Does Social Media Really Help a Business?

Ask any digital marketer and they will tell you that being active in social media is important for every business today, large and small. But exactly how social media benefits a business and if it actually translates to customers and sales is regularly debated, as information is often conflicting.

One thing that social media does accomplish is that it helps a company market its brand. Social media spreads the word about your company and brand, which in turn makes your brand more recognizable, and people like to do business with companies whose names they recognize. But an experiment performed by internet marketing agency Tasty Placement revealed that social media does also affect a company’s website rankings in Google. For the experiment, they created six different websites with similar domain names in six similarly-sized US cities and all in the same niche business. Then for a one-month period, they promoted five sites using a different social media platform for each. One site remained unpromoted during the same time period. The infographic below illustrates what their experiment revealed.

It should come as no surprise that promoting a website via Google+ was the clear winner. After obtaining 100 followers on its Google+ business page, one particular website jumped almost 15 positions in Google for their keywords. And after obtaining 300 +1’s (Google Plus’ version of Facebook “Likes”), another website improved by an average of over 9 positions for their keywords in Google. What about Facebook and Twitter? Being active on those platforms also helped. When 70 Facebook shares were obtained along with 50 “Likes” of a business’ Facebook page, the site jumped about 7 spots in Google for its keywords. As for Twitter, 50 tweets and/or retweets that included a link pointing to the website’s home page resulted in an improvement of almost 3 positions in Google rankings. Interestingly, increasing the number of Twitter followers alone did not actually help a website rank any higher in Google. And as expected, the website that was not promoted on any social media platform showed no meaningful change in Google rankings.

While only being a small experiment, what these results show is that social media activity does indeed help a business, at least in terms of its website’s rankings in Google. And since higher-ranking websites and pages garner more clicks, and more clicks typically lead to more customers, we can say that social media does affect a business’ bottom line. So simply put, every business should be actively involved in social media to the extent possible.

Now most businesses have a Facebook page, and some even use Twitter. But statistics show that many businesses are lagging behind when it comes to Google+. Google+ is not the social media giant that Facebook is, and so many businesses conclude that it’s just a waste of time. But as the infographic and many other statistics reveal, Google+ can help a business’ website rankings, both in organic and local search results. Setting up a Google+ page for a business is very easy, and optimizing the page can go a long way in helping a business become more visible in Google. Every page of a business’ website should also include a +1 button as well.

So does involvement with social media actually help a business? Yes. But the key to social media is balance. While being active in social media, a business should not devote an unbalanced amount of time and money to it and neglect other forms of marketing, such as search engine optimization, content marketing, and of course offline marketing strategies. A business’ marketing plan should consist of all of these strategies, and analytics tools can help a business determine where most of their website and foot traffic is originating from.

So if your business has been slow to adopt social media, now is the time to begin. Not only will it help you market your brand, but you may also very well see a difference in your bottom line as well.

Infographic presented by TastyPlacement Inc., an internet marketing agency specializing in Austin SEO.

For more small business marketing tips and advice, follow us on Twitter @TouchPointD.

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