It’s not uncommon for search marketing experts to discuss and share tactics for implementing social media marketing as an SEO strategy. Obviously, much of the web traffic that used to start with search engines is now propelled by social sharing, and for inbound marketers, this huge source of traffic cannot be ignored.
But it’s an imaginative stretch to pull social media marketing underneath the umbrella of an SEO strategy. Granted, there are things you can do while executing a social media marketing campaign that will have a positive impact on SEO (branded tweets, for example) but social media marketing is about so much more than raising visibility in the search engine results.
To be fair (and play my own devil’s advocate) there is a great benefit in getting your name into as many social ratings and review sites as possible because it is possible that when someone searches for a product or service, references to your business on these high traffic sites can knock a competitor off the first page. When it happens, that’s a win.
But win or not, it’s the wrong game. When you engage people with social media marketing, they’re already in your funnel. The goal isn’t awareness at this point. Search is a long-tail benefit of participation, but not the reason for doing it. When you’re engaged in social media, you are already building trust, learning about your customers’ needs and interests, and positioning to make a pitch. If you are focused on the SEO benefits, you’re watching the wrong ball.
SEO and social media marketing are both essential tasks for online success and they work in concert, like a marriage. They’re not joined at the hip. (artwork attributed to Lee Odden)