As a small business owner, there are many ways to promote your product or brand. One of these ways is free and can have a huge reach: social media. Unfortunately, a lot of the entrepreneurs I have spoken to recently feel that the effect isn’t worth the effort. We also see that in our reviews, by the way. It doesn’t matter if we review a photographer’s website or the site of an IT agency, most seem to invest little time in social media efforts or campaigns.
It’s hard to determine the ROI of a social media campaign. The tools that help in that determination are paid, most of the time. A small business owner that isn’t convinced about any ROI at all, won’t make that investment. Of course ROI is heavily depending on a number of factors. How do you convince the customer to buy in a tweet, for instance? Nigel’s comment on my previous post about social media got me thinking:
I also like social media but how do you target the “ready to buy” segment instead of people “Browsing”.
Nigel Abery, oaklaurel.com.au
You don’t buy a hammer to drive a nail in a piece of wood, but to build a bench. Growing an audience using social media, like I mentioned in my previous post, is a means to an end. The ultimate goal of all your social media efforts is of course to sell stuff and make money. It can even be the first step in a multistage (sic) process: get more newsletter subscriptions via Twitter to sell your ebook, for instance.
Now how will you be able to trigger that social audience to purchase your products or services? I did some digging on the interwebs. There is a lot to be found on the subject, but no user manual that works for everybody. Unfortunately, but not unexpected. It’s not an exact science, of course. But I’ve come up with some insights nevertheless
I know I saw it the other day in my stream, not sure what platform – I think it was my friend Patricia Wall who mentioned it. Wait a minute – maybe it was one of her friends? I can’t remember. That’s okay, because the search engines will find it for me. Back in 2011 I predicted that social platform interactions would start having an impact on search results. By 2012, Google had started proving my prediction.
[Tweet “These days, everything happening on social affects search results”]
Now I make a point of responding to posts that have something interesting, like a restaurant or funky shoes, as my response will be the trigger for the search engines to include related information the next time I’m asking them to trigger my memory of a restaurant. This works for my friends too, as my social network activity affects their search results just like their social activity can affect mine.
I don’t have to look back through the scrapbook of my platforms for my comments, because Search is integrating many social interactions for me. In fact, if I’m clever with my search phrase, it could bring up the actual post that mentioned the restaurant to remind me of the name.
I hope the restaurant in question has claimed their free Google Places page so that they’re easy to find. For restaurants and any bricks and mortar businesses, a Google Places page will impact any local search. If they don’t have a site, maybe they’ve taken advantage of a directory site like Yelp or Urbanspoon to have some web presence.
I hope you’re updating all your profile information regularly as that’s how your clients find you.
When you’re active on your social platforms, commenting on and sharing those interesting posts, you become easier to find. When you take advantage of social platforms directly linked to Google, like Google+ and YouTube, you are really loading the search in your favour. The advent of Google’s semantic search makes your efforts in social have an important impact on your ability to be found in search.
Besides making great friends and discovering cool stuff online, building your online scrapbook of interests is part of building your presence as an interesting person that your potential clients can come to know, like and trust. Plus on!