Social Media as Part of an Online Strategy, Not Just SEO

By Liana “Li” Evans

Lately there’s been a lot of fuss about Social Media. There are conferences dedicated to it (such as SMX Social) and different aspects of if (such as the upcoming Blog World Expo). There are blogs dedicated to it such as Pete Cashmore’s Mashable, and there are portions of forums dedicated it to it as well like on Cre8asite Forums. All of these talk about Social Media and their individual parts, however it’s rare that any of these actually talk about incorporating Social Media as part of an overall strategy for online marketing.

To look as Social Media as a boost for you SEO, quite frankly, is foolish. Social Media touches so many other aspects of an online marketing strategy. It isn’t just about gaining links to raise your PR or even your ranking in the results on Google, Yahoo, Live or Ask. If that is the sole reason to use social media, you might want to start thinking about finding another “quick fix”. Soon enough, the search engines will probably take a hard look at the effect of social media and will start devaluing the power links from places like Digg have (there are some reports that this has already begun to happen).

So if the search engines start devaluing the links from these big well known social media hubs like Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon, what is and SEO to do. Well if you are just and “SEO” and not an online marketer, it’s off to make sure that website is fully optimized. If you are an online marketer, you probably have already seen the value beyond SEO for Social Media.

Beyond the mass amount of links that a successful social media campaign can provide there are several other areas that Social Media touches within an internet marketing strategy.

 
  • PPC – When Social Media is strategically combined with PPC it can effectively reduce the cost of some campaigns. If you are advertising in the content network, utilizing social media can help you cut back on some of those costs. It’s a matter of watching your analytics closely in this case, as Social Media is not a replacement for PPC, it can certainly help to reduce some of the costs.
Comcast Technician Falls Asleep on Couch

Google Results for Blentec Will It Blend

  • Reputation Management – Social Media can be a help or a loss. There are some companies who don’t have a clue about the effect of Social Media on their reputation (i.e. Comcast & the sleeping cable guy), and then there are companies who embrace it (i.e. Blendtec’s “Will It Blend”) and in turn have amazing success stories to tell. In Comcast’s case, the sleeping technician video ranks in the top ten for the term Comcast – the video itself has been viewed over 100 times has links galore to it and as the thumbnail shows, represents Comcast in a negative light. Blendtec on the other hand has an over all positive reputation with its use of social media – a success story as people really engage in a positive manner with the brand/
  • Acquiring Links (aka Link Bait) – Social Media can be used to acquire links. I’m speaking of thinking beyond that site that consists of 16 year old girlfriendless boys who have temples to Kevin Rose in their basement. To have something be truly successful, the links have to come from a broad variety of sources, not just from Digg. Digg can be the place where it’s seen, but acquiring the links from other sites is another strategy all together and one online marketers need to really strategize on. (think about Mentos, Coke and the Eepy Bird guys)
  • Branding – Social Media is a great place to work with branding measures. If your company is new, and you need to get the word out in a cheap, efficient way, social media is the place to start. Talking to your audience, participating in a niche community, speaking to people who are already interesting in the type of product or service your offer all are a great way to get the conversation started.

The list above demonstrates just a few ways that shows Social Media isn’t just a stand alone strategy. It needs to be worked into an full online marketing plan if you want to have the successful results you are hoping for. Understanding how every aspect interrelates is just as important with social media as it is with working PPC and SEO together. Having an experienced online marketer who understands all aspects is going to be key to your strategy, the last thing you want to do is leave this in the hands of an intern. So take the time and not only plan, but budget for social media, make it a part of the strategy all on its own, not just a part of SEO.

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