Mixing Social Media into your daily in-house SEO routine is not the easiest thing to do, nor is it simple to merely add it to one of your strategies. You already have enough on your mind to stress and worry about with regard to SEO, adding Social Media into the mix could make it a quite a pain. Never fear though, I have some tips that could help you move things along a little quicker and easier. Most of these activities are things that are pretty general and can be applied outside of in-house SEO, but is useful from a game plan perspective.
Research is key
This is true for every form of marketing activity. When you are engaging in Internet marketing, you have to do the research about the industry, the audience, and so forth. More specifically, when it comes to social media, it is researching topics, keywords, conversations, etc. Finding out where people are having conversations about your vertical and your brand will help you in planning out your strategy/campaign. Your vertical might have conversations happening the most somewhere on Twitter, or on a [vertical specific] forum.
Some tools which could help you do this are Radian 6, Biz360, and Trackur, to name a few. You could also just search for some communities (go figure, right?). For example, I searched for the best niche social media sites and look at that, our good friends over at 10e20 showed up as the top result for the query: “best niche social media sites”.
Get a feel for the community
So, you’ve done the research, you would think that traditionally, the next thing you would want to do is start tracking goals and ROI. Wrong! That would be a huge mistake, because, you still have no idea of the potential within the community. You have questions to answer still – how active is the community? How much traffic do they get? Who goes there? You might have some data, but you need to physically interact with the community at this point.
Now, don’t start to go crazy and jump in head first; instead, start voting in Social News sites, start interacting on blogs and forums. Figure out who the users are, find out if they are completely transparent in what they do.
After you’ve done this, make sure that you have participated and researched enough to set forth some goals going forward. By now, I have voted on many articles, commented on lots more, and even submitted a few. Yet, I still have a lot to learn, but, it gave me enough of an understanding to assign some goals.
Setting some goals and ROI
It’s time to take your feet out of the water and get them closer to the fire. Now you need to track what you are doing and get a real understanding for what your goals are and what your organization is going to use to measure the effectiveness of a strategy or campaign, here are a couple of mine:
- Engagement - Increase the overall amount of engagement via our content on our website and/or across the Social Web. Basically, increasing things like Twitter mentions, interactions on Facebook, comments across the Social Web, and amount of votes in Social Media.
- Overall Online Visibility - This is more of a qualitative number, but, making sure that content is seen by bloggers and journalists in given verticals.
- Increased Fans, Traffic, and Links - All valuable and quantitative metrics that you can track. Number of fans/followers across the Social Web, the amount of traffic via all social media channels and/or broken out by channel, and finally, the number of relevant links that the content brought to help SEO.
Create a strategy
There are three main things that are necessary in the strategy: the research on communities, the goals and roi you expect to achieve, and finally, the game plan for how you plan to achieve those goals. Think of it as a “Social Media Playbook” that is ever evolving and changing based on the daily tactical work.
Mix it up: Don’t worry about being perfect up front with the strategy you develop. But do make sure you get something down that you can reference when necessary and build out through the motions.
Unleashing your tactical game plan
Your game plan isn’t just going to be submitting a bunch of content to social news sites and being an attention whore on Twitter. The game plan should consist of a few key elements that will help you gain visibility. The 3 key elements to start with: making friends within the communities and letting them know you are there, voting on content, and engaging in the community (comments, tweets, wall posts, etc.).
Mix it up: Now, if you are sitting there complaining about how much time this may take, this might not be for you, but even so, think through this – how many times do you find yourself idle in meetings or throughout the day that you could actually be participating and active in communities. I’ve been in many meetings where I could pay attention while also voting on stories and adding new friends.
Social news sites
Take a minute and make sure that your content is ready: do you have internal links to help your SEO strategy? Did you put in a call to action at the end of the article? After that, to start getting content submitted, you are going to need to do it yourself, so create a “submission plan” of sorts leveraging the research you did above to find out where it would do well:
Engage and interact with your fans, friends, and followers. Provide them content that is relevant to your industry, your business, etc. Think through some search terms that would make sense to track on Twitter? What are some questions that you can ask your fans to gain insight and/or increase engagement? Example from our recent conversations on Twitter:
Mix it up: Create questions in advance that you can post throughout the week or schedule using tools like Easytweets. Use tools like Seesmic Desktop you can create a search column to track keywords on the fly.
Measure, adjust, rinse, repeat
Did you achieve your goals? Was it mixed into your day and/or strategy effectively? Where could you have improved the effectiveness of the overall campaign? What were your metrics overall? And, did you hit your targets? Find areas that you can help yourself within the mix and start making changes to those and fixing that where possible.
Keep the conversation going, follow me on twitter: @tonyadam
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.