What is Social Media?
Lately the internet has become a maze of sites wanting your profile and contact information. Where it used to cost money to advertise or get a link from other websites, now they seem to be begging for your personal or business details. The good thing is that a business can eventually be found in dozens of ways on the internet. The bad part is that you are probably going to have all this information sold and re-sold, and email spam is only going to get worse. Our first bit of advice is to go to Google's Gmail or Yahoo, and get yourself an extra email to use on all these profiles. You want something that you can check every day...even 2-3 times a day. But you also want an email that handles spam easily and in volume.
Why Bother With Social Media Marketing?
As the question used to be "Why have a website?" now you wonder why it's important to participate in social media marketing. The answer? Because you can't afford not to! The amount of people using Facebook and Twitter is so large that they are rumored to be giving Google a run for the money. If you are selling goods or services, you have to participate in this new media, or your competitors will run circles around you. Do you want to rank in the search engines? If you don't have a blog or do any of these things, you are going to find it very hard to do.
How to Do a Business Blog
More than any other type of social media, a business blog will be your most important way to communicate with your customers and promote your website in the search engines. From an advertising point of view, a well-written business blog will show a prospective customer that you are experienced and knowledgable in your field. From an SEO standpoint, the fresh content you provide, along with internal linking from your articles, will do more to boost your site in the search engines than anything else you may do.
Having a blog that is a part of your website is important for internal links, and having other outside blogs or doing a guest post on someone else's blog will bring you much needed external links to your site. Ideally, you should have, and write in one of each kind on a regular basis. We can set up a blog for you, write articles, and train you to use it yourself in the most beneficial way.
Some examples of our client blogs are:
Myrtle Beach Real Estate Blog
Albuquerque Real Estate Blog
Greenville SC Real Estate Blog
If you are a real estate agent and can afford $50 per month, ActiveRain.com has one of the best blogs for SEO benefit that exists. That's another discusstion for another day, however.
Local Business Listings
Having your business listed on Google Maps/Places can actually be more effective than regular search rankings! When is that? It's when you are in the Local Business Results box that appears with many search phrases.
When you search for "plumbers Myrtle Beach, SC" in Google, this is what you see:
Note the businesses listed in the "Local" results at the top. These are businesses that have Google Local or Map pages. If you don't have one, you won't be on there. Getting in those top 7 results is not a certain science...but if you fill your page out in extra detail, include the right keywords, include photos, and GET REVIEWS from other people, you should be able to be on there. Chances are, customers searching for your type of services will not look past those local results. So you can see how important it is to get your business listed on Google Maps! Here's one of my client's pages C21 The Harrelson Group
There's been a complete overhaul of Google Local, and everything to go with it. The first thing you have to do now is go to the new "Google PLUS" and set up a personal page for yourself. Fill it out just as completely as you possibly can. Upload photos. Talk about yourself and your interests. Google wants to know as much about you as it can so it can decide you aren't a spammer! You will also see a group of sections to add links. This is the most important thing you can do to rank your website, and it's too complicated to go into here. But under the section marked "Contributor To" you need to put all the links to everything on the internet that you write on. Add the URL for your blog, for your website, for Facebook and Twitter, and anything else you have. You must establish "AUTHORSHIP" now, and that's how you start. If you want to throw a few other links under the "LINKS" section, feel free...but the important part is the first section.
Make a note of the link to your Google Plus personal page, because you will need it many times in the future. When you've finished it, look on the left side where it either says "Profile" or there's a small blue decal at the top. Mouse over that and a big drop down will come down. Go to PAGES and you can now set up a business page for yourself. Just a few new rules though... They will no longer allow a home-based business to be in the Google Local/Maps listings. (Big bummer for me!)
If you are in a brokerage, you'll need a slightly different address. Try to get them to assign you a "Suite Number" for your office, and make sure you have your own land-line that is not just the brokerage number. All your local rankings will depend on your address and phone number. If your office is in a small rural town, you won't be able to rank for the big Metro that you might hope to rank for. So if it's really important to you, move your office. Follow all the instructions and again put as much information as you can on there, including your website. THIS IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOUR WEBSITE WILL NOW NEED TO RANK.
When you've finished all this, you need to go on your website, your blogs, and whatever else you have online and add this link: < a href="https://Your-Personal-Profile-Number?rel=author" >Google+< /a > (Remove the spaces!)
Doesn't matter where you put it on the site, but it needs to be on the homepage somewhere. This is telling Google that it is your page and you are legitimate. If you need more information, head over to Google Plus Authorship and read the instructions. You might also want to watch the video below from Google's Matt Cutts.
Yahoo has Yahoo Local which is nowhere near as complicated. You'll find us listed here as for Web Design. Bing has a similar business listing section, here as Myrtle Beach Web Design again.
Other important pages to create a profile on are:
• Insider Pages.com
• Merchant circle.com
Reviews and Testimonials
All of these business profiles are going to require you to have reviews from satisfied customers before you're going to show in their top results. Gather your friends, call your customers, and make up your mind to get this done. If not, you've wasted your time building the profiles. Google and Yahoo are actually showing the reviews from the above sites on your Local pages along with the ones you do with Google and Yahoo. So Git er Done!
Now this brings us to the true "Social Media" sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and a hundred others.
Social Profile Pages
You can spend the next 3 months getting your profile on every new social site that's popping up. Every entrepreneur in the world is hoping they will create the next "Facebook Phenomenon". The truth is, only a handful of them are important right now.
You MUST deal with Facebook... First you have to have a personal profile. Even if you don't spend a lot of time on it, fill it out, upload some family photos, tell the world who you are, and find your friends. And you will find them there, too. One of the easiest ways is to look up your high school and join that group. You'll find a hundred "friends" that you went to school with. In fact, you may very well find you are spending time on Facebook because you ENJOY it. It's one of the very best ways to keep in touch with long distance relatives and friends. Facebook is improving every day, and they deserve the incredible popularity they have obtained.
Once you've done your personal page, you'll see there are Facebook Business Pages as well. When you find one, scroll to the bottom of the page and look on the left hand side. You'll see a link that reads
"Create My Own Business Page". Click on that, and you'll then be walked through doing one. You can set your blog to automatically post on it. You can add links to your website (although they are "no-followed") and best of all, when you want to communicate with your customers, you'll have an easy way to do it. Just don't forget to (sigh) ADVERTISE your business page so that your regular customers will find it!
Next is Twitter. Again, this seems to be a must do. I myself find it the biggest waste of time on the earth, but it's incredibly popular. If you aren't that interested in it, create your page and set your blogs, YouTube, and other things to post to it. Then, other than being constantly bombarded with other Twitter users wanting to "follow" you, there's nothing else to do. Or maybe you'll find you like using Twitter! If you enjoy posting all your thoughts and actions throughout the day in short, limited blurts, Twitter is your tool!
Other sites that fill different niches are the bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, and Yelp,. There are many others, but these are the ones that the search engines seem to favor. There's no question that using these sites with your blogs helps with SEO. And there's no question that there is a way to do it correctly. You really need to find someone like us to train you. Otherwise, read some of the tutorials on the internet and try to stumble through it all. One important site called FriendFeed can also tie all your site feeds together and save you some time, too.
A few other types of social sites that are worth mentioning...YouTube - which in itself is a great SEO tool that we can't go into here. The photo storage sites like Pinterest, and Yahoo's Flickr have profile pages and help you by putting your photos into the search engines. MySpace is only important for the music industry now. I would also advise getting a free blog set up on Google's Blogger. My advice? Always use a Google tool. It stands to reason they are going to favor the sites that do!
If you are overwhelmed, nobody can blame you. This is why you need to hire an SEO firm like us to explain it all or do it for you. And we've just touched the surface on this page!