When it comes down to social’s impact on search, it all comes down to three things: Trust, credibility and quality.
This was a common theme throughout the Top Social Tactics for Search Marketers session at SMX East. As Google continues to penalize links, and search marketers shift away from traditional link building tactics, social is fast becoming the trustworthy and credible way to obtain quality links. Moreso, it’s a fantastic way to build brands, both personal and business.
Debra Mastaler kicked off the session with some great tips around influencer marketing. If you aren’t familiar with the term, “Influencer marketing is the process of finding and tapping into people with high credibility and visibility in your niche.” Influencer marketing isn’t a new concept overall, but it’s gained a lot of traction over the past couple years with word-of-mouth and social media playing much larger roles in marketing campaigns.
Mastaler noted that influencers can be people, brands or personalities, and it’s our job as marketers to identify who and where those influencers are relative to our business.
How do you find those influencers?
Debra noted that there a lot of tools there to help you! Here are a few that were mentioned:
By simply searching on a particular keyword, you can find relevant influencers across the major social networks. Alltop can help you find blogs (and in turn bloggers), Followerwonk will show you influencers on Twitter, and GPlusData will give you information on Google+ users, which can then be plugged into CircleCount to show you how many circles a person is in and all their comments. Each of these tools can offer insights into the “who” and “where,” while the information about the person can help you actually build a real relationship.
It was also interesting to hear Debra talk about using Facebook for its search function. With Graph Search now available to all users, there are a lot of possibilities for identifying not just influencers, but potential customers, as well. I’m definitely curious to see how marketers are using and/or will use the functionality.
So, what is the real key to influencer marketing?
Realizing you don’t control the influencers, Debra noted, “While we may not be able to tap them to help us, we still may be able to use them.” Use the information you find to give influencers what they want, but remember, it’s up to them what they want to do with it.
Whether you love it or hate it, Google+ matters. According to Mark Traphagen, it matters a lot. Why?
Traphagen, who has been studying the impact of Google+ on search results for quite some time, had some really interesting data, and it turns out that Google+ isn’t as straightforward as it may seem.
While many people think that Google+ is there for Author Rank, Google’s official position is that Author Rank does not officially exist yet. Think the more +1s you have or circles you’re in help your profile? Not according to the data. Similar to the way links impact websites, it seems that who has you in a circle matters more than how many people have you in circles.
Most interesting, Google is treating Google+ profiles like a web page. Profiles have PageRank, which can be passed to other sites, and the more links you have to your Google+ profile, the better the profile performs. In fact, according to Traphagen’s study, profiles that use authorship regularly, in turn establishing links back to the profile, generally have one full degree PageRank higher than those who aren’t using authorship.
What does this mean for search marketers?
Google+ offers a really great way for people and brands to build authority and have an impact on search results. Profiles and pages are showing up in SERPs more and more, and as Traphagen’s data tells us, these profiles actually have influence.
Make sure to build links to your page through authorship, use +1 buttons on your content, and start establishing connections with influencers in your space.
One of the best things that can come from social media is the data you get about customers and the people interacting with your business. But according to Annalise Kaylor, “None of the data matters unless you’ve tied it to a strategic goal.”
For marketers using social media channels, it’s extremely important to understand not only what metrics mean, but also how to use those metrics to improve marketing campaigns, content and even your products.
Kaylor gave a great example of using the negative feedback data in Facebook Insights to help with better content promotion. See a day with a large number of unlikes or hides? Look at what you promoted that day to determine what it was your fans didn’t like.
Also, take a look at your positive data to see what is working. Did a particular image get a ton of likes or shares? Use that image in an upcoming blog post. Look at what type of content your fans like to consume and give them more of the same.
In addition, Facebook offers really great targeting capabilities. Have something you want to try out? Target one specific area or demographic to see how it performs. If it performs well, roll it out to everyone else.
Facebook provides a lot of data, but like any marketing related data, it’s important to correlate that data to what it is you’re doing.
And don’t forget to track. Everything.
When you launch an email campaign, you likely have campaign tracking code in the email. The same thing should apply to social media efforts. As Kaylor says, get out of the dark and see where your traffic really is coming from.
While it may take some extra time, add tracking code to everything you promote through social media. Why? Because if you can’t track it, you can’t measure it, and you can’t report on it.
There were several mentions throughout the session of the current search and social integrations including Bing and Facebook, Bing and Twitter, and of course, Google+. According to the panelists, social is playing a bigger part in search results because it offers fresh content, personalization and it’s real information from real people… all things the search engines want to provide.
For marketers, this means integrating your tactics and creating cohesive strategies across your search, social media and paid campaigns. After all, you now have all this wonderful data, right?