Search marketers tend to live in their own little world. They use their own language. In spite of these differences, search and social digital marketing disciplines are irrecusably connected.
Like our big blue marble, we can all live in separate countries with geocentric attitudes; but, the whole thing will work better if we can all figure out how to work together.
This week’s SMX Advanced event offered a combination of time-honored tactics and a few new tricks for search marketers entering the social marketing sphere. Brands hire specialized agencies and people to get the best from two distinct disciplines in the digital marketing category, a necessary practice as metrics, application, trade knowledge and execution can differ greatly.
Hot Social Media Tactics
Top on the list of wisdom obtained: using tools to help understand your community and what motivates them. Social connections lead to links, links lead to perceived increased relevancy and rankings. Search data points and information collecting techniques feed social analysis. All of this, we know to be true; but, as is often the case, pointing out the obvious in the digital marketing world will get lots of activity with very little accomplishment.
One way to help create meaningful action (read: accomplishment) is the practice of becoming a professional stalker (but not in a creepy way), a technique that provides the framework for connecting your search and social skill set. Stalking influencers and those engaged with your brand at scale in a polite and professionally relevant way will help you move from the perception of success to reality. Central to this tactic is using the combination of authorship and keyword analysis combined.
Authorship is a relatively new concept; but, identifying influencers using the subject matter data provided by search isn’t. Bringing both disciplines together sounds like a good idea, but getting people to collaborate across agency and brand departments is a challenge that has only become worse in recent years.
Another way to capitalize on knowledge gained from search and social is learning how to really engage internal constituencies in a genuinely human way. Cross departmental collaboration is key. When scaling search to social tactics, it’s important to think beyond the one-dimensional, single-use reporting architecture. Resources are thin, marketers are inundated with data, and many struggle to really understand what they are seeing, and perhaps more importantly, how to use the information.
Images are by far the most shared information on Facebook, but marketers consistently fail to tag imagery correctly (read: think like a search person) because they don’t have the right information and really have no incentive to get it right unless you give them one.
Home Depot Got It Right
One way to help get it right is Home Depot’s tactic of tracking geographic shares, not just keyword-based data. Isolating an actual location bridges the gap between the largely speculative and inaccurate data indicative of a brand sitting on the sidelines of social media relying solely on user generated designations or “pins” and being a brand supporting a more enhanced, meaningful engagement by making sure people have accurate information to engage their brand.
Graduating beyond the basics, Home Depot executes solid search-to-social tactics by pulling keywords into social analytics. This tie-in allows the brand to move away from popular social analytics, aka “soft metrics” akin to likes and shares, and begins to tie in “hard metrics” like the amount of revenue generated.
Creating and using common language across teams will go a long way toward building bridges between departments. In other words, SEO speak isn’t going to mean much to the social people and vice-versa.
It’s important to remember that migrating search tactics into the social sphere requires a bit more than intestinal perception, but it’s good to see that some folks in the biz still advise going with your gut to an extent. If the industry is still young enough to assign arbitrary numbers to resource allocation, you can bet soft costs and sciences will be undervalued; but, taking soft metrics and layering more eye-catching, attention-getting metrics will help everyone move forward.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.