Here’s How to Structure Your Influencer Campaign So It Improves Your Search Engine Rankings
You may not immediately connect influencer marketing and SEO, but they are connected. Years ago, SEO experts began referring to social as the new SEO. Social media provides a way for people to sort of “vote up” content they like from brands they trust by including links to that content in their social media posts.
The good news is search engines aren’t blind to these endorsements, and content that is frequently shared across social inevitably finds its way to the top of search results for specific keywords. Well, adding social media influencers to your marketing strategy can also help your SEO and boost your brand’s visibility on search engines.
Have you ever researched a topic and found Pinterest pins, tweets and Quora posts included on the first page search results? Yeah? That’s the visible proof that there’s SEO value in social media content. There is a nice little intersection between search engine optimization and social media marketing. And your brand can benefit from it.
Here’s Why You Need to Combine Social and SEO
The internet gets A LOT of traffic. It’s 9AM, and I’ve already accessed the web at least 50 times since sitting down at my desk. I’m not the only one. In 2017, almost 47 percent of the world’s population accessed the Internet, and you can bet most of them did so using Google.
According to Net MarketShare, Google searches account for 79.23 percent of all online searches, followed by Baidu which accounts for 11.8 percent of global Internet searches. 3.5 billion daily searches are fielded every day by Google alone.
So, if you want to improve your brand’s visibility online, you’re not going to do it without a multi-pronged strategy. Lucky you. We’ve shortlisted five high-impact influencer marketing tactics you can use to ensure the content generated from your influencer marketing campaign also supports your SEO efforts.
#1 Choose the Right Influencer.
This is THE MOST IMPORTANT TACTIC… and also the step that trips-up most brands and marketers.
We preach constantly about the importance of not being fooled by vanity metrics (i.e. fake followers). We try to teach our clients and our readers to select the right micro influencers and macro influencers, and exactly HOW to do that (read Danielle’s post here for instructions on how to choose the right micro influencer).
Finding influencers who are perfectly aligned with your product, brand, and values requires us to skip past the surface stuff - pretty faces, cool pictures, follower counts and likes.
Instead, we go deeper to analyze an influencer’s audience demographics. How old are the members of an influencer’s audience?
Case in point: I recently came across an influencer whose gorgeous feed was full of his art, his strikingly beautiful girlfriend, and his hip, young friends. Boy, was I surprised to find his Instagram audience was almost exclusively Gen Xers living in the Asia-Pacific region. Funny. Because I thought he was from a coastal West African country (that’s what his profile said).
The truth is if I’d spent an hour browsing his social media feeds and followed him for a few weeks, I probably still would not have guessed his audience demographics. Were I looking for a cool and interesting African influencer for my campaign, I would have been sorely disappointed by the ROI.
The bottom line: Some things can only be revealed by having access to the right data.
Analyzing the products influencers mention and the price points of any products they promote is also a valuable filter for helping you find the right influencers.
Great example: Two Millennial women may both be influencers who love fashion. But the influencer who is a brand ambassador for Poshmark, and who raves about finding a $7 Happy Days tee and a 50 year-old crochet handbag at her vintage clothing store will appeal to a different crowd than the trend-conscious influencer who has fallen in love with the Fanta soda throwback tee she got for $175 on MarcJacobs.com.
Here’s a big a-ha for you if you’re new to influencer marketing: Product-level analysis will always reveal more about the influencer and his/her audience than follower count ever could.
If you want to know if an influencer is a good fit for your brand, you MUST DO a product-level analysis.
#2 Make Sure Your Influencer is a BEAST at Creating Shareable Content.
A popular debate rages among traditional and digital marketers about the value of influencer marketing. On the one hand, true influencers obviously have a knack for reaching people if they have been able to grow and maintain large audiences on social media. On the other hand, without formal training in the science of marketing, how can an influencer justify charging four, five, and six-figure fees to brands?
The answer is simple: Influencers know how to use visual content to move people to do something. Without cajoling, without threatening, without ethical bribes, without buying their support in other ways.
Somewhere along the way, influencers learned the science of visual storytelling, whether they tell stories with pictures of gorgeous skylines or with clever messages sprawled across letter boards, influencers have found a way to get messages in front of people who want to see them, and to get those people talking about them and their content.
It’s true. I found out about Jocko Willink’s now-notorious daily snapshots of his watch documenting his early-morning go-time from Joe Rogan (I’m a newbie MMA fanatic). Every morning when I see this on Instagram, I know for sure the Jocko’s Willink’s hustling just a liiiiittle harder than I am. Just a little.
And when I saw this one from Angel Hamilton, The Bluegrass Mom, I thought, “Cool. It’s not just me. I wonder if our Panera delivers.” (It’s does, and my daughter is thrilled).
That said, influencers are able to build and grow their own brands because they’ve figured out how to relay everyday messages in a way that’s uniquely their own, a way in which their audience will receive them.
But that’s not the same as an influencer knowing how to run your marketing campaign start to finish and dream up ideas about your brand. Your team has to do that.
In influencer marketing, the influencer’s job is to make your message resonate with his or her audience. And that means being able to create amazing multimedia content across multiple platforms.
An influencer who figures out how to craft posts that impact his or her target audience will have a pretty good idea of how to generate content for your campaign that will also resonate with followers. This is the kind of content you want influencers to generate because it helps your credibility and can definitely strengthen your inbound links game.
#3 Make Sure People Are Actually Sharing the Content Influencers Post.
For influencers, the frequency with which their content is shared outweighs the size of their audience. This tactic is kind of a one-two punch because...
Followers share content that interests them with their own network. And you can bet dollars to donuts (whatever that means) that the typical, knee-jerk sponsored post saying “Buy this guy’s awesome thing!” isn’t going to get shared. I am always surprised by how many brands want to pay content creators to craft sales messages that will be seen… and immediately forgotten by an influencer’s followers. Very rarely is a hard sell the right answer.
Very, very rarely. And almost never is it the right move on social.
Tips for making sure sponsored content is more shareable
Choosing the right influencer means choosing an influencer who knows how to create brand-sponsored content that absolutely RESONATES with their audience, and is at least eye-catching and interesting to a wider audience.
Don’t make it a “had to be there” sort of thing, where no one outside the influencer’s audience will be moved by the post.
Make sure image captions are downright captivating and don’t be afraid to put captions in the image itself because if the image is downloaded and shared, you want to be able to evoke strong enough emotion to move people to act… even though the comments feed isn’t coming with.
Use hashtags in your image when appropriate. It can help give images context. Hashtags are used on Facebook not so they can be found. They are used to add humor, drive home the point and to give images context that a scroller can grab hold of without reading the caption. Do that. It works.
Get that metadata. I recently read a great David Hunegnaw article on Ad Age entitled, “The Future of User-Generated Content is Owned” wherein Hunegnaw detailed the importance of getting ownership rights to the UGC your influencers and followers produce during campaigns because images contain important technical, descriptive, and administrative metadata like GPS location of where the pic was taken, that can help you get a better understanding of your audience. In addition, you can add metadata to images to make them easier to find and share online. You can also add things like keywords, descriptions, and hashtags to the metadata of your images to make them easier to find with searches.
Check your permissions. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook give you the option to tighten your circle every time you post an update. Fifty-seven percent of the content shared on social media is share specifically on Facebook.
Facebook allows you share your posts to:
A single individual
Only certain friends
All your friends
All your friends + all their friends
A page you manage
A group you’re in, or
LinkedIn will allow you to target regular posts to:
Specific people in your network
Everyone in your network
Your LinkedIn account + your Twitter followers
Anyone on or off LinkedIn
And even LinkedIn members who live in specific places.
Make sure that during influencer campaigns, each post is public. That means anyone can see it, anyone can share it, and it will show up in Google searches. If you own the UGC rights for your campaign (which you should), you can always cross-post and repost to specific audiences for better targeting.
#4 Optimize Posts for SEO
Optimizing social posts for SEO plays by the same rules as optimizing blog posts for SEO. That means coming up with strong headlines, and using keywords and long tails that real people are actually searching.
This is crucial, because after your content has been created, you need a plan for distribution. That means helping the right people find it after you share it.
You may not realize just how crowded social media is. But 58 percent of the Internet users around the world uploaded and shared video content in third quarter of 2017. Just video content.
In addition to using your branded hashtags, make sure sponsored posts can also be found with more commonly used hashtags that aren’t branded to make it easy for your prospects to find your sponsored posts. And remember that different topical hashtags appeal to different audiences. For instance, the #hashtag shoefetish features more women’s shoes (usually stilettos) than the posts using the hashtag #shoegame.
I mentioned in our recent roundup of influencers and bloggers over 50 that I was surprised to find the hashtag #thisis50 features A LOT of content about rapper 50 Cent and his popular Starz series Power. Go figure.
#5 Be Ready for the Traffic
I’ll take a wild guess and say that if you’re trying to improve search engine rankings, you have a website somewhere. Cool. So, take a look at this chart:
Not to be that guy, but it’s worth it for me to say, none of this will work if your site isn’t ready for more eyes. Last year, mobile searches accounted for half of all searches. The chart above tells a very real story - mobile is winning out over desktops.
If your website wasn’t designed specifically with mobile in mind, you may end up putting resources into a campaign that will cause search engines to boost your site only to have people land on your site and immediately navigate away.
If someone bounces from your site and immediately navigates to the next result on the search results page, Google is smart enough to take that as proof that your site doesn’t provide what searchers need and your newly-won SERP position will quickly start to decline.
The influencer marketing - SEO connection isn’t automatic. If you plan to use influencer marketing as a strategy to boost your visibility on both social and in search results, you will need to have a strategy in place that incorporates these tactics. BUT a good influencer marketing strategy already has stuff like this built in.
Of course, it goes without saying if you need help developing an effective influencer marketing strategy, we can help you…
But I’ll say it anyway: If you need help developing a baller strategy that will guarantee results, we at The Shelf are influencer marketing wizards.
Get Started Today!
Or give us a quick call : (212) 655-9879