When someone mentions your company in an online post, does it make a difference?
The short answer is yes — definitely.
The long answer is, without some tender loving care and attention it may get lost in a sea of information and quickly vanish without any positive effects.
How to get noticed online
Standing out and getting noticed online is challenging. Once you have been mentioned or reviewed online, it’s important to take a couple of extra steps to make sure you get the recognition you deserve.
Google’s algorithm (built around the search-decide-buy cycle) weighs heavily on engagement as a signal to website value. That means the more engagements you can show from different people and businesses, the higher you will rank in search engines.
When it comes to converting website traffic to sales, statistics prove that social proof is a significant decision factor in the online buying process. Reviews and referrals increase your bottom line.
As you grow your business and online presence, building on these engagements (e.g., mentions, reviews and referral links) is an important part of your SEO strategy. An online influencer’s public social mention can be marketing gold.
Even if a mention doesn’t come from a high ranking online presence, you can still leverage the power of this referral.
They’ve mentioned me online! Now what?
Here are seven steps you can take when you receive a social mention in order to leverage that social currency and create more sales.
1. Be gracious
The tone with which you receive a mention is very important. Acknowledge those that have helped you (e.g. customers, staff, the person who mentioned your company, etc.). When you’ve received something, make sure you always give back first.
2. Tag influencers in posts
The aphorism, “a rising tide raises all ships” is especially true when it comes to social proof. Take time to share your content and tag influencers who a) regularly comment or post about a similar topic or b) may be interested in what has been shared. Help others further their message with your shared story. Bolster your tagging efforts by tweeting small excerpts and key points; and tag others to boost visibility and engagement.
3. Add it to your email signature
This is a great way to add additional resources and social proof to your email correspondence. Add links to your mentions or recognizable logos of media outlets where you’ve been talked about as a tagline in your emails (i.e., “See my latest article in The Huffington Post”).
4. Add media highlights to your website
Immediately boost your online reputation and influence on your website by prominently displaying a logo of the websites where you have been mentioned, featured or published. Showing customer testimonials is also very powerful. Adding social proof before your call to action directly increases your interaction with current customers.
5. Share it with investors and potential JV partners
Keep your business top of mind with your investors, supporters and potential supporters. Sharing good news and mentions from other people is a great way to promote your business.
6. Incentivize referrals
Make your company worth mentioning! Create a rewarding referral program for brand ambassadors, current users, and influencers in your target market. This is a larger scale project, but it works really well as a way to incentivize people who are already your users and fans to mention you to their networks. Affiliate programs work best if you’re able to connect your product to key influencers of your target market.
7. Increase conversions
All the site traffic in the world won’t turn into sales unless a clear opportunity is available. Make sure the URL that you share is a landing page that converts. Study your website analytics and build your landing page to match the buying process of social proof and call to action. Clearly guiding new traffic to your product will make all your efforts worthwhile.
Any mention of your company online can be extremely beneficial but it can also get lost quickly in the sea of information. Making sure you take action to leverage every part of your online reputation will help not only your search engine ranking, but your bottom line.
This article has been edited.
Arash Asli is founder and CEO of Yocale.com, an online booking platform for small businesses. A version of this article originally appeared here. Connect with @arash31 on Twitter.
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