For years, there have been arguments for both sides of the spectrum on social media’s effect on SEO. While there are those that argue that social media doesn’t affect search rankings directly, others still believe in the power of good social media marketing.
This article discusses what social media marketing is, how to go about it, and how a good social media strategy can positively affect your SEO.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing has become an integral part of digital marketing. This is mainly because of its ability to help businesses of all sizes to reach their marketing goals. Be it increasing reach, engagement, awareness, traffic, and even sales – social media is a powerful tool all businesses must harness.
But as with any marketing strategy, you can’t just create content, post them on different social channels, and hope for the best. You need to have a plan, one that’s aligned with your business and marketing goals.
To help you get started, you can ask yourself these basic questions:
- What are you looking to achieve with social media marketing?
- Who is your target audience?
- Which channels are your audience using and how are they using it?
- What messaging are you looking to share on social media?
Once you get a clear idea of how to answer these questions, you can begin to craft a social media strategy. Below is a guide on how you can go about it.
Social media strategy guide
Set SMART goals
You’ve probably heard of SMART goals before, and that’s not only because it’s an intelligent approach, but also because it works. As a refresher, SMART stands for:
SMART goals help you to stick with your plan and allow you to measure the success of your efforts.
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For example, when it comes to driving leads and sales for an ecommerce website you just started, you can set a 10% sales increase goal for the first half of the year (specific and time-bound). Apart from the sales increase, you can also measure success with link clicks, email subscriptions, and new followers (measurable and attainable).
Define who your audience is
Because you can’t be everything to everyone, you need to clearly define who you want your audience to be. This helps you in coming up with the types of content you’ll be sharing, and where you’ll be sharing it.
In the example above, Away understands that its audience is interested in learning about new travel destinations. As such, they provide them with a steady stream of content to cater to their interests.
To help you define your audience, you need to build marketing personas. And one of the easiest ways to go about this is to use the 5Ws and 1H.
- Who are they? This, for example, entails defining what your ideal audience’s age, gender, job, and salary would be.
- What are they interested in that you can provide? So for Away, their audience is interested in travel and lifestyle tips. They provide content that can help them achieve their travel dreams.
- Where do they hang out online? Are they more of the Instagram, or the LinkedIn type?
- When do they look for content you can provide? On their way to work, before bedtime, weekends.
- Why do they consume content? Sticking with the Away example – to get travel inspiration, and become better travelers.
- How do they consume content? Are they readers or watchers?
Once you get an understanding of who your audience is, this will help you in coming up with a social media content strategy. Speaking of which…
Determine what you’ll be sharing
This ties in with understanding your audience and knowing:
- What their goals and challenges are
- How you can help solve them
Still sticking with the Away example, as a travel pack company, they’re looking to inspire people to travel (and ultimately buy their products) by posting beautiful photos of different destinations. They also post photos of their products to show their audience how essential it is to packing everything they need both efficiently and in style.
Keyword research also bodes well in helping you come up with content ideas that will not only interest your audience but also help them with their challenges goals. While competitive research provides insights on what other businesses in your industry are doing to drive engagement on social media.
How social media can help SEO
While social media isn’t currently a direct Google ranking factor, it doesn’t mean it can’t help your SEO efforts. Here are some of the ways your social strategy can help your search ranking.
Potential for links
Again, shares on social media don’t result in a good ranking signal, but there’s always a possibility that others can link to articles they see via social shares. One case study found that a company that achieved 130,000 Facebook shares were able to rank first in competitive keyword phrases.
When you’re able to create content that becomes popular on social media, it helps attract potential links. So whether it’s on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, if you create high-quality content that gets good traction, you increase the chances of getting links on from other websites.
Building trust has become so important in today’s hyper-competitive landscape that it should be part of the SEO checklist. And with the engaging nature of social media, it’s a crucial channel for brands to cultivate it on. When brands have a successful social presence, they’re able to build relationships with audiences. This breeds familiarity, and ultimately, trust.
So when people search for something, and they see your familiar name as one of the results, that familiarity increases the chances of them clicking on you – boosting your rankings.
Speaking of familiarity, when users Google your brand + a keyword phrase, it can help you rank for similar keyword phrases.
As pointed out by Search Engine Journal (SEJ), if you have a number of users searching for “[your brand] jeans” and most of them interact positively with your content, Google would think that since your web page ranks well for that keyword phrase, it would also be a good result for “jeans,” and place you higher for that keyword.
This was the case with FashionNova, which soared from nothing to 88,000 keywords in just a year. SEJ found that its main SEO ranking factors were having much lower bounce rates, and 6.3 million Instagram followers (at the time).
While Google continues to grapple with determining social signals’ credibility, there’s no doubt that having a strong social presence eventually helps your SEO ranking as well. It’s important to note, though, that it still boils down to producing high-quality content. You might have a large following, but if your content is superficial, it won’t help you rise to the top of SERPs.
Take a look at your best content. Is it ranking on Google? Come up with a social strategy to re-share that content and see if that helps improve its ranking.