The growth and acceptance of social media and Enterprise 2.0 technology has shifted customer expectations for company interaction. Inside the walls of the business, these shifts are bringing together two groups that have often remained separate. SEO strategists traditionally focused on gaining company awareness are now coming together with social media experts to better understand the impact of social media on SEO. Both realms stand to benefit. SEO teams gain awareness amplification when the social teams are most effective. And the social media teams enjoy boosted engagement and conversation participation when highly effective SEO teams bring new audiences into the social media engagement spaces.
But this also has profound shifts for the ways both groups have traditionally operated. Gone are the days when meta-tag keywords and a smattering of comments on competitive blogs would boost search rankings. Social media is old-style communication newly applied to online spaces. It is conversation. The term Social SEO demonstrates the complementary nature of traditional SEO and social media.
When you have a solid Social SEO strategy, you will see uplift in awareness, in conversation and in social engagement. The common thread is to get conversations moving about your company, your product, your service. That is a powerful tool that yields results. A positive conversation can deliver many conversions.
4 Ways to Check Your Social Awareness Pulse
To ensure the right conversations are taking place, businesses can use a set of key questions to determine their social SEO readiness and then apply proven principles for executing the best-fit SEO strategy. Here are four questions you can use to check your social awareness pulse:
1. Are You On Message?
The question for your Marketing and Communications departments is how are they enabling everyone in the organization to be on-message? This is not a command-and-control task. The proactive delivery of business critical content to employees and partners is an important process. Are your systems passive? Do you enable employee and partner engagement on and about those topics? Do your systems facilitate those ad hoc conversations?
2. Are You Synchronized Across Your Teams?
The question for your intranet team is how are they ensuring that everyone across the organization is synchronized? This means that sales, support, consulting and R&D/Manufacturing teams all know that new campaigns are kicking off. Those campaigns, or special deals or new product launches are likely to drive demand and raise questions. Everyone doesn’t need the details, but they should be ready to answer questions, address concerns and point customers in the right direction.
You can bet the SEO team has thought long and hard about the keywords, buzz-spots and behavioral triggers that will likely trigger a response to that campaign. Do others know how to spot those keywords when they come up in conversation? The worst thing for a sales rep is to be caught unaware by a customer talking about that new 20% off deal they just got through a Klout promotion, email campaign or PPC coupon. Kudos to the marketing and SEO teams for landing that prospect, but it leaves the rep flat-footed. That makes the company look bad.
3. Are You Converting Your Existing Social Media Leads?
One of the worst things you can do is pretend that social media matters for your business then ignore sales and marketing leads coming in from social sources. So the question for your sales team is how are they incorporating leads from non-traditional sources into their workflow? Do you even know when you get a lead from a social source? Do you know what to do with it? How to qualify it? How to route it to the most qualified rep to take it from there?
When the SEO team is effective, one result is greater participation in the social engagement spaces the social media team manages. But if you are not converting friends, fans and followers into customers and evangelists, you are on a very friendly path to fail-town.
4. How Do Individual Contributors Answer Social Requests?
Because everyone is potentially on the front lines of customer engagement, how are you equipping individual contributors to deal with the heightened awareness and interaction that successful SEO drives? How are your line workers, back-office admins, and other staff connecting the casually interested with the appropriate experts inside your organization who can take that interest to the next level?
Business has always been social. The difference is that now others can tell if that social environment is inviting or off-putting. Technology is what now enables engagement in ways and at scales never before possible.
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