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In SEO: Search Engine Optimization Getting Started, author Jill Whalen explains the importance of site rankings and why search engine optimization is necessary for increasing web site traffic. The course covers choosing the best keywords, performing keyword research, augmenting keywords with search-friendly site architecture, creating social media networking strategies, and measuring the success of an SEO campaign.
Social media is sometime referred to as Web 2.0 as if it were a new phenomenon. The truth is however that the Internet has been a social medium right from the beginning. By its very nature the Internet is social, as in a community or tens of thousands of communities. Let's go over some of the various forms of social media as well as how to use them and not use them for marketing your website and your business. Social media is very simply just online communities where people interact with one another.
These communities can be forums, chat rooms, blogs that allow for comments, and other types of Web 2.0 communities. By Web 2.0 communities I just mean things like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, etcetera. Now that you know what social media is let's talk about what social media marketing or SMM is. In a nutshell SMM is a way of marketing that reaches people who are part of your target audience by becoming an active participant in relevant communities and conversations. Think about social media marketing this way.
We all know that people tend to do business with those they like. When others like you, they'll be more apt to promote you, purchase from you, and recommend you to others. So the idea with social media marketing is really just to get to know people online. You can think of it as online networking, if that's easier to understand. By now you might be wondering how SMM relates to SEO. In some ways it's actually the opposite of SEO, because rather than people finding you, like through a search engine, you have got to go out and find the people.
Social media marketing has become a bit of a buzzword as of late and I have seen marketers who think they can just promote their websites using only SMM while forgetting about their traditional SEO altogether. This is not smart at all since they are very different things. While SMM should be part of your SEO campaign, it's definitely not a substitute for SEO. It's also important to remember that the goal of SMM is not to receive direct links as you might in a link building campaign. For one thing most social media links say through Twitter or forum or blog comments have a nofollow attribute on them which means they aren't counted by search engines in their link popularity algorithms.
That said, you can definitely get some decent traffic spikes when you market appropriately through social media. And if you have created a lot of great link-worthy content, you can gain links indirectly through your SMM efforts. The other key part of SMM is using it as a brand monitor. It's very important to keep tabs on what others are saying about you or your company online these days. Is it positive or negative? You'll need to decide if you should respond or not. While you can't control the conversation, you may be able to guide it to be more favorable to you and all of this affect your online presence.
As an example Comcast has a huge presence on Twitter where if anyone mentions Comcast, someone from the company asked if they can help. It's great for customer service and also for Comcast's reputation. I am sure it's also created a ton of links for Comcast as people discuss their experiences with having received immediate help straight from Twitter. While it sounds all new fangle-y and scary, social media and social media marketing is nothing to be afraid of. You are probably already a part of it if you'd been online for any time at all.
Do you have a Facebook account? Have you ever chosen a hotel or restaurant based on an online review? Have you sorted out technical info from a forum? If so, you've participated in social media even if only to view it. Just remember that when you are ready to participate, the key is to be yourself. Your authentic self. You have to be willing to be somewhat open for it to work best for you. Remember that social media marketing is just a new twist on an old tactic. It's not scary and it's not very different from any of the other forms of online marketing you're probably already using.
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