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Some may try to call me out on the title of this post. “Don’t you mean ‘strategies’ plural?”
No. Search and social strategy. One thing. Different processes. Slightly different goals. Same strategy.
As we move forward through the second quarter of 2013, it’s important to understand how the dynamic between search engine marketing and social media marketing is operating. We’ve been saying for a long time that search and social were intersecting, that Google and Bing are getting more social while Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks were integrating search and becoming more popular as venues to find things, but the way that this dynamic has accelerated in the first part of 2013 is noteworthy.
For years, search and social have been separate disciplines. Most online marketing companies either focus on one or the other, or they have separate products and services. It is now clear that trying to separate the two is like trying to separate a car engine from a transmission. Both are required to work together to make the vehicle move.
If you currently have two different groups of people handling these components, rethink it. It’s not possible to have the highest level of search engine optimization without taking into account the social factor. It’s not a best practice to run social media marketing without taking search into account. They are officially hip-to-hip, hand-in-hand, and lockstep in form and function.
Don’t misread this. It’s not a call for marketing generalists. Specialists are still required. Some of the best social media marketers I know can’s spell “SEO” and some of the most talented search optimizers I know don’t have a Facebook page. The point is that they need to be communicating. They need to know what the other is doing and combine efforts when appropriate. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing a beautiful piece of content designed for search go untouched from a social perspective. Conversely, some of the activities I’ve seen from social teams could have been slightly adjusted to make them social and search optimization gold.
The goals of search and social are also starting to blend. When one talks about public relations, we often think of social media and/or reputation management. Today, search plays a tremendous role in public relations. One could even argue that true reputation management has less to do with reviews and comments that people are making and more to do with the reviews and comments that people can find online. A bad review on a website that sits on page three of Google when searching for a company by name is basically not much of a problem from a PR perspective, but I’ve seen companies spend exuberant amounts of time, effort, and even money to try to get that review removed or countered. That’s just one example.
If you have two different departments, two different vendors, or a department handling one and a vendor handling the other, make sure they’re working together. If they aren’t in constant communication, they cannot fulfill their responsibilities as well as they could. That’s a fact. In today’s world of digital marketing, there can no longer be a separation of search and social.
Is your engine connected to your transmission?