Social media development isn’t a Google ranking factor, simply because anyone can create a social profile on any number of networks at any time. A mere social presence would mean everyone would rank highly, but with the number of spam accounts out there offering zero value, it’s easy to see why the search engines don’t directly consider social media.
That doesn’t mean you should completely ignore social media for SEO, however, because it still has the power to influence ranking through increased visibility/brand awareness and increased linking potential… social signals do matter.
Google may not be telling us the true value of social signals, but there’s no doubt it plays a large part in SEO. It should be clear that social has a significant role to play when it comes to launching and maintaining a successful SEO strategy. – Dario Zadro
How to Set Up Social Media for SEO
It’s not enough to create profiles on your chosen networks, slap some content on there, and wait. To see
To see real benefit, it’s an extensive, on-going process involving multiple steps.
We’ll start as though you already have social profiles set up with a relatively decent following, but if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll want to do a bit more homework to develop a content strategy that will attract the right kinds of followers, and you’ll have to hit it hard with promotion to get your brand and social activity in front of the right eyes.
Even if it means investing in paid advertising across social platforms, you must start the ball rolling.
Step One: Create Contagious Content Related to Your Products and Services
Notice we don’t say “viral” content – everyone has a different definition of viral, and there’s no guarantee your content will ever reach that level. We say contagious because it’s the kind of content that people
We say contagious because it’s the kind of content that people want to spread. Could contagious content become viral content? It’s always possible, but setting out with going viral in mind could lead to disappointment later.
How do you create contagious content? The STEPPS Formula, found in Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger is the best place to start. According to this theory, your content must hit on one or more of the following:
- Social Currency: Something about the content makes people either look or feel good by sharing it with their audience. Remember the old Tempurpedic commercials where they showed someone jumping on a bed with a glass of red wine, that didn’t spill? You respond with amazement and want to order one – then tell your friends about it.
- Triggers: It’s easy to remember so it keeps your idea, products, or services at the forefront of the reader’s mind. Think slogan, jingle, logo…
- Emotion: Invokes some sort of emotion. Emotional value statistically means the content is more likely to be shared. However, certain emotions are shared more often than others. A 2013 study from Moz revealed positive emotion was more common in viral content, with the top emotions being: amusement, interest, surprise, happiness, and delight. The bottom emotions were: anger, politeness, frustration, doubt, and embarrassment.
- Public: Share something people will imitate. If you create a campaign that will advertise itself, people will eagerly participate. The Lay’s Do Us a Flavor contest where people are asked to submit their own flavor ideas for a chance to win full production and a monetary prize is a prime example.
- Practical Value: Something informative and useful.
- Stories: Telling a compelling story should generate buzz. Take a look at the TOMS Shoes. The brand story tells customers the company was born after seeing children without shoes while traveling in Argentina in 2006. His company matches each purchase with a new pair of shoes for children in need. See how that story also hits on emotion? The company since went on to launch TOMS eyewear, to give the gift of sight to children in 13 countries.
Keep it related to your products and services so you attract targeted audience members. You can totally make people laugh with a funny cat video, but unless you’re selling products to cat owners, it doesn’t belong in your social media development campaign.
Dove is well known for their success with their 2013 Real Beauty Sketches campaign, where FBI sketch artists drew faces based on the individual’s description to demonstrate how overly critical of ourselves we really are. The campaign was shared over 630,000 times on Facebook within 10 days. But since then, they have sought to change the language of social media to transform it into a more positive place with the #SpeakBeautiful campaign.
Step Two: Listen to Your Audience
After you’ve developed the contagious content, it’s time to listen to what people are saying about it. Watch your social channels, and use social listening tools to keep your ear to the ground. Schedule time to be present, engage, and respond. This will go a long way in making your customers feel heard and appreciated. In turn, this reinforces a positive brand image and encourages further engagement.
Take airline JetBlue for example – they are highly responsive to tweets from their customers, as shown in the screenshot below. Aim for that level of responsiveness with your own accounts, and you’ll no doubt see a rise in customer satisfaction.
Step Three: Monitor and Adjust
Use your analytics and other SEO tools to monitor how the social activity is impacting your backlink profile.
Your social profiles and content posted there will be indexed, so your social media development campaigns have a better chance of helping increase ranking. Go beyond the basic social status update to include multiple types of content, such as video, images, and reviews.
These forms of content are often syndicated by other outlets to further spread the message in your campaign.
As you gather more data about how well your social campaigns are performing and how that performance is affecting your SEO, make adjustments as you see fit. Use the lessons learned from one campaign as a way to improve the next, and so on.
Although social media for SEO may not improve the ranking of your website directly, it definitely matters to the success of any online marketing for your business. Instead of worrying about the implications of each and how they affect your desired outcome, focus on the value you provide your customers and keep them in the center of any campaign. It is that consistent customer-centric approach that will translate to success.
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock
Do you have any first-hand experience impacting your SEO results with social media activity? If so, please share it in the comments section below.