Social Media is SEO in the 90s all over again
It was 1999, the year I started with search engine marketing. I had already developed a few websites, one of which was for my sorority, and I wanted to get it ranked well in the search engines, that was mostly Yahoo. Google didn’t even exist yet.
So after adding categories to my website, learning about meta tags and descriptions, we were found under the right categories, with a bulkload of categories, that were spot on to slightly related to the website topic.
Gaming the web was always part of Search Engine Optimization. As everybody was in the same race to get more and more traffic to the website. And reading up on SEO experts that were sharing their tricks, I remember experimenting with those technics.
Britney Spears gets you more traffic!
And it did. If you added Britney Spears to your meta tags at the time, then you might get traffic of people searching for Britney Spears to your website. And at that time, it was the most searched for phrase. It meant a lot of traffic.
Obviously, nobody was interested in pet food, accounting, or web hosting when they would search for Britney Spears. But that didn’t matter. The ruling metric at the time wasn’t the number of sales, or the number of interested clients coming to your website. It was traffic. How many visitors did you get to your website. The more the better. That was what SEO companies got paid for.
Until it wasn’t about the total number of visitors anymore.
The better the analytics tools became, and the more opportunities there were for companies to close sales immediately on the website (e-commerce implementations were hot around the year 2000), the more companies started questioning these techniques. At the same time Google came and led the way in what search engines were basing their algorithms on.
Even though Search Engine Optimization is still being gamed every day, and that’s why Google’s algorithm is always changing. Most companies know with SEO, it’s not just about the total number of visitors anymore.
It’s about the people that have a meaningful interaction with your website, that either interests them to make a purchase, or interests them to come back and stay involved with the content.
Social Media is not a pissing contest
Then came the rise of Social Media, and I see the same things happening. At first, most people are experimenting with social media and slowly but surely the number hoes start to appear. It’s all about the numbers and it seems to be the leading metric. Discussions regarding Facebook involved the famous comparison of “How many likes do you have?”, Twitter: “How many followers do you have?”, and lately: “How high is your Klout score?” Again, its the same discussion about numbers that in the end doesn’t matter.
It helped companies get started that shouldn’t have been born. Companies that sell Facebook likes, Twitter followers or YouTube views. As in the end it’s not about the number of people that follow you, its about the number of people that have a meaningful engagement with you on your social media sites.
The value is in the conversation.
People do business with people they like. Not because they liked your FB page, or because they follow you.
Turn the relationship around
It’s the other way around. Show them why they should like you or follow you, and they will.
The focus should be on building relationships with them on whatever forum, Facebook group, Twitter chat, so they want to like you, or follow you. And then they will.
Share the value and they will come.
If you want to buy likes or followers, go away. I can’t help you.
I am sure your numbers go up when we write and interact with your intended community. Your potential customers. But frankly, I don’t care. I do care, however, about how many people are interacting with your brand on social media. How many leads we generate, how many people view your product pages after interacting with you. That’s what makes us happy, and if that makes you happy – then I am sure we are a good match.
For fresh ideas on how to attract new customers through social media, fill out the form on the right and we’ll talk. I look forward to that!