Why did the social media chicken cross into SEO?

Social media isn’t a new thing. In fact, social media marketing is no spring chicken either, but the role of social media activity within the overall online marketing mix and its relationship with search has been evolving, which is exactly why we now offer social media marketing to our clients.

Social media marketing can engage customers, open up new markets, influence new products lines, inspire content creation and build a network that can help amplify and protect your brand online and that’s all before you consider the impact of social activity on your traffic and search performance…


Social signals as a ranking factor

The relationship between social and search on the surface is a complicated one. Google’s Matt Cutts has said that social signals are not used as a ranking factor (you can read a little more about that here) yet this contradicts an earlier statement from 2010, which admittedly was made at a time Google was still prioritising author rank.


More recently in February 2014, John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, appeared to confirm that social signals were not yet a ranking factor or planned to become one. Though in doing so, he also hinted at something many SEO case studies imply – that Google Plus does in fact impact on search experience. You can watch the video of the Google Hangout where he’s asked if Google Plus is a ranking factor here about 35 minutes in. Evidence has certainly emerged that who you follow on Google Plus can shape the search results you see; you can read more on this from Searchenginewatch.


What is clear in the current search landscape is that links alone have not proven to be a reliable enough metric for Google as it continues to assess and develop what is incorporated into the algorithm. Whether social signals such as tweets about or linking to your site are taken into account in this way, social media activity itself can expand your brand’s digital footprint, bolstering your search performance.


Social media marketing is more than status updates

It’s true; status updates are at the core of many of the key social media platforms but if you want to use social media to help achieve your marketing goals, you’re going to need to do a bit more than schedule a few tweets or Facebook updates each week and you’ll need to look beyond the main social networks to find the ones that are right for you too. Social media marketers understand that behaviours and audiences differ between platforms, which means careful consideration of which platforms will work well for you and your brand.


One fundamental part of social media marketing is understanding where your target demographic is on social media, how they are using social media in their consumer and domestic lives and then accurately interpreting and anticipating not only what they want and would like from your brand as part of this, but also what you can be on hand to add and give freely. While many say social media marketing is a free tool it can be argued that at the basic level you’ll need to give something in exchange to attract and hold users’ attention. This is where a professional approach can help you find return on your investment in social media. From the time you spend on strategy, interaction and monitoring through to the discounts and products you give away, social media does have a cost and you’ll want to channel that output into helping you achieve your marketing goals.


You can’t amplify your brand in a vacuum

If social media is a not-so-spring chicken, content marketing is the crispy kale you serve on the side. For the last few years, much like Kale, content marketing has been the buzzword on everyone’s lips, a super food that boosts search performance. It needs to be palatable for your audience to help turn them into customers. To do this, you need to think about delivery. Without social profiles, you’re failing to build up a sharing network that can help amplify not only your brand and services but also the content you publish.


Building a community helps you to spread a positive digital footprint – if someone is interested enough in your business to follow you online, they’re likely be more receptive to the types of content you publish, assuming they are true to your brand and audience. This means social media marketing can help accelerate the success of content marketing. And, from the other side, the dissemination of content combined with other social media activity can help connect you with people who may not have previously been familiar with your brand.


Using social media in an ad hoc manner may connect you with a few new customers, but like other types of marketing, taking a strategic approach can not only provide a consistent experience of your brand but also help tie your other marketing activities together. From adverts that drive conversations on Twitter and nudge users towards onsite content through to Facebook competitions that introduce new product ranges instore and online, social media in many ways can be the glue that bonds your marketing efforts together and ensures they’re supporting one another.


Social media influencers

You might not think of social media activity as a tool to boost your website traffic but well thought out campaigns and collaborations with influencers can really make an impact. We monitor the performance of content shared on social media platforms to see what audiences are interested in and also connect brands with influencers who can amplify their message. With years of successful outreach under our belts we are well versed in finding the bloggers and writers who can make your message more visible. Brands across the spectrum use social media influencers as part of their social media marketing and when doing so it’s important to remain true to your brand. Just a few week’s ago Barnardos came under fire for paying reality TV star Alexandra Felstead to advertise their brand on social media in an effort to gain followers on Instagram, it wasn’t receive well by the charity’s supporters. Other than an ill-thought out connection, this scenario highlights the growing importance of Instagram, a purely mobile social network that is now the most used by 16-25s and gives brands a potential ‘in’ to the growing mcommerce market.


Social media marketing measurement

While it’s important to remember that traffic and rankings shouldn’t be your sole goals when it comes to getting active on social media, measurement and marketing do go hand in hand. In the early days of social media follower count may have been a big metric but now it’s far better to measure engagement, sentiment of interactions, impact of influencer collaborations and of course, traffic to your site and to an extent footfall in store too.  Social media marketing is a long-term commitment that doesn’t yield results overnight but is now far more than a customer service tool and its synergy with SEO cannot be ignored.

Want to know how your social media marketing can be working harder to support your online goals? Get in touch for a free consultation.