Both paid search and social media have been steadily incorporated into many business strategies, but if you have not integrated these two powerful marketing tools, you may find you are missing out on a huge opportunity. In as much as the return-on-investment, conversion-obsessed world of paid searches can seem a world away from the viral and community-based marketing seen in social media, their differences are exactly what makes them complementary.
On the one hand, paid search is all about lead generation, sales and conversion. Other than the handful of words describing your site, paid searches offer little in the way of branding. Social media on the other hand is all about branding when used for your business. You create an active dialogue with consumers and that dialogue builds trust in your brand and expands the concept of your business’s brand to form an identity. By creating content in your social media that engages your audience, you can develop paid search campaigns that are targeted toward that audience.
A recent study (October 2009) by GroupM Search, M80, and ComScore found that when an audience is exposed to a targeted social media campaign, they are almost three times as likely to search on the terms used in that campaign. In addition, an audience exposed to a good social networking campaign is almost twice as likely to search with the intention of buying. The study also found that brands had a 50 percent higher click-through rate when their target audience was exposed to both social media and paid search. The study illustrated that social media builds a stronger brand awareness and, thus, is able to drive paid search. This results in more impressions, more clicks on those impression and a higher quality score, which in turn means that your ads will be placed higher on the page.
Here are several proven strategies for bringing paid search and social media together effectively:
– Optimize your social networking
When your social media is tagged and indexed, complete with metatags, potential customers will be able to find you when they search for your brand content or product/service offering.
– Use keyword advertising on social networking sites.
When you run an advertisement on certain media sites, such as Facebook, you have a unique ability that traditional ads do not offer – you can make your ads appear only to those people who have certain interests, as listed in their profile.
– Let social networking influence your paid search campaigns.
For example, pay attention to what is trending on Twitter or what the key topics and discussions are and create paid search campaigns that include those keywords.
In the beginning, integrating your paid search and social networking campaigns can be trial-and-error. Expect that and use it. Spend some time running experiments, such as turning your social media off to see if it makes a difference or finding out which keywords tend to help the most people find you. The key to being effective in marketing of any type is knowing where your traffic comes from and why.