Welcome to the latest installment in my beginning link building series! In this piece, we'll be talking about how to promote your site (and build links) with social media.
Now that you are cranking away on your link building campaign, it's time to consider promoting your site through social media channels and offline methods.
First of all, keep in mind that this is a series dedicated to the basics, so if you're in need of a serious social media campaign or anything other than beginning information, I'd highly suggest that you consult a professional with experience in that area. Depending upon how competitive your niche is, you may or may not get very far on your own. However, there are a few things that you can do to get started all by yourself.
Love it or hate it, Facebook is big right now.
You can get started here and the whole process is very straightforward. Once your page is created, you need visibility, and you need to be liked. Pretty simple stuff on the surface, but keep in mind that good promotion is not always as easy as it seems at first.
Facebook pages give you the ability to share posts, questions, photos, links, and videos, with the usual wall shown that gives you the latest and greatest. If a user likes your page, he or she can comment on your information. Without liking a page, a user can still share your information but since the goal is to get people talking there, it's best if you can entice people to like you and not just stop by occasionally.
How can you get users to like you? I personally detest seeing those constant "so and so suggests that you like this" emails showing up but when it's something relevant and targeted, it's not so bad, and it IS the way we're marketing these days. Therefore, I don't suggest you spam the entire world with like suggestions, but do send them to people who may actually enjoy your page.
Think of a Facebook page as a chance to showcase what's great about your company. Just as no one (but maybe your mom) is interested in the minutiae of your life, no one wants to be utterly bored on Facebook. If your company is having an in-house lunch meeting for 10 of you, that's not really a Facebook page post, but if you're putting half your inventory on sale at noon tomorrow, we want to know.
One of the neatest promotions I've seen recently with the Facebook page of a local consignment shop is a "password" given out that enables a shopper to get a free piece of jewelry by mentioning it in the store. You don't have to have liked the page in order to see the promotion, but I can easily see someone liking it after that!
I would advise that if you are going to create a Facebook page, please, please maintain it and keep it updated. One of the quickest ways to ensure that your fans don't come back is to let things stagnate.
I confess to using Twitter to get most of my news about the industry. I have found enough "influencers" to follow that I am confident I'll know about it when something big happens. However, there's a big difference in how I use Twitter and how you should, for marketing purposes.
Just like with any other methods of social promotion, it's critical that you actually have something quality to promote. All of us see the people who use Twitter to do nothing but tweet links to their site. It's annoying. Even when the content is top notch every time (and really, it's never top notch every time) it's still annoying to see nothing but a steady stream of "hey look at me!"
A Twitter account is easy to set up. The basics are simple: you need to follow people, and you need to get followers. If someone replies to you, respond. Unless, of course, you have 100,000 followers...in that case, we might cut you some slack.
Jeff Quipp wrote an excellent article for this site last year which lists 33 reasons to use Twitter. Rather than attempting to reword this piece, as it's very well done and to-the-point, I'd suggest that you check it out if you're asking how Twitter could work for your business.
Twitter's 140 character limit for tweets means that you have to be interesting enough in that small amount of space to get someone's attention. While you can use URL shorteners and other methods for getting a longer tweet, it seems to be most effective if there is at least some idea of what you want to say contained in the actual viewable space. I've seen tweets that are so crammed in with abbreviations and URL-shortened links that I have absolutely no idea of what is going on, which means that I won't click unless it's 1:30 am and I'm bored out of my mind.
Some have criticized different types of tweets on Twitter, asking why we want to know when you're hungry or that you've just gotten stuck in traffic and may become homicidal. However, I do think that while no one wants a steady stream of that, we do like it when you're human, even if you are a giant corporation.
Let people know about your site, company name, URL, etc. Drop the reference in conversations, give out business cards, speak at events, and give out promotional products that people will use. This one is very, very simple, yet often overlooked. Promotion is promotion.
In conclusion, as I mentioned above, it's worth speaking to an expert in this area if you really need anything more than the basics. Many people (including myself at times) think that social media is a lot of hype, but hey, it works! I've only covered Facebook and Twitter here because they're the two big ones, but that doesn't mean new ones won't be popping up. I can remember sneering at both of those, and now they're huge.