For a brand maintaining a digital presence through a blog, website or other digital properties, it is generally a good idea to create a strong presence on the Internet. Communication on the web, either written or as video media means that information travels unaffected by barriers such as geography or even time itself. This allows one entity, such as a small business owner or your local medical center the opportunity to reach a vast amount of potential customers relatively easily. Two specific techniques that are generally easy to implement and execute are social media and link building.
Social media in today’s online environment is a household term and rather recently has managed to amass a bit of a bad rep because of the shower of bad ads and ill-advised marketing ventures. In short, it seems as if everybody is doing it. And they might be. But not necessarily the right way. The truth is that social media is actually that, social. This means it appeals to the need for people to stay connected and interact, be “social” with each other. They upload their lives (pictures, video, written content, opinions, interests and much, much more), digitizing them then sharing them and interacting with other’s lives, interests and, yes, even businesses. People also browse and surf random user and business generated content. A sweepstakes, special offer, coupon or other promotion that might excite the impulse to interact within prospective customers could equal a successful increase in traffic, exposure and most importantly, sales.
Another way to spread the word and distribute content across the web is through link building. Link building is the act of increasing or building inbound links to a specific site. Link building has two specific purposes. For one, it operates on the premise that the more links there are around the Internet to a specific piece of content, the larger the probability that users will click and follow the link, increasing the traffic to that linked content or page. The other aspect is for the sake of search engine optimization or “SEO”. SEO refers to an act that makes the elements of a website more efficient at being properly detected, catalogued and relayed by various search engines and their web crawling algorithms. These special pieces of code pick up and organize content on the Internet. SEO takes on various forms but generally it is all about keywords and clear, concise labeling and organizing of content within a website. A website should have a focused theme that repeats and is clearly visible throughout all parts of the site. Clear, often simple and specific keywords that label images and other media will ensure that search engine bots or “web crawlers” will identify a specific site as belonging to the correct category of keywords or key phrases. This in turn increases the probability that if a potential customer types “hardware store in [city, state]” in Google your hardware store will pop up in the first few search results.
Social media and link building can complement each other and it is a good idea to use both techniques, as they are cost effective and often simple to implement. Using these techniques together creates an element of social search optimization for the brand. The trick is that the content must be original and interactive. A simple blog post about a store within a franchise opening is informative but not very engaging; it more closely resembles a not-so-interactive press release. However, if a brand can create a campaign that gives incentives to people who attend the grand opening and post the information throughout various social media outlets, the exposure creates more public interest. Additionally, rather than posting a flyer on the blog, it would be a better idea to post a news feed on the company blog to supplement the event and the experience. This way people will be more inclined to interact, as they are being engaged through multiple outlets and offered plenty of relevant content.
Contributed by Boris Polan
, Marketing Coordinator