The Importance of Social Signals | Social Media 101

social-media-marketingEven if you’ve been living in an unconnected world – or under a rock – you’ve heard about social media. You know as a website owner the importance of having a presence in or on social media. You know that it’s critical to the success of your online business.

You’re just not entirely sure why.

The buzz the last several years has been all about social media. Every small business owner has probably asked the question “why is it important?”

The answers that you get will vary as widely as SEO providers that you ask. Most of them present vague responses that don’t tell you much that you didn’t already know. “You need to interact.” or “it’s important to be visible.”

You know that. We all know that. The question is why? What is a social media site and what does it mean to you?

Social media sites include such sites and services as Google +1, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and sites like Instagram and others. As you might expect, your use of the “big Five” in social media is going to net you more traffic and more notice. It will undoubtedly help you to rank better.

What’s the Skinny on Social Media?

Social media is not about connections or trends or interaction. Those things matter in business, but only so far as they play into how you are ranking, how you are selling and how your business is growing. The interaction and the social signals are helping to provide your growth. Social media–to pin it down–is about better ranking leading to better sales and better profits.

Google sees those retweets and the likes and the plus+1s as a vote for your site, in much the same way that the old inbound link was seen as a vote for your site or your product in traditional SEO.

That traditional SEO, while necessary, is getting a lot more difficult to accomplish. Social SEO is a little easier and may actually net you just as much good from it as traditional SEO.

Social media is nothing more than another measurable facet of SEO. It is a means to get your site more visibility, more ranking and more conversions. You’re probably reading about social signals, but what makes them important to you and your business, how can they help you and why should you spend your time getting some?

What are Social Signals?

In the old days, a ranking method was the inbound link to your site. While those still hold some minor importance, the fact is that their clout has gone the way of the dinosaur.

Today, it’s all about who’s talking about you on social media. Google – and to a smaller extent the other search engines, see your social media interaction, the mention of your site, your url or your business as a vote for you and your company. The more that you’re talked about in social media, the more clout they perceive you to have and the more your site is boosted.

It’s not all about how many times you’re seen in social media, although to some extent that matters too since they aren’t going to be talking about you if you’re not visible, it’s more about other people discussing your company.

Those social signals, those recommendations for your company and your products and services are perceived to be a “vote” as it were, for the things that you have to offer. That’s what a social signal is.

Why Should you Care About Social Signals in your Business?

Whether you’re a large or small business, social signals matter to you. What makes them important? In fact, in the long haul, the reason that you care about social signals is for the traffic and the notice that they can give to your website and the boost they can give to your business. Google is noticing. That means you need to be noticing too and doing so in a big way.

Your social media SEO is unique from traditional SEO. Social signals involve something more than a mere algorithm that you need to impress, though they do play into that algorithm. You have to impress real people – get them to like and to tweet and to pin your content and your products and/or services.

That means creating great content and sending it out to the users on your social media. That’s where social signals begin. How do you know if they are working?

How Can You Monitor Social Signals?

Getting good quality traffic to your website is imperative. How do you track your social signals and make sure that they are doing what you want them to accomplish? If you have various social media accounts that you are using, you are probably getting social signals out there. If your business pages are getting “Likes” or “retweets” or pins then there’s no doubt that you are already creating social signals. The question is how do you track them to prove what they are or are not doing? If you’re using Google analytics, you’ve already got the means to track your social signals in place.

Why do you need to track social signals?

It’s important that you know which one of the social services that you’re using is bringing high quality, well targeted organic traffic to your website.

The popular way to track your social metrics without having a specialty – and often expensive – method to do so is to use your Google analytics tool.

Analysis of your social data can be incredibly complicated when you’re trying to do it by hand. Using something like your analytics tools from Google facilitates the process and makes it easier.

In your Google Analytics you’re going to see a social sources metric. That will allow you to identify the traffic that is coming to your site from different social sources. It will help you to determine which of your social media sites are doing the best work for you.

Take careful note of what content is the best viewed and the most often clicked and you’ll be able to reinforce that by adding more content that is related or is like-minded to keep that traffic moving out to your site.

In many cases, businesses are today aren’t able to consistently provide for the social media that they require to promote the growth of business. That’s when it pays to call in a professional. Not only can they advise you on the use of social media, but they can help you to measure how well your social media is working for you and what should or could be changed to provide for a better social media experience and improved results.