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Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use for SEO?

Social media has become a wonderfully diverse field, with dozens of different platforms in all kinds of different niches. While some powerhouses have clearly risen to the top (i.e., Facebook), some platforms offer incredible niche opportunities for businesses trying to get the most out of their campaigns. But when it comes to choosing the right platforms to support your SEO campaign, things can get a bit confusing. It's too much effort to pursue a strategy on every single platform you can find, but at the same time you want to make the most of your budget. So which social media platforms work best to support an SEO campaign?

Why Social Media Matters for SEO First, we need to clarify an important misconception: social media doesn't directly affect your search rankings. It may seem like getting more popularity on social media could feasibly improve your rankings, but that's not how Google's algorithm works. So why is social media still important for SEO? Because it has a number of peripheral benefits for your search optimization strategy:

  • Building an audience. Social media makes it easier to build an audience, helping you expand your brand visibility and reputation, which in turn makes it easier to pursue SEO strategies like link building.

  • Promoting your content. Syndicating on the right platforms can also increase the reach of your content. With more reach, a better reputation, and a bigger audience, you'll also stand to earn more inbound links, which have a powerful effect on your organic search rankings.

A Look at Each Platform Now let's take a look at how each of today's major platforms can help you in this regard: 1. Instagram. First up, we have Instagram, which now stands as the second-most popular social platform in the world (with over 400 million users). Instagram has a huge visibility advantage--if you run a contest here, you could easily attract hundreds of new followers or retain some of your older ones. It doesn't take much effort to manage a branded account, but there's one major disadvantage; you can't include links in your posts. This makes it exceptionally hard to distribute your content and earn more links. 2. Facebook. Facebook remains the king of social media, with more than a billion users worldwide and enough flexible functionality to make even the pickiest marketer happy. You can post links, written content, images, or video, and employ contests, run ads, or join groups and participate in discussions. It's arguably the best platform for content syndication and audience growth due to its universal appeal, but keep in mind that organic reach is slowing down, making it more difficult to scale effectively. 3. Twitter. Twitter is a fast-paced platform that allows you to syndicate links quickly and reach out to new people easily. For these reasons, it's one of the better platforms for quickly building an audience and pushing your content out. However, the main drawback for Twitter is that it's showing signs that it may be past its prime as a social media channel. Many people have predicted the imminent death of Twitter, and its user base doesn't show many signs of a potential recovery. 4. LinkedIn. LinkedIn serves a great niche--professionals, entrepreneurs, and career builders. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks. LinkedIn caters to individuals, so there aren't as many opportunities for brand pages to get visibility. However, if you're using personal brands as conduits to gain connections, participate in groups, and promote your core brand's content, it can be highly effective. 5. Pinterest. Pinterest's format makes it a make-or-break platform for most brands. If you're interested in promoting image-based content or appeal to its consumer demographics, it can be one of your greatest assets. However, there isn't much range of functionality here, and it's not going to appeal to every business. It also has a comparably smaller user base than the above candidates. Though all of these platforms have advantages and disadvantages for SEO, you still need to consider how your specific brand fits into the equation. Different platforms will cater to different individual brands, so it's important you know what your specific business's advantages and disadvantages are. For example, if you're consumer-focused with lots of visual products, Pinterest will work better for you. If you're a business consultant catering to late-career professionals, LinkedIn will be better. Of course, the only way to tell for sure is to try a platform and see how it performs--just don't be afraid to cut the dead weight.

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