Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SEO for Social Media: The Single Worst Social Media Mistake

This week while researching what others have written about Instagram and SEO, we were surprised to discover this advice from the top result:

Link Your Facebook and Twitter Profiles to Your Instagram Account

"Be sure to link your Twitter and Facebook profiles to your Instagram account...When your accounts are linked, when you share on Twitter, it’ll be posted to your Twitter feed as a link and posted to your Facebook feed as photo with text. This will increase the visibility of your posts and build more engagement with your brand."

So says Misty McPadden of V3B, "an innovative agency specializing in the digital space."

If that description sounds vague (perhaps robotic) to you, you're not alone. It's the type of sleek, soulless agency that you'll find all over the SEO world today, it's jargon-ridden website offering "solutions" to "leverage" your "brand."

This is not to say that a company like this cannot help your business; the success of V3B, after all, is quite evident in its top rankings. On the other hand, if you're like us, you might find V3B's style--and it certainly is stylish--impersonal and cliché.

The main problem with a cliché, you might know, is that it is easy; it is the crutch of a bored writer who cannot (at the moment, at least) think for him or herself. Instead of creating a language that speaks to others in a way that feels real, the bored writer mails it in, substituting buzz words for sincere thought.

We like how George Orwell described clichés:

"A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically ‘dead’...has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between those two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves."

George Orwell himself spawned a few clichés, most notably "Big Brother is Watching You."

And this just so happens to be the problem with McPadden's advice to link your various social media accounts. This is a tired bit of advice that shows little to no real understanding of the nature of social media.

True, effective social media is about engagement. It is impossible to engage with anyone if you're attempting to (warning: cliché coming!)  kill three birds with one stone.

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram.

As we've said before: "Each platform is unique and should be respected as such. Respect each individual audience for what it is, and remember: be an active member of the community."

The advice to link accounts disregards the unique nature of each social media platform; it essentially favors quantity over quality.

A perfect example of this is Misty McPadden's Twitter account, which shows surprisingly little engagement for an account with 44.2K followers. Perhaps this is because McPadden follows 41.7K people--or, really, no one. Just take a look at her "Tweet's and Replies." There's little to no conversation happening--none at all. One could be excused for believing the account was actually a spam bot.

This is our stance on spam:

"A spammer works on the principle of nearly 100% quantity. Blasting emails to millions, regardless of the recipient's preferences, spammers care little about the quality of their image. Instead, spammers play a numbers game, hoping for bare minimum conversions: 1% or less.

Sounds inefficient? Well, it is, in a sense.

Yet a 1% conversion for one million emails is still 10,000. Would you like 10,000 customers? Perhaps. But if you're goal is a sustainable business, of course, spam is not the answer. Spam comes at a cost: when you spam, the quality of your brand image is degraded. You might attract 10,000 customers, but you positively repel 990,000 others. This is why we refer to spam as the lowest level of marketing, and why we believe is it entirely inefficient."

For more, read: Quality over Quantity: A Different View of SEO Marketing

The upshot: Be real. Engage. The single worst social media mistake is playing the numbers game, favoring quantity over quality.

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