Online marketing, as we understand it today, is much more than its earlier version of search engine optimization and link building. It is a 360-degree approach that aims to provide a consistent user experience across many channels.
Social media and brand mentions play a significant role in today’s marketing approach, as the focus is now on building an online reputation for your brand. In this new world of social media and online brand mentions, you need a completely different approach to reach your target audience.
Google presently accounts for more than 90 percent of organic search traffic globally, and the search giant rewards brands that its users find valuable. To tap into this vast amount of organic traffic you need to find a way to stand out and differentiate your brand so that real users can find you and learn to love what you have to offer. The goal, then, is to get real people to talk about your brand on social media channels.
It is essential to remember that it takes more than regular status updates and content broadcasting to create a powerful social media presence. Among other things, it is the number of social media mentions a brand receives that determines the value of its social presence.
Here are three things to think about to help you grow your brand mentions.
1. Choose the Right Platform
It takes a lot of time to “do” social right, right? Not necessarily, provided you choose your social networks wisely. From Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram, each social media platform serves a different purpose and caters to a different type of audience, although all of them provide ample opportunities for limitless digital interactions. Therefore, you need to ensure that your customer personas fit with network(s) you are active on.
Many marketers suggest intensifying your presence on social media sites to improve your chances of receiving brand mentions on these platforms. This makes sense to an extent, given the fact that brand mentions are inextricably linked with social activity. (Take the example of Google forging partnerships with Twitter.) Besides, you are more likely to receive additional mentions when you have a strong social media presence.
But then again, you should be picky when it comes to selecting the platforms to be involved with. Are your users active on Facebook or they are more regular on Twitter? What is the point of investing time and resources on a platform that your target audience hardly uses? B2B organizations, for example, will find LinkedIn more preferable than Facebook or Twitter. The goal is to engage with your target audience and you should, therefore, select a platform that suits you (and them) the best.
This needs to be an educated decision, i.e. you must know what you are doing and why you are doing it. E2M, for example, decided to dump Facebook, despite the fact that it has over 1.28 billion active monthly users, realizing that our “efforts on Facebook are better spent elsewhere.” Was it a hasty decision? Not at all; we have given our reasons behind this decision in this blog post, but the main reason was that the numbers there weren’t exciting.
So what are your numbers and mentions saying? If it isn’t as exciting as it should be, maybe you are on the wrong platform.
2. Leverage Guest Blogging
Many successful brands like Intel, Evernote, Forrester Research and Klout use guest blogging to their advantage. Remember the TechCrunch post by Phil Libin, then-CEO of Evernote? In it, he shared his personal experience of promoting an iPhone app and gave some pretty awesome stats—an eye-opener for many people. The post received more than 2,400 shares.
This example demonstrates the power of guest blogging when it comes to social sharing and brand mentions. But don’t treat guest blogging as a means to link building; rather, use it as your personal and business brand building tool.
In fact, links are relatively irrelevant, as the main focus of guest blogging should be on building authority for your brand through the sharing of valuable information. This, in turn, helps you create brand recognition in the social media landscape. To achieve these goals, however, the content must be new and unique and bring value to your readers.
3. Build Your Brand Offline
It may sound surprising to many, but building your brand offline can also help you receive social mentions. When you appear at conferences and seminars, you get a chance to interact with the attendees, many of whom are likely to post about their experience on social media and on their personal/business blogs. This adds to your personal brand, while also building brand recognition for your business.
Typically, the more social media mentions you receive, the better and wider your reach becomes. But achieving this is easier said than done. You need to create a strong online presence, backed by an equally strong content strategy. And it will take a lot of dedication, time and effort. But the rewards are too lucrative to pass up, as positive social mentions not only indicate the positive experiences your customers have had with you, it also impacts your place in the SERPs.