Social media is a big part of modern life. According to Statista, in the U.S., people spend an average of more than two hours using it every day. That time is split between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other smaller sites. Getting people to share links to and about your business, then, can be a great way to increase your website traffic and more. Here’s what you need to know.
What can social media shares do for my business?
Social media is a great way to build brand awareness and reach potential customers. If your clients post links to your products, write positive reviews or just share photos and tag your business in them, you can reach a whole new audience.
Social media shares also come with a large amount of social proof. If a friend shares photos of some awesome-looking cookies, you’re going to be much more interested in trying them than if you see a short ad before a YouTube video. (This is a real example, which I intend to check out this weekend.)
Some social media sites can even deliver an outsized impact. Going viral on Reddit can be enough to make a business. When going viral is your goal, take a look at the steps below for guidance.
Why social media links can help your SEO strategy
Social media shares are, unfortunately, not counted as SEO backlinks. Search engines, like Google and Bing, don’t give them anywhere near the same weight as a direct link from a high-authority site.
How much posts, likes, comments, follows, shares, pins and every other small social media interaction helps your SEO is still debated. These kinds of social signals certainly don’t directly affect your Google ranking for various keywords. Getting thousands of followers on your Facebook Page won’t automatically translate into thousands of website visitors.
However, having the kind of website content that people are sharing and interacting with on social media is still a good thing. While someone posting a blog post you wrote to Twitter won’t help your SEO efforts, someone else seeing it and linking to it on their website will. Strong social results, therefore, often correlate with, and come about because of, a good SEO content strategy.
How to get people to share your content on social media
To get people to share links to your business on social media, you need to give them something to share. This can be interesting blog posts, new menu or product updates, photos, videos or even funny memes. Some kind of general content marketing strategy is important for growing a small business.
While it takes more work, if you can make something personal, so much the better. For example, a realtor posts a congratulations to the people moving into any house he helps them buy—they always share it on their own social media accounts, and he’s gotten new clients this way.
Also, the easier you make it for people to share links on social media, the more likely they are to do it. You can do things like:
- Post any content you create to your social media accounts, so people can re-share it directly.
- Add social media icons or buttons to your website. If you use WordPress, there are lots of different plugins you can use. They allow you to place the like or share buttons wherever you want on each page. Otherwise, ask your web developer to add this feature.
- Ask your customers to share links to your website on their social media. You could even offer a coupon, discount or free side in return for them following and sharing your Twitter, Instagram or other social accounts.
How to track your brand on social media
If you’re just getting started with social media marketing, you can probably monitor who’s sharing your content just by looking through your notifications and mentions on the various different apps.
However, if things are picking up and people beyond your regular customers are posting links to your blog posts and other content (hurray!), then some kind of social media monitoring tool will be useful.
Apps like Hootsuite and Sendible can track how people on social media are talking about your business, even if they aren’t tagging you directly. You can see how links to your website are shared and who’s doing the sharing. You can also measure the reach of your own posts, as well as those of your competitors.
If you’re more concerned about reviews, dedicated apps like Reputology aggregate everything your customers are saying in one place. You can even reply from within the app.
Experiment and see
How much social media link sharing affects your business depends on a lot of factors. For some businesses, it’s their main method of customer acquisitions. The only way you’ll know how much social shares matter to your business is by getting more of them and seeing what happens.
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