Leveraging Social Media Efficiently
Your website is the constant in a changing landscape. Social media systems will come and go, as will search engines, but your website will always be there. It is also the only place you have full control over, and full ownership.
Ideally, each of these occurs primarily on your website:
- original content
- customer interactions
- sales and sign-ups
Your website is the destination where potential fans and customers should be herded to, and it is where fresh content, conversations and products emerge. Your website is the honeypot and the womb.
Social is SEO
Social media platforms love it when they are used for original publishing, where your content only exists online within their system. For example, personal photos – most people don’t have their own website, they just upload photos to Facebook and share them. This keeps people in Facebook, and seeing more ads.
As a business, your focus with social has two sides:
- Get followers, likes, shares, retweets and connections
- Get traffic to your website
Both of these have a positive effect on Google rankings.
Here‘s how to use social efficiently:
Keep in mind that you ultimately want to send people to your website. If someone subscribes to your mailing list, you can email them whenever you want, and email is free. To reach all of your Facebook fans, you have to pay Facebook. Spot the difference?
Facebook is a sharing platform, so make sure that you share on Facebook every piece of unique content you create. And, because Facebook users respond better to imagery, spend effort on a feature image for your articles. An appealing image will inspire people to visit your site to read the article, and it will also inspire people who arrive via Google search to actually read it too.
You should also make sure there is an incentive to follow the link to your website. That is easy to do with articles, because on Facebook you only give them a teaser (or the opening paragraph) and a link. This is harder to achieve with image posts. Try sharing a web page with your image on it, rather than just the image. Or have a blog post called [Current Month] Images, and add each new image to the top of your post.
Make sure to share curated articles and images as well. That way your fans will see you as a sharer instead of just self-promoting – it’s also a good way of discovering what your fans like to see on Facebook. The best posts will get the most organic views, and Facebook shares those stats with you.
Do the same as on Facebook, but with less words. Use the same content, but with one caveat… Twitter followers expect more frequent tweets than Facebook fans expect posts. So post all the same content, and then tweet a whole lot more on top. Be a curator and a self-promoter.
Do the same as on Facebook, but use bigger words. Use the same content…but less of it. When sharing, LinkedIn is the opposite of Twitter. It is a more professional audience, keener on white papers and less keen on funny anecdotes. So save it for your best, and preferably rewrite your articles in a more sophisticated way. If your posts get a good response from your LinkedIn network, they might be elevated to LinkedIn Pulse, and even the LinkedIn home page. As with Facebook, make sure the image is appealing.
Instagram is best reserved for those willing to create beautiful, original imagery. Use Instagram as an excuse, and the result is better looking content on your website. And, of course, that imagery flows on to Facebook and your website.
Responding on Social Media
If people respond with lots of questions and comments, that becomes a new opportunity to send people to your website. Instead of responding back with a sentence or two, try to write a few paragraphs and post them on your site. Link to the new article when you respond to comments.
How It All Fits Together
My imaginary friend Samuel has a retail store that sells writing instruments, and a website called PoshPens.com.
On his website, as well as the manufacturer’s imagery for each product, he also displays his own photos of fountain pens in attractive situations.
Each photo is on the product page, but also gets its own blog post, which details where he shot it, and why. The blog post is shared on Facebook, with the pen photo he took.
Samuel also writes articles about grammar for businesses. He shares these on Facebook, recycling an old pen photo to go with them. The same articles go to LinkedIn, without any changes. And he Tweets them. But they primarily live at PoshPens.com.
On Twitter he also tweets his pen image stories, and shares all the good grammar posts he finds online. The best of the found posts get shared on Facebook too.
All of the unique content he shares on social media points back to PoshPens.com. There, people can sign up for his newsletter, which includes all of his original content, and the highlights of his curation. At the bottom of each newsletter are links to his social media profiles.
No matter what happens elsewhere, Samuel has all of his content on his website. He uses social media for traffic and SEO purposes, and they inspire him to create great content. But if any social media platform fails him, it doesn’t matter. All of his eggs are in the basket he owns and controls.
Medium has become a home to quality content, where people want to do some serious reading without distraction. I strongly recommend posting some of your long form, serious content at Medium, with just a link back to your home page in it. Only have this content on Medium, because it will work better for you there.