Since the inception of social media we’ve seen a huge change in how people use the internet. Approximately 8 new people are signing every second to get on to the internet. People are finding it easier just to connect online to save time. Giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Google Plus, LinkedIn are constantly evolving – and to keep up, we need to adapt to these changes.
As a Social Media Manager, and with considerable experience in the virtual world, I recommend 6 tips to improve your ranking and visibility.
1. Change your attitude
One of the biggest obstacles for business owners when it comes to technology and online, is ourselves. We often stop ourselves from achieving results by avoiding additional tasks or allowing constantly changing technology to overwhelm us. To generate new business and improve ranking and visibility we need to allocate a portion of our time in our busy schedules to manage our online presence. We need to keep up to date with evolving technologies and we need to learn how to keep online engagement effective. The bottom-line is that if you want to generate new business and you want to improve you ranking and visibility then you need to take the bull by the horns and stop with the excuses.
We are in the information age and dominated by technology. We are at a place where there are two very real worlds: the real world and the virtual world. Soon every household will have internet connection – and every business must have a website if they want to continue existing. The more dependent people become on technology, the more business owners will need to dedicate time to managing their online property – or hire an Online Presence Specialist to help maintain your web presence. Technology is there to make your life easier and your business more effective. Make technology your friend and use it t your advantage.
Position yourself so that:
- You are empowered to make informed decisions about which website platform to use or
how to best manage your social media presence.
- You develop an online brand presence that people recognise
- You are up to date with industry trends so that you can have the edge and stay ahead of the pack.
- You become easy to connect to and do business with.
2. Revisit and revamp your website
If you have not revamped or updated your website in the last 3 years it is time to do so. Your website is your shop window in the virtual world, make it work for you.
Firstly, a key reason for updating your website is the advent of mobile phones. Websites must be able to adapt to any screen your website is being viewed on, whether it be mobile, PC or Tablet, this is known as responsive web design.
Secondly, the web has evolved. The last update in 1997, Html4, has been stretched to its limits and in order to adapt to the modern web the codes have been updated to Html5 to facilitate visual and audio content.
Thirdly, developing quality content is still top of the list. Google is continually on the hunt for valuable content that is well-written: entertaining, educational or informative. Websites that keep updating their content will rank higher than a website that has not been updated for a long time. If you cannot update the content of your website yourself then you need to have a word with your web developer and move to a platform that gives you an easy way to do this. One of the most popular platforms to use is WordPress.
For your website you want to position yourself so that:
- You can update and change the content of your website without relying on a web developer.
- You can update the look and feel of your website every one or two years in an affordable way.
- You are using the updated html5 and that you are using responsive web design to
adapt to various devices.
- You are easy to connect with and people can do business with you online.
3. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as we know it has changed forever
This one is possibly going to be the hardest bit to understand or even adapt to for most people, especially for businesses who rely heavily on SEO and have placed little to no value on social media.
Google has made some significant changes that will impact how websites are ranked. If you did not think social media was important, think again. The human vote counts! While the normal guidelines are still in place, Google has added another dynamic layer to how websites will be ranked in the future.
In a nutshell your ranking will be based on the quality of your content, who you are connected to, your location, how much your content is being shared and the Google Plus factor. To understand the changes you can read about it here
Google themselves advise “Don’t focus on SEO, focus on user experience and valuable content and the credibility of your content”.
However, it is time to get SEO savvy and learn the basics so that you can improve your search results for both your website and social media presence.
- Do an online seminar to understand the basics of SEO.
- Increase your social currency by networking and making new connections.
- Implement key phrases wherever it is necessary to do so.
- Develop interesting and valuable content.
4. How to make time for social media to market your business
Unless you’ve labelled social media on your very important to do list, you will keep putting it on the shelf. I have found people will only pay attention to things that matter to them. As a small business owner you need to make that vital connection about the seriousness and importance of marketing. Marketing increases your visibility which increases your chances of generating business and earning an income. Social media is a marketing tool and is an add-on to your existing marketing methods. Decide what marketing channels you are going to use and then use them.
Decide today to place the social media marketing of your business at the very top of your priority list.
- Dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to just commenting on posts in various social networks.
- Dedicate at least 2 hours a week to work on marketing campaigns and developing content.
- Social media management is extremely time consuming, set aside a budget and outsource as much as you can.
Social media is not an overnight success strategy. Social media is a long term investment and an incredibly powerful tool to use in your marketing mix. It takes time to lay the foundations, to establish your brand and to set things in motion. I have found that the first 3 months can generally be very slow as we discover, plan and make changes. But 6 months on things should start to flow, fans and followers should be on the increase and you should be generating leads.
5. You are your brand, show it
The profile section on any social media platform is an extremely important and valuable piece of web property. People are inquisitive and people want to know where you are and what you are up to. Use your profiles as an opportunity to let people know who you are and what business you are in, and how you can be of value to them. The value of word-of-mouth is huge for those who know how to make an impression.
- Make sure you have a professional headshot photo displayed for your avatar.
- Write at least 3 biographies, include key phrases in your biography and get it professionally
tweaked and revised by a copywriter.
- Add key phrases in your information section to improve your search ability.
- Add all relevant contact information, your website, other social networking addresses.
- Invest in getting a professional portfolio of photographs done for yourself.
6. Build a community and continue to grow your network
Now that social media has become mainstream, it is harder to stand out from the crowd. There is a wealth of information on the internet and thousands of people sharing content. It is vital to start building communities and alliances around your business as soon as possible. Make a point of supporting people in your network – your clients, suppliers, and those who support you. Find creative ways to work together and help each other in business. You can start by sharing content posted by people in your business network.
When I advise business owners to make a point of commenting on other relevant business posts, the response is often, “we just don’t have the time to comment or share other people’s blogs or posts” You can’t expect others to promote you if you are not willing to do the same for them. If you have enough time to post on your Facebook profile to your friends you have the time to strategically focus on marketing your business.
Invest your time now and reap the rewards later. Whether you own a business or now, whether you have a website or not, you should always grow and work your network. Engage in other people’s content, share their blog posts, comment on their posts. Commenting on posts has the double-whammy benefit of raising visibility for both yourself and the other person. Plus, by the time you get yourself up and running, you will have built social currency to your advantage.
- Work towards developing a strong brand identity people can recognize and connect with.
- Make yourself a respected “go to” person in your industry.
- Attend networking events regularly.
- Network online by posting comments and sharing content of the people in your network.
Bottom-line going forward: You will need to accept the fact that you will have to allocate time and energy in developing your online presence if you want to get the best results.