There are so many ways in which SEO and social media can work hand in hand. There are also so many ways in which one benefits the other. The problem is that there are so many business organizations where there is a complete disconnect between these two components of online marketing. This is a sad reality because one component can get a lot of leverage from the other if you only know what to do.
How does this leverage work? Well, the SEO of today requires the regular creation and posting of high-quality content, right? It’s not enough for you to simply create and publish such content; you also need to promote it so as to get your target audience to see it and possibly share it with others. This is where social media enters the picture.
Social networking sites are where most people converge on a regular basis these days. There’s a good chance your target consumers are on social media as well. Your social media team should therefore be tasked to bring your content to the forefront by sharing it on your social media accounts or at least posting a teaser and link to the content. And because it is expected that your content creation team has already ensured the quality of your content, you can look forward to your social media followers appreciating your content and increasing their engagement with you on your social media accounts.
The more your followers appreciate your content, the likelier they are to share it with others, and when those “others” they share your content to also sees the value that you offer, you are likely to get more followers, thereby strengthening your social media presence. This can lead to more people clicking through to your website and more links to your site. Of course, you already know that more traffic and more links are good news for SEO. Now perhaps you understand why SEO and social media needs to be integrated to ensure online marketing success.
Although SEO and social media work very well together, the leveraging process isn’t without its problems. As mentioned earlier, you can gain a lot of benefit from leveraging these two marketing components IF YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO. The common problems faced by those who embark on the process without ample preparation include:
1. Content of poor quality
No matter how good your social media team is, they can only do so much. Unless you give them content of excellent quality to work on, their skills in social media marketing aren’t likely to deliver the kind of results you expect.
2. Content irrelevant to the social media strategy
Remember that the objective here is to make your SEO and social media strategies work hand in hand. How can that happen if the content you put out doesn’t complement the strategy planned by your social media team? If the strategy planned by the social media team involves posting just bits and pieces of very interesting information to catch the interest and whet the appetite of your target audience, then the SEO team shouldn’t give them lengthy pieces of in-depth content, right?
3. Misaligned goals
If the social media team aims to drive more traffic to your site, but the SEO team churns out content targeted towards brand awareness, how can you expect to achieve your goals? The SEO team should be aware of why they are creating a particular content. What is the content’s purpose? Is it meant to drive traffic, increase brand awareness, or improve engagement? When the goals of both teams are properly aligned, you stand a better chance of achieving success.
Making It Work
Okay, now, how do you make the process work? How do you make sure your efforts aren’t wasted? How do you ensure that the returns you get will be well worth the investment? Here are a few tips:
1. Create specific destinations.
It pays for you to identify specific destinations that will serve as the focus of your social media activity. You could, for example, conduct your social media activities on one blog, one niche-related social networking site, and one social site popular among the general public (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et cetera). These platforms are where your content will be published and/or promoted.
Your chosen destinations are also where special offers, calls to action, and invitations to business engagements may be posted. These pages may also be where others bloggers and online publishers can link to if they want to share your content. When your content destinations are clearly defined, it will be easier for your SEO team to understand the context within which the content they create will be used. They will therefore be better able to produce relevant content of the highest quality.
Having a specific destination for your content allows your social media team to take a more structured approach to content promotion. Flickr.com photo by VinothChandar
Having specific destinations also allow your social media team to take a more structured approach to content promotion. They can better target their strategies to specific types of audience, depending on your chosen platforms. Note that targeted marketing campaigns usually work a lot better than general campaigns aimed at no one in particular.
2. Monitor engagement and be on the lookout for leads.
As your social media team exposes your content to more and more potential customers, your SEO team should be on the lookout for opportunities to engage with your audience on a business level and possibly convert these engagements into actual business transactions. They should also be on the lookout for relevant keywords that indicate unanswered questions from your target audience. You could then create fresh content that directly addressed those unanswered questions, thereby ensuring the relevance of said content.
The good news is that there are plenty of tools you can use for this purpose. Board reader and search.twitter.com, for example, can effectively provide you with access to social media discussions. Google Alerts, Socialmention.com, and Topsy are also very good tools to use for monitoring and identifying possible engagement opportunities, leads, and relevant keywords. It may take time for you to develop a truly effective and efficient social monitoring strategy, but once you do, the benefits you get will surely be well worth the time and effort.
3. Learn to repurpose.
No matter how good your SEO team is, it can be quite difficult for them to churn out one high-quality content after another. It is advisable to create a content plan at the outset. The plan will provide guidance as regards the topics that need to be covered and the schedules for delivering fresh content. It will also show your SEO team when they need to come up with in-depth articles and when they need to break those articles down into “bite-sized” pieces.
One effective technique for always coming up with fresh content that should be part of your content plan is repurposing. It can be difficult for your team to come up with new content all the time. Now, note that “fresh” content doesn’t necessarily have to be new. You can take a piece of content you’ve published before and give it a new spin or update the information it contains.
Another way to freshen up your content is to change its form. You could, for example, take a piece of pure text content and turn it into an infographic. Your social media team may then post the infographic on another social media platform. With practice and experience, your SEO team should soon become so adept at creating and repurposing content that it will become second nature to them.
4. Participate in the social scene.
There are bound to be industry-related blogs that are considered an authority in the field, and you are bound to benefit from your association with these blogs. Perhaps the best way to be associated with authority blogs is to participate in their discussions. Read and understand posts that are relevant to your business, and then post comments that add to the value offered by the blog post or answer a question posted by a reader. In short, make yourself a valuable part of the blog’s community.
Even the simple act of asking relevant questions can help you develop a reputation for being a reliable member of the industry. And while participating in blog discussions may be a time-consuming task for your social media team, the results they are likely to get will surely be beneficial to your business, provided, of course, that they do things right. Don’t push too hard. Just participate in the discussions as you would normally participate in conversations.
In order for your SEO team to know what the goals of your social media team are, and in order for your social media team to effectively launch promotional strategies for your SEO team’s content, they will need to collaborate on every aspect of the marketing campaign they’re working on. Constant brainstorming between the two teams helps in continuously improving their processes and makes their strategies and tactics a lot more effective.
If you’re serious about achieving online marketing success, then you need to start getting your SEO and social media strategies properly aligned. As soon as your SEO and social media teams are able to leverage each other effectively, then you can look forward to a bright future for your business.