Leveraging Social Media for Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Leveraging Social Media For Search Engine Marketing (SEM) _ MediaOne

You’ve probably heard of social media, and how important it is to businesses and marketers. Chances are, you use one or more of the platforms regularly to keep in touch with friends and family, share your passions, and get the word out about your brand.

While social media is an increasingly important part of everyday life, it’s not just for fun. There are numerous ways in which businesses can harness social media to enhance their marketing efforts and gain more traction in the marketplace.

One of the most effective — and some would say undervalued — sources of traffic and engagement that social media provides is for search engine marketers (SEM). The volume of content created on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn is astronomical. With each new day, there are thousands of posts to read, listen to, and watch. It can be difficult to keep up without oversaturation causing you to lose credibility with your target audience.

As a business owner or marketer on a tight budget, how do you compete for attention on such a crowded stage? One strategy is to use social media to gain credibility with your audience and then leverage that credibility for search engine marketing (SEM) leads.

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What is SEM?

SEM is an umbrella term that encompasses all the activities involved in attracting website visitors to your content, converting them into paying customers and retaining them as loyal future buyers.

In the simplest terms, SEM is all the activity surrounding the use of keywords or keyword phrases in the process of searching for content on the web. When entering these keywords or phrases into a search engine, visitors are usually presented with a list of websites and blogs that match their search criteria. These websites and blogs are then ranked in order of popularity based on certain criteria (for example, how often they get updated or how many backlinks they have).

The advantage of this is that if someone searches for a product or service that your brand or business offers, and ends up on your website (or one of your social media platforms), they’ll most likely click on one of your links to find more information about what you offer.

Why use social media for your SEM efforts?

There are many benefits to using social media for your SEO and marketing efforts, not least of which is that it’s free. No one needs to pay for ads or sponsored posts to gain exposure on social media platforms; all they need is an active social media account and some truly engaging content.

It’s also very easy to use social media to establish yourself as an authoritative voice in your industry; simply by sharing interesting content about your industry, you will gain credibility with your target audience. If you have a sizable audience on social media, you can even use your influence to promote something that your brand or business offers—for free!

Building a following on social media is very easy to do; all you need is an active account and a decent amount of content to share. Once you have a following, you can use your platform to engage with your audience, promote your products, and grow your audience—all with ease.

How to get started with social media for SEM

Once you have a small following on social media (you can use tools like Hootsuite to easily find your biggest fans and gain some credibility), you can use your platform to promote your SEM efforts.

In order to successfully do this, you will need to take some time to figure out what works best for you and your business. There are a few basic principles that you can follow to ensure that your social media strategy is effective and efficient. Keep reading for some helpful tips on getting started.

1. Create content that is relatable and useful

Every business, no matter how big or small can benefit from having someone on staff that is in charge of content creation. It doesn’t have to be you—you can hire freelancers, such as content writers or social media influencers, to do this for you. As a general rule of thumb, make sure that the content you are creating is useful and relatable to your intended audience. For example, if you are writing about fashion, make sure that your content is applicable and useful to men and women that are interested in fashion. If possible, seek out a topic that you know isn’t covered extensively on your own blog—such as cryptocurrency or web hosting. These are all topics that male and female readers can benefit from. It can also be helpful to ask yourself questions about the content you are creating—for example, what are the biggest mistakes that my customers are making? What are the most pressing problems that my competitors are facing? Define a narrow topic, such as pricing or marketing for a small business, and stick to it. By focusing on a single topic, you will be able to create content that is more in-depth and detailed than if you had tried to cover a wide array of topics. While this might make your content look more comprehensive, it can also make it less useful—in the case of a complete guide to pricing, it might be hard for someone who is trying to solve a different problem to find the information they need.

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2. Establish yourself as an authoritative voice in your industry

Whether you are an established brand with a large audience or a small business just starting out, having someone that you can point to as the go-to guy or gal in your industry can be hugely beneficial. You don’t need to be an expert in every subject; simply being able to name a few key players in your industry can give you enough credibility to get started—especially if you are completely unknown. If you are able to name even one or two industry influencers that are contemporaries of yours, it can also be a boost to your credibility—especially if their followers and fans see your brand as a serious contender in your industry. If you want to get started quickly and easily, look for an industry “think tank” or a forum where influential people in your industry get together to discuss topics and build community.

3. Create content that is shareable

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point, but it’s worth mentioning it explicitly. The purpose of your content isn’t just to attract readers with big words and hard-to-understand language. People value information that is easily shareable. If you are able to describe a concept in simple language that even a non-technical person can understand, chances are, others will understand it as well. If you can get someone else to ‘share’ or ‘like’ your content, it will only do well for your marketing efforts.

4. Measure the success of your campaign

Once you start running social media campaigns, you will notice that the results are not always what you expect. This is why it’s important to measure the success of your campaign—specifically, the success of your efforts to grow your audience and the success of your content in bringing in new leads and customers. Luckily, with the help of tools like Google Analytics, this is very easy to do.

The most important thing to do is to set up automated, monitored Google Analytics for your site. This will ensure that you can track the success of your campaign—starting from the day that you set up the account until the day that you cancel it. You should also look at a variety of metrics, such as the number of people that clicked on a particular link, the number of people that watched a particular video, and the number of people that visited a particular page on your site. It is also important to look at the bounce rate (the percentage of unique visitors that left your site after viewing only one page) of your website. Knowing your bounce rate will help you determine the effectiveness of your design and the content that you are providing.

Social Media for SEO Basics

If you’re new to SEO, you might be wondering what kind of content you should be creating for your social media platforms. There are a few basic guidelines that you can follow to ensure that your content is both effective and efficient. Keep reading for some helpful tips on getting started.

  •  Focus on quality over quantity

While it is tempting to throw up a quick blog post on your birthday or the launch of a new product, those articles will never go viral. Instead, create quality content that is useful to your target audience. If you want to write a popular blog post, consider spending some time researching the biggest topics in your industry—not because you want to write about fashion or beauty, but because those are the topics that people are searching for on Google. By establishing yourself as an expert in a niche area, you will be able to attract potential customers that are searching for that information.

  • Start simple, then add more complexity
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When you are first getting started, it can be beneficial to create content that is as simple as possible. After you establish yourself as an expert in your industry, you can add more complexity to your content—for example, by creating eBooks or whitepapers that are as detailed and comprehensive as possible. If you feel that you have reached a point where you have become truly an expert in your industry, consider writing a book about what you know—either through traditional publishing or through an online tool like Blogs-to-Books. Established businesses with very large audiences, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, regularly hire independent writers and researchers to help them produce content that is both educational and engaging.

The Importance of Social Media to Your Business

If you’re not already utilizing social media to promote your business, you’re seriously missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 66% of consumers have used social media to research businesses or products before buying from those brands. This figure rises to 72% amongst millennials and Gen Z users.

This trend indicates that social media can play an important role in ensuring that your business is accessible to as many consumers as possible. When people can find your business online, they have the opportunity to learn about your products and services, discover any grievances they may have, and connect with you or one of your representatives to take further action.

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In light of this, it’s essential that you take the time to establish a social media presence for your business. What’s more, your social media strategy should be centered around increasing brand awareness and engagement, ultimately leading to more authentic interactions with potential customers.

  • Setting Up Your Social Media Accounts

If you decide to go the social media route to grow your business, it’s important to set up your accounts correctly to maximize the effectiveness of your strategy. First, you’ll want to establish a brand for yourself online by choosing a name for your account that will match your target audience. If you can get creative and find a way to tie the name of your account into an asset or value your audience will relate to, like #SEMforSmallBusiness or #LeveragingSEM for Growth, you’ll find it much easier to build credibility with your followers.

Once you’ve established your account and started to engage with your followers, you’ll want to consider the following:

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    • Instagram
    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • YouTube
    • Facebook
    • Pinterest
    • Quora
    • Stack Exchange
    • Reddit
    • Github

These platforms offer multiple potential advantages to your business. For example, you can use LinkedIn to connect with potential customers, gain credibility, and establish an expert profile that will grow your business.

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The Advantages of Digital Marketing Platforms

As a small business owner or marketer, it’s important to consider the tools available to you for marketing and advertising. Owing to the digital transformation taking place, more and more people are gaining access to content online. Thanks to platforms like HubSpot that offer a single dashboard for digital marketing and content management, you can publish content to multiple platforms all in one place.

This content can then be amplified through digital marketing platforms to gain more traction and leads in your industry. For example, if you’re a real estate professional seeking new clients, you can use HubSpot to create a series of articles that will draw in potential customers to your website, social media accounts, and email newsletter.

No longer do you need to invest in separate email campaigns for Facebook, Twitter, and Google. With HubSpot, you can create a single email list and amplify your content to all platforms simultaneously.

 

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media

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