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Integrating Search and Social - iCrossing

Integrating Search and Social - iCrossing

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The simultaneous rise of search and social media has created a confusing technology landscape for many firms. Retailers are often unsure of how best to promote their products with search and the new, social Web. As this paper shows, when bound together, social media and search can provide brands, retailers and media firms with a cohesive, holistic digital marketing toolkit that respects traditional corporate branding, maximizes sales and word of mouth marketing effects.
The simultaneous rise of search and social media has created a confusing technology landscape for many firms. Retailers are often unsure of how best to promote their products with search and the new, social Web. As this paper shows, when bound together, social media and search can provide brands, retailers and media firms with a cohesive, holistic digital marketing toolkit that respects traditional corporate branding, maximizes sales and word of mouth marketing effects.

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INTEGRATING SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA

S ep tem b er 1 5, 2 0 08

An overview of current trends, and considerations for brands, retailers and publishers

W ritten b y:

Rob Garner
S t r a t e g y Di re c t o r, i Cr o s s i n g

Gabe Dennison
P ro d u c t Ma rk e t i n g M a n a g e r, P l u c k

Integrating Search and Social Media

Integrating Search and Social Media
AN OVERVIEW OF CURRE NT TRENDS, AND CONSI DERATIONS FOR BRANDS, RETAILER S AND PUBLISHERS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
T he s im ul ta n eo us r is e of s e ar c h a nd s oc i a l m ed i a h as c r e at e d a c o nf us in g t ec h n o lo g y l an ds c ap e f or m a n y f ir m s . For s om e br an ds , us er - ge n er at ed c on te nt p os es a t hre at t o v a lu e d br an d e qu i t y. Re ta i l er s ar e of t en u n s ure of h o w bes t t o pr om ote t h ei r pr od uc ts wi t h s earc h a n d th e n e w, s oc ia l W eb, wh i le d is ru pt i v e c o nt en t s yn d i c a t i on m od e ls l ea v e m a n y o l d m edi a f i rm s gas p in g f o r a ir . Mos t c om pa n ies ha v e s ear c h s tr at e g ies in p l ac e , a nd m an y ar e us i ng , or tr yi n g t o f i gur e ou t ho w t o us e s oc i a l n et w or k s to c on n ec t wi th t h e ir c us t om ers , b ut f e w ar e t ak in g th e in te gr a te d ap pr o ac h d em an d ed b y t h e c ur r e n t W eb la n d s c ap e . T he s olut ion f or m ar k et er s i s to m a r r y t he ir s oc i al m edi a an d s e a rch st r at eg ie s . B ou n d to g et h er, s oc i a l m edi a a n d s e arc h c a n pro v i d e br an ds , r et a i le r s a n d m ed i a f irm s wi t h a c o hes i v e, ho l is t ic d ig i ta l m ark eti ng t o o lk it th at r es p ec ts c or p or at e br an d i ng , m ax im i ze s s a l es a nd wor d of m out h m ark et i ng ef f ec ts , an d thr i v es am on gs t d is r u p ti v e t ec h n o lo g ies .

INTRODUCTION: SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Co ns id er i ng t h e r a te o f c ha n ge in s oc i a l m e d i a an d s e arc h, f i gur i n g o ut j us t ex ac t l y wh a t i s at s t ak e c an be tr ic k y f or e n ter pr is es . W hile t he de ta i ls of th e s e ar c h /s oc i a l m ed i a re la t io ns h ip ar e c er t ai n l y tec h nic a l, t h e g en e ra l i de a is n ’t . Pe o p le ar e s p e nd i ng m uc h m ore t im e o n t he W eb. T he y ar e c re at i n g an d c on tr ib u t in g us ef u l c o nt e nt l ik e n e ve r bef ore , c o ver i n g b ot h p op u la r c o nc ep ts a nd id e as , an d un pr e dic t ab l e a nd o r i g i na l s u bj ec ts t ha t m ark et ers c a nn o t a nt ic ip a t e. T h e y ar e us in g l an g ua g e th at br a n ds do no t us e, ye t th e y ar e a r ef l ec ti o n of t h e br an d , an d ar e dr i v i ng t h e bra n d c o n vers a ti o n. T he y a r e r at i ng , r ec om m end in g , r e v ie wi n g a n d c om m ent i ng on c o n t en t – en h anc i n g th at c on t en t wi t h ad d it i o na l s oc i a l c o nt ex t. Mos t im por t an t l y, p e op l e ar e i nt erac t i ng o n l in e l ik e ne v er b ef or e.

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In c om b in at i o n, t h is s c en ar i o c r e at es t wo m a i n c h al l e ng es . F irs t , it c rea t es a l ar ger an d r ap i d l y- gro wi n g u n i v er s e of c on te n t wi t hi n wh ic h t o s e arc h. I n t h is l ar ge r s ea rc h u n i v ers e, s earc h a n d d is c o v er y t ec h n o lo g ies ar e c ha l l e ng e d to s urf ac e r e le v a nt c o n te nt no t j us t b y c on t ex t ua l r el e v anc e – t he G oo g l e m od e l – b ut b y s oc i a l r e l e va nc e as we l l . T od a y’ s us er s ha v e q u es t i ons t h at ar e m os t l y s oc i a l: W ho e ls e is b u yi n g t he p ro d uc ts t h at I b u y? W hic h of m y f r ie n ds r e ad t h is s am e ar t ic le t o da y? Af t er ― d is c o ver y‖ was p i o ne er e d b y Am a zo n.c o m in th e f orm of s oc i a l r ec o m m enda t io ns , ne w d is c o ver y a p p l ic a t io ns h a v e th e p ot e nt i a l to s u rf ac e s oc ia l l y re l e va n t c on t e nt a n d pr od uc ts wi t h i nc re as i ng s op h is t ic at i on . T his br i ngs s oc i a l m ed i a an d s e ar c h c l os e r t og e th er t ha n e v er b ef o re. In c om bi na t io n, a us er ’s ac t i v it i es , s oc i a l c o nn ec ti o ns , a n d th e i r ac t i vi t ies c an c r ea te a n e w m eas ur e of r e le v a nc y f or s ear c h . T his ― s oc i al gr a p h‖ wi l l p o wer re l e va nc y i n t h e n e w s oc i a l W eb. As us er - ge n er a t ed b l o gs , p h ot os , v id e os a nd o th er f orm ats gr o w t o c om pr is e a n i nc r e as i n g perc e nt a ge of o v er a ll I nt er ne t c o nt e nt, t h e n ee d t o i nd ex t ha t c o nt en t a ls o i nc re as es . T oda y’ s us ers c o ns id e r us er - ge n er at ed c on t en t t o be us ef u l a n d r e l e va nt , a nd t h e y ex pec t G o og l e – a nd in t er n a l s it e s e ar c h v e nd ors o n l ar ge - s c a l e s i tes – t o i de nt if y a nd p res e nt i t. Ho we v er , d oi n g s o c a n b e d if f ic u l t d ue t o t he f orm at, s u bj ec t i v e m e as ur es of r e l e va nc y, a nd qu a l it y s t a nd ar ds f or m uc h us er - g en er at e d c on t en t. Als o , wh i l e r i c h In t ern et t ec hn o l og i es s uc h as F l as h an d Aj a x c a n e nh a nc e t h e us e r ex p er ie nc e i n a v ar i e t y of s oc i a l m ed i a s et t in gs , t h e y c a n a ls o c a us e c r a wl i ng an d i n dex i n g is s ues f or s e ar c h e ng i nes . B ui l d in g s oc ia l m ed ia c o n te nt i n a s e ar c h - e n gi n e f r ie nd l y f orm at is c r it ic a l t o b ei n g f o u nd in s earc h r es u l ts . A l l o wi ng c o n t en t t o be s har e d wi l l e m po wer s oc i a l n et wo rk s t o ex t e nd t h e l if e a n d r eac h of th a t c on t en t. Ma rk eters s ho u l d a ls o no t e th at ad v ert is i n g i n ves tm ents ha v e b e en h is tor ic a l l y f oc us ed o n ― bu y- a b le ‖ m ed i a, s uc h as T V i n ve nt or y, r a d i o a irt im e, a nd di g it a l f orm ats l ik e k e ywo r d a ds an d d is p la y a ds . T h e n ot a bl e of f l i ne ex c e pt i o n is P R, wh er e at te n ti on is e arn e d or , at wor s t, en g i ne er ed . A c om m on t hr e a d th a t b in ds n at ur a l s ear c h v is ib i l it y a n d s oc i a l m ed ia v is i b i l it y is t h at t h e y are bo th ― ea rn e d‖ m ed i a. S E O is b as e d o n s i te - s i de op t im i zat i o n, b ut a ls o o n l i nk eq u it y, or ― au t hor i t y‖ . Soc i a l e q u it y i s a ls o ― ear n ed at te nt i on ,‖ a n d ne i th er is bu y- a b le . W hile en t erpr is es c a n a d ver t is e wi t hi n s oc i a l n et wo rk s , th e re a l o pp or tu n i t y – g ett i n g ta lk e d ab o ut an d e n ga g in g in va l u a b le d i a lo g u e wi t h c ons um ers – r eq u ir es a d if f ere n t s tra t eg y t h an tr a d it i on a l a p pr o ac hes t o a d ver t is i n g a nd m ed ia .

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THE CHANGING SEARCH ENGINE LANDSCAPE
T he m at ura t i on of s e ar c h tec h no l o gi es h as c ha n ge d h o w pe o p le ac c es s i nf orm at io n . T h e In ter n et is th e gr e at es t r ep os it or y of i nf orm a ti o n i n th e h is tor y of t he wor l d, a n d i nc r eas i ng l y s op h is t ic at e d s e ar c h t ec h n o lo g ies en a b le us ers to na v i g at e thr o ug h th e p et a b yt es of da t a to f in d th e i nf orm at i on t h e y ar e l ook i n g f or wi th a f e w na tur a l l a ng u ag e k e ywo r ds . W hile m an y of t h e pr in c i pl es of n at ur al s earc h e ng i ne op t im i zat i o n ha v e rem a in e d c o ns t a nt f or t h e l as t 1 0 ye a r s , t he bas ic c or n ers t o nes of li nk d e v el o pm ent an d s ta t ic o n - p a ge t ex t doc um en t o pt im i za ti o n ar e i n t he m ids t of a gre a t s h if t, i n t erm s of t he ne w a ppr o ac h an d s tra te g y re q u ir e d t o m a in ta i n r a nk in gs a n d tr af f ic f l o w f rom t he s ea rc h e ng i n e r es u l ts p ag es . Digital asset optimization, and other new developments. W ith U n i vers a l S e ar c h , G o og l e h as m o ve d b e yo n d th e ra nk i ng of W eb pa g es an d t ex t doc um en ts to inc l u de ot h er d ig i ta l as s e ts , s uc h as v i de o, im ag es an d o th er s tr uc t ur e d d at a. As a res u lt , o pt im i zi n g t hes e as s ets f or n at ur a l s earc h is no w m or e c rit ic a l th a n e v er, es p ec i al l y wh e n de p lo ye d wi th i n r ic h I nt er ne t t ec h no l og i es . P ers o n a li za t i o n, c o n te nt de v e l opm en t, c on te n t pr om ot i o n, e n ga g em ent , r es earc h , an d a n al yt i c s are a ls o ra is i ng t he bar f or n a tur a l s e a r c h op t im i zat i o n. Increased query volume and diversity. W ith t he inc r e as ed m ai ns tr eam a d op t io n of s earc h , th er e ar e n o w m ore k e ywo rd qu er i es en t ere d e v er y d a y th a n a m ar k et er c o u ld p o s s i bl y p re d ic t t o o pt im i ze f or . Ac c or d in g t o G o og l e, a n ywh er e f r o m 20 to 2 5 p er c en t of a ll qu er i es on a g i ve n da y h a v e n e ve r be e n s earc h e d f or b ef or e , c r ea t in g a s ig n if ic a nt c ha l l en g e f o r bra n d m ar k eters t o m ee t th e c on t en t d em ands of t h e ir tar g et a u d ie nc e. Increased organic competition on a cluttered results page. W hile t he po p ul ar i t y of s e ar c h has c r ea t ed n e w o p po rt un i t ies f or m ark et ers , it h as b ec om e i nc re as i ng l y- d if f ic u l t t o d is t i ng u is h th e br a n d v o ic e wi th i n a c l u tt er ed s earc h res u lts p a g e. For a n y s e arc h, m ar k e ter s m u s t c om pet e wi t h d o ze ns of ot h er s i te s a l l v yi n g f or t h e at t e nt i on of t h e us ers , ac r os s m u lt i pl e d i g it a l as s et t ypes . W hile c om pan i es ne e d to op t im i ze t he ir o wn W eb s it es t o r eac h t h e ir t ar g e t m ar k ets , t h e m os t s uc c es s f u l m ark e ters wi l l b e th os e th a t a ls o e x t en d t he ir c o n t en t a nd v oic e ac r os s m ult ip l e t hir d - p art y W eb s it es a nd s earc h p lac em en ts .
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Brand term protection and reputation management in search and social channels. Fur th er c om pl ic at i n g t he is s u e of i nt e gra t in g s e arc h an d s oc i a l m e d ia is th e r is e o f s e arc h en g i nes as a v eh ic l e f or br an d r e p ut at i o n bu i ld i n g. S EO - f oc us ed p ub l ic re l at i o ns ( S EO - P R) has tr a d it i on a l l y r e qu ir ed a gr e a t c om m and o f na t ura l s e arc h o pt im i za t i on s k i lls t o pr o tec t a bra n d ’s k e ywo r d s p ac e. T od a y, br a n d - c it e d c on t en t a pp e ar in g i n s earc h res u lts c om es n ot j us t f rom a c om pa n y’ s o wn W eb pr op er t y, or e ve n f rom on e m ed ia s it e . I t is n o w m ore l ik el y to c om e f r om a m ul t it u de of s i t es an d s oc i a l m edi a c h an n els wh er e a br a nd c on v ers at i o n is oc c ur ri n g. T h is tr en d un d er s c or es t h e im per at i v e f or bra n ds to be ac t i v e n ot o n l y i n n at u ra l s earc h , bu t t o a ls o ha v e a c om m and f or em erg in g s oc i a l m ed i a o ut l ets wh ere a u d ie nc es c on gr e ga te . Natural search influence shifting from the technical, to the non -technical user. Na tur a l s e arc h en g i ne op t im i zat i o n h as ar gu a b l y a l wa ys h ad a ―s oc i a l‖ e lem en t, in t h e s e n s e th at pe o pl e wer e s ti l l c on tr ol l i n g th e c o nt e nt , l ink s an d t ec h n ic a l s i te s tr uc t ur es t ha t te n d ed to inf lu e nc e r ank i ngs an d tr af f ic . Un t il r ec e nt l y, t h is i nf l u enc e wa s h e ld b y th e W eb’s m os t tec h n ic a l l y- inc l i ne d us er s . Soc i a l n et work s rep res e nt a p o wer s hif t f rom t he t ec hn ic a l, t o th e n on - t ec h n ic al , e v e r yd a y I n ter n et us er in term s of th e ir a b i li t y t o i nf l ue nc e r e l e va nc y to war d o n e as s et o v er a n ot her .

THE RISE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
T he f orm at a n d f u nc t io n of s oc i a l i nt er ac t i o n s h a v e r e ve a l ed t h at s oc ia l m ed ia , l ik e th e In ter n et in g e n er a l , is an e vo l ut i on ar y m o v e m ent th at bec om es m ore s o ph is t ic a te d wit h e ac h pas s i n g da y. T h e d im ens i o ns of r ec e nt c ha n ge r ef l ec t t hr ee g e ne r a l th em es : th e r is e of s oc ia l n et wo rk in g, t h e pr o l if er a ti o n of s oc i a l t oo ls , a nd t h e em erg en c e of an o p en s oc i a l arc h i tec t ure t h at s e ts c on t en t a nd c o n nec t i o ns f re e . Social networks and destinations. T he i nf l ue nc e a nd s uc c es s ac hi e v ed b y M yS pac e , F ac eb o ok , L i nk e dI n, Ye l p, W ik ipe d ia , a nd th e c o un t les s ot he r s o c i al ne t wor k s a n d des t i na t io ns t ha t h a ve r is e n i n th e n e w wa v e of In ter n et g ro wt h is s u b s ta nt i a l, r ef le c t ed b y m as s iv e ye a r - o ver - ye a r gr o wt h i n m em bers hi p, he a v y a tt e nt i on f r om r et a i l an d br a nd m ark et ers , a n d l ar ge - s c a l e a c qu is i ti o ns b y m a ins tr eam m edi a c om pa ni es . Al r ea d y, th e m aj or s oc i a l n et wo rk s ’ i nt ern a l s e a rc h a pp l ic at i ons are s om e of t h e m os t wi d e l y us e d s e ar c h f u nc t i ons in us e t o da y. W hile m an y of th es e n et work s s pe nt th e ir e ar l y ye a r s obs c ur e d t o ex t er n al s earc h e ng i nes s uc h as G o og l e , de v e lo p i ng in i t ia ti v es b y F ac eb o ok a nd ot he r s wi l l br eak d o wn t h o s e wa l ls – a n d wi l l m ak e m ains tre am s e arc h m ore s oc i a l as a r es u l t.

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Social media tools. T he pr ol if e ra t io n of s o c i al t o o ls has po we re d t he m os t s i gn if ic a n t c ha n ge in on l i ne be h a vi ors : th e c o ntr i b ut i on of c o n te nt b y e ver yd a y I n t er ne t us ers . S oc ia l t o ol s s uc h as b l ogs , f orum s an d p h ot o/ v i de o u p l oa d in g s of t war e h a v e a ll em po wer ed I n ter n et u s ers to r e v ie w or d is c u s s th e pr od uc t or is s u e of t he ir c h o os in g . Us er - g en er at e d c o nt e nt h as i nc r e as e d t he t ot a l v o lum e of on l i ne c on t en t. M uc h of t his c on t en t is n ic he an d e x per t, ( on an in d i v id u a l ’s p ers o n a l b lo g, f or e x am pl e) c o ntr i bu t in g t o th e v o l um e of ― l on g t a i l‖ of In te r n et pro p ert i e s t ha t s e arc h en g i nes are t as k ed wi t h s urf ac i ng . In a d d it i on , th er e is a n i nc r eas e in us er - e nh a nc e d c o nt e nt ac ros s tr ad i t io n al m ed i a an d re ta i l c ha n ne ls wi th a d d it i on of us er c om m ents , r at i ngs a n d r e v i e ws —p ro v i di n g a l a ye r of s oc i a l r e le v a nc y to t h es e s it e s . S oc i a l m e di a t oo ls ha v e a ls o c r ea t ed s ig n if ic an t n e w s e arc h o pp or t un i t ies f or e nt er pr is es . B ec a us e t wo of G o og l e ’s pr im ar y s e arc h r e l e va nc y c ri t er ia inc l u de f req u enc y of c o nt e nt up d at es a nd v ol um e of c o nt e nt – t h e t wo v er y m e as ur es t ha t s oc i al m edi a t oo ls are d es i g ne d to inc r e as e — t h os e to o ls ha v e em po we re d p ub l is he rs , br a nds an d ret a i lers t o ac h ie v e gre a ter s earc h r e l e v an c y. Cr e at i n g f or um s a n d b lo gs i n p ar tic u l ar ar e s ta n dar d b es t prac t i c es us e d b y l e a di n g s oc i al m edi a ve n dor s f or inc reas i n g s e arc h r el e v a nc y. F or re t ai l ers , un b i as e d us er - ge n er a t ed c on t e n t pr o vi d es a l a yer of c re d ib i l it y t h at im pr o ves c o n v ers io n r at es . I n th e e ye s of c ons um er s , tr us t in ―s o m eone l ik e m e‖ tr i p l ed b et we e n 2 00 4 a n d 2 0 06 – an d is s t i l l t he m os t tr us t e d s our c e f or i nf or m atio n a b ou t c om pa n i es . The Social Web. W hile l es s vis i b l e t o t h e e v er yd a y I nt er ne t us er, t h e em erg enc e of a n e w s oc i a l W eb arc h i tec t ure is wh a t is m ak ing t hes e s oc i a l t oo ls p os s i bl e . As s oc i a l to o ls a nd s oc i a l ne t work s h a v e s pr ea d ac r os s t h e In t ern e t, s o h as t he n e ed f or a m ore o pe n a n d m od u lar W eb – a W eb wh er e th os e s oc i a l i nt er ac t i o ns a n d th e c o nt ex t t h e y pro v i d e c a n be tr a ns por t ed f re e l y be yon d t he ir o wn wa l ls , f o l lo wi n g t he pe o p le t o wh ic h th e y b e lo n g. W idgets , f ee ds , an d o pe n d e v el o pe r p la tf or m s pro v id e t he f irs t l a ye rs of op e nn es s . B e h in d e ver y b l o g e ntr y o r F a c eb o ok f r ie n d r e qu es t is a m as s i ve ef f ort o n be h a lf of i nd us tr y l ea d ers to c o n tro l t he r u les of th e g am e i n t h e ne w s oc ia l W eb. W hile s t i l l de v e l op i ng , t he ef f or ts l au nc he d b y F ac e b ook , G o og l e, M yS p a c e an d ot h ers to po we r th is op e n s oc ia l W eb p o i nt to war ds a n o n l in e e n v i r onm e nt wh er e s oc ia l c on t en t c a n tra v e l ac r os s th e W eb f ree l y.
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T oge th er , th es e r ec en t tr en ds i n s oc i a l m ed i a c o n v erg e t o d el i v er a n In t ern et ex p er i enc e ric h wi t h s oc ia l c o nt e nt , i nt er ac t io n a n d s oc ia l c o nt ex t . It is an ex p er i en c e th a t en t erpr is es c a nn o t af f ord t o i gn or e.

SOCIALLY-ENABLED SEO: TOP ISSUES FOR MARKETERS
S ea r ch an d so ci al m e dia ar e inh e r entl y r e l ate d and shou ld be a ppro a ch ed w ith a si n gle mind ed and st r at e gi c al l y - co he siv e f r am ew or k. A n e nt er pris e f ac ed wi th ou t li n i ng t h e ir s oc ia l m ed ia a n d s e ar c h s tr a t eg i es s h ou l d c ons i d er a n um ber of f a c tors . T ac t ic a ll y, m anag ers f ac e a s er i e s of to u gh is s u es t ha t m anda t e c o ns i d er at i on of b ot h or ga n i za t i on a nd s tra te g y: Review your organizational structure. W hile t he tr a d it i on a l o r ga n i za t i on m ig ht r el e ga t e c ert a i n I n ter n et - r e la te d d ut i es – c om m un it y m anag em en t, s e l ec t i o n of t ec hn o l og y v e n d o rs , etc . – t o a d ed ic at e d tec h no l o g y r es ourc e or proj ec t m an ag er , to d a y’ s b us in es s e n v iro nm en t r e qu ir es t hos e f un c ti o ns to be oc c u p ie d b y s en i o r o p era t io ns a n d m ar k etin g pr of es s i on a l s . As s e arc h an d s oc i al m ed i a em erg e as t he pr im ar y d i g it a l m ar k et i ng ou t le ts , t h es e a re t he s t ak eh o l ders wi th t he tr a i ni n g a nd ex p er ti s e r eq u ir ed t o m ak e i nf or m ed d ec is io ns a b ou t a n e nt erp ris e ’s s e arc h an d s oc i a l m ed i a s tr at eg y. Rethink your approach to PR. Ma rk et in g a nd pu b l ic r e la t io ns ar e n ot m utu a l l y ex c lus i v e i n s e arc h e n gi n es , s oc i a l m ed i a , an d s oc i a l ne t wor k s , a nd br a n ds s h ou l d c o ns i der a f res h a pp ro ac h to e n ga g i ng in t h es e are as . W hil e e na b l in g a n d i nt er a c t i ng wi th u s er - ge n era t ed c o n te nt c an he l p br an ds m eet v ar io us o bj ec t i ves , r u l es of en g ag em en t s ho u ld b e es ta b l is h e d o n be h a lf of th e br a nd , a nd th is i n v o l ves em p o wer i ng a br a n d a d voc a te who ef f ec t i ve l y b ec om es t he v oic e of th e br a n d i n bo t h s ea rc h , a nd s o c i al m ed i a. Educate internal stakeholders on the benefits and risks of engaging in social media. T oda y, us ers h a ve m or e c o ntr o l o v er br an d c on v ers at i o ns , a n d th e re a l it y of ― wh o yo u ar e‖ is m ore a b ou t wh a t th ey s a y yo u ar e , r a th er t h an wh at a bra n d wa n ts c o ns um ers t o b el i e v e. T he In te rn et has a l l o wed e ver yd a y c o ns um er s t o br oa dc as t c o n v ers at i ons t h at o nc e oc c ur red pr i va te l y – an d s e ar c h h as a l lo we d o t her e ve r yd a y c ons um ers to s t um bl e ac r os s th os e c on v ers at i o ns . T h er e ar e po te n t ia l r is k s f or e it her par t ic ip at i n g i n th e c o n vers a t io n, or n ot par t ic ip a ti n g , b u t th e o n l y wa y f or m ark et ers to h a v e a v o ic e th em s e l ves is to h os t an d par t ic ip a te in t h os e ve r y c o n v er s a t io ns as t h e y oc c ur.

Page 6

Integrating Search and Social Media

Build a robust content strategy. Co nt e nt s tr at e g ies m us t be r ob us t en o ug h t o a d dres s b o th s earc h an d s oc i a l m ed i a au d i enc es . As a s i gn i f ic a nt s h ar e of G o og l e ’s d a il y u s er qu er i es a re u npr e d ic t ab l e, s o lu t i ons f or a d dr es s i n g th is ― un pr e d ic t a b le s earc h i n t en t‖ ra n ge f rom a l lo wi ng en h anc e d c o nt en t s tra te g i es , t o a l lo wi n g f u ll us er - e na b l ed di g it a l as s e t c r e at i o n an d de p l o ym e nt – inc l u di n g tex t, im a ges a n d v i d eo . W ith t h is ap pr oa c h , u s ers wi l l bu i l d a b od y of c o n te nt t h at f oc us e s o n th e ir i nt er es ts , us in g t he ir o wn l an g ua g e. Ma k ing yo ur s it e a us ef u l a n d r e le v a nt gr o u nd f or c on v ers at i o n is a n im p or t a nt e l em ent of t h is s tra te g y. Ensure vendor compatibility. T he r e la t io ns h ip b e t we en s ear c h a n d s oc ia l m edi a c a n r a is e im por ta nt is s u es i n v o l vi n g m ult ip l e v e nd or s . I n r et a i l, f or ex am pl e, t he im por ta nc e of f l ex ib l e A PIs am ong k e y v e n d ors c an n ot b e u n der s t at ed . A r et a i ler t h at us es c om m uni t y f orum s t o s urf ac e c ons um er ge n er at ed pro d uc t ins i gh t a nd dis c us s i on c o u ld le v er ag e A P Is t o r en d er th a t us er - g e ne r at e d c on t en t s e arc h a b le b y th e r e ta i l er ’s i nt er na l s it e s e arc h v e nd or. S uc h an e n ter pr is e m us t l e ver a ge t h e f u l l vo l u m e of d at a t he y o wn – pr o duc t r a ti n gs a nd r e v ie ws , f or um s c on te n t – an d m ak e it s ear c h ab l e b y us er s . Understand how social media can increase search engine visibility. T here are a num be r of d if f er e n t d yn am ic s a n d c o ns i d er at i ons f or s oc ia l m ed ia t h at d ir ec t l y im pac t s earc h e n gi n e v is ib i l it y, tr af f ic an d ra nk in gs . S om e of t hes e is s ues inc l u de t h e l ink a b il i t y, c r a wl ab i l it y, an d i n dex a b il i t y of c on t en t, as we l l as m a n y o t h er c or e s e arc h e n g in e op t im i zat i o n b es t pr ac tic es . W hen e n ga g in g i n s oc ia l m ed ia s tr a t eg i es , op t im i zat i o n a ll o ws f or t h is c o nt en t t o be d is c o v er ed in t h e s e ar c h c h an n el on a la rg e s c a le .

CONCLUSION
For tod a y’ s l ead ing b ra nd s, r et ai le r s an d publ is he r s, s oc i al m e dia and s e ar ch p re s e nt a gat ew a y to th e d igi t a l bu s in es s l and sc ap e – a n env i ron m ent w h er e c ons um e rs a r e be com ing in c r ea si ngl y - e mpow e r ed t o sp e a k t he ir m ind s . T h e o pp or tu n it y t o ac c e ler a t e th at em po werm en t b y g i vi n g c o ns um ers a v o ic e has ne v er b e en b i g ger . B y g i v in g br a nd ad v oc at es , s ho p per s a nd au d ie nc es a p l atf or m to en g ag e i n b us in e s s - re le v a nt c o n v ers at i on , en t erpr is es c a n p ar t ic i pa t e i n th at c on v ers at i on t o t he ir a d v a nt ag e b y d irec t l y a ddr es s i ng c ons um ers . F i n al l y, e nt er pr is es c a n m ax im i ze ex pos ur e a nd p ar t i c i pa t io n t o th os e c on v ers at i o ns b y l e ve r ag i n g s ea r c h t o s urf ac e c o ns um er - le v e l d is c ours e .

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