From the Trenches

Social Media and Search – One Good Turn Deserves Another

Will Davis | October 13, 2009

Whenever a conversation starts around the topic of social media, inevitably I find a number of people that immediately question the value and want to see some ROI numbers before getting involved.  We’ve talked about both sides of this discussion before in many posts, most notably Businesses: Stay Away From Social Media If You Meet The Following Criteria and Social Media: Justify Your Love With the Right ROI Approach.

Just today I came across research in B to B magazine, which seems to once again prove some value to social media activity, particular as it relates to search

Social media searchers seek out ‘lower funnel’ terms

Internet users exposed to brands via social networks subsequently search for “lower funnel” terms associated with those brands, indicating a higher propensity to convert, according to new study.

The study, “The Influenced: Social Media, Search and the Interplay of Consideration and Consumption”-conducted by digital marketing company comScore and social media agency M80-found Internet users exposed to a brand in a social media setting were 1.7 times more likely to later search for that brand using keywords associated with a high level of loyalty and propensity to buy, compared with searchers not engaged with social media.

The study also showed a 50% increase in paid search click-through rates when Internet users were exposed first to social media mentioning a brand. The online survey, which drew 2,000 respondents, was conducted from May through July.

One of the basic tenets of branding is to build recognition and loyalty.  And, whether online or off, we’ve known for a long time now that building a strong brand can feed search engine success.  Social media is just one more place where that can happen, and as the study above proves, the payoff can be big.

So, what should you do about it?  I think there are 2 key takeaways:

1). If you have waited to develop a social media strategy until you have had the justification, this might just be it.

Note: Throwing it to the intern to figure out is not a strategy.  While that person may help you to execute on a strategy, the strategy itself shouldn’t come from someone rental companies don’t trust enough to rent a car to for four more years.  Social media should have a  role consistent with your overall marketing plan.

2). If your social media activities are generating more highly qualified searches, make sure you are maximizing your ability to be found there.

Do everything you can from a Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing perspective to ensure those highly qualified searchers will find you.  We know they will be out there looking and you need to maximize your opportunities to capture these high value searchers.

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