If you’re an athlete, then you know very well that you need a healthy diet and a regular workout routine in order to stay in shape and perform well in your chosen sport.

If you’re running a business and hoping to maintain a strong online presence, then you need to realize that the digital marketing aspect of your business needs to be taken care of the way an athlete takes care of his body.

To continue the analogy, know that the various aspects of online marketing act as the nutrients that help your business stay in shape in the digital world.

Remember that the black hat SEO days are long gone. Expert SEOs know that content marketing and social SEO are now the keys to ensuring a healthy online presence for your business. Content serves to establish your reputation as an expert in the field whereas social SEO serves as your PR tool for building relationships with your target market.

So, why should you focus on Social PR? When you consider the fact that about 70% of those who use social networking to do most of their shopping online. Additionally, more than half of all social networks follow a select number of brands and there are more than 2 billion people spending time on social networks each day.

Content Marketing

Content marketing and social SEO are now essential parts of an effective online marketing campaign.
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So, how exactly do you make sure you can take advantage of social PR for digital marketing in the year 2013? Here are some Do’s and Don’ts of social PR you may want to bear in mind:

Dos:

  • Get into your target customers’ social newsfeed. Remember that the more they see you, the more they remember your brand. It may be safe to say that Facebook is the biggest thing in social media today. While you could easily appear on newsfeeds by paying a certain amount, there are a number of creative ways for you to achieve the same visibility without having to pay. Some of the most effective tactics include:
    • Use attention grabbing images and videos in your posts, most people interact with image/video related posts more than links or text-based posts.
    • Schedule your posts during time slots when your target customers are likely to be online.
    • Nothing works like good old-fashioned humor to attract your customer’s attention.
    • Appealing to people’s personal experiences also works well. For example, posts that remind people of shared childhood experiences tend to get good traction.
    • Link your posts to current events, if it makes sense for your business. For example, an online clothing store can create posts about an ongoing fashion week.
    • Post coupons, giveaways to links to free downloads of your information products.
  • Learn what your target market wants and then give it to them. It doesn’t even have to be directly related to your business. Let’s say, for example, you learn that your target market generally enjoys cartoon memes. You could post a new meme on your Facebook page each day and alternate the message of the cartoon between something related to your business and something that’s not. This can effectively help you connect with your market and show them you know how to have fun.
  • Start curating content. This essentially involves putting together great posts from different high authority sites, adding your own commentary to it and creating quick yet engaging content for your site.  So, not only do you end up saving time, you also give your site’s SEO and credibility a boost. Here’s a Forbes article that lists the benefits of curated posts in detail.
  • Encourage Google searches for your brand name. This, however, would involve some offline efforts like advertisements, organizing local event, etc. Of course to ensure that your company URL figures prominently in brand searches, make sure you create enough branded anchor texts in your link profile.

Don’ts

  • Never ignore local SEO opportunities. You need to understand that when people search for things online, they’re more likely to look for those that are within or near their locality. Another thing you need to take note of is the fact that Google now puts a lot of stock on localized searches. This is why it’s important for you to turn your attention towards local opportunities as well. This means making sure, you create a Google Places listing, among other things. Establishing your presence on local business directories and social networks like Four Square, goes without saying.
  • Don’t focus on Google too much. Remember that there are other venues for online marketing and where social PR is concerned, you’re probably better off focusing your efforts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and industry-specific social media sites. Consider this: People send more than 100,000 tweets and upload about 48 hours worth of video to YouTube each day. If that’s not reason enough for you to turn your attention to these sites aside from Google, then I don’t know what is!

 Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites are now among the best venues for online marketing.
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By now, you probably understand that social media has significantly changed the way the online marketing game is played. You now need to learn how to effectively combine effective SEO practices with the best techniques in social PR. If you’re a social PR expert, then you’ll need to learn how to think like a marketing expert so you can be sure your social PR strategies will indeed help your business maintain a strong presence online.

This means gaining an understanding of market research, conversion rates, survey data, clickthroughs, web metrics, and other aspects of online marketing. Of course, you’ll have to become well-versed in SEO as well.

Conversely, a marketing expert will have to learn how to think like a PR expert as well. Success in online marketing depends largely on your ability to connect with your target audience and establish a relationship of mutual trust with them. You’ll have to learn how to tell stories and touch people’s emotions so you can gain their trust. People are so worried about getting scammed these days that they’re likely to open their wallets only for businesses they trust completely.

This is why many people working in digital marketing now believe that the best way to sell is not to sell, but to focus on building a strong bond of loyalty with your target market. Don’t let your business get left behind. Take heed of the above tips and start looking forward to becoming more competitive in the digital marketing arena 2013.

About Emma:
Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America.