SES Toronto 2010 Live Blogging: Successfully Integrating Search & Social Media

Lisa Buyer, President & CEO, The Buyer Group

Guillaume Bouchard, Co-Founder and CEO, NVI
Krista Neher, CEO, Marketess
Jason Dailey, Microsoft Advertising Canada

Krista opens up by listing some of the SEO value SMO has. Consumers use search when they are thinking of buying goods and services and what shows up on Google’s search page can have a huge influence on what they decide to purchase. She brings up the sometimes unpredictable nature of social media. As an example, she does a search in Google using her name to illustrate this unpredictability. In the images section is a picture of her and her friends in bathrobes. She went on to explain how difficult it can be to control what is displayed when google searches your brand in terms of blended search.

Another example came from Comcast. When a user does a search for Comact, they will find a video of Comcast employee asleep on a couch in customer’s house while on hold with Comcast customers service. This video ranks for Comcast because of the emphasis on video in blended search.

Social Network Basics:
1. Same picture across all networks. The picture will become your brand and an identifying feature.
2. Same name. Is how people can find you or your brand across multiple platforms.
3. Link back to the main site
4. Personalized URLs or Vanity URLs. Helps people find your profile through Search Engines and type-ins
5. Don’t break the TOS!

Krista goes onto explain the importance of registering your brand name on social networking sites to reserve your name. Not necessarily important to use the platforms but at least refer potential followers/fans to a social networking site your using.

She briefly touches on the importance of branding your content.

Use social networking to educate and fix misinformation about your brand. When people are referred twitter results via Google, people tend to give more weight to the information served up by Google. It’s important to monitor your brand and use tools, either paid or free, to help organize & find what people are saying about your brand. (Like, Radian6)

It’s important to engage and making friends in social media. These friends can be defenders & advocates for your brand who can jump to your brand’s defense when negative things are said about your brand.

How do you make friends? Be nice & address Issues. Keep negative feedback public and address the issue and remain transparent. Fixing your problem in public can build trust with potential customers and clients.

Jason Dailey wants to modify the term ‘social media’ to be ‘conversational media’ because social media is majority discussion. He goes on to define terms for Search, Conversation and media. (You can find the definitions in Merrian Websters…) There are two approaches to social media: proactive & reactive. Creating branded social profiles, sites & hubs is taking the proactive approach. Going to the customer and being sure not to interrupt their Internet experience. It’s about giving them an uninterrupted experience. He uses Victoria’s Secret as an example. His screen shot shows a paid listing, their #1 ranking for their brand name and their Facebook profile. Emphasizes the importance of ranking your brand’s social networking profiles.

Many companies are now using facebook and twitter to educate their customers on new products, services, sales contests & other company related news.

He goes on to list best practices for proactive approach:

  • Evaluate existing social media properties
  • Make it official
  • Leverage PPC to drive awareness
  • Educate internal stakeholders

and reactive approach:

  • Identify Discussion Zones
  • Measure buzz and Sentiment on your brand and sector
  • Research Consumer search behavior
  • Build your own community
  • Respond to the Crisis
  • Proactively generate positive content
  • Engage with consumers to create positive perception

Guillaume adds some contrast to the panel by talking about the SEO benefit of Social media Optimization. Guillaume took the stage (which could barely hold the weight on his muscular 7 foot frame). He began his speech roaring like a lion and stomping his tree truck-like legs. He then went on to explain the 4 unique ways you can leverage social media.

  • Online PR & Branding
  • Community Management
  • Social news Optimization
  • Widgets

Guillaume focuses the discussion on Social news promotion and content creation to get your website to rank in Google as opposed to getting other sites like Twitter and Facebook to rank for your brand name. He explains the difficulties getting SEO results when using Branding / Community management to garner links when you want specific anchor text to appear in the link.

Creating content that suits the intended audience is key. Guillaume explains that the needs of the brand and the interests of the audience need to be balanced in order for everyone to be happy. Even very specific and small niches can benefit from SNO through careful topic choices.

When done properly, a social push with even minimal visits can bring 5000 and more successful campaigns yielding as high as 100,000+.

During the Q&A session a member of the audience asked if content promoted on social news sites should include keywords. Guillaume replied by saying that it’s important to know what has been done historically. SNO has been around for several years and there are some varying, yet established rules of etiquette on social news sites. Look at what other people in your area have done. Search for previously popular content and gauge off of what’s there.

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