“Control what you can control and let the rest take care of itself.” Twenty years of football seasons listening to my husband coach there are few phrases that he says every year, and this is one of his favorites. Lessons learned on the athletic field often translate to other areas of life, and when it comes to inbound I’m learning this one applies to developing the right digital marketing strategy for anyone looking to rank higher in search and connect with the right customers, clients or blog readers.
Social media algorithm changes are making it harder for companies to connect with followers let alone gain new contacts without paying for advertising. This by itself is a challenge for small marketing budgets, but algorithm changes are not the only problem. Facebook and Twitter have both acknowledged the existence of fake social profiles on their platforms which means you may be targeting your ads towards non-existent customers.
There is a growing skepticism around social media promotion. Business owners and consumers now have the data to confirm their suspicions. “Points North Group said it has found that midlevel influencers—those with between 50,000 and 100,000 followers—often have about 20% fake followers. The company, which analyzes influencer marketing, estimated that in North America, brands pay influencers millions of dollars each month to reach followers that are fake.” (source)
To put it another way, companies are paying for social media ads on Facebook and Instagram to target audiences that aren’t as large they might believe. Also, consumers are following social media promoters who aren’t as influential as they say they are. It’s no wonder Edison reports Facebook usage is declining with users 12 and over and it that 55% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2018)
Social vs. Organic
Let’s be clear, social media is still an avenue that deserves marketing attention. Despite the seemingly constant wave of negative news stories plaguing the various social media channels, in June 2018, Facebook reported 1.47 billion daily active users and 2.23 billion monthly active users. (Facebook, 2018) Thus, advertising dollars aimed toward targeted audiences on social can still be money well spent. Yet, when it comes to marketing it is always better to diversify your touchpoints with customers rather than relying on rented internet space.
Your website and your email list are the only real estate on the internet you own. Everything else is borrowed space and as with all rented property you are at the mercy of your landlord. Even Facebook ads you pay for are impacted of the latest algorithm’s settings.
What happens if Facebook decides your company is promoting an unacceptable product or you are hacked and someone creates a post using offensive language? In either case the Facebook admins could choose to shut down your page.
If you are only focused on building a social media following on Facebook and your page is hacked or shut down, you have little to zero control over communication with your customers. But, if you have a blog and an email list you can quickly post an explanation of what is happening on social media followed by an email that directs your followers on how to stay up to date on your company.
Organic and Social
Alexandra Tachalova of Moz did an in-depth research study of Organic SEO vs. Social Media Marketing in 2016. She determined that social media and SEO website practices are a nuanced subject with a lot of overlap between the two areas. This was also presented recently by Shane Barker in the article 7 Ways Your Social Media Strategy Might Hurt Your SEO who reinforced that ranking higher organically is best achieved when social media is included in a marketing strategy.
Shane says “SEO and social media strategies work better together. The role of social media is more than just promoting content. If used correctly, social media can help improve organic search. Though this is the case, brands often fall into the trap of developing isolated strategies for each.”
The more SEO strategies you implement to more opportunities you create to reach your ideal customer. Statistically implementing SEO to increase organic traffic and leveraging social media marketing both have value.
Consider these Statistics from HubSpot:
- Google is responsible for 94% of total organic traffic. (Web Presence Solutions, 2017)
- Organic SEO is about 5.66 times better than paid search ads. (New Media Campaigns, 2018)
- Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising. (Content Marketing Institute, 2017)
- B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost three times more traffic than those blogging 0–1 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015)
- In the past two years, content consumption on Facebook has increased by 57%. (HubSpot, 2016)
- 76% of people use their Facebook feed to find interesting content. (HubSpot, 2016)
- Written articles, videos, and images are the three most engaging types of content on social media. (Clutch, 2017)
These statistics support the value of SEO and social usage, so why not leverage both? The thing to remember is that you own your website and email lists. You are renting space on social media platforms. Don’t allow your marketing efforts to be dictated entirely by algorithms you have no control over. By implementing consistent SEO best practices you tell Google details about your content and can make sure you are always found in search.
By developing a diverse inbound marketing strategy you can increase the opportunities that your brand will remain accessible to current and potential customers despite any algorithm change on social media or search. Ready to diversify your marketing? Send us a note to learn how we will partner with you today.