This article was originally published on The Huffington Post Blog.
There is no single-path, fix-all, solution on how to improve a business’ or brands’ online presence, but there are tricks to improve it. The first trick is knowing when to create content and when to share content from the web. Creating content, for this blog’s purpose, can be defined as posting originally written or designed work online. Sharing content, on the other hand, is the “copying and pasting” of another business’ work to your brand’s blog or social media.
Creating content can be as simple as stating that your office is having a “deal on teeth-whitening,” or that your store is “closed on the fourth,” and it is essential for blogs and also for your brand’s social media presence, to a degree. A company’s blog needs to be distinct. It needs to stand out, draw people in and because of this, a blog should be comprised of uniquely created content. There are also technical reasons that a blog should be made up of innovative content, it increases a site’s natural Google ranking.
Google dominates web traffic. In many cases where a site shows up on a Google search is the deciding factor on whether a website thrives or dies on the web. Google’s most recent update to its algorithm, Hummingbird in 2013, has made it imperative that brand’s have blogs and that these blogs are comprised of original content. Utilizing key words, synonyms and being as explicit as possible help increase a site’s natural SEO ranking. Simply put, Google has adapted its search algorithm so that it is more compatible with people searching from a mobile device, and searching by voice. The entirety and meaning of a sentence as a whole is more important. Google no longer focuses on individual words. While having a single sentence about, “Teeth-whitening,” on a dental site for example, is good, having a 250-word original blog post about the benefits and ease of “Teeth-Whitening” allows a greater chance that your site has a phrase or sentence similar to what potential clientele are searching for.
Social media nowadays is a different entity entirely than when it started. Whereas blogposts, at their core, should be about getting people to your site and into your store, social media, for today’s brands, is about starting a conversation; its main purpose is not about making a sale. Consumers today are overly conscious of when a brand is advertising to them. People fast-forward past commercials, skip YouTube ads and scroll right by posts on Facebook. Still, companies continue to post online, and many do it very successfully, but what sets them apart?
Many of these brands have established themselves as knowledgeable informers. They do not just post about themselves, not directly anyway, and instead share news articles, comment on trending topics and pop-culture, in hopes of engaging their followers to respond. By sharing a link and asking a question, these companies place themselves more prominently in their consumers’ subconscious.
There are a variety of social media platforms. A brand that solely endorses themselves online is too easy to overlook. In the current age, where smartphones have become humankinds’ phantom limb, people scroll through social media at an increasing, and somewhat frightening, rate. In order to stand out, a brand needs to make sure they are dictating the conversation, commenting on what is trending and engaging their following, not just talking to them. A dentist, for instance, should think of social media as a means to distinguish their dental brand as an insightful practice, not a place to checkout the “daily deal.” Finding and converting potential patients is secondary to keeping current patients thinking about their brand.
Still, sharing content on a blog is not wrong and creating your own content on social media is, and for the foreseeable future will be, necessary. Knowing how each medium works with different posts is the best way for a business to dictate what their online presence is, and utilize it in the most profitable means. Just because your social media presence favors informative posts, as it should, a “spritz” of something different — a few original status updates/promotions each week — isn’t going to hurt.
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.