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Social Media + Search Marketing + Online Media = Success

One of the things I am always talking about is the blurring of the lines between social media, search marketing, and online media. The days of specializing in just one area are going away because focus in one area limits your ability to create synergy between those three channels (as well as everything else that may be part of your marketing and advertising).

For example, a social media marketing program can yield much better and long-lasting success if it’s blended with SEO and some paid ads.

Often the success of social is realized via search when all the content that a company pushes out propagates through the web from social sharing and general buzz. So without SEO being applied to social SEO, you lose the extra benefit of highly distributed content that results in off-page optimization (your content showing up on other sites). You can also lose the benefits of more links, more listings, and your branded content showing up in universal search results.

In addition, if you are not used to tracking and optimizing on campaigns, like online media and paid search, your ability to treat social media like a truly measurable medium is greatly diminished. And nothing adds octane to a Facebook fan drive like online media integration and specifically Facebook ads that encourage consumers (friends of your fans) to connect to your brand. And then sponsored stories can keep your fans engaged even when Facebook’s EdgeRank starts to filter your posts. (EdgeRank is Facebook’s filter that determines what posts shows up in a person’s newsfeed. The more a person engages with your brand with “likes” and comments, the more they, and their friends who may also be your fans, will see your status updates.)

Finally, utilizing social sharing technology (chiclets – see my ClickZ column “Socializing Your Banners With Chiclets“) in your ads and landing pages for media and paid search can turn a single paid click into hundreds of free impressions and clicks with no cost.

Now, take away the combined knowledge of how all three of these disciplines work and the potential of each one is greatly reduced. So here are some quick examples of how these online channels are coming together to blur the lines between disciplines:

  • Google Display Network: paid search or online media? It’s both. You can target by keyword, site, demographics, and geography. You can serve text ads, banners, videos, and rich media. You can manage it through the Google search interface or do a direct media buy. You can track with your PPC tracking or your ad server. And most of all – you can utilize retargeting to stay with consumers who are in buy-mode!
  • YouTube Sponsored Videos and overlay ads: online media, social media marketing, or paid search? All three! Bringing together the video content you have placed in your free YouTube channel with the online media and paid search options of YouTube and AdWords is very powerful and can create both a huge amount of low-cost engaging impressions and drive valuable video views of video content you have invested in producing. Furthermore, the social sharing elements of YouTube encourages people to post videos on Facebook and Twitter further.
  • Facebook advertising: online media or social media marketing? Both. You can do a media buy but then link the ads to your free social media marketing fan page. You can deploy ads that encourage people to become a fan, comment on your posts, or share your message with their friends.
  • Social content development: SEO or social media marketing? Both. Clearly all the video production, tweeting, and Facebook posts are not just for SEO – that is a huge amount of effort just to get links. We do it to create a powerful standalone social channel. However, that does not mean it should not be infused with keywords, links, and content that drive the search rankings of your site and help that content to pop in universal search like video and image results. You want your socially-distributed content to help your site pop and you want it to pop in the engines on its own!
  • Blogger outreach: social media marketing, PR, online media, or SEO link building? All four! Involving bloggers in your content development is a powerful way to interact with an influential group and create content that can be used in your social channels and websites, drive links to your website, and enhance the value and credibility of your advertising. Chiclet-enabled ads and landing pages: online media or social media marketing? Both. There is no better way to squeeze extra value from an online campaign then to embed social sharing chiclets into your ads, thank you pages, and landing pages. The key to making it part of your marketing program is to apply the right tracking links and methodology to the content you spread around with your chiclets.

Of course, there are so many more media integration ideas and possibilities out there – many more than I could possibly list. However, the point of this week’s column is to inspire you to think about all the ways you can blend what has been traditional separate silos together. Also, as an online marketer, I am just listing online opportunities – this column has not even begun to explore integration with mobile and traditional advertising. Got more ideas? Please leave them in your comments and don’t forget to share this column via those sharing chiclets above!

This column has been updated from the original column published on ClickZ March 30, 2010.

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