A while back, I posted a lead-in about social enablement platforms in which I discussed the social engagement process. In the next series of posts, I’m going to deep dive into the three elements I briefly discussed in more detail: 1) compose relevant content, 2) diligently respond to engagements, and 3) measure social impact. You might think these elements have a linear relationship, but their association is dynamic, sometimes tightly cyclical, in the social space. In addition, feedback loops are measured by hours, not days.
Marketers have embraced social as an intimate channel that drives deeper relationships. As search engines integrate social media influence into their search results rankings, search marketers are modifying their social content to drive relationships while also creating content that satisfies known search engine ranking factors.
Authorship is becoming increasingly important in search engine ranking. Search developers have felt for awhile that social signals are an increasingly important determinant of content relevancy. All else being equal, their intent is to index and rank results generated by influential authors who produce great content ahead of sites that are relevant strictly because of SEO. At Adobe, that’s why we’ve shifted our approach from a traditional SEO-based attack to more of a customer optimization strategy. Using strategic thought leadership connected with and through other influencers is now an additional element in our global search strategies that helps tell the Adobe@Adobe digital marketing story in a new way.
So let’s start our discussion on social engagement with composing relevant content. By “relevant” I mean content considered important by your audience and spiders alike. In my position, I’m more concerned with social’s impact on our global search strategies. Buyers who are early in their purchasing process do research on social channels as frequently as, if not MORE frequently than, search engines, so it’s important to achieve relevancy by deploying social engagement on a broad scale.
At Adobe, content relevance must address at least two of three relevancy factors:
- Business relevance. How is content relevant to the company mission, processes, requirements, and goals?
- Personal relevance. How does content connect to a buyer’s preferences, values, goals, aspirations, etc.?
- Time relevance. How is content relevant to seasons, holidays, events, and news?
Keep this in mind, friends: relevancy is not defined by what you say but how you say it and how it applies to the end user. The Platinum Rule embodies this: treat others the way they want to be treated. Whether your goal is page authority or enabling brand advocates, carefully consider the outcomes you expect from social engagements. It’s not about brand-hawking (though that’s important); social content should be meaningful to your prospects and enable measurable results in your search marketing practices. As seen in the graphic above, search engines expect your social efforts to impact search results.
Social content relevancy shouldn’t be siloed; link your campaigns across social channels. Even enterprises with narrow markets should be thinking about multichannel social engagement. Adobe Social and other third-party platforms provide posting efficiencies that lower the impact of managing multiple campaigns across social channels. Use Facebook to tell a story, Twitter to make announcements, Pinterest to captivate attention, YouTube to instruct and demonstrate, LinkedIn to engage with communities, and Google+ to create a sphere of influence.
Relevancy means distributing social content through channels with reach. Global marketers must be relevant across a dynamic environment of international social channels, such as Badoo, Orkut, and Hi5, that have elevated presences in different regions. Localization practices should glue campaigns within and among social channels that are relevant to regional audiences.
Connect Stakeholders and Audiences
Social engagement practices should be broad in scope. Don’t limit social activities to customers. Provide content that connects all phases of your enterprise to audiences in each discipline area. Connect operations managers with vendors, finance directors with banking institutions, and HR leaders with employment agencies through social channels. Social content should connect business groups to their external peers and to each other. Internal resource linking leads to greater search relevancy and a stronger enterprise umbrella.
Finally, when you deploy social content, deploy respectfully, and schedule automatic posts at a rate that is not offensive—usually two to four per day is a good amount. Connect with influencers that can elevate your social signals. If your content is relevant, it will be shared and your search KPIs will improve. Deploy creatively as well. For example, use humor to lighten a heavy theme or use video and comment streams together to generate traffic.
Content creators for social platforms, which is nearly every marketer today, must be responsible for connecting with buyers more intimately while generating traffic for their assets. Content, in its various forms, should be relevant in a way that attracts, informs, influences, and triggers responses from buyers—in other words, connects—along the entire marketing funnel.