Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Social Media within Higher Education: US and UK Universities

Over the last few years, every institution in the Western world seems to have jumped onto the social media bandwagon. Often without much accompanying analysis, organisations have assumed that engagement through social media will have positive effects on their recruitment and performance, and the higher education sector has been no different. It is rare indeed to find a university which does not maintain a Twitter feed and Facebook presence at the very least. Only now, however, is work really being done to examine how these tools might actually affect university performance.

Social media consultancy Sociagility recently carried out a study which attempted to measure the correlation between engagement with interactive online communication and overall university rankings. After measuring the social media output of the top 25 US and UK universities (as found in the Times World University Rankings) within a comprehensive scoring system, the report found a very close correlation between social media scores and overall institutional rankings. In other words, the better the university performed, the more successfully and actively it used its social media outlets.

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Of course, in some ways such an outcome is unsurprising. The best higher education institutions in the world inevitably tend to have more money than less reputable institutions, and so are likely to have a more comprehensive social media strategy. The report did not claim to prove a causative link between social media use and institutional success. What it did show, however, is that UK universities as a group scored significantly lower in measurements of successful social media usage than their counterparts in the US. It seems that the British education sector has yet to catch up with the use of social media.

Some might argue, however, that lagging behind in terms of social media is not such a bad thing. For example, recent research jointly conducted by the PR firm Communications Management and The Student Room has found that a university’s online activity has little bearing on student recruitment. Over 300 current and potential students were surveyed about their choice of university in this study, and whilst two-thirds of students use social media channels several times a day, this outlet of information was rated as both less influential and less trustworthy than traditional printed material, or face-to-face communication opportunities.

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Such research does not show that social media is unimportant, but rather that higher education institutions should take a balanced view of its utility. It is certainly not the panacea which might have been hoped for in some quarters, but neither is it useless, particularly given the high social media usage of the student demographic. Ultimately, universities which wish to use social media appropriately need to understand that the most important part of any student’s choice of institution is reputation. Social media is not only a tool for communicating that reputation, but also a powerful factor in shaping it, as long as the university is willing actively to engage with current and prospective students.

In other words, simply having a Facebook and Twitter account is not enough. The research conducted by Communications Management and The Student Room suggested that many of the students surveyed were unaware that their chosen university even had a social media presence. In order to be effective, such tools must be actively utilised, rather than simply existing. What is more, the information put out through such media cannot simply be the usual promotional and PR language simply translated to a different medium. Students gave clear feedback in the survey that “they [universities] do not talk about the things we need to know” and that “I don’t find enough useful information [on social media channels] that relates to me”.

targetted-content

Essentially, the study has found that social media is of little use unless its content is both targeted at the right audience, and utilises the strength of the medium. Rather than talking ‘at’ students, universities should be using social media to find out what is of interest to them, and then tailoring their output to the responses received. That, after all, is the strength of social media. The number of institutions which still appear to believe that simply having a Twitter presence is enough to grant online credibility is astonishing. As the above quotations reveal, many universities do not even signpost students to the fact that they have a social media presence, seeming instead to believe that their work via social media will somehow be noticed by osmosis.

The traditionally bureaucratic structure of higher education institutions may also be problematic when seeking to use social media effectively. After all, the manager of a social media account is unlikely to have the authority needed to respond properly to student concerns, and in most cases will not even be monitoring social media channels in a full-time capacity. Twitter, Facebook and other such media cannot be used to their maximum effect without significant effort and thought being put into the task.

As with all university functions, social media works much more effectively if it is part of a wider recruitment and performance strategy, and if its purpose is clearly identified. Currently, too many universities see their social media presence as a box to be ticked, rather than a powerful tool to be explored. It is, perhaps, little wonder that many students currently feel that universities have missed the point of social media altogether. It remains to be seen whether the UK’s higher education sector will eventually catch up with its US counterpart.

Further Reading

http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2013/apr/17/university-student-recruitment-social-media

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/podcasts/the-podcast-social-media-roundtable/2003307.article

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/419520.article

Social Media Concerns: How to Manage Dissatisfied Customers

The essence of social media is providing an avenue to connect with customers online. As a business owner, you will have the opportunity to present the features and benefits of the products that you are offering.

Your readers, in turn, will have the chance to review, purchase, or complain. At some point, you will experience a dissatisfied online customer who will complain about bad service or a broken promise.

It is your job to take this opportunity to convert an irate client to a satisfied and returning customer.

Here are some tips to consider:

Step One: Be Aware

You cannot address an issue that you do not know about. Listen to the concerns of your customers by allowing them to leave comments on your website. Keep watch of the activity on your Facebook page. Make sure to keep a regular check on Twitter hash tags or replies related to your business. Read forums and review sites that cater to the nature of your business. Knowing about the negative comments and feedback about your products and services in the soonest possible time will help avert a potentially disastrous outcome.

Step Two: Respond Immediately

Immediate action is required when dealing with customer complaints. The longer you take to make a statement, the harder it becomes to resolve the situation. On occasion, you will need intensive research and background checks before you can provide an acceptable explanation. In such situations, you can simply leave a message explaining the actions you need to take and a turn around time for a response.

Some offensive comments are not worth the response. If the criticism is made out of spite or bigotry, then it may be best to simply delete the post. Your other customers will ignore rude or discriminatory remarks especially if made without basis. Instead, you should focus on working on action items that are within your control.

Step Three: Connect With Your Customer

Avoid canned or scripted responses. Speak like an actual person and try to relate with how your customers must be feeling. Giving them a copy of your terms and conditions will only aggravate the situation. Acknowledge their concern and let them know that you understand what they are going through. Empathise with them and let them know that you will feel the same way if the situation happened to you. Reassure them and tell them that you will do everything in your power to resolve the situation.

Step Four: Make Things Right

A sincere apology may help appease an irate customer, but fixing the problem is the only way to win them over. Offer to make things right for the customer. Replace the broken product or give a refund for lost deliveries. You can also opt to provide discounts or freebies for future purchases. People make mistakes, but what is important is how we correct those errors.

Step Five: Do Not Get Emotional

As the business owner, you need to be the voice of reason. Customers are expected to complain, but business owners who get into an argument with their clients are seen in a bad light. Even if you know you are right, you need to be patient enough to clearly explain the logistics to the customer. Getting into a fight with them will not resolve the situation.

Step Six: Get Their Involvement

A negative comment is a great opportunity for learning and improvement. If a customer complains about a certain feature, ask him what changes need to be made to improve the product. Make them feel that their input is valuable. If you consider their suggestions, make sure to involve them during product testing or the product launch.

Step Seven: Make Sure the Discussion is Visible

It is tempting to keep the conversation offline, but providing solutions in plain sight will let the world know that you are serious about providing excellent service. You also make other people aware that you are constantly working on improving your products. If you provide a clear solution for a specific issue, there will be no need for other customers to send in similar complaints.

Unhappy customers will always be a part of your business. There will always be something to complain about. Dissatisfied customers tend to spread the word around so it is essential to change their mind about your company. Use the negative feedback to your advantage and turn a bad situation into a learning opportunity.

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Using Instagram to Promote Your Brand

Instagram is a photo sharing application for iOS and Android devices.

In recent months, it has been catapulted to success not only because of the ease and convenience that it offers to photo-loving individuals, but also because the social media giant Facebook purchased it for 23 million shares (originally worth $1,000,000,000, now said to be $753,000,000). It has more than 80 million users making it one of the fastest growing social networking sites in the world. The sheer volume of Instagram fanatics should be enough indication that this social media site has the potential to be a gold mine for brands and companies that wish to engage in free advertisement and promotion.

Here are some suggestions on how an organisation can use Instagram to improve brand recognition and boost revenue:

1. Introduction of Products and Services

As a photo app, Instagram is a great tool that can be used to showcase your company’s products and services. A picture paints a thousand words and a great photo of your company’s newest product can spark the interest of potential buyers. The service can also be used to display print ads that would cost a small fortune, if published in magazines or billboards. If you have 100,000 followers, then each post made is tantamount to a free reminder to consumers, to support your brand.

To gain more followers, you need to be very selective with the photos that you upload. Choose photos that provide value to your customers and use shots that will spark interest in your brand and company. Maintain a high standard of quality, upload only the best shots. You can also check out what other popular users are uploading to get inspiration and ideas on what you should post.

Bear in mind that too many photos about the same product can cause people to become less interested in your site, resulting in brand and product fatigue.

2. Reach a Wider Audience with the Hashtag

Posting photos may be an excellent marketing strategy, but its reach is limited by the number of users following your account. Even the biggest brands only have about 500,000 followers, which is a small chunk of the total Instagram population. The hashtag (#) is a great tool that will allow you to expand your reach even to people who are not following you. By adding hashtags to specific keywords, your photo will become searchable and available to 80 million users worldwide. You will potentially get additional views from users who are not yet familiar with your brand and who may be interested in purchasing your products.

Using popular hashtags can help you ride the wave of current online trends. People who are searching about specific trends will likely come across your photos. However, don’t get carried away, make sure that you only use tags that are relevant to what you are posting.

3. Search for Potential Customers or Influential Users

The search function of Instagram can also be used to reach out to potential customers or users with an influential following. Search using specific keywords, resulting in photos that match your exact needs. For instance, you can try searching for photos with the hashtag “#cuisine” or “#michelinstar” if you are a restaurant. You can then leave comments on relevant photos to persuade consumers (and their followers) to try out your restaurant.

You can also increase fan numbers by following and complimenting other Instagram users. Make sure to be selective in who you follow, and avoid accounts that could adversely affect your reputation. Be discreet and avoid making it too obvious that you are out to make a rapid increase in following.

4. Promotion of Events and Activities

Instagram is also a great way of engaging people to participate in events and activities. A product launch, for instance, can be made even bigger when guests are encouraged to take “behind the scenes” photos to supplement the official photographs and video streams. The event will not only reach a wider audience, but it will also be personalised and give different perspectives.

Having a photo wall with your logo on, is also a great way of ensuring that your brand will find its way to online photo albums, profile pictures, or social networking posts.

Geotagging your photos is also a good way to promote your event or shop. Consumers browsing through your photos may be interested to know where to find your shop or office. Having the location readily available saves them the trouble of having to search online.

Instagram also displays photos taken from the same location and will show potential customers how much fun existing customers are having with your brand.

5. Customer Engagement and Campaigns

Another great way to use this tool is to elicit the participation of the masses to engage in activities that will promote the brand. Like other social media sites, Instagram is a great avenue for contests and campaigns. You can ask your followers to use hashtags that would promote brand recognition. For example, a coffee shop could host a contest for photos that showcase the best places to enjoy a cup of coffee. An energy drink manufacturer, on the other hand, can start a contest for the photo that best represents life and activity. Once the entries are posted, you can then choose the best shots and feature them on your own website.

Instagram was originally created so that users may capture great images, manipulate them to become great photos using built-in filters, syndicate using other social media sites like Facebook and interact with other users through hashtags and comments. The site has evolved into something much more than that and today brands can use it as a highly effective mode of free advertisement and promotion.

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Social Syncing – Connecting Your Social Media Efforts on Pinterest

Unless you have been living in a bubble for the last year, chances are good that you have heard about the success of social media superstar site Pinterest. While brands and marketers have flocked to the site in an effort to build brand awareness, many Pinterest users neglect to connect their social media dots. Rather than relying on individual efforts on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, savvy social marketers are using Pinterest as a way of driving traffic to each of their brand building endeavors. Whether it is the company blog on Tumblr or your corporate videos on YouTube, using Pinterest as a hub for your social media efforts is essential to brand building. By being aware of the strengths of each social media platform, you can pin appropriate content to Pinterest in order to increase engagement.

Facebook Focus – Sharing Stories and Images Works Well

An excellent way to increase engagement on Facebook is to ask your fans to post images of themselves using your product or service. Each picture and accompanying blurb can then be pinned to a fan board on your Pinterest page. Seeing other customers pictured on your Pinterest pages encourages users to join the party and submit their own shots. In no time at all, your Facebook following will likely have grown. Encourage your Facebook fans to be creative and use humor in the images they post on your wall.

Twitter Tips – Best of Tweets Gain Attention

When posting tweets to your Pinterest boards, be selective in the tweets you include. Rather than pinning every single Twitter post to your boards, choose only the most insightful gems. Not only does this encourage your Twitter followers to engage with your company on a truly meaningful level, it gives Pinterest users a deeper look into the personality of your business. The tweets you choose to include on your Pinterest pages shows users whether your company has a sense of humor, whether your company engages in charitable activities, or even whether you divulge special deals to your followers.

Tumblr Temptations – Images Win Hands Down

If your company uses Tumblr to brand build, chances are you already know how well images work on Tumblr. (If you are not using Tumblr, what are you waiting for?) Save long posts of written text for your company website. The best way to build a following on Tumblr is to post plenty of images that offer a glimpse inside your business. From your latest product release to an insider’s view of your corporate lunchroom, for Tumblr users it is all about the pretty pictures. As another highly visual social media site, these images work extremely well on Pinterest. Just be careful not to pin everything from your Tumblr account to your Pinterest account. Leave users wanting more, so that they proceed to your Tumblr account to see what they might have missed. Engaging titles and tempting tidbits in your Pinterest descriptions will further drive viewers to your Tumblr account.

Circle Success on Google+

Encourage users in your Google+ circles to post insightful comments on your Google+ page. As with Twitter, be selective as to which of these interactions you pin to your Pinterest boards. Google+ works well with corporate connections, so pinning strategically can build your business’ reputation as well as that of your chosen Google+ followers.

YouTube Tip – Creative Comments Can Catapult Your Efforts

When pinning company YouTube videos to Pinterest, pay close attention to comments made on your YouTube videos. Pin YouTube clips that help to fortify your brand’s reputation. Each time your firm posts a new video to YouTube, share the link to your social media network and encourage fans to post their insights on your YouTube page. Not only is this viewer engagement seen as a sign of quality by Google, it offers your business yet another way to interact with your user base. A negative comment need not discourage you from posting a particular video to Pinterest. Taking the opportunity to interact with a user in a thoughtful manner only serves to build your brand’s reputation in a positive way.

By paying attention to the strengths of social media websites, your business can make the most of Pinterest by pinning appropriate content from each site. Be sure to identify your Pinterest link clearly on each social media website so that users fully understand their posts could potentially end up on your Pinterest boards. With ongoing effort, you can grow your following on each social media site you participate in while building your Pinterest reputation at the same time. Each social media site offers its own rewards; tying them all together in one spot furthers your business’ reputation as a socially savvy company.

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How to Use Social Media Marketing to Increase Customer Loyalty

Many businesses make the mistake of believing social media are tools to win new customers. It’s certainly possible to win new business and new accounts with social media, but the focus of their use should be on building customer loyalty and engagement.

If you carry out some simple analysis in relation to a customer and the business they give you, you may be surprised at what you learn. For most businesses, the cost of acquiring a new customer is far greater than that of retaining an existing one. A term some marketers use is the ‘lifetime value’ of a customer. Their initial order may only be worth a hundred pounds to you, but if you look after them and develop a relationship with them, they could be worth thousands of pounds to you. Social media are the perfect way to build relationships with your customers. They are also great tools to keep competitors at bay.

If a customer trusts you and is happy with your products and services they are likely to stat with you. The only possible exception is the type of customer who is constantly looking for a better deal, and will move to a new supplier for a cheaper price. In the long run, these customers may not be worth the effort or cost of dealing with.

Using social media to communicate with and engage your customers is an efficient and cost effective way to build loyalty. In certain industries, you can establish yourself as an expert by using social media. If you can achieve this, customers won’t even consider looking elsewhere. In other industries, the fast pace of change means you need a constant dialogue with your customers, and the likes of Twitter and Facebook are perfect for this.

The following are three example of different types of businesses and how they might build customer loyalty using social media.

An Insurance Broker.

Using Facebook and a customer email database, the broker could communicate news and updates relevant to customers’ insurances. For example, as winter approaches there are precautions a customer should take to protect their home. A change in the law could mean the customer needs to update their auto insurance. The broker’s Facebook page would become a source of advice and expertise the customer returns to. When it comes to renewal of their policies, the customer is less likely to move away from this broker offering free advice throughout the year.

A Specialist Cycling Shop.

The shop owner could use Twitter to send news about cycling events around the world, such as The Tour De France. In between these messages, the owner could send brief updates on new products of interest to cycling enthusiasts. As well as building customer loyalty, the shop could attract additional sales by this regular customer contact.

A Pizza Restaurant.

Facebook could be used to offer discount coupons to customers. Flyers in the restaurant could entice customers to sign up to the restaurant’s Facebook page to hear about these offers. There are many different ways this could work in practice, but a very simple way would be to communicate a word the customers must say when placing an order. This simple system could be used to attract customers back to the restaurant over and over again.

Using social media for marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. Think about the ideas above and how they might be used to build customer loyalty in your own business.

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Improved Revenue From Existing Customers Using Social Media Tools

It costs more to attract new customers than to retain old ones. Customer loyalty is also beneficial for the company because repeat customers have a tendency to spend more and to promote your business to their contacts. It is therefore a good marketing plan to devote a substantial chunk of the company’s resources on ensuring that existing customers remain happy and satisfied. A happy customer tends to spend more. Fortunately, there are various social media tools available to make this task easier and more cost-efficient.

First, it is essential to provide customer service assistance through various social media channels. Facebook, Twitter and other similar services are accessible venues for airing out concerns and raising questions about the company’s products and services. Responding through these channels make interaction more convenient for the customers, and it also provides you the opportunity to make your presence known online. Good customer service always translates to customer satisfaction and higher revenue.

Social media tools also add value to the customer experience. Engaging them in constant dialogue fosters and promotes a more personal relationship with them. An open line of communication empowers them to provide positive feedback or even suggestions on how to make your company stronger and better. Customers are more comfortable with spending money on companies that they feel comfortable with.

Here are other great suggestions on how to boost revenue from existing clients using social media connectivity:

Have Them Spend More

Providing your social media followers and subscribers with exclusive promotional deals will help make them spend more. For instance, you can issue vouchers that will give a 10% discount for an accumulated one-time purchase of £100. This tactic encourages the customers to spend a total of £100 instead of the usual amount that they spend on your products or services.

Incentives for Frequent Purchases

Another method of encouraging repeat purchases is by offering freebies or incentives to followers who make frequent purchases. For example, you can give a 20% discount on the fourth purchase of the same product. You can also allow customers to accumulate points from every purchase and use these points to redeem interesting prizes. Customers love a good deal and are often willing to spend more in order to save more.

Introduce Other Products

Social media tools are great avenues for introducing other products and services to existing customers. All it takes is a simple photo or an interesting link. Without resorting to too much spam, you can use your tools to highlight certain services that would appeal to your client base. Start with products or services that complement the usual items that they purchase. The posts need to be relevant to the readers and should provide benefits that would interest them.

The Customer is at the Core

In any social media promotion that you will engage in, you must always remember that the customer should be the primary focus. Posts and promotions should always have the best interest of the customer at heart. They should always find value in what you are asking them to read or they will lose interest and simply move on. Resist the temptation of giving too much information about your company or the product you are selling. It is your responsibility to find a good balance between showing them what you want them to see and keeping them interested.

Businesses thrive because of the support of satisfied customers who keep coming back for more. Owners should learn to appreciate these repeat customers and give them more reasons to continue their patronage. Giving exclusive privileges through social media channels is a good way of making them feel valued.

Quick Tips: Creating And Managing Your Online Reputation

Contrary to popular belief, being able to take control of your online reputation is much easier that you might have previously expected. By following the simple tips provided in this article you can easily create a consistent brand message and online reputation.

Follow these 5 simple steps to staking your online reputation claim:

Step 1: Find Out Where You Stand Today

Before jumping in with both feet, you need to be sure of your current online reputation situation. Take an honest assessment of where you are at. You may have serious damage that you need to repair, or you may not have any reputation at all. Either way, you will need to find out where you are before you can begin to build on your reputation.

Conduct several searches for the various names that you might use. Search for your business name, your personal name or any other names that might be associated with your brand. You will want to focus on the first 2 or 3 pages of Google when conducting these searches. Most people who search online never look beyond the third page, so you won’t need to worry yourself about any results past that.

Compile the results of this search into some sort of spreadsheet or other tracking device. You will want to refer back to this information as you begin repairing, restoring or working on your online brand message.

Step 2: Decide What To Change

Take the time to look over the information that you have just gathered. Identify any of the negative results and mark those your highest priority. Second to that, mark those incidents of positive feedback as potential promotional material. One of the easiest ways to build a solid brand message is to simply promote the good information that is being shared about you by other people.

Step 3: Find Out Where You Shine

Of the results that you found, what sites were providing the most information? For example, of the sites that ranked the highest, were they social media sites or were they sites found within the blogosphere? Are you getting a lot of attention on Youtube?

Find out where the majority of the information about you is being shared. You will want to focus your own efforts in these areas.

Step 4: Strategise

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Be sure that you take the time to craft a strategy that works with the information that you have gathered thus far. If you have received negative reviews within the social network Facebook, then spending too much time on Youtube would be a strategy to avoid.

Build your strategy based around your areas of need. You might need to create more blog posts, press releases, videos or articles for directories. Whatever it is that you need to do, plan it out first.

Step 5: Execution

Planning is nice, but execution is everything. By now you should have a solid plan in place to take control of your brand message. If you feel that executing your plan is something that you are unable to do, then it is time to call in the hired guns. A reputation management company will help you to create content, promote it via the various search engines and help take control of your online brand messaging.

Taking control of your online reputation is a critical part of doing business in the 21st century. By following the 5 simple steps outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to taking charge of your reputation and building a lasting, professional image.

How to Create Your Personal Online Brand

If you have a blog, a Facebook profile, a Twitter account or online presence of any kind, you are a brand, whether you like it or not. No matter what your field of choice, you need to leverage the internet to build your personal brand if you want to get noticed in this fast paced world of up to the minute updates and blogs. If you don’t have the first clue about how to build it so they will come, use these five tips to help guide you on your way.

What do you want your brand to say?


You are unique, just like everyone else. Most people gain understanding of who and what their fellow human beings are all about by categorising them using different labels. For example, if your online persona is fun and upbeat, you are labelled as, “the funny one,” if your updates and blogs are motivational in nature, you become “the positive one.” You have to think about what you want your personal brand to say about you, and then go with it.

Be you, all the time.

Consistency is key to building your brand, no matter who you are. That isn’t to say that just because you are labelled as the “funny one” you cannot post updates that are serious or well thought out in nature, but you need to be aware of your audience and why they keep coming back, especially if you are working social media angles. Above all, be yourself. If you are fake, you will be found out eventually.

Endure.

Building a brand is like building Rome, and Rome was not built in a day. Building a brand takes time. How much time, however, is in your hands. You are in control of your exposure. It could take weeks, months or years; it all depends on you.

Network, meet new people online and don’t be afraid to interact with them and ask questions. Remember, you are new at this and you don’t know everything. The more you put in to your brand, the more you get out of it.

Your first few posts or blogs probably won’t get much attention. It isn’t until your audience feels as if they know you that you become familiar, and eventually graduate into becoming a household name. Don’t give up. Be patient.

Photos can hurt (Obama smoking pot) or help.

Pictures are worth a thousand words and they say a lot about who and what your brand is all about. Be mindful of the photos you share or are tagged in online, because they are all absorbed as part of your brand.

Choose your words carefully.

Less is more. When blogging or even when updating a Twitter status, keep it short, sweet and to the point. The more superfluous and wordy your updates and blogs, the less likely you will be to hold the attention of a busy, bustling audience. Say as much as possible using as few words as conceivable. Summarise, don’t eulogise.

Be smart, be savvy, be consistent and you will find your brand is not only successful, but built as a labor of love as you blog from the heart.

Improved Search Engine Rankings Using Social Media

One of the best ways to improve website traffic is by gaining a good search engine ranking position from search engines such as Google and Bing. Online users who type in specific search phrases or keywords are provided a long list of related sites; however the vast majority only go as far as reading the first page. Unfortunately this can be the case, no matter how excellent your content may be and it can remain in obscurity, unless the website improves its search engine ranking method, with the aim of propeling it to the first page of the search results.

The “game” of optimisation used to be simpler; today webmasters can resort to a number of unethical means (such spamming) in an effort to gain top rankings. This can result in useful content often being difficult to find, as online viewers are required to click through a long list of irrelevant websites before finding the information they need. However recent updates made by the top search engines, have focused on providing “natural search results.” Google, for instance, recently released the Penguin update which aimed to reduce low-quality back-links, over optimisation, and illicit SEO strategies.

More than ever, it has become essential for writers and bloggers to provide online content that is both compelling and informative. It is also important to focus on building a strong network of natural back-links that serve as portals to the website. The more links there are out there, the higher the chances of a stray reader stumbling upon your page.

Here are some social media techniques that you can use to drive audience to your site:

1. Social Media as a Tool for Encouraging Back-links

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are great tools for building strong links to your webpage. Google and Bing have both made confirmations that links used on these social media sites are used in their algorithm. Fortunately, both sites have made it easy for webmasters and writers to integrate their blog links into post creation. For instance, once new entry is posted, it is possible to have Facebook and Twitter post updates and inform followers. Google+ is another great way of reaching a wide audience base, the more “+1” votes recieved on a blog post, the more visibility it gets.

Optimal times for posting upon social media platforms exist for certain demographics; however another method is to post multiple times, although not excessively. Scheduling tools are also widely available online, which enable authors to have certain links posted repeatedly over a pre-determined period of time. This way, you can reach potential readers who have varying schedules of activity or may be in different time zones. Scheduling also spares webmasters from the monotony of having to manually create updates featuring the same links.

2. Social Media as a Source of Content Ideas

The concept of search engines is that users are looking for information, based on certain keywords and phrases. If your goal is to get many readers, then you will likely attract more people by writing about content that interests them personally. The more interested people are about your article, the higher the likelihood of them sharing your link with other users. Thus, it is beneficial, to entice readers to share through social media network,s while providing them with the content they crave.

Social media sites are also excellent places for finding ideas on article topics of current interest. They have become tools that provide information based on what the majority of users are interested in, at any given time. Twitter for instance, has an easy to use search bar and “Trending Topics List” that will give you an insight into what people are currently talking about and showing interest in. Use these methods to find topics that fit your blog portfolio and provide interesting information or insight that will attract attention and let potential readers find it by making it available online.

3. Encourage Social Media Following and Re-Posting

Social media is the best tool to encourage direct access to your website via links. While being very easy to use, readily available, widely accessible and in terms of the future, being relatively safe from any algorithmic changes that search engines may make, for instance calculating page rank. In other words, it would be wise for a blogger not to simply rely on search engines for page visits, but to maximise the usage of social media to attract a strong following.

Most social media networks provide sharing buttons that can be clearly displayed on a website. These can easily be attached to your blog, using codes that are obtained by visiting the social media platform support page. Having these buttons displayed visibly on your page will encourage readers to share articles or entries that catch their interest.

As a last resort, another approach is to directly ask for help from your followers. Adding simple phrases like “please re-tweet” or “please re-post” is enough to encourage other users to share your post. This is particularly true for well-written and informative content. However it is important not to seem desperate, as this may impact upon your followers.

In summary, social media tools can be used to drive attention and traffic to your site. However, the content of your site remains the biggest factor in attracting readers. Content, after all, is king. No matter how extensive your social presence is, poor content will not get a good mileage. The best way to maximise your tools is to become an industry expert or authority figure in the topics that you are writing about. Gaining credibility in your craft will result in more social media following and repeat visitors to your site.