefits and simplified promotion, it also gives you a venue through which to correspond with your entire target audience on a personal level because they can easily send you direct messages, post comments/questions on your profile pages, and view your previous correspondence with other customers or industry peers within the social web.
Social media, or any content designed to proliferate in social networks, is the main driving force that attracts your targeted audience and potential customer base into your network. You give the people something they are interested in and they will continue to give credibility to your brand simply by being a follower or friend in your accounts.
The art of social media is learning how to consistently create and effectively distribute content that makes peoples say “I like this and I want to see more stuff like it in the future.” If your media does not lead to that impression then you need to go back to the drawing board and examine your content development practices.
4. Accessing Valuable Analytical Data
Finally, social profiles provide a goldmine of demographic and sociological data that can be used to determine where your related markets are and give you inspiration to find new outreach methods. Other than creating share-worthy content, developing the ability to spot trends and patterns in your network is perhaps the most important part of becoming a proficient social media marketer.
When someone joins your network you instantly become privy to their personal opinions, what kind of entertainment they enjoy, and their interests in general. While this information may seem random and irrelevant it can actually give you great insight into how to capture the attention of your target audience in indirect and unconventional ways.
Furthermore, with social media you get to see in real-time how your strategy adjustments and outreach efforts are performing because you get an accurate depiction of engagement rates and you can draw from the input and opinions of the people who matter the most, those in you’re social network.
About The Guest Author: Keith Tully is a business recovery specialist and licensed insolvency practitioner with Real Business Rescue, a reputable company rescue firm in the United Kingdom.
Social Media Photo via Shutterstock