We swear, if we read one more blog post on how your entire business will keel right over without the support of all-powerful social media, our eyes will roll so far back in our heads that they’ll get stuck there. Yes, social media plays an important part in your overall search engine marketing strategy—but notice we said a part of your strategy. Just like a single blog post isn’t going to open a floodgate of traffic right to your door, don’t go thinking social is going to save your bacon all on its own.
Understanding the big picture of how social media can work within your primary SEM strategy can help you better leverage its true strength. Social media is a great tool that can enhance your business success, but it’s best not to use it as the bedrock you’re building that success upon.
Step 1: Learn the Limitations
You’ve heard those stories: so-and-so built a business based largely on the success of their Facebook page. Then good ol’ FB changed their newsfeed algorithms yet again, throttling page views down from a steady stream to an occasional drip and dribble. Oh, unless you’re willing to purchase their increasingly expensive ad space! Then you’ll get those readers back!
Yeah, well, we’re not buying. PPC has its time and place, but paid advertising is not the same thing as organic social media.
This is why we constantly counsel against putting all your eggs in any one basket when it comes to search engine marketing. Improving your site’s ranking is a long, involved process that takes a lot of moving parts. Social media is only one of those parts.
Step 2: Reap the Benefits
Don’t shut down your Pinterest boards just yet. Social media benefits are very real and measurable. Here’s a handful of perks just off the top of our heads:
- Social media is an awesome content delivery system. Every post stakes out a chunk of internet real estate that links back to your site. If you publish weekly blogs but no one bothers reading them, what’s the point? Send ’em out over social and let the fans know your content is out there.
- Social media is perfect for spreading some love to your existing client base. Think customer retention. Send out specials. Advertise sales. Let customers know you’re down to the last apple turnover but it’s all theirs if they leave their house RIGHT NOW. If you’re lucky enough to have a responsive audience that follows you on social, every day is a chance to thank them for that.
- Social media can give customers a glimpse behind the curtain. We all share that drive to see what life’s like on the other side, and social serves as the perfect peephole. Giving your client base some behind-the-scenes action helps them feel like they’re on the inside right there with you—not held at arm’s length.
The biggest perceived advantage of social media is that it can create an organic, real-time conversation between you and your audience. That’s a nice thought and all, but when you’re actually, you know, running a business, you don’t have time to obsessively refresh your Twitter feed all day looking for new conversations.
What you do have time for, though, is to share your content, deliver value and give customers a chance to get to know you. Once you start being realistic about the best way to use social media for your business, you can stop spinning your wheels and begin gaining traction among your followers.