Word of mouth may be inexpensive, but it is not cheap. This dichotomy has always driven word of mouth marketing, and now drives its most recent incarnation, social media marketing. Frederic Paul of the bMighty blog on the InformationWeek network shares TopRank’s sentiment in this regard pointing to a blog post at TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog, “Is Your Website SEO and Social Media Friendly?,” which offers tips on how best to leverage social media and Search Engine Optimization.
Mashable, which is the most popular blog on the internet covering the social media space, recently published an article contributed by TopRank on the very same topic, “5 Essential Steps to Make Your Site Search & Social Media Friendly” giving readers a specific breakdown and examples of social media and SEO friendliness in action on a mix of web sites and online communities.
In today’s marketplace, how a company is positioned in social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook can carry as much weight as large scale advertising campaigns. And while social media may not cost as much in actual dollars, companies would be sorely remiss in seeing it solely as a cost-effective way to broadcast a commercial.
“People discover new sites through search engines, but also through recommendations made via email, word of mouth and through social media content,” states Lee Odden, TopRank CEO in the post.
The first step for a company moving into social media is to ensure the search engine friendliness of its site. Included in an SEO initiative is cleaning website code, creating crawlable content and acquiring relevant Inbound Links. Inbound links from similar, non-competitive sites can provide positive signals to search engines and affect search engine visibility.
An important source of Inbound Links are those that occur as an outcome of social media participation. And the key to acquiring links and building awareness via social media is to create content that is:
- Easy to Share
Critical to being fresh, easy to share and social is to be – and this can fly in the face of traditional marketing and advertising ideals – non-promotional.
Social media users rarely have an interest in passing along or linking to a commercial. The exception, of course, is to completely lambast a fuddling brand for daring to post unremarkable advertising content to their network in the first place. And being easily found for breaking the rules of a popular social network is not something for which any company should strive to be found.
What’s most important for successful brand engagement with the social web is to spend time listening to communities to discover what it is they are looking for. Then, create fresh and social content to meet those needs directly and the business building goals of the company, indirectly. Do this, and customers will be happy to share and link to business sourced content. If content is worth linking to and easy to share, then it will attract the quantity and quality of links the search engines reward with great visibility in search results. This is the driving force behind a combination of SEO and social media friendly web sites.
TopRank® Online Marketing provides Fortune 500 companies holistic Internet Marketing services, including social media marketing, search engine optimization and business blog consulting.