Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google, Yahoo and more all are, or have, social networking components. Many brands, shops and individuals are jumping on the social media bandwagon and trying to market as best as they can through the next biggest thing on many on these platforms. What often isn’t being taken into account is the harm social media could be doing to your brand.
Social media is fun, engaging and deceptively easy to get in to but difficult to market over effectively. Due to the ease and simplicity of the platform, it can seem at times as though everyone who can log on has become a social media marketing expert. The ease of entry belies the difficulty in engaging appropriately which has been exemplified in the past with Habitat UK, Vodafone UK and countless other social media gaffes that do sometimes irreparable brand damage.
Social media brand damage can go on to impact your brand online as CNN and Eurostar both experienced. When searching on “Welsh couple Mumbai” and related terms, the false story that CNN put a couple’s life at risk dominated the search results. Even though this was false, social media enabled the fake story to be picked up and repeated as commentary and news in countless other blogs. Search results for both brands became affected.
Social media problems resulting in unfavourable search results then becomes a reputation management issue, sometimes even requiring professional SEO help as the search results become polluted with negative messages about your brand. In this way, and others, social media can harm your SEO efforts, making it even harder to present a clean brand image in the SERPs (search engine result pages).
Social media can also help your brand. Engaging over social media, including commenting on blogs, tweeting, blogging and other methods of social media engagement can not only improve SEO but also help build positive brand engagement, creating passionate advocates who can be activated when something does go wrong. Having a bloggers launch of a product as well as a media one can result in more column inches, more buzz and higher rankings. This also helps with cleaning up bad search results as positive buzz pushes out negative buzz.
Social media itself also helps SEO through link building and citations. Each mention without a link as well as each link all goes into the big algorithm on calculation and results in higher rankings. While a link helps more, a mention still helps with relevancy, trust and authority. Links from social media do help and count so positive buzz about your brand will help your SEO, rather than harming it.
Ensuring your social media efforts are targeted and focused is important as well. Creating relevancy or relationships with unrelated products or words will not help your SEO efforts. If you sell biscuits and you target your content at people interested in caravans, while people who caravan may eat biscuits, you will not rank higher for biscuits no matter how many caravan-related links you get.
Social media marketing requires a plan before engaging just as SEO does. Keyword research is the most important thing any site can have done for it in order to better focus efforts and targeting. This keyword list should then be used then engaging through social media. This type of focused targeting means instead of harming your SEO, social media can help your SEO.
Don’t sweat the small stuff with SEO though. Focus on the low hanging fruit and after you have done your keyword research, change title tags to be more targeted, add to your on-page content and ensure links in to the site have keywords where possible. Citations are growing in importance so don’t worry if you don’t get a link – a mention will help.
Social mdia can be as much boon as bane but if you plan properly it can be a huge help.