We often get asked why companies should bother creating and maintaining social media profiles. There are, of course, lots of ways to answer that question. The potential benefits of social media depend on who you are, where you compete, what you sell etc.
But one benefit that is almost universal is the opportunity to protect your brand. This works in a couple of ways…
Your social footprintPopular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are taking an increasing share of the time users spend online (particularly if you broaden the definition of “online” to include mobile apps). Exactly how much time and which profiles will depend on what your business does, but it’s likely that your target audience is using social media in some capacity.
They might, for example, be on LinkedIn posting their own updates, engaging in conversations or running searches. If your brand has an active LinkedIn presence then you can get your messaging in front of those users. If you’re not there, the conversations continue without you.
Dominating your search resultsIf you check out your analytics it’s likely that you get a fair few visitors to your website each month via brand searches. These are people who have searched in Google for your company or product name and found their way to your website (this happens more than it otherwise would now that browser address bars double as search boxes).
You shouldn’t need to worry about your website ranking first for these searches, but you’ll want to control as many of the other page one results as you can. If someone is searching for your brand, you want them on your site or at least somewhere on your “digital real estate” (other pages you control).
This is where active social pages can be really powerful. Well-optimised and regularly-updated profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and even niche social sites will rank really well for your brand searches.
The same is true for your personal branding, which is nicely illustrated in this infographic from BrandYourself.