It’s All Changing – Again!

Social Media is now really starting to impact on web activity in a serious way. The Google algorithm measurement is tipped towards social media activity in providing the highest website rankings. The new buzzwords are ‘Social Media Optimisation’, and as regular readers will know, it’s a strategy we have been recommending for some time now.

Stand-alone webpages are no longer effective. Google with its algorithms has changed the way Search Engines work. Now over 50% of people check their emails on their smart phone when they first awaken. Then they will check out other stuff like Facebook, Twitter, the weather, shares and other sites of interest. Upwards of 80% of online users currently use their smart phone to access the internet rather than a PC. So your ‘website’ must be responsive to tablets and mobiles to gain the optimum ranking score from Google.

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What is Social Media Optimisation? Is it really the new gateway to higher Google rankings, leading to more traffic and greater enquiry levels?

Worldwide the Social Media phenomenon is simply breathtaking. Facebook is the leader with over 1.55 billion active users, 1.01 billion daily users and 894 million mobile active users. [Facebook Stats Sept 30th 2015]. Short videos attract 4 billion views a day on Facebook and YouTube.

Twitter commands 1 billion users with 500 million users ‘following only’ and not tweeting. LinkedIn has over 400 million business users and 6 million business listings. Instagram and Pinterest have a combined 400 million participating users.

You must admit a marketplace of over 3 billion people is pretty impressive.

Commentators have noted across the board that social media is producing double the leads when compared to trade shows, telemarketing, print media daily press and pay-per-click combined.

For most this phenomena is interesting and impressive. But if you’re running a small to medium business tucked away in the suburban antipodes of Australia, how can this huge upsurge help your business?

Target the whole of Australia, target your city; your location. You have immediately massively expanded your market opportunities.

In Australia there are over 14.1 million Australians aged over 18 with Facebook accounts and millions accessing other social media platforms too!. They are using  their PCs and mobile devices (smartphones, iPad etc.) to access social media.

But to take advantage of this broad market you must be ‘Social Media Optimised’. Personally I hate IT buzzwords, so what exactly does this mean? And what are the advantages of being an early adopter?

We’ve all got used to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. 2013 saw new entries in Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ all gaining traction. Now the new frontier is video driven social media – Snapchat, Meerkat, Blab and Periscope. And with these new mediums, traditional advertising and adwords in particular are becoming less relevant. With a well-structured social media program most websites receive a very good organic ranking. And if you’re top of the page in your category then why pay the Google tax for AdWords campaigns?

Google rates video activity very highly. So adding videos in any format that accepts them and tagging them or linking them to your website is Google gold.

In the last 6 months Social Media providers like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube have become particularly business oriented and business friendly. Facebook are pushing for businesses to add a vendor page – a page whereby this business sells its products and services. It offers specific local advertising options that can work well for small businesses.

The keyword is strategy. So, what is your is your social media strategy for your business? “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is a well-known saying, and it applies only too well in this instance. Social Media is always on the ‘to do’ list, but like many other things, no-one gets round to doing it!

There are two options, the first option is often the simplest – outsource the task to experts; there are many companies now offering Social Media Campaigns. The second option is to create an internal staff based Social Media Campaign.

The strategy, whichever option you choose, must ultimately be based on frequency, with at least 250 to 300 words of fresh content per week via your blog page, multiple posts on Facebook weekly, frequent tweets on Twitter and videos, if possible, using YouTube, Meerkat, Periscope or Blab.

The other holy grail of marketing is reach, and you need to look at opportunities to extend this. Duplicate the content in your blogs for a company/business Newsletter and distribute to your database using a free program, such as MailChimp, linking to your Facebook page, website and blogs. On Facebook boost posts and your page weekly, you can select your targeted demographics. Charges vary, depending on the reach and location. Do the same with other Social Media like Twitter and LinkedIn.Run digital campaigns to connect with your customers, who are bound to be staring at their phones like everyone else.

This is the year of mobile enactment, the year of Social Media Optimisation and engagement. This is the year of Video enactment. This is the year for your business to develop a winning social media strategy and gain the attention and ultimately the sales it deserves.

[Michael Nelthorpe is the Marketing Director with the Marketing and Branding Company. Contact him at michael@marketingandbranding.com.au for further enquiry and information. Acknowledgement to Marna Smith, Social Media and Content Writer]

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