July 13, 2012
/ by Chris Pilbeam
Rebecca Bredholt leads the Vocus Marketing Consultants, our new team of experts who help Vocus customers grow their businesses. In a new bi-weekly column, she’ll be putting her marketing expertise to work answering readers’ questions on everything from search and social to events and PR.
Got a question about marketing your business better? Ask Rebecca in the comments below.
Dear Vocus: I’ve been doing local print ads and they’re getting expensive… I’m not sure that they’re getting me lots of exposure. I know I need to get seen on Google. I know a bit about SEO, but could you give me some tips for ranking higher?
Ann Aragon, Owner, The Barking Cat Pet Store
Rebecca says: There’s a joke about companies feeling like 50% of their advertising works – they just don’t know which 50. But I think your question is asking more about becoming “popular” without the use of paid placements. Getting seen on Google and “ranking higher” are both references to “earning” your way to the top.
Let’s start with a free way of getting there that you might not have considered yet.
Facebook – A Free Way to Boost Your Search Ranking
Add networking and party pictures to get shared on Facebook, says Rebecca
As well as looking at your website, your blog and your news releases, Google also pays a ton of attention to the content on your Facebook page.
You said you’ve been doing local print ads. When you offer a local product or service, your best plan is to aim for being a big fish a relatively small pond. This plan, ironically, starts offline with building relationships with people nearby. Attend networking events, eat lunch with other people, take a spin class (actually, don’t, those things are excruciating).
During these in-person exchanges, get business cards, Twitter handles, and take pictures and videos using your phone. Hang out with people who are not also selling what you’re selling. Hang out with people who are buying what you’re selling. Take more pictures. Then post them to your business’s Facebook page.
Add Personality to Get People Sharing
In these pictures, you have the golden ticket – original, human interest content and people to share it with online. When I track which pieces of content get shared the most on my client’s Facebook pages, it’s always their networking party pictures, their personal thanks to people for making an event special, or short videos of people interacting with their product for the first time. This type of content should make up about a third of your Facebook postings. Once these pictures are up, contact the people in them to let them know to visit your page and see them.
How to Boost Your Rank with Reviews
Now let’s loop back to your offline activities. Take something of value that you have (your product, your knowledge,etc), discount it / make it enticing, and then place it on your social media account. Then go back to each person you met and let them know the offer is there for them, for a limited time. Ask anyone who takes you up on your offer, to please post their feedback on your social media site (good or bad – I know that’s a hard one to swallow, so add two ounces of gin if necessary). Reviews about your product or service will help your ranking.
Once you have engagement like this, the rest, they say, is history. Except it’s not. From here, you need to post current events, relevant, interesting content (the more original the better) on a frequent basis to keep your content fresh and keep Google interested.
If all this doesn’t show some type of improvement in your ranking and responses in two months, go back to Facebook and buy a highly targeted ad.
Need Rebecca’s advice? Ask us in the comments box below!
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