Social MediaThe evidence has been there to suggest it, but until Danny Sullivan’s recent Q & A Session with Google & Bing, there was no official confirmation from the major search engines, that they consider social media activity within their algorithms.

Now it’s official, everybody is talking about social media again. People are now starting to realise that social media is an integral part of a successful online marketing campaign. It is becoming a commodity, just as SEO had done previously.

Not everybody is the position to be able to call upon the services of an online marketing agency to put together and implement a social media strategy. So, where do you start?  It is so easy to get lost in social media with little or no results. With this in mind I have put together these five easy ways to kick-start your social media campaign. This will help you wade through the minefield of possibilities, without getting snowed under, and wasting precious time.

1. Submit your RSS feed – It is all very good writing great posts on your blog but if nobody knows they are there, nobody will ever read them. There are lots of sites where you can submit your RSS feed for others to find. These sites are called RSS Aggregators. Wikipedia has a good list of RSS Aggregators. Submitting to them is very simple, and many do not require you to sign up to an account.

2. Create a twitterfeed accounthttp://twitterfeed.com/ allows you to link your RSS feed to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Whenever you post to your blog it will automatically place a link on your Facebook and Twitter pages, and let your friends and followers know that you have done so, meaning you don’t have to. It takes five minutes to set up, and will save you that time the first time you post to your site.

3. Interlink your social media accounts – twitterfeed is one example of this, but many social media activities will allow interaction with each other. When you post to one, it will update another. Where possible utilise this, it will save you lots of time doing it all manually. For example, if you create a video, post it to YouTube and embed it to your blog, your RSS feed will then inform and update other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, which in turn can then update other social networks such as linked in. By simply posting to your blog you can reach all your contacts in all of your social media channels.

4. Follow Influential Figures – Try and become friends with or follow influential people within your industry. Don’t just make friends or follow people for the sake of it. Part of social media as a ranking factor, is how authoritative you are within your industry. Think quality not quantity.

5. Blog about interesting and useful things – People will not keep coming back to your blog if you are just posting content for the sake of it. One of the best ways to become an influential in your field is to answer the questions your target audience may be asking. If you do this in your blog posts you are sure to be offering useful and interesting information, which will encourage people to return. It is also a great form of link bait to entice people to link back your site. If you get stuck for inspiration the WordTracker Keyword Questions tool is an excellent way of finding out what questions are being asked within your industry.

It is important to remember that social media will not return results instantly, it takes time to build up a following. Realistically you are looking at around 6-12 months, so it needs to be something that you will stick at. The two qualities you need to be successful at social media marketing are time and patience.