Must-Have Social Media Outlets for the DIY Marketer

Posted on: July 23rd, 2012 - Written by: Nikita Minter

Here are some ways you can enhance your online presence.  Most are available free of charge and don’t require too much technical knowledge to implement into your strategy, though a little understanding may help.  These usually require nothing more than smart use of relevant keywords, a little bit of daily activity, and patience.

Facebook

Use Facebookspage feature to promote your brand over the busiest social network in the world.  The more “likes” your page has, the heavier it weighs in terms of SEO.   Even if you don’t have a flood of likes, having a page still helps your name rank heavily.

  • Link to your page on your website using the “Share” or “Like” link button instead of a basic text URL.  Facebook provides you with the snippet of code for this.
  • When posting as your page (You can switch your identity to post as your page, like a user), remember that the first 18 characters of your post will be picked up by the Facebook, Bing, and Google search engines. Think keywords!  Instead of “We’ve got new graphic tees in! Come see!” try “Graphic tees: New designs in the store! Come see!”
  • Share links, but remember to comment on them using the keyword rule. Google spiders pick the comments up with the link and treats them as rich content.
  • Brand your page using good, relevant images.
  • Add timeline apps (this acts like the old facebook tab system) to add relevant content to your page. Use StaticHTML: iFrameTabs to customize your page further, and good images to link to each tab. For example, you can have a tab explaining a more detailed history of your business, a tab for events, whatever you can think of.
  • Use FacebookInsights to get an analysis of visitor details to your page. It’s free, but is only active after your page receives 30 likes.

Google+ 

Google+ is still growing, but worth getting into. Because it’s integrated into the largest search engine around, having a Google+ page is very valuable. +1s, similar to Facebook’s Like buttons, are integrated into Google Analytics. The more +1s a comment or link has, the higher the rank.

  • Pages start to lose value after 72 hours of no activity and won’t show in the “related searches” list.
  • Pages have higher value than profiles; a company with a few thousand followers rank much higher in value than a person with a few million.
  • Trending, or “Sparks:” Google+ uses keywords and #hashtags like Twitter and generates a discussion around it. Make a post with a relevant hashtag or keyword and it will automatically show up in the trend. Any member of Google+, unless specified, can comment on your post.  You can keep track of who’s talking about a particular subject, including you and your company.
  • Circles are a great way to not only target your posts to relevant groups, but allows the system to network your postings. Your postings will rank higher in Google’s general search to logged in users who are a part of your network. For a good explanation on this and an illustration of the depth it goes, read “HowGoogle+ CirclesWillDriveTraffictoYourWebsite.”

Google Places

Businesses with a physical address can benefit well from GooglePlaces. Google Places integrates with Google Maps and search and acts as a directory listing and locator for your establishment.

  • Sign up with a Google account if you don’t have one already. Places will ask you to look up your business by phone number.  If it’s listed already, you’ll go through the process of claiming it.
  • You can choose to verify via phone (if the number is already listed and hasn’t changed) or by postcard (takes 2-3 weeks).
  • Once verified, your business pages will be editable by you and anyone else’s Google account you associate with it.
  • You can add videos, pictures and categorize your business for relevancy.
  • When categorizing, only add keywords that are most relevant to your business’ services. Keyword stuffing does harm to your rank.
  • Precision matters more than character in descriptions. Avoid catchphrases and focus on describing what your business does.
  • Google Local Business Photos is a new feature by Google that  schedules you with a Google Photographer to do a panoramic view of your office. This is separate from the photos you upload.  It’s still experimental, so not everyone may get the chance to participate; but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Twitter

Twitter provides a highly recommended guide for businesses, specifically small ones, which can be read at: TwitterforBusiness.

  • Use keywords in your tweets, but avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Share links to useful content. Use Bitly to shorten your URLs so you can have more room for your tweet, and Twitpic for images.
  • Research trends relevant to your business using tools

○     HootSuite is a premium analytics tool used by companies to research the needs and trends of customers, current and potential, by analyzing Twitter and Google+ keywords, sparks, and hashtags.  There is also a free version that is precise, but without the Facebook Insight and Google Analytic integration.

○     Klout is another tool that can be used to measure your ranking on not only Twitter, but Facebook as well.  You are scored on the strength of your account’s influence based on factors such as retweets, shares, and tagging that helps you gauge the size of your network.

  • If you’ve never used Twitter, here is a recommended quick list of why and how to use Twitter for your business: 50 IdeasOnUsingTwitterforBusiness, This includes great tips and explanations on the importance of having a human presence in your Twitter campaign.

Youtube

If you have them, videos are a great way to market yourself. Entertaining and informative ones (like demonstrations) are better than “commercial” style videos.  Since Youtube is now owned by Google, videos here are more likely to come up in search results than those from other video sites- though they aren’t excluded, either.

  • Keep videos under 5 minutes in length. If longer, slice them up.  More videos mean more exposure and keeps the user moving through your content.
  • Consider making a transcript for any spoken dialogue. Putting it as a part of your video’s description will increase the relevancy in future search results. If you own a blog, this also helps with any RSS/MRSS readers that you feed into.
  • Brand your Youtube account and videos and encourage subscribers. Link your main site in your videos to draw people to it.
  • Tag and title your videos well with relevant keywords and keyword centric titles – but again: avoid keyword stuffing
  • Allow embedding of your videos. You can disable embedding, but allowing users to embed your videos to their sites and communities gives you free marketing- think viral video.

○     If you make videos and want to try the viral route, look at 10 ExamplesofAmazingViralMarketingVideos for some inspiration, and for some interesting insight from an older article: TheSecretStrategiesBehindManyViralVideos.

  • Don’t disable rating – higher rated videos register higher on the search engine. Better a few likes than none at all.

Keyword Stuffing

Throughout the article, this is often mentioned as something to avoid. Keywordstuffing is the act of overloading your websites, titles, entries, tags with keywords that aren’t exactly relevant to your page. This also includes using the same keyword or keyphrase multiple times where a synonym (or not using it at all) would do better.

Before the days of SEO, it was appropriate to overload webpages- usually concealed at the bottom or in a hidden box- with keywords to affect search rank.  This was great for the webmaster who wanted hits, but problematic for the seeker since the results often had nothing to do with what they were looking for.

Nowadays, having a few strong, relevant keywords makes your rank much higher.

For further perspective,  TheDangersofSEOKeywordStuffing is recommended reading.

Conclusion

All of these DIY elements can help your Social Strategy succeed as long as you keep one rule in mind: Maintain a human presence.  People are easily put off by robotic or corporate-sounding tweets and status updates since they feel detached and spammy. This is especially true on Twitter where a human presence is extremely important.  It’s also important to remember that this technology is new and constantly changing for the better.  Most of the aforementioned companies try to tailor their technology to the user’s needs for the best experience, be they a provider or seeker.

The results aren’t overnight; on average, it takes around 2-3 months of basic tending to gain results.  The best thing to do is develop a habit of using your resources to make an enjoyable and personalized marketing campaign for yourself.

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