How to Effectively Combine SEO and SMM in Your Campaign? Learn how SEO and SMM will help to draw more traffic, convert visitors to customers.
Finding a way to advertise your business used to be simple and straightforward. You would have a website, you would direct people to it, and you’d run the occasional print ad to compliment things. Then life got complicated: PPC, SEM, SEO, SMM; the list of acronyms goes on and on.
What you need is a simple and straightforward approach that allows you to attract customers in two different ways. Two ways which also work together in perfect harmony. There’s no use in spending money twice on two things that are largely the same as you’ll just be attracting the same people. What you need is the perfect combination of SEO and SMM.
What is SEO?
Lots of people make a lot of noise when it comes to SEO, but do they really know the science behind it? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about making sure you’re on friendly terms with search engines like Google. The way that they quickly return millions of interesting results even when you don’t type in an actual question relies on them analyzing patterns and frequencies of what are known as ‘keywords’.
These are phrases which are designed to emulate search terms frequently used by browsers when they want information on a particular topic or subject matter. If you can embed applicable keywords into your web copy then you will begin to rank better on Google.
As you delve into the detail more and more it gets increasingly complicated, but at a first look, it’s keywords that you need to get your head around. You can use free online keyword search tools like Google Trends, Google Correlate or Wordtracker Scout to find which phrases rank best and then start to deploy them in your text.
Google Trends. Image source: Gavin Llewellyn via Flickr
So, what about the second string to your new bow…?
What is SMM?
Social Media Marketing is all about using social media to advertise and market your business — Facebook being the most common example.
“Originally social networks were purely places where you could share photos with your friends. Over time public profiles of prominent people became ever more in demand, as did news feeds and external links a little later on. This led naturally to Facebook becoming one of the world’s largest marketing platforms. Everyone was logging on literally every single day, often multiple times, so why not use it as a platform for advertising?” – explains Amanda Sparks, digital marketer and author of TopDownWriter.
Facebook then allowed users to pay for adverts which would reach more people that were actively following the account from which they were posted. This, combined with marketing content that can be sent out from any profile as if it were a post from an individual, creates a powerful two-pronged approach. The paid advertising method allows you to extend the reach of your business and to grow your business profile’s following faster than you otherwise would. And the free posting strategy continues to add value to those people who are already avid followers and are looking for new and engaging content from your business.
The question now is ‘how can to combine the two?’ Well, before we can get to that we first need to discuss the key differences between SEO and SMM. Once we understand that, we can then develop a wide-ranging and far-reaching strategy in which SEO and SMM complement one another.
The Benefits of SEO: Keyword Targeting
SEO specializes in attracting people who are already looking for your products and services; or people who are at least looking for a solution to a problem that you can solve. When users type a search term into Google they’re looking for information that will allow them to solve a problem and get something done. If you can ensure that your products and services appear right near the top whenever a user is looking for help and assistance that you can provide then your business will change out of all recognition.
As Adrian Broski, SEO analyst at Best Writers Canada states: “This is the key point: SEO allows you to target people who already know that they have a problem they need to solve. It might be a cheap summer holiday, car repair, some fashion inspiration; but whatever it is these people already know that they want to do something about it.”
The benefit of this is that they already have half a mind to buy something. All you need to do is rank higher than the competition and you’ll have the digital equivalent of the prime piece of real estate on the High Street that every shopper has to funnel past on a Saturday afternoon. The importance of claiming your place at the top of the first page of search results cannot be overestimated.
But if it’s so integral to your success, why do you even need SMM?
The Benefits of SMM: Targeting Demographics
The beauty of platforms like Facebook is that everyone is on them. Never before in human history has so much information on so many people been so readily available. For businesses of all shapes and sizes, this is an opportunity that is simply too good to be missed.
What you need to be aware of is that you don’t necessarily need to have a gigantic Facebook following to start implementing the SMM portion of your new dual marketing strategy. Facebook is a business like any other, and it wants to monetize the considerable amount of data that it has on just about everyone in the world. As a result, they have created embedded advertising software that allows you to target particular geographic areas or demographics.
The beauty of this is that you can now start to reach out to people who fit the profile of your ideal customer. Every business should have one because these are the people who are most likely to do business with you. Thanks to the power of Facebook you can now reach out to these very same people without them having to go looking for you.
They won’t even know that they want one of your products or that they need to sign up for one of your services just yet, and that’s the beauty of it. You’re not relying on people searching for you and coming top of the rankings — after all, SEO has this portion of the market covered already. With SMM what you’re doing is taking a proactive approach to advertising and marketing your business by popping up in front of the eyes of the people that you want to connect with most. And you’re not necessarily doing it in a heavily sales-orientated way because social media is most people’s idea of downtime these days.
What you’re doing is subtlety positioning your brand so that it sticks in the minds of your target audience. It’s quite clever when you think about it because if they like the look of what you’re offering they’ll click ‘Like’ and everything else you post will start popping up on their timeline too.
“We developed a dual channel campaign that focused on SEO and SMM for one of our clients. For us ranking well in the search wasn’t enough because we know how many people are constantly on social media. By combining the two we’ve been able to reach a whole new audience with the click of a button” — claims James Daily, content manager, and founder of Brainished blog
Image source: BhamDigital
Now, all we need to do is figure out how you can fit SEO and SMM together…
How Do SEO and SMM Fit Together?
When you want to combine the two you need to understand the real purpose of each arm of the dual strategy that we’re outlining.
Your SEO efforts should focus on creating an overall awareness of the core offering of your business. Perhaps you run an independent cinema in Bristol or a clothes boutique in Stratford. These are the real core things about your business that you will want to target with SEO. Of course, if you run a large multi-national you could target more general aspects of your business such as affordable cinema tickets or summer fashion, but for most businesses, there will be far too much competition for these terms. Being realistic about what you can achieve is the secret to success when it comes to SEO.
Remember that when you approach search engine rankings you’re looking for people who are already looking for you. Now it’s time to turn your attention to SMM and reaching people who don’t even know they want to do business with you yet.
A well run SMM campaign is the perfect vehicle to build your brand and project it to a wider audience. Here you’re not so much targeting key terms as you are key demographics. The mistake that many fledgling businesses make is that they think of SMM as an instant win when it’s really more of a slow burner.
You’re trying to organically grow a captivated audience that you can then push products and services to. To do this you need to create content that they actually care about and want to share with their friends. In short: SMM needs to be cool.
“I was skeptical about how well SEO and SMM would work together. Then I got figures on how many people find products and receive their news via Facebook and I was keen to give it a try. It’s certainly something that we’re going to continue doing over the next 12 months.” — shares Howard Southern, digital marketing manager at Top Australia Writers.
Identify something attractive about your brand and base a campaign around it. Let’s take the idea of the independent cinema. Perhaps you pride yourself on having a whole load of retro and throwback film nights that the big chains just don’t put on. This is your niche. Whilst you’ve used SEO to try and direct more people to your door by popping up when they look for you, you can now use SMM to pique the interest of random passersby.
Create a campaign that tells your story and gets people interested and you’ll be able to guide whole new waves of customers to your door to watch your movies. Social media will allow you to target people with specific interests which makes it the perfect tool for finding out who wants to hear about your Star Wars marathon next weekend. Think big and you will be surprised at how quickly you can grow a captive audience.
There are plenty of online services and tools to use when you need content for your SEO and SMM campaigns but can’t do everything by yourself. Resources such as Canva, Readable, Canada Writers, Animoto or Shakr will allow you to develop highly readable and engaging text and video content which also helps you rank better in the search.
The secret with SMM is to be consistent. Don’t chop and change your campaign because your first post didn’t result in a huge spike in business. Your profile is like your portfolio these days to invest in it, add some paid ads at key times throughout the month, and generally be active on all of your social channels. Once you do that you’ll have the ideal complement to your ongoing SEO efforts.
Combining SEO and SMM is all about understanding the relative merits of each approach. Sit down with your colleagues and a piece of paper to check that you can write down the basics of what you want to use each approach for. Once you can do that you can safely say that you’re ready to start creating a powerful dual-channel campaign.