I get a lot of questions about marketing a business with social media. It’s probably one of the most misunderstood ways to market and easiest to make mistakes. This is going to be a series of three articles, so stay tuned to read about the different nuances of marketing on social media.

But before I get to that, should your business be on social media? 100% yes, you should. You don’t have to post every day, or even every week, but you should be present online. Your customers expect it, and it gives them an ability to connect with you directly. It builds trust.

Kabbage, a small business lending company has found that businesses that are present on Facebook, are 20% less likely to default on a loan than those who are not. They even consider Facebook activity when approving loans. Interesting.

What’s The Best Social Media Platform?

There really is no “best”, but I recommend the following in this order:

  • Google+ – Set up your business page and profile on Google+ first. It gives your customers a place to leave reviews, and shows up in location searches. If your business is local (meaning you have a location-specific business), you must get onto Google+ first.
  • Yelp – I have a love-hate relationship with Yelp, and yes, it is a social media platform. Again, it gives people the opportunity to leave reviews, which do show up in the Google search results. Yelp has automatic “algorithms” that hide certain reviews which really annoys me. However, a client of mine (an attorney) just told me a couple days ago that she petitioned Yelp to take down a negative bogus review that wasn’t her client, and they did. Surprise, surprise.
  • Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn – Pick whichever one you want, but choose the one where your ideal clients are hanging out. I personally like to use LinkedIn groups to post articles, press releases and other content. Make sure you’re joining groups where your clients are, not your peers (competitors). By far, I get more clicks from LinkedIn than the other two. But test it, measure it (with Google Analytics) and concentrate on the one that gets the most clicks.

Does Social Media Help with SEO?

Yes and no. Having a business presence on any of the social media platforms is very important, and because they are public (not behind a password, like your private personal page), they do show up in the search engines. So if someone searches your company name, your business pages should be showing up too.

But will all the links coming back from your posts on your social media pages help with getting higher on the search engines like Google? Nope. By default, virtually all links in social media – including comments in people’s blogs – have a little piece of code in them called “nofollow”. This tells the search engines to ignore the links from a value perspective. The link still works, but it has no value to help in search engine ranking.

Don’t believe me? Try this. You can go to my Facebook feed here (or any business page). Right-click (Control-click on a Mac) on the link, and choose “Inspect Element”. Look for this code: rel=”nofollow” in all the other html text. This shows you that it blocks the SEO value of the link.

So What’s the Best Way to Market with Social Media?

The bottom line? Provide valuable information to your fans. Hopefully you’re creating blog posts, videos, articles, and other useful free stuff. These should go directly on  your social media feeds. The more you do this, the more your readers will get to know you and your business. This builds trust and confidence with them. They can even interact and ask a question or leave a comment (be sure to respond!). As people share your posts, you can see what resonates with them. This should be a hint to you to create more information like that topic, because your readers like it.

If you don’t create a lot of content, either hire someone to help you with it, or share other people’s posts. Find other blogs that are common with your business, and share those interesting articles. It won’t generate traffic to your own site, but it will help remind people that you’re out there when they’re ready to do business with you.

Social media is really “attraction marketing”. You have to attract people by giving away some free stuff (the “honey”). There are no guarantees that they’ll buy from you, but it does help to build trust so when they are ready to pull out their wallet, they’re already sold.

If you try to overtly sell sell SELL to people on social media, they’ll just disconnect and go somewhere else. None of us likes to be “sold”, and in social media, people have a very low tolerance for it. Use your fans gently because people are typically not in “buy” mode on their favorite social media platform.

Our Next Articles

Next week: 3 Reasons Social Media Marketing Sucks Pond Water

The following week: 3 Reasons Social Media Marketing Rocks Over Other Types of Marketing