I have often said two things when it comes to social:
The reality is that these statements are linked. Let's face it; most organizations will never have a million Facebook fans or Twitter followers. So what does that mean? Does it mean that an organization can never leverage social in a way that yields a genuine ROI? Does it mean they have to settle on doing social because it's "cool" or everyone says they have to? Of course not. It simply means that you have to leverage aspects of social that are less dependent on your fan and follower count.
One of the biggest things an organization can do is leverage social to propagate its materials throughout the web and add weight to them in organic search. These materials can include articles, white papers, infographics, images, coupons - basically any thought leadership or promotional content.
This leads to my second point that success in social is often realized through search. In many cases a share, retweet, repin, or other form of social distribution can be even more valuable than a like or follow. When you release content into the social space and encourage social sharing you can utilize the social community you do have to spark social/viral distribution. This then weaves your content into the fabric of the web and often does some very important things related to search:
Search Engines Are Indexing Social Content
So, let's start with what we know - Google, Bing, and the other engines are indexing social content and utilizing it to score pages and add content to actual results. How long they stick around in the index is not clear, but it can be quite a while.
Let's look at some real-life instances of social content showing up in search.
Branded results in Google - for starters, just look at what comes up related to your brand. Just on the first page Google is showing our pages for LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, SlideShare, and Twitter and on the left it is displaying our Google+ brand box.
In Bing, once signed in, a search of Facebook posts and other branded content is being shown on the left. This is facilitated via a deal with Facebook that allows them to display search results yielded from your friends' social posts.
Also, all the engines are indexing social content - check it out!
Finally, all this pickup and distribution of your content gets picked up in blogs and these blog posts get picked up in search. This is really the best thing that can happen.
Apply SEO Tactics to Social
How do you infuse your social activities with SEO goodness? Check out my column "14 Ways to Link Social and SEO."
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
As founder and CEO of Overdrive, Harry Gold is the architect and conductor behind the company's ROI-driven programs. His primary mission is to create innovative marketing programs based on real-world success and to ensure the marketing and technology practices that drive those successes are continually institutionalized into the culture and methods of the agency. What excites him is the knowledge that Overdrive's collaborative environment has created a company of online media, SEM, and online behavioral experts who drive success for the clients and companies they serve. Overdrive serves a diverse base of B2B and B2C clients that demand a high level of accountability and ROI from their online programs and campaigns.
Harry started his career in 1995 when he founded online marketing firm Interactive Promotions, serving such clients as Microsoft, "The Financial Times," the Hard Rock Cafe, and the City of Boston. Since then, he has been at the forefront of online branding and channel creation, developing successful Web and search engine-based marketing programs for various agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Harry is a frequent lecturer on SEM and online media for The New England Direct Marketing Association; Ad Club; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Harvard University; and Boston University.
March 19, 2014