5 Steps to Annihilate Social With Instagram & Tumblr
I cannot stress how much more important social signals are going to become for SEO in 2013, moving into 2014, and beyond. In fact, during this past SMX West, apparently, according to attendees, Google’s own Matt Cutts “nodded in agreement” at this tweet that not only are social signals directly used as a ranking factor, but social is used as the final say in rankings. I know it’s not the definitive strong evidence one would ideally want, but in SEO, it’s almost as good as it gets. Before I get into the actual steps, I’ll explain in more detail the exact tools and methods I use, then recap with the steps.
Why Social Matters
What I take from that is that social is algorithmically being used as a litmus test, to make sure all the other signals of a page line up with reality. For example, if a site has 50,000 backlinks, 300 press releases, and is a site with 4,000 pages, but has nobody talking about it (ie. social media), the algo will basically call shenanigans on the other signals. Check out this flowchart I made to demonstrate (crudely) what I mean:
I totally get that this simple flowchart doesn’t take into account other SEO factors, such as on-page, but it’s meant to demonstrate the importance of social. Not only is social important for passing the Google validity test, but it’s also a great source of referral traffic, which I will get into later. Firstly, I know there are tons of social media gurus out there, and there are so many aspects to a good SMO campaign. There are countless helpful resources about the 3 biggies, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I want to focus on my new one-two punch sauce, Instagram & Tumblr, because I feel like these are the two that most of my readers would be least likely to already know about.
Before I get into too much of this, I will admit, this method is most likely much more successful with visually impactful niches than with more boring or local businesses, but I’m still searching for a way to adapt it, because it’s incredibly powerful.
Instagram? How & Why? Isn’t That a Phone App?
Yes, it’s a phone app, and it’s primarily used by individuals to share over-saturated artsy images with their friends quickly and easily. However, more and more businesses are getting on the bandwagon, and more and more tools are coming out to help us utilize Instagram without using a phone. I have been using a free program called BlueStacks. Basically, it’s a desktop program for PC and Mac that emulates a smartphone. With some tweaking of the file structure, I’ve successfully been able to rig it to upload images from my PC to Instagram.
The simplest part of this method is to sync up your Tumblr account with your Instagram account, so every Instagram post is auto-posted to Tumblr. I’ll get more into Tumblr later. While you’re at it, you can set your Instagram posts to auto-post to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Foursquare too!
What & How Should I Post?
What should I post? The audience you’re reaching with these social networks is keen on visually interesting images, memes, quotes, and short messages. It could be images of your product in use, it could be behind the scenes at your company, it could be relevant quotes or memes, just get creative. Share content that is worth being shared.
How should I post? Post consistently, use hashtags and make sure to always have a link back to your site in the description. Posting consistently will increase your reach to your audience, and helps with brand awareness, but also gives more opportunities for people to send you signals, such as likes, shares and comments. Using hashtags will help you show up in peoples’ streams that are following those hashtags. The method I’ve been using is going to Webstagram’s hot list and looking at the 100 most popular hashtags, finding 2 or 3 that are most relevant to my post, then using them. Don’t use more than 3 or you’ll just seem spammy and your content will be less likely to be shared. Put the full http:// link in your description. Use diverse links (not always to your homepage). In fact, try to link to the page that is most relevant to that image. Remember that any social activity on that image post will build a social signal to that page you are linking to.
Tumblr Traffic is “The Nuts“
Facebook aside, my experience with Tumblr is that it’s got freakin’ fantastic traffic quality due to the usage metrics:
- Relevancy (people who want to see my stuff)
- High pageviews per visitor
- High time on page
- Low bounce rate
We all know usage metrics are actually used as a ranking factor, so why not shred that tally mark off your web marketing campaign at the same time?
Automated Perpetual Links? Yes Please!
One of the great things about Tumblr is that it is quickly gaining popularity, and it makes sharing content extremely intuitive and enticing for users. It’s kinda like Pinterest, but doesn’t limit posts to strictly visual. You can also post other types of content on Tumblr similar to what you would tweet, for example. Whenever a user “reblogs” your post, or likes it, or comments on it, it creates a “note”, in other words, a beloved, 100% organic social signal, ie. a coveted white hat backlink. Being consistent will help you build literally unlimited links/social signals to your sites.
Participation is Key
Starting out with an SMO campaign usually tempts one into being self-centered, posting only about their own stuff. Posting non-stop deals, coupons, product images or whatever. But one of the keys to grabbing this market is to reach the audience by showing some interest in them. Invest one or two hours a week (per campaign) in simply finding relevant content then commenting on it, liking it, reposting it, following them, etc. Interact with your industry. This will expose your profiles to people interested in exactly what you’re looking to promote. I can’t tell you how many followers I’ve gained just from people seeing that I liked something they like. Only share stuff that’s worth sharing, and be human. Don’t spam or use software that might post garbage on your behalf. I am serious, doing 1 hour of this as a real human is better than 100 as some automation software. I’m not against all software, just choose wisely and do everything with the lens of “How will this come across to my fans?”.
The 5 Steps Recap:
- Download, install and configure BlueStacks.
- Set your Instagram to auto post to Tumblr.
- Post visually appealing images, with a link back to you, and relevant #hashtags.
- Like and comment on others’ relevant posts, both Instagram & Tumblr.
- Wait for the social signals & traffic to roll in, then repeat often.