It’s a new era in social media — one where it’s not enough simply to create a Facebook page for your business and hope to attract fans. Welcome to the age of social search — and, for your small business, social marketing.
Consider that Google’s Social Search helps users find relevant content from their social connections — say, a movie review from your best friend — while Bing has now heavily integrated its search technology with Facebook. With major search engines staking their claim in social search in order to generate the most relevant results, it’s critical that small businesses actively pursue social marketing efforts to boost their rankings. The following three tips will help you improve your social search results and, ideally, boost your bottom line.
- Optimize your site for “likes.” Facebook has boosted the visibility of users’ “likes” by adding thumbnails and meta data from its Open Graph Protocol, meaning that getting a page “liked” on your Website will improve your visibility in newsfeeds. Make sure you have a like button incorporated throughout your site — Facebook has a button tool that will let you create and customize the button for your site — and test different headlines and meta tags to see which ones drive traffic. Sound too technical? Work with your webmaster to hammer out the details.
- Create great content. Keep in mind, your customers have to actually like something in the first place in order to feel compelled to click the “like” button. Offer timely, useful tips and commentary that incorporates keywords, intriguing headlines, and visual elements such as bold and bullet lists that draw readers into an article. If you lack the skills to generate this type of content on your own, hire a copywriter.
- Deliver on your likes. It’s not enough for customers to find you through social search, nor is it enough for them to click through to your Website. They need a reason to stick around and buy. Work with your webmaster to make your navigation easy and intuitive, with strong calls to action incorporated throughout your site to entice prospects to make purchases. Include a readily visible email sign-up form, so users will join your list and help you build a contact database.
Even if you’re new to social search, or new to social media in general, you can build a strong social search presence. Just start slowly with a few well-executed “like” campaigns — and, with time and persistency, your efforts will reward you.