Brown is the new black. 40 is the new 30. Social is the new SEO.
Listen, I don’t care if you “like” social media. I don’t care if you think Facebook is a waste of time, or if you think Twitter is a clusterf*ck of digerati narcissism (it is sometimes!).
You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to want to do it, and in fact, you don’t even have to “do” social media or social networking. I hate on social media as much as you do at times.
But you do have to be producing content that is good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it people like it enough to hit the Facebook “Like” button about it.
Social is the new SEO. I’ve spoken about this at length, the short answer is that Google is incorporating social signals into their algorithm at an ever increasing rate. It matters to your SEO if your content is being shared (by reputable, actual users – don’t try to game this with fake spam accounts) on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Google keeps bringing to market new products (like their newest +1 thingie) that might not gain traction with the market, but are an indication of how desperate they are to get the social graph data. Backlinks alone are too easily gamed these days. Instead, Google has to look at what REAL people like, are sharing, and interact with.
THE CONTENT TEST
So, again, make sure your content is good enough for that. My test?
If I wouldn’t be proud to show it to my mom, it’s not good enough.
That being said, people do share things I wouldn’t have anticipated. I originally didn’t bother to put a Facebook “Like” button on ecommerce/affiliate/datafeed type sites. But when I tested it, I found that even on unlikely sites, people were using the “Like” button like crazy. Why would someone “Like” an ecommerce store about USB microphones? Maybe they’re really into USB microphones, and maybe I carefully curated a selection of products to choose from that they appreciated. I hope I did. That’s what makes an affiliate store gain traction.
SECRET FACEBOOK LIKE TIP
Here’s a tip about Facebook Likes.
If you’re running a site like this one, with lots of informative posts and a decent amount of traffic, you can use a “Facebook Like Button” plugin so folks can share your posts. Bet you knew that one already.
But if you’re working with a site that perhaps doesn’t have the same kind of “shareable” informative content, and you’re not anticipating a massive gate crashing rush to “Like” each and every one of your posts, if you use a plugin like that – that associates each “Like” to that individual post URL, you’ll be splitting up your social proof amongst many pages.
For example: you’ve got 10 pages on your site, and each page gets “Liked” once. When people visit each page, your Facebook Like button will tell them that 1 person liked that page. Not much social proof, eh? Could even be considered negative social proof.
So don’t split up your social proof. Instead, install a regular old Facebook Like button that links to your main URL. Have it show at the top of your sidebar on all the pages of your site. Now, your 10 likes will all be concentrated into one button, and when people visit any page on your site, it will show them that 10 people like this page. Better.
SECRET FACEBOOK ANALYTICS TIP
Facebook will tell you all about how people are interacting with your content on your own website.
It’s called Facebook Insights For Websites. Most people don’t know about it.
Go to Facebook Insights, click the green “Facebook Insights For Your Website” and follow the instructions. Stick the meta tag on your site and wait a couple of days. Then head back to Facebook Insights and take a peek at your glorious new stats.
Want to know what ages, countries or genders share YOUR stuff to their Facebook wall so their friends can see it? You should! Want to know which of your posts got the highest CTR within Facebook? You should! Want to know which URL on your website got the most new “Likes”? Facebook Insights For Websites will tell you.
YOU PROBABLY DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS
The writing is on the wall people.
I’ll say it till I’m blue in the face: Your stuff has to be good enough to share. And once you’ve got that down, you’ve got to know what types of stuff people are sharing the most so you can create more of it. Taking a peek at Facebook Insights for Websites will give you more of that social graph data that matters more and more and more everyday.
I’m not attached to Facebook. Or Twitter, or Tumblr, or Flickr, or whatever-r. People are there though (500 million on Facebook), and they are spreading things they like in droves (30 billion pieces of content are shared each month). If it weren’t for these kinds of hard numbers, I wouldn’t be telling you to pay attention to it.
There is nothing that frustrates me more then people saying they don’t have time for social media. YOU don’t have to be “doing” the social media. The ultimate goal of social media is that people share your stuff FOR YOU. Your content should be one of the 30 billion. Make good stuff, put up the “Like” button and install Insights for Websites. Then create more of that kind of content people are interacting with and spreading the most.