I see a lot of Asian companies changing or considering shifting their focus of digital marketing from search to social. Looks like everyone loves a shiny new item. We saw this trend in the United States a few years ago. Is this a smart decision? More importantly, can social media replace search?
Companies that a few years ago shifted their focus of digital marketing from research to social are now bringing research back to the heart of their digital marketing tactics. One of the reasons is that they haven’t seen the performance they were hoping for from social media campaigns.
Forrester Research reported last year that less than 1% of online transactions among U.S. customers could be attributed to a social media post. According to the Monetate study, online searches were the biggest contributor to ecommerce visits and sales, accounting for 31.43% of sales traffic. Email accounted for 2.82% and social media only accounted for 1.55% of all ecommerce traffic.
Social data from Econsultancy from last year showed:
- About 50% of businesses use social data to gauge sentiment in order to have more targeted and relevant communication, improve customer service, address specific complaints, and inform product and service development.
- Only 6% of participating companies said social signals had a major impact on their search and social media strategies.
“It’s not that social media failed these companies, but they failed to understand the social in social media.” Scott Stratten of Unmarketing said promotional campaigns (such as “Win an iPad”) only convert people who want a prize to follow brands’ Twitter accounts or like their Facebook pages. They are not true fans of the brand or the products and will not engage.
Another trend in Asia is to put paid ads (PPC) at the center of search engine marketing, and not put a lot of effort into SEO (search engine optimization). Is it because SEO is getting too difficult? If you have a healthy, well-optimized website, you should be getting at least half of your website traffic from organic search results. According to a new study by GroupM UK and Nielsen based on 1.4 billion UK searches, 94% of Google and Bing search users clicked on organic results, compared to just 6% on paid ads. Do you really want to get rid of that potential traffic and miss out on business opportunities by focusing only on PPC?
The point is, SEO, paid advertising, and social media have different roles in the digital marketing ecosystem, and you shouldn’t be choosing one over the other, but trying to get them to work together.. Consider the following 6 steps to deploy and manage your research and social media projects that get you closer to business goals.
1. Understand your audience’s search behavior in relation to social media
First of all, you need to understand how people behave on both social media and search engines. Examine data such as when they each use and what they are doing or looking for in social media research. Even search functions, social media search is not a substitute for search engines. You’ll be surprised at the similarities and differences if you compare the queries people use on search and social media. Examine your own data and understand your audience.
2. Define your research goals and social media goals
Once you understand your audience’s behaviors on search and social media, think about the roles of research and social media and align them with your digital marketing plans, and what you can and should get at from research projects and social media projects.
3. Take advantage of social impacts on SEO
Especially with Google we are now seeing more impact of social media on organic search results i.e. social sharing, reviews, authorship etc. Your digital marketing strategy should leverage social activities and social assets to improve organic search performance.
4. Integrate research and social networks
As long as you view research and social media as separate projects and put them in silos, you won’t see the maximum impact for your business. Create a cross-functional process between search and social media so that you can integrate social media research learning and social media learning into research. Some of the key pieces of information you should share between the two are research keywords, social conversations, and target audience behaviors.
5. Define the best practice, then apply it to make sure everyone follows it.
Next, you want to put all of the results, goals, and processes into one best practice guide for your digital marketing team. Provide training so that everyone understands it, and enforce the guide with all parties involved.
6. Establish communication channels between SEO, Paid and Social
Once you’ve moved on to step 5 and everyone returns to each team or department, chances are that no one has time to log in to share the information, even if it’s in the best guide. practice. Mandate to review each other’s reports and have monthly or quarterly meetings to share learning and challenges.
It’s time to stop chasing followers and likes, and think about plans to actually influence sales to grow your business.