3 Reasons Social Media Matters
Ian Lurie Sep 6 2007
Pay attention to social media: It’s not just voodoo, and it will impact your bottom line.
Yesterday I played the skeptic, pooh-poohing the idea that social media is a new idea. I also talked a bit about what makes something ‘social media’. Now I’ll point out three very concrete ways social media can improve your internet marketing results:
Social Media Success = Improved Search Engine Rankings
Every time a blog, bookmarking site or other trendy social media community mentions you, chances are they link to you, too. Links are important to search engine rankings. Very important. So a flurry of blog mentions can translate into increased link popularity and higher rankings.
Here’s proof: Two months ago, we launched www.DolceVitaPets.com. As a new site, it had zero link popularity and no ranking for important phrases like ‘heated pet beds’. We settled in for a long haul – it can take months to gain any search engine presence at all for a brand-new site. We tipped off all of the relevant gadget blogs but didn’t hope for much right at the start.
Then Gizmodo – one of the top gadget blogs – did a scathing review of the flagship product. The client was less than thrilled, but I told them to wait a bit. Within a few days, dozens of other blogs picked up the thread, talking about the product in their own terms – mostly positive – and linking back to DolceVitaPets.com. The result was a fantastic boost in link popularity:
(data from Pythia-Analytics.com)
And, within a few weeks, a top 10 ranking for ‘heated pet beds’.
Social media results = search engine results. Don’t forget it.
Social Media Success = A Chance to Be Heard
If you write a blog, you build an audience. That audience becomes a sounding board when things go right or wrong.
Proof: A client (who shall remain nameless) made a serious gaffe, announcing a product at a conference months before they were ready. The CEO of the company writes what is now a 1-year-old blog. The readership is about 150, and she uses the blog to tell the story of building and growing her company.
She called me, in a panic: “I mentioned the blah-blah-widget because I’m just so excited about it. I just blurted it out to the media. What do I do?!” (expletives deleted)
She wrote that sentiment on the blog. Of her 150 readers, a few linked to her and mentioned the entire episode on their blogs. A few of their readers did the same, and so on.
She turned the mistake into a non-issue. The conversation changed, within a few days, from “DOH!” to “This CEO is so cool. She makes mistakes like anyone, but she acknowledges them. Now, about this great new gadget…”.
Problem solved, because she had a small audience that listened. If she’d not had her blog, then she probably couldn’t have fixed the problem through word of mouth.
Social Media Success = Sales
Mention in the wide world of social media can generate direct sales, too. It’s not as hard as you think.
momAgenda introduced a new planner. Nina, the CEO, sent one to a small list of relevant bloggers. She included a handwritten note saying ‘thanks’ for their support over the last two years, and inviting them to have a look at the latest version of their flagship product.
This generated two or three mentions by prominent parenting and motherhood blogs. Within hours, these articles generated orders on Nina’s site.
And, of course, momAgenda.com received more links. Which will lead to higher search engine rankings…
Don’t Ignore It
I’m not saying Social Media is the Greatest Thing Ever. It’s just a concept. But it’s a powerful one.
So write a blog. Engage other bloggers. Make sure you have that receptive audience around you. It will definitely pay off.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More