“Why do we need to use Facebook and Twitter, anyway? It’s not part of our industry!”

We’ve heard this from more than a few clients, and it’s easy to understand. After all, if you’re a construction firm, let’s say, it’s likely that you’ve built your business around a traditional sales cycle that involves the initial inquiry, the quote (or bid) and so on. It’s an established system that’s worked well for decades now, so why change?

The fact is more and more decision makers use the web to perform research. What’s the first step in that process? A visit to Google.

According to the 2013 Rank Correlation study conducted by Searchmetrics, over the last year Google has greatly increased the importance of social media and how it determines a page’s ranking. Facebook shares, comments and likes, along with Tweets and, of course, Google +1s are now a key part of the search algorithm’s decision-making process. This means that if you’re not paying attention to social media, you’re going to lose ground in the search engine rankings to the competition that is.

Social media, especially to the old guard, can seem difficult to use properly. It’s actually easier than you might think. There’s no need for the vast majority of companies to be that active — a post or two every day is enough to show that your company is active in Google’s eyes, and that’s a low enough number to maintain without much effort just by making note of what your business is already doing.

For example: If you’re attending a conference or convention, you can use Twitter to inform other attendees of your location and times of presentations. If your company breaks ground on a new facility, Facebook is a great place to notify people. The best Twitter posts for SEO purposes are those that link back to a blog post or page on your website. One of our clients, for instance, uses Twitter to link to real estate listings as they’re posted as well as spotlighting existing listings that they feel are worth a look.

You should add social media to your outreach efforts for more than its search engine benefits, of course. Social media can help you find new leads, strengthen existing business relationships and create new opportunities for outreach. If you’re wondering what your next step should be, get in touch with us.