Building up a list of quality backlinks for your website takes a lot of time and effort. It can sometimes also cost more than simply your time.
Despite Google’s firm stance that a business’ social media accounts do not influence its Google search ranking, many marketers speculate that there are ways to leverage social media to increase backlinks to your site and improve your site’s rankings.
If you are up for the challenge of using social media to increase your site’s rankings (we recommend you do, but don’t make it your only strategy), then you need to go about it with the right mindset. Approaching this task saying “I’m doing this just to increase backlinks” will not get you very far and you’ll find that you’ll burn out quickly.
However, if you approach it with the mindset that you will improve your social media usage to engage with more business leads to increase your sales revenue, then that’s a pretty motivating, right?
In this article, we are going to discuss four ways to use social media to improve your link building reach.
But, before we begin...
Remember the Purpose of Social Media
Social media is supposed to be social, but it’s also meant to create a community around different topics of interest.
These communities on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, YouTube, etc. all focus on generating content that is meaningful to the community as a whole. Whether the content is writing, photographs, art, or video, the content is meant to add value for the viewer, answer questions, and start meaningful conversations within the community.
1. Find Your Hot Topics
To help you jump start your content creation, do some research to determine which topics are hot in your industry right now.
A great tool for performing this research is Google Trends. Enter the industry you’re working in and scroll down to the “Related Topics” section. Change the dropdown to “rising” and see what comes up.
For example, if you operate a content marketing firm, you could enter content marketing into Google Trends and then notice influencer marketing is a rising topic related to content marketing.Using this list of rising topics, you can generate new ideas for content. It is wise to do a bit of competitive research to see what exists out there on the subject and create a piece of content that goes above and beyond that mark. Once you have created your piece, start searching for influencers in your industry using hashtag searches. Reach out to those influencers and share your content with them saying you would like to get their input on the piece, and if they felt so inclined, could they share it with their audiences.
Know not every influencer will say yes. Sending your piece out to 25 people and getting 3 to agree to post your piece is still 3 new backlinks. Through this method, you will reach new audiences and create brand awareness.
2. Maximize Hashtags
Don’t underestimate the power of the hashtag. Monitoring hashtags for your industry, locally, and nationally can help you pick up on key trends that are happening.
These are great waves to ride because your messages have the potential to reach many more people when a hashtag is on a trending list like Twitter’s. Depending on which platform you are posting your content, you should follow general guidelines for the number of hashtags that generate the most engagement for that platform.For example, tweets with one to two hashtags get the most engagement whileInstagram photos with eleven hashtags get the most engagement.
When searching through hashtags, keep an eye out for social influencers in your industry. Influencers can range from micro (up to 100K followers), middle (up to 500K followers), and macro (up to 1M followers). To keep this venture budget-friendly, aim for micro influencers who are usually more willing to post valuable content for free or for cross-promotion.Each shared tweet, photo, article, etc. generates more links back to your website.
3. Build Relationships with Influencers
Now, you really can’t just find an influencer on social media and message them to ask them to share your new piece of content. Before you make that ask, you need to build rapport and trust with the influencer. Here are a few steps you should take to do that:
- Follow the influencer on his/her social channels
- Subscribe to any newsletters that influencer has
- When new content comes out, like, share, and comment on those posts
- If you comment, make sure it is smart and adds value to the overall purpose of the piece of content
Once you have taken these steps, you can directly message the influence with your new piece of content. Still do not frame it as you want them to post your piece, but rather ask them for their input, see if they could suggest any changes, and if they like it, perhaps they could post it on their channels. If you created a great piece of content, the influencer will definitely share it with their audience.
4. Join Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are a great way to find small pockets of people who operate in the same market as you or are interested in your industry’s products. As with influencers, you cannot barge into a Facebook group, post your new piece of content, and go radio-silent. Before asking anyone to read or share your piece, you need to build trust within the group.
To build trust, you should add thoughtful comments to other peoples’ posts and provide solutions to problems in the group. Add value. Once you have established rapport in the group, then you can post your new piece of content and ask for feedback from your fellow group members. These principles apply not only to Facebook groups but also groups on Google+, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc.
Adding backlinks through social media efforts is certainly not an easy task, nor is it a fast one. You must sow the seeds early and nurture relationships on social media sites before you reap any reward for your work.
If you only gained a few things out of this article, let them be these: be patient with yourself and your efforts on social media; add value to the conversation wherever you can; be human in your interactions and not transactional.
Hamish FitzHenry is the Head of Search at Grizzly, a leading Bristol SEO Agency.