Why You Should Be Building Social Media Partnerships- Here’s Why #206

We know we should use social media to promote our content and engage with our customers, but what about strategic partnerships? 

In this episode of the award-winning Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Mark Traphagen explains why building strategic partnerships that can boost our brand and energize our content may be one of the best investments of our time on social media.



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Eric: Mark, you’ve been heavily involved in social media for many years now, but the field has recently been changing a lot. What are you doing differently these days because of that?  

Mark: It’s certainly true there’s been a whole bunch of disruption in the past year. The field’s always like that, but more than I’ve ever seen before.  

Some examples:  

  • Organic reach is at an all-time low. It’s been going down for years, but it’s almost nonexistent for some brands now.  
  • More restrictions on automation, especially Twitter, but all the networks are pulling back on how much we can do to automate.  
  • And privacy concerns, reducing targeting options, making it harder to do certain things that you used to always be able to do before.  

I think it’s still important to keep the time-tested fundamentals going, things like promote your content—obviously– engage with your audience, the stuff you always hear. But you know, Eric, there’s another powerful use for social media that many overlook.  

Eric: What’s that?  

Mark: Using social media to build strategic partnerships to help spread your brand message.  

Eric: What exactly do you mean by that?  

Mark: A couple of things, Eric.  

First of all, the strategic partnerships that we’re talking about here are noncompetitive resources with whom you can work cooperatively. So, these could be influencers, as we always say, but they don’t have to be. 

It’s anyone with whom you can cocreate things that are better than the sum of the parts, or it could be anyone who could provide you an opportunity to be seen by their audience.  

Eric: Got you. Why is social media such a great place to find or foster these kinds of partnerships and how do you do it?  

Mark: Don’t forget that social media is “social” media. We always think about that in terms of engaging with our customers or prospects. But the more personally active you are in social media, like, the more opportunities you have to discover potential partners.  

It’s also a great place to nurture those real-world acquaintances that you’ve met at conferences, meetups, and other places, into relationships that can become partnerships. So, there are many ad hoc opportunities to be helpful or just social, in order to get on their radar screen.  

Let me give you a personal example. You know Steve Rayson of BuzzSumo. 

Eric: Yes 

Mark: I spent years developing a relationship with him online through social media, and that led to me being able to get the opportunity to break the news of BuzzSumo’s groundbreaking study of the decline of social sharing over the last several years. That was such a great opportunity, and my article for Search Engine Journal went viral and actually helped them promote their study. So, it was a mutual, cooperative thing.  

Eric: That’s awesome.  

What are your key takeaways to help us build partnerships like that through social media?  

Mark: I’d advise that in this year you switch more of your social media time and strategy to intentional partnership building. Keep doing those fundamentals but do more partnership building. Keep an updated list of the strategic relationships that are most important to you and make sure they get regular attention, and remember you’ve got to give to get.  

Why Social Media Builds Your Brand SEO – Here’s Why #205

Can the way people talk about your brand online actually affect the things Google will rank you for?

In this episode of the award-winning Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Mark Traphagen explains how Google might use mentions of your brand in social media to discover more of what your brand is about.



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Eric: Mark, there’s little doubt that social media is a great way to increase awareness for your brand, but can that have an effect on your SEO?

Mark: It’s tough to say for sure, but there’s some good hints it might.

You did an onstage keynote with Gary Illyes of Google at Pubcon. I remember he said two ways that brand mentions might be used by Google.  

One of those was it could alert Google that the brand is an entity worth paying attention to. But it could also help Google know what you should rank for; maybe things that you’re not currently ranking for. If a lot of people are talking about you for that thing, maybe that’s something Google should be looking for.

Eric: Did you just say that mentions of your brand on social media can help you rank higher?

Mark: No, I didn’t say that. And the distinction is subtle but important. Let’s get the exact quote here from Gary Illyes.

The context in which you engage online and how people talk about you online, actually can impact what you rank for.

What you rank for.” Notice that’s the word, not how high you rank. So Google may use the context of online mentions to discover things you should have a shot at ranking for that you currently don’t, as I said.

Eric: So, what can you do then as a brand to take advantage of this?

Mark: First, I would build a real audience of true brand fans. You want to cultivate the people who are going to talk about you in the ways that you want them to, the positive ways that will give Google those clues.

Then fan the flames of that audience. Create conversations. Keep them going. And then create and promote content that comprehensively covers what your brand is about. Give Google every possible clue who you are, what you should rank for.

Eric: Thanks, Mark. This is part two of a three-part series on social media and SEO. Watch for the other two episodes to learn more.

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Why Social Media Creates Link Building Opportunities – Here’s Why #204

Unfortunately, search engines don’t put much weight on social media as a provider of reliable ranking signals. But that doesn’t mean social media isn’t important to your SEO strategy.

In this episode of the popular Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Mark Traphagen explains how to use social media to increase your chances of earning natural links to your content page. This is part one in a three-part series on social media and SEO.



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Eric: Mark, as we kick off this series on how social media can boost SEO, let’s ask the big question first. Do social media engagement metrics and links directly impact SEO?

Mark: The short answer to that is no.

There are reasons behind that, and those reasons really lead me (and I think they’ve lead you as well) to believe that Google is telling the truth when they emphatically state, as they have for years, that they don’t use social as a signal.

Now, what are some of those reasons?

  1. One of them would be social is just a very weak and unreliable signal overall. For one thing, Google doesn’t even try to index all of social media. So it’s an incomplete signal, and Google doesn’t like incomplete signals. They don’t know if they’re getting the information they need from it. It’s much harder to trust the authority of a profile versus that of a site in the way that Google relies on sites from links and things like that.
  2. And engagement doesn’t really communicate anything definite. We see Facebook backing away from “likes” as an indicator of something that should be promoted to its own users.
  3. Also I think it’s very significant that most of the major social sites no longer pass on engagement metrics through their API to our sites. We can’t even show those numbers in many cases. So if they don’t think it’s important, it’s probably not important.
  4. Finally, links are the big thing in SEO still, and almost all social media links are no-follow. So, again, they don’t even pass on any authority.

Eric: If links and social media posts aren’t direct ranking signals, why do you say social media can still be an effective link building strategy?

Mark: Sites won’t link to content they’ve never seen, right? And social media is still an effective way to promote your content. You need to get it seen? Use social media to get it seen.

That doesn’t mean just posting randomly in social media. There’s the importance of building the right audience. You want an audience that matters to you. You want to use paid social to target people like journalists, bloggers, other media figures, and influencers who when they see your content might see it as the kind of thing they want to share with their audiences, again increasing the opportunities for links.

Eric: Got it. So, what are some specific things people should do then on social media to increase their chances of earning links to their content?

Mark:

  • Never publish a piece of content without a plan for how it would be promoted on social media.
  • Keep a constantly updated list of your evergreen content and share it different times and days on different networks to maximize the exposure.
  • And foster strategic relationships with influencers and writers in your niche. In another video of this series I’m going to talk more about that.

Eric: Thanks, Mark. Watch for parts two and three of this series on how social media can boost your SEO.

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