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Grow Your Social Media Presence in 12 Steps

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Grow Your Social Media Presence in 12 Steps

Now more than ever, small and big businesses place a huge amount of effort into their social media presence.

Out of 17 social media platforms, 6 of them claim more than a billion active users per month. Facebook takes the top spot with its 2.8 billion users worldwide.

Next to Facebook comes YouTube with 2.56 billion users, Instagram with 1.78 billion, and TikTok with 1 billion monthly active users (MAU).

With 300 million active social media platform users in January 2022, it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to be seen and to market your business there.

To prove our point, let’s take into account how Facebook has become an excellent social media platform for many businesses.

Have you asked yourself what the majority of Facebook users do on the platform? On top of clicking likes on posts, Oberlo states Facebook users click on an average of 12 ads per month.

In addition, 90 million small businesses use Facebook Groups, Pages, and Messenger. A whopping 66 percent of small businesses said they advertise on Facebook.

But here’s the dilemma: 93 percent of small businesses struggle with their social media presence.

According to Visual Objects, almost all small businesses struggle to generate more leads and get more followers with their social media accounts.

Other notable social media challenges faced by small businesses include increasing engagement, especially among their new followers. Many businesses find it hard to be consistent in creating and posting their content as well.

If businesses struggle (and some fail) in their social media efforts, what are the odds that you can still build your social media presence? Do you still have the chance to put in the time and effort so you can grow your presence?

The answer is a resounding yes!

Go through and apply these 12 steps to build up your social media visibility:

Note: This post was originally published in January 2017, and updated in February 2022 to include new tips and data. 

1. Make SMART, doable goals

a paper with an outlined goal

It all boils down to the question of why.

Why does your business need to grow its social media presence?

If you want to be visible on social media simply because most businesses are already there, you might exhaust yourself from maintaining your presence in the process.

Write down specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals so you can avoid burnout from aimless content posts and creation.

Some goals you might want to accomplish include growing your community or audience, generating more leads, providing real-time customer service, increasing your website traffic, or getting valuable insights from your customers.

Once you’ve identified your goal, work on creating your social media strategy next.

2. Create your social media strategy

Any successful brand knows the value of structure in businesses. Once you’ve set up your SMART goals, creating steps or a strategy will get you to the finish line.

Don’t throw your lot in luck wishing your random posts will get you likes and engagement from your target audience. Know that setting up a social media strategy can overwhelm anyone, so it’s best that you designate a team that will help you outline a strategy suited to your business goals.

A social media content calendar is your lifesaver. This is where you put and plan all your posts. If you’re unsure what to include in your content calendar, you can check out Hubspot’s social media calendar templates and tools here.

If you want to know and be effective in developing a social media strategy, there are social media and marketing courses out there you can sign up for. Skillshare and Hubspot offer free social media marketing courses you can take any time of the day.

If you don’t have a team who can do the social media management for you yet, SEO Hacker offers social media marketing services. SEO Hacker’s comprehensive approach to social media marketing entails having a presence in major social media platforms, paying close attention to important metrics, and analyzing gathered data to improve social media strategies that were already employed.

3. Know who your target audience is

Once you have your goals and strategy in place, know and outline who your audience is.

Take note: not everyone is your audience. Find out who your target audience is from the get-go so you won’t have a hard time figuring out what kind of content you will create when you post on any social media platforms.

Take the time to look at your audiences’ personas by answering these questions:

What keeps them awake at night?

What are their dreams and their aspirations?

Which brands do they love and support?

4. Build relationships with your audience

two hands holding a black paper heart

Social media exists to digitally connect with friends, families, and like-minded people who couldn’t meet in person. With that in mind, your brand has to reach your audience on a personal level.

With huge social media noise dealt with by marketers and businesses these days, it’s important that you know how to rise above it.

Curate exciting and entertaining content to grow engagement among your audience. Build and foster relationships with your audience by answering their concerns and helping them solve their challenges.

Share tips relevant to your product or offer. A little bit of humorous content won’t hurt as well.

Share or retweet a positive review of your product from your audience. This lets them know that you appreciate their loyalty and support.

If you received a complaint or criticism from your customers, appreciate them for taking the time to let you know about the issue. Address it in a constructive and respectful manner. Put your efforts to get the issue resolved as soon as possible.

Don’t be afraid to show your human side. Nurture your relationship with your audience.

5. Use the right tools to schedule and automate your posts

Staying active and online on social media platforms is no easy feat. That said, your content calendar is an ideal brain dump tool. Ideas come when we least expect them so a content calendar will always come in handy.

Now that you have all your ideas tucked away, how and when should you post them? This is where scheduling and automating your posts come into play.

Fortunately, there are tons of scheduling and automating tools out there to choose from. Social Media Examiner lists down these 5 social media management tools to help you save time.

Over time, our social media managers significantly improved their productivity. Hootsuite did a great job in helping us schedule our social posts, giving us more time to interact with our audience. Hootsuite also helped us manage and monitor whether our strategy is good or requires changes.

Another tool that helped me get a lot of retweets is SocialOomph. If you have time to read about how SocialOomph helps me bring more traffic to my website, read it here.

6. Connect with influencers

a woman recording herself with a smartphone

Another way to build your social media presence is to connect with influencers.

Sujan Patel believes in the power of connecting with influencers. According to Patel, “connecting with influencers has been key with increasing my personal and company’s social media presence. The main tool I use for connecting with influencers is the Voila Norbert email finding tool. The chrome extension can find just about any influencer’s email you’re trying to connect with on social.”

Here are simple steps you can make to connect with influencers:

Build a spreadsheet

Start with names you have in mind and expand it from there. Include the following details in your spreadsheet:

Name
Email address
Website/blog
Twitter handle
Last contacted time

Search for entrepreneurs, bloggers, or marketers that are one step ahead of you on the following platforms:

On Reddit
Local meetups
Startup directories
Youtube tutorials video creators
Google search (last but effective resort)

Include them in your guest blog

It’s good to include influencers relevant to your guest blog content by mentioning their name or business. Let them know they’re at the top of your mind.

Leave helpful comments on the influencer’s content

Refrain from making worthless comments like “awesome post”. When someone creates content, they usually put their heart and soul into it. They’ll appreciate it more if you mention which part of their content you liked the most. Leave relevant comments that will get meaningful discussions from other audiences.

Offer value

Once you’ve engaged with influencers via tweets and messages, work the extra mile and give value. If you are a web designer, offer a free consultation on their website’s/blog’s design. Facilitate worthwhile connections among like-minded influencers. Introduce them to influencers you know who can be of value to them.

7. Find the sweet spot between storytelling and selling

People hate being sold to, especially on any social media channels.

If you want to make the most of your social media presence, put your efforts into promoting your product without sounding (or reading) like one.

Take a look at some popular social media posts from brands. More often than not, these posts trigger an emotional response to their audience, making their campaigns effective.

You can promote your brand and at the same time connect with your audience with storytelling. Create content that knows how to tug at your audience’s heartstrings.

8. Create eye-catching visuals

Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. TikTok. These social media channels showed us the power of high-quality image and video content in driving social media engagement.

In a 2021 visual content marketing statistics done by Venngage, the report showed that 32.5% of businesses use original infographics and illustrations, 29.5% use stock photos, 15.1% use charts and data visualizations, and 12.7% use videos and presentations.

Facebook lives get six times the engagement versus other types of content, while graphics and video content on Twitter gets more shares than text-based content.

If you’re serious about growing your presence on Facebook or Twitter but clueless on where to begin creating eye-catching visuals, don’t fret. Piktochart and Canva are the best tools to start creating your social media visuals.

9. Keep your content fresh and consistent

fresh word lit
If you want your business to stand strong, don’t let social media forget you. In any social media platform, the proverb “out of sight, out of mind” holds true.

One foolproof way to build customer loyalty is to keep your brand consistent and your content fresh. Experiment and analyze which among your content gets the most engagement, likes, and comments.

You can jump in on what’s trending, or incorporate breaking news into your content to give your brand a personality. Never stop experimenting and testing until you get the right strategy that will build and connect with your audience.

10. Focus on the right social media platform

When you look back at the statistics I showed earlier, the urge to be visible on every social media platform with a huge number of users is strong. I can’t blame you for that.

Here’s the thing: being visible on every social media platform will overwhelm you through time. Not only it is daunting, but it’s also pointless. Why?

Not all of your audiences live on every platform. This is why before you start working on your content, it’s best that you know who your target audience is.

This way, you won’t have a hard time creating accounts on several social media platforms and efficiently monitor and listen to your audience.

11. Monitor and listen to your audience

Growing your visibility on social media entails more than just posting content and keeping up with the trends. If you want to grow your brand and increase loyal customers, you need to be customer-centric.

You need to look at the lens and see what your customers say about your brand. Because social media provides real-time interaction, your brand should do the same.

Furthermore, your brand should make the most of every interaction with your audience. This includes every feedback, commonly asked questions, or comments your audience has about your brand. Gather every helpful data on hand so you can map out the right social media strategy for your business. Social media strategies like social monitoring and social listening will help you gain a better understanding of your audience.

12. Focus on building sustainable presence

buy less choose well make it last words

Just because social media platforms provide real-time interactions it doesn’t mean it will generate quick results for your business, too.

Growth takes time. As with any business, you need patience and perseverance to sustain your presence on social media organically.

Try not to give in to the temptation of paying views or buying more followers. These shady tactics might give you quick results, but it will hurt your social media engagement, your conversion rates and reputation at the same time.

Focus on building sustainable online presence to help you find the right approach to serve your audience better.

Key Takeaway

There’s no one size fits all approach to growing your presence on social media. Businesses have different sizes and different needs. As most of the steps we shared here are practical and relevant to every business, the only way to grow and sustain your presence is to keep in tune with your target audience.

 

Thank you to Anupam Rajey of Air Solutions and Get Me Rank for inspiring this post. 


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AI Content In Search Results

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AI Content In Search Results

Google has released a statement regarding its approach to AI-generated content in search results.

The company has a long-standing policy of rewarding high-quality content, regardless of whether humans or machines produce it.

Above all, Google’s ranking systems aim to identify content that demonstrates expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).

Google advises creators looking to succeed in search results to produce original, high-quality, people-first content that demonstrates E-E-A-T.

The company has updated its “Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content” help page with guidance on evaluating content in terms of “Who, How, and Why.”

Here’s how AI-generated content fits into Google’s approach to ranking high-quality content in search results.

Quality Over Production Method

Focusing on the quality of content rather than the production method has been a cornerstone of Google’s approach to ranking search results for many years.

A decade ago, there were concerns about the rise in mass-produced human-generated content.

Rather than banning all human-generated content, Google improved its systems to reward quality content.

Google’s focus on rewarding quality content, regardless of production method, continues to this day through its ranking systems and helpful content system introduced last year.

Automation & AI-Generated Content

Using automation, including AI, to generate content with the primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results violates Google’s spam policies.

Google’s spam-fighting efforts, including its SpamBrain system, will continue to combat such practices.

However, Google realizes not all use of automation and AI-generated content is spam.

For example, publishers automate helpful content such as sports scores, weather forecasts, and transcripts.

Google says it will continue to take a responsible approach toward AI-generated content while maintaining a high bar for information quality and helpfulness in search results.

Google’s Advice For Publishers

For creators considering AI-generated content, here’s what Google advises.

Google’s concept of E-E-A-T is outlined in the “Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content” help page, which has been updated with additional guidance.

The updated help page asks publishers to think about “Who, How, and Why” concerning how content is produced.

“Who” refers to the person who created the content, and it’s important to make this clear by providing a byline or background information about the author.

“How” relates to the method used to create the content, and it’s helpful to readers to know if automation or AI was involved. If AI was involved in the content production process, Google wants you to be transparent and explain why it was used.

“Why” refers to the purpose of creating content, which should be to help people rather than to manipulate search rankings.

Evaluating your content in this way, regardless of whether AI-generated or not, will help you stay in line with what Google’s systems reward.


Featured Image: Alejandro Corral Mena/Shutterstock



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Seven tips to optimize page speed in 2023

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Tips-to-optimize-page-speed-in-2023

30-second summary:

  • There has been a gradual increase in Google’s impact of page load time on website rankings
  • Google has introduced the three Core Web Vitals metrics as ranking factors to measure user experience
  • The following steps can help you get a better idea of the performance of your website through multiple tests

A fast website not only delivers a better experience but can also increase conversion rates and improve your search engine rankings. Google has introduced the three Core Web Vitals metrics to measure user experience and is using them as a ranking factor.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to test and optimize the performance of your website.

Start in Google Search Console

Want to know if optimizing Core Web Vitals is something you should be thinking about? Use the page experience report in Google Search Console to check if any of the pages on your website are loading too slowly.

Search Console shows data that Google collects from real users in Chrome, and this is also the data that’s used as a ranking signal. You can see exactly what page URLs need to be optimized.

Optimize-to-Start-in-Google-Search-Console

Run a website speed test

Google’s real user data will tell you how fast your website is, but it won’t provide an analysis that explains why your website is slow.

Run a free website speed test to find out. Simply enter the URL of the page you want to test. You’ll get a detailed performance report for your website, including recommendations on how to optimize it.

Run-a-website-speed-test-for-optimization

Use priority hints to optimize the Largest Contentful Paint

Priority Hints are a new browser feature that came out in 2022. It allows website owners to indicate how important an image or other resource is on the page.

This is especially important when optimizing the Largest Contentful Paint, one of the three Core Web Vitals metrics. It measures how long it takes for the main page content to appear after opening the page.

By default, browsers assume that all images are low priority until the page starts rendering and the browser knows which images are visible to the user. That way bandwidth isn’t wasted on low-priority images near the bottom of the page or in the footer. But it also slows down important images at the top of the page.

Adding a fetchpriority=”high” attribute to the img element that’s responsible for the Largest Contentful Paint ensures that it’s downloaded quickly.

Use native image lazy loading for optimization

Image lazy loading means only loading images when they become visible to the user. It’s a great way to help the browser focus on the most important content first.

However, image lazy loading can also slow cause images to take longer to load, especially when using a JavaScript lazy loading library. In that case, the browser first needs to load the JavaScript library before starting to load images. This long request chain means that it takes a while for the browser to load the image.

Use-native-image-lazy-loading-for-optimization

Today browsers support native lazy loading with the loading=”lazy” attribute for images. That way you can get the benefits of lazy loading without incurring the cost of having to download a JavaScript library first.

Remove and optimize render-blocking resources

Render-blocking resources are network requests that the browser needs to make before it can show any page content to the user. They include the HTML document, CSS stylesheets, as well as some JavaScript files.

Since these resources have such a big impact on page load time you should check each one to see if it’s truly necessary. The async keyword on the HTML script tag lets you load JavaScript code without blocking rendering.

If a resource has to block rendering check if you can optimize the request to load the resource more quickly, for example by improving compression or loading the file from your main web server instead of from a third party.

Remove-and-optimize-render-blocking-resources

Optimize with the new interaction to Next Paint metric

Google has announced a new metric called Interaction to Next Paint. This metric measures how quickly your site responds to user input and is likely to become one of the Core Web Vitals in the future.

You can already see how your website is doing on this metric using tools like PageSpeed Insights.

Optimize-with-new-Interaction-to-Next-Paint-metric

Continuously monitor your site performance

One-off site speed tests can identify performance issues on your website, but they don’t make it easy to keep track of your test results and confirm that your optimizations are working.

DebugBear continuously monitors your website to check and alerts you when there’s a problem. The tool also makes it easy to show off the impact of your work to clients and share test results with your team.

Try DebugBear with a free 14-day trial.

Continuously-monitor-your-site-performance

 

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What Is User Experience? How Design Matters To SEO

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What Is User Experience? How Design Matters To SEO

User experience is the foundation of a site’s usability, and it’s an aspect of on-page SEO that many people overlook.

If your site lacks the positive user experience and ease of use that end users require to navigate your site, you’ll push visitors to your competitors.

In this guide, you’ll learn what user experience (UX) entails, the types of experiences, the difference between UI and UX, and why it matters to SEO.

What Is User Experience (UX)?

UX is how people interact with your website.

You’ll also find this term used for products, but we’re focusing strictly on websites at the moment.

If you have a, intuitive user interface design, users will have an easier time navigating your site and finding the information they want.

If you do have a digital product, such as a SaaS solution, this interaction will also occur on your digital product.

User experience elicits a couple of things:

In short, user experience can provide a positive experience with your website – or it can lead to frustration among users.

Note: Usability is not UX design. It’s a component of UX that works with design to create the experience your users desire.

What Are The Types Of User Experience?

User experience evaluation must look at the three types of UX design to best understand the needs of the end user.

The three types of UX include:

  • Information: One aspect of a content strategy that goes overlooked is information architecture. Time must be spent on how information on a site is organized and presented. User flows and navigation must be considered for all forms of information you present.
  • Interaction: Your site has an interaction design pattern – or a certain way that users interact with the site. Components of a site that fall under the interaction UX type include buttons, interfaces, and menus.
  • Visual design: Look and feel matter for the end user. You want your website to have cohesion between its color, typography, and images. User interface (UI) will fall under this type of UX, but it’s important to note that UI is not interchangeable with UX.

What Is The Difference Between UI & UX?

Speaking of UX and UI, it’s important to have a firm understanding of the difference between the two to better understand user experience.

User Interface

UI design is your site’s visual elements, including:

Visual elements on your site are part of the user interface.

UI definitely overlaps with UX to an extent, but they’re not the same.

Steve Krug also has a great book on usability, titled “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.” It was first published in 2000, and the book is a #1 bestseller today.

Steve’s insight from over 20 years ago (although we’re now on the 3rd edition of the book) provides guidelines on usability that include:

  • Desktop.
  • Mobile.
  • Ease of use.
  • Layouts.
  • Everything UX.

If there’s one thing this book will teach you about usability, it’s to focus on intuitive navigation. Frustrating website users is the exact opposite of a good user experience.

User Experience

UX works on UI and how the user will:

  • Interact with your site.
  • Feel during the interaction.

Think of Google for a moment.

A simple landing page that is visually appealing, but Spartan in nature, is the face of the Internet. In terms of UX, Google is one of the best sites in the world, although it lacks a spectacular UI.

In fact, the UI needs to be functional and appealing, but the UX is what will stand out the most.

Imagine if you tried performing a search on Google and it displayed the wrong results or took one minute for a query to run. In this case, even the nicest UI would not compensate for the poor UX.

Peter Morville’s user experience honeycomb is one of the prime examples of how to move beyond simple usability and focus on UX in new, exciting ways.

The honeycomb includes multiple points that are all combined to maximize the user experience. These facets are:

  • Accessible.
  • Credible.
  • Desirable.
  • Findable.
  • Usable.
  • Useful.
  • Valuable.

When you focus on all of these elements, you’ll improve the user experience dramatically.

Why User Experience Matters To SEO

By this point, you understand that UX is very important to your site’s visitors and audience.

A lot of time, analysis, and refinement must go into UX design. However, there’s another reason to redirect your attention to user experience: SEO.

Google Page Experience Update

When Google’s Page Experience Update was fully rolled out, it had an impact on websites that offered a poor user experience.

The page experience update is now slowly rolling out for desktop. It will be complete by the end of March 2022. Learn more about the update: https://t.co/FQvMx3Ymaf

— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) February 22, 2022

Multiple aspects of UX are part of the ranking factors of the update, including:

  • Intrusive adverts.
  • Core Web Vitals.
  • HTTPS Security.

You can run a Core Web Vitals report here and make corrections to meet these requirements. Additionally, you should know whether your site has intrusive ads that irritate users, and if your site lacks HTTPS.

Page performance works to improve your SEO. Google’s research shows that focusing on UX can:

  • Reduce site abandonment by as much as 24%.
  • Improve web conversions.
  • Increase the average page views per session by as much as 15%.
  • Boost advertising revenue by 18% or more.

When you spend time improving your site’s UX, you benefit from higher rankings, lower page abandonment, improved conversions, and even more revenue.

Plus, many of the practices to improve UX are also crucial components of a site’s on-page SEO, such as:

  • Proper header usage.
  • Adding lists to your content.
  • Making use of images.
  • Optimizing images for faster loading times.
  • Filling content gaps with useful information.
  • Reducing “content fluff.”
  • Using graphs.
  • Testing usability across devices.

When you improve UX, you create a positive experience for users, while also improving many of the on-page SEO foundations of your website.

Final Comments

Customer experience must go beyond simple responsive web design.

Hick’s law dictates that when you present more choices to users, it takes longer to reach a decision. You’ve likely seen this yourself when shopping online and finding hundreds of options.

When people land on your site, they’re looking for answers or knowledge – not confusion.

User research, usability testing, and revisiting user experience design often will help you inch closer to satisfying the SEO requirements of design while keeping your visitors (or customers) happier.

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