If you’ve been on the internet long enough, there is a good chance that you’ve stumbled across the term search engine optimization at some point or another. You’ve probably used Google or another search engine millions of times. The goal of SEO is to ensure that your website shows up on the first page of Google’s results. In return, your company’s website will gain more visibility, additional traffic and your revenue will eventually soar to new heights.
For most of us, the concept here is nothing new. What is different however, are the methods being used to rank higher in Google, while also pushing the competition lower. Within this guide, you will learn how the right strategy that can empower your company to achieve growth through the use of both SEO and social media.
Helps Build Your Reputation
First and foremost, you should realize that consumers think highly of companies that Google likes. People tend to trust Google and Microsoft, more than other brands they may not have heard of. If you’re able to get your website on the first page of Google and Bing, consumers will see that these companies trust and respect your website and company. In return, they’ll feel much more confident about doing business with you. They’ll realize that they’re going to get a great deal by working with your business.
When it comes to SEO and content creation, you should definitely consider your options with starting a blog. This is something I recently talked about in my ORM blogging article, where I highlighted the following data points.
- Put a Face and Personality with Your Blog
- Get Out There and Engage with Your Audience
- Create Content that Gets People Talking and Sharing
Many forms of marketing and advertising are immensely expensive, and in most cases — dry up after your budget is spent. With the right SEO strategy, you’ll be able to push your website to new heights without spending excessively. In fact, it is possible to get ahead in the SEO world without spending anything whatsoever. Nevertheless, some companies may want to invest in pay-per-click ads or media buying. Regardless, you can rest assured knowing that your SEO venture will be relatively inexpensive compared to starting any other type of business or using other marketing techniques.
The following methods work perfectly for SEO when you are working on a small budget.
- Creating your own content and doing competitor SEO analysis
- Guest blogging on other sites within your niche market
- Putting in the time and effort to creative expert roundups
Catering To Your Goals
Each company will have a unique set of goals. Some companies want to compete on the international level and conquer the world. Others will be happy gaining a footing in the local market or within a small niche market. SEO is truly very diverse and it can be customized to suit your individualistic needs and goals at the given time. With local SEO, you’ll be able to reach customers in your geographical location. Or, you can expand your base and market to customers all around the world. With SEO, the possibilities are truly endless.
In addition to having your own personal goals, it’s important that you not just have a marketing plan in place, but also a way to measure your success and results over time. I personally use and recommend SEMRush. Not only will their platform allow you to check on the latest rankings for your own site, they also provided competitor analysis and site audits as well.
Social Media and SEO are a Great Mix
As important as natural SEO is, it would be a big mistake to discount the power and viral marketing that social media can bring into the equations as well. For example, more people are accessing the internet through their mobile devices and social media than ever before. This is where big-name fashion bloggers are seeing the most of their growth and revenue come in — mainly through visual social platforms like Instagram.
With that being said, be sure to not just have a presence on social media, but also to actively gain more followers across all platforms — whether that be Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. At the same time, be sure to syndicate your best content as well. The more followers and eyes you get your content in front of, the more likely it is to get shared and picked up on other sites. In many cases, this can be automated, but will also help improve social awareness, shares, and SEO back to your main sites as well.
Reach Legitimately Interested Customers
When using other forms of advertising, you’re truly taking a gamble. You never know who is going to read your ad in the newspaper and you don’t know who will hear it on the radio. Radio and newspaper ads might be very effective or they could be a complete bust. In the world of advertising and SEO, you always need to stay updated with the latest trends and what’s working today. The same can actually be said of other media buying methods online as well. Sure, you might be getting traffic and ad impressions, but does that audience really have an interest in what you have to offer?
With SEO, you can actually reach legitimately interested customers. After all, these individuals will have to search for specific keywords to find your company. This ensures that they’re somewhat interested in the goods and services that you have to offer. Just think about the last time you went to Google and searched for something… you were definitely interested in and probably ready to take action or make a purchase as well.
Social Media Builds Quick and Reliable Relationships
One of the most important things to remember about social media and finding success on various platforms is that you not only need to increase your follower count, but you need to have a great reputation as well. This includes promoting and sharing content with others (and not just your own) and also giving people a reason to follow you or your brand in the first place.
At the same time, social media is a great way to build new relationships with other site owners and bloggers who might offer guest blogging, interview opportunities, or social sharing groups. Spend some time on Facebook and look for active blogger groups, and you will know what I mean. Use social media to promote your content, but also to build new relationships and opportunities as well.
You can learn more about this process and see some examples here.
SEO is Great for Long-Term Growth
Finally, you should realize that SEO is going nowhere. In fact, the internet has grown more and more popular during the past few years, and even more so with technology and mobile devices making their way into third world countries. If you’re able to achieve success in SEO, you will be able to also achieve long-term growth. As long as people continue using the internet, they’ll continue finding your site and your revenue will continuously climb higher and higher.
A great way to look at this is if you had $100 to spend. You can either blow through $100 in Google PPC ad spend and be out of traffic when the campaign is over, or use that $100 towards content creation, social promotion, link building outreach and more. Both methods work, but when trying to start a business or online site with a small budget, SEO is a great way to go.
How to Create the Best SEO Results for Your Efforts in 2018
When it comes to SEO and social media, there are many ways to improve your site rankings and reach. The most important thing is that you actually put in the time and effort to get started. Unfortunately, way too many people will focus on how many different things there are to do, and never really take action.
Start with any of the methods or elements above, then scale out over time. Most importantly, make sure you track your results so you can always see where your efforts are paying off.
5 Expert Guides on How to Rank YouTube Videos on Google
Want to rank your YouTube videos within Google? Sure, we all do… but the truth is that most people think of the concept, but never actually put the idea into action. YouTube gets billions of page views every months and it’s making plenty of millionaires in the process. YouTube is also owned by Google, which means it’s likely you can rank video content from their site all the way to the first page of Google easier than you might be able to rank your site.
So what’s the big secret to ranking your YouTube videos on Google? Well, there are plenty of theories and methods out there — such as embedding videos within your blog content, using transcription to increase on-site (video) SEO to your page, linking back to your YouTube video through various sites and using a variation of relevant keywords.
Now the big question is… what works and what doesn’t? Well, if we all knew that, we’d all be ranking on the first page of Google, wouldn’t we!
While I’m in no way an expert at ranking YouTube videos within Google, I am pretty good at finding some of the best resources out there to help you along the way.
Follow These Tips to Rank YouTube Videos on Google
Each of these guides are unique in their own way, but most follow the same formulas of creating high quality video content, using text within your video descriptions and ultimately sending backlinks to your YouTube url. Be sure to visit each of the sites as they have unique content, videos, infographics, examples and guides.
Brian Dean of Backlinko.com is always coming out with excellent guides on how to build backlinks and rank higher in the search results. His guide on how to rank videos in Google is probably one of the best out there, as he goes into a lot of detail on how to find the right keywords to target, setting up your video title, description and YouTube page correctly, while also covering the many different ways you can embed video and get backlinks to help you jump to the top of the search results.
Everyone loves a good case study, and this one is no exception. This guest post from Vinay Patankar on SEMRush walks us through the process of why hitting your target audience with video is such a great opportunity. Vinay also goes on to show many of his different rankings in the search results and how he got there through ranking his YouTube videos. Vinay also covers video optimization, keyword rankings and off page optimization while also providing a big list of resources for building quality backlinks back to your YouTube page.
Neil Patel is another SEO expert who took the time to create a guide on how to rank in Google through the use of YouTube videos. In this 7-step video ranking guide, Neil walks through the process of ranking a video by starting with the most basic steps, such as uploading a video to YouTube, embedding the video on your site, adding content around your videos and ultimately focusing on your SEO and backlinking strategy. While this guide is less advanced than others mentioned, it’s still a great guide and I highly recommend reading through all of the blog comments and questions as well.
Brian Dean also created a follow up video on how to rank videos in Google through the QuickSprout University course.
As fun as several thousand word guides and tutorials are to read, sometimes it’s better to get a visual look at how things work. In this infographic created by Sean Si, we get to see why video is so important and the break down of how to properly create your video content, while also focusing on your user engagement afterwards. This infographic covers a lot of the quick tips, tricks and takeaways that the other guides recommend, but without the massive time required to read through all of the filler content.
Ryan Stewart is a digital marketing psychopath who put together a nice 9-part hack series on how to rank your video content within Google. This quick read (because it’s broken up nicely), shows a lot of great examples and gives actionable tips such as creating your own custom thumbnails, knowing how long to make your videos and how to utilize playlists and getting your YouTube channel page to work for you. Also be sure to check out Ryan’s 8 video ranking tips on SocialMediaToday.com as well.
The Answer to How to Rank YouTube Videos in Google
I’ve provided you with some of the highest quality content and guides on the internet for learning how to rank YouTube videos on Google. At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to multiple factors to rank you videos on page one, but the three big takeaways from each of these guides are;
- Video content (engagement)
- Video embed (more views and content)
- Links to YouTube Video (backlinks)
Another lesson that all of the guides preach, is to focus on the quality of your videos and to provide value. While it might be easy to create a bunch of low quality videos and hope at least one of them ranks, it would be much more beneficial to create one super high quality video and spend all your efforts on creating that one video.
Be sure to reach through each of the guides above, but their recommendations into action and start ranking your videos on Google!
The Ultimate 2018 Guide to Converting Your Blog into a Profitable YouTube Channel
YouTube is a massive ecosystem of thousands of audiences ready to take action. Us bloggers like this. People buy, sell, play, download, vote, chat etc every day because YouTube inspires them to. One source reports over 62% of millennials will take action after viewing an ad (think of an ad as your clever piece of content) as do 51% of viewers over age 35.
People are so hooked on random video content it’s no wonder small-scale creators have risen to stardom to become the likes of Grumpy Cat, PewDiePie, Derek Halpern, Zoella, Dude Perfect, KSI, Phil DeFranco and so many more. You don’t even have to be a huge star to be successful on YouTube though – there are far more medium-sized…we can still call them stars. Imagine adding 30,000 views/month to your blogging efforts just because you’re on the YouTube. It’s possible.
So if you’re ready to take your blog to the fast and glamorous world of YouTube video, then this article will serve to show you how. Trust me when I say you’ve really got nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
Note before we begin! I created my main YouTube channel in May of 2011, and started building it actively sometime mid-2013. Just a fair warning – to grow a successful YouTube channel usually (aside from viral videos) takes time! Start soon, keep your expectations low, and don’t be shaken by the comment haters! You can be amazing on YouTube, and we’re here to help!
Firstly, let’s set up your YouTube channel already!
Let’s start basic to keep everyone on board, and to make sure everyone at least gets started with a new channel today. Google has guides on everything these days, so of course, that includes a guide on how to set up a YouTube channel in the first place.
It’s obviously free to create a YouTube channel – Google wants you on there!
Once you’re setup, it’s a good idea to play with your channel art for a few minutes. Get a good profile image like your current Gravatar setup. Think HD and maybe a younger, hotter version of you 😉
So here’s your initial to do list once your channel is created:
- Setup Channel icon – This is your profile image. It’s linked to Google plus – whatever profile image you select on Google plus will show up here, and can take a few minutes to update.
- Setup Channel banner – This is the wide banner that goes behind your Channel icon. It’s a little bit trickier to create because you want high resolution, but YouTube makes you fit your banner into a narrow space. We recommend following PicMonkey’s guide to creating a YouTube banner because it also comes with banner templates to try out.
Okay, so that could have easily taken an hour if it was your first time…but hope I really hope it didn’t, because there are way more fun tasks below! Let’s move on!
Lastly, depending on the type of computer you’re on (YouTube interface on my desktop screen looks different than my MacBook Air screen when traveling) click to your About tab or click CUSTOMIZE CHANNEL and fill in your Channel Description with some nice words – maybe a modified version of your blog’s about page – describing what users can expect from you and where you came from.
While you’re on this About screen, add a few links to your blog and other social channels, including Google +. Google + is less important than YouTube to focus on, but syncing the two will only help to squeeze out a few more drops of traffic.
Okay, really hoping you got through this part quickly, so we can now focus on taking content from your blog to put on YouTube, and can work towards the first milestone, your first YouTube subscriber, or ten! This all begins with your first video, and to make it easy on you, we’ll use one of your existing blog posts for content and inspiration for the first video.
What articles do I convert to video format?
Okay, now that you’ve got a YouTube channel up and running which is starting to resemble your blog in a similar but whole-new-platform sorta way, it’s time to decide what articles on your blog are worth transforming into videos. Another way of looking at it / a good question to ask yourself is “which articles on my blog could use videos inside them to better explain what I’m trying to say?”
If your goal is to someday make your blog into a business (or maybe your blog is already a business) then you could simplify this question to just looking at where your blog earned the best – then transforming that content into video form! Up to you!
Of course, some of our blog posts are generally better for videos, including:
- Articles that got you the most traffic. You can find these in your Google Analytics dashboard > Behavior > Overview. When looking at my WordPress forum, these articles come up as most viewed / most popular topics thus far. Good place to start.
- Articles containing affiliate links which can be transferred to the YouTube description sections. If you write quality reviews which product referral clicks, you can definitely convert them to videos as use the description sections as condensed blog posts where affiliate links are certainly allowed in moderation.
- Heavily commented articles.
- Articles containing an intriguing storyline, which maybe haven’t gotten enough exposure on your blog.
- In-depth how-to articles that require some further explanation.
I would NOT focus on articles explaining something you can answer in 1-2 sentences. Sometimes a written answer trumps a video.
Hopefully, your blog has some of the above types of articles. If it doesn’t, stop writing about Swedish fish oils! Jokes. If you don’t have any of the above articles, it’s fine, because they are just a few of the good types of articles that work well as videos. There are plenty more. Or, you can totally make up your own video content.
With a good idea of which content you’ve made so far performs best, let’s gather the tools needed to put you out there in video form.
Create your first video
So by now we’ve setup the nuts and bolts for your new channel, and have narrowed down a few blog posts that would work well as videos. Now it’s time to create your first video! I know some folks would elaborate on the planning stages more here – get the nice camera or hire a professional filmer, plan the lighting, download the fancy software, write a script, etc etc etc – but regarding when to start making videos, my feeling has always been that more time spent planning means less doing in the moment. Too much planning can make you put off a worth task all together!
Besides, you might be surprised that you probably have all the necessary equipment to make your first YouTube video right now in your home office! It doesn’t have to be complicated equipment, remember content is king and YOU are what they are watching for, not the fancy camera.
Regarding when to start making videos, my feeling has always been that more time spent planning means less doing in the moment.
To show you I’m living proof of how a bootleg setup turned into a pretty darn good and at least watchable video, here’s the basic setup for my first serious blog tutorial video:
- Tall bookshelf I found
- MacBook pro webcam
- $30 Cad mic from Amazon
- Apartment in Chinatown as backdrop
- Camtasia Mac for editing
All this cost under $100 (the MacBook was a gift back in university) and while it didn’t look like a Casey Neistat video all edited to perfection, it served the purpose, and sometimes you have to get content out there to figure out what works and gain the confidence to reinvest in your business.
Besides, it’s fun to a. get content out there quickly and naturally and b. look back on your old work that was a little dusty and sketchy and laugh at how you did things.
I truly do believe a basic filming setup like the list above will work for you too — have fun creating different parts of it from scratch!
Note: For my videos, the majority consists of a screencast or series of screencasts with the purpose helping people learn WordPress and make a WordPress website (recent example), which is a different sort of task to film compared to the more day in the life type videos. Both are fun and challenging. A screencast is when you are typing or building or doing anything on your computer and filming that very process, meaning filming your screen. Camtasia is the screencasting software I started with and still use through several updates and new version. It’s downright amazing. But the sheer fact that I’m screencasting means less time spent creating a set or arguing with actors who are in the set. Which is kind of amazing too because it’s more time I can spend making more videos 🙂
Making your second video better
Once your first video is circulating around and you’ve collected a few comments, you’ll probably blow past your 1-10 subscriber milestone. Assuming you put some good work into the video and are solving a real problem with it, or taking the more challenging route and entertaining people hilariously, people will want to see what you have coming up next and will subscribe.
It’s certainly possible to collect hundreds if not thousands of subscribers from one, well-timed video, but it’s now we focus on #2, #3 and so on.
By the way, once you’re done creating your first video, we’d love to see it linked from the comments and can offer some feedback and free likes!
So here’s what you can focus on to make your second video (and third, fourth etc) even better once your first video is live. I really do recommend taking these steps after you publish that first one because your list of needs may change based on how your audience responds.
- Intro animation: A 5-10 second graphic animation showing your logo and representing your brand. These can be purchased and downloaded from places like Theme Forest and Fiverr. Your best bet, as I did, maybe contacting a developer who can actually insert your blog into the animation and time it nicely. That way you don’t have to spend a whole night learning Adobe After Effects. Here’s an example!
- Visual and sound effects: Another sizable investment, you may want to purchase Final Cut Pro for the sake of adding pretty visual effects, transitions, sounds, media clips, and generally giving your videos that sparkling touch before going live next time. Final Cut Pro is how many YouTubers add content on top of YouTube videos. For me, it’s now a must to record and create in Camtasia, then edit in Final Cut, then I publish to .mov file, after which it’s time for YouTube!
- Better quality sound: Using a better, softer, more powerful mic is always a good idea especially if you’re creating long 1-3 hour tutorials like me and people have to listen to you the whole time. I go with a simple silver Yeti podcasting microphone from Amazon, which is good for podcasting, musical recording, screencasting, and more. It comes with 4 settings which are advantageously based on what I’m filming and where the sound is coming from, including Stereo, Cardioid, Omnidirectional, and Bidirectional.
- A faster pace of content: Scripting or hiring an editor is a great way to get your messages tightened. It will take more time up front planning out what you want to say, or which parts of a blog post you’ll be using, but as you get used to this process you’ll appreciate how it guides the rest of your work. Your readers will appreciate your conciseness too.
- Monetization: It’s your call whether to monetize or not, but if you’re wondering now how to monetize a YouTube video it’s actually extremely easy. Just select one of your better videos, click on the dollar sign next to it in your video manager, then turn on Monetize with ads. Your channel needs to be in good standing, and YouTube will pretty much take care of the rest, then send you a check if you do well!
- Transitions: You can buy pretty much any kind of sound or movement transition just by Googling “transition that looks or sounds like ______” and while it can rack up the dollars, you’ll eventually get the same effects you’re enjoying on large YouTube channels, which is pretty cool from a level playing field perspective.
- Outro: It seems like every YouTube channel has some sort of outro these days where the person on the screen tells you to “Click to the left of my face for a new video” or “click here to subscribe” in some clever way. We all think these outros are redundant, cheesy and even desperate at times, but at the same time, you’ve gotta give people credit. On a blog, you have the conclusion to ask for comments or likes. On a YouTube video, you have peoples real viewing attention. So not making a catchy outro, even if it’s just you standing there, is really shooting yourself in the foot from a growth perspective. Knock a few ideas around in your head and try and find a new way of asking for interaction from your fans — I’m sure you’ll think of something cool!
With these next-level YouTube channel tips under your belt, you’ll be all set to create your next 5-10 videos and really nail down a unique style viewers should keep returning for each time you hit Publish.
Learn YouTube SEO
Ok, progress has definitely been made and you should feel great! At this point, we’ve set up your channel, transformed a blog post or two into a video, and have taken major steps to improve your production quality. Now it’s finally time to work on expanding your audience.
One of the most cornerstone principles of YouTube, and getting bigger on YouTube, is understanding scalability, the capacity to be changed in size or scale. What this means is once you’ve reached some size, say, 100 subscribers, you should aim for 1000. If 100 people like your content, why wouldn’t 10x that many people like it too? Why not 100x? People aren’t that different in terms of online consumption, and once you realize you have a good product that works for X many people, you should focus on expansion to deliver that content to 10X many people as quickly as possible. Expanding and scaling your audience will allow you a lot more freedom in terms of revenue, networking and generally doors opening up to you.
So keep that in mind, you may be happy (or terrified) to know there is literally an endless sea of YouTube SEO you can dive into to improve your videos and reach wider audiences. It’s endless. And if you’ve never SEO’d a video, doing just a little bit of YouTube SEO can help your performance a ton.
Once you realize you have a good product that works for X many people, you should focus on expansion to deliver that content to 10X many people as quickly as possible.
Here’s what to work on right away to improve YouTube SEO and scale your audience:
- Titles: You can cleverly insert good keywords into your titles to attract more viewers. Good keywords can be found in Google Trends using their YouTube Search, or you can simply think them up if you have an idea what people might be commonly searching. Here’s just one example where we compare the terms “Oscar awards”, “Oscar winners”, and “best actor” for the title of a hypothetical video about the upcoming Oscars. Note that the tab for “YouTube Search” has been selected. We’d want to select the yellow line because it’s the most heavily searched.
- Tags: Tags tell YouTube what your video is about and help them place your video in the sidebar for suggested videos, among other things. Use a handful of good tags containing potential words people might Search when they want to find your video. Also use tags to link your video to related concepts and ideas.
- Thumbnails: An HD thumbnail is becoming a must for YouTube to deem your video high quality. Spend time creating great thumbnails. After all, they are the best and only preview people get before they watch!
- Embeds: The more time your video gets embedded into high-quality web pages is a signal for YouTube search rankings.
- Backlinks: Just like embeds, but an even heavier signal as to a video’s quality.
- Playlists: The number of times a video is added to relevant playlists is a signal for YouTube search rankings.
- Calls to action: Simply putting a call to action to subscribe, like, and comment at the beginner and end of your videos is a great start for scaling views and overall audience interaction. You’d be amazed at how many more people do these simple tasks when asked to vs. not being asked to. Even the best channels still shamelessly ask for interaction, which also amazes me sometimes.
- Overall competition in your niche: If your niche is highly competitive aka saturated with other YouTubers creating videos like yours, it’s worth pause. Have they been around much longer? Is there a high barrier to entry? Can you do it better than them? If your answers to these questions check out, go for it! If not, and your goal is to make money on YouTube, you might consider a slightly different niche to create videos in.
Spend time creating great thumbnails. After all they are the best and only preview people get before they watch!
Congrats, you now know more than the average YouTuber when it comes to YouTube SEO, potentially much more. With those skills under your belt, and these above items working for your videos, you’re giving yourself your best possible chance to get a lot of traffic on YouTube and compete with the existing powerhouses in your niche.
Develop a weekly routine for creating, editing, publishing and sharing
You now have a YouTube channel all of your own humming nicely, several videos inspired by your blog posts and perhaps even embedded in them for added traffic, and you know a thing or two more than your peers about YouTube SEO. Bravo for making it this far.
Even with all this under your belt, you are still at risk of your channel declining if you don’t develop a routine for YouTube. Simply put, YouTube likes routines that feed it more content each week. If they see you not publishing for a long period of time, even if you’re spending that time planning the next smash hit video, they see your channel as dying and will send you less visitors over time, killing your momentum.
Here are my three best tips to create a YouTube publishing calendar that works for YOU:
- Be realistic – If you can’t publish a new video each day, don’t make yourself. You don’t want to burn out like a dying star.
- Be predictable – Your audience will be happy if they know they can watch you at 2pm on Sundays, for example. People like being surprised too, but a predictable YouTube schedule helps you not miss people and vice versa.
- Be honest – If you are too busy to publish or going through some tough times in your personal life, make a video and tell people! We’ve all seen this “Hey guys, I gotta be honest…” type videos. They are highly endearing. People will love you for being open and forget about your previous deadline or commitments for them in a heartbeat.
This part in creating your YouTube schedule should ultimately be fun! If it’s not, your audience may soon see that. Keep in fun, relaxed and light.
Conclusion: Don’t forget about your blog!
With a booming YouTube channel up and running you may wonder why should you even bother to write anymore? Than answer is because people will always still read your blog — especially if you’re becoming a start online.
Plus, now you have all this great video content you can great blog posts around.
So take your videos back to the blog, keep people updated and make sure to keep publishing on your blog at least once a week. If things even decline in the video world (it’s not likely) you’ll be glad you did!
Did this help you convert a blog into a YouTube channel? Got any questions for Zac or Greg? Do you think someday you might become the next Pew Die Pie? Is it all even worth it? Let us know with a quick comment on whether you are enjoying your time spent creating content on YouTube and any questions that this article has generated for you. Can’t wait to chat below!
Greg Narayan is a blogger and YouTuber currently based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. When not helping people understand beginner web design and generally why their WordPress website won’t behave, he enjoys hanging out at the local coffee shop with friends, play tennis and golf (poorly, but slowly improving), and helping out at WordPress meetups around the globe. Connect with Greg on Twitter.
13 Smart Ways to Use Social Media for Customer Service
You and your business are likely already on all of the major social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but are you using them to their full potential? One of the latest trends in the world of social media and business, is connecting with customers and audiences through social media to provide better customer support and services.
Social media has become a huge part of nearly every company’s marketing strategy, but it’s not enough to simply share content. Today’s consumers want brands to offer efficient customer service through their social platforms. In fact, according to Social Media Today, nearly 85 percent of consumers expect a company to respond to social media inquiries within 24 hours, and 72 percent expect answers within an hour when they reach out on Twitter.
To best serve your customers, it’s important to meet them where they are and give them the care and attention they need, on whatever platform they’re using. We asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share tips on how brands should be using social media for customer service.
1. Pay Attention to How Customers Interact With One Another
The best way to create a great customer experience is to allow your users to interact freely on social media. Your company should be aware of these comments as they give you the best opportunity to provide customer service. If an individual posts a complaint, step in to address that comment and either fix it right away or let the user know why it can’t be implemented.
2. Offer an Interactive Experience to Collect Feedback
Social media platforms like Instagram are adding more features to make the experience interactive, such as adding polls to Instagram Stories. We’ve taken advantage of this feature to share new episodes of our podcast. We’ve gathered valuable information about listener interest and have seen our downloads spike as a result.
3. Monitor Your Business Name on Social Media
Not everyone who has a problem will contact you directly. Some people will just tweet about it or mention it on another social media site. That’s why it’s important to monitor your name, whether you use Google Alerts or a reputation management tool. This helps you stay informed if anyone has a complaint and shows that you care about satisfying your customers.
4. Implement Messenger Bots
Messenger bots are growing ever more sophisticated. It’s a great tool if implemented correctly. People can get their immediate concerns and common questions addressed. When it becomes more complicated, you must have an immediate measure to connect them to a live person. It also helps to mitigate harmful review posts on the public domain itself.
5. Encourage Customers to Take the Conversation Offline When Necessary
Social media as a customer service tool cannot be applied to all business cases. A quick phone call via social media messenger can provide good support to a customer in need. Social media tools can be used effectively in offering information about your product and services.
6. Use Twitter as a Q&A Tool
Avoid paying for third-party AI tools and utilize Twitter as a way to answer questions for your customers. This is also a savvy way to implement subtle advertising, as customers will scan your Twitter page to see if any of their unasked questions have been answered.
7. Turn Upset Customers Into Advocates
In my experience, consumers are talking about products on social media more than companies can feasibly get involved. The most effective social media work you do will be serving your upset customers. By owning your mistakes and reaching out to make it right, you can turn loud complaints into praise.
Your audience will appreciate that you care to fix mistakes.
8. Make It a Conversation
I always compare how you manage social media to how you’re having a conversation with a person in real life. If you’re just making statements about yourself, but not listening or responding to others, it doesn’t work. Make sure you’re listening and engaging with your peers and customers on social media. It can’t just be about you.
9. Foster a Community
Social media has been a very effective customer service tool for us thus far. Having quick response rates is a great way to encourage users to use your product when they may not want to deal with official customer service channels. Reddit can foster discussion between customers and employees, which can develop as a customer service guide for customers in need of a simple fix.
10. Always Respond to Brand Mentions
Consumers use social media platforms for many different purposes. It’s essential to always acknowledge a brand mention or question on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are many automated tools that provide alerts for specific brand mentions. It’s good practice to set up these alerts and engage with your audience when you see a brand mention.
11. Enable the Facebook Messenger Pop-Up Window and Use a Chatbot
On Facebook, you can have a message window pop up as soon as someone comes to your page and ask if they can help you. Having that around-the-clock availability to help can be a welcome sign to customers and potential customers.
12. Share Customer-Centric Content
Don’t solely use social media as a self-promotional marketing platform, but also as a platform to have meaningful conversations with your customers. We often encourage people to tweet us with their questions and concerns. It’s an easy, actionable way of getting in touch rather than emailing or calling. It also helps us put out information that is useful to our customers, such as product tips and tricks.
13. Find a Tool That Integrates All Your Social Channels
Make it clear what channels your company has a presence on and understand that if you post on Facebook and Instagram, you’re going to get direct messages there and customers will expect you to reply just like you reply to emails. Good software that allows your team to see all emails and social messages in one place is the way to go.
How to Make the Most of Your Social Media Efforts
With chatbots and social media now combining powers, it’s likely going to be easier and more effective than ever for brands to start using social media for customer support and user feedback. If this is something of interest to you, be sure to consider each of the options mentioned in our expert answers above.
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