Any business, no matter how small, needs to have an online profile on at least one of the major social networks these days. You cannot avoid their ability to get your message across to literally 1000’s of people you would not otherwise interact with.
The days of Facebook, Twitter etc being the playground of the idle youth are over. Big business, small business and everyone in-between are all using these free social web sites to their business advantage. As with SEO experts, there are now hundreds of new companies springing up almost daily offering to run your social media networks for you.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage.
At first glance, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook appear to be a numbers game. I have more followers than you, he has more Facebook page likes than me and so on. I used to be the same until I sat down and developed my own small business plan.
I believe Twitter followers should be of quality not quantity, people that never ever interact with me on twitter are not helping to spread my business message. I would rather have 2000 followers that re-tweet (RT) some of my comments and links, than 5000 followers that are silent in the majority.
Twitter should be seen as a two-way partnership, a way to share news and ideas. You should aim for a healthy balance between tweeting your website business info and at the same time interacting with what your followers are tweeting to you.
People who spend a lot of time on twitter (I am on it 5 days a week for at least 5 hours a day) do get blind to constant spam and pushy promotions. I am not saying you should talk about what you had for dinner all the time, but you should try to appear human, if indeed you are tweeting as a human. Many tweeters are sadly spam or automated applications.
Social Networking, Increase Your Small Business Exposure.
It can seem hard to keep up with the constant changes, Google announced Google+ Pages for business and Facebook enhanced their business pages and so on. Listen and observe what your fellow SME’s are saying works for them, you will often pick up hints and tips that way. I look for social platforms that can provide good SEO advantages. I am not into collecting followers just for the sake of an ego trip.
Facebook and twitter are great for networking, but they should not form the single key role in your SEO efforts. I use both of them to get my small business name in the public’s mind, but if the content of my tweet is important, for online searches, I would blog it, add to my web site or comment on my Google+ Business Page.
Facebook, twitter and the many other social sites are a great way to forge new business relationships. The majority of my link exchanges have been as a result of networking on twitter.
However you should not solely rely on social media to increase your web traffic, as that alone will not work in the long term. Google is still THE search engine of choice for most people and good unique content is still the way to the top of the search results.
I currently use twitter more and more as most small businesses do, to make people aware of my web site. I also have to make sure my web site is optimised so as to be seen by the search engines. There are still millions of people that do not follow me on twitter, Facebook and I need to be able to reach these people too.
Do not create a web site, then just sit back and wait for the web traffic to rise, it will not happen. A very small percentage of my 375,000 unique web visitors per month arrive on my web site because of social media, as much as 90% is directly from searches carried out on Google and my ranking for those researched key phrases.
Food for thought but these percentages are changing as social networking and word of mouth becomes ever more important for small business owners. You cannot ignore social networks.
The social networks are a great way to approach people and businesses with your web site ideas. There are people very willing to cast a constructive critical eye over your latest site updates and plans, just take your time when asking for link exchanges and web page design reviews. People will help but you need to not appear pushy.
Schedule The Posting of Your Status Updates and Tweets
Plan carefully when you intend updating your social network status and pages. Many people for instance cannot access Twitter or Facebook during office hours and naturally, if you are planning to target web visitors in different time zones, you should consider using software to schedule delivery of your tweets and status updates to suit your target time zone.
Tweets are generally best sent in the UK after 5pm GMT, the time when most people are finishing work and heading home. Many people will access twitter on their mobile phone whilst using public transport, so your target audience will suddenly have got a lot larger.
5pm GMT also coincides with lunchtime (12pm) in the East Coast of the USA. If this were your target market, then 5pm GMT would be a good time to tweet your important updates, as you would reach both UK and US interested parties during out of office time.
Early morning tweets are useful too, again people will access the social networks before their working day begins.
You should also re-tweet your important updates at different times of the day to reach different audiences. Providing you do not spam twitter, a few re-tweets of the same information will not put too many people off following your profile.
The social networks are great tools for free publicity but you will need your web site to seal the deal. There is no one quick route to the top but there are certainly quick routes to the bottom of the Google search results!
Social media is a two-way process, please do not forget that. If you re-post someone’s comments (with permission of course), they are going to be far more happy to return the favour and share your business news sometime in the future.
If you are only interested in gaining new followers but not interacting with them, you will find it hard to get your message spread far and wide. Be social on the social networks.