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10 Ways Social Media Dramatically Improves SEO

10 Ways Social Media Dramatically Improves SEO
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Your website is only valuable if potential customers can find it. One of the best ways to draw customers to your e-commerce business is through organic traffic. This is when you’ve optimized your site so search engines consider you a trusted source of valuable information.

When your site is fully optimized, customers don’t have to know about your brand. They simply have to search for the product they want to buy or problem they want to solve.

When someone visits your site because they clicked on a link found in a list of search results, that’s called organic traffic. You can optimize your site so search engines will give you a higher ranking.

There are many different search engine optimization techniques you can use. Some of the most effective methods are creating high quality content, building reputable backlinks, and developing connections with influencers in your industry.

One underutilized, but extremely effective, SEO technique involves using social media. Here are 10 easy ways social media can boost your organic traffic.

1. Create a Consistent Tone

Social media communication is frequently informal. At the same time, you’ll want to stay professional. Develop a “voice” for your social media posts. This is the style and type of language used.

Your voice will depend on both your product and target audience. If your product is fun and your audience young, your voice can be witty and loose. If your product is serious (a financial or medical service, for instance) you’ll probably want to adopt a more formal tone.

Once you’ve discovered your voice, use it consistently across all messaging. This creates a connection with your potential customers; they’ll start to think of your brand as a personality. A consistent voice also ties all of your social media platforms back to your brand.

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2. Identify the Best Social Network

Most marketers focus exclusively on Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best strategy. Sure, Facebook and Twitter are large and popular. But they might not be the most popular choice among your target audience.

For instance, about 42% of all female internet users use Pinterest. If your target audience is female and your product is visual, Pinterest can connect you with a lot of potential customers.

Another example is LinkedIn. This platform is primarily used by business professionals. If you offer a B2B product or service, you’ll want an active LinkedIn presence.

Always be on the lookout for social networks where you’ll be able to find a potential audience interested in what your brand has to offer.

3. Avoid the Hard Sell

The average person follows more friends and family than brands on social media. This means their social media feeds have more posts from people instead of advertisements. Social media users tend to get annoyed if a brand advertises too heavily.

People on social media want interesting information. Most of your social media activity should be shares related to your industry, not ads for your products or services. A good rule of thumb is to post about seven industry articles for every three product mentions.

4. Post Strategically

When you post is often as important as how you post. You’ll want to post at times when your audience is most receptive to your message.

This will depend on your audience and what social platform you’re using. Trying to reach business professionals on LinkedIn? They’re most likely to check LinkedIn between 9 am and 5 pm during the workday.

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What if you’re trying to reach Twitter users? This group is young and mobile. They’re likely to check their Twitter feed between about 11 am and 1 pm, which is during a typical lunch break. After 5 pm is also a good time to tweet.

5. Connect with Social Media Influencers

Social media influencers are people who have a lot of followers and a good amount of influence in a particular niche or industry. They can be a great way for your brand to be introduced to a large, new base of potential customers.

You’ll want to develop relationships with influencers in your industry. To do this, you’ll have to connect with them through social media. You’ll also have to provide something of value. This can be content you create which they’ll publish on their site, a free product to review, or something similar.

6. Be Interactive

Social media isn’t a one-way form of communication. You’ll want to engage with your followers regularly. This means responding to both compliments and complaints.

Social media users don’t want to wait too long for a response. One effective tool here is Mention. This monitors a huge variety of social media platforms and notifies you whenever your brand is, well, mentioned.

Not every comment about your brand is going to be positive. That’s okay. You want to deal with complaints quickly, professionally, and publicly. Even if you can’t please that specific customer, other potential customers will appreciate a professional response.

7. Create Online Communities

You not only want to engage with potential customers on your page, you also want to create online spaces. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all let you create your own group for your followers to post in. This allows you more control over your brand and message.

To grow your group, you’ll want to offer new subscribers some unique and useful content. This could be a guide, e-book, podcast, or something similar your audience will respond to. Once someone subscribes to your group, you can begin introducing them into the Conversion Funnel.

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8. Join Existing Online Communities

Find and join social media groups. These don’t have to be groups necessarily related to your industry directly. Instead, they should have an audience which is potentially interested in your products.

Your audience doesn’t think about your brand all the time. They have other interests, too. Once you identify these interests, join any related Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media groups.

Don’t join groups and simply start promoting your products. People will understandably be annoyed. Instead, you want to just make yourself known. Show an interest in the subject of the group. Be friendly. This will help build trust and increase your reputation among your target market.

9. Buy Facebook Ads (with Precision)

If you have a sizable potential audience on Facebook, you should consider Facebook ads. They’re a great way to reach a targeted group of interested people.

Facebook ads can be tailored to just about any budget. You’ll probably want to start small and then increase your ad buys over time based on which types of ads have shown to be successful.

Ten dollars a day is a good starting point. Keep your ads between ten and fifteen cents a click. For most campaigns, you’ll want to limit your buys to 20 cents a click.

Every few weeks, you’ll want to evaluate your return on investment. This strategy lets you avoid spending money on ads which aren’t connecting and focusing on the types of ads which are.

10. Use the Power of Social Proof

People don’t necessarily trust brands. What they do trust is other people. This is the power of Social Proof.

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This is where positive engagement can really pay off. If you successfully solve a problem or otherwise connect with a customer online, everyone connected to that person on social media can also watch the exchange. This positive brand awareness can ripple through social media and reach countless new potential customers.

Testimonials are another way to harness the power of social proof. When real people sing the praises of your product or service in a real-world situation, other people will take notice. Turn compliments posted to your social media pages into testimonials for your website.

Bonus Tip! The Power of Indirect Benefits

You’re not going to directly sell many products through social media. But that’s perfectly okay. Social media is designed to help with conversions, not directly create sales.

By developing a robust, active social media presence, you’re helping create two benefits:

First, you’re helping to connect with potential customers by creating brand awareness, increasing brand trustworthiness, and developing a brand “personality.”

Next, you’re also helping to increase your ranking in the search results. Major search engines, including Google, favor pages which have a lot of shares. In fact, shares are considered links. If you can get a lot of people sharing, liking, and otherwise engaging with your content through social media, you’re helping improve your SERP.

Devoting time to your brand’s social media accounts is an important part of every successful website.

Have any tips? Share them here!

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Featured photo credit: Pic Jumbo via picjumbo.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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