What is a social signal?

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

When people speak about advertising or promoting a business they usually turn to the internet. The internet has no real boundaries and you reach the entire world, almost anyone can get noticed and there are thousands of different platforms and communities you can use to engage your customers. Simply put, it’s a great place to advertise your business.

However, unlike a local shop or retail store, there are different strategies and tactics if you want to successfully reach a wide audience. A retail store can use flashy banners, local promotions and large signs to promote their business locally. They could even utilize the internet or list themselves in a local business directory, but that doesn’t really work when you want to establish an online presence.

Think Digital
Instead of treating your online presence like a location on a map, think of it as a point on a really large chart, and that point has to connect to other points (people). When you connect with people, communities and websites, your influence spreads giving you and your business a web of connections.

To do this, you have to connect with communities and people that are related to your industry. For starters, you can’t advertise your computer products to people that don’t know much about computer hardware. Similarly, you shouldn’t advertise fashion to people who don’t care about fashion. You have to target your advertising by first connection with communities on Facebook, Reddit or specialized forums and websites.

There’s also the term “social signal,” something that has gained popularity over the years to help with your business’s exposure, but what is a social signal? You can find out more at the link there, but it’s essentially how your website is ranked according to likes Twitter messages and mentions.

Stand out From the Crowd
To make your business stand out, you need to be able to engage your customers. For starters, when you are setting up social media accounts for your business, you need to respond to questions, queries and mentions whenever possible. Retweeting on Twitter is a powerful tool that will spread someone’s message across all of your followers. If an influential person in your industry decides to retweet one of your messages about a new product that you have, then you’re almost guaranteed to get a lot of attention for it.

You can also stand out from the crowd by partaking in discussions about your products or the industry. Communities like Reddit have lots of smaller communities (known as subreddits) which engage in discussions about very specific topics. Some companies make it their niche to focus on customer service and providing excellent feedback and support to their fans. Representatives of a company will often scour communities and forums to look for mentions of their brand, and then personally answer questions or give assistance to someone that needs help with their products or services.

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