Dismissing Facebook and Twitter? Personal communication, rankings, reputation management, and social media sells/converts are four reasons not to.
We've all heard the arguments and dismissals. Twitter: "How can you say anything useful in 140 characters or less?" Facebook: "It's a total waste of time." "We don't need friends. We need sales." It can still be surprisingly difficult to justify why social media is relevant to business. With that in mind, here are some thoughts and justifications to help convince the remaining doubters on why your organization should reconsider its position and get actively involved in one or more social media channels.
Personal communication: Social media allows for more personal and individualized communication between an organization and its customers. This interaction fosters a greater sense of trust and understanding, increasing the potential for eventual conversion. The best adopters of social media are those that engage their friends/fans/followers on a personal level. An organization can start by getting to know its constituents. Then build a relationship and trust. Eventually, that fosters ambassadors who promote an organization.
Additionally, as search engines continue to modify their algorithms for new signals to grade SEO, they are embracing signals from social media channels. So, there's point number two…
Rankings: In a December 2010 YouTube video, Matt Cutts, head engineer for Google's Webspam team, confirmed that links from Twitter are incorporated into the algorithm that impacts rankings. Furthermore, the quality of the source of those links is taken into consideration. Translated, if people are talking about you on social media channels and those people that are talking about you are qualified as authority figures, then it can only help your presence in the organic rankings. If that's not enough, broadcast this:
Reputation management: Feeling courageous? Or do you believe your brand is bulletproof? Go to your preferred search engine and enter in the keyword search "your brand name" + sucks. Fair warning…brace yourself before you do; the results might not be pretty. Now, don't get offended. The point of that maneuver is not to get your blood boiling. It's simply to demonstrate that folks are talking about you whether you acknowledge it or not. Getting involved in social media, whether on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or through a well-thought-out corporate blog gives a company an opportunity to participate in the conversation that's already taking place. It empowers you to turn enemies into allies and potentially even ambassadors. If that's still not enough to convince the powers that be, then let's get down to the bottom line.
Social media sells/converts: Social media marketing is a critical mechanism to influence and drive key business objectives. Interactive marketers who know the best practices to engaging prospects and customers on social sites can improve their business-impacting metrics, such as website visits, conversions, and sales, all while improving natural rankings.
Evidence suggests strong payback for companies whose products enjoy positive reviews from social media users. Consider this data based on studies done by Forrester Research and Business Week:
For my company – we showed very simply that people coming from these social media sites convert to sales leads at a significantly higher rate than normal site traffic. Now with that kind of information, you can go to the folks that make the decisions and present your case why your organization should be taking part in social media and tell them it will help your SEO to boot!
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Crispin Sheridan is the Senior Director, Global Search at SAP. As part of the digital team, he established and leads the search and testing practices at SAP. Crispin is responsible for paid, natural, and mobile search and all online testing. Search and testing at SAP are fully centralized and globally funded and run under a hybrid in-house and agency model.
Crispin has proven that search learnings and keyword insights work hand in hand with social media marketing and together can effectively drive B2B lead generation. Furthermore, the development of the SAP.com Test Lab has contributed significant success to SAP's digital marketing efforts.
A frequent guest speaker at conferences, including SES New York, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Delhi, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Crispin was appointed to the SES Advisory Board in December 2009. He has also been a guest speaker at the e-Metrics Summit and ad:Tech, and is a member of Google's B2B Technology Council. You can follow him on Twitter at @crispinsheridan and read his monthly SEO column on ClickZ.
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