It is no secret that Google loves social media profiles, especially for brand-related “navigational” searches when it’s obvious that people are interested in your company. But that doesn’t mean your own profile is going to make the cut, not without some work.
Much of it comes down to competition. When you have so many reviews sites out there with your brand name in the title and a lot of people linking to them, it can be impossible for most to compete on that level. And while you may be getting mostly positive reviews on those sites, it’s not the safest strategy to let those pages rank higher than your own brand assets which you can basically control.
You have to get a bit more focused to up your clout on Google’s rank list. Luckily, there are some tried and true ways to do it.
Verify Your Social Media Accounts
A basic step not to miss, this is a very important one. Getting a verified business account on social media means that your social media presence is firmly tied to your brand, so fake and parody accounts don’t stand a chance to steal your identity.
Here’s a very thorough guide on social media profile verification that includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest.
You can also add the word “official” to your social media bios to sound even more reassuring.
Get People To Your Profiles
The first thing to do is to get people visiting and subscribing to your social profiles. The best way to do that is full social integration. You have to make it easy to get to those page. Place links on the top header of your site, and put in proper calls to action (CTAs) to subscribe to pages and share. Colorlib lists a few awesome plugins to make your job easier here.
Don’t miss other opportunities to grow your social media following. Your automated emails and your newsletters should invite people to subscribe too. Emails from any members of your company, other social profiles, or marketing materials should also have these links and CTAs.
You can add some more incentive for customers by offering special offer codes on your social profile. They don’t have to be exclusive; just knowing they will be shared from time to time is often enough to get people to hit that follow button.
You can use Cyfe to effective monitor your social media following grow across multiple social media accounts. It allows for a neat one-page view of numerous metrics you choose to monitor:
To properly point Google to your brand’s social media presence use structured data markup embedded in your public website. This guide gives a basic JSON-LD template for an organization to specify several social profiles. This will populate your social media profiles in your Google knowledge graph:
You can specify these types of social profiles:
- Google Plus
Make That Profile Drip With Branding
We all know the importance of proper branding, right? So why are so many companies failing at it on social media? Sure, we have our big names that do it right (Wendy’s on Twitter, Denny’s on Tumblr, GoPro on YouTube, Starbucks on Instagram, Threadless on Facebook, etc). But when it comes to smaller businesses making a go on the social web, branding is still a pretty lackluster category.
Each network has its own unique features for you to take advantage of. For Facebook you can create killer company highlight and description sections that really sell your brand to customers who might not know your background. There are also customizable tabs that let you add nearly any kind of content you want, including sales opportunities through checkout systems. This underlines the importance of business on that particular social network.
Twitter is not that great for that kind of thing, and neither are Instagram, Pinterest, or other visual platforms where content is image or video based. That is where tone branding is going to make a big difference in your campaigns. But even there you can use profile header images and even emojis to let your branding stand out.
Wendy’s is one of my favorite examples of tone branding on social media. If you put Wendy’s Twitter into the search you get some of their latest updates. They are not merely talking about their products or giving special offers. They are making jokes, interacting with other brands, and even insulting customers. They are appealing to a tone and image they want to cultivate, and the returns are massive.
Basic SEO Common Sense
Now we get into the more boring part of the process, and that is your basic SEO optimization. These are the quick tips that are always good to use:
- Use exact-match usernames (your username should be exactly the same as your business name)
- Always complete the “Full Name” field: Stick to ONE version of your full name (no occasional middle name, no occasional short names: Pick your best-known name and stick to it everywhere)
- Enable custom (i.e. “Vanity“) URLs where possible (those help your profiles rank)
- Always complete “Description” (“About me”) field making sure you have at least 200 words of good original content there (Unless there’s a character limit). Write a different description each time mentioning your interests, areas of expertise, accomplishments, favorite books, etc. Original content helps your public profile rank higher. Use a duplicate content checkers to make sure your social media profile descriptions are original. PlagiarismCheck is my preferred duplicate content checker because it’s the easiest and the fastest:
- Interlink your profiles: Whenever possible, link to your other personal pages when creating a new profile; thus you both co-promote all your profile pages and give more information about yourself. This will encourage your new contacts to follow you on other social networks too!
More important considerations for higher search engine rankings of your profiles:
- Use lots of images. Every social media platform is visual these days, so you should be incorporating images into your account at every available opportunity, in whatever manner they allow. These images should be branded, high quality, relevant, and possessing basic metadata such as file names and copyright to help drive results.
- Update. A lot. No empty profiles will rank well in Google! I remember when social media was still in its infancy for business use, and the common advice was only to update every few days lest you annoy your followers. That is no longer how it works. Your profiles should be getting updated regularly, based on what media it is using. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and similar networks should have daily updates.
- Hashtags. This one is a no-brainer, right? Hashtags are powerful tools, and you should be spending a significant amount of effort in harnessing the perfect ones.
Do you have any other tips to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.