Often when individuals or businesses talk about social media they look more at the end goal or the technology that is involved than they do examining themselves. When I sit down with a client I always make sure that they have a couple of bases covered before we even begin to put a larger plan in place.
Before I look at those bases I just want to explain my philosophy a little bit. I believe that SEO, SEM, and SMO all are intertwined and go hand in hand with each other. Personally I don’t like separating them into different buckets or even having different companies handle these different disciplines. If you are a self proclaimed “social media expert” you really need to have more than a passing understanding of SEO and SEM.
Here are some of the initial bases I cover with a client:
1) Does their website have basic SEO in place?
You would be surprised at how many small to medium sized businesses I have met with that don’t even have the meta description filled out. So when you Google their company name a URL comes up with no other information.
So even if people know about your company and are looking for it by not doing basic SEO you make it harder to find your website. The impacts of basic, I am not even talking about advanced, SEO practices can have a profound impact on your website and traffic. It is frustrating to me to see people missing out on such a low hanging fruit.
Having an understanding of the keywords you use for the site and what you want to target also helps with the targeting of a social media strategy.
2) Are they monitoring the conversation around their products and company?
At the very least I hope that the company is using Google Alerts to monitor their brand or products online. It is surprising to see how many aren’t doing anything or how many people just don’t think there is a lot of conversation online around their product. Just showing them a twitter search or a blog search usually blows their mind.
3) Is the name of the company protected on social media sites?
This is something I normally expect not to be done. If people don’t have an internet marketing strategy I don’t expect them to have protected their company or product names online. But in order to prevent their brand from being hijacked, misrepresented, or the name held by another company this is one of the first things that I recommend they do before moving forward.
In my opinion these are three of the most basic things that companies need to do before they begin to wade into the social media waters. If you don’t have your house in order and built on a strong foundation you can’t build on top of that.