Search & Social – Understanding the Interdependence

Profil_Billede-150x150This is a guest blog post written by Christine Dissing – a London-based marketing professional holding a Master in Marketing Communications Management. Christine is passionate about advertising, branding and marketing communications – an interest she also shares on her own blog attention2ads.com. You can connect with Christine on Twitter @christine_kbh.

 

I just finished reading “Search & Social” by Rob Garner – a good, not too heavy or too pedagogical read, but a hands-on guide to building a sound and successful real-time content marketing platform.

The book tells you how to develop, implement, monitor, and optimize strategies and tactics for developing a strategic plan. The plan should encompass content, platform, and community management – and put a great deal of focus into the interdependent elements of search and social together.

SEO and social media can no longer operate in silos, as each discipline has become reliant on its counterpart, in order to achieve the greatest potential. “Search & Social” successfully explains the interdependence between the two disciplines and where to set in. Rob Garner outlines key considerations for all aspects in building a digital brand in the social world, and introduces tons of tools and tasks for you to try out and implement.

Today almost every company is putting resources and efforts within both areas – some more than others, but regardless how far your company has come, this book gives some relevant input to how you are able to optimize those efforts.

In order to produce engaging quality content that reaches your target audience as quickly and successfully as possible, Garner highlights that social marketers and community managers must understand search marketing and SEO to extend the value of their efforts. Also search marketers must understand the elements of social to succeed in becoming more visible.

 

Some questions to consider:

Skærmbillede 2014-11-10 kl. 10.51.34Search

  • Is your search and SEO team always updated on the language and keywords used by your customers?
  • Is the team involved in the process of creating new content ideas by giving input on new search trends and keywords?
  • Are they helping optimizing all socially shared content pieces for better search results?

Social

  • Are your Social Media Managers properly trained in SEO basics?
  • Do they know how factors like search engines crawl, index and retrieves, and how linking affects search results?
  • And very importantly – do they know how to integrate keyword data research in their work?

 

In other words, step one is to get your social and SEO teams talking and working together on a regular basis. Step two could be to read “Search & Social” or other books on the topic to fully understand how search and social are becoming one – and how to embrace that fact.

 

 

 

Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!