Social and Search: Integrating Social Media and Search to Drive the Brand

March 24, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

We’re back and getting ready to talk about social media. And search. Okay, we’re going to talk about integrating the two, which is, of course, all the rage these days. Up on stage we have Leslie Reiser, Crispin Sheridan, Rebecca Lieb, Patricia Neuray, and Katrina Gosek.  We’re getting right to the action so no clever banter from me.

Rebecca Lieb is up first.  I’d kill a man for coffee.

Extent of Social Media Activity
Only about a quarter of companies say they are ‘heavily involved’ in social media. Sixty one percent say they have some experience.  Rebecca says that social media activity is largest in bigger companies, which I think is a scary thing. There’s SO much opportunity for small business owners in social media its craziness. That’s why I write an entire column on it for SmallBizTrends three times a week.  Anyway.

Top sites where marketers are concentrating social media strategy:

  • 85 percent: Facebook
  • 77 percent: Twitter
  • 58 percent: LinkedIn
  • 49 percent: You Tube

What is Facebook Being Used For? Improving brand awareness and reputation (55 percent), as a marketing channel ( 47 percent), to publicize new content (46 percent).

What is Twitter being used for? Improving brand awareness, publicize new content, as a marketing channel, etc.

No one is really using Twitter or Facebook as a strict SEO strategy, according to the data.  You can encourage social media by making it short and simple for the customer to find what he needs. Twitter is great at this.  Ask people to do things and they’ll do it.  Rebecca says that 36 percent of respondents spend less than $5,000 on social media. Twelve percent of respondents spend $5-10k. Awesomely, sixty eight percent of companies say their social media has increased and 81 percent says it will continue to increase over the next year. Rock on!

Rebecca talks about the use of metrics to measure the impact of social media on business objectives. Greater brand recognition (64 percent) is the second most important biz objective in terms of impacting through social media. Only a quarter of respondents are measuring brand mentions and brand awareness as a metric for measuring off-site social media success.  Just 15 percent used brand perception as a metric.  Marketers think they kind of suck at measuring ROI from social media.

How important is ROI measurement?

  • 37 percent: crucially important
  • 58 percent: fairly important
  • 6 percent: not important

Everyone talks about social media like its a unicorn. Maybe it’s just a horse and we need to treat it like one,

Biggest Challenges to Measurement

  • Tracking
  • The speed
  • Actionable feedback
  • Understanding the value

Most people say their social media is managed by the digital management team, marketing or communications. There’s a big question as to who is responsible for social media across an organization.

[Rebecca is showing a LOT of awesome graphs and charts…which are unfortunately hard to cover as quickly as she’s flipping through them.]

The opportunities afforded by social media are growing all the time. Companies are struggling to understand the value of social media, both for meeting harder and softer business topics. Many are failing to measure the impact of social media on their overall objectives, though it can be hard to align the metrics.

Wow, that was a lot of info super fast.

Next up is Katrina Gosek.

85 percent of consumers find products through Web research and social becomes a huge part of that.

Using On-Site Social Content: User Ratings & Reviews

She was looking for a new comforter on Ikea. She found a page with comforters on it, but then she got stuck. They rate their comforters from 1 to 6, but when you click through you don’t know what that means.   She turned to Google and searched for someone’s experience with Ikea comforter reviews. She was convinced that someone else has found the same experience.  Ikea didn’t show up anywhere but there were tons of other review sites.  Ikea should be using this for product development. They’re not only missing out on the content/reviews, but they can learn more about what people want.

Why should you create a social experience on your site?

It comes down to trust. Consumers trust Web search. They know they’re going to get the most relevant content above the fold. Web search is one of the most trusted digital channels for getting information about products you’re researching. Social media content converts users. It gets people to purchase. 97 percent of more revenue per referral comes from natural search content, not product pages.

What does this mean? It’s no longer what you have to say, it’s what you’re customers have to say. And they’re saying a lot whether you provide the forum or not. doesn’t sell anything. It’s just a forum for people to talk. It makes sense because cooking is a very social object.  Recipes can be tagged. They also blend user generated content with expert content.  She notes that searches for review content contain ~1.5 words per query more than product words. These people are on the hunt to buy.

Encouraging Social Distribution: Video, Articles, Images

She mentions the Nexxus Hairstyle How-To Videos. They have 1.8 million views – most on 3rd party Web sites. They dominate hairstyle-related keywords. It increased brand recognition by 600 percent.

It’s about experience co-creation and getting things to spread in social media. It’s not just about creating it.  She mentions the Nike + Web site. We’ve always had pedometers and sites that talk about running. Nike creates an experience around running.  You put something in your shoe and you can share your experience running with people and share workouts. You can join teams, find runners who are similar to you, etc.  600,000 runners signed up for the service in the first year.  It’s a ritual – people log in 3-4x a week.

Next up is Crispin Sheridan.

They realized that the process of what they (SAP) do is already very “social”. The conversations were happening and they needed to “be there”.  Search was always the voice of the customer. Social keyword research is closer to real-time.  Brand > Revenue impact = Opportunity.

What did they do?

They wanted to understand how social media would impact the business goals. They wanted to look at all the different activities that were happening and consolidate the learnings so they could track and syndicate them.  They wanted to develop guidelines they could use to train marketers.

What did they learn?

Social media isn’t just another channel. It’s not something you just turn on. You have to apply resources to it.  It’s a way to build up a conversation and cannot be quickly ramped up and then ramped down. Content production is challenging. It needs to be saleable, manageable and web 2.0-friendly. They found that topic-focused communities deliver value to target audiences.  For most of these activities there is no standard metrics plan. They tried to use the same metrics they used elsewhere.

Where they tried it

  • Blogger: 50k visits via blogs a year
  • Twitter: 750 percent growth in followers
  • Facebook: 39k fans, 20+ official active pages
  • LinkedIn: 4 major groups, 30K members

Conversion rates are 2.5x higher than organic search. They went from 12m today to 1  billion SAP users by 2014. Approximately 50 percent of global GDP go through SAP.

Key Takeaways

  • People: Decide who your audience is and find out where they are gathering
  • Objective: Determine your business goals for social media marketing
  • Strategy: Decide on your strategy to engage and influence
  • Technology: Choose the tools, sites, etc
  • Measure, test, an promote your success

Next up is Patricia Neuray.

She doesn’t think anyone is an expert in social media right now. Pfft, that’s not what Twitter says. ;)  B2B marketers are jumping into social media faster than B2Cs. She’s been surprised by how aggressive B2Bs are using social – between using blogs, monitoring competitors activity, etc.  Exposure to social media boosts brand and product-related searches, similar to impact of display advertising.  You get a much stronger engagement with your brand by combining search and social. You have to coordinate your efforts and use the best practices for each of them.

Joining a social network is another conversion type.

Good Content + Community = Inbound Links

They launched a new landing page on 11/2/09.  They’ve seen 9,000 page views, 6,600 unique visitors.  Grew 428 organic inbound links and exceptional SEO performance.

60 percent of those directly involved in company social media initiatives report that strategy is somewhat to not at all clear.  91 percent are managing more than 4 initiatives.  88 percent say they spend less than half of their work time on these initiatives.

Know your target audience: 37 percent of study respondents reporte their audience is somewhat to not clear at all.

Use meaningful metrics:  Focus on what matters to your business – traffic, conversion rate, revenue generated, etc.

Key Takeaways:

  • Social media should be used as part of a coordinated marketing strategy where messaging is aligned with search, email, display and offline
  • Set forth goals and identify resources to monitor
  • Don’t buy into the hype and bite off more than you can chew.
  • Measure success with tools like Hootsuite, CoTweet or Lodgy
  • Search and social require ongoing maintenance, resources and active measurement
  • Like search, social media can be very cost effective if dont right
  • Have patience.

Last up is Leslie Resier.

Why should you integrate search into your SMM efforts

  • This is where YOUR audience is going. 70 percent of what under-40s are reading was written by someone they know. Explosive growth of social networking and the continued decline of traditional print media and event attendance
  • People are spending much more time on the Web.
  • Individuals are creating and contributing useful content around original topics that marketers cannot anticipate
  • They are using language that brands do not use and are driving the brand conversions
  • They are rating, recommending, reviewing and commenting on content – enhancing that content with additional social context
  • People are interacting online at unprecedented rates.

Applying Best Practices For Social Media

  • Provide the link for your site within targeted and relevant SM spaces
  • Post authentic, relevant, and transparent comments on Walls, blogs, microblogs, and forums,
  • Engage or hire Advoates to talk favorably about your brand and incorporate links back to the brand site.
  • Use precise keywords to associate with your brand
  • When optimizing your SM experience you  should have at least 30 keywords in your meta data. The same keywords should also be in the Title.
  • Embed meta data in every blog post and with every new content upload.
  • Links in more places translates into higher Google ranks. Be careful not to spam.
  • Invest in the cross-company standardized meta data and content definitions for maximum searchability


  • Craft a strategy
  • Create a community
  • Start a business blog
  • Keep your content fresh
  • use targeted keywords and phrases in your titles and content
  • provide links to popular social networking sites

…And we are done. And over. So I’m out!

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