What Benefits Can You Really Get From Social Media “Signals”?

First, let me get the bad news out of the way. Social media signals, whether in the form of social media shares on Facebook, re-tweets, favorites, Google+ postings, +1s, are not going to give you any SEO benefits. Google is on the record as saying that it doesn’t factor in these signals in how to rank your web page or website for your target keywords. Let’s get that out of the way.

With that said, your website can still benefit from social media signals. The primary benefit is in helping you establish a solid and credible online brand. Here are some of the ways your website can benefit from social media signals.

social media outreach

Photo Credit: MR LIGHTMAN @ http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Social Media Credibility

When you establish a social media account for your online brand, you gain a foothold to a content delivery device that can engage people who might be interested in your brand. These people are not consumers or end users of whatever it is that you are promoting. Instead, these are people who own blogs, or who observe your industry, and have a level of influence in your niche. Social media signals in this context is all about influence marketing.

Place the Groundwork For Outreach

By creating a social media account that consistently and reliably publishes high-quality content that is very specific to your niche, you lay the groundwork for establishing credibility with influence leaders in your niche.

This doesn’t happen overnight. In many cases, it takes several weeks for these influence leaders to find you credible based on the weight of the content that you are sharing. This obviously requires a keen attention to the kind of niche-specific content that you are sharing through social media channels.

Once they find you credible and have enough confidence that you know what you’re talking about, can you reach out to them for possible relationship-building.

Place the Groundwork for Channel-Specific Branding

When you have established a high level of social media credibility because of the quality of the content that you have been sharing on your social media accounts, the next step is to reach out to influence leaders. If they find you credible, you can leverage your relationship with them to promote your brand in a specific social media channel.

In a way, you are building an alliance with these established brands. They are basically adopting your brand and lending some of their credibility and authority to your brand. This is a very important step in social media marketing.

Too many social media marketers don’t get this. They look at Twitter, Facebook groups, and other social media channels as essentially spamming channels. It doesn’t work that way. To make social media work for you, you have to build influence with the people that matter in your niche.

Best Practices When Using Social Media Signals

Keep the following best practices in mind. They can help you get more results from your social media outreach efforts.

First, you have to use a drip-feed system. There are many online services like Hootsuite that lets you publish at specified times. The great thing about Hootsuite and drip-feeding is that all your content doesn’t get unloaded all at once. You can time your content to be published at precisely the time ranges that your target audience will be on social media websites.

Use only your best content. Putting the time, effort, and energy to find the very best content in your niche. Simply finding niche-relevant content is not enough. Anybody can do that. Moreover, if you fill your social media profiles with mediocre content, regardless of how niche-specific they are, they can taint your brand.

Moreover, don’t settle for just the best content. Look for rare content. It’s one thing to share only the most niche-specific content. It’s another to share high-quality, niche-specific content that is rarely shared.

You need to go to this extra step because you want to look different from your competition. Chances are, they are also sharing the best content. If you’re doing exactly what they’re doing, you really are not setting your brand apart from your competition. You don’t have a competitive advantage. By specifically targeting rare content that has a high level of quality, you can set yourself apart from your competition.

Finally, follow up your credibility building efforts using content with actual engagement. It’s one thing to use Hootsuite to publish high-quality content day after day, week after week, and month after month; it’s another to follow up on that level of credibility you’re building by actually engaging high-influence individuals in your niche.