The Dallas Cowboys were recently found to have the most loyal fans in the National Football League – despite not winning the Super Bowl since 1996.
It seems a passionate and dedicated fan base will still show you support even when no one else will.
And the same can be said for social media marketing, especially when it makes your company appear more approachable and friendly.
SEO can improve the way a business connects with its customers and develops an online brand.
To see further returns on your investments and higher profits, your visitors will need to CONNECT with your brand.
They will need to believe that your prime objective is not selling as many products as you can, but rather CARING for your customers and delivering a top service.
HOW DO COMPANIES CONNECT WITH THEIR CONSUMERS?
The way consumers connect with brands has transformed over the last fifty years.
In case you watch the Mad Men TV show, you’ll see how radically marketing has changed.
Set in the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in the 1960s, protagonist Don Draper creates successful marketing campaigns by selling the reputation of a BRAND rather than focusing on the product features.
Primarily, that you should never stop thinking about your audience.
Whether you are selling gym memberships or plastic boxes, emphasis should be placed on CREATING A RELATIONSHIP with your customers.
In fact, many big-name corporations will try to connect with their brand evangelists through social media and mobile apps, creating a user generated buzz and exposure in form of shares, likes and natural links.
And with since the advent of social media, it’s become even easier to interact with your audience:
+ Facebook, Twitter and the like have made many companies much more APPROACHABLE – customers can converse with company representatives and vice-versa.
+ Companies no longer appear “detached” from their customer base.
This in turn gives customers greater value and helps to strengthen the consumer-business relationship.
Some of the best social campaigns to go viral over the last few years have utilized this successfully.
The Ignite Social Media blog refers to a 2013 promo spot from Dove which didn’t focus on a particular product, but instead focused on how their customers perceive their own beauty (and how Dove really cares too). The campaign was a smash-hit, and has garnered 64 million YouTube hits.
BUT HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO SEO?
Well, just like the largest corporations in the world, you will need to develop a RELATIONSHIP with your customers.
This is something that won’t happen overnight, but realize this – relationships are fundamental when building a network of customers that will provide value to your business.
Or, odds are you’ll go down in the noise no matter how great your product might be.
To see how brand loyalty can affect SEO, let’s do some keyword research.
Just imagine you sell cleaning products.
Are people searching for particular solutions online (i.e.”how to get red wine off carpet”)?
You will need to ensure that your website provides an ANSWER to a particular query, and that your pages become a RESOURCE for the information they are searching for.
Or, look at Google Adwords – not only do they provide the service, they also equip their users with guides and newsletters with the latest tips and tricks.
Share your expertise on your niche, and people will come back to your site in the future.
Extend your social media campaign by spreading your expertise on your social media pages and by reaching out to influencers and potential partners in your niche.
Remember: exposure and brand awareness is a major advantage in today’s SEO, so don’t make it necessarily only about links.
HOW ELSE CAN SOCIAL MEDIA HELP ME?
Moz has talked extensively about the difference between social norms and market norms – the former based on social conventions that require no monetary payback (babysitting for a family member, helping someone move house etc.).
You will need to move away from market norms in order to build brand loyalty. For example, when creating SEO, how about the following?
+ Imagine that you’re offering free shipping as an incentive to get more people to your pages. Now, how about advertising this as a “thank you” to your customers, rather than another FINANCIAL benefit to ordering from your site?
You’ve probably heard about CD Baby’s hilarious shipping confirmation mail. Be creative, show that you care and your crowd will love you for this.
+ Don’t try and trick your customers. In case there are any hidden costs to a particular service, advertise them as such.
This information should be clear on your landing pages, not on the final page before checkout.
+ LISTEN to your audience. Find out what they are saying on a third-party review sites, on their social media pages, and elsewhere. Listen closely and if they have a problem with one of your products and services, try and resolve the problem.
Be a social butterfly!
+ Create content that RESONATES with your audience.
Be directive and refrain from speaking in the third-person; “our” and “we” can help to develop a rapport between customers and your business brand, and can keep them coming back to your pages for more.
How about “Why OUR shoes are better than the rest” as a title for your About Us page? Not only does this add a personalized touch, it looks much better in search rankings.
COMING UP WITH A GREAT SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Social media can play a HUGE part in developing a relationship with your customer base. Here are a few tips:
+ Increase your transparency – customers like it when a company is open and honest with them.
Include short staff bios on your pages so your readers can get to know a little bit more about you.
Photos of recent company functions on your social media pages can also work wonders.
Want to care about your customers? Keep them in the know.
+ Send an automated email to customers after they have purchased a product or service thanking them for their custom.
Encourage them to leave a review on a third-party website of your choice about the customer service they received.
Remember, positive reviews left on authentic review sites can be great for SEO and increasing brand awareness.
People don’t see companies like they did ten, or even five, years ago.
Businesses are trying to move away from their reputations as money-grabbing conglomerates, and instead focus on building relationships with their customers.
It’s all about showing just how much you CARE about your audience.
To improve your rankings and increase traffic, you will need to take all of this into consideration.
Having the best prices, the widest range of products, and the world’s largest advertising budget doesn’t mean jack if you can’t connect with your audience in today’s noisy world.