Social and Search: Integrating Social Media and Search to Drive the Brand

We’ve dropped by the Online Marketing Summit track, which I guess is different than the other tracks we’ve attended. ClickZ and OMS decided to team up to expand the discussion beyond search and cover search’s integration with other channels, in this case, search and social.

Leslie Reiser, Program Director for Interactive Marketing, IBM
Crispin Sheridan, SES Advisory Board & Sr Director of Search Marketing Strategy, SAP
Rebecca Lieb, VP, U.S. Operations, Econsultancy
Patricia Neuray, Vice President of Sales,
Katrina Gosek, Market Lead, Endeca Technologies

Aaron Kahlow is asking the audience what they were hoping to get out of this session. Audience members chime in:

  • How to optimize social
  • How to help clients strategize for social
  • We’re trying to figure out the mix and how to balance our resources
  • Social media discussions in the last year have been pretty fuzzy and vague. I’d like to hear case studies.

Rebecca starts off the presentations. Her company has released a report along with OMS that dives into social media strategy. About a quarter of companies are heavily involved, and 61 percent are experimenting.

Social media activity is highest among large businesses and brands.
slide 1

slide 2

Strategy and tactics diverge slightly as tactics are higher with Twitter and strategy is highest with Facebook.

What is Facebook being used for?

55 percent: improving brand awareness and reputation

46 percent: publicize new content

Only about 5 percent report it’s used for SEO. Marketers may not know that social and search can be approached together.

Annual spend on social media marketing:

(This is where the disconnects get startling.)

$0: 32 percent

Less than $5,000: 36 percent

Social media is typically used to impact softer, brand-focused business objectives. Increased traffic is the objective which companies are most likely to be trying to impact through social media, though not among the most highly valued business goals.

Greater brand recognition (64 percent) is the second most important business objective in terms of impacting through social media. A similar proportion of respondents cite better brand reputation. But only a quarter of respondents surveyed use online brand mentions and brand awareness as a metric for measuring off-site social media success.

There are a lot more slides with numbers and percentages. I can’t get them down fast enough, so you may want to buy the whole story here:

Most people say that their social media activity is managed by the digital marketing team, followed by RP and communications. There’s still a big questions about who should be in charge of social media in an organization.

Slide 3

Katrina is up next. 85 percent of consumers find new products through Web search. She’s going to focus on the content that works in social.

  1. using on-site social content: user ratings, reviews
  2. encouraging social distribution: videos, articles, images

On-Site Social

She was looking for a particular comforter that she knew was from Ikea. She went to Ikea’s site, found a page on comforters, and found they rate them in warmth from 1-6. She didn’t know what that meant so she wanted to see reviews. She went to Google to search for reviews. The Ikea site wasn’t in the results, so she went to many review sites looking for answers. There’s an opportunity to create such community’s right on the site and connected to your brand because people are looking for social referrals to help them make their purchase.

This means that the brand isn’t about what you say anymore — it’s about what they say.

Example: Betty Crocker

They created a site where recipes can be tagged and they blend UGC with expert content. This brings a lot of traffic to the site because, especially when it comes to cooking recipes, it’s about community.

Searches for review content contain about 1.5 words per query.

Social Distribution

You’ve got great content that people would want to engage with. Nexxus Hair Care has a pretty small site but what’s really great about it is the video library of creating different hairstyles. The most views were coming from third-party sites that were embedding the videos. It boosted their rankings for generic keywords and raised brand recognition 600 percent.

Crispin steps up next. His company has 8 people dedicated to search and 1 person dedicated to social and search. They’ve generated more than 4,000 sales leads from social media.

Why social is important:

  • Small to very large deals
  • Short to long sales cycles
  • Few too many decision makers, influencers, partners, implementation consultants, analysts, press, tec.

What they realized:

  • The process is already very social
  • The conversations are already happening
  • We needed to be there

Why search and social fit:

  • Search always was the voice of the customer
  • Social keyword research is closer to real-time
  • Impact on the brand from these louder voices
  • Brand > revenue impact = opportunity

Their key path:

  • Setting business gals for social media marketing
    • Traffic, inquires, pipeline impact
    • Micro and macro conversions
    • Influence and sentiment analysis
  • Consolidate learnings
    • Many SAP teams were testing most social media marketing activities across many
  • Disciplines and silos with many differing goals
    • Needed to connect the dots
  • Tracking, reporting, listening
    • Reacting
    • Staffing

They learned that social media isn’t just another channel. It’s a way to build conversation and can’t be quickly ramped up and then ramped down.

The content production is challenging. It needs to be saleable, manageable, web 2.0 friendly, and manpower is required

Specific topic-focused communities deliver value to target audiences. SAP has a significant online community.

Slide 4


  • People: decide who your audience is, find out where they’re gathering
  • Objective: determine your biz goals for SMM, value your micro and macro conversions
  • Strategy: decide on your strategy to engage and influence
  • Technology: choose the tools, sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Measure, test and promote your success

Patricia takes to the podium next.

Slide 5

In a study they found that more B2B companies are involved in most types of social media initiatives than B2C companies. Combining social and search brings up a big lift in brand recognition.

Now joining a social network is another conversion type. They’ve replaced “subscribe to our email list” with “follow us on Twitter”.

Avoid common missteps:

  1. Don’t over commit. Make sure your strategy is clear and don’t over commit. 50 percent of those involved in company social media initiatives report that strategy is not clear. 91 percent of those managing social media initiatives are also doing 4+ other initiatives and 88 percent are spending less than half their work time on social media initiatives.
  2. Know your target audience.
  3. Use meaningful metrics for search and social. The most popular social media metrics are also hard to measure.

Slide 6

Finally, Leslie steps up. Why integrate search into your SMM efforts? This is where your audience is going. There’s explosive growth of social networking and a continued decline of traditional print media and event attendance. Individuals are creating and contributing useful content around original topics that marketers can’t anticipate. People are interacting online at unprecedented rates. Individual contributors are becoming a reflection of your brand!

Example: Lotus Foundation

Windows and IBM had a similar offering, but Windows had come out first. So IBM got the Lotus team to start spreading the word in their social media networks. One of the guys on the team had lots of followers, and it ended up getting picked up by a mainstream media publication. Then social discussions started to emerge. IBM began to capture the keywords that Microsoft had been getting. You can do the same.

  • Post authentic, relevant, and transparent comments on walls, blogs, microblogs and forums.
  • Use precise keywords, encourage brand advocates, provide the link for your site in targeted SM spaces.
  • Include at least 30 keywords in your Meta data and embed Meta data in every blog post and with every new content upload.
  • All posts should be searchable, as well. Invest in the cross-company standardized Meta data and content definitions for maximum searchability.

Meat data and sharing drives greater brand awareness. Provide links to social bookmarking.

Social Slide 7


  • Craft a strategy
  • Create a community
  • Start a blog
  • Keep your content fresh
  • Use targeted keywords in phrases, tags, titles
  • Provide links for easy sharing
  • Subscribe to RSS feeds and use sharing tools

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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