Social media can be the perfect catalyst for telling your brand’s story and activating new customers or it can be a huge waste of time, money and resources if it’s mismanaged. Taking a look at the pyramid above we can see what social media is the best at and what should be the base for your social media activities. Moving up the pyramid you can see how each layer above benefits from a strong program surrounding the layer below it.
The content created for branding and awareness is often what gets shared more since they are typically more engaging and designed to be interesting and shareable on social networks which can give them a bump in the search results. When it comes to the convergence of search and social the layer that is currently the most heavily involved is the base layer. That’s not to say the rest aren’t involved, in fact they all are to some degree.
Enhance Branding and Awareness
You hear and read a lot about branding and awareness being only for “social media hippies” or “confused gurus” but quite simply if no one knows who you are, or anything about you, they are not going to buy your product because they don’t even know you exist. Branding and awareness is the entire premise of TV commercials and billboards. They aim to inform with the hope to make sales. Another way to think about it what does enhancing branding and increasing awareness typically bring? Sales.
This layer is important, but it shouldn’t be the only focus of your social media program. That is when you enter the land of hippies and gurus.
Protect Brand Reputation
Over the years we have seen countless examples of how social media can make or break the reputation of a brand. Monitoring and responding to social conversations about the brand can not only help advert a crisis or dissuade a misconception, but these conversations can often come up in search results and have an impact on a potential customer.
Enhance Public Relations
Any PR effort you’re putting forth can be enhanced by social media. When it comes to search this means that you can use blogger outreach, community out reach, videos, and other social platforms that can be used to give your content a “social bump” to show higher in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). A good PR push with the right influential bloggers and online personalities can have great impacts on what shows up about your company in the SERPs.
As you’ll see when we hit the ZMOT part of this series a lot of consumers are looking up the social properties of companies and using the activities happening on the pages / profiles to make their decision on becoming a customer or not. Another thing to keep in mind is how more and more social profiles are showing up in the SERPs for brand and product names so they are getting prominently displayed when potential customers are searching for you.
Enhance Customer Service
This is a layer I expect to see grow a lot more in 2013. More and more customers are expecting it and if you’re not taking care of your customers on social platforms then you could be loosing those customers. When it comes to search this layer is very similar to Protect Brand Reputation. The interactions and stories about customer service can come up in search results and have a positive impact on customer decisions.
This is another layer I expect to see grow in 2013. When it comes to search and social this layer is a little less involved, except that any activities you do on social networks on behalf of R&D (polls, questionnaires, etc.) could show up in the SERPs. Though some brands like Dell, Starbucks (My Starbucks Idea), and Pepsi (DEWmocracy) have made the R&D portion very visible.
Leads and Sales
Social media has come a long way and matured a great deal. I think 2013 & 2014 will be big growth years for this layer and it might even move down the pyramid and switch places with R&D. As far as the convergence of search and social goes for this layer, this is where you need to know about your customer’s search behavior, what profiles or content shows up, and then optimize them for moving those customers into your sales funnel.
All combined, these create the various segments of your social media program and will all help boost the social signals that the search engines use to determine what content, profiles, and sites get placed in the SERPs.
SEARCH AND SOCIAL TIPS
- Use the same keywords from your SEO and paid media efforts in your social and content marketing (yes, search engines still run off of words).
- Align social activities with PR, advertising, SEO, etc to help focus on key ideas and get the coverage and sharing needed to give your content a social boost.
- Listen and find out where your customer go to research your products (and related products) and be part of the conversation there.
- Check the existing SERPs for your brand and products (both logged in and out of Google) for social campaign or social media optimization opportunities.
- Build your campaigns with search and sharing in mind to get more out of your social media dollars.
Thanks for reading,
Josh S Peters
- The Convergence of Search and Social Part 1
- The Convergence of Search and Social Part 2 – Social Media
- The Convergence of Search and Social Part 3 – SEO
- The Convergence of Search and Social Part 4 – ZMOT
- The Convergence of Search and Social Part 5 – Paid Media’s Place
- The Convergence of Search and Social Part 6 – Content
- The Convergence of Search and Social Part 7 – A Strategy Framework