Social media and SEO advice for building materials marketing: Is this right and does it apply to you, as well?

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Mark Mitchell with his book
Mark Mitchell with his book

I’m posting this link with some caution and respect, in part because of another link I am not confident in sharing (although technically it is also public). Mark Mitchell’s blog posting: “Why Building Materials Companies Hate Social Media” suggests how to co-ordinate blogging with personal social media accounts really designed to serve a business purpose.

The second posting is the content of an e-book outlining some intriguing SEO techniques. Although you can access it through an open Google Drive link, I’m not sure if the publisher intended for anyone to see it until some money changes hands (or at least your email address). I won’t burden you with the probable public link to the publisher — combining free SEO (to the publisher) with free advertising/marketing for a commercial Internet marketing/SEO advice business goes a bit beyond my generous spirit.

However, the “how” I discovered the second e-book has relevance, because it explains how we can build knowledge with a diversity of online information sources. It relates to an extensive thread in the private communications section for Google AdSesnse help forum Top Contributors, where some of my peers are trying to sort out seemingly strange and massive auto-bot searches. These might be generated by the commercial link-discovery software, purportedly designed to help publishers achieve SEO success in developing sites that can then attract profitable AdSense revenue. (AdSense is Google’s widely available advertising server/revenue sharing program, which allows publishers and videographers to earn money by allowing Google to post relevant ads on their sites/videos.)

Back to Mitchell.  He writes, among other content in the worthy posting:

3.  Have your social media person set up accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus and other appropriate social media sites.  This is their business account, which is separate from their personal account.  You don’t want inappropriate party photos – or worse – getting mixed up with the company.  You could probably set accounts based on a fictitious person but I’ll leave the ethics of that up to you.

You can and should have company pages on social media, but there are two other reasons to set up a personal account to represent the company.

4.  Find the right LinkedIn groups for your business and join them.

For building material marketers, they can reach many of their channel customers through LinkedIn groups such as the Roofing Contractor or Kitchen Dealer or Architect groups. Individuals can join these groups while companies cannot.

5. Join Google+.  While many people are trying to figure out the value of Google+, there is one very important reason to belong.  Google is looking for helpful information that answers a search query and values it over sales messages.

Most importantly, Google has a program called Google Authorship. When an individual has a Google+ page with a photo, Google monitors what they post.  If they post a series of articles around a single subject, Google recognizes them as an expert and awards them Google Authorship status. Now you will show up at the top of searches around this topic and with your photo as part of the post. This is only available to individuals and not companies.

So, this is a personal account, but really reflects the business — it isn’t a business page/account. I expect to be appropriate, the person with the account needs to be real, and that means not have his or her own true personal social media account. But how can an effective social media manager within a company “not” have a genuine personal account? The only way around this is to fake it –and then we travel over some touchy ethical lines, I think.

(I’m off the hook here, thankfully. I started my blog and my social media accounts in my own name. There is only one Mark Buckshon, and he happens to be quite real, I hope. However, will your social media manager hired from outside and not building the social media relationships from the start of his business/personal life be able to claim the same circumstances? That is a bigger question.)

Now we go to the second part of the issue — SEO data suggesting that you can combine your social media knowledge, with effective link setting and then blow away the competition (in a not-too-competitive niche) with some effective strategizing. There really aren’t too many secrets here; the key is to develop a diversity of authority-related sites, produce excellent content, develop internal links and anchors, and then strategically set a diversity of extremely natural-looking external links (this means not following a set formula or duplicating everything — and this gets to the level of whether you include a “/” or the “www.” on your self-generated links.)

If I posted the free e-book (with plenty of self-serving embedded links) without associating it with the proper sales page, I might be violating copyright, as I don’t know if it was lifted from source by one of my Google AdSense peers and posted with Google Drive on a non-public page, but accessible to the small group of us for internal research/study. (Which would, in that case, be within or at least close to fair use standards for copyright.) And I’m not going to send you to someone’s squeeze page (Internet marketing page) AND give that business an ad here — and SEO juice — so you’ll just have to miss this information/learning opportunity.

This understanding leads to concluding observation. I obtained the (unpublished) information because of relationships/service that are far deeper than the superficial stuff that we see with quick searches and fast-acting understanding. These communities, and this earned reputation, takes a higher level of effort, and leads you to deeper rewards.

Should you follow Mitchell’s social media advice? How you answer depends on how far you want to stretch the boundaries of business and personal social media accounts, and your ethical and risk-taking formulas. Should the 20-something social media manager in your office be using a real account in the name of your 57-year-old mother-in-law (with her permission, of course)? Meanwhile, I suppose I could repost the Google Drive-sourced SEO advice, especially because the publisher might not mind with its self-serving embedded links. But I won’t.The convergence of copyright and not providing free advertising for another business just doesn’t justify the sharing generosity. However, Mitchell rightfully earns his links here through his own writing and efforts.

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