Sometimes I feel like a dog! One year can be like seven years in Internet speed. Although we’ve been providing SEO services since 2003, I wasn’t one of the earliest adopters of social media, until about 2007. Let’s face it, social marketing was still very young in 2007. It’s hard to believe that was just five years ago!
In 2005 Google started talking about how they were integrating search results with social media, but it was very early stage. It wasn’t until October 2009 that Google took a big step forward in social search by indexing content from social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, albeit on a limited basis.
In 2010 more mobile devices sold than personal computers. By 2011 mobile marketing had arrived with marketers having to consider two forms of mobile elements in their strategy; 1) the experience of a user when navigating their website on a mobile device, 2) the possibility of a standalone application that provides utility to the user to create an emotional connection to the brand.
Let’s look at the top three reasons social marketing has arrived as “not optional” for all marketers across all industries.
SEO & Social Marketing Tied Together
As I mentioned above, Google (and Bing) have been evolving their algorithms since 2005 to include social content. Just recently, Google launched Search Plus Your World, which shows search results shared by people in your Google+ network (your world). Simply stated, SEO and social media are not silos. They are overlapping circles. In other words to get desirable SEO results, you need to have an active social marketing strategy. The planning process and the people involved should be tightly orchestrated.
Prolific Sharing of Content
Twitter has the retweet, Facebook has the like button and Google+ has their +1 button. Even LinkedIn has a like function. Good content travels through online channels at lightning speed. When your content is shared, Google and Bing track it and consider how often it’s shared and who shares your content. When socially influential people share your content, that’s worth something in Google’s eye, and therefore it’s good for SEO results.
Laggards in C-Suite Admit They Can’t Ignore Social
I remember countless conversations as recently as 2010 with executives not convinced that social media is viable, especially B2B executives. But, the groundswell of social media momentum has grown to a point of mainstream. Even the biggest doubters have come to the realization that social media is here to stay, even if they don’t like it. And, they’re learning that social marketing results can be measured.
The question is no longer about the viable role of social media in a business’ marketing strategy. The question is what role does it play? Businesses are also asking how will they do it?
The latter question is huge because it is inevitable that many businesses are diving into social media with little understanding of how to use it effectively, how to measure results and how to staff for it.
All businesses want to get found online. But getting found is not enough. Converting a visitor or a contact into a “relationship” is the end game. That relationship can evolve through several phases before it is monetized. Social marketing is a strategic element that requires integration with all other marketing elements to achieve your objectives.
SEO and social marketing will be discussed in detail at the Social Fresh East conference, February 6 & 7. We’ll be there. Drop by for a discussion about how social marketing fits into your business plans in 2012.