Vanessa Fox on Search and Social
A question that comes up frequently is about whether search or social media deserves more focus. The short answer is that both deserve time and attention. In the video below, Vanessa Fox answers this question in more detail, exploring how the two can work together.
Vanessa Fox: A lot of people ask me about social media and search. You know, is social media becoming so popular that we shouldn’t care about search? Is social media something that we should just ignore because at least so far, we’re finding that people don’t really buy things from social media? You know, what is it that we should actually care about? You know, my thought on social media is that, what you really want to do is go where your audience is, right? And that’s kind of the most important thing. So, certainly, right? You should take a look and see, you know, is your audience there, because you want to engage with them, right? Not everyone is at the conversion point of the funnel. Some people are farther back, and so it’s great to engage them in all those places, it’s great for, you know, your brand and so it’s great to be involved, but, just sort of look tactically at a little bit more of the specifics.
One is that search isn’t going away for sure, right? So, as people use social media more, they actually search more. And as we start to have easier ways to use these things, we do them more too. So for instance, as mobile devices, smart phones have gotten more popular. We use social media more, we search more, right? It just makes sense and so, neither one is going away.
So, you know, that’s one thing. Another thing is that we do want to think about what our goals are, you know. So, I’ve seen some people, or a lot of organizations will spend a lot of money on a Super Bowl ad and they’ll drive people just to their social media site and not to their actual site, where you can buy things. And so, it’s fine if you do that, right, but you want to take a look at that, whether it’s a YouTube video or Facebook page or whatever, and make sure that it’s very obvious who you are and it’s very obvious how to get to your site and find out, you know, what’s available and how to buy what you have and so on. So, looking at that entire flow, all the way from where the person is, where you engage them and where you want them to go next and having really compelling calls to action to do that obviously are very important.
But, you know, it’s also the case that, you know, historically, SEO, lot of people talked a lot about link building, right? Link building, link building, link building. And you know, links are important. Links are really valuable. They’re valuable because they help search engines know what’s popular and what people are finding valuable, but of course, the thing that they’re really important for is, you know, you get more visibility and you get more traffic, which is really what the search engine algorithms are trying to accomplish by using links. So, if we take a step back and we say, well, the search engines want to value links that users are valuing, that users are using, then, you know, all of these crazy link building methods that people used to use, that now the search engines have gotten much, much more savvy at being able to detect, and in fact sites, you know, now, of course, are being hurt by these activities. Is this link just a link that’s there for search engines? Or is it really there for a person? And so, if we start to think about what link building types of things you could do for that latter type of link, it becomes not about link building at all. And it becomes more about who’s the audience? Is the content valuable? What are the ways that I can raise awareness and visibility of this content so that people want to link to it? And when we think about it that way, we realize that link building, in it’s form that gets you the links that you want to get, isn’t about link building at all. It’s about marketing, PR, things that have been around for a long time.
So then, again, if we sort of peel that back a little bit farther, we think, okay, well we need to build this great content, we need to understand what audiences are interested in that content, so who we want to target. And then, what are the ways that we can raise awareness about this content? Certainly, you can hire a PR firm, you can talk to reporters, you can, you know, write an article in a magazine, right? But now, you can also go out to people, you know, directly, so you can share your stuff on social media. And that sort of gets you directly there. So, if you in fact are narrowly thinking about social media in terms of links, that’s really the way to think about it, is, okay, I’ve got all these people out there that like my brand, or these bloggers who are interested in my topic area and I want to amplify my visibility.
And so then, you start to get more tactical on things like, okay, well I need to make sure my great and wonderful content has different types of share buttons because, you know, that’s the only way people are going to share it because people are really lazy now and they’re not going to do anything that takes work. Okay, so I need to make sure there’s a share button. Oh, and also, I really want to make sure that that share text is something that’s descriptive of my page, so I’m going to auto populate that share box with, you know, the heading, versus leaving it blank and making the person enter something. I’ll pre-populate it. Of course, they can always edit it, but most people, again, are lazy, so they’re not going to, right? So, yeah, there’s lots of tactical things in that you can start to think about once you really are thinking, okay, what I’m really trying to do is raise awareness of my brand and my content and all of the ways that are currently available to me. So, that’s what I would say about that.