Marketing your content can be a tricky proposition. There never seems to be enough of an audience at your fingertips to appease your need for visibility.
Although social media has changed the landscape for marketing your content in recent years it still presents an uphill climb of sorts. Building your social following is an arduous task and sometimes you can be impatient and too quick to throw in the towel and find easy shortcuts.
From experience, there are good and bad ways to market your social following and while I understand the thinking behind buying views, buying followers and buying RTs and why people fall into that pitfall, it’s essentially like treading water.
Being a content publisher or contributor can be a balancing act and one that many people sway one side more than the other. The thinking is that Social Media is the new end all be all of traffic generation and the truth it’s it’s half the battle. Search engine traffic such as Bing, Google and even Yahoo still drive good traffic to a website.
There is the other side of the coin that shows people who ignore social media and weigh more heavily into search. This can be the trend in more product and/or service driven niches and industries, but the problematic thinking is one in the same. Both sides are flawed and neither solely give the content being disseminated the proper justice.
Forgetting your follower count and the overall traffic of your website when distributing your content can be the best way of thinking. Social Media followers can be a mirage of sorts. Because one has 50,000 followers doesn’t mean that those 50,000 followers are tuned into your conversation. An even lesser amount actually click through to read your content. That number drops dramatically with folks who make posting links, obsessively mentioning their followers to read their articles and constant one-dimensional posts, deterrents. Your click through rate is diminished further.
Those who rely solely on search ignore the core element of the initial intent. Creating content is opening or inviting discussion and while search is a powerful aggregator it takes a back seat to Social search. The reason is the behavior or culture of each entity.
Since search launched we have been wired to utilize it for information. Social, on the other hand is built for conversation. One without the other is like running a marathon on one leg. You may make a respectable time, but with two legs you could be producing at a much higher rate.
Structuring your content with SEO elements can help you shore up the search end, but there needs to be a proper structure throughout your site to truly harness the benefit. When a search engine indexes or caches your website it needs to be presented in a natural, resourceful and transparent fashion. Over-linking, link exchanges, too many ads and poor usability can negatively impact how search engines value your website. Your site may have been online for 10 years, but a site with 2 years of life can surpass you if proper elements are instituted.
The social aspect comes into play in many different variations and forms. Sharing your content is one way, a way that is often abused. When you share your content, unsolicited, by directly mentioning your followers you run a high risk of being marked for spam. With social algorithms your content can be categorized as spam or uninteresting and thus your exposure will suffer. It’s good to keep your followers in the loop, which makes the social aspect a multi-layered aspect, but becomes problematic if over-done. You don’t want to annoy your audience.
So how does one find the balance?
Making your social feed a conversation instead of pure link post is a good start. Those with bigger followings can get away with just sharing content because their followers trust the content produced and are more likely to click through. If you’re not in that area, it’s good to build good conversations with your followers thus creating a relationship. Once that relationship starts to build your feed is less likely to be skimmed over by your engaged audience.
Naturally, search is a big piece of any website pie. This is why you see a ton of internet marketing and SEO companies popping up. It’s a “must have” service for any website business. But there is a balance that must be maintained as well. Getting familiar with search engine guidelines is a good way to familiarize yourself with what search engines value.
My theory is that both social search and organic web search (ie: Google, Bing, etc) directly impact one another. As both mediums evolve, both mediums will rely on the other for additional metrics that can influence their own core aggregation structuring.
Focusing on one and ignoring the other is treading water. Finding the balance can keep your business afloat and prosperous as you navigate on the river of the future.