Combining SEO and Social Media

What’s the best strategy and balance when it comes to using Social Media alongside SEO?

 approx 68 minute video

Combining SEO and Social Media

Nettl Academy SEO Live Event! Session 13

This session is the thirteenth in a new series of live events from Nettl. This week we have an in-depth discussion around combining SEO and social media. What’s the right balance? What are the best platforms? Which tools are available to help?

Social media seems to have taken over the world, but does that mean it’s beneficial to your online strategy and should it work with SEO? In session #13 the team discuss the advantages and disadvantages of social media when looking the SEO microscope. We’ll cover hot topics such as:

  • The relationship between social and SEO;
  • Credibility, reputation, and visibility from social;
  • Building relationships and audiences;
  • How to align SEO and social strategies;

Plus the team were on hand to answer questions. Keep an eye out for more live sessions. If you have questions in the meantime contact your local team and we’ll be delighted to help.

Check out the next video in our SEO webinar series

Today’s session is combining SEO and social. Hopefully we do it justice and give you some insightful and useful information on the links and how you can use these two strategies or two channels together. So what we are going to cover today: we’re going to try and explain a bit about the relationship between social and SEO. It’s a bit of a difficult one to explain, and it’s a bit of a sort of dark thing in the SEO world that people don’t really like to talk about because no one really knows, but we’re trying to explain it in the most basic way we can. Then we will also go through some tips, how you can combine what you’re doing in your search engine optimisation and what you’re doing on your social channels. So for example, if you are a local business and you have social media that you’re updating, but you also have your website that you’re trying to make visible in search engines. We will also go through some metrics, primarily from an SEO perspective. So if you’re working on social media, you might look at your likes and your comments and things like that to understand if people are engaging with you, but from an SEO perspective, there are also additional metrics that we would look at, understand whether your social activity could also be supporting what you’re doing in SEO. 

Then also, as usual, we always like to do some free and useful tools when we can just because I think there’s so many paid tools out there – and a lot of the tools we will talk about do have paid options – but it’s useful to understand that as long as you’re not doing too much, and you’re not a massive business on it every single day, you should try and make use of the free tools that are available out there because they can really help you. 

Then also some tips on things that we think you can start doing from today. I know sometimes in these sessions, there can be so much information and it can be quite overwhelming in terms of ‘what do I actually go away and start doing?’ You might go away feeling really inspired and then the next day realise, ‘oh, I don’t know what to do,’ but I think there’s definitely some simple things that you can try to start doing today to help combine what you’re doing within search engine optimisation and SEO. 

Is social media a ranking factor?

So firstly, the question that everyone asks and no one knows the answer to: ‘is social media a ranking factor?’ So the quite direct answer, it’s not the direct ranking factor. So when you consider the ranking factors within search engine optimisation, there are probably over 300, and we genuinely know what are ranking factors. So we know that you need quality content, we know that search engines need to be able to access and call your website, we know that backlinks, the relevancy of backlinks, your reputation, your reviews, all of those things are important and have different level of importance depending on the kind of business you are. But actually social media is not a direct ranking factor. Google has been very clear in putting that out there, but they also say, and obviously a lot of SEOs also say, there’s a strong correlation between social signals and ranking positions. 

So what I mean by that is that often people that are doing well on social media are also ranking quite well. So it does show that there’s a link. I’m not saying you have to have a social media channel to rank well for SEO, but there’s definitely benefit to it. Then also it’s worth bearing in mind that social profiles also rank in search results. So the prominence and the importance of this is that if someone is looking for your company and they type your company into Google, for example, if the only result that you have for your company is your website, you’re not actually giving yourself the opportunity to show off the company, give off some trust signals and share the reputation of the company. Because often – I don’t know about other people – but when I’m doing my research on a company, whether I want to buy from them or go visit them, I will look at more than one source of information, for example. 

The other thing is if you’re a company that sells products and Amazon might also sell your products, you might stock your products on Amazon. If you’re not trying to take those top five results with company results. So your social channels, your website, for example, and anything else you might have citations, then you’re not doing yourself justice because another website that talks about your business might try and steal your traffic. So I’d definitely say that having social profiles is useful to increase your brand visibility in search results. 

Social media channels are also search engines

Then finally just add to this social media and people often forget this and we don’t focus on it enough in SEO, it’s worth remembering that social media channels are also search engines. So whenever someone’s looking for something, a piece of information, they might search on the Facebook search bar or in the YouTube search bar. So when you talk about SEO, you can talk about YouTube search engine optimisation. You can talk about social media search engine optimisation or Amazon search engine optimisation. Even Etsy, if you’re a small business and you sell your products in Etsy, even Etsy has search engine optimisation and ranking factors. So it’s just worth bearing in mind that anything, any of your social channels that you have, you also need to try and optimise them to appear for search results. 

People often say, ‘you say it’s not a ranking factor’ and we’ll get clients come back to us and say, ‘but this competitor ranks really well and they also have a really good social media profile and they get loads of engagement’. That’s because there’s a correlation between the two, not a causation. Just because you have a social media channel doesn’t mean you’re going to rank well or just because you rank well doesn’t mean your social media is going to do well. One doesn’t cause the other, there’s just a correlation between the two. It’s probably because whichever business is doing something on their social media channel, they’re probably doing it quite well which means in turn they’re helping their SEO. 

It’s the results of the activity that you do on social media that matters not the activity itself. To put this into context, I’m not saying if you go and get a social media channel today, because you think it’s going to help your SEO efforts, that’s not going to directly help what you’re doing in SEO. It’s about what you’re doing on social media. So you can’t just get a social media channel, not update it, not optimise it, not do anything, not engage with your customers on there or your prospective customers, because that won’t work. You need to be sharing your content and doing everything that we’re going to speak to you about today, because that is the activity that will help with SEO, not just having a social media channel. It can be quite difficult to manage social channels because you need to be responsive. I find it quite challenging managing my own WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, and I don’t have any fans or customers, but I can imagine for a business itself, it is quite challenging. 

It’s definitely worth considering how many channels and really what you can manage because just having Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and all these different social media channels, isn’t going to make you better than your competitors. If you’re not active on them or you’re not doing anything and they’re just stale. 

How does social media impact SEO?

How social media impacts SEO. As we said, it doesn’t directly impact your rankings, but indirectly, it definitely will in some ways. Firstly, it can help drive traffic to your website. So if you’re creating content that you want to rank in search results, or if you’re creating content to increase your relevance in your industry. So if you’re in the construction industry and you create content to either rank well, or you’re creating content around construction and all the topics around construction, because you want to be an expert in that area, then you can also use that content on your social media channel and then you will drive traffic to that content. Then if the traffic that you drive to that content engages really well and people spend time on your website that will help Google who’s looking at your behaviour metrics and if people are having a good experience on your website.

 Also, as I mentioned, your social profiles can rank in search engines. So this can increase your brand real estate, which in turn increases the reputation and the awareness and the trustworthiness of your brand. I can’t stress to you enough the way SEO is going today is about reputation, trust and authority so anything you can do in marketing to help your reputation and your authority in general online visibility and voice is generally just what you need to do within marketing. It’s not just SEO. Companies have been doing it offline for years, it’s word of mouth marketing. But you need to be doing more of that online rather than just saying, I need to get backlinks or I need to do this. You just need to be promoting your company online every possible way you can. 

It also increases your content rate. So if you share your content in some way, shape or form – whether you’re repurposing it into more of a visual asset or whether you’re posting a blog post on your social channel – if you share that onto your social media channel, then that increases the reach of your content. Because you might have followers or people that are looking at your social media page for offers or whatever reason they’re following you for, they will be there and if something is worth sharing or them sending to their friends, they will then share on. And if you just imagine how that can go, not quite viral, but everyone has a different network and the way social media algorithms work as well is that someone, if someone’s liked something that you might have on your profile or have clicked on it, then social media might go, ‘well, actually this person’s friends might also like it because they have similar interests’ and then it might come up as a ‘you might also like this’. 

So there’s so many ways that if you’re putting your content on social media, you will increase the reach of it and increase the reach of your business, which in turn, you will get backlinks, you will get social media backlinks. There’s a different question between wherever social media backlink is a backlink but I would say it is because essentially it is someone linking or sharing your site which is a form of a backlink. 

Also obviously social platforms or a search engine. So I’m buying a house and I will hashtag something on Instagram to look for things related to my house. So that’s what I’m doing, I’m searching for something on Instagram using a hashtag. So you just need to remember that’s what people are doing. It’s definitely a search engine. 

Consistent NAP information

Consistent NAP information. So by NAP information, if you are a local business and you have that Google My Business page, where you have the map to your company, you need to ensure that your name, address, and phone number information is consistent across all online references to your business. By that, I mean your website, any citations you have, any listings you have on local directory sites or any online directories, any social media channels. So the biggest thing that you could be doing wrong today is you might have put your social media channel live years ago, put your website live, you remembered to update your website when you changed your telephone number for the business, but you completely forgot to update your social media channel. So anytime you update something on your business, wherever it’s your name or even any ‘about’ information, anything you update, if you move address, you need to ensure that that is consistent across your social media channels and your website and everything because that helps search engines to understand your business. Otherwise they can’t put two and two together. 

I used to work for a finance company called Sun Life and there was a SunLife in Canada and search engines used to always get confused about the two companies because they have the same name and they actually offered very similar products. So it’s all about making search engines understand your business and your information so that they can link it all together.

Shares and backlinks

Shares and backlinks. So, as I said, with the content reach, the more you get your content out there, the more shares you’re going to get the more earned backlinks. By earned, I mean the easy backlinks that you don’t have to go out and keep asking for people to link to you because they will just link to you anyway. You see a lot of companies out there doing really well doing competitions, saying, ‘you can win this if you share, share our profile or share our posts’, those things do so well because they increase the reach of a company. 

Increase your brand searches so if people find your business across social media, however, they find it. Whether it’s for a friend, whether it’s through the feed, or whatever way they find it, they might then go and look for your company. They’ll be like, ‘oh, I saw something interesting from that company actually’ or an offer, ‘I’ll then go into Google and search for them’. I did that the other day when I was looking for some cool paintings for my house, I found that an influencer had it on their social media, on their Instagram, and then I went and looked at the company and Google. So it all links together and you probably do this all the time. The increase in brand searches actually helps SEO. So the more people that search for your company, the more Google thinks, ‘oh, actually people like this company, people find this, people trust this company, people are looking for this company’ so that will help you from an SEO perspective. So what you want to do is increase the number of people searching for your company, which social media helps with. 

Brand awareness and reputation

Then also the awareness and reputation. So anything you’re putting on social media: where it increases reach, where you’re reaching more different people or more audiences, hopefully you’ll be doing well in terms of getting your reputation out there and improving it as well. 

So firstly, the relationship between SEO and social, it starts with content essentially because if you don’t have content, then you won’t rank from an SEO perspective. If you don’t have content, you probably haven’t got anything to post on your social channel. So you need content basically. I’ve got a little image here that shows the wheel of how it works. So it starts with publishing creative, inspiring, and informative content. So whatever your content is, it either needs to be entertaining, inspiring, or informative or helpful for your audience. If it doesn’t provide any value to your potential customers, they’re not going to read it. So don’t be creating content for yourself. So I want to post this on my website because I want to write about it. Why would your audience care about that? So do you have a persona? Do you understand your audience and what they’re looking for? And if you do publish that content. Then that content is essentially shared and linked to, so you might share it on your social media or it’s shared by someone who has a relationship with your business or obviously organically as well. 

Connecting with your followers

Then social media obviously connects your followers. You gain traffic, your community grows, and then you get consistent interaction. So everything that you’re doing on social and SEO reinforces your brand reputation, as I was mentioning, so you become an authoritative voice in what you do and people start to understand and know what you do. Anything that enforces your reputation and your authority will make search engines rank you higher, basically. Then as you rank higher search engines will find you and you’ll be ranked organically and people will find you through search engines. Then the wheel just keeps going round. 

So it all starts with content, but it has to be useful content and you have to get the content out there. The amount of people that just publish a blog post on their website and think that’s the end of it. No one’s going to find that blog post, even if you linked to it from your website, they’re probably not going to find it and I doubt it’s going to rank in search results straight away, or it might not even rank in search results. But it might eventually rank in search results if you start posting it on social media and so on. So this is the wheel that you need to follow if you want to ensure success with social media and SEO.  

So these are just a few things if we could kind of sum it up. Obviously there’s an exhaustive list but it starts with great content. To search engines and people, quality content will signal a quality offering. So if you go to Cadbury’s Instagram account, for example, you’re not going to expect a photo taken on a phone or something that just looks a bit naff and that’s where you want to aspire to be as well. So although yes, good content takes a lot of time, there’s a lot of free tools that you can use to help you get there. With quality content, you’ve got people that are much more likely to convert and engage because it seems more credible to them. So use social calendars, see how you can do yourself a favour by using tools to help you get to that quality. 

In terms of the SEO benefit, the content we’ll refer back to your site probably at some point as well. So for example, you could think about how you can use blog posts and convert them into a graphic and then link back to your sites. So there are a few different ways you can do that as well. So social sharing buttons for all your content. So if you’ve got a blog post or something going live, include those social sharing buttons to create conversations and get people talking about it. But it’s got to have a meaning, so it’s gotta be purposeful, it’s got to be thought provoking and much better stuff performs well than just ticking a box. So I’m sure if you see stuff on your own personal Facebook, you scroll past so much stuff but how many do you stop and engage with? It’s only the stuff you actually care about. So when you can make it quality and engaging, that’s where you’ll see the benefits for it as well. 

Building a community

You want to get useful relevant followers and also conversions. So how do you do that? You build a community. You haven’t got time to invest five hours a week into Twitter, for example, if your followers aren’t even there. Build a community where your followers are, so if you’ve got proof that there are loads of your competitors doing really well on Facebook and not so much Twitter, the chances of you actually being able to stand out on Twitter and almost break the mould is probably really difficult. They’ve probably gone to Facebook for a reason. So go where your followers are and improve the quality of the follower base by posting content that they care about. 

Ask yourself these questions on the screen, if you answer no to one of them, you probably need to reconsider how you’re approaching things. The way you need to think of it with the community is: forget the vanity metrics. Although you’d love thousands of  followers, would you rather have 1000 followers, but only get maybe 10/15 sales a month or 500 followers and maybe 200 sales a month because what you’re posting is really community led, you’ve got a really strong follower base. Tap into the audiences with the right content and those ratios will start getting a bit better for you as well. And again, once you’ve built that community, you’ve basically got your formula for success. They’ll help again with an SEO benefit for your reputation, your credibility, because it’s not just signalling to people but also search engines that people interested in this content, they must be an authority in their field.  

Engage with your audience

Engage with your audience. Now, this is something that’s a really big mistake for lots of people and brands, and it’s hard because it’s really time consuming but it’s probably one of the worst things you can do is just leave it. So any comments or questions that’s left on your social or inboxes and things like that, try and respond as soon as you can. Even if it’s just a placeholder response. Then you’re really helping build up trust. So one of the things on Facebook, when you go onto a page, it’ll show the response time. Sometimes they’re in a red colour which shows the profile is not very active or they take a while to get back to you. 

Even in my personal life, if I go onto a website and maybe it’s one hour response time, perhaps I could think ‘actually, I’ll probably spend about 45 minutes waiting on the phone’, for example, you’re much more likely to just quickly drop a message, resolve it with a real human interaction. It’s really easy to deal with as well. So as soon as you can respond to stuff coming through, I’d do it. 

That also takes the form of community management as well. Which is if you’ve got people commenting even stuff like, ‘oh, I love this’ as much as it’s not really asking for a response, the algorithm will favour you if you do respond to it, you’re showing your loyalty as well to people. So continue conversations, don’t end them. So if you encourage that again, it relates back to the last point you building that community. So someone says, ‘I love this’, start a conversation. Just go from there rather than leave it. Even if you just engage with it, like it, just do something with that. All of this as well to search engines and people will build up brand trust. So the content that’s shared encourages share-ability, it’s creating conversations online and offline. So for example, there must be so many times when someone says ‘have you seen this on Facebook?’ It’s a domino effect. If you share something with someone that’s relevant and they all have relevant pools of friends, it’s much more likely to reach the right people, even though it’s not for example, a mass reach, you’re not maybe reaching a million people but you’re reaching probably around 10,000 of the really relevant people that are more likely to convert. 

With the SEO benefits: website traffic. So if you’re posting stuff that’s engaging and you’re sparking interest with them, they’ll visit your site, they’ll visit your social pages. They’ll have more of an interest in your offer. If they then visit your site and you’ve got a blog page, the more information you’ve got and you can offer them, the better. 

Be consistent with your socials

Be consistent. You’ve got to be consistent with messaging people back but also the more visually appealing and consistent your feed looks, the better. Like I said with Cadbury’s earlier you want something that builds a sense of trust, you want something that looks really credible. There’s been loads of times in my personal life where I’ll go onto a brand’s Instagram account and if something’s just not quite there, you think, ‘oh my gosh, are they real?’ It sounds silly, but it definitely does happen. It’s a psychological thing of feeling like maybe you’re being ripped off through social media. You really need to get a sense of credibility across, with images that just fit well in with the feed and they’re on brand and they make sense for you. 

Although there might be something that’s worth talking about, maybe you can think about how you can frame that in a different way. So instead of putting a random image up, maybe think about how you could tweet about it instead, think about different ways of doing it, and that helps you be consistent visually and with your brand in general as well. The NAP stuff, the classic housekeeping helps with that. So you’re approachable, you’re visible across all the platforms for not just current customers but potential customers as well. So it’s signalling to them that again, you’re active, you’re consistent across all the channels. You haven’t got a different profile picture across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. You’re recognisable and, that links back to all the other points. It shows customers that you’re actively on the ball. Not just customers, search engines as well. 

Using hashtags and keywords

Ways to tap into conversations or figure out where your audiences are, it’s a great way to tap in through hashtags and keywords. So I’m sure you’ve heard lots about keywords on lots of the Nettl academy sessions, but hashtags have been around for about 10 years now. So searching hashtags or tapping into hashtags and jumping on trends and talking about things, it’s a great way to put your name in that field and in that conversation at the right time. I’ve seen lots of brands that have maybe 500 followers actually go viral because they’ve posted a really good piece of content at the right time. It’s not about having that reach. It’s about having relevance. So attract target customers by getting the right content out at the right time. 

Similarly on the right time: just cause you get up at 5:00 AM to go for a run, doesn’t mean your customers do. So look at analytics, see when your customers are active and go from there to find the best recipe. You have the hashtags as well. So lots of news publications will be monitoring stories around trending topics. So if your tweets, for example, using the hashtags appear at one of the top, you’re much more likely to get a backlink and how amazing would it be to have, you know, a link from the Daily Mail because of something cool you’ve posted on Twitter. 

Keyword or hashtag inclusions. Keywords can be included in your blog as well, they’ll increase your impressions as well for social, because, for example, you could link to a blog post for Instagram stories. There’s lots of different ways to repurpose content. 

Listen and learn

Listen and learn. You’ve got to learn from your mistakes. I wish there was as much as it sounds like there could be a simple few steps to follow that there’s not. You’ve got to really test what works well for your brand and your audience and go from there, we call it an editorial approach because you learn from your mistakes and you try and try again. So you’re not just learning from your mistakes, you can actually look at your competitors, maybe even before you try social for the first time, what have competitors done well and what have they not done well so much? How can you do better? So if you look at maybe five brands you’d consider in a similar space to yours, that maybe you aspire to, are where you want to be, look at the type of content they post, what does well for them, what doesn’t do well, and that’ll help frame your thinking for your content as well. 

So what are the keywords you’d like to rank for? How can you craft content around that? So say for example, when your keywords is male skincare, you might start thinking about how you can create blogs around that, and then maybe also replicate that on your social. Test the topics, test the phrases, introduce them across all your touch points and then, again, linking back to the other consistent point. It makes sense people are going to different touch points, whether it’s social blog, web, and everything just makes the same sense. 

Do a test run

Test run with what you figured out, what your audience likes the most. You’ve also got to be invested into your social with lots of different ways to boost your metrics. So not just the vanity ones like followers, but you’re going to want your engagements to start increasing and your impressions. Then from that, you probably see an outcome of conversions on your site, whether it’s the call to action to ringing a number or whatever, you will probably see an increase in those because the more relevant content you can push out to the right people, the more chances it’s going to convert. 

Do things like giveaways, or maybe some sponsored posts, or working with some influencers and competitions, user generated posts. These are ways to expand your pool of where that content is going and also make sure it’s a really appealing offer. So if someone just has to like, and comment on a post to get 50 to 100 pounds worth of free product, people will do anything for free stuff. The more you can go ahead with that, the better. 

Again, test it. If a call to action doesn’t work and try something different. A nice thing with organic and not paid social is that you can try without necessarily losing much money. It’s nice how you can quickly delete a post if you know it’s not going the way you’d planned. Just try and test again.

Don’t focus on vanity metrics

Don’t mistake engagement for just likes and comments. I think often people look to grow their followers or get as many likes as possible on a post or as many comments as possible but actually sometimes that might be kind of false engagement because people will sometimes scroll and like anything, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve engaged with your brand or that they’re going to buy from you. So I’ve got an example here of a cat post, I always refer back to this kind of thing because these posts have thousands of likes because they’re cute or funny pictures of cats, and you can do the same with dogs and you can do the same with any animal and it’s always going to get engagement because everyone loves to scroll and like something like that when they’re just bored or they like to share it with their friends because it’s funny but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to buy from you. 

Unless you’re a pet company and you’re offering that pet food or something, it might be a little bit more relevant, but if you’re fashion or your restaurant and you’re posting cat photos just to get likes, it’s very unlikely that you’re actually going to get any SEO or any business benefit from it. So it’s worth mentioning that these posts obviously have loads of likes, but they’re probably not getting website traffic or conversion. I’ll show you an example of another company where they probably got less likes. They’ve got 190 on the first one, 326, and 95, and they’ve got a good amount of comments. It’s like an online exercise company but actually, if you look at some of their posts, the second one is about saving 50% on their annual membership. That’s actually a product post and then the third one is also because it’s offering free shipping. So while these aren’t really inspiring posts that are going to get them loads of likes, but actually people will click on the links here and they’d go to their website and probably buy. So what I’m saying is don’t post everything on your social media for likes, but also don’t post everything for products. 

So the left-hand side one here is just a little bit more of an inspirational type quote to get their engagement, to get their followers and their communities interested in what they’re posting. So I think you probably need a range of things. So a range of competitions talking about offers that your business is doing, talking about your new menu on your website, and then also doing things that are a little bit more engaging. But don’t do too much of one or not enough of the other and make sure you’re tracking the success of them. So look at your metrics, the metrics that you want to track and then be consistent in tracking them and ensure that you’re actually seeing success from what you’re doing, because there isn’t any point spending hours and hours a day on your social media, if you’re not getting any business from it. Unless you want to just be an influencer that just gets those likes and photos of cats and just grows your following. But most likely you’ll be working on social media because you’re trying to improve your SEO or improve your business and get more money from it. 

Think about which platforms your audience is on

A few considerations. So I’ve mentioned this before, but be on the channels where your customers are or where your prospective customers are likely to be. So if your customers are over 70 or over 50, maybe don’t go for TikTok first. They might be on there but I don’t think that’s the main audience. There’s lots of websites online where you can find the statistics of the customers on different social media channels. I know that Facebook doesn’t have as many younger customers as it used to, so not as many under 25s, not to say it’s not valuable, but just have a think about your core target audience and which channel they’re likely to be on, and choose that as your main channel. Don’t just choose Facebook because you don’t personally like Instagram, because if all your customers are on Instagram, or if people are searching on YouTube, then you just need to make sure you are where they’re likely to be because otherwise you’ll be talking to the wrong people and probably not getting any business when they actually come to your website. 

Also be smart about the time and the energy that you invest in social media. It’s not important to be on every single channel, it’s important for it to deliver value to you. So don’t just be on Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, just because you think you need to be and your audience on all of them. Work out what works for you, and what’s going to drive the most traffic to your website in order to help your SEO efforts and then beyond that. 

Be realistic

Be realistic about the amount of time you can invest in that. So all these, all these considerations link in together, essentially what I’m trying to say to you is that it is quite a big job managing social media for your business. So just be careful about how you do it and just try and choose one or two channels and then do it right and get your content out there and promote your business as best as you can. 

Measure your social success

Measuring social success. So, as I said, there’s a lot of metrics that a social media person or someone focusing solely on social media will look at for success. So you would look at the engagement rate, likes, comments, followers. From a pure SEO perspective, if I was trying to understand if my social media efforts were helping my search engine optimisation efforts, I would look at the website traffic I’m getting. So how many people are coming from my social media channel to my website. And if you’re really savvy and you know how to use analytics platforms, you could have a look at the pages that they’re going to. If you were posting about products, for example, or a certain service that you offer, you could actually ask someone to have a look for you that might know how to use your Google analytics, if you have that set up. This is how you track successes, basically all your online marketing efforts. If you have that set up, you can understand, ‘okay, how many people are going from my Facebook page to this specific product page?’ and if there’s not enough you might want to look at what more you can do to get people there and the journey that they take, if someone comes from social media to your website. 


Then also the engagement. So I often see, when you look at a website, you see that the engagement from organic is really good because the people are specifically looking for a product, for example, and they will look for that product and they’ll go on the website and they’ll find what they want. So they spend a bit longer on the website and they achieve what they’re looking for. But when you find people on social media, unless they’ve used the search engine in social media, they’re probably not in market. So they’re not actively looking for something, they’re not searching for it. So actually sometimes you see that the traffic that comes from social media isn’t as good quality, but that’s not always the case. It’s worth looking at the quality of the traffic you’re getting because that also helps you understand if you’re targeting the right audience on your social channels.

Backlinks. So the number of shares and backlinks that you’re getting from social media, the amount of people that are sharing your content. There’s a really useful tool called BuzzSumo. There is a paid version of it, which is probably a little bit better, but any piece of content on the website you can add a Google Chrome extension and understand how many people have shared a piece of content on the website and how many times it’s been shared on Facebook, for example. So that’s really, really useful. 

Returning and new users

Returning and new users in social media. It’s actually interesting to understand if you have built up a community around your social channel, do they keep coming back onto your website? Have you built up a good community? So I would look to see are, over time, my returning users increasing from social media? And if so, I’m probably doing quite a good job of community engagement and growing a loyal community who are likely to be brand ambassadors and probably word of mouth, telling their friends about my business, for example. But also new users, because if you’re on the right channel and you’re promoting your content and your business, hopefully you’ll drive some new business for it as well. So I’d like to see those two metrics going up if I was to see if it was helping SEO for me.

Brand searches

Brand searches. So if you have Google search console set up, you can have a look. That’s another Google platform that you can have a look at your performance on, your SEO performance. You can have a look at how many people are searching for your brand and any marketing effort you’re doing, whether it’s, SEO, PPC, social media, any offline activity, the whole goal of these things should see more people searching for your company online and come into your company, searching your company’s name, because that shows that you’re doing the right job of promoting your business. You want to see people searching for your brand and anything is a brand, anything that someone has searched that is either your company name, a version of your company name, or a product name that only you offer so you can tell it’s definitely someone looking for your business.

Then also your reputation, how you monitor reputation, probably ideally from reviews, you can simply search for your business in Google or in Facebook and find out what people are saying. It’s really hard online nowadays to manage reputation because people always say a bad thing online about you, but not always good. So reputation management is such a big area for businesses now to ensure that they’re seeing success. 

So those are the key metrics, definitely worth having a look at all of those, to look at your social media versus your SEO and how they might be helping each other. 

I’d also look at and use as much user generated content and maybe outreach into local, small, independent businesses. You might have a sixteen-year-old freelance photographer who’s actually really good and you can work with in exchange for maybe a backlink or, you know, promotion of her services. I’ve definitely used those two avenues as well before. 

Helpful tools

Tools. So if we look at the first tool: this one is called Canva. You may or may not have heard of it. There’s a free version and also the paid version only comes in at around 8/9 pounds a month so it’s not too expensive at all. There’s lots of pre-made templates, if you want to create content there. You might have commissioned a batch of photography a few years ago, and you still want to use that, upload the batch and you can do lots of different things with it. Put it in different templates, upload the font that you normally use, the colors you normally use, they’ll give you some video templates as well. So if you’ve got some video footage that you want to add a bit more stuff to and make it a bit more immersive. 

It’s good for inspiration as well. It’ll show you lots of the templates you can see on the panel on the left, but you could type in something to do with your topic and it might bring up something that’s good for inspiration. Again, this sort of platform is something that really helps with that on branded content and making sure everything looks consistent and looks really high quality and taken to the next level. So I definitely recommend it.

The next one is called Unsplash. You don’t even have to sign up or anything, you literally just type in. Imagine it’s a Google image search but it’s royalty free stock images. So pop any search term in and be a bit creative because sometimes there are different phrases that people have tagged along with their photos. This is a great way to find high quality content if you can’t afford to commission or license. For example, if it’s just one or two of you behind the business but you want to give that feel of a much larger company, it’s a good way to get photos that give that sense of trust. They are free to use, always. So I definitely recommend having a look at one. 

The next one is called Adobe Photoshop express editor. There’s a lot of editing apps out there and you don’t really need a computer to do that anymore either. So if you’ve got an iPad or an iPhone or a smartphone, there’s lots of apps like Lightroom or Snapseed that you can use and they essentially all do similar things, they’re really basic to use, which is good, but helps bring dull images to life. If you have taken it on your phone that isn’t blurry, it’s a good quality, but it just doesn’t quite look right, not Instagram quality wise, if you like, put it in one of these apps, add something a little different to it, maybe change the color so it’s more on brand. Maybe add a little branded logo, really easy, just takes five minutes and it helps you pop something new up on your social. 

Next one is called Buffer. Now, again, there’s lots of scheduling tools out there. So this is a sort of thing that you’d look for to help create social content calendars. Some people I know just work on a batch one Saturday evening and that’ll do them for the month and then they don’t have to be creating new content for another three weeks. Buffer or Later or Hootsuite, they’re all incredibly cheap. If manpower is the thing that you struggle with, modify content there, you can share it with people so if you ever have any stakeholders sometimes want to see what’s going on, it’s a great way to show them stuff in advance, but also these have really simple to read analytics. So it’ll basically intelligently tell you what next steps to take. So, it might show you a heat map and say, actually, if you posted this content an hour before you might’ve had more engagement. So it gives you a really good understanding of how the content performs without having to go into Instagram analytics or do it all separately. You can combine all accounts there. They do Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn – really, really easy and streamlined. 

The last one is BuzzSumo. This comes with a Chrome extension as well. They do have a paid version, which I think comes to 15/20 pounds a month. It’s a bit more expensive but I’d only recommend getting that if you use it a lot and find a lot of value in it; the Chrome extension is free, but it’s very top line. What you’re basically looking at with BuzzSumo is how well content performs online. So you can track, for example, if you go on to one of your competitors’ blogs and think, ‘oh, actually I wonder how well this did’, you can just paste the URL in and have a look how many backlinks it got and where. So you can also look at, for example, how many times was an article shared on what platforms? So the Facebook engagements, the Twitter shares, the Pinterest pins, et cetera, without going into different platforms or clicking on lots of different links, it’s a really top line way of viewing how well things performed. So again, it’s not just for your own stuff, which you can access for analytics anyway, but it’s more so looking at what people are talking about, where and how often. So it also helps with the social stuff I spoke about earlier, where it’s just like tapping into these trends and topics. You could use a tool like BuzzSumo to see when things blow up in the media or blow up on social and it almost gives you the right time to jump on it before it’s sometimes too late. So I definitely recommend checking out BuzzSumo, they’ve got loads of user guides on their website which are really helpful as well. 

Things to start doing today

Things to start doing today. So these are the things that we actually think that you could go and do today, depending obviously on your website access and your availability, but there definitely are some quite easy things to do. 

Launch a profile

So if you haven’t already, I’d probably launch and try to be active on at least one social media profile, if it’s right for you and the one that you’re the ones that your audience are on and be posting your content on there. Include your social profiles in the facility of your website so if you do have social media channels that you are active on and you haven’t linked to them from your website, then you’re missing a big opportunity there. So definitely make sure on the footer – so the bottom part of your website, where you usually have the common links – I would include your social media profiles and if anyone is on your website, they can go and look at your social profile as well. Then also link to your website from your social channels so when we talk about repurposing and sharing content, there’s a few different ways. The tool Canva, if you can repurpose the blog into a more visual asset to post it on Instagram, for example, because you can’t post necessarily just a blog on Instagram. 

Or you can do, you can take a blog, get some of the key points – what are your top five points from that blog? – and you can put that into a more visual carousel on Instagram, for example, but what you can also do is try and do is link your website from some of your social channels and from some of the posts that you’re doing. Because if you don’t have a link to your website from your social channels, then you won’t ever get any traffic so make sure you’re linking in your bio and your about section, make sure you’re also linking from some of your posts. 

Add social sharing buttons

Make sure you add social sharing buttons to your content on your blog. So you’ll be able to go and have a look if you have a blog on your website now, see if you’ve got any sort of social buttons that say, ‘share this on Facebook’ because if you don’t and then no one’s going to share it because there’s no button to share it. They might share it, but they would just click at the URL at the top. It’s a lot easier to share if you have a sharing button, make sure you’re sharing your content. As I’ve mentioned, ask your followers to show and engage. So people often forget to do this, but if you just post your content on your social media channels, people might not share it but if you ask them to share it, they probably will. You can always play the small business card, ‘I’m trying to try and get my business out there, trying to promote my new product, please help me’. If people are a community and they’re following you because they want to help your business or they like your products, they probably will share. You could also get people to share by doing a competition or a discount code if they share something.

Track your traffic

Track the traffic and the sales and leads you get from your social channels. So, as we said before, there’s no point in doing anything or any marketing, if you’re not tracking it and you’re not tracking the success. So make sure you try and track what’s happening as a result of the work that you’re doing on your social channels. If you haven’t got Google analytics, get it, have a look into the analytics on your social channels as well, and make sure that you’re actually getting some leads and sales from that activity, otherwise, it’s probably a bit of a waste of your time. 

Use the free tools

Use the free tools that we’ve provided to try and improve your social posts. You do often see a lot of great businesses that really have potential, but they just don’t post very good posts. So the headlines aren’t very inspiring, they’re not very click baity. Maybe they need to be a bit more click baity to get people to go to their website. Maybe their photos aren’t very good so you need some better photography. So some of the tools that we’ve provided will really help with making sure that your posts are a little bit more engaging than what you might do if you’re not a creative person, for example, or you’re not a copywriter. 

Think of social media as part of a bigger marketing strategy

Just as an overall kind of final point is that you need to think of social media and SEO as part of a wider marketing strategy. If you have a small business or if you have a large business, you’re probably doing more than one thing to help you with your marketing and promoting your business. SEO specifically, as well as social media, are not siloed channels. You can’t just look at SEO and say, ‘oh, I’m not ranking well, SEO is not doing its job’ or look at social media and say, ‘I don’t have loads of comments, social media is not doing well’ because you have to look at the whole omni-channel approach and how there’s a halo effect. So if you do social media and then you’ll do something on your website, then how that all links together, how if you’re getting reviews, you’re helping with your reputation. So you just need to think about, I think the overall marketing strategy and how all of these things fit together and work together and just try and add the points all together, and then understand how that will overall help what you’re trying to do and trying to achieve as a business. 

Build your trustworthiness

This is the final point. I like this quote because obviously people buy from people they trust. They’re not just going to buy from you for the sake of buying from you. The reason trust is really important is because that is becoming way more important with the online community now, because every business – especially with everything that’s happened in coronavirus – is going online. Obviously once things are over, they’ll probably be offline as well, but you have to understand that trust is really important and how you get that trust is probably through what you’re doing to try and rank organically, what you’re doing here, and the reputation and the reviews you’re getting. Ultimately, any activity you do to help SEO will be about trust-building. 

So yes, you might need a technical person to work on your website to make sure your website works and to make sure that search engines can crawl and find an index. But there’s so much more that you can do to help SEO that a technical person can’t do, because you’re the person that owns the business. You’re the person who is delivering the product or delivering the customer service, or getting the reviews as a result of something you’ve done. So you really need to ensure that in order to see SEO success, you can’t just wait for someone to try and optimise your website because that’s not going to work. If you have a really, really negative reputation online, and you’ve got really bad reviews, you probably aren’t going to rank well because search engines can understand that and they can see it. So we can do everything we possibly can to make your website great but if you haven’t got a trustworthy business and people can’t see that you’re active online and people can’t see good reviews and a good reputation, they don’t know who they’re speaking to. Sometimes on social media, it’s really good to sign off with your name and humanise yourself on social media and your business. That’s what you need to do. You need to get trust, authority. You need to show that you’re an expert and make people want to buy from you. 


Posting blogs on social media

Would you post the link to the blog on your social media or republish the blog on those channels? 

You can do both but to get traffic to your website, I’d probably post the link to the blog. Then also there’s benefit, if you’re using LinkedIn, quite a lot of people post their actual content on LinkedIn. So they don’t post the link to their website, they actually post the content because sometimes that can do better. So as we said, I’d say it’s a bit of trial and error and I would probably try to do both because if you’re always posting the blog on the channel and you’re never posting your website URL, you’re never going to get people to your website and vice versa. Likewise, just having a URL doesn’t always work for people to click on it because sometimes people want to see the content straight on the platform. So I think, try a bit of both. 

Putting external links on social media

Any tips on how to promote website builds on social? Considering Facebook, et cetera, no longer likes links to other websites or anywhere that takes the visitor off Facebook, do you have an answer to that? 

A way of doing that is through things like the graphics. If you can create things like graphics and also put it across other channels like Instagram. It’s about the traffic more so than the link for you there because yes, it’s a link, but it’s to generate traffic. So you’re not going to get an SEO benefit from getting a link off Facebook purely because it’s Facebook, it’s more so getting people on that page that you’re driving them to. So, I’d continue doing it. Try to try different ways of doing it, try putting the link in the comments sometimes rather than the description. Test a few different things and you might see a different outcome. 

You can put your link in your bio as well. Sometimes Instagram allows a swipe up to go to my shop. There are lots of different options. You can even create, on Canva – that tool we showed you – you can even try to put your URL in there because then Facebook doesn’t know that you’ve put the URL in there because it’s a visual thing. So whilst the user can’t click on it, even that might make them say, ‘oh, I can see the company’s URL here’. So whilst you wouldn’t necessarily be able to track that directly, there’s lots of different ways you can try to do it. 

Tips for getting comments

Any tips for getting comments or messages on social media? 

I would ask for them, firstly. So, maybe if you want feedback on your business or your product, potentially ask people to private message you for that, put your content on there, ask people to comment on their favourite product that you offer. Anything that you think is asking people to do something because they might not do it unless you ask for it. Definitely pose questions because it’s almost like you don’t want to scroll past something without having your say sometimes. So pose questions or create engaging stuff on stories where people feel like they’ve got to answer and I think that’s a better way of doing it. 

Training on how to track social media success

Are you doing any training on how to track and understand how to track your marketing better include in time to post on Facebook, et cetera? We do have a session coming up actually, I believe its on reporting or SEO guidelines. I know we’ve done a previous one on SEO tracking, so we might want to do more on tracking your generic marketing activity potentially. 

Who uses what social media

Do you have any suggestions of where to find that analysis of who uses what social media? There is a website, I think it’s Stats Online. There are different websites so if you just type in Google ‘demographics on Facebook’, for example, or ‘demographics on Instagram’, you’ll be able to find it. There’s loads of statistics online in terms of how many people are on different channels. There’s a useful one from a company called Global Web Index as well and they publish reports that are quarterly, I think, on different social platforms and where audiences sit. There’s lots of information there, the webpage or the top-line slash would be quite helpful. 

Posting about national day/awareness days

On national days, awareness days, it’s worth just typing in on Google. Also just try and stick to UK ones unless international ones are relevant to you because I think there’s probably an international day for everything or UK day for everything. So like chocolate day is probably every other week. Try to fit to the most relevant ones and don’t just choose national awareness days for the sake of it. There’s also a company called 10 Yetis and they put out an actual calendar that should be quite helpful. But again, if it’s not necessarily in your niche, it might be easier if you do it yourself to make sure it’s any stuff that’s relevant to you. But as a guideline, they do publish general stuff. 

Resizing logo tools

Do you know any free tools to resize your company logo to fit in the LinkedIn banner? You can  do it on Canva. With Canva, it basically gives you all the dimensions for the different types of post you might need, like Instagram story or Facebook feed posts, Instagram feed posts, LinkedIn banners, Facebook cover photos – they’re all automatically there. You just go in there and create something. So you’re not just necessarily doing the logo. We could probably do something a little bit more creative as well, but it’s all done for you, which is good. 

Sponsoring posts

Do you recommend paying or sponsoring posts? Yes. Obviously you have to pay for them so it kind of depends what it is. I think if you’re paying for something, you want to see a sale out of it or you want to see a lead, so it might be worth only paying or sponsoring the ones that you have your telephone number on, or you’re driving traffic to your website. It might not be worth just sponsoring the content posts. You could try all that, but sometimes obviously if you want to see a specific return on your money, then I’d probably only sponsor the ones if you’re offering a 20% discount or 25% discount and you want to see people buying as a result of that, it might be worth sponsoring that. Also don’t sponsor something if you’ve got an offer and it’s not a very good offer and no one’s going to take it up. I see sometimes businesses are like, ‘5% discount’ and people probably aren’t going to buy as a result of that unless you’re Gucci or something and it’s really expensive. Just have a think about it before you pay for a sponsor post: have you actually got a really good offer or is it a really good post before you pay for it. 

Social media content for trades people

How would you create posts for trade people? Content is less tangible than some services which can offer discounts, et cetera. Absolutely. I think it can be quite difficult in certain industries. The only other thing I can think of is to look up what conversations your target audience is also having. So if you can tap into other conversations that aren’t necessarily directly linked to your product but that makes sense, I’d get involved in those and you can create graphics on Canva for free. A lot of the stuff around home and bathrooms or windows or kitchens or whatever on Instagram and stuff nowadays is very inspirational. So even if you’re a really small business, tucked away in a little town, I’d definitely try to take the steps to the next level to give you that bigger feel and make people get that aspirational feeling from the home content. 

You have to get a bit creative. I’ve definitely done some content before regarding a similar sort of thing in the home and it was around ‘is it better to update your home or sell your home and get a new house?’ and then we put in like the cost and did a bit of research about ripping out your bathroom and doing a whole new one versus moving house where there’s a brand new one installed. So there’s lots of things you can do to get a little bit creative with what you’re doing. You might be able to find something really funny or do a survey with your customers on social media about their uses in the bathroom or how long they spend in there. There’s so many things that you can do that aren’t just posting photos of bathrooms or posting fitters. Try to think away from your core product offering and think of things related to the home, bathrooms in general, why people use a bathroom and all of that kind of thing, then you can get interesting with it.