If you can not see the relevance of Facebook, Twitter, Google maps and LinkedIn to your business, it's time to reassess your marketing strategy. While many businesses may not yet have the internal resource to commit to actively engaging users using social media, every business strives to improve the number of leads their website generates and their search engine rank – which is just what social media can help you achieve.
Ensuring your website can be found by the right people, with the right demand, is the key to online business success. Social media sites and applications provide a wealth of free online opportunities your company needs to utilize to ensure your website can be found by your target market.
In late 2009, the way in which search engines rank content changed significantly when real-time-search was introduced. Real-time-search places importance on new and unique content – allowing this fresh content to achieve a ranking faster than ever before.
This change to search engine algorithms was made to acknowledge the billions of characters of fresh content being published on social media sites every day and rewards those who blog, comment, participate in discussion groups and / or post status updates.
In order to leverage this change in search engines, your business needs to have some form of social media presence. If you do not have the time or know how to manage an interactive social media campaign, then do not make the mistake of doing nothing at all. Instead, try setting up the following accounts and profiles and post the recommended content:
- Setup a Google Place Page. In Google Maps, any business can setup a page detailing where they are, what they do, hours of operation and (most importantly) a link to their website.
- Setup a Facebook fan page. When setting this page up you can change the page settings so that (until you're ready) no one but you can post to your page. While this seriously defeats the purpose of social media, and will not help you build an online following, it will provide you with a place you can post industry relevant articles (that link to your corporate website) and do not have to worry about monitoring it to reply to posts others may make. This will allow you to leverage real-time-search, build credibility with anyone who finds your articles / blogs and help drive traffic to your corporate site.
- Setup a Twitter account. Doing this will not only allow you to secure your business name on Twitter, it will also allow you to post updates on your business that link to your website. For example, use Twitter to alert people when you've completed a project or let users know when you have provided new product or service information on your website. You do not have to post something every day – just aim for a once a week update.
- Setup a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a business networking website that allows you to setup a personal and business profiles and create contacts with other users. You can also setup online discussions, polls and status updates – all geared to drive users to contact you.
Smart online marketers know that simply having a website does not mean you will be able to generate leads and / or sales for the web. Leveraging the power of social media, will help you ensure that when someone has the need for your product or service, they will be able to find you.
Ignoring social media will leave your competitors with an advantage.