As one of the newest aspects of search engine optimization (SEO), social media remains a mystery to the majority of amateur website owners and small business operators when it comes to improving SEO. Many people blindly sign up for all of the different services (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, etc.) and either forget about most of them or desperately try to actively manage a dozen accounts. What are the issues with that? First, social media accounts are only beneficial for SEO if they are actively managed and get views. Second, it is impossible for most people to successfully manage meaningful accounts on all of the different social media platforms – it takes too much time and effort. The solution is to pick a handful of social media services that are the most relevant for your business strategy and impact SEO.
Every social media page should link back to a company website. This provides a tiny boost in SEO through a backlink; however, this alone is not a good reason to create 15 different social media accounts. The real SEO boost comes from getting users to your social media page. Most of the time, getting users to a social media page involves constant and engaging posts. Though this can lead to thousands of website hits and marketing success, only people who plan on posting weekly, or even daily, should spend time managing social media accounts that go beyond the basic necessary accounts. For the social media minimalist, Google and Facebook are the two necessary platforms to register on.
Every small business needs a Google My Business page and a Facebook business page. Google and Facebook are two of the largest search engines available and these are simply must-haves. Creating a Google My Business account is critical for businesses that want to be found in local search results on Google. Google uses this business page as part of the search algorithm when people look for services near them. If you don’t have a Google My Business page, you cannot come up in the local results. As for Facebook, it also has its own local search service to help find businesses. In addition, Facebook profiles are often the top results on Google when searching for a specific brand or name. Even if a company will not be posting or doing anything regularly (which it should) on these accounts, they are still important.
Beyond Google and Facebook, there are several platforms that can return huge SEO benefits, but they often require immense effort and attention. Yelp!, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn fall into this category. If a business deals with consumers and can receive reviews, Yelp! is great for SEO. Not only does Yelp! provide reviews and basic information on a business, a strong profile with good reviews often climbs to the top of the Google results. It takes time and effort to get dozens or even hundreds of reviews, so start asking customers for feedback today!
Videos are becoming increasingly important for content SEO. They are more engaging and are beginning to carry a higher weight for SEO. Therefore, it is important to include videos with the text and other media on a website. The easiest way to add videos onto a website is to embed them from YouTube. As one of the largest search engines, YouTube is an excellent way to show industry expertise by sharing and maintaining a video channel. Of course, if being on camera or editing video is not in the cards, you should focus on a different platform.
Twitter is only beneficial if the account manager can be active on the platform. That includes tweeting, generating content, replying, commenting, and amassing followers. Twitter also acts as a search engine, so when somebody searches for a specific hashtag or word, the related tweets and content will come up. With no followers and no tweets, a Twitter account is useless. But with continuous, targeted tweets and active management, anyone can get thousands of followers, which will trickle down to website visits and SEO. While less prevalent and generally less effective than Twitter, LinkedIn also boasts its own publishing platform and search engine. LinkedIn focuses more on professionals and B2B markets where Twitter is geared towards consumers. For B2B companies, LinkedIn may be the better market to pour effort into.
Finally, there are the industry-specific social media platforms. These platforms can be the most important social media service for specific industries, but for most regular businesses, they are unnecessary. Instagram is the king of this category. For the average lawyer or mechanic, Instagram isn’t essential. To be clear, any business could use Instagram effectively with before vs. after pictures or some other tactic; but it is the main platform to use for any business that thrives on visual content. For instance, photographers, models, personal trainers, plastic surgeons, and artists all have a huge advantage on Instagram. Almost everything they do can be shared and marketed by daily images. It is important to find any industry-specific platforms that can benefit your business. Other popular social media services include SoundCloud for music, Flickr for images and videos, or Pinterest for craft products.
In the end, there are not five magical social media accounts that every business should manage. How do you know which social media services are right for your business? It depends. Due to their massive influence, almost every small business should create a Google My Business and a Facebook Business page to increase SEO. Beyond those, it really depends on a company’s budget, industry, and marketing strategy to decide what social media services to exploit.