With nearly 50% of consumers reporting that both search and social media influence purchases, Social Media and SEO are hot topics for most online marketing firms. But there’s a world of difference between the notions of social dominance, super-powered with search ubiquity and the ability to successfully implement – especially in large companies.
One of the most common issues is that social media efforts themselves are often uncoordinated activities, let alone working in sync with search engine optimization. Additionally, many online marketing consultants are accustomed to Social Media or SEO projects for small and medium sized businesses, which is a very different thing than working with a large or complex organization. Being prepared to adapt independent and coordinated social media and SEO processes requires a unique combination of organizational finesse, adaptability and subject matter expertise.
Enterprise marketing initiatives typically involve multiple stakeholders, layers of approval and messaging guidelines that can stifle ambitious social content optimization and promotion.
However, it is possible to make significant progress in a reasonable amount of time with the right mix of planning, communication and expertise. Once departments or business units have an understanding of common and individual goals, confidence in allocating resources, adjusting processes, training, building out reporting and forecasting potential outcomes can open up a wide range of Social SEO opportunities. The key is to understand the nature of the business and how a coordinated social media and SEO effort can help the company solve problems and achieve goals.
To that end, here are 5 Tips to Empower Enterprise Social Media SEO:
There is no substitute for an informed online marketing client, especially when it comes to coordinated Social Media & Content Optimization for Search. It’s essential that key contacts understand how today’s “Google Panda” and social-influenced SEO works and what the potential business benefits are to the organization.
Companies create content to communicate with the outside world for a variety of reasons: far beyond sales and marketing purposes. Improving the relevant “findability” of content, both on and off the corporate sites, via search and social discovery across departments (Public Relations, Human Resources, Customer Service, Investor Relations, Community Relations, etc) can improve reach and desired outcomes. That lift in reach and engagement for other corporate content producers can help motivate those involved outside of marketing to execute social SEO best practices.
With nearly 1 in every 6 minutes spent online on a social network and Facebook reporting over 750 million users, there are social media advocates and super users in every organization. Most companies have implemented some kind of SEO effort as well.
To gain support, it’s important that online marketers leverage individuals that have demonstrated a personal and/or profession interest in social media and are excited about the program to help “sell” the benefits throughout the organization. Tapping into SEO advocates works the same way. As evangelists for corporate site optimization and social media engagement, client side team members can use various tools to spread the “Social SEO” message, whether it is progress reports, internal update meetings or brown bag training sessions.
Suggesting that a large corporation implement overall coordinated Social & SEO is often unrealistic, so such efforts can start by identifying high impact areas of opportunity. Is there a fledgling blog that’s showing promise but could boost traffic with basic SEO? Or are there social networks building relationships that could be involved with sharing links to relevant corporate website content? Links & social sharing can boost search visibility.
Showing results at multiple stages in the program with careful attention to those areas of focus for respective decision makers, can help motivate support for people and resources. Imaging being able to improve traffic to a blog pet project for a Marketing VP by 50% though smart SEO & social sharing. Success inspires more success (and support for expansion).
Another example could involve shared search & social keyword glossaries from the Marketing team that have helped improve online visibility for PR, Job Listings or Customer Support content for one business or division. That exercise can help apply updated processes for other groups.
Coordination between social media community managers and marketers with SEO expertise is the frontline of Social SEO impact. There are numerous SEO opportunities for large web sites and off-site social participation. Showing progress will help create momentum and buy-in from others in the organization.
Large scale Social SEO implementation can be daunting and involve many opportunities for outside subject matter expertise. Online Marketing consultants need to be available to client contacts in various mediums. For example, IM or text messaging so when he/she needs information during a meeting, questions can be answered quickly. GotoMeetings, training or support via conference call are also helpful in providing timely information for internal meetings and decision making.
Many Social & SEO engagements involve an audit and meetings at specified intervals – but little communication in between. Being available at opportune times supports your client side contact as they represent corporate Search and Social Media leadership, empowering them to get agency recommendations implemented.
5. Content Creation & Curation
A Social Media & SEO Roadmap often requires agencies to provide assistance with implementation or support of internal training. Many large company social media marketing and SEO groups are understaffed or simply 100% allocated with current work. Wether it’s web pages, blog posts or social content like Tweets, be prepared to create content specifically for social media and optimization initiatives. The needs for the creation of content in such a scenario can include: presentations, newsletters, images and even training sessions.
Repurposing content, crowdsourcing and curation are also effective resources to fuel coordinated social media and search optimization. Curation can involve aggregation and annotation of industry news or it can be the repurposing of useful content from within the organization – from different departments or groups. If there’s content being created, it can be optimized and socialized for relevant improvements in discovery and engagement.
It takes considerable resources and talent to execute and manage a successful enterprise Social SEO project. Not many consultancies are prepared for the demands in communication, education and patience. It can also be a challenge to manage the billable time for the kind of support recommended here, so setting expectations and parameters up front is essential.
Large scale Social SEO takes an equal measure of search engine optimization and social media marketing smarts as it does the ability to navigate complex organizations. By empowering client side advocates with knowledge, tools and ongoing resources to promote Social SEO processes and results, large company social media optimization projects can see a better return on their agency investment.