Everyone is a buzz about social media marketing. You can’t turn your head without hearing about it at a conference. Marketing professionals are either engaged today or thinking about how to engage tomorrow. Everyone is suddenly claiming expert status (you don’t need a social media expert, you just need a good marketer).
None of this is surprising. Social media doesn’t require knowledge of technology or staying on top of and technologies, at least not in the same way SEO does. In comparison social media is fairly easy to get right. You just need to know how to market to a connected society, have comprehension in sociology and learn the basics behind some pretty easy to use tools. Patience, helps too.
The truth, though, is social media is not new hasn’t really changed since the message board and forum culture of the late 90’s. There are just more people involved now. And we’re actually a bit nicer to each other. But it’s still just digital conversations. The tools have changed, but the way we interact digitally hasn’t – despite the glorification of certain platforms over others and the new found ability to be anti-social in public (or for some, more social) with the proliferation of mobile.
So here’s the truth: digital marketing hasn’t changed as much as some would have you believe. Search is still the number one source of traffic to web properties by a pretty good margin. Sure there’s some social traffic, but guess what – search still wins month over month, it’s far more consistent and it’s just better quality traffic.
And this brings us to the point: despite early adopters shifting habits and changing the way they use the web with the release of each new tool, doesn’t mean everyone does. Search is still the core function of those seeking content or information.
If you’re engaged in things like content marketing you should become more aware of SEO before social media. Social media and SEO do work together, but without having a search strategy locked down first, you’ll never fully benefit from the intersection. Neither happens in a vacuum.
Search engine optimization intertwines with social media and the engines will only continue to look at social signals more in the future as more users participate. Sites like Twitter won’t disrupt the web’s link graph, eventually it may make it even stronger. But your marketing, your media, your brand – by engaging social without comprehension of search means you’re yielding a higher conversion channel to competitors.