Link Building is Dead—Long Live Community Building! Making Social Media Marketing Work
In recent blog posts, we’ve talked a lot about social media marketing and its potential to generate interest in your business website and expand your bottom line. And the very essence of social marketing is what we call community building. Think about what you do when you are wandering around Facebook or following your friends around on Pinterest—you’re interested in what your friends, family and colleagues are thinking, what they like, what ideas they have, etc. Sometimes you get involved in long discussions about various topics. Sometimes you share links to other sites that provide helpful information you think would be of interest to the rest of your friends. In the world of web marketing, this link sharing is a golden, organic, high-value piece of inbound marketing for the website it links back to. And it has the potential of creating further high-quality links and the formation of a community interested in that website or business.
This type of organic, social link building is the wave of right now and the future for several reasons. First of all, these natural, social media links people share naturally with their friends are not liable to be penalized by any of Google’s zoo of search algorithm changes with animals that begin with the letter ‘p’. Many less-than-reputable black-hat SEO folks promised to handle their clients’ inbound marketing by proliferating links back to their clients’ websites, but they used shady ways of doing it. Now search engines are starting to punish this strategy. Punishments for this kind of lazy link building include making those websites nearly invisible or docking their ranking in the search results when someone does a search query on their product or service. That means websites with low-quality links fall far down in the list while websites with high-quality links rise to the top and are seen by more potential customers.
High-quality inbound links, on the other hand, are the meat of good social media marketing and its natural consequence, community building. When you have a bunch of regular people talking about your product and sharing links to your website with their friends, the search engines think that’s perfectly natural behavior and consider those back links to be legitimate inbound marketing. Furthermore, those links shared by a fan on Facebook, those pictures pinned on Pinterest, those happy Tweets about your product or service, or those enthusiastic Yelp reviews carry the weight of word-of-mouth marketing —and that is hard to beat. If you have a quality product or service and your website contains useful, informative, high quality content that your customers and prospective customers can use, social media marketing can become the catalyst you need to build a solid, natural fan base of customers who tell their friends about you.
This kind of community building also translates well to mobile web marketing because, if your website is outfitted with mobile web design, friends of your customers who are out and about can find you from their smart phones. This enables you to more finely target your marketing messages to local customers while also spreading word of mouth to other customers in your area who can walk through your door with money to spend. This is a kind of ROI that old-fashioned (and now frowned-upon) link building can’t possibly provide.
We understand that business owners are busy running their businesses and probably stress out about how all of this social media marketing and community building works—and how you can get it to work for you. That’s why Affordable Web Design and Marketing is here. Our web marketing experts keep track of these ever-changing developments and how to apply them to help small businesses get the most out of them. That leaves you free to do what you do best while we help you build an online community of fans and potential fans. Contact us today for help!