Social Media vs SEO

socialSeems social media (read Facebook) and SEO (read Google, hence Search plus Your World) are on the minds of most social media industry watchers these days.

Out of sheer curiosity I typed the term ‘Social Search’ into Google and interestingly enough, a Wikipedia entry was the first result. Here’s a quick snippet of the entry: “Social search … is a type of web search that takes into account the Social Graph of the person initiating the search query. When applied to web search this Social-Graph approach to relevance is in contrast to established algorithmic or machine-based approaches where relevance is determined by analyzing the text of each document or the link structure of the documents.Search results produced by social search engine give more visibility to content created or touched by users in the Social Graph.”

Would it be fair to say that Google and Facebook are careening towards a head-on collision? No. Rather the goal from a social media perspective should not be to pit one against the other in terms of a death-match style showdown based upon which site has greater social appeal. Instead, the way to look at this interesting development of Facebook’s prowess and loyalty of its fans vs. Google’s might and depth of it’s undeniable search stranglehold on the masses is to ultimately look at the concept of the social customer and how social business practices within an organization can capitalize on these two seemingly opposing unstoppable forces.

Social Media Team Building

Yes, I am willing to say this till I’m blue in the face, for effect, say it with me – pretend you’re on the phone with me and just like that classic Jerry Maguire movie moment where Cuba Gooding Jr. wants Tom Cruise to yell “Show Me The Money” I want you to instead say “Show Me The Team!” Why? Far too many times social media is a singular exercise, an army of one – that student, or person within marketing that may have some familiarity with Twitter or has a Facebook account whom has been given the corporate responsibility of representing the company’s social media efforts and in effect be that social media face or behind the scenes voice to the world.

Social Media needs to have a full complement of differing points of view representing different facets of the organization, go over to the engineering dept and ask them to join the Social Media team. The same goes for product managers, HR, customer service and heck even legal – why? Each dept represents a unique understanding of your customer, that is your social customer who is buying based not on impulse but cold hard facts in the form of social signals from within search results (Google’s Search plus Your World) as trusted sources of information plus the feedback from your Facebook social graph via the Open Graph.

SEO, yes, that perhaps pesky thing to keep your organization’s website visible and top-of-mind for Google and the social customer means having now to ensure your organization caters to Google’s way of indexing content: Google has taken a “content marketing” type approach to it’s SERPs – haven’t you noticed that social recommendations, YouTube video, maps, instant answers, authors and bloggers are all above the fold in many instances preceding the start of a single highlight of your standard homepage abstract?

Content – the same content that is fueling engagement on Facebook and Google+ is now being factored into SEO – how’s that for a kick in the pants – so why not ensure that your organization’s SEO person or team is part of the Social Media team. I can see it now: deck the office with posters of that iconic Uncle Sam “We Want You” poster and recruit from within for your Social Media team – this is how you realize the potential of rising to the occasion to re-write the social customer handbook. Look to your employees to help you understand the customer and engage with them on their terms whether they use Google, Google+, Facebook individually or a combination of all three, the social customer just wants the facts on their path to purchase.

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