Social media is a hot potato for many businesses; they know they should be doing it but that don’t have, or want to dedicate resources for it. Add to this the fact that there are so many social media platforms out there, with users not really sure of which ones they should be investing in and you can certainly begin to understand why so many utilise some form of automation in their social media efforts. The question is though is automated social media really sociable?
Scheduled posting to social media channels is still pretty sociable because the user has (hopefully) carefully curated their posts/tweets. This is a good halfway point because it makes the user have the ability to maintain a presence across wider time-scales. This could mean that they could target their postings for peak times that they may miss for example. Overall this is a pretty sound strategy as long as real time postings and engagements are there too. You have to interact to make the most of social media!
Anyone who is active on social media and uses Twitter will have seen them in their droves – the auto follow thank you message. Much like an auto response email, these messages are used by a lot of people usually promoting their brand, but the question is that is this just being sociable, or is it actually anti-social? I have to be honest; I hate them; especially if someone follows me, whom I then follow back because they look interesting only to get a “Thanks for following! Follow me on Facebook and please RT this picture!” or something equally cold. These people may think that they are “doing social” but this just isn’t social; this is just like a crappy spam SMS about PPI or email spam.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think automated thanks are just verging on insulting and shows how little regard for engagement that person has. I would rather do nothing when someone follows me and I will engage and interact with people as the opportunity arises. It’s much more personable and I am not just cluttering everyone’s direct messages. I can see how it started out as probably an OK thing, but as it grew people started to be more and more aggressive with it in a bid to nail followers on multiple channels, especially as people try to scale their social outreach.
It may be too strong to call automated messages anti-social, but they definitely stretch the boundaries of social media to its limits. I guess that for all I know it could be a really successful way of securing followers. If you have to do it please try to be mindful though; it’s the first time someone is conversing with you so don’t be too pushy! There is plenty of time to develop relationships.
At the end of the day social media is about interactions. Whether you schedule tweets or other posts it doesn’t really matter, and can in fact be a positive thing; especially if you are able to be on hand if someone engages with your posts. If you want to send automates follow greets, please try to bear in mind how it portrays you; sociable person or pushy sales person. 🙂
Social media is a fantastic source of additional traffic; a fact forgotten by many people who see it as merely an SEO tool. It is true that there is a correlation that websites popular on social media channels tend to rank well in search engines, but that may not be the cause. Lots of brands are using social media to grow their brand and improve their presence, however some are not making the most of it by using it just to try to improve their website’s SEO.
The SEO approach to social media
The SEO approach to social media (the bad approach done by many anyway) is to make social profiles for all of the main networks, and then to post the same content across all of them. Usually this is a link to each article that they write for SEO purposes. This is really transparent and will often put people off of following you and sharing your content.
The social approach to social media
This is where social media really gets interesting. I never really “got it” until I managed to break down the mental barrier that I had of talking to only the people I knew. Social media is at its’ best when it is removing barriers so that people can engage with each other, usually with a common interest.
Extending your reach
Once you begin to interact with people social media really comes into its’ own. It pays to get into the habit of liking, sharing or commenting on other peoples posts. In return you will see that people are far happier to do the same for your content. Once you break out of your shell you will realise that social media is actually great fun and an excellent way of networking with your peers. Before you know it you will gaining followers left right and centre!
Engagement brings traffic
The one thing that engaging with people via social media brings is traffic, and plenty of it if you are really active. This is the benefit often overlooked by people with a purely SEO mind-set. The best thing about this traffic is that it is a mainly relevant audience, which is exactly what you want; a free source of traffic from people who are interested in your niche! I have spoken about social media to several other bloggers during my interactions with the community and they have all said what a fantastic source of traffic social media is. One I spoke to said that well over a 3rd of her traffic came from Pinterest, and she is a really successful and inspirational blogger.
Which social media platform is best?
I don’t know which is best and can only say which I prefer. I am a huge fan of Twitter. I love the immediacy of it and how simple it is. Interacting with people with a limit of just 140 characters makes it perfectly acceptable to speak to people in a short, efficient manner. I like Pinterest and use it for my photography but haven’t had that eureka moment yet. It’s not a priority although I hope to improve my presence there soon. The networks that are best for you depend on what you are comfortable with. I recommend that you try a few of the main ones, but focus your efforts on just 1 or 2 to begin with. This will make it much easier to get stuck in without burning out.
Embrace, Engage and Extend
If you are ready to make the most of your presence on social media and to help it grow your brand just remember; all you need to do is embrace it, engage on it and your reach will extend.
Image credit: Yoel Ben-Avraham
If you speak to a lot of people about SEO one of the first things that many of them say is that you need to add a blog to your website because they are great for SEO, but this is often heavily misunderstood. In some cases a blog is an ideal way to add more content but in others it is the wrong approach.
Are blogs great for SEO?
The truth is that it is the content that is great for SEO; the blog has little to do with it. The only benefit to blogs is that most common blog platforms and themes lend themselves well to allowing search engines to crawl the content. This is just as achievable in the rest of your website though! So what does this mean? Should you add a blog to your business website? This all depends on what you are going to put on it.
Everyone starts a blog with good intentions, but unless you are going to post engaging content regularly a blog isn’t really worth it. Why, you may ask? A blog that has not been updated, sitting abandoned with only a couple of posts makes the site look unfocused and un-maintained. This can counteract the rest of a website that is proclaiming enthusiasm, focus and delivery of any product.
Why are you considering adding a blog to your website?
If you are thinking about adding a blog to your business website to develop a community and engage with your customers a blog is a fantastic tool. It can be a great way to show how personable and transparent your business is, which can help to positively influence people’s buying decisions. It is important to have genuine content on your blog as users are savvy and will spot fake content that is only there to force feed a product right away. This way of blogging can be really effective and also have some SEO and social benefits. Here is how:
- SEO value – Lots of relevant blog posts can often be a great way to rank in search engines for long tail terms. If you post a lot of guides or useful information it can also be a great way for people to discover your brand.
- Social media – Assuming you are active on social media, your blog posts will be a great resource to share with your followers. If people share your content and link back to your content it can make your website look more popular and have some SEO benefit too! This could be enough to make someone choose your brand over another.
- More traffic – If done well, your blog should help you to generate more traffic for your website, and that’s the goal right!?
What not to do on your blog
It is important to not be too spammy with your blog. Force feeding products to visitors without any engaging content is just a turn off. Some companies take advice from shady SEO companies to add blogs purely for SEO ranking purposes. These splogs (spammy blogs) are often hidden away so that only search engines can find them. The posts on these blogs are often very poor content that is really spammy and full of links to pages on the website with a view to manipulating search rankings. This is a terrible approach and if the post is successful at helping search it could be a way people find your site. You don’t want someone’s first encounter of your brand to be some really spammy blog post that has no engagement potential at all do you?
Blogs can be a really good addition to your website
Blogs can be a really good addition to your website and a great way of generating extra traffic and exposure to your brand. It is important to have the right intentions for your blog to maximise the potential gains, which are huge.
Should you add one?
If you think that you can dedicate the time to regularly publish great content you should definitely consider adding a blog. You could also get your staff to help! If you feel that you only have the potential to add a couple of articles all together to your site why not consider adding them to a help or information on your website that looks less time based. Wherever you place your content, good content is always useful as long as it is relevant.
Happy writing and good luck!