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While marketers encounter a number of ineffective practices on Facebook, Twitter and the like, social media – when done right – can have a profound impact on franchise lead generation. In order to productively utilize those efforts, franchise marketers must first ensure they are focusing on the right targets and measuring the right outcomes.
Viewed holistically, social media’s impact moves beyond directly attributed leads, with those lead generation properties acting as the foundation for other efforts. In 2017, Google runs the show. As such, social media is greatly geared toward improved validation, search engine optimization (SEO), and the relationship between the two.
From Google’s perspective, social signals in the form of Likes, Followers, Friends, Tweets and Re-Tweets, Shares and Comments are big for franchise marketers. While there’s been some debate in the SEO community about the degree to which “social signals” can affect search rankings, according to Searchmetrics, some seven of the top 11 factors that affect your positioning on a search relate directly or indirectly to social media signals.
The thought — articles that receive a high number of social media shares (and other social signals) will get an additional boost in perceived authority. If people share a particular article frequently, Google assumes relevance and quality content, making the argument that searchers have the power to signal Google. Driving those social shares to achieve the benefits of high-ranking SEO is highly dependent on the ability of the franchisor to generate high-quality content.
Of course, content should always speak to the franchise opportunity, but should also do so in a way that provides guidance and value to the end-user.
Are Google’s algorithms complex and complicated? Of course, but, it’s important to understand that when it comes to content marketing and social media, Google is really human friendly. Google wants the best, most relevant content to rank highly, and is looking more at the kind of content being shared rather than keyword stuffing of search marketing’s past.
Keeping things optimized
Perhaps surprisingly, social media profiles tend to be among the highest-rated results for branded searches on Google, and while social media pages may not have a direct impact on website’s positions, higher search rankings ensure increased online visibility for a franchise brand.
With this in mind, it’s important to focus on optimizing social media pages and profiles, paying special attention to the About, Mission, and Company Description sections, since these areas are more prominently indexed by Google. These sections should also include keywords identified as most important to the franchise brand. Likewise, those high-ranking keywords should be incorporated throughout the profile, as well as utilized in posting. And, don’t forgot the #hastags!
Perhaps obviously (but worth stating), ensure that brand and franchise social media profiles are linked to and from the website. Linking these profiles passes authority to them, helping to promote the profiles and hopefully leading to an increased following and social engagement.
Understanding how social and SEO go hand in hand is paramount for franchise brands. Yes, it’s just a portion of the overall pie when it comes to lead generation, but as it stands now, Google is running the show for the foreseeable future. Social media that’s honed in on validation to improve SEO ensures, in part, that the franchise brand is prevalent.
Matthew Jonas is the president of TopFire Media, an award-winning integrated public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in franchise marketing and consumer branding. Together with the leaders of iFranchise Group and Franchise Dynamics, Jonas established TopFire Media to provide a strategic and synchronized method for digital marketing in the franchise industry. As a digital marketing strategist with more than a decade of in-depth experience in SEO and PPC, social media publishing, conversion based marketing, inbound marketing, sales management, and online lead generation, Jonas has built a career dedicated to delivering an integrated marketing approach that achieves client success and long-term relationships.