This might seem to be an indisputable truism as the numbers back it up. However, considered in isolation, the figures alone are a wrong determinant of the efficacy of a social networking platform.
Other much smaller platforms provide equally effective ways to achieve business goals in the digital marketing framework. Take Twitter for instance. Whilst its user base is nearly half of Facebook’s own figures ,Twitter tops the charts in driving relevant traffic to a website.
In short, the social media ecosystem is a complex one that demands strategic thinking if digital campaigns are to produce the kind of results that marketers yearn for.
I must hasten to confess that my interest in Facebook is gradually declining since I realised that the platform is now consumed with its monetisation agenda. That is a story for another day.
Consequently, I have been forced to consider other channels for solutions and i must say the adventure has been an eye opening experience. Allow me to explain.
I am currently handling a search engine optimisation project for Falcon Safaris, one of the leading tour and safari operators in Southern Africa. The objectives of this campaign are to increase traffic to the Falcon Safaris’ digital properties, generate leads, boost sales and enhance customer loyalty.
My initial step was to set up the SEO on-page campaigns using the best practices in line with Google’s algorithmic changes. Following this, I then created off-page campaigns predicated on social media optimisation.
This is where i decided to venture off the well beaten track. I explored Google+ to find out how best i could coax this social networking platform to help give higher ranking to the websites I was working on. The rationale is simple. Google loves Google and the search engine has a natural bias to Google+ content.
My revised approached unearthed the immense benefits that this bias produces. When a business creates a presence on Google+, it is reward with prime real estate on Google search results pages.
No money can buy this allocation. What happens is that the brand’s business information is displayed on the search engine results pages. This is like getting an advertising slot during prime time TV programming. In addition, an attendant Google+ “Follow” button is included together with the business information.
Since the Google+ posts are indexed by Google, this increases the probability of a brand’s content appearing in the search engine results pages. Google loves content and its existence is based on the provision of content to search queries. Therefore if there are a huge number of a brand’s posts in Google+, this translates into a positive signal to the search engine.
Google’s “+1” sharing button leads to a high ranking position on the search engine. The button is used by visitors to a website to recommend content to the search engines and most SEO professionals consider it to be a critical factor in search engine rankings.
Success on Google+ is achieved through the customisation of the page. The first step is the insertion of relevant business information. Part of the information should be keywords that describe the niche of the business. By adding hashtags to the keywords, the business becomes discoverable when prospects search.
If a page has a profile photo, has 10 followers and is more than 30 days old then a brand can claim a custom URL that matches the brand. The page becomes easier to find this way.
Google+ also enhances the visibility of a brand’s other digital assets. This is achieved by adding links to in the “Links” section under the “About” menu. Marketers can add their website link, blog and social media profiles in this section. Links from Google+ to a website a good ranking signal as well.
In order to improve ranking, post engagement and the click through rate, the first 45-50 words of the Google+ post should be optimised properly as it becomes the title in the search engine results pages. It is important that the post includes the keyword that brand is trying to rank for. Search engines operate around keywords.
Marketers should take advantage of Google+’s versatility in the display of Visual content. It is important to note that images improve the engagement of a post as they are processed 60,000x faster than text.
An image is worth a thousand words. A brand can achieve its marketing goals more effectively through creative and compelling visual content. Google+ also has the added advantage of allowing gifs to be included in a post. The attention of prospects is captured this.
I would like to encourage marketers and anyone keen to use social media to get out of the mentality of reducing everything to Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s project is one of many. Google+ is especially effective in increasing the visibility of a website and a brand’s marketing communication on the Google search engine.