The links between social media marketing and SEO have long been debated, and while there’s no definitive connection between the two (Google, for example, doesn’t factor in Likes and shares on social platforms when ranking pages), social platforms do facilitate content sharing, and help drive traffic – there are various key SEO elements which are very much directly influenced by social media activity.
And now there may be another consideration in this. According to a new report from Red C Marketing, based on eye tracking of over 400 search journeys, 82% of consumers will select a brand that they’re already familiar with in search results, regardless of that brand’s actual ranking within the SERP.
As noted by eConsultancy:
“The study’s findings lend a new weight to the importance of brand trust, brand recognition, advertising, and other off-site factors when it comes to winning clicks on the search results page.”
Essentially, by utilizing social media, and other digital marketing platforms, to help raise brand awareness, you may be helping to influence search behavior, regardless of Google ranking.
There are a couple of key provisos within this – the first being that users in different life stages and age brackets behave differently in this regard.
For example, younger, pre-family participants are the most likely to choose a familiar brand in their search, with 91% making a selection based on familiarity, not on SERP rank. Older users – people with families of their own – referred to the familiar at a slightly lower rate (84%), while the darkly titled ‘post-family’ cohort were most influenced by search rank, with 67% of them opting to choose a brand they knew ahead of other considerations.
One of the most popular terms in marketing today is “thought leadership”, and while some use it as a buzzword to describe any authority gained on a subject, the reality of the process goes much deeper than that.
Becoming a thought leader means positioning yourself or your company as an expert within your field, the place people go first when they want answers, ideas, or analysis. Sure, consumers still want to hear about specific products, and promotional content will continue to draw interest and drive traffic and sales, but when a business is able to elevate its status to that of a thought leader, it means that users are seeing them as something different than a sales medium.
Research shows that some 96% of all B2B companies want more content from industry thought leaders. Through an effective thought leadership program, you can build brand equity, and consumers and other businesses will end up looking to you for answers, and will trust what you have to say. This can provide you with a terrific opportunity to share your views, and shape the conversation, which then creates more sustainable growth than a single product or concept.
Social media offers the most direct access to consumers on the internet, so it should be the focus of any thought leadership strategy. Here are eight social media-related methods that can be used to boost your reputation as a thought leader.
It should almost go without saying that you need to provide excellent, timely content on a regular basis as part of any thought leadership program.
The internet is rife with information, but much less forthcoming with compelling, thoughtful articles that do more than simply promote a product. When social media users begin to recognize your content, and associate you with intriguing content and impartial advice, that’s when you have the opportunity to have an impact in thought leadership.