Feb 2, 2015

5 Sneaky Ways to Super-Charge Your Social Signals

by Digital Marketing Institute

Remember when Matt Cutts declared social signals as a non-ranking factor for Google’s algorithm? How did it make you feel? Confused? Angry? Adamant? We reveal just a few of our favorite reasons why you should never stop the social signal chase.

Social signals can help you significantly propel the reach and impact of your digital marketing campaigns – and yes, they also inadvertently help you rank higher. Don’t worry, we’ll explain all below and let you in on a few sneaky secrets on how to catch more (and better quality) social shares. #Winning!

Why You Should Get Serious About Social Signals:

It’s not the social activity that matters but what happens as a result of that activity. Here are just two of the super-effective ways social signals can positively affect your SEO and significantly increase the reach and power of your content:

1. The Link Factor

Links are a major driving factor for SEO. And because social signals result in increased online visibility, brand awareness and traffic there is a higher chance that articles with a positive social signal correlation will result in more inbound links and citations. In addition a significant amount of social shares can reflect the quality of a blog post (and portray the level of value it provides) convincing more people to view it and link to it within their own content.

2. The Social Proof

92% of consumers trust the recommendations of friends and family more than any other form of advertising. Social signals are the new social proof or social vote. Think about it – they add credibility to your content and highlight the value of your post. It’s that ‘must be smart’ effect – if others have given it the thumbs up you’re more likely to too. The more your post gets shared the more credibility it gains within your industry, increasing the likelihood of influencers sharing it and linking to it within their own content.

4 Sneaky Ways to Increase Your Social Signals:

1. Investigate the Psychology of Sharing

The New York Times Insights Group released a fascinating study that asked people: “Just exactly what is it that compels you to share on social media?” If one of your main KPIs for your content strategy is increasing your social shares (and it should be) it would be a mighty smart move to examine some of the main motivators people have for sharing. That way you can shape your content to meet the needs of your consumers.

Top Reasons Why People Share:

  • 84% share to Support a Cause
  • 78% share to Stay Connected
  • 69% share for Self-Fulfilment
  • 68% share to Define Who They Are
  • 49% share for Entertainment

2. Choose the Prime Times

Thousands of social posts are shared every day. The content explosion we’ve experienced in recent years has meant that brands are increasingly struggling to get in front of the right people (sometimes even their own social media fans and followers). To stand the best chance of getting your content seen (and subsequently shared) brands must identify the best times to post.

This is not an easy task to take on but, as always, there are some nifty tools that can help you. Use a tool like Followerwonk or Buffer to determine the best times to share content on Twitter. Buffer also schedules your posts to send at the times that get the highest engagement. When first finding the best times to post you might have to make some assumptions, (for example, “I’ll schedule my post for 8pm because my customers will be at home and searching for holidays”).

3. Pay it Forward

70% of marketers plan to increase their social spend in 2015. This is a direct result of changing social media algorithms and content overload. Digital marketers are increasingly being forced to spend money on social platforms to successfully achieve any kind of reach.

But brands (especially those with tighter budgets) should first investigate where their audience are and invest accordingly. Try testing various paid social media platforms with small budgets and comparing the results. Which platforms give you the best cost per clicks and conversions? Find out how to leverage LinkedIn’s powerful Sponsored Updatesto make your budget stretch and help you hit your KPIs.

4. Embed Social Sharing Within Email

Why not make it insanely easy for readers to share your content? Make it so foolproof that they’d be mad not to throw your content a share. Yep, we’re saying put it right in front of them, wham bam in the heart of your newsletter. MailChimp makes it super simple to add social sharing icons at the bottom of your emails, enticing your subscribers to share swiftly.

Top Tip: Don’t forget to make use of the ‘forward to friend’ option too to increase the likelihood of your content being seen.

5. Influencer Outreach

Not all social shares are equal. A social signal from a powerful influencer, for example, can propel your content into social media superstardom status. Why? Well, first it adds credibility as influencers have no reason to share content that they simply don’t believe in. Influencers have also built up a powerful network and have a significant social media following.

A share from an influencers, can therefore, result in potentially thousands of people seeing your content where as a share from a regular Joe is more likely to result in double digit views (still nice but not as powerful). So how will you conduct your influencer hunt? A super handy tool called BuzzSumo will help you identify influencers in your industry.

One Day Social Signals Might Act as a Ranking Factor:

Matt Cutts says that Google might change how they view (and treat) social signals in the next 10 years:

“…I think over 10 years, we’re more likely to understand identity and to understand the social connections between people, but at least for the time being, we have to deal with the web as it is and what we are allowed to crawl and what we can easily extract from that and count on being able to access that in the future.”

Our online Professional Diploma in Social Media Marketing teaches you the best practices for marketing through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube. It includes 30 hours of in-depth lectures taught by industry experts and will equip you with all the skills and knowledge you need to plan, build and measure effective social media strategies. Find out more here.

Develop a detailed understanding of key social media specialisms including content marketing, and platforms on which you can promote your content.

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