This month, Josh Walsh reviews the importance Social Media has taken in the communication universe and details the relevance this impact has on Search Campaigns.
Q: Has the definition of Social Media changed in 2009?
Josh: Social Media, much like the internet platform where it resides, is a constantly evolving network of ideas and in the race to be the most popular means of exchange, Social Medias are always looking for faster and more effective ways to connect people. For example, it is no coincidence that recently we have seen Twitter, with its streamlined means of communication, come out as a major player on the field. So to more accurately answer the question, has the definition of Social Media changed in 2009? Yes, and the definition will be forever changing.
Q: How is Social Media being used in search campaigns?
Josh: Social Media is very much becoming an integral part of Search Engine Marketing campaigns. Savvy search marketers are beginning to use social media platforms to capture an entire SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for a given term. This is an effective technique because most search engines will only allow a website to rank no more than twice for a given term, therefore, to show up more than twice in a given SERP, more than one domain will have to be used, and Social Medias offer a perfect solution. This can be very helpful as an approach to reputation management as well as effective means to rank for unbranded, more competitive terms.
The key to utilizing social media in a search campaign is to optimize a brand’s existing assets (newsletters, podcasts, webinars, whitepapers, etc.) as well as possible. Use Social Media channels such as About, Digg and eHow to increase the visibility of these key assets which in turn improves brand recognition and gives traffic boosts to the brand’s website.
Q: Why is Social Media important to a brand/client?
Josh: It is important to acknowledge that huge numbers of people are beginning to take their conversations away from the more traditional means of communication, and bringing them online. Social Media is the platform that is housing all of these online conversations. It will be very important to understand how your customer uses Social Media, what they are discussing and to actively take part in the conversation. Brands will need to be truthfully represented in this digital world, and who better to act as ambassador than the brand themselves. These insights and branding opportunities are all made possible through participating on Social Media platforms.
Q: What are future trends of Social Media and how could they affect search campaigns?
Josh: As stated before, Social Media is always transforming to better fit what people want but also what people are comfortable with. In the late 90’s social networking sites such as sixdegrees.com were the first to offer such online communication services. These earlier Social Medias, unfortunately, only were used by early adapters and never made much headway. In 2001 sixdegrees.com closed its doors for good. However, it is no secret that sites such as facebook.com and myspace.com have enjoyed enormous growth rates in recent years and are offering services not that different from there 90’s predecessors. If history is telling us anything it is that current niche forms of Social Media, currently only used by early adaptors, will be the new means of communication in the future. I believe future trends to look for will include mobile platforms and avatar forms of communication, similar to that in secondlife.com
Q: Any final thoughts?
Josh: As we marketers travel further into the information revolution it will be crucial to understand the importance of the free exchange of ideas and how Social Media is playing an integral part in shaping the information age.
In a search campaign, Social Media is best utilized alongside Paid and Organic offerings. Taking a holistic approach combines traditional SEO rankings with traffic generated from the Social Media universe and works in concert with a Paid Search campaign, providing the best possible ROI and Share of Voice from the campaign.
About Josh Walsh, Project Manager, Catalyst online
Josh Walsh, Project Manager at Catalyst online, has developed four years of Internet Marketing experience and consultancy work throughout his career. JoshÂ is an avid member of the Social Media community and enjoys speaking at local Colleges on the subject.