Inbound marketing is in the middle of an interesting evolution. Historically, search has been a major source of traffic and leads for businesses leveraging online marketing. Search is still a huge source of customers , but slowly, social media is gradually increasing in importance as a marketing platform. The important distinction to make is that search and social are not competitive forces. Instead, these two facets of inbound marketing can work together to amplify the results of each other.
Solving the Same Problem
The key to understanding that search and social media marketing need to work together is to think about the problem both search and social solve: information discovery. People use Google to find an answer to a question. People use social media to discover answers to questions they haven't yet thought of. However, the difference between search engines and social media platforms is blurring. For example, Facebook search is one of the network's core features. In addition, Google has profiles and +1 in an effort to be more social. As a marketer, how can you integrate your efforts across both platforms?
7 Ways to Integrate Search and Social Media Marketing
1. Social Sharing Buttons on Your Website - It may seem simple, but search engines like Google are starting to use social media sharing data to influence search rankings. As a marketer, it is critically important to have social media sharing buttons on your blog and website to encourage visitors to share content in social media. These buttons will not only help to increase traffic from social media but will also play an important role today and in the future for ranking positions in search engines.
2. Integrated Keyword Strategy - As I mentioned earlier, the line between search engines and social media platforms is blurring. Take the keyword strategy you are using for your website and apply it to your social media engagement when appropriate. This doesn't mean cramming tweets full of keywords. Instead, be aware of how you are wording social media messages. By incorporating keywords into social media content, you can increase the reach of your messages.
3. Include Links in Social Profiles - The links in social media messages such as tweets and Facebook status updates are traditionally no-follow links. This means they don't pass any SEO authority to the site they're linking to. While this is starting to change, it is important to understand that the URL in the actual bio of a social media account is a follow link. Keep this in mind, and make sure you are taking advantage of these extra links.
4. Incorporate Links Into Video and Presentation Content - Some of the most powerful social media platforms are those that facilitate content sharing, such as YouTube for video and SlideShare for presentations. When sharing content on these types of networks, be sure to share links to related blog posts or other content on your website. Yes, this will increase traffic to your website, but it will also help build new inbound links. When someone writes a blog post about your content, it is likely they will also include a link from the presentation, simply because it is the "easy" thing to do.
5. Optimize Social Profiles - Think of social media profile pages as extensions of your website. In the same way that you would optimize website pages for page titles and keywords, audit your social media profiles to ensure they mirror the search engine optimization strategy of your website.
6. Build Links and Social Media Reach - Search engine optimization has long been about inbound links to your website. While inbound links are still really important, a secondary metric for marketers looking to increase search traffic should be social media reach. As we talked about earlier, social media data is becoming a factor in search engine rankings. In order to get more people to share your content in social media, you need to increase the number of fans or followers of your account. By doing this through quality content creation and engagement, you will not only build social media reach but also inbound links.
7. Establish New Relationships - The web is now a social communications channel. Similar to sales, relationships are huge for driving inbound links and social media attention. Building relationships using social media can open opportunities for guest blog posts and other link-building opportunities.
What other tips would you add to this list?
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall