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.

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