April 04 2011

7 Smart Ways to Utilize Social Media and Networking Successfully

1. Map a Clear Objective

Imagine that you’re goal is not to get higher search engine rankings – in fact, this is not the key to social media.  Instead, consider your company’s’ overall objective.  Some may include:

  • Branding
  • Networking
  • Exposure
  • Relationship/Trust Building
  • Customer Relations

2. Customer Comes First

While mapping out number one, your objective, consider what your customer, or your ideal website visitor, wants to see from you.  Get an image of that ideal person clearly in your mine, and consider what their perception of you and your company are.  And remember, what impresses human, also impresses search engines.  So, when you’re shaping your content, appealing to your customers should come first, always.

3. Consistent and Quality Content

The content (text, images, video, etc.) that you post to your social mediums should be consistent in timing, meaning regularly updates that are timed accordingly.  You do, after all, want your audience to anticipate or expect when your next post will be.  And you also want your overall message or objective to be consistent.  For example, as an architecture, engineering, environmental non-profit, landscape architecture, or urban planning firm, you want to ensure your content speaks to your specific audience.  You shouldn’t be an engineering firm offering gardening tips …

This will assist you in achieving your branding objectives and will shape the perceptions that individuals will have regarding your company.

4. Focus on Content

If you focus on valuable, high-quality content then that content will do the marketing for you.  So, focus on content, not marketing.  If you want to increase your presence online, your job is to write, and provide easy access to social media services where your readers can share your content with their friends and groups.  Below, you can see how Global Site Plans has the option to share and save The Grid blog entries.  You can share Global Site Plans’ The Grid blog entries through Facebook, LinkedIn, Delicious, Google Bookmarks, MySpace, WordPress, Twitter, Digg, Google Buzz, and Reddit.  You can also share content through email and bookmark entries by “add to favorites.”

When you have written something that people like, they will share it.  It is that plain and simple.  And when they share it, the search engines will take notice.  So, write something great and watch the magic happen, naturally.

5.    Diversify your Anchor Text

We all want our company to top the search engine rankings for specific keyword phrases.  Think about having your architecture, engineering, environmental non-profit, landscape architecture, or urban planning firm come up first on the search engine ranking when someone searches for “architecture,” or any of the aforementioned environmental design fields.  That would be great for your business, right?  Well, there is one sure-fire way of not getting there and that is over-optimizing.  When you over-optimize your are using the same anchor text everywhere you link (or request a link to) and your site will leave a digital footprint that will create a red flag.  In fact, search engines may think you’re trying to manipulate the search results.  Therefore, to avoid this you need natural variations in anchor text for the links that point back to your primary website or the other pages you are leading potential clients to.  Be sure you diversify your anchor text!

6. Stop Linking to your Home Page

While it’s important to have links directed to your home page, “deep links” that are pointing at internal pages, increase the authority and credibility of your website.   The website with the most deep links win!  - That’s important, write it down. – Bookmark this page. Find a way to remember that the website with the deepest links wins!  This will also assist in search engine rankings because the internal pages will begin ranking for specific relevant keyword phrases.

One great tip to start with … Consider providing social networking and social media sites your “about me” or “about the company” page instead for a more personable introduction to your website and your company.

7. Be a Valuable Resource

Become a valuable resource in your niche of architecture, engineering, environmental non-profits, landscape architecture, or urban planning.  If you have ever been on a blog and seen comments that look like spam, those individuals have lost their credibility to the reader.  They have lost or never had value to the person who is reading the comments.  The same holds true for those who are content providers, like you and your company.  Don’t write noise. Remember who your audience is when you are writing and do not self-promote. Instead, provide content that is valuable to your readers.  If all you do is self-promote, with links and requests then your readers will naturally filter you out. You will become noise that they’ll avoid.

Renée van Staveren

Renée van Staveren is the Founder of Global Site Plans. She holds a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She also holds a B.S. in Sustainable Community Development from Prescott College. Prior to establishing Global Site Plans and The Grid, Renée van Staveren was an Assistant Planner for A-M-M-A Transit Planning and the Program Director for Planet Green. In June 2014 Renée moved from Istanbul, Turkey, where she'd lived for four years, to return to the beautiful city of San Francisco. She is now a Manager at the Urban Land Institute's San Francisco District Council. You can find her at one of their many events, so pop in and say hello.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 4th, 2011 at 7:18 pm and is filed under Architecture, Engineering, Environmental Design, Internet Marketing, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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