How would you increase traffic to your website in 30 days? Our reality check of Andreas Graap’s 30-day-guide for generating more website traffic proceeds here to its second stage. We took it upon ourselves to put every individual step in his comprehensive tutorial to the test.
In our first entry, we diligently researched keywords, created an editorial plan for the blog and provided the foundation for an exciting infographic. In this part of our blog series, the focus will be set on building a profitable presence on social media and the questions and solutions bound up with this undertaking, such as: Do I have to partake in every viral trend? What should I post about and when? And who reads my content anyhow?
How to Master Social Media – Let’s get social!
- Social Media Profiles
- Exclusive Content
- Content Plan
Setting Up Social Media Profiles
Making the effort to enter social media is crucial to a strategy aiming at generating more website traffic. Although it is still a point of contention among SEO experts, whether social signals have a direct influence on search results, it goes without saying that they provide the content with a wider reach and better visibility on the internet.
Take-Aways for Social Media Profiles:
- Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube are Must-Haves
- Corporate identity on social media should be uniform and consistent
- There should always be at least one link to the company website’s imprint
- Niche networks can have a positive impact on the brand name’s ranking in SERPs
1. Must-have accounts:
To accelarate our company’s ongoing goal of internationalization, I decided to implement an English-language linkbird Facebook profile a couple of weeks ago and took a closer look at the design of the website while fine-tuning this channel. As you can see above, I tried to stay loyal to our corporate identity by sticking to our primary colors blue and orange. Also, I used already familiar graphics as display images to increase the brand recognition factor among our target audience.
All of these measures pursue the clear goal of expanding our brand’s reach, to do so-called “branding”. By doing so, we can make sure that certain visual signals are directly associated with our brand. To protect us legally, we also use the recently introduced imprint feature on Facebook. Links to our imprint can also be found on Twitter, Google+,and YouTube, thus completing our portfolio of must-have social media accounts. In terms of design, our common thread is upheld across all channels, as you can see in the picture below.
2. Niche networks:
In terms of niche networks, we are just starting out to try SlideShare, Pinterest, and StumbleUpon, with more dedication to spread our content. Why this (limited) selection, you ask? Well, SlideShare is, first and foremost, an educational network and allows us to share our appealingly prepared insights, experiences, and learnings with an interested community. Pinterest, on the other hand, is very visually orientated and allows us to discover completely new target audiences by offering up high quality visual content. StumbleUpon, last but not least, increases the visibility of content with its function as a social bookmarking service.
However, our efforts here are still in their infancy stages. We are in the process of learning, putting our insights to work every day and trying to streamline the process with new team members, who are actively engaged in contributing to our brand presence on niche networks.
Hence it is important to be aware of the “puppy-problem” when selecting your key social media channels. For often companies – including our team – suffer from a shortage of resources and it is difficult to service all social media outlets with a consistent stream of high quality and relevant content. Which is why it is necessary to realistically take stock of one’s possibilities to use social media actively and accordingly. Because a carelessly left behind social account corpse, in the worst case, one abused by a third party, certainly is of no use – neither for the customer nor for the company!
How to Produce Exclusive Content for Social Networks
Social communication channels have only added value if they are regularly maintained and supplied with exciting content. “Exciting” in this context is the same as “exclusive” and the explanation for it is based on a simple theoretical question: Why should someone look for information on Facebook, if he or she also has the option to go directly to the company’s domain? Precisely. That’s why the content must be perfectly tailored for the social network of choice. Of course you can try to put a suit off the rack on several men of different stature. But many will probably have a hard time trying to appeal to a partner this way. Whereas an individually customized piece might require more effort, but will definitely create more attractive results. Yet, do not panic – of course, not every suit has to be remade from scratch. Often it only takes a few tucks here and there, opening a seam or the removal of excess lengths. Thus exclusive content can come about from both production as well as recycling. I would like to illustrate the process with a practical example:
Take-Aways for Exclusive Content:
- An individual approach for each network
- The reach generated by the exclusive content is not only beneficial to one’s own website
- A content concept is needed which addresses the different needs of the user
3. How to identify the orientation of fans on social media:
This basically means: Engage with your target audience! To get at the lowest common denominator of our followers, the best keyword is probably: the internet. All of them work in the online world and are enthusiastic about content dealing with this particular topic. Now, “internet” is not very specific, which is why we have to go a step further and define focus topics, which, in our case, are Online Markting, SEO, and E-Commerce. In addition, our target audience can also be characterized as such: This is just one possible way – there are other more comprehensive ways as well – to picture your target audience. Of course, we would be more than happy to receive suggestions from you as to how to extent our target audience characterization. For who could know better than you?
4. Working out fitting approaches for different fan groups:
The next step is focused on developing individual approaches for individual fan groups. This is important, for everyone is happy to receive special attention. Our fan groups we roughly divide into:
- Online Marketer
- Affiliate/Performance/Inbound Marketer
- Content Marketer
- Link Builder
- Online PR
What can we use to attract the attention of these splitter groups in particular? The content marketers among you certainly would take advantange of the art of storytelling. Link builders would rather hear about how to find relevant and impactful link sources for their content seeding campaigns. And SEOs on the whole are always searching for guides on new algorithm updates, ranking factors and untapped potential for optimization. According to this principle I am now able to find common ground for the content and its target audience. Because: This is the good stuff!
5. Create a plan with exclusive info for the individual groups:
Here I check the target audience-specific content once more in terms of its exclusivity. At this juncture, the following questions are most important to me: Where is the surplus value? Does the reader have a personal benefit from his access to this content? How does the content help in dealing with problems? How are the readers of my content on step ahead of non-readers? Anyone perplexed by this cross-examination should take a cold hard look at the setup of their content plan again.
Create a social media content plan
Our topics for social media are mostly congruent with the topics of our website: Online Marketing, SEO, Link Building, Content Marketing, and Inbound Marketing are on the menue. Now the challenge is to serve these newsbites warm and delicious. Therefore we need an established workflow in our content kitchen. This is where the social media content plan comes in. Here we can arrange our courses and make sure plates are leaving the kitchen just to the right place at the right time.
Take-Aways for a Content Plan:
- Social media thrives on interaction and timely reactions
- Engaging posts close to the pet topics are best practice
- Experimentation is the key to success
- In the wake of a very popular post, subsequent posts on Facebook will get an additional push
6. Developing content topics for social networks:
The content plan – just like the editorial plan for the blog – is meant to guarantee inspiration and creativity. Anyone who starts filling in such a plan thinks about the content he or she wants to offer the target audience. And that would be the first step in the direction of success. To enable you to take this first step right now I offer you a template so you can introduce some structure into your daily social media workflow and put an end to random postings. Social Media Management Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer can also be very helpful in this regard.
7. Interact regularly with fans:
The innovative aspect about social media is networked communication in real time and one should try to get as much out of it as possible. This is why we try to react to posts from third parties, to initiate discussions and to make others aware of our content to foster interaction. Such dialogues eventually contribute to the reach of the content and its visibility too. In turn, one is able to generate more traffic – not to mention the interesting insights and nice discussions that arise in this way.
Setting up a Google+ company profile
Hate it or love it – There is little agreement on Google+ and the network regularly causes debate among social media experts. The “ghost town”-image, its unclear future and the recently circulated farewell to related features like Google Authorship caused perplexion among its users. I have to admit that I’m not too keen on Google+ myself. But Andreas Graap offers a good and reasonable argument for using it: There really is no way around Google’s social network! Google’s connections are just too far-reaching and the portfolio too big of a name to simply discard the social network of a global player.
Take-Aways for Google+ Company Profiles:
- A Google+ account can have a healthy effect on the visibility in the Google search results
- Google+ also provides searchers with company info and should therefore always be up-to-date
- Hang-Outs On Air give Google+ a strong and value-adding competitive advantage
8. Set up a Google+ company profile:
The most current posts from our Google+ profile are highlighted in the Google SERPs by the so-called “knowledge graph”, clearly marked off from the rest of the organic search result page. By clicking on this small box, anyone can jump directly to the Google+ profile of our company. There is probably no better argument than this to set up a Google+ account for higher visibility in the SERPs.
Pimp your LinkedIn profile
Professional networks can be a great opportunity to let people know about your company’s mission and values, raise brand awareness, and of course connect with your target audience. These 10 Best LinkedIn Company Profiles 2013 show what is possible in this regard and teach you how to master the art of oustanding and engaging content. And – the best for last – your profile automatically has high online visibility in the SERPs.
Take-Aways for LinkedIn:
- High ranking of LinkedIn profiles in Google
- Reap all the benefits from customizing your profile as much as possible (self-promotion)
- Don’t forget to prominently place a link to your website
9. Optimize your LinkedIn profile:
Indeed LinkBird’s LinkedIn profile is among the Top 10 search results as my anonymous search on the left-hand side shows. And professional networking is important, especially in the B2B sector and for recruiting purposes also. Here is where prospects get a first impression of the company, inform themselves about career opportunities, or subscribe to your newsfeed. This is why such a presence is an indispensable part of your social media portfolio and should be updated regularly. Simply try and put yourself in a good light, provide rich and visual content on your pet topics, and thus above all raise interest and brand awareness in people!
Stay tuned for part 3: Raise traffic mingling and becoming an expert!