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Social Media & Link Building Strategies for Small Businesses

6 May 2014 BY

5 Easy Ways to Sync your Social Media Marketing and Link Building for SMEs

If you work in-house in a SME (Small Medium Enterprise) as a social media officer or link builder, you may find yourself looking for new ways to propel your marketing efforts to the ‘next level’. Perhaps you’re struggling to increase your social media audience past a plateau or perhaps you’ve simply run out of ideas.

A few years ago, the services offered within a digital marketing were somewhat segregated. However, I found that since working in social media the most successful online PR strategies are always teamed with the Link Building (and SEO) teams.

We all know now that working together with each marketing team produces the best results, but what if you’re a small work force and only have a limited team available? Don’t panic, there are still things you can do to increase the success of your social media and link building activity.

Here are 5 tips that have helped me along the way:

Develop your Strategies Together

This may sound obvious, but you will be surprised at how many times we naturally consider social media and link building strategies separately before bringing them together to form one organic strategy.

To avoid the silo-ing of services, my agency developed regular brainstorming sessions whenever we were pitching for a client or received new work for a current client. We got together in a meeting room, cups of tea at the ready and hashed out the exciting ideas that encouraged the interlinking of social media marketing with some innovative link building strategies.

To make things even easier, here is the basic structure we work to when imagining a new, winning strategy:

  • Overall brand aims and objectives
  • The demographics of the audience we currently have
  • Ideas
  • Feasibility
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • What we need to implement it 

Utilise your Current Resources for Success

What do you have that others don’t have? We found that utilising our resources, contacts and current clients created some fantastic strategies that mutually benefitted everyone.

For example, we recently wrote a competition proposal for one client featuring prizes sponsored by another fantastic retail client. The result? A new working contact for each client, some cracking mutual links and a doubled social media reach that benefitted both parties.

If you don’t work with multiple clients, this is still an option for you. Think about what your brand can offer prospective customers, whether it is a discount on product or services, a freebie to win or a slot on your blog. Add to reputable competition sites for referral traffic, social media profiles as a way for people to ‘enter’ a competition without fuss and use your Google Analytics and social media analytics tools to assess the success.

By working with resources you currently have you stick to your marketing budgets while still increasing online reach and link juice.

Use Google+ to Get your Blog Indexed?

Of course, this is something that’s guaranteed however we did a small experiment with Meluba for a recent link building and social strategy.

Generally, we produce some content for a site and wait patiently for it to be indexed to start getting some better readership and share numbers – but we decided to see if there was a correlation between Google+ and the speed a page was indexed in Google.

Before we posted it on Google+ as a link, the page wasn’t indexed:

meluba not indexed

After a swift post on Google+:

meluba google+ post

The page was indexed very quickly after the post, confirming our theory:

meluba indexed

We also tested this a few times on other blogs and got the same result. So, while this isn’t a set-in-stone strategy yet, I urge you give it a go and see what happens!

Keywords across the Board

While social media updates aren’t necessarily ranked based upon their keywords, they certainly play a part in update success, especially if they are words and phrases that people generally favour. But what about keyword targeting?

SEO teaches us to think like Google, but instead maybe we should think like people who automatically think like Google based on their search frequency.

If you consider the way people use search engines, we have naturally adapted our search terms from the ‘Ask Jeeves’ style questions we used to ask. Instead they are more succinct and optimized to get the best result in the shortest amount of time.

ask jeeves old school

A cracking link building strategy can do wonders for keyword optimization and social shares definitely help with this. But if we are looking to ‘rank higher for specific keywords’ what we are saying is that ultimately we are changing the nature of the way people search for us specifically. So this requires some subtle poking in the right direction. You could ‘naturally educate’ your following about your brand by using specific words or long tail phrases in your status updates, which in turn will influence your following to use these terms when they perform a Google search.

For example, our client Sunrise Senior Living UK are specialists in Dementia and Alzheimer’s care - therefore we wanted to make sure that part of our link and social strategy was ensuring specific words were in anchor text as well as social updates to make our strategy more consistent. Here are some examples of this in action:

sunrise alzheimer's update 3 sunrise alzheimer's update 2

Start thinking like a Person as well as a Search Engine

Perhaps the most successful part of starting to think like a link builder if you’re a social media exec or vice versa, is that you start to take the benefits from both areas to create successful campaigns.

Social media is all about the customer interaction levels rather than keeping a search engine happy, and link building is all about creating fantastic, relevant links to sites that are helpful and informative to assist in ranking.

A mixture of the two strategies will naturally force you to think like both, and the result should be a campaign that keeps everyone happy – yes, even Google if this is the search engine the majority of your traffic comes from.

As a social media person, I am constantly going on about how important it is to remember the person behind all our online marketing activity, but since working with link builders and SEOs, I have a stronger appreciation for the importance of search engine optimisation and how it fits alongside my social media marketing.

Do you work in an SME as a social media exec or link builder? Are there any other tips you would recommend? I’d love to hear them – comment below! 

AUTHORED BY:
h

Sarah is Head of Social Media for the Bedfordshire-based agency, Receptional. She has worked on a range of Digital Marketing campaigns and is a strong advocate of the use Social Media for the progression of any business. A Welsh rugby fan and an avid Great British Bake off watcher, Sarah loves to Tweet, chat and cuddle cats.
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