I am not a social media guru – not by far. I AM working on it though, and in the past week or so of really pushing myself to be active in a couple communities, I have learned quite a bit, and have changed my mind from “I hate social media”, to, “Hm, I could probably get some good stuff out of this”.
The thing that is not clear from the beginning (for most people, I think), is that social media and ‘being social' on the internet is usually associated with Facebook, which is a total waste of time (IMHO).
But NEW social media is so much more than that.
You learn things you didn't know
The question I ask myself very often is how do I know what I don't know I need to know? What that translates to is, “How do I know what I should be learning if there is no one to show me?”.
No matter what your industry is, it's changing. To stay ahead of your competitors and give your customers the best, you need to know what's happening.
Being connected to industry leaders, or at least people who are interested stuff related to whatever your business, website, or blog is about means you stay in the loop. You know when new stuff comes out, when old stuff breaks, and what things are trending.
It does take time to sift through all the junk that gets passed around, and you'll need to be pretty discerning to be able to see what's just shameless self promotion and what people actually care about sharing, but with a bit of practice, as with any other skill, it starts to become second nature.
It diversifies your traffic
Google is great, we know that. Most likely, at least 70% of your traffic is coming from the “Big G”, and it might even be above 90%.
But what happens when there's an algorithm update that affects your site and you lose 80% of that 90% overnight?
It sucks. It's happened to me.
Of course I deserved it because I had some low quality sites at that time, but I've heard many people complain about having a business going for almost a decade, then being unfairly hit by a Panda, Penguin, or other Google animal.
My point is that getting people to your content, be it written, visual, or aural from a variety of sources is prudent, and could save your ass down the road. Experimenting with different types of traffic means you won't put all your eggs in one basket, and you'll also be getting a larger variety of people to view your content.
That's going to mean more shares, more networks, more business, and more money.
SEO is slowly fading into the background
People have been trying to predict the “death of SEO” for YEARS now. Sometimes it's just product hype from another guru trying to scam new marketers, and sometimes it's legitimate fear from entrenched marketers who don't want to re-learn how to get traffic to their site.
It's my personal opinion that SEO will never go away 100%. Something as simple as including a keyword in your title is technically, “optimizing” your blog post to be found for the subject it's about. Other simple optimization techniques are kind of required to actually get found for the things you want to get found for.
But as for being the ‘focus' of online marketing, I think it's slowly fading into the background, and social media is taking over.
People are much smarter than machines, and why should Google have to develop A.I. that acts like people, when they can have real people, doing the work for free (YOU and ME). An actual person can quickly decide what's real or fake, what's interesting or not, and what should be shared with the rest of the world.
Learning how to effectively market your business, product, or service via social media is going to be the best investment in your future on the internet.
What has been your experience with social media? Do you hate it because you just don't care what anyone else thinks? Or maybe it's been a godsend to your business, and you love just chillin' with internet buddies.
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