We recently did a big project for a nonprofit where they were going to maintain daily social media management in-house, but needed a plan and training. The organization’s marketing and development departments understood the value of using social media to drive awareness, increase donations, and enhance communications, but higher-level execs still didn’t understand why they should dedicate budget to something that was “for kids.”
Another organization we worked with had full support at the top, but reluctance from the marketing director to take on social media, because she didn’t see its value.
In many ways, Google’s Hummingbird algorithm scrapped the established “rules” for search engine optimization (SEO). The most basic keyword and metatag SEO work (aka on-page optimization) is essential, but it only brings a website to the baseline.
What Google has done is to use social media presence and domain authority (built through a solid content strategy) as defining factors when ranking websites in search outcomes. This is a huge change.
Search ranking is now dependent on social media outreach and engagement. Without domain authority, websites are becoming invisible to search queries by their target audiences.
In other words, brands and companies that don’t have a content-rich, responsive, real-time social media strategy will not rank on page one in relevant Google searches.
Active, strategic social media effort isn't an add-on or something nice to have. When organizations like the nonprofits we recently worked with (these in particular are dependent on visibility in a community with diverse audiences), don't do social media well, they're actually leaving money on the table in lost ticket or event sales, donations, and public goodwill/awareness. If you’re not on the first page of Google, or you’re not interacting with your target audiences on the platforms where they spend their time communicating, you’re invisible.
Social media done right is a revenue-generating part of the overall marketing plan, and it's measurable (unlike, say, a brochure or flyer).
How much is just a single new customer, member, donor, or volunteer worth to you? In many cases, we can demonstrate that the acquisition of a single customer, or sale of a small number of products, will cover the cost of social media planning and implementation.
But if your potential customers, donors, or members can’t find you when they do a web search, or aren’t paying attention to your ads, or don’t see your content when they’re engaged on their social platform of choice, how do you expect them to open their wallets to you?
—by Eric Elkins
As CEO and Chief Strategist of WideFoc.us, Eric brings nearly two decades of of experience to our clients. In his other life, he’s a single dad, a good eater, and a bourbon aficionado.