The Upside to Being Social Online
One of the primary reasons it's suggested to make accounts on all of the major social networks is that chances are you will dominate page one of Google for your brand (personal or professional) just by having all of them. The flip-side to this is if someone clicks on one of these pages and sees you haven't updated it in forever, you'll get an immediate bounce most of the time. The one that you might get away with not updating weekly is Pinterest, as pins have quite a long shelf life - they can be found and shared easily for years. Even then, you want to have at least something new on each of those social pages at least once a week. Once people find you, you'll have a far better chance of engaging them if your shared content is recent.
The other major tactic is to go to major forums related to your topics that allow for links that actually give credit to your website - those that don't automatically put "nofollow" tags on your links. This can work two-fold. Not only do search-optimized hyperlinks help your rankings in search results, but you may also get a decent stream of traffic from your posts if forum members find it to be helpful content. It’s especially useful if you can answer questions that aren’t getting answered. But keeping up with these forums can be difficult to do on a regular basis unless you really work at it and follow the conversations regularly. Still, it's a very sound way to go if you find that it’s a good place to invite positive interactions around your content.
So Where Are My Best Followers to Be Found?
Both of these tactics are well and good, and as long as you follow best practices, you should see positive results. You want to sell what you know, and not so much your brand. It’s completely possible that your best and most loyal followers may not be on Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn. Those sites might be good for your overall SEO strategy and build your traffic, as long as a good percentage of said traffic actually stays on your website.
Mere curiosity can sometimes lead to a strong new connection, but you want to make sure that people that click on your link are more often than not ready and willing to buy into what you have to offer. The social networks are good for traffic generation, but they’re not the only tool. Forums are far more focused and therefore can bring you higher quality traffic.
In any case, whether you’re just starting out with social media and the like, or even if you have been at it for a while, you need to constantly do your homework. It’s extremely important to discover where your potential audience hangs out online. One great idea is to ask your current fans what social networks they frequent the most and in what forums they may participate. You can also search for your top keywords and see if there are forums on topics related to the products and/or services you provide.
Are People Talking About Me?
You may also find if you search for you or your brand that people are talking to or about you. In that case, especially if it's negative commentary, you want to get in there and respond positively and respectfully, even if the person seems unreasonable. This way, at least your side is out there and other people seeing it will at least see your honest effort. It is also a potential link back to your site, even if has "no follow" tags, it's both great PR and people may well still click on it and give you a chance.
Also, whatever sites you join and create a profile on, be sure to listen in for a while. You can introduce yourself, but just don't overdo it. Only post as you feel is necessary or as you feel is honestly helpful and not just trying to sell yourself. If you find that you start creating strong relationships with people on forums or networks, that's a good thing, because you will have good ambassadors online for your work. The more positive comments you receive about you and your work, the better.
Optimizing content and promoting your business is not always just about traditional SEO. Even participating on sites with "no-follow" tags on their links as many popular forums and social networks do still helps send the right signals to the search engines. Also, your posts can show up in search results for keywords relevant to you if you craft them with your keyword strategy in mind.
It's crucial to know where your core audience spends their time, so that you can interact with them in a different atmosphere. In doing so, you can possibly make a few new friends that could make your overall marketing efforts go a long way. Remember, sell what you know, and make yourself a resource for good, strong answers. With a bit of effort and some luck, those same people will likely have more questions of the topics you write about. Then, you can become the go-to source for their answers.