Use a centralized dashboard and consolidate your social clutter to get better control of your social landscape and get direct assistance from your community in creating buzz.
As mentioned in my previous column, "SEO and Integration With Social Media," B2B and B2C companies across the globe are beginning to trust social media as a viable strategy and are jumping in head first. There is no doubt that social media has become a global phenomenon. However, in order to achieve its true value within the SEO context, as well as to not outdo yourself in the early stages, there are a number of organizational strategies that should be incorporated early on in the process. The two strategies outlined below will yield a higher ROI sooner rather than later when starting out and may help you avoid scratching your head asking "Why am I not ranking for this keyword?" "Why is there no scrolling window of tweets in the SERPs about the keyword?" or "Does it have anything to do with the fact that my efforts are fragmented across too many channels?"
I've seen a lot of different SEO-driven social media strategies; not all of them were very well conceived or managed, however. What does an organized social media strategy look like? Good question. More isn't always better.
In this post, we'll examine two major social media organizational strategies that you can incorporate into your enterprise today and benefit from immediately.
Use a Centralized Dashboard – Your Command Center
Many companies that adopted social media early started off by securing several different accounts on the top social media properties (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube). This strategy is OK if it makes sense for your business goals to do so, but could potentially lead to confusion and actually distract from the overall goal. The following tactics can help keep things organized as your social media efforts scale:
Dell does a decent job at this strategy by highlighting internal efforts across Dell.com. It has a link in the footer of all pages of its site pointing to a page called Dell Community. Here, you can see a collaboration dashboard with access to forums, blogs, and an idea storm. A great centralized location for all things "community based." The next step could be to have its external social media efforts incorporated. The command center can then be a one-stop shop for all things social within your organization.
Consolidate Your Social Clutter
Once a centralized dashboard and command center for your community is created, you should examine where you can consolidate some of your efforts. Do you have too many Twitter handles or Facebook pages making it confusing or difficult for visitors to find what they are looking for? Sometimes less is more. At the very least, try to identify the key brand or "official" one in each case.
Many companies are rich in social media profiles and have them scattered all over the place and for every occasion, event, idea, etc. These profiles can range from 50,000 followers on one Twitter handle to 20 people on another. That can become a lot to manage as the number of profiles continues to grow. But, if it is necessary and makes sense for your organization, make it clear what the purposes of each are and describe how you would like your community to use them.
What Does This All Mean?
Creating centralized dashboards and consolidating social clutter will help ensure that your SEO-driven social media efforts are organized and working towards a unified goal by allowing you to broadcast and communicate to your overall community effortlessly from one location. You will have better control of your social landscape/reach and will have direct assistance from your community in building links, buzz, and awareness at your fingertips.
For example, mention to your Twitter followers that you are using a specific hashtag at a conference or event and ask them to participate by including it in any of their relevant tweets. This will allow your hashtag to become a trending topic on Twitter more easily as the community will know what your intent is because you've explained it.
Trending in Twitter has benefits in Google's search results. Real-time results are Google's process of filtering and showing Twitter activity related to popular topics/keywords. These results will show up at or near the top of the Google search results pages.
Having a consolidated and centralized community will also allow you to easily reach out to your advocates and ask them to help promote new products or services. From a search engine optimization standpoint, you can ask them to give you a review with a link back to specific pages. These reviews can be in the form of "likes" or retweets, blog posts, or video responses.
All in all, you will net higher brand exposure rates in the search engines and social media channels if your fans and customers know that there is a centralized place for engagement and that your social media accounts are active as opposed to stale and inactive. Consolidate! Create a centralized dashboard. Capitalize on your command center.
What has been your experience with organizing an SEO-driven social media strategy across large enterprises? Are your seeing the kinds of results you'd hoped for? What has worked best for organization?
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Crispin Sheridan is the Senior Director, Global Search at SAP. As part of the digital team, he established and leads the search and testing practices at SAP. Crispin is responsible for paid, natural, and mobile search and all online testing. Search and testing at SAP are fully centralized and globally funded and run under a hybrid in-house and agency model.
Crispin has proven that search learnings and keyword insights work hand in hand with social media marketing and together can effectively drive B2B lead generation. Furthermore, the development of the SAP.com Test Lab has contributed significant success to SAP's digital marketing efforts.
A frequent guest speaker at conferences, including SES New York, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Delhi, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Crispin was appointed to the SES Advisory Board in December 2009. He has also been a guest speaker at the e-Metrics Summit and ad:Tech, and is a member of Google's B2B Technology Council. You can follow him on Twitter at @crispinsheridan and read his monthly SEO column on ClickZ.
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