social media engagement

GJ Bramer: Social Media Engagement To Complement SEO

Following the SEMDays conference which was held in Bucharest between 24th -25th of September, we sat down with GJ Bramer to discuss the importance of blending SEO and AdWords with social media engagement.

Beaglecat: In what ways are AdWords campaigns different for B2B as compared to B2C?

GJ Bramer: It depends on your market because if you’ve got a clear view of who your customer is, if it’s a person or if it’s a company, it’s easier to have a focus on your customer. The real customer is the person. For B2C, if you want to aim at all your customers, you have to aim at every person you know. For B2B it’s easier because it’s more focused and it’s easier to find out what they are interested in and how you can serve them. In general, the most important thing is to find out who your customer is and try to find the right keywords. In that respect, there isn’t much difference between B2B and B2C.

BC: Do you use any tools to help you out with keyword research?

GJ Bramer: Just the regular Google Trends and the AdWords editor and now I’m partner for SEO Monitor from Bucharest in Holland. I also use Google a lot, just type in queries and you get a lot of answers. There are many ways to find out what works and, in the end, you just start out with a lot of keywords and then you find out which bring you more business and which don’t. By doing this, you’ll find out what the best and the cheapest words are, etc. It’s always trial and error. A lot of trial and a lot of error.

I’ve set up some campaigns for a client of mine who was trying to aim at the US market. We set up a large AdWords campaign of around 5000 words, it took us days to set it up. We did a small campaign on LinkedIn as well and after 2-3 weeks we just quit more or less the AdWords campaign and focused more on LinkedIn because it brought so much traffic and a lot more business than AdWords and it was a lot more cheaper so you never know upfront.

BC: Now that we’re talking about LinkedIn, what are 5 tips on using it to increase your brand awareness?

GJ Bramer: In social media engagement, be complete and make sure everything is in order. Post regularly. Don’t spam. Interact, join conversations, show your knowledge and be active. Don’t go there, set up an account and leave it be. Try to be active, get in contact with people, interact a lot and don’t spam. I moderate several groups and there are people trying to spam groups. It’s so stupid! When I’m moderating a group and someone is spamming, I just kick him out of the group so in the end it doesn’t do anything for you. So try to be nice.

BC: How effective is social media for B2B?

GJ Bramer: Very effective. I get more leads from LinkedIn and from my website. Most of my leads are coming from my network because people are talking to each other so my referring gives me a lot of business. In what concerns new customers, I get them from LinkedIn and from my website.

I just started out making websites and developing websites and then I went from websites to SEO and then social media came up very fast, all part of the same game. You shouldn’t see social media as something different. It’s the same thing and should be seen as part of the whole package.

Whenever I discuss with a new client about his website, SEO stuff and social media, we try to find out where most of his customers are and then aim for the best resources and it’s all part of the same game. You really don’t care how your customers are coming to you, be they by social media or through your website, you just want your customers to find you. You don’t care how they find you, as long as they find you. And you want them to find you as cheaper as possible.

BC: Do you believe that marketers spend too much effort on social media engagement as compared to other channels or strategies?

GJ Bramer: I don’t believe you can spend too much time on social media. I think you should go and use the social media channel that suits you. Fish in the pond where the fish are. If you know where your customers or your potential customers are, you should go there. If you’re really into B2C, I think that a better channel than LinkedIn should be Facebook. So you should consider which social media channels you are using and you can’t do them all because I have clients who are fed up with social media because they want to do them all. But if you do your daily stuff and then do all the social media channels, you don’t work anymore. Pick the places to go and start there. Don’t try to do them all. Start with a few channels and if that works, it’s ok, if it doesn’t, you can always try 2 other. Doing all of them at once, for a regular person, it’s impossible.

BC: You were mentioning Facebook. Do you use Facebook to promote yourself or your business?

GJ Bramer: Yes, I do. It’s mostly in Dutch, aiming at my own environment. On LinkedIn, I’ve got more international contacts. I’m using Hootsuite for my social media management so when I want to post something I just decide where to post it, sometimes on Facebook, sometimes on Linkedin depending on what I have to share.

BC: Do you have any tips on using Facebook to increase your brand awareness?

GJ Bramer: Make sure everything is in place. Use good templates and make sure that all the contact information is available. It’s the same for websites. I come across websites and I can’t find any telephone number and I have to click and click and find some way to get in touch. So make sure that your telephone number is visible by adding it to your profile or even in the header. Also make people instantly know what to expect from you. As with LinkedIn, interact!  Don’t show off! You do a bit of advertising on Facebook but make sure that everything is in place, make yourself heard and show people what they can expect from you. It’s not very difficult, I think it’s common knowledge, but it’s important not to overdo things. The nice thing about social media is that you can measure it all the time. There are statistics and figures so you will find out soon enough if it works or if it doesn’t work. And if it doesn’t work, you can always change, or add or whatever. If it’s necessary, you can also drop it. Just don’t be afraid to drop something that doesn’t work and takes you time.

BC: You’ve mentioned that you’ve got more business from social media than from Google. Do you think that traffic coming from social media will surpass the one that comes from Google?

GJ Bramer: It’s actually the same. You look me up on Google, you find my website and my social media channels. I know that in the US people are using Facebook more or less like Google. They type their queries into Facebook and find out what they are looking for. But here in Europe, Google is still the preferred search engine. Google search will prevail for the next few years and as long as you are there with your website or your social media, it doesn’t matter. As long as they find you, it’s ok.

BC: I was just reading the latest news that Google is improving its algorithms and its search methods. It’s really interesting that they keep up with the market and with their customers because they adapt continuously.

GJ Bramer: But there is also a negative side to this because they are aiming all their search results on their customers so in the end they only share with you what you are looking for and not share with you what you are not looking for. So there won’t be any surprises anymore. So every time you go to Google and search for something you get more or less the same results because you are known by Google and they tell you what you want to know, etc. It’s more or less a shame because there are no surprises anymore. Do you know Barry Adams? He is very critical about the role of Google and how Google is treating its search results and how things are collected towards the users. He has a point because in the end tells you what you want.

BC: On a more personal note, what would you advise your 21 self if you were to go back in time?

GJ Bramer: That’s a long time ago! Enjoy what you are doing at the moment. Things are going so fast. I should have enjoyed those days more than I had because I was always busy with other stuff. You have to enjoy your life and what you are doing and stay focused. Sometimes you have to stop, look around and enjoy what you are seeing and after you’ve enjoyed it, you can go on. But not running and running and running all the time.

GJ is Google advisor GJ Bramer Web & Organisation. He has been running his own business in Holland, for 10 years now, and he delivers online marketing services for all kinds of companies. Think, SEO, SEA, Social Media. He was chair of Sempo Europe and he’s one of the judges of the European Search Awards.

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