April 24, 2013

Using social media to enhance your brand’s reputation

reputation

Maintain your social profiles for better search results

Guest post by Cara Aley

caraaleyWith your company focused on its business goals and set up on social channels, it’s critically important that your online business reputation be one that is polished and positive. As you’re likely to be in the market for new customers, clients, partners or investors, it’s important that when they run a Google search on your business or startup, not only are you properly search engine optimized but that meaningful and positive results appear.

Social media as a marketing strategy is an important method for ensuring that this happens, and should be prioritized as much as or more than any other marketing strategy. I’ll explain why.

Understand SEO

Social media profiles are critical for search engine optimization (SEO). You know what SEO is. (See Socialmedia.biz’s series on online reputation.) Now it’s time to start building those social media profiles in order to improve your SEO.

Because social media sites are highly search engine optimized, your profile on those sites will be as well — especially as you maintain your profile and have something to say. Join Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn to start, and use them! Promote them on your website so that people can follow you on these different social media sites. And then make sure you’re adding content to them that is of interest to your demographic.

If you have any negative links about you that appear in search results, the links for your social media sites will likely supersede them and help to push them to the second page of search results. Given that 90 percent of people never make it past page 1 of search results, according to NeverShoutNever.com, that’s good news!

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Note that my social media profiles are all at the top of my search results (of which there are many), because social media sites are so well optimized.

Facebook

Reach your target demographic by marketing on Facebook. When I ran my social impact apparel business, I marketed my products on Facebook and targeted women in the age range of 25 to 50 who were fans of Tom’s Shoes. With close to 2 million fans on Facebook, Tom’s Shoes is an audience I knew would be interested in my product, and indeed, this helped me to boost revenue. You can also market to investment or donor communities via Facebook.

One reason it’s important to advertise on Facebook is that it’s the quickest way to build your list of fans, to whom you can then continue to market your offering. Fans share with their friends what you are doing, adding more fans! And fans buy! According to a Forrester study, Facebook fans are much more likely to purchase, consider, and recommend the brands that they engage with on Facebook than non-fans. So do focus on marketing on this site – it’s reasonably priced and well worth the time.

Blog

Create a blog that has more in-depth content on it. Do you have a blog yet? If not, this is an important aspect of your social media marketing. Not only is it important from an SEO standpoint if you engage in the process properly, but it keeps your audience coming back for more.

Leverage Pinterest to draw traffic to your blog by sharing your blog posts there, as well as across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Get the word out about yourself!

Write on a consistent basis so that they know they can come to find juicy information on things like what your business is up to and how you are helping people (providing statistics is always very useful!). Use your social media icons within the blog so that people can share your blog posts. Leverage Pinterest to draw traffic to your blog by sharing your blog posts there, as well as across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In other words, get the word out about yourself! You also want to be sure that you are using your keywords in your blog posts and throughout your website, as this is critical for SEO.

Generate content people want to both share and keeping coming back for. On all of the social media sites and blogs on which you create content, focus on creating shareable content. Make sure your fans are excited to come back to your blog to read the latest installment. Did you find an article that relates to what you do that is shocking or interesting? Do you have an amazing profile about the work you have done and someone whom you’ve impacted positively? Did you just raise a major round of funding? Share this information with your community.

And don’t be afraid to ask them to share your posts with others. The more shares you get, the more likely potential new fans you will draw to your brand, and the best search engine optimized your post will be. Fans love to feel as though they are helping to spread the awareness of a business that is creating impact.

Consider guest blogging. Now that you have your own blog, request from other bloggers in your domain that you guest blog on their site. You can exchange opportunities with them. This does a few things – first, it allows you to share your message with a whole new readership and be seen as an expert in your sector. Then, in linking back to your own blog, it helps that new readership to find your blog and become fans. Finally, as those new fans share your blog posts, your blog and brand become even better search engine optimized.

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Social media makes it so easy for your fans to tell others about the great work you are doing!

Any business or social enterprise that is not leveraging social media and the incredible viral effect it can have on an impact brand is missing a massive marketing opportunity. Don’t let the prospect of engaging in social media scare you or turn you off – it’s quite easy to get started on all of these sites, and every little bit you do counts. Your demographic is very likely on these sites, so don’t let them down by not being there and not allowing them to help you spread the good word about your brand and help you to improve your brand’s reputation.

Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a wide variety of topics from Facebook marketing strategies to online reputation management for Reputation.com. She can be reached via Twitter at @caraalely.
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