As online marketing continues to evolve, one thing has become certain – search and social can no longer be treated as separate disciplines. We’re now at a point where search and social efforts intersect so much that treating them as entirely separate would be a huge detriment to any online marketing strategy. To get a better understanding of this shift, we first have to take a look at the ways each area works and then how they are being affected by the other.
Search’s value to businesses is that it helps consumers find what they are looking for. It really is that simple. Over 60 percent of all online consumers use search engines to find what they’re looking for and this is what makes search such an important factor in the online sales funnel. Search enables people to find all types of content including companies, services, and products.
For social media things are a little different. Peer recommendations are what power social media and the platforms are driven by engaging content. People tend to trust their friends, so it makes sense that as consumers, we value what our friends are sharing on social platforms.
We can break things down like this:
Search = Helps consumers create a list of options
Social Media = Helps consumers validate relevant choice options
Now that we’ve looked at search and social individually, it’s time to take a look at how they work in tandem and how we can leverage that relationship.
Because of changes to search algorithms in recent years, social media values have become more and more influential. Google rewards sites with good search signals and if social media content can help improve those signals, then naturally having good social media is going to be something that every company wants.
This paradigm shift has changed the way companies create content and market themselves. More and more consumers are beginning to rely on people rather than just search results. In return Google, Bing and other search engines have continued to incorporate social media as a major search factor. Here are a few examples:
- Bing and Facebook searches are integrated. The search engine looks at statuses, articles trending on Facebook and other updates when generating results. The importance of providing useful information on Facebook is magnified with this partnership.
- Tweets are indexed by Bing and can show up on Google’s results. Twitter profiles also typically show up for branded content.
- Google+ is fully integrated into Google’s searches (obviously!). When someone is signed into their Gmail account, they can easily start to follow companies they search for on Google. This easily allows companies to acquire more followers.
To sum up:
Search and Social Together = Help consumers narrow down and choose the best option