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Will Social Media Replace The SEO in 2014? 10 Useful Tips for Your Business to Survive.

Will Social Media Replace The SEO in 2014? 10 Useful Tips for Your Business to Survive.

Is SEO dead?

Thanks to the recent introduction of the Hummingbird algorithm, the rumors of SEO heading towards its demise are circulating around the Internet.  With social media marketing gaining immense importance for online businesses, the role of SEO is questioned. Dark clouds loom over SEO, but before you jump into any conclusions, a fair question to ask at this point is whether or not SEO is being replaced by social media marketing.

A few years ago, this statement would have been termed preposterous. However, Google’s new algorithm has emphasized the importance of long tail keywords that have enhanced the meaning of search.
Now users are able to carry out voice activated searches which include conversation in the search.  Specifically targeted towards products and services, 70% of all searches across the globe are conversational. This new addition has revolutionized the old fundamentals of SEO.

Is social media marketing the future?

Lately, social media has emerged as the new face of marketing and manipulating searches online. Google has launched a personal search results feature page that consists of photos and other results shared by friends on social networks.  With the new personal search result, the conventional model of packing the headline with keywords will become gradually replaced by social activity on Google’s own social network.

In the long-run, the  big guns of social media marketing such as Twitter and Facebook, also want to be included by Google in personal search results. Therefore, social media is not just about your social presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms but it has taken the form of a powerful engine that develops social followings and optimization of content.

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The content itself is not just restricted to the Internet but also spans out to mobile phones. Anyone who has been oblivious to the new wave of social media marketing is going to miss out on engaging with the increasing number of digital audience.  In order to survive the cut-throat competition and save your business from being banished away, you need to learn how to market through social media as soon as possible.

Social media can multiply your SEO impact. Read these 10 tips on effective social media marketing.

1. Know what your competition is up to

By evaluating the content written on various blogs, you can write on similar topics, but obviously this does not mean “copying” someone else’s idea. In fact, you can take ideas from those sources and write with a different take on similar topics. Some tools such as Social Crawlytics and SEMRush help you to analyze competitor’s content and to find the count of each post shared across social networks.

2. Increase views with attractive thumbnails

YouTube is a vital weapon for helping you grow your business online. Since everyone these days is on YouTube posting videos, how can you increase your chances of being pick out by potential customers? The answer lies in creating compelling and attention-grabbing thumbnails for your videos. The secret behind those awesome thumbnails is three simple words: Graphics, Text and X-Factor.

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3. Pick and choose the platforms

It is better to pick three or four social media platforms where you can build the strongest presence for your company. There are a number of media platforms to choose from. Instead of being jack of all trades and master of none, try to build a strong presence on a few where you find the most number of potential customers. How do you figure out where your audience is? Simple! Join online groups and communities with those platforms that focus on your products or services.

4. Take advantage of Twitter’s advanced search feature

Twitter can be handy for finding ways to interact with prospect customers. Thanks to the Advanced Search option in Twitter, you can instantly find customers looking for products or services similar to what you have to offer.  The best part is that it is free of cost and it provides an instant opportunity to connect with the customers and bring business your way.

5. Connect with email subscribers

Considered a traditional method, email is still one of the most critical tools for sending out notifications and offers to your visitors/ customers. With the latest Gmail Promotional tab, it is likely for the email to be overlooked, as not many people even check the email if it doesn’t appear in the primary Inbox. You can get around this problem by connecting with your blog update subscribers on LinkedIn and Facebook. A social CRM tool by the name of Rapportive helps you export and connect with social network connections on your Gmail sidebar.

6. Make your podcast easily consumable on mobile

Don’t forget the importance of mobile phones and their role in social media marketing. Smart phones are your vital weapon as the majority of people listen to podcasts through them.  When a user clicks on a podcast, most smart phones launch a new window and start playing the content. To make the experience richer, install a simple HTML5 audio player on your blog so that the new users can read and hear the podcast in same window all at the same time.

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More to read on: How To make Enhanced Podcasts

7. A picture is worth a thousand words

Adding Pintrest into your business can make all the difference. With 65% of human beings as visual learners, you should pay heed to this wide percentage of people who still rely on visuals. By adding an original photo pertaining to your business and pinning it on Pinterest, you are engaging people with visuals. Continue this practice for a month and then find out the kind of traffic you are able to drive through this method with the help of Google Analytics.

8. Employ Google+ Reverse Image Lookup

Google is not just about links and ranks. Now Google+ helps you build relationships in your related industry of expertise. Through Google+, you can engage with people of which Google thinks highly. Do a Google reverse image search to find where they are currently contributing and convert from great guest opportunities for your business.

9. Engage social media as a publicity engine

Brain Clark, founder and CEO of Copyblogger, emphasizes on imagining the social media platform as a publicity engine. Okay, you have added all the appropriate content on social networks, but traffic from these platforms means nothing unless it is actually converted into customers. So make sure you add relevant content to attract the right kind of prospect customers and not just random traffic on your website. This requires sensitive planning and monitoring of your content to see what you are doing right and what is not going in your favor. Remember, content in social media marketing is a valuable asset because if someone finds it worthy, they are likely to share it with others also which will help you generate the necessary buzz for your business.

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10. Use SlideShare Pro to get subscribers

Anyone who is familiar with SlideShare Pro is aware of its enormous power in allowing you to collect leads and subscribers. By paying a meager fee of $16 a month, you can acquire a SlideShare Pro account and engage with a vast number of potential customers through it. SlideShare was purchased by LinkedIn and sees about 100 million visitors every month.  Easily integrated with most marketing automation systems, you can acquire subscribers and ultimately drive new leads through this handy tool.

Conclusion

SEO is transcending towards social media marketing. The importance of all these social media platforms continues to increase. 2014 is only a few weeks away. This makes it all the more reason to put your thinking cap on and develop new ways for surviving and expanding your business further. By taking into account these valuable tips, you can enhance your marketing strategies, develop new leads and put your business into new heights. It is time to evolve into something better. Take a little time to decide where you want to be the next year in terms of your business and its future. Best of luck! :)

So what would be your online marketing strategy for 2014? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Faisal Rehman

Faisal Rehman writes about work and productivity, trying to help businessmen build their brands and increase sales.

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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