Uncovering the Mystery of SEO and Social
SEO and social media can seem so mysterious as it relates to content marketing, but it is quite simple.
We hear the term SEO and are minds might flash to a guy with a black hoodie on, typing lots of mysterious code into the backend of our website. When we hear the term social media we think of teenagers posting selfies on Instagram or our Aunt Ruth sharing embarrassing photos of our kids from years gone by.
The reality is SEO and social media are necessary marketing tools and thankfully they are a lot less mysterious than you may think. Today many use the term “content marketing” when talking about SEO, and that can encompass blogging, social media posts, rich website copy, all written with the intent to draw your ideal customer in through search. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is simply optimizing your web and social content with words and phrases that Google, Bing, and other search engines are looking for.
Let’s look at a few examples of how this works:
When Kevin asks Google, “Do I need to send in my 1099 forms with my tax return?” Google is going to search for a piece of content that will answer this question the best. What if a tax preparation service company had a blog post titled, “Do you need to send 1099 forms in with your tax return?” Kevin would be clicking over to that website in a matter of moments. Now Kevin is reading more helpful content on their website and sees a 20% discount code on the homepage for getting his tax returns done by a pro.
Let’s say that Robert looks in the mirror and notices his hair is getting a big shaggy. He asks SIRI, “What are the most popular hairstyles for middle-aged men?” He might be served up a video that is posted on Facebook from his local hip hair-stylist showing before and after shots of middle-aged men going from NOT to HOT! (I'm sure it had something in the video about pitching the preppy sweater as well!) In the post, he notices this hip stylist is nearby and so he clicks on the CALL NOW button that is on the Facebook page and books an appointment.
When Carli searches for “Exercises to get ready for spring gardening,” she will find a Pinterest post showing photos of different stretches and exercises to “Get Your Body Ready for Gardening” This piece of content was created by the fitness studio in her neighborhood. She loves the exercises listed, and at the bottom, it has a coupon for 10 FREE days to come in and get a jump start on the spring workout. Guess where Carli’s going?
The more closely the content matches the question, the higher in search results it will be. It’s not about gaming the Google system. It’s not even about paying to have your site show up in the top AD space. Most people skip those first few ads and jump to the meaty content that is showing up organically (naturally or earned). Content that is created specifically to answer the unique questions your ideal customers have is search engine GOLD. When you start sharing that content across your social media channels, those veins of gold will lead people to your GOLDMINE.
One of the challenges a business owner has is juggling all that is involved in running a successful business. Marketing activities tend to get put to the back burner while fires are handled that are blazing on the front. But when you look at the ROI (RISK OF IGNORING) of content and social marketing, the lack of new business can soon be a front-burner issue.
Google and other search engines want to make sure they are serving up the best, most relevant (and localized when possible) content to the person searching. Making time to create helpful and interesting content is a must in today’s digital world. It is the best and, quite frankly, the most effective form of marketing you can do.
The good news is, it’s no longer a mystery what it will do for your business!
I Have A Brand And It Haunts Me
I was talking to my pal “Jonas” who recently decided to freelance (vs building a multi-consultant business) when he left a bigger firm to do his own thing.
Jonas is a global talent guy who works across the planet for some of the world’s most well known companies. He decided his best play—the one that would allow him to focus on what he loves most and live the life he’s planned—is to freelance for other firms.
His plan got off to a bit of a rocky start because—get this—none of the firms he approached believed he’d actually want to “just” freelance. He’d earned his rep by steadily building deep, brand name client relationships, practices and business, not by going off by himself as a solo.
Or as he put it “I have a brand and it haunts me.”
We both had a good belly laugh because he was already rolling in new projects, thrilled with his choice to freelance.
And yet, isn’t that the truth?
Good, bad, indifferent—our brands DO haunt us.
They whisper messages to those in our circle “trust him, he’s the bomb”, “hire her for anything creative as long as your deadline isn’t critical”, “steer clear—he talks a good game but doesn’t deliver”.
And thanks to social media, those messages—good and bad—can accelerate faster than you can imagine. One client, one reader, one buyer can be the pivot point that takes your consulting business to new territory.
So how do you deal with it?
Yep—you go for more of what comes naturally. In Jonas’ case, he stuck with what he’s known for—his work, his relationships, his track record for integrity—and won over any lingering skepticism about his move.
We weather the bumps in the road by staying true to who we are at our core.
So when a potential client says “Sorry, you’re just too expensive for me”, you don’t run out and change your prices. Instead, you listen carefully and realize they aren’t the right fit for your particular brand of expertise and service.
When a social media troll chooses you to lash out at, you ignore them and stay with your true audience—your sweet-spot clients and buyers.
And when your most challenging client tells you it’s time to change your business model to serve them better, you listen closely (there may be some learning here) and—if it doesn’t suit your strengths—you kiss them good-bye.
If your brand isn’t haunting you, is it really much of a brand?
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