You’ve just moved to a new area where you don’t know many people, and you need to find a good local shop selling curtains. Or you want to know if there’s a nice country pub halfway between you and your hometown, to meet some friends in. Or you need an obscure bulb for that old lamp. What do you do? Google for it. Whether you like it or not, Google is dominant in the search market, and most people these days will search online for anything new that they need.
The same is often true in business; when we meet someone for the first time, or see an advert for a company that we’re interested in, we often do a quick Google search just to see how they check out.
No profile at all would be worrying, a number of search results leading to negative comments would be worse. This matters a lot, because the “checking out” stage usually happens before any direct contact with the business; so no matter how friendly and expert your staff would’ve been on the phone, the prospective customer won’t even get that far.
How social media sites rank in Google
That’s what makes some recent research from Brandyourself.com really useful. They’ve looked at the relative power which the various social media sites have in search results and ranked them, from the most to the least influential.
LinkedIn, as it turns out, is by far the most likely to appear right at the top of Google results.
If you’re blogging, WordPress beats any of the other options out there for “findability” (and many other things too, in our opinion!).
And one we definitely wouldn’t have predicted, is that Vimeo profiles beat YouTube by quite some way.
How does this affect your online marketing strategy?
Brandyourself’s research is focused on personal (as against Company) profiles. If you’re an entrepreneur, sole trader, or your brand is strongly associated with a single name or individual (for example, you have a key Account Manager or Client Director who is very visible in your market), then you need to check out the influential sites, and ensure that you’re represented positively.
Even if you’re marketing a company, there are still lessons here – for example, any of your staff who have LinkedIn profiles may appear prominently if someone’s searching for your company, so it’s important that their profiles are of good quality.
There aren’t many easy, “quick win” takeaways in online marketing, but there are certainly some here!
1. Run a Google search on your company name, and the names of your senior / customer facing staff. If you have a Google account, log out of it before you do this, to avoid skewing the results.
2. List any social media profiles which show up, and ensure they’re all “fit for purpose” and will send the right messages to potential customers. If not, get them sorted!
3. Check out the full list on Brandyourself’s infographic (click the image below to go to the full version) and consider filling in any gaps on influential sites – for instance, set up a Vimeo profile if you have a company video or two to upload.
4. Brandyourself provides a free, Google-optimised service which consolidates your online presence and they claim will appear prominently in Google results. Account creation and up to three supporting links are free, so it seems worth giving it a try. The site guides you through tackling prominent negative results, too.
For their full infographic, click the image below: