Social and search marketing are inexorably wound crafts, lovers joined at the knees. Yet many marketers miss fantastic opportunities for actual, even revolutionary integration. Compounding the problem is a common misalignment of social SEO, PPC, display, PR, retargeting, content and social marketing departmental structure within larger and more established companies.
Disconnected social and search can be fatal, especially in challenging, competitive marketplaces. Integrate or ultimately be beaten by better, truly integrated competitors. This post offers six tactical recommendations (wild to mild), proven to help in-house marketing departments, agencies and consultancies interact to achieve deeper, connected social and search marketing programs.
Common Barriers To Entry
Handle marketing for an organization large enough to be comprised of teams or individual role players? It’s likely artificial barriers separate social and search programs, artifacts of previous generations’ rigid departmental separation, even fiefdoms. Such divisions of strategy, budgets, tactics, leadership and labor are often artificial and no longer serve modern marketing outcomes. Most digital marketing disciplines are related and little exists in a vacuum.
Even in larger companies, leaders in key positions still impose obsolete personal strategic beliefs on the marketing ecosystem. The bad news is that marketing managers must invest and make a serious, everyday commitment to keep up with social media. Any single manager can make a huge difference as a change agent. Any single leader can screw things up royally. Luckily, zoomed out marketing strategies have not changed much since the Roman Empire. We make content. We distribute content. We earn customers. We keep customers.
Solving social and search integration is attainable if a) there are no sacred cows; b) teams and role players are not territorial; c) open minds and cool heads prevail; and d) everyone acts like they are on the same holistic marketing mission.
Updating how our search and social marketing teams interact does not need to be nerve-racking. To the contrary, reconfiguration should be considered normal in a tech environment moving as quickly as digital marketing. Any digital marketing team NOT taking a close look at structural changes annually should seriously reassess if they’re flexible enough to survive, let alone thrive. Search and social integration is a moving target, people! We must evolve as an industry and embrace change together.
Alrighty then! Let’s tear up stereotypical marketing-think, lay everyone’s role on the table and start rewiring our teams. Here are six social and search marketing team integration hacks for modern marketers!
Integration Point One: Social Content Amplification & Search Remarketing
Now that the search team has joined the content amplification team, here’s a major hack taking the world by storm.
The objective is to connect paid social content amplification with RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads). The premise is simple. If we have to invest in socially driven content marketing to sell, due to a longer sales cycle, let’s “own” the audiences and operate on them with search ads until we prove that sales are possible.
Social content marketers use some combination of amplified Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or YouTube posts for content marketing. The objective is usually to drive highly focused visitors to web pages on our brand site, blog, etc., since there’s not a ton of free social visibility out there to be had.
While some lament the loss of free social distribution, paid amplification can be much better because of powerful social psychographic targeting. Those audiences are much too valuable to waste on a single content-touch and then dumped into a general retargeting bucket.
In the Google ecosystem, create social cookie pools segmented by inbound content and marketing social audience targeting. Make it the responsibility for the social content amplification team to “turn over” segmented, owned-audience cookie pools for search performance marketers to exploit.
Integration Point Two: Amplify Social Content To Influencers For SEO
Place members of the SEO and PR teams on the social media content amplification team. SEO success and SERPs prominence requires generating omnichannel social chatter and (still) authoritative links. There is little difference between SEO influencer distribution and PR. There is a myriad of targetable editors, reporters, columnists, journalists, writers, correspondents, anchors, hosts, news, producers, bloggers, journalism organizations and related roles in multiple social channels.
Also, there are many communities that tend to support various degrees of virility. Anyone who has ever targeted content to Facebook users who love The Onion, Mad Magazine, Reddit, etc. know that taking content “Hot” means distributing great content in hot places.
Integration Point Three: Advise Content Creation By Social Targeting Data
Most of us know all about keyword research and advising content creation via search frequency data. How many marketing teams remember to undertake social psychographic research to advise content?
Place members of the social amplification and keyword research teams on the content creation team. Advise content creation by the very audiences we plan on promoting content to on both search and social.
Integration Point Four: Use Proven Queries As Headlines In Social Posts
Place a member of the search PPC team on the social amplification team. Use the most important queries, proven to move the conversion needle, as the headlines in social posts. This is especially powerful when the posts are amplified because the tactic merges queries and psychographics to more fully form personas.
Integration Point Five: Study Together, Hang Together
As basic as this sounds, you may be surprised at how little some search marketers know about social media and vice versa. A commitment to cross training and spending time together can go a long way.
- Send the search team to a social marketing conference, along with the social team
- Teach the social team about SEO. Send them to search conferences as well
- Everyone in your marketing organization should be analytics-qualified… everyone. If Google Analytics is the tracking software of choice, get everyone Google Analytics qualified
- Hold regularly scheduled meetings to review interdisciplinary results
- For goodness sake, get to know each other as colleagues! Have wine tastings. Indulge in food tourism. Order a round of chair massages for the combined team. Kick up a weekly game of pickup basketball. If we want the marketing to be integrated, there needs to be appropriate professional relationships to draw upon.
Integration Point Six: Think Of Social Media As Psychographic Display
Keep in mind that in this age of limited free social distribution, thinking of social as a psychographic display channel is a terrific perspective. Using Facebook dark posts, promoted tweets and LinkedIn page post ads serves triple duty because:
- Social targeting is about the best layered psychographic targeting on earth. Facebook is arguably the most user friendly and reasonably priced platform. Reach the right customers via highly targeted layered personas.
- “Ads” in social look very much like their organic counterparts. As such, users behave socially by liking, sharing, following, commenting, etc.
- It’s easy and relatively inexpensive to drive users out of social as visitors to your website
Onward Social & Search Marketers!
Social and search marketing are inescapably interwoven art forms, twin daughters of different mothers, peanut butter and chocolate. Yet many marketers don’t integrate. Start by making changes to how teams work together and building out tactics that take advantages of cool data from both sides of the equations. It’s safe to say we need to adapt or risk obsolescence. The best way to integrate search and social is by retooling teams to have interdisciplinary members.