Social Networking for Small Business

Internet Marketing through Social Networking

Social Networking has become a large part of search engine optimization (“seo”). And while we’ve heard that it is important, it can be hard to understand how everything ties together. So let’s start with your website, which can be thought of as the epicenter of information about your company. When discussing link building, we are normally talking about how we can improve search results to attract visitors to your website. The real question is, how do you get relevant visitors and traffic?

The Google Farmer Update

With the new Google “farmer/panda” update, methods traditionally used to improve search have changed a bit in favor of social media. Google’s update hit many traditional link-building websites hard, including article and e-zine-intensive sites. Many of these sites have been called “content farms” because they have thousands of pages of content that are not of good quality and/or don’t have content relevant to search queries. Overnight, some of these websites lost up to 90% of their traffic. But even so, article building and press releases are still a good way to get links to your website—you simply have to be selective in where your articles and releases are submitted. And social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), in particular, plays a significant role in this update because these sites usually have the most up-to-date content.

Social Networking for Business

We often get asked, “How can Facebook help our business? I thought it was just a website to connect with old friends.” Of course you can do those things with Facebook, but it can also act as means to spread information about your business faster than any traditional media could ever dream. If you’ve spent time on Facebook, think about how often you see people pressing the “like” button and reposting other people’s posts. When you “like” something on your friend’s Facebook profile, it sends a status update to all of your friends. And if 10 of your friends end up pressing the “like” button, then it gets sent to all of their friends. And on and on it goes.

The above situation is called the “power of ten” effect. Basically, if you post something on your Facebook page and all of your friends see it, 10% of those friends will repost it, and so on. Let’s say you started with 100 friends. That means if you post the original, 10 of your friends posted it again, and then 10 of their friends re-post, then ultimately over 10,000 people saw it on their status update ticker. That is the power of just one form of social networking.

Twitter acts in a different way by relaying relevant information from “tweets” into driving traffic to your website through back-links and relevant keywords. Let’s say you are a bakery and decided to showcase a new page on your website about cake decorating classes. The title of that page could be something like, “New Cake Decorating Classes in Lancaster.” If you took the same keywords and put it in a Twitter post called, “Check out our new cake decorating classes in Lancaster http://www.domain.com”, that would act as a relevant back-link. When Twitter is crawled by Google, you may see that your website now pops-up under the search “Cake decorating classes in Lancaster.”

Not Right for Everyone

It’s easy to get excited about social media and its impact on search and lead generation. But social networking is not right for every business. A business that has a very specialized audience may not benefit from social media as much as a business who has a larger audience (for instance, a business that sells aerospace products compared to a business that sells cell phones). It is good to assess your business structure before deciding whether or not social networking is right for you. Even if it has the benefit of potentially giving you a boost in rankings over the short term, it may be more beneficial in the long-term to work on article writing and press releases instead.

Social networking websites won’t be the silver bullet for all of your Internet marketing needs, but it may help gain more credibility, allow you to connect with your customers and act as an information hub to spread the word about your products or services. With so many new sites popping up in the social hemisphere, it may be time to get on the bandwagon and find out what the buzz is about.