Social Media & SEO Companies Revealed
I’ll let you into a little secret. Though many small SEO companies sell rather expensive packages for Social Media, most of them are pretty awful at building a buzz for your business. Larger SEO companies are often better, simply because they can pull on the talents of their in-house teams – graphics designers, copywriters etc. – and can work hand-in-hand with big budget clients. At that level, it’s a pretty big Viral Marketing, Instagram Marketing, Press Release, Public Relations kinda thing – an evolution of the Advertising Dollar into drip-feed Social Media.
But in terms of Small Business, I don’t believe that there’s much that an SEO firm can do. What we can do is work with a small business to first, define a specific goal and then help you go about achieving it.
A Small Business Social Media Success Story
I’ve been following one very interesting example of a Small Business that’s been using Social Media very successfully. As far as I can tell, Dan a.k.a. Plant Abundance, runs his business entirely through Youtube – there’s no website, no sign of Facebook and no hint of an SEO firm behind his success! He’s a Permaculture hobbyist – a “no-dig” gardener – who, over the last 4 years, has turned his Californian, suburban back yard into a veritable food forest. Along the way, he’s been publishing numerous simple, home-made videos about his organic gardening passion. Now with 5,000 subscribers, Dan’s videos generally clock up about 1-5 thousand views, which probably indicates a very loyal fan-base.
NOTE 1: A number of Dan’s HOW TO videos, which break out of his fan base into a generic pool of keen Youtube gardeners, have done much better with one even exceeding 100,000 views!
And with Google Adsense earning Dan a modest income on each video played + income from Patreon (Youtube’s sponsor-a-video-maker system) + mail order revenue from the sales of some of his seedlings, Dan’s managed to turn his hobby into one generating a small but steady income.
Mind you, I get the impression that Dan is pretty happy with the way things are and considers extra earnings as a bonus that pays for the development of his garden. He doesn’t seem to want a website, he just enjoys making videos about what he loves and all power to him. Dan’s a cool, laid-back giant but with the utmost respect intended, his videos aren’t stand-out. but importantly, he publishes several videos a week and when I watch them, I feel as if I’m getting an update from a friend. To me, that’s the secret of success with Social Media – to get your fan’s involved emotionally with you and your business and there’s no SEO company that can do that for you.
NOTE 2: My fellow Aussie, Rob The Backyard Farmer has a similar Gardening set-up to Dan but his specialty is Aquaponics. Rob’s much more involved with the web – he has a website and appears very aware of Social Media + its commercial possibilities, such as Youtube’s Patreon (where you agree to pay either per video or for EXTRA content). Rob’s also slowly developing his own range of very specific garden products + t-shirts etc. and I reckon he’s got the kind of modest, wildly enthusiatic business that could really take off.
Imaginary Test Case: Developing Social Media For A Gardening Center
Thinking laterally, imagine how a Gardening Center could do something similar to Rob, but instead, making itself the hub for the efforts of 3 or 4 regular customers (essentially, swapping stock for videos)? One could be the flowers guy, another the hippie vegetables couple, another the backyard pond lady etc. As viewers, we could follow how these very different gardeners grow their produce through the seasons. With some enthusiasm, you could get Social Media really working for your business, both in terms of your local area and far beyond.
In a case like this, it would really help the Gardening Center to think SEO-strategically and plan accordingly e.g giving each video a title with the format:
“plant genus update + season + year” = something like McKenna’s Rose Update, Spring 2017
so that the Search Engines really know what’s going on. Of course, for human eyes, you might add some more text, like the name of the individual gardener:
McKenna’s Rose Update, Spring 2017: Jenny Flynn
but I wouldn’t bother with the name of the Gardening Center, as it would be housed on their own Youtube channel! If the Gardening Center was also adding each video as new content to their site (with additional text, of course), their pages (with updates) could, in time, become very powerful resources, bring traffic, business and probably, Search Engine success to the site, in general!
So, in this particular case, it would probably be a very worthwhile investment to spend an hour or two chatting with an SEO expert beforehand, to set everything up, maximizing the Search Engine potential (e.g. nerdy Youtube hacks etc.).
Social Media & Small Business
Now, of course, there is an important point to make from Dan, Rob & the Gardening Center example above, which is that I’ve only ever seen Small Business Social Media work when you have a product or service that you really LOVE and you enjoy telling people about it. It always works best when your Social Media account is treated like a party – we’re all here to have a good time, primarily, and if someone buys, “Great!” if not, “Who cares?”
For Dan, he’s pretty solitary and it’s all about his videos.
For Rob, he’s much more gregarious. His videos are enthusiastic and chatty and he even occasionally holds Google Hangouts (FREE video conferencing) with his (PAID) Patreon members
For a Gardening Center, if they had the right central figure, like a Rob, they could scale it up even more – perhaps even eventually initiating offline training or working with local landscapers.
Without the buzz, though, Social Media for Small Business is often grim and soul destroying – I’ve seen so many Twitter streams and Facebook Business Page look like embarrassing, lonely ghost towns. As such, I’d recommend that you only seriously consider it if you – or someone you trust – can put the time and enthusiasm into developing relationships with your “fans”, offering them specials, discounts or sharing great content that you’ve found or made for them that is relevant to your niche. To put it in purely Marketing terms, when Social Media works, leads can be nurtured and converted in a casual, informal atmosphere. Another aspect is that if community is also enthusiastic, it works like an unseen, passive salesperson and eventually, also converts leads into customers.
Three Unusual Benefits Of Social Media For Small Business
- If you monitor your feed regularly, Social Media serves as a dynamic Communications system, in which both inquiries and complaints can be addressed and dealt with very quickly. In terms of the latter, if you’re able to remedy the situation before it spills into a bad review on your Google My Business Page or one of the Review sites, it could save you a lot of bother.
- For Local Marketing, Social Media also enables you to quickly develop valuable contacts e.g. if you were to monitor your local newspapers and join any “Save Our Town/Museum/School” etc. group, perhaps even participating offline, the personal relationships forged could genuinely improve your chances of gaining further business (and SEO links). That being said, personal relationships undoubtedly take time and small business owners may consider delegating these important responsibilities to someone else, e.g. a spouse, a parent etc. i.e. someone who has an emotional investment or financial interest in its success (HINT: This generation of teenage kids are often very competent, natural video editors!)
- For National or International Marketing, it’s similar to Local Marketing but in most cases, much more dynamic, particularly from an SEO perspective e.g. MOZ is one of the most respected SEO brands in the world and their blog posts about Geek-y SEO experiments often attract some of the finest minds in the SEO world, occasionally from non-English-speaking countries. When these foreign geeks & geekettes write a guest post, or even just have a keyword-rich back & forth conversation with MOZ, it sends powerful signals to the Search Engines that these geeks have been “accepted” by MOZ and it’s likely that their own SEO sites in his/her far-away country, would almost certainly be reaping some SEO benefits.
Put simply, participation on a reputable page helps you to be known as one of the cool guys/gals!
And when you’re cool, people respect you – and so do Search Engines.
And In Conclusion
There are so many wonderful possibilities for Small Business to prosper with Social Media. With time, effort and a whole lotta heart, many small businesses can really extend their markets, make friends along the way and possibly, even change people’s lives. Oh and from an SEO perspective, such contacts can also often provide great reviews for Google My Business or the Review sites.