Why Social Media Matters
Posted by Corey Smith on Apr 18, 2012 3:10:00 PM
Too often, I hear people complain about social media. I’ve heard all the reasons why social media is bad:
“I don’t want people to know what I am doing.”
“I can’t mix personal and business.”
“I don’t understand why anyone would want to hear what I have to say.”
“None of my contacts are on social media.”
I’ve heard plenty of other reasons, too. In fact, the list is as long as the day.
I think that these reasons for not wanting to participate in social media show a level of shortsightedness because it means that we aren’t willing to look at social media from an objective or realistic point of view.
I wrote before that social media is about being social but that is only part of the picture.
In reality, there are three primary reasons why businesses need to seriously consider social media as a part of their overall marketing strategy. Failing to understand these three critical aspects will cause you to miss out on spectacular marketing opportunities for your business.
Search Engine Optimization
When other websites link to your website, you get a vote for your credibility and relevance. It has been a long-standing tactic for search engine optimizers to generate in-bound links to your website to help build credibility. In fact, spammers love this tactic as they can often get many links in comments on other people’s blogs and websites.
When you post a link in your social media channels, your link becomes another in-bound link to your website. If those in your network share that link, it means that you have even more in-bound links.
However, link building is not the only benefit. Social media posts (profiles, articles, etc.) are indexed in the search engines (assuming your privacy settings don’t prevent them). Many times, your social media profiles and status updates (tweets) will even appear above your website in the search engines… which will then have a chance of driving traffic to you.
But, don’t forget… search engine optimization does not mean you’ll get traffic.
When I started this new blog, it should be obvious that I had no rankings in the search engines. Long before Google even knew this website existed, I was able to garner a fair amount of traffic. I was able to gain this traffic through posts to my social networks.
I can look back and analyze my traffic and see a direct correlation of traffic due to posts in social media. When I post a link to my blog, depending on what time of day and how compelling my message is, I can see a reasonably consistent amount of new traffic. If the post on my blog is particularly compelling, then I can see that number double or even triple because of the sharing of other people within my network.
Remember… just because you get traffic, it doesn’t mean you are going to make a sale.
The most compelling reason, in my opinion, for social media is the social aspect to it. But, it’s more than just the social aspect… it’s about actively fostering relationships with new people.
I think it’s laughable when I hear the comment that, “None of my friends are on social media.” To presuppose that the only people you know are the only people you should connect with on social media is a major fallacy in the way social media is intended.
The biggest hallmark of social media for business is that you can create and build new relationships. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, you have an opportunity to build new relationships with people that you don’t already know.
There is a catch to all this. While it’s great that you can gain a stronger presence in the search engines and you can garner new traffic to your website, there is a requirement.
That requirement is that you have strong relationships. Google, Bing, etc. understand the influence of your network. The stronger your influence, the more weight they will give to your posts. The more people you influence, the more traffic you will generate.
You can also destroy your influence by posting only links to your website and never providing any value. No matter how many people follow/friend you, if you are always asking them to do something (go to a link) and never return anything (information, engagement, humor, etc.) they will begin to ignore you. That will negatively impact your search engine optimization and traffic.
So, the moral is… be social.
Written by Corey Smith
Corey Smith is the founder of Tribute Media and serves as the Digital Marketing Strategist. He is also the author of "Do It Right: A CEO's Guide to Web Strategy" and "Tweet It Right: A CEO's Guide to Twitter."