Keeping up with your customers on the ever-increasing number of social media sites they use is a seriously time intensive task: Logging into Facebook and Twitter and all of your other social accounts. Checking the piles of public and private messages that never stop accumulating. Dealing with potential public relations issues. Creating well-written and attractive posts that you have to re-edit five different ways to meet the varying requirements and quirks of each social media platform.
The requirements of waging a successful social media campaign are extensive and time-consuming.
This makes many businesses shy away from leveraging social networks, despite the major potential benefits. It’s become apparent that online social networking is a vital tool in customer relationship management and requires consistent attention, as the industry and platforms develop and shift quickly. Just having a website isn’t enough–you need to have a dialogue with your customers if you want to stand out from the crowd. Although social content is often lighthearted, social media management is not to be taken lightly.
Social networks aren’t just a box that needs to be checked. A brand’s online presence is only effective if it offers valuable, high quality content that tells the story of the brand’s philosophy, encourages sales by driving web traffic, and provides support to potential customers seeking more information in real time. That’s why it’s necessary for any company wishing to grow their online audience to have a social media marketing strategy in place.
The cost of not managing your own social presence can be quite high. The worst possible scenario is that anyone can create a page for your business on Facebook, Yelp, etc., or – more likely and common – have extensive public conversations about you on Twitter. If you don’t define your online persona, somebody else will do it for you. It’s not unusual for major social media disasters to develop without any input whatsoever from the businesses in question.
Get out in front of your audience and make yourself known. It’s not just customers, potential and loyal, who pay attention to social media. Google cares too.
We offer social media management because it’s essential to SEO
Here at Creative California, we don’t treat social media management as a tacked-on service, something to superficially pad out an invoice. Rather, we invest in it for its ability to make brands flourish and digitally delight customers. There are many reasons a brand should be visible and approachable on the social platforms appropriate for its business niche. But, storytelling and branding aside, social media is imperative to attaining good search rankings.
Google uses social media signals as a measure of a site’s relevance and usefulness. Much in the same way a teacher or a mechanic’s abilities are diminished when they haven’t expanded their understanding of their trade in twenty years, a stale website is seen as an indication that the business is archaic, out-of-date, and irrelevant. This means your site will be seen as having no authority or usefulness, and you’ll disappear into the depths of Google’s search rankings, never to return.
Given Google’s recent partnership with Twitter, the role of social media metrics in search ranking algorithms is only going to increase. This means that any effective use of SEO strategies must incorporate social media campaigns. The definition of SEO has changed so fast in the last few years that even SEO professionals have struggled to keep up, and they no longer understand how search engines work. It’s not just about keywords and backlinks anymore.
We’re proud to say that we’ve kept up with the latest developments in social media marketing, and its new role in SEO.
There’s an old phrase that’s particularly relevant to many web marketers. A version of it goes, “the shoemaker’s children go without shoes.” In our line of business, what this means is that social media marketers and SEO companies often fail to take the strategies they recommend to their customers, and actually apply them to their own companies. How can an SEM company know that a social engagement strategy works, unless they themselves have used it? They may be recommending actions that have no benefit, or actively harm their customers, due to their lack of hands-on experience.
Of the many challenges of social media marketing is knowing which social platform is best suited for your company, what kind of content to create for each platform, and whether to use every tool possible. Knowing which “neighborhood” to place your company within the digital realm is our specialty. Here’s a guide to the main social platforms, to give you an idea of the mission and content required of each of them:
Facebook is still the most popular social network, and includes a broad demographic of users. It’s the place to be for companies with an interest in opening up a dialogue and engaging with customers of new, old and potential. These potential customers include fans who identify with your company’s philosophy or image, but have yet to buy from you. Facebook is a great place to cultivate those potential relationships with well-rounded content that shares company culture, new product and service announcements, special offers, PR coverage, and curated content that tells the story behind your company’s passion. It is essentially a mini-blog that will not only build out your identity and humanize your company, but drive traffic to your website. Facebook drives the most social referral traffic to websites, and is only growing.
Here’s a quick and dirty picture of what the Twittersphere looks like: It’s used by milennials, skews male, and is a good place to lodge a nasty complaint against a company. We kid, it is so much more than that, of course. While the audience is somewhat limited in that they tend to be younger (18-29), it’s a great place to deliver fresh, timely messages, and deliver a high volume of messages at once without the risk of annoying your customer like you might on Facebook or Instagram. The life of a tweet is short (about 15 minutes) due to the quick-moving news feed, and the character limit (140) keeps messages direct and succinct. The very sweet cherry on top is that a recent partnership between Twitter and Google, tweets will enjoy visibility in search results.
Google+ has–big surprise–Google’s search engine behind it. It would be easy to write a book about the complex relationship between Google and its social media platform. Suffice to say, it’s critical to develop your business’s presence on Google+ in order to give the Google search engines the signals that help it identify you as a live and thriving business in your local area. This in turn allows customers in your area to more easily discover you, and end up at your front door. See our past blog post on search marketing to learn more about how the Google search engine and SEO marketing work.
Instagram has proven to be the place to be for brands with a compelling visual story. This extends to a range of companies – from lifestyle brands to small businesses with loyal followings interested in getting a behind-the-scenes look at the process. The audience, comprised mainly of millenials, follows brands for product updates, special sales and offers, promotions, and inspiration. These days, Instagram requires time and photographic talent. Scroll back far enough through anyone’s feed and you’ll notice that the quality was drastically lower just a couple years ago. In 2015, brands – heck, even individuals – have stepped up the quality and message of their content. Each photo must have a purpose. In order to earn likes and follows, the user must be either inspired or obtain a valuable informational tidbit you may expect from a blog. Brands are currently more apt to embrace Instagram due to its ability to drive traffic to sites, ecommerce and otherwise. We can help you assess whether it’s the right fit for your business.
Pin it! We love Pinterest for its ability to pull you in to a world of cooking inspiration, wanderlust and those deceiving DIY projects that you try and can never quite get to look like the picture. The platform can do more than just inspire, however. It’s a place to discover ideas for all your interests, and discover businesses and companies you may not normally encounter. From a business standpoint, there are many opportunities to pin content that will appeal to users interested in your industry, or upload original pins that link back to your website. Why is it worth it? Pins last forever. When pinned, they can enter a viral life cycle, being repinned and repinned and never die the way an old Facebook post does. Things get really interesting when you start investing in rich pins.
Go Ahead, “Stalk” Us
We believe that the best way to demonstrate the quality of our social media marketing is for our own team to be constantly engaging with the public through major social media networks, including Twitter and Facebook, as well as some of the lesser known networking platforms, such as LinkedIn and Google+. We are always refining our own social media accounts, so take a moment to visit our profiles, even “like” us or follow us.
The Bottom Line: Our Approach to Social Media Strategy
A good public outreach plan requires a multi-pronged approach. Some elements of our social media strategies include:
- Creating and maintaining an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media networks relevant to our customers’ client market
- Developing content calendars ahead of time to assure consistent outreach to our clients’ customers, and to allow our clients to vet all content beforehand
- Creating long-form content, including website pages and blog posts, that tie in with ongoing social media campaigns
- Finding ways to encourage social media users to share our customers’ voice and vision through the sharing of links and writing positive reviews
- Ongoing reputation management, involving real-time monitoring of popular review sites such as Yelp, Google, and the Better Business Bureau, as well as incoming comments and private messages on Facebook and Twitter
- Analyzing current social media trends in order to improve and refine our online marketing strategies as a whole
- Working with our clients’ internal teams to both obtain and develop creative assets that build the brand’s authentic voice