B2B Social Media: An Underutilized Method for Improving SEO Performance
As a Millennial, or digital native as some will put it, I grew up immersed in social media.
At the age of 14, I was able to write a complete set of HTML code for how I wanted my Myspace profile to look, had more than 650 friends, with an intricate selection process for my top 8, and changed my screen name based on my mood on a weekly basis.
Today, pretty much everyone uses social media – not just Millennials. As of last July, Pew Research Center found that 76% of online adults use social networking sites. From Facebook to LinkedIn, every generation is socially active.
With the significant popularity growth of social media, it’s no surprise that B2C marketers have found it to be a great channel to reach consumers. They are able to connect with buyers interested in their products and make a sale.
So, Why Does Social Matter to B2B Companies?
B2B marketers use social media for completely different reasons than their B2C counterparts. The sales funnel is much more intricate and the buying process is more time consuming than B2C.
Just because a consumer sees a company’s product online, doesn’t mean they are going to place an order the next morning.
Instead, marketers need to consider how social media may impact organic search visibility, as well as become more of a lead nurturing tool. Marketers can continue to connect with individuals who are interested in what you are able to provide, but not be ready to make a purchase.
Approximately 93% of B2B marketers use social media in some fashion, but only 32% actually have a documented strategy in place, showcasing that social media is becoming fully utilized by B2B marketers.
So how do we leverage social media tactics in our SEO program work?
Let’s look at two key social media strategies that a B2B company can implement to impact off-page SEO value.
Link building done on its own is not nearly as effective as it can be when incorporating social media efforts. When used correctly, social can earn website quality links that can bring valuable traffic to your sites.
Links can be acquired by driving awareness between shared content and targeted social profiles.
Content shared on social can capture new visitors to your site. As it is retweeted/shared the reach of your content grows, placing it in front of new audiences who may utilize it in their content and link back to you.
For example, through KoMarketing’s own social media efforts, we’ve acquired at least twenty different links in the PAST WEEK alone, without any direct requests or communication.
Social profiles also enable companies to link back to their site. Even though most social sites have nofollow tags in place, they do enable users to gain link visibility through cross-linking and brand visibility.
How can you initiate a link building strategy with social?
Make your content shareable. Sites that have social share buttons on each page, especially on blogs, simplify the process of social sharing for readers. You can also add buttons for sharing specific types of content like videos, pictures, e-books, etc.
Tag your references in your social posts. We all want credit where credit is due, especially on social media.
And finally, invest the time in analyzing your social networking activity, to better understand the type of content and updates that resonate best with your target audiences.
Content Marketing Distribution
Content has been king in digital marketing since the early 2000s. Since that time, every company, teacher, mom, and so on has wanted to develop new content as soon as possible because that’s what Google wanted. It wanted fresh content.
Yet, as the Internet continues to mature and change, so have content strategies. Not only does content need to be fresh, it needs to be great.
Why does it have to be great? Well, on average, Americans consume 33 gigabytes of media per day.
And as I mentioned, there is a plethora of content on the Internet and if your content isn’t up to par with reader expectations, it won’t help your SEO value.
As my coworker Stacy put it “step it up with your content efforts to truly engage your audience”.
But having quality content is only one piece of the puzzle.
Content strategies must also have a plan for placing the content in front of your audience. Unfortunately, many businesses struggle with this. While 53% of business owners know they need to develop a content distribution strategy, only 26% actually have one in place.
How can you initiate a content marketing distribution strategy with social?
Put your content where your audience is. To optimize your social media marketing efforts, it’s important to know who your customers are and which social networks they actually use. If your target audience consists of IT executives and CEOs, you’d want to disseminate content on LinkedIn instead of, let’s say, Pinterest.
Adapt your content to the preferred format of each social channel. According to Agora Pulse, as organic reach becomes more difficult to achieve, formatting content to fit the style can help your posts gain visibility.
Want to have your content shared more on Facebook? Add a smiley face as posts with emoticons typically receive 33% more comments, are shared 33% more, and get 57% more “likes”.
Named as one of the top search ranking factors, social media’s role in SEO is growing each year. And with the uprising of sites like Pinterest and Slideshare, social media profiles are now being seen the top results in search listings for brand names and highly targeted keywords.
Social media is here to stay, so why not take advantage of it?
How what other social strategies can be utilized to affect off-page SEO?