HubSpot recently released a report entitled, "Social Link Building,"
which is a ten-step guide to helping companies create inbound links
(also known as backlinks). Inbound links are "incoming links to a
website...received from another website...." They benefit your business
by creating brand awareness, bringing traffic to your website and
raising your search engine rankings. According to HubSpot, "[a] business
that doesn't generate inbound links is like a car without gas: it
exists but doesn't work."
Here are their ten suggestions to help you build social links for your business:
1. Guest Blog Posts. Having a guest blogger can often expose your business to a brand new audience. Contributing your work to a guest blog can help you build relationships within your industry.
2. Contests. The right contest can generate buzz, increase brand awareness and attract traffic to your website. HubSpot cites the 2008 CopyBlogger contests posted on Twitter. The rules required a response on Twitter and a response in the comments section of the blog. Two simple blog posts attracted 111 links and many new readers due to the buzz surrounding the contest.
3. Controversy. Posting about a controversial subject certainly has the potential to attract attention. HubSpot warns that your subject should "incite debate from the inside out and not be provocative for the sake of it." Be prepared for some of your audience to disagree with you. However, if your subject is handled properly and your view can be backed up, posting about controversial subjects can promote link-sharing and drive traffic to your site.
4. Directories. With the Yellow Pages a thing of the past, make sure your business is listed in online directories such as the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, CitySearch, alumni websites, industry directories, etc. Having inbound links will raise your search engine ranking, which will make your company come up faster in searches on modern-day Yellow Pages like Google or Yahoo!
5. Lists. People love Top 10 lists. Just ask David Letterman. Corbett Barr of ThinkTraffic.net says his most popular post was "50 Photos To Inspire Life as a Digital Nomad." Putting together a list of success stories, contest winners or quotes can be a fast and easy way to create a popular blog post just waiting to be shared around the Internet.
6. Define New Concepts. These days, it can be difficult to create new concepts and original ideas. However, if you are able to spot a new trend in your industry early or even just identify complex ideas and start discussions on the topics, you may be recognized as an authority, which would drive traffic to your site.
7. How-To Content. People love D.I.Y. People search the Internet on a daily basis for step-by-step instructions on how to do a multitude of things. If you write a how-to post, it should be instructional (teach from scratch; don't assume the reader knows where to begin); it should be accessible ("easy to digest steps"); and, it should be well-researched.
8. Badges. A badge is a logo/banner which serves as a mini ad for your company and should link back to your website. SocialFresh.com had readers nominate their favorite corporate blogs. The winners received badges, which linked back to SocialFresh.com. Some of those winners still have those badges on their website, which provides free advertising for SocialFresh.com.
9. Social Networks. Each post to your blog and website should include social media sharing buttons so that your readers can easily share content with a simple click of the button. Popular buttons are Facebook's "like" button, Twitter's "re-tweet" button and Google's "+1" button.
10. Content Distribution. Syndicating your article allows the content to be shared on a larger scale. EzineArticles.com is cited as one of the most famous article directories. Alltop, Technorati and SocialMediaToday.com are other services that feature your content but allow users to click through to your website. ReadWriteWeb can get articles syndicated on NYTimes.com. Mashable can also get articles syndicated with USA Today and CNN.
By following these suggestions, you can build the social links that will help your business grow and thrive.
Have you already implemented any of these suggestions? We love hearing your success stories!