Does Social Media Still Matter for Businesses? 6 Things It’s Actually Good for

Social media is noisy. Increasingly, it feels that those who don’t yell on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram simply aren’t heard.

Worse, an alarming increase in misinformation and deliberate disinformation is fueling popular distrust of social media. According to a seminal study from the New York University Center for Data Science, much of the chatter users encounter on platforms like Twitter and Facebook is misleading or outright false.

In this context, is it still worth small and midsize businesses’ collective while to invest in social media promotion? Or should you focus your digital marketing dollars elsewhere, perhaps on paid search or affiliate partnerships?

The short answer is, yes, social media is still worth the trouble — when used properly. These use cases still make sense, for instance.

1. Establishing a High-authority Backlink

You don’t have to be an SEO expert to understand the value of high-authority backlinks. Nor do you have to understand what makes social media so popular to know that top-of-mind social media properties all have really high authority. By the transitive property of logic, your social media accounts are high-authority vectors for links out to less prominent corporate properties, including (perhaps) your company website.

2. Telling Audiences Something They Don’t Know

Some social media platforms are more freewheeling than others. Take advantage of “looser” properties like Twitter and Instagram to show audiences a different side of your company and its key employees. This entrepreneur’s otherwise on-brand Twitter profile notes, for instance, that he’s a “weirdly avid fan of Kenny G.”

3. Getting Your Name on the First SERP

You needn’t even go through the trouble of building social backlinks to take advantage of your properties’ domain authority. Simply opening an account and ensuring that your SEO name exactly matches the name you’re trying to rank for — usually, your company name or the name of an individual associated with the company — should get that name on the first search engine results page (SERP).

4. Establishing Early Credibility

Social media exposure is priceless for startups and entrepreneurs seeking early-stage exposure. Take bold, buzzworthy steps to boost your follower count before you’ve achieved widespread adoption; this fintech startup is a great example of the virtuous cycle that may result.

5. Engaging With Industry Peers and Thought Leaders

They’re out there. Join active LinkedIn groups, follow authoritative Twitter handles, share high-quality content within influencer networks — whatever you need to do to get noticed by those in position to help you out.

6. Establishing Your Own Thought Leader Bona Fides

Last, but not least: use social media to establish your own bona fides as an industry thought leader. LinkedIn and Medium offer the greatest potential for longform social publishing; Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ LinkedIn profile offers a self-evidently successful roadmap.

Don’t Operate in a Vacuum

That social media promotion continues to make sense in relatively limited contexts shouldn’t obscure the segment’s limitations. Nor should you overinterpret social media’s possibilities. Your business doesn’t operate in a vacuum; neither does your marketing plan.

After all, social media is just one small aspect of a comprehensive strategy that incorporates a variety of digital and non-digital vectors. The more human and capital resources you devote to making this strategy work, the more room your company’s social media strategy will have to breathe.

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