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Content Marketing and Social Media

Social Media
By Sofiaperesoa via Wikimedia Commons

Content marketing and social media are the best way to market your brand or product on Internet. Not an easy task, if you ask marketing specialists, but very rewarding, if it’s done properly.

Do you write great content and have difficulty propelling it on top of the search results? Do you think your articles are better than other pages listed on Google’s first page? Or maybe you write content in a unique way that would appeal to a certain people segment, but your pages never had the chance to be read. You are not alone, there are many writers, and content marketers with great websites that just don’t have enough readers. There are a few things you can do to push your content on first pages of the search engines, where they belong. One of these things is using social media as a traffic source, and also use the new trends in the search engines world, social signals, as a quality signal.

What Are the Social Signals and Why Search Engines Care about them?

social media
Photo by Paola Peralta via Wikimedia Commons

Social signals are metrics that tell search engines when a subject is hot. In other words, if a particular content piece gets reshared, and gets liked a lot on multiple social media platforms, search engines will interpret that as a positive signal.

A new concept, introduced by Google with its Google+ as a social engine, is to match social groups to provide them with similar search results, in order to deliver the most relevant results.

Why Are Likes Important and which Social Media Platform is Better?

For instance the number of likes on a page means to a search engine that people like that page, and they consider the likes as votes. The number of votes on a page is a sign of quality and it is rewarded by search engines by moving it up in the search results. Any kind of social media “votes” on a page, can move that page up in search engine rankings. But for this specific signal to validate, it needs other social signals as well. Social signals are Facebook likes, the Google+ shares, and plus ones, reshares on Twitter, Stumbleupon votes, etc…

Interestingly, Google has stated that social signals have to validate in time as well, in order to be taken in consideration. Some SEO specialists think that social signals will start to validate in the third year of social networking activity. If the social signals drop after the first year, all the signals are lost. For a search engine this means that either the subject lost public interest, or the social signals were unnatural.

To sum up this, all social media signals are important, and all platform votes say something about your content to the search engines.

Relevance Is the Key

Let’s take the example of an article that talks about computers. All my Facebook friends know that I am an IT Systems Engineer and if I share a link to a post, I vouch for the reliability of the source. They are more likely to share that with their friends, than repost a link, posted by me, about cars. They know I don’t know anything about cars. The same goes with Google+ and Twitter.

Stick with subject that you are familiar with, you can have an objective opinion on, and your friends will identify you with.
If I post a link to an article about wedding dresses, all my friends will first think that I must have been drunk when I did it, or someone blackmailed me. On the other hand, if my daughter shares the link it is natural. Of course Google has a way to figure that out, or if it doesn’t have it yet, it will have it soon. Remember the Penguin update? Don’t spam your friends!

Think of this as a recommendation in your social network. When someone asks me to recommend them a new laptop to buy, they know they will get the best information, because It’s my job and I know what I am talking about. But if I approach my friends and start talking about the gorgeous wedding dress I just saw in a friend’s store, I would just look weird.

Content Marketing and Social Media

Content marketing is a term relatively new to coin the act of creating content to improve sells. There are many writers on Internet that can be placed under the same umbrella, and not only businesses that sell products. The Internet marketers, the writers on social writing platforms, such as Hubpages and Squidoo, many bloggers, etc… use content to attract readers. If the content is interesting it will be rewarded with traffic, hence bring money to the writer, most often from ads.

Content marketing is probably the best type of marketing on the Internet, and in theory it is very easy to target your market using it. In practice, there is a lot of competition, and even if you have the best content on web, your articles might not be getting any traffic. If your content is great, social media will reward you with visitors, but you have to be active on social media. Some social media campaigns have gone viral, and they surpassed even the most optimistic predictions. Social media has the advantage that it doesn’t follow any algorithms to rank content, the numbers of shares and likes is the ultimate ranking algorithm. If people like your post, they’ll share it with others, if not they won’t share it, this means that only content that appeal to public will be rewarded. For this reason, social media is a great signal for search engines, if it gets shared and liked, it is because people like it.

What Can I Do to Improve My Social Signals

Facebook iconMake it easy for people to like your content by adding all the social media share buttons pertinent to your website. At a minimum, you should have Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. People will not make the effort to copy paste your URL into a new window, just to share it. If you make it easy for them, they will like and share your page.

Be Part of the Community, and Build a Community

Social network platforms don’t mean anything if you don’t socialize. These platforms are not your just so that spam them, people will just kick you out of their community immediately. Be part of the community, and interact with it, and not just post there.

While you are there take your time to acknowledge other’s posts and work, they will return the favor. If you post every time but never take the time to like other’s people content, they’ll end up by ignoring you, and that’s not good for you.

Reward great content regardless of relationship with the author, that makes you look good, as a finder of that post or infographic, and get your profile more authority.

Google+ LogoContent Marketing Power Tip: The more people in your niche vote for your content, the more relevant your content is in the eyes of search engines. Google+ is the most powerful social network engine for building relevancy. Google+ can determine if a person is an authority on a subject matter or niche. If your video or article gets many reshares and “plus ones” from authorities in the subject matter, the video, or article, will get ranked. Make sure you setup authorship and publisher tags on your website.
This, combined with other quality signals will make up the ranking for that specific term. Other page quality signals are: average time spent on a page, bounce backs, click outs, etc…

Don’t look at social media for content marketing as to a competition, if you have more likes and pluses, you will outrank other webmasters. Think of it as a team work, to improve everyone’s rankings. If you look at the big players on the social media, and bloggers, you will see that there are repeated interactions from bloggers in the same niche. These guys know that working together will help everybody’s content in rankings.

Other Things To Do

  • Make sure you complete your blog profile. Fill in as much as possible, don’t forget the picture, the “About Me” section, and the social media section.
  • If you haven’t done so, create a Facebook account and start making online friends.
  • Create a Twitter account and follow people with the same interests as yours.
  • Create a Google+ profile and fill in all the information on the profile. Start making friends on Google+. Here is a Google Plus for businesses tutorial, start with that. Do not overlook Google Plus, and read this if you want to know why you need Google Plus for your business.
  • Link your Google+ account to your webmaster profile, and viceversa, to give your articles authority and a name. This is what people call Google+ Authorship. Depending on your blog platform authorship might be setup differently.
  • Create a pinterest account. Normally you need an invitation from a member, but you can also use your Facebook or Twitter account to create the account. Update: you can create now an account without any of the above.
  • Use Digg, Delicious, Stumbleupon and Reddit to propel your content.
  • Use the Facebook Fan Box to showcase your page.
  • Use social media hangouts to connect with other webmasters and share your pages with them.
  • I don’t recommend buying social interaction, but instead build a community with people with same interests.
  • Befriend webmasters on Facebook, connect on Google+, follow on Pinterest and on Twitter, don’t be shy, most of the webmasters will love to connect with their peers.

How To Get Followers on Google+

Google+ Power Tip – How To Get Engaging Followers

Like any social network, Google+ works better to promote your content, if you have more followers. How to get followers on Google+ though, it looks like nobody wants to connect with your personal profile, or your page? Well, you have to take action yourself if you want more attention. It’s like socializing in real life, if you open the discussion, you can get anyone to talk to you, but most people are shy, and won’t There are two approaches to getting followers, very targeted, only add people who you know are in the same niche with you, or people who expressed interest in subjects in your niche, or add people who engage, regardless of the topics they are interested in.

Google+ is not like Facebook, where you only add people if you know them. You can add people even if you don’t know them at all, the platform is meant for that, and it is created to connect people with the same interests. You will get from time to time a message like: “I don’t know you, why did you add me?”. Just remove them from circles, and let them know you did, (always politely). But if you are a Facebook power user, with a lot of followers, you already know how that works. People follow your page, or even your personal profile, if your page seems interesting, and if you have many followers. It’s the authority that creates even more authority.

*These are my two methods of growing my circle with engaging people.*
I discovered these two methods, and I believe they are the best methods.

How do I find engaging people?

How do I find engaging people on Google+ is the next logical question. Search for hot posts with many pluses and many comments, ideally in your niche, and start adding people from that post. It is that simple. They usually add you back. Trust me this is very effective. The easiest way to add people from posts is with Circloscope.

How do I find people in my niche?

This is my newest idea on how to get more targeted circles. The idea is to filter a bit the people you add in circles, and to add only people who are sharing the same interests with you.
Go to Google, the search engine, and search for a keyword in your niche. In the search results, look for the rich snippets, where it shows an author. Simply click on the author’s picture and this will bring you to the Google+ profile. Add the author in your special/niche circle.
These will be the people you want to engage on your posts. They will bring the most authority to your author rankings for that specific niche. Don’t think of them as competitors, engage in their posts, help each other establish authority. Look at it as a synergy, and as a community work. You help each-other increase your authority. It is a social network, at the end of the day…

Why Not Just Add A Lot of People?

Well, you have a limit of 5000 people per account, in other words, you cannot add more than 5000 people in your circles. That sucks, isn’t it? No, not really. You don’t need to have in your circles more than 5000 people, normally, you can’t efficiently communicate with more than a few hundred people, unless you are a genius. So if you have 100.000 followers, is totally fine, but you can’t have more than 5000 in your circles. That means you need to be a little selective.

I have heard people who added indiscriminately people in circles, so that they could be added back. Then, once they were added, they removed everyone from their circles. This way they increased their followers number. I strongly advise you against this, if you ever thought about doing it. Even if you don’t care about ethics, you will be penalized by Google, and your following might end up useless. So, don’t.

Circle Sharing for More Followers

Circle sharing is very used by many authorities on the Internet. However, I believe that there is a lot to improve on the way it is presently used. The shared circles I’ve seen lately, are just a bunch of people who are considered engagers or authorities. There are a few ways to use shared circles to get circled more:

  • You add yourself to the circle, and share it on a new post. This ensures you are in the next circle re-share/re-post, but it doesn’t ensure any re-shares, re-posts.
  • You find a circle that has less than 500 people, and ask the poster to add you on the next shared circle version. Usually, you have to demonstrate you are an engager, so you will have to repost, comment, plus one, the respective circle. This ensures you are in a circulated circle.
  • The best way, and this is almost not used on Google+, is to create and share interests circles, and share them on communities. Let’s say you are an Internet marketer, you create a circle with all of your Internet marketer contacts on G+, ask them, (using a private message), if they want to be included in a public circle, and then name the circle “The Greatest Internet Marketers”, and share it on an IM Google+ community.