5 Social Media Link Building Tips

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Social media is all the rage these days. Everyone from Katie Couric to Howard Stern is only a tweet away. Though celebrities have embraced Twitter, many people still do not completely understand how and why social is used for marketing. Most people associate Twitter with celebrities and news channels. For the most part, people who signed up for Twitter understand it can be used to stay up to date on the lastest news and trends.

4% of tweets are… news to me

With 140,000,000 users  as of March 2012 on Twitter following all these news updates, only about 4% of tweets qualify as “news” according to Pear Analytics. 78% is pure conversation and babble. It appears much of what happens on Twitter would be a waste of time for marketers, right? Well, not entirely.

“Link” building becomes a four letter word

Going into 2011, link building was where much of a search engine marketer’s time was spent. Companies that performed SEO would focus on gaining hundreds of links back to their client’s website with the goal of gaining keyword rankings in Google. This strategy worked well, sometimes really well. In 2012 Google rolled out “Penguin” to fight spammy link building tactics and began to place slightly more value on social “signals” as a ranking factor for content. What this means is having links alone to your website with no social activity will have less impact than if you had shares and retweets.

Twitter… with a side of spam

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Use Quantcast to explore your audience

Since link spam was so prevalent before Penguin, SEO’s could get results by simply creating hundreds of links to mediocre articles and web pages. Now there is more focus on creating engaging content that is more likely to get shared in social media. There is spam on Twitter for sure but search engines are (or should become) better at detecting spam in social. All it takes is for a Twitter account to be reported by the community as spam for the account to be removed.

5 tips for building links with social media

Getting links is still an important factor for improving your SEO. Getting linked to through social media is no easy task but if you take a strategic approach you should have some success over time. I’ve provided some tips below that should help you gain more earned links over time.

  1. Create Engaging Content (shocker) – Unique copy, attractive images and video are all great ways to get shared and linked to in social media. Test different ways to present content and see what works for your audience. Tools like Quantcast are great for a high level view of who visits your website.
  2. Timely Posts – Are you tweeting or sharing something on Facebook that’s been shared hundreds of times 2 months ago? It’s likely the sharing train has left the station and you missed it. If you find something interesting posted in the last few days or a hidden gem that hasn’t been shared due to poor promotion, when is the best time to share? Based on my experience, the 8:30am-10am EST and 11:30am-1pm EST  time slots are key to getting your tweets or posts shared. You’ll hit most folks on the east coast in the morning and folks on the west coast & east coast during the 11:30am-1pm EST. Again, it’s always a good idea to test what times and days work best for your audience.
  3. Share Hidden Gems – You would be surprised how much good content never makes it to the twitter-sphere (if that’s a word). Finding these hidden gems with Google keyword searches can turn up really interesting articles. You’ll position your social content as unique and “hard to find”, adding value to whom ever follows you. Hidden gems can also provide more shares for when you post your own content.
  4. Follow the Less-Followed – If you’re trying to build influence, following celebrities or mass media networks may not be the best way to get your message heard. Even if you re-post or re-tweet content for these folks, you’ll likely get ignored. A good strategy would be to follow people who have some influence but haven’t reached 50,000 likes/followers or appeared on any red carpets.
  5. Be Yourself – When I first joined Facebook and Twitter I was a little shy when it came to voicing my opinion or sharing my ideas. I’ve noticed over time it becomes much easier to just be yourself. Just like face to face networking, it’s often best just to be yourself. Everyone may not like what you have to say but does it matter? Care about the people who will listen to you and share what you have to say.