Social Media Optimisation, SEO and Channel Linking: The Bigger Picture

Search Engine Optimisation

It is said that the hype around SEO will die down and businesses going forward will rather only be concerned with Social Media Optimisation, an all-encompassing concept that includes all elements of SEO. So what is SEO or search engine optimisation in the first place?

Search Engine Optimization is a tool deployed to more effectively market your products, services, or brand by utilising all aspects of the internet.

At the core of SEO, is the art of understanding how search engines are used, and therefore the importance of your website, your website content, social media content and strategy, as well as how you deploy your social media platforms.

I like referring to the above as Channel Linking. To support your SMO and SEO effort, ensure your channels are linked effectively, both amongst social media channels, social media and other website channels and all of the above, with your traditional multi-channel.

SEO loves a blog and your corporate blog should sit at the heart of your Channel Linking effort. When posting on your blog, and having linked your blog with other social platforms, a notification of your blog post will automatically be posted on Facebook, tweeted on Twitter, posted on Google+, posted on LinkedIn (and specifically groups on this network) and so on. This requires a single action – posting that blog post, yet you enjoy double, triple or a fourfold reach as opposed to reaching your audience on your blog only. Within your blog post itself, make use of links as search engines are specifically on the lookout for this. Link the right content to the right pages on your website to drive traffic to your site.

Another good example of Channel Linking can be found where platforms such as Twitter can be used to drive traffic to a desired location on your website, where your sales force or marketing team can further engage with visitors via more traditional communication channels, such as live web chat. By deploying a website visitor tracking tool, you can track the effectiveness of this strategy by monitoring the start journey of your visitors from a link posted on Twitter. Having the right KPIs to track the effectiveness of your Channel Linking effort is critical to shape, amend and improve your strategy in the future so make sure you have the necessary in place to track what you are doing.

Developments are happening fast and Colayco forecasts several trends website owners can anticipate in 2014. He argues that, Social media is more important in the context of marketing across the internet than it has ever been. According to Colayco:

“Today, the algorithms in the search engines are geared more towards understanding and appreciating the important of social signals. Having shares, likes, posts, comments and followers will expand your business ot only in the branding aspect of your business, but the search engines as well.”

It immediately becomes very clear that there is a bigger picture here and that social media cannot be treated in isolation of your SEO. At the same time, SEO is never only relevant to your website and channels can be linked as part of a more integrated and effective strategy to drive your marketing effort and generate traffic. The key is to approach your SEO strategy as an tool that has benefits for various functions in the business. Bring your ICT, marketing, customer engagement, creative and social media teams together, and plan your SEO strategy across the full spectrum with the input of all interested stakeholders.

Your fully integrated SEO strategy coupled with a SMO and Channel Linking effort will yield great benefits for your business in the short and long term. The sooner you learn this art as a whole, the better it will support your marketing effort.

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The power of the Influencer for your WOM campaign: 4 Points to remember

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Do you know who your key Influencers are?



The first steps to consider in using social media to support your WOM marketing programme is to deploy a social media tracking and analysis tool that will allow you to identify key influencers you may want to consider engaging with to support campaign. Influencers may be in the form of bloggers in your industry sector, bloggers who talk about products and services similar to those your organisation offers, bloggers who have an extensive and influential following,  Twitter users (outside our community) that can be tracked for this purpose, journalists and so on. Consider both internal influencers to your community and external influencers outside of your community.

 

Devise an individual strategy to engage with each Influencer:

 
The next step is to devise an engagement strategy. How can these influencers support your campaign, and how will you engage with each individual to maximise your chances of obtaining the support for your campaign you need? These are some of the questions you may want to answer. The focus of your engagement strategy should always be to build individual and effective relationship, and in turn showing support for the influencer. Remember any relationship is a two-way process. A single strategy to be adopted across the board may not work for your campaign so be very careful with adopting this approach. WOM is about quality, not quantity. You may want to consider sending one of your products to the individual to try out, for example.

 
Track and measure your success:

 
You need to be able to track the success of your WOM influencer campaign by ensuring you have a suitable tool that will allow you to measure sentiment, comments and conversations (impact and volume) taking place following your successful engagement. You will be interested in measuring the impact of their mention, comment or conversations by carefully analysing the reach achieved. Your social media analysis tool will allow you to obtain the insight you need here.

 
Maintain the relationship:

 
Now you now know who your influencers are, what their authority levels are, you’ve successfully engaged and have tracked the impact of your efforts, but the process does not end here. You need to have a clear strategy with clear actions and touch points in place to maintain the relationship. The same rules you would apply to maintaining a relationship with your brand loyalists and brand advocates in the form of customers, would apply here. Ensure you nurture and grow the relationship to increase the strength of that relationship through time and trust in your brand, its products and services.

 
Social Media is all about WOM and can deliver great results for the marketer. When a clearly defined strategy is adopted with clear guidelines, processes and a tailored approach, it will yield great results.

No make-up selfie + make up + a whole lot of pouting + no wallet = an ordinary selfie

No Make UpWe have recently seen a whole lot of ‘selfies’ being posted on Facebook and for a very good cause need I state. The onset of the selfie started with necnominations and well, the more braver attempt by men to support testicular cancer followed – ‘Cock in a Sock’, yes I said it. Will I do it? Absolutely not, no. Do I support the cause, very much indeed. One thing I did observe with the latter is the overwhelming ‘more athletic types’ fully embracing this effort. Although I support the cause I can’t help myself but to feel this to be any narcissist’s dream – a good excuse to drop the clothes, throw that sock on and show the world my body.

The ‘No make-up selfie’ makes for a better discussion. We have all been bombarded with the no make-up selfie on social media and earlier today I had an interesting conversation with a good friend of mine Yolandi, where she voiced her ‘dissatisfaction’ with some of the selfies she had seen over the past couple of days. At first she thought, ‘what a  brilliant idea’ but then the flood gates opened – the start of a pouting contest. More like, my pout is better than yours! Have you come across many ‘selfies’ with indeed a lot of make-up on? The idea of the no make-up selfie is to strip your face bare yet Yolandi could not help but to wonder how many of you actually spend quite a bit of time preparing for your no make-up selfie, by applying just the right amount of make-up.

The biggest problem however, is that the idea relates to making a donation, then taking your selfie, and loading it up making sure you encourage your friends and those in your community to follow suit. It is important to remember to actually share a link or indicate where you can make such a donation, before nominating your friends. That is the whole point. Problem is, selfies are flying around left right and centre ‘for a good cause’ but the cause is not helped without that valuable donation. So I challenge those of you who partook in this and did not make the donation, to actually go ahead and do it. Share the link and inform your friends of how this work and where a donation can be made. Strip ALL the make-up, we won’t feel any different about you beautiful creatures, your support for the cause is what makes you beautiful. As for the pouting, well, you can pout all you want ladies!

The Social Dinosaur is still ‘Alive and Well’

Social DinosaurOver the past couple of weeks I had conversations with various professionals and companies asking for help with their social media strategy. It may come as a surprise to some of you that many companies still has no or very little presence on social media, to some of you it may be no surprise at all.

One of the most common objections I get is from b2b organisations and a very good objection I had from a CEO the other day. ‘We are a b2b operations and Twitter will not help our business in any way’ he quickly stated  when I brought up Twitter. The company in question is an entrepreneurial technology company specialising in idea generation and idea sharing software. My obvious response was that Twitter is one of the most effective platforms in driving a brand presence and brand reach, and as such, can play a fundamental role in driving website traffic, supporting your sales process, help you establish thought leadership and drive traffic to all your other online profiles apart from all the other benefits presented for a b2b business targeting the prospects they target.

It has become clear that the old Social Dinosaur is not dead and still very much alive. The resistance element from senior management and lack of buy-in continues to be a problem and businesses are loosing out on the many opportunities presented by social media. There seems to be many more common misconceptions out there than you may think.

Another interesting development is where companies have a small presence, for example a Twitter handle and Facebook page, and are of the view that they have fully embraced social media. When having a closer look, there appears to be nothing more happening than the odd update and a one-way push of company information and irrelevant posts or tweets.

The critical thing to remember is that social media spreads across functions in the business and a clear social media strategy is not as hard to develop and implement as one may think. Social media has been created by the people for the people and businesses need to embrace that, get on with it and figure out on a learn-as-you-go basis instead of pondering on about if it is the right direction for the business to go or not. We all started somewhere and then gained valuable knowledge on how to do things along the way along the way. It is pretty simple, so the sooner you start, the lessor the chance of your business staying behind.