Social media has become the international town square of the Internet, yet many small businesses are still confused or reluctant to get started.Â Customers are gathering and talking on sites like Facebook, YouTube and Linkedin.Â Successful brick-and-mortar and online businesses are catching on and joining in on the conversations.
Google acknowledged the increased importance of social media in an official announcement early this spring when they reduced the priority ranking of backlinks in favor of new measurement systems assessing social signals. The Global Financial Network on Equities.com noted that other major search engines, such as Bing, followed Googleâ€™s example and in just a couple months websites with strong social media links have risen in rankings.
So just what does this mean for the small business owner?Â Simply put, the old tricks have been replaced with search engine ranking systems that assess real interest through social media. Backlinks simply for the sake of having them is no longer an effective way to gain high search engine optimization.
Anchor text, however, is still essential in building ranking through backlinks. Anchor text is the text that composes a link to another webpage.Â Highlighted words or phrases connected to websites build ranking but donâ€™t detract from content. Google and other search engines continue to find ways to reward sites with integrated SEOs and quality content while penalizing sites that spin and use tricks.
Get Social in 5 Easy Steps
This all makes sense, but as a small business owner you still might be confused or reluctant to embrace social media.Â Sure youâ€™ve heard of Facebook and Twitter but how can you take advantage of them and still run your business? Â Itâ€™s easy, just make social media part of your small business marketing program.Â Here are 5 easy steps to get started.
- Set up pages on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and, Twitter, if you havenâ€™t already. Then post on your pages and get your customers and friends talking about your brand and business on those sites.
- Facebook searches are gaining shares in web based searches, so get active on your page.Â Answer questions and start discussions.Â Whenever you launch anything new be sure to announce it on all social media platforms.
- Next to Google.com, YouTube drives the most searches on the web. Create a few videos and post them on YouTube and other video sites such as Vimeo.com and Dailymotion.com. They donâ€™t have to be Oscar quality.Â Show new products or create short â€˜how-toâ€™ pieces showcasing your business or products.
- Invite friends and expand your LinkedIn network. This business-oriented social media site is a good source for business-to-business connections.
- Encourage your customers to do reviews. Real reviews get noticed and build customer loyalty. Check out Yelp.com and Google +. These are great sites to post reviews and build your local business.
Remember the Internet is still evolving and social media is here to stay.Â Take it one step at a time, but make social media part of your small business marketing plan and keep moving forward.