Gary Vaynerchuk has been my idol since the first time I started shopping online. When my mother was alive, she used to give me her credit card and tell me to go buy a case of wine from his online store, The Wine Library. My brother, who lives only a few miles away from the specialty shop, would take me there on my trips to New Jersey, home of Gary’s family business. I quickly became aware that Gary was royalty in social media marketing.

Social Media Marketing Begs For Human Connections 

When you represent a business, you have the opportunity on social platforms to build trust with prospects and to strengthen the loyalty of customers.. Users beg for human interaction, the main point of social media.

Mistake #1: Hiding Who You Are In Social Media Marketing 

Trying to separate your professional business activities from your personal interactions on social networks will backfire every time. Sure, you may use Facebook solely for family and close friends communication. That’s why there are business pages. But why would you want to keep your business secret? Trust is built on relationships.

Posting often may seem like a pain, and you don’t have time for it. Be careful of how you use automation tools, though. Many people do not trust an automated post – particularly because scammers and spammers embrace automation technology so passionately.

Facebook hates automation so much that they have a detection code written right into their algorithm. The more automated posts you publish with a third party software, the less reach you will have to your fan base. Plain and simple.

Check out this quick video on How to Win at Social Media:

As my love crush Gary says, our best relationships did not happen instantaneously. Many successful small businesses will tell you that they cultivated relationships in their community, through networking and other local events. They participate in fundraisers they are passionate about. Neighbors get to know you. Word of mouth referrals are, and always will be, the most powerful method of building a reputable, profitable business.

Do you go to networking events cloaked in a white sheet over your head? Methinks not. Don’t do it online either. Social media is word of mouth on steroids.

I’ve said it before: Reputation is everything. If you make it personal offline, make it personal online, too.

Mistake #2: Thinking SEO and SEM Are Separate From Social Media Marketing

A prospect this week connected me with the social media strategist of the company. I was blown away by the question I got. The strategist wanted me to give them a social media audit, to prove that I knew as much about social media as I did about SEO. The question included the following comment:

I have no doubt that your expertise in SEO/SEM would be an asset to our company. I just need to make sure that your social expertise is on par with that.

I am still gobsmacked. I suspected this potential client did not read the SEO audit I gave the company the previous week.

I must stop here for a moment to offer a side bar to marketers that pitch to prospective clients. A plethora of misinformation floats through break rooms and company cocktail parties about best online marketing strategies. I’m not sure if it is because people in general do not keep up with change, or if they are just trying to impress others with the points they remember from an article they read last year.

It’s not their fault, really. It’s all part of the human condition (see mistake #1). We see it everywhere, in every industry, at every cocktail party. A classic example is, “Oh, you write books for a living? I’m writing a book, too. I just haven’t decided what it’s about yet. But I have a great idea….” Well, you probably know the story.

We marketers need to bury our knee-jerk reactions. I’ve heard many whine about prospects, because they “just do not get it.” Here’s the secret, dear marketing experts: it’s our job to educate. Scale the wall of misinformation, and you will be the winning hero as you lead your team to clarity – and multiple returns on investment.

Okay, back to my point. Top authority Hubspot presents the strategy of social search eloquently here:

More and more,  search engines have begun to incorporate social context into their search results. And it’s high time we dive into what role social context is playing in SEO, and how marketers can adjust their strategies to match the changing character of search. So without further ado, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what’s being called “social search” and learn how it affects marketers.

What is Social Search?

“Social search” is an evolving term for the way in which search engines factor a user’s social network — also referred to as social graph — into how results are displayed after a search query. In social search, content that has a social connection to you in some way is prioritized. A social connection could mean someone you are linked to via Facebook, Twitter, or any other major social network. Alternately, some forms of social search prioritize content that has been shared by social media influencers, even if those experts aren’t directly tied to you.

Old school SEO used to tell clients to ignore social media because “What happens on social networks stays on social networks.” This is no longer true, and has not been true since last decade!

Three years ago, Hubspot began the Paul Revere ride through cyber, calling out that Social Media had come to search engines, with the bold warning:

We need to start seeing our search engine optimization strategy and our social media strategy as utterly intertwined. Here’s how you can do just that.

Make sure your social media tools are informed by your SEO tools.

The best way to come out on top of social search is to have a fully integrated marketing platform where social media and SEO are fully linked. (Read the whole story here at Hubspot.)

If you are not sure whether or not your social media strategy is on the right track, perhaps it’s time to ask for a social media and SEO audit of your online marketing practices.

Just make sure of one thing: if the company you are asking the audit from perceives social media and SEO as separate entities, run for the hills.

Where are your strengths in social media?

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