3 Issues to Handle Before Investing in Social Media.

It’s easy to get caught up in the recent discussion surrounding social media. Successful social media campaigns have the potential to drive enormous amounts of traffic and there should be a place for it in your overall online strategy. However there are many other things that can have a greater long term impact on the success of your site which I think should take precedence over any time or money invested in a social media campaign.

Usability analysis – It makes little sense to drive large amounts of traffic to your site via social media if it isn’t yet optimized for conversion. A thorough usability analysis can pay for itself many times over by showing you where conversions are being lost and things you can do to improve navigation, information architecture, copy, and other things.

Keyword analysis – Ideally this was done to some extent before launching the site, but it should be reanalyzed every now and then. Are the keywords your targeting and/or ranking for the most profitable? Are there other keywords or modifiers you target that would drive even more traffic? In depth keyword research will provide answers.

Link Building – Getting links with targeted anchor text will go a long way towards boosting your rankings for your key terms and is always an ongoing project. I’d rather have three or four links with my chosen anchor text on high authority relevant sites than the links that are gained from a piece of linkbait.

If you have the budget, everything listed above can be outsourced to save time. Reanalyzing keywords is not particularly time intensive, as most of the initial legwork should have been done before the site was launched. Link building by hand could be tedious, but the payoff of getting links on authorative, popular sites is huge.

I can’t stress enough how much of an impact a professional usability analysis can have on your site. If you are thinking of investing money in a social media campaign and you have not had a usability analysis done yet, I would strongly recommend reallocating those funds. It will identify holes in your conversion process that should be patched before you drive traffic via social media. Once all the issues mentioned above have been handled then by all means get going on that social media campaign. But if you haven’t recently analyzed your keywords, acquired quality links, or had a usability analysis, then getting those affairs in order should be higher on the priority list.

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