Best kept social media secret – Part 1

I write a newsletter for remodeling contractors for James Hardie. These are business owners with small (if any) marketing departments. They may recognize possibility with social media, but when jobs start rolling in, best intentions are put aside.

I don’t want them (or anyone wanting to be found online) to miss out on the power of social media. So, when I was introduced to Design Sherpa’s turnkey social media solutions for home designers, I thought it might be a great solution for remodeling contractors – but I was afraid it would be pretty costly.

I called Keith Sauro, national sales director of Design Sherpa to ask a few questions, including how much it cost… I’m telling you, it is the best kept social media secret out there. With their system and specially trained staff there is no reason you can’t jump in and start improving your search engine rankings immediately, as hundreds of other companies did in 2010.

The reason it’s successful is because it simplifies getting started. The Design Sherpa team will design a blog for you, attach it to your web site, write the articles, post them to your blog, Facebook and Twitter page and track results - all for around $395 per month.  If you’ve ever tried to write one article, you know how time consuming it can be and realize what a bargain this truly is!

Enough from me…  Here’s more from Keith.  (We were pretty chatty, so I’m breaking up the interview into two parts. Part 1 addresses, “Why social media?” Part 2 is “How Design Sherpa can help.”

TC: Why has blogging and social media become such a necessity?

The real ROI of this technology is how it can help people who don’t already know you, find you. It doesn’t matter if you sell shoes or build homes, whether you do it yourself or outsource it – you need to understand content marketing and social media to be found online today. Its role in driving search engine ranking has made it a necessity in 21st century marketing.

People will spend thousands of dollars to produce their web site and not do anything to drive traffic to it. It’s like opening a showroom without putting up a sign.

The pre-conceived ideas that people have had about social media are completely wrong.

Open your mind to social media.  The average Facebook user is 44 years old – it’s not a bunch of kids. The fastest growing segment of Facebook is between 35 and 64, the ones with disposable income, the most desirable for home design professionals.  If you’re trying to reach them, why would you not invest the time?

TC: How does social media and blogs drive search engine ranking?

Search engines have always tried to reward a site’s relevancy to whatever we’re Googling.  Before blogs, we used to try to own 10-15 keywords then strategically place them within our web copy. Blogs enable search engines to monitor who is truly paying attention, staying engaged and providing content others deem worthy enough to recommend with links, Tweets and comments.

The best tactic…

People are searching to research, shop and discover.  If they enter “how to build a green remodel” and an article you wrote pops up, you look like an expert.

Write a variety of articles – some will connect, some won’t. But when you do, you’ll improve organic search.

TC: Can you just go with Facebook or Twitter and skip the blog?

A blog is different than a static web site. It enables you to put information out there, so it’s more like the engine driving the train.  If you only do Facebook or Twitter, you’re missing out. If you only do a blog you’re missing out. When you shoot information to your blog, Google notices. When Facebook fans notice your blog post, Google notices. When Twitter notices it, Google notices.

It’s this involvement that helps Google feel you’re more relevant. They all work cohesively together.

Read Part 2 for more from Keith on how Design Sherpa can help you… And leave me one of your best kept social media secrets!

P.S. Ceck out their Design Bloggers conference, Feb 28-Mar 1, 2011 at the Sofitel Hotel in Los Angeles. (Registration is $395; $495 after January 16.)