Social Media + Search Marketing + Online Media = Success

Seven ways to integrate these channels and blur the lines between disciplines.

One thing I often talk about is the blurring of the lines between social media, search marketing, and online media. The days of specializing just in one area are going away because focus in one area limits your ability to create synergy between those three channels.

For example, you can’t run a social media marketing program without a strong knowledge of SEO (define). Without SEO expertise, you lose the extra benefit of universal search and inbound links. Conversely, if you are not used to tracking and optimizing online media and paid search campaigns, your ability to treat social media like a measurable medium is greatly diminished. And nothing ads octane to a Facebook Fan drive like online media integration and specifically, Facebook ads that encourage consumers to connect to your brand. Finally, utilizing social sharing technology (chiclets – see my column, “Socializing Your Banners With Chiclets“), your ads and landing pages for media and paid search can turn a single paid click into hundreds of free impressions and clicks with no cost.

Now, take away the combined knowledge of how all three of these disciplines work, and the potential of each one is greatly reduced.

So, here are some quick examples of how these online channels are coming together to blur the lines between disciplines:

  • Google Content Network: paid search or online media? Both – you can target by keyword, site, demographics, and geography. You can serve text ads, banners, videos, and rich media. You can manage it through the Google search interface or do a direct media buy. You can track with your PPC (define) tracking or your ad server.
  • YouTube sponsored videos and overlay ads: online media, social media marketing, or paid search? All three! Bringing together the video content you have placed in your free YouTube channel with the online media and paid search options of YouTube and AdWords is very powerful and can create a huge amount of low cost-engaging impressions and drive valuable video views of video content you have invested in producing. Furthermore, the social sharing elements of YouTube encourage people to post videos on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Facebook advertising: online media or social media marketing? Both. You can do a media buy but then link the ads to your free social media marketing fan page. You can deploy engagement ads that encourage people to become a fan (friend on Facebook for companies and brands) or share your message with their friends.
  • Social content development: SEO or social media marketing? Both. Video production, tweeting, and Facebook posts are not just for SEO – that is a huge amount of effort just to get links. We do it to create a powerful standalone social channel. However, that does not mean it should not be infused with keywords, links, and content that drive the search rankings of your site and help that content to pop in Google Universal Search, like video and image results. You want your socially distributed content to help your site pop and you want it to pop in the engines on its own!
  • Contextual ads: paid search or online media? Both. An in-text ad like Vibrant Media’s IntelliTXT is targeted by keyword and is typically sold on a PPC model. Yet, it can display text ads, flash ads, and even video ads.
  • Blogger outreach: social media marketing, PR, online media, or SEO link building? All four! Involving bloggers in your content development is a powerful way to interact with an influential group and create content that can be used in your social channels and Web sites, drive links to your Web site, and enhance the value and credibility of your advertising. Just look at what we did for Progress Software in its IAC award-winning Blogger Video Forum Banner. Progress was able to reach influential bloggers, create valuable video content for its site and YouTube channel, and then use the content in rich media ads.
  • Chiclet-enabled ads and landing pages: online media or social media marketing? Both. There is no better way to squeeze extra value from an online campaign than to embed social sharing chiclets into your ads, thank you pages, and landing pages. Be sure to apply the right tracking links and methodology to the content you spread around with your chiclets.

There are many more ways to integrate all this stuff and I would love to know what you think! Please add other integration tips and tactics below!

This column was originally published on March 30, 2010 on ClickZ.

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