Why should social media be a component of my marketing plan?

What are social media used for?

Social media are a major component of the lives of the majority of Americans. People use a variety of channels to share daily updates about their lives, their beliefs, and their families. Posting to social media allows them to air their opinions of service providers, businesses, and current events. Individual citizens are not alone in their use of social media. Even the president of the US takes to Twitter to share his thoughts before he shares them with his closest advisors.

Many news outlets lead their breaking news stories directly to social media. Twitter has practically become a news ticker with late breaking events cresting and being amplified by retweeting. Additionally, customer service arms of major brands monitor social media and consumers expect to have their concerns listened to and answered by representatives from them.

The majority of people in the US use social media

Seven out of ten people use social media to connect with one another. A great majority of these social media users are in their prime years, between 30 and 64. The most popular social media platform is Facebook with 68% of adults in the US holding accounts on the platform. People of both sexes use social media actively. People with incomes greater than $75,000 are the most active users of Facebook – with 76% of them on the site. [Pew Research Fact Sheet on Social Media]

The percentage of US adults who use each social media channel

Why your business must not ignore social media

As a business, ignoring social media’s importance seems wrong headed. Instead of ignoring social media, you can actively listen. By actively listening [curating topical lists around hashtags, topics and individuals] to social media, you can learn what people think of your business, your competitors, and be among the first to spot new trends. You’ll learn about complaints and peeves so you can strategically align services to fit consumer expectations. Social media is a great resource of business intelligence for every type of business.

How does social media activity impact your website’s SEO?

Social media are also a way to drive traffic to your website where consumers can learn about your firm’s expertise and services. Visits to your website are an important factor to help increase your website’s ranking in search results.

According to SEMrush Ranking Factor Report, “Out of 12 factors we have analyzed, the number of direct website visits seems to be the most important page-ranking factor. Websites with higher authority consequently gain more traffic, and as a result, have a better chance of getting into the top.”

Your activity on social media not only increases awareness of your website and your authority, it (hopefully) provides others in positions of high reputation the opportunity to share your content. As an off page ranking factor which influences SEO, shares by those with solid reputations helps increase your content’s trustworthiness and SEO rank.

According to Alexandra Tachalova writing for MOZ, while “social media signals don’t influence site rankings, SEO isn’t effective without harnessing social media channels.” Ms. Tachalova further notes, “When you share content on SMM channels you’re not only getting engagement, but also bringing visitors to your site. This in turn helps you boost your site’s visibility: SMM [social media marketing] corresponds to SEO and indirectly influences website performance in Google.”

SearchEngine Land agrees with Ms. Tachalova. “Content that gets socially shared can, in turn, pick up links or gain engagement, which are direct ranking factors. As a result, paying attention to social media is important to SEO success.”

What role does quality play in the development of website content?

Social media in service to SEO depends on the highest quality content which is actively clicked and shared. This puts a large burden on small businesses to strategically develop and deploy content, monitoring and adjusting to tweak results that improve performance. To be avoided are “quick fixes” and too-good-to-be-true solutions which claim to automatically build your content in order to boost your search presence.

Content development should take a considerable amount of time, research and thought. Your goal is to create highly authoritative, insightful blog posts on your site, which can be shared across social media, and  which generate the type sharing behavior described.

How does a business go about building a social media relationship?

When it comes to audience development, your goal is to develop relationships with people who care about the causes, services or sector you represent. Finding strong advocates for your content will enhance engagement, improve virality and lead to better standing in search results. This is where your active listening streams and lists come into play. In addition, there are solutions which claim to help identify influencers so you can follow them. However, if you simply follow them, without significant interaction, with only the goal of getting them to share your posts, you’ll fail miserably. No one likes to be used for their position or influence, whether in real life or on social media. Cultivate actual interaction with individuals.

If you’re at all active on social media, no doubt you’ve seen hashtags such as #followback or people who proclaim that they can get you thousands of followers for no money. Remember, there is no quick fix. Cheap is as cheap does. Do not be distracted from the diligence you need to build your followers one at the time. Take to heart this guidance from SearchEngine Land, “participate on relevant social platforms in a real, authentic way, just as you would with your website, or with customers in an offline setting.”

Every business needs social media as a part of their marketing

The research is clear. Social media are a major influencer on website search presence and higher ranking. Any business who wishes to be found in search results by their target customer for the services they need must use social media as a component of their strategic marketing.


Header Featured Photo by Kait Loggins on Unsplash

Organic Search Results Primary for Most

According to new (2012) data, in the United States, the majority of adults depend on natural (organic) search results to find websites.

Almost one third of online adults in the US depend on social networking sites, a significant increase over 2011.

Gaining significantly in the last year as a way to find websites of brands are the brand’s emails.

The other break-away growth indicator are sponsored search engine results. These paid ads show a strong gain over 2011 as a way for US online adults to find websites. We continually hear of click through rates falling, but the figures from this new Forrester study belie that.

Implications of findings

Owned Content is the hands down winner in this survey with the top two ways people find websites coming from owned media and the other significant gainer being a brand’s own marketing email.

Earned media, which would be newspaper and magazine articles have diminished slightly (one percentage point) as a way to find websites, with TV shows and news stories advancing by one percentage point. Word-of-mouth, the other significant way people learn of brand’s websites, has gained ever so slightly.


Businesses and brands seeking consumer followers and interaction must continue to make certain that owned media channels (website, blog, social media pages/posts, and marketing email) are utilized in the marketing mix.

Read more on content marketing.