Social Media Branding – Think it’s Fun & Games?

Social Media Branding – Think it’s Fun & Games?

by Dave Curtis on 06/06/2014

in Working SEO


Matt Cutts, Google's Chief Web Spam Engineer

Matt Cutts, The Friendly Face of Google. Google’s Chief Web Spam Engineer

Some SEOs believe that Google sends top friendlies to the Search Marketing Expo and other relatd Search Engine Optimization conventions as well, and have been doing so from the start.

Just as Rome sent spies into enemy camps to learn their methods of fighting, their strengths and their weaknesses, and traded princes (to soften the princes they received to make them more pliable to suggestion), a number of SEOs suspect that Google has made inroads into the world of Search Engine Optimizers in a similar way. All serious businesses do industrial espionage – Spy vs Spy – so why not Google? Just as public hacker conventions aren’t actually innocent White Hat hacker conventions, they’re also hangouts for both industry looking for hackers to secure their networks, and also government agents to identify the best hackers there are because either some of them are criminals who are being sought out for prosecution (one of the earliest and most notorious being Kevin Mitnick, now an American computer security consultant, author and hacker. Author of 3 books: The Art of Deception, The Art of Intrusion, and Ghost In The Wires: My Adventures As The World’s Most Wanted Hacker [2011)]), or they’re looking for talent to enhance their own cyber security staff.  I bring up hacking because some Black Hat SEOs are actually engaged in hacking your business websites to place links to their own client websites in areas you’ll never even see them but Google will.

Social media is an area Google let on earlier that it is taking signals from because those are general signals of trust that can’t be manipulated. Google then reversed that declaration. They do not, they say, now. Here’s Matt Cutts on Are pages from social media sites ranked differently?:

…and also on how the links to your website from Twitter and Facebook are social signals that are useful:

The fact is that social media does play a role in branding, and brands are important in Google. Marketing, Customer Relations, Public Perception, Product Support all go hand in hand with social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook company pages if they are manned and managed strategically and used properly. In 2014 the SMX … and ignoring social media is a sure way to be unaware of out of hand slandering and maligning of your business name through unchecked, unmonitored, unanswered disgruntled smear tactics against your company – deserved or undeserved – from real customers or from the competition out there posing as customers.

So – that said – if you only have one SEO you’re going to need to have members of your staff who are savvy and dedicated to commit thin slices of their time throughout the day to various social media platforms to build followers, provide input and updates, to join groups and discussions involving areas of company expertise, and to search for those problem topics being discussed which your company products and services are the perfect solution for.

If you’re serious then you’re also probably looking to put more into your SEO budget because it enhances your site’s organic search traffic. Normally traffic to a site is 51% (on average) Google organic returns – and only 5% driven by Social Media: Just 5%! 1/10th of the traffic. So while SEO is still important, it doesn’t run the entire show. On that note Amy Gesenhues has another persective on social media.

Amy Gesenhues on on August 28, 2014, presented a study to SMX (Search Marketing Expo) entitled Study: Organic Search Drives 51% Of Traffic, Social Only 5% where she says “After analyzing “billions of pieces” of content, content marketing firm BrightEdge claims organic search is the primary driver of website traffic to business sites, while social barely generates a blip on the traffic radar.” and further “After analyzing “billions of pieces” of content, content marketing firm BrightEdge claims organic search is the primary driver of website traffic to business sites, while social barely generates a blip on the traffic radar.” These are pretty important points – Just posting to Facebook and Twitter alone (without following a specific recipe laying out the active roles and responsibilities of those staff members who should be assigned to your social media presence.

That said – Great Stuff in Brooksville is an example of a rudimentary social media presence but it needs manning because nobody is at the wheel.

Papa Joe’s (Catering / Restaurant) Social Media is well manned and managed though and brings in a much higher percentage of direct sales, community support, and definitely helps their branding using multiple social media output through Pinterest, Facebook and so forth. Properly manned with enough staff taking part and enough back and forth between that staff a lot can happen. With an informed, involved and supportive management team – the same results as with can be achieved – and I’m working on that with that team now.

Rand Fishkin presents another view of Social Media Marketing and Brand Building in the following shared slide presentation which you may download here:

If you have a company with a social media presence but you’re not updating it on a regular basis you’re not going to truly succeed. That said, some businesses try to use only Facebook as a web presence to build their businesses. But social media alone without a website is insanity (see the above video by Matt Cutts on Are pages from social media sites ranked differently?). First, Facebook belongs to itself and what it decides to do with your content is its own business – it could shut you down tomorrow, and even if it doesn’t the results aren’t indexed well in Google searches. The same with Pinterest, Twitter etc., in other words that work has to be maintained daily with the community for a greater return than 5%, yet the organic search results of 51% and above influenced by long lasting Search Engine Optimization are managed based on analytics information obtained through various measurement tools such as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, MOZ Analytics Tools, Majestic SEO, SEOBook Analytics tools and so forth. Also what you write on Facebook goes away – it gets pushed down lower and lower with each post.

What a business needs is a website with content company content owned exclusively by that compan, that you can post as a link to Facebook and to Twitter and LinkedIn – at which point you’re now the established author indexed in Google (those social media posts are for live logged in people – not for the entire world on Google)… so if your small company doesn’t have your daughter or son, or a dedicated web employee on payroll updating your website created branded company related content every week as well as establishing community links through local activities on other area sites and pages pointing to your own web site (the link located on the other site and it points to your own web site –  it is not ON your website and it does not point toward their web site), and if you don’t have that then you need at least 2 or better 3 to 5 people (management, sales, marketing, Search Engine Optimization [many hats today – far more difficult, diverse and involved today than ever] – then you’re destined to one of two options:

1) Paying some outside company forever to do what you and your company either aren’t capable of learning or aren’t prepared to learn (while those outside companies are simultaneously promoting your direct competitors)

2) Shrinking and dying as you lose market share wondering why (partially due to see 1 above).

Social media should be fun, informative, and engaging to the people looking at it, as well as to the participants. They’re on it all day. They’re on it on their phones, on their tablets, on their desktop and laptop PCs and Macs.

Don’t get me wrong, for businesses Social Media is hard work and a lot of it. Customers at Great Stuff come in to shop but they stay to shop because it’s also about socialization, schmoozing, chit chat and a little back and forth and bargaining before the sale. Fortunately Great Stuff is also on eBay and has a much broader business base than Brooksville in Hernando County Fl. But if you’re selling cars in Citrus County you’ve got to narrow it down to the several surrounding county areas and compete with the other car dealerships, so you need to know how to engage, drive traffic, build valuable content daily, and gain links to your website from other websites in your area in order to rank.

If you’re the marketing rep in charge of branding you can’t do it alone. Hire a qualified Search Engine Optimizer / Search Engine Marketer / Social Media Optimizer to work with you directly or as consultants to better inform your staff as to how, when and why to use social media – and in what way to stay in line with your company’s marketing and branding message.The next step (after properly evaluating your choice of SEO consultant) is to LISTEN TO THE CONSULTANT! That’s what you’re paying for.


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