While it is still being argued whether or not Social Media is beneficial to business, some have taken a hold of it, others are wondering how to get social media to work. But I would urge you to take a step back from the arguments and see that Social Media can be a benefit to your SEO campaign in the simplest of ways.
1. Social Media as Link Building
In one personal experience, I had the privilege to try to boost SEO rankings for a website without having access to change the website at all. The only way to increase any standing was to build links. The problem was that there was no real budget or time to effectively build links with websites that would spill link juice the right way. The option I turned to was social media. For this to work (actually to see if it would work) I set up Google alerts to see what would come through and when in the indexing and began starting social media identities.
My strategy was to create a Facebook Page, A Twitter Profile and a Youtube Page that hosted videos. With each profile, I linked to the main website. Within each profile I linked to the other two, creating a specific web.
Result: The Facebook Page got indexed and crawled within a couple weeks, the Twitter Page and Youtube profile have yet to be indexed.
Did it help?
For this one client, they kept trading #1 spots with another company for a specific keyword. It also was difficult because the competitor’s url had the keyword in their URL. Once the Facebook profile was crawled, my client enjoyed two weeks of uninterrupted #1 status. After week two, it was back to exchanging the #1 spot back and forth.
2. Social Media as Traffic Sources
Just today, I came across comments on Facebook about Twitter, more specifically “why would you use it?” Granted, Twitter seems like a great idea, but it’s only as good as its audience. The idea of putting a short little message to the world seems great, but … Facebook … already … does … that. In fact, Twitter applications allow you to Twitter directly to the Facebook status. To me, that just screams “Just use Facebook.” But audiences differ and that is the point of social media. Effectually, a few social networks with take the lion’s share of the market and that’s all anyone will have time for. Driving offers to separate landing pages will give you an indication of which social network is doing better and which one requires more work.
Result: Here Facebook won again, just by having a facebook page and getting fans to join, notifications would hit the Facebook stream and people would join. I hadn’t even messaged any fans yet. Twitter only seems to grow if I follow people and I get followed as a courtesy, not from interest or morbid curiosity. Youtube for some reason keeps generating “views” but I haven’t harnessed that as a viable lead source.
Did it work?
It’s too early to tell, but there is a trickle of contacts coming through email. I won’t know for sure until after we abandon this old website of which I can’t get into (nor can anyone else in the company – long story short – don’t fire your web designer until you have ALL your login and domain info) BUT once the new website is launched, with all it’s trackable sources, this will become clearer.
With Social Media being a way to quasi-link build and also serve as a way to measure audience usage of these sites, efforts can still yield some SEO fruit, but for the most part the majority of Social Media effect will be branding and customer loyalty.