Is Social Media for the Birds?
by Andrew Millar
Do I really have to engage with all of these new ways of communication in order to stay relevant in my business or is social media for the birds? Yeah, I know, the answer’s couched in the question.
There are some social media best practices I want to address but let’s first consider its presence in the media landscape and your attitude towards it. Facebook is not new, even Twitter now has been around for a while and Google+ is like this sleeping giant that shakes everything up just by stirring around a little bit. It seems to me that the real problem is not whether or not you like to use these platforms but the fact that millions of potential prospects/visitors to your website are using them. Does your marketing strategy/website design take this into account?
I’m reminded of how a fashion statement gains use in our society. It begins usually as something outlandish, oddly striking, and entirely noticeable. Only those willing to stand out from the crowd adopt it. Eventually over time the new fashion is taken on by more and more people until, eventually, one becomes more noticeable by not adopting it. Or it becomes a generational statement.
An obvious example for men is the 3-button suit with the pegged pant leg and constricted jacket. Or the 3-day stubble of beard. Or the adoption a few years ago of the messenger bag over a day pack which replaced the soft brief case which pushed out the hard attaché case (now I really am dating myself). OK, so we’ve established that change happens whether we like it or not. (Remember the old adage that the only constant in life is change?)
But Do I Really Have To?
The question now and forever is when are we going to climb on the band wagon and embrace the change we see occurring round us? When we’re younger it’s fun to change; it is sometimes like a contest to see who is doing what first. As we move along in years, change takes on a more demanding aspect as we seem to juggle more responsibilities with limited resources. We’ve all heard the cry of our senior members claiming that they’re getting along just fine, thank you, doing things the way they have always done them. Why learn something new if they don’t have to, they seem to be saying to us.
Any of us in the business of offering the public products and services, especially on the web, knows that staying abreast of emerging trends may be the difference in staying profitable. So of course we have to engage in social media to stay relevant.
Search engines are developing their algorithms to give prominence to social signals. Yikes! Change!
When a social media user engages with content and indicates his preference by voting for it (“liking” it, +’s) or sharing it (posts, tweets) or even commenting on it, the search engines are taking note of it. Every social media user authors his own identity by virtue of his engagement with content and, therefore, the production of content for social media is of paramount importance to digital marketing and SEO. Jayson DeMers of AudienceBloom has a great treatment of SEO and digital marketing in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jayson-demers/how-to-integrate-social-m_b_3481016.html
It’s a whole new world out there when it comes to attracting interest. But it has not changed once you have their attention. Remember, after your prospects arrive at your site, reliable and effective website design and inbound marketing is a key to producing results, i.e. conversions!