Although it is debateable whether social media shares have a direct impact on rankings, we at Branded3 believe that social media is still a crucial element to the success of any SEO or Online PR campaign.
On many occasions we are able to see a correlation between the success of a campaign in terms of coverage and links and the amount of social shares it receives, which is why we always place social at the heart of any of our campaigns. Here are my top tips for using social as an activation channel and achieving maximum coverage for this from your campaign.
Make sure the content is easily shareable
First of all you need to make sure people are able to share your content and make them want to. By this I mean, most importantly, make sure you actually have share buttons and make sure they’re featured in a user-friendly place i.e. not just at the top of the page before people have actually read the content.
Also important is to ensure that you’re allowing people to share what they’re most likely to want to share – for example when we build quizzes for clients we ensure that the share message automatically fills with the score they received as that is what people want to share, not just the content itself.
Or if the content contains really interesting stats, ensure you have tweet buttons next to the most interesting ones to make it easy for people to share. People usually share content because a particular stat has interested them so make it easy for them to share this stat.
Pick your channels carefully
You want to use budgets as wisely as possible when promoting a campaign so this does not mean just paying for social shares across every channel possible and hoping for the best. There will be many channels that won’t be suitable for a campaign as the audience simply isn’t there. Make sure you do your research first to make sure your audience is active on that channel and the conversation is relevant to the channel.
Examples in practice
So hopefully this is all making sense and sounding good but you’re probably wanting to see some proof, well fear not I have the proof now of where we’ve used this in practice!
Ladbrokes – How well do you know your team?
Social was a crucial element of this campaign as it centred around driving traffic to the quiz to gather data before we actually started any PR or Outreach.
First of all as I mentioned earlier we made sure the content could easily be shared and encouraged people’s competitive nature by allowing them to share their own score at the end of the quiz. We used a combination of paid seeding across StumbleUpon, Reddit and Taboola to drive traffic to the quiz the increase plays of the game to a minimum of 10K at which point we believe we had a large enough sample size. We also worked with fan sites and forums to drive traffic for their specific teams.
Once we’d reached 10K plays we started analysing the data and picking out key stories such as the fact that Crystal Palace was top of our league table but towards the bottom of the actual Premier League. From this we secured coverage with national papers such as the Sun and Metro with a total of around 60 links. Full case study for this can be found here [insert link if live].
Ladbrokes – Cheltenham fashion blogger competition
Another of our Ladbrokes campaign had social at the heart of it, we ran a competition for fashion bloggers to win tickets to Ladies Day at Cheltenham if they submitted their perfect race day outfit.
We custom-built a Branded3 platform which allows us to host social competitions for clients and used this for Ladbrokes first. Bloggers submitted their outfits to the competition app then had to encourage their readers, friends and family to vote for their outfit with a tweet, Facebook share or Pin and the five outfits with the most votes each won a pair of tickets to Ladies Day.
Due to the number of social shares received for the competition as votes, entries also started coming in from bloggers that we hadn’t event contacted. The competition overall generated 27 links and 4.4K social votes/shares.
One important thing to note is that I am talking about using social as an activation channel, by no means am I suggesting that if you do this you won’t have to do any PR and Outreach because you will in most cases. This just makes it a much easier sell as you can prove the campaign/content is popular and it is more likely to attract natural links.