Social media can help grow almost any business, but you can’t just jump on Twitter, start sending out tweets about anything, and expect to be see amazing results.
To make social media work for you, you have to use it smartly and strategically.
I recently ran across an article by Ashley Verrill on Social Fresh about how companies can increase traffic to their website by blogging and taking advantage of other social media tools.
So, I reached out to Ashley to see what other social media tricks she has up her sleeve.
The first thing you want to do is make sure you have a really good idea of who your target audience is.
Who are your real buyers? What are their demographics, daily life challenges, and goals?
Once you’ve defined your target market, find the places those people gather and blogs they follow.
Linkedin is a really useful tool for finding groups in a certain topic area. Then, you can even look through the membership and see if they align with your audience.
You can also do Google searches that combine keywords and “inurl:blog.” This will pull up blogs that have the keywords in them that you searched.
After you’ve found these social media groups and blogs, look for articles and discussion threads with a lot of activity.
Which topics are getting the most comments and shares? Scan through the comments and questions in those articles, so you can see what people want to know more about.
You can also dig into one tip or strategy suggested in the article.
For example, a while back I read an article called “10 Ways to Refine Your Buyer Persona.”
One of the tips was “Ask your customer service team.”
So, I wrote an article that was called “How to Use Customer Service to Refine Your Buyer Persona,” and catered to a customer service software buyer.
One final best practice, is to just search Google for your proposed headline, once you think you have one. If 10 other articles with a very similar headline pop up, try to get even more granular with the subject.
Once you find your topic, you’ll want to try and define a keyword that aligns with the topic. You can use Google Adwords to search for keywords that generate traffic that relate to your subject. You want to target words that are “medium” to “low” on the competitiveness scale.
While other keywords might have more overall traffic, your article isn’t likely ever going to compete for those terms. Try to pick out a few that all relate.
Once you have a few keywords chosen, make sure that at least one fits into your headline, as close to the first word as possible. Then try to have it appear again in the first few sentences, and your other related terms somewhere else in the copy.
Only do this if it seems natural within context of the blog.
You should also make sure that you have your authorship set up correctly (so your image shows up in the search results). This can increase both the ranking and click through rate.
Social media is crucial for driving traffic to your blog after it’s published.
You can use the same social groups you used for article research to share your content.
If you mainly targeted Linkedin Groups, you can actually go to specific members and find their other social media profiles. This will help you discover other groups they participate in and learn about what influencers they follow.
You can also find them on Twitter and see what hashtags they use most. Make sure you integrate those into your tweet about your new blog and even @ the article to influencers in your space (you can use Klout to find top influencers in your space).
Google+ has also started getting really active with their communities, so you can use these in the same way as Linkedin Groups.
Be sure to time 2-3 updates the day your articles comes out, but use different hooks in each post. Pull out an interesting stat or quote you used in the article.
About Ashley: Ashley Verrill is a Market Analyst at Software Advice, as well the Managing Editor for the Customer Service Investigator blog. She has spent the last seven years reporting and writing business news and strategy features, including articles for GigaOM and CIO.com. Her work has also been cited in myriad publications including Forbes, the New York Times and Inc.