SEO, Cross-departmental Communication and the Extinct Career in Social Media?

Last January, when I wrote 15 Concepts to Make You a More Marketable Social Media Professional, I had not really planned to base an entire year of monthly blog posts on Maximize Social Business around it. However, once I wrote it I wanted to elaborate on each concept a bit more to cover some of the top concerns and questions I get in my Social Media Marketing courses.

After Analytics, the next topic I have some confusion in the classroom is SEO. Some students had not considered it a function of Marketing, but it is one of the best tools we have. As a marketer, some basic knowledge of SEO, why we need it, what it does, and how to best utilize it is a handy tool to have in your belt. While you may not be an SEO specialist, you should have an understanding of it in order to be a more effective marketer.

SEO, or search engine optimization, in my opinion boils down to great content. I am not an SEO expert by any means. However, relevant and timely content will drive visitors to your site. In order for this content to be discovered, it should have a headline that grabs the target audience’s attention and is actionable. By actionable I mean, likely to get clicked and shared. Rankings on search engines will be higher with the more frequency of sharing. Social media has a direct impact on this sharing by making it not only quick and easy to share and also making it easy to share across multiple networks.

Some quick tips:

* SEO should be strategic, not an aspect of “design”.

* SEO is long term, ever changing, and continual. Do not expect to address SEO and forget about it.

* SEO must align the website with set business goals.

* SEO can be the most highly leveraged, most productive item of a marketing budget.

* Tags are not categories, they are more specific but the two complement each other.

* Tags should be up to 3 words long

* Go easy on the “tags”. The more the merrier is not true in this case.

* Tags should not be redundant.

* Be helpful. Customers are looking for information, give them what they need and answer the questions they’re seeking. If they value it, it is shared.

* Word of Mouse is the new Word of Mouth.

* Social Sharing is good. More shares of your content, equals more inbound links and traffic.

* You must track web performance data to understand what people are looking at and what you could do to better improve the experience. Recall this is my number one topic I find students struggle with.

* You cannot improve what you do not measure. Consider one of these Analytics programs: Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, Clicky, Adobe SiteCatalyst, Webtrends Analytics, IBM Digital Analytics, iPerceptions, Yahoo Marketing Dashboard

* Website goals should be clarified and then further tied to how these goals apply to specific departments.

* Cross-departmental communication and aligning departmental goals with business goals helps produce an effective SEO strategy.

* Social media is not just for the marketing department. Keep in mind, functions in other departments may overlap with Marketing because of Social Media.

An Extinct Career in Social Media?!
I saw an interesting piece targeted to Millennials with tidbits of career advice from Fox Business Network’s Cheryl Casone. Towards the end of the piece she suggests a career in social media will not exist in 5 years. While I agree to an extent, I felt she presented her position terribly. Those hoping to make a career out of simply tweeting are in for a rude awakening. Social Media is a tool for Marketing, Human Resources, Sales, etc. So yes, “Twitter Ninja” is NOT an idea career path. One must be a Marketer first, with a specialization in Social Media (as it applies to marketing) just as any other marketing related job like logistics, branding, or merchandising. However, unlike some of these other areas, social media will be tied to nearly every department within an organization in some way.

For all of the Millennials who saw that piece, “social media marketing strategist” or simply “marketing strategist” may be a better career option. Social media will be here in 5 years, but the need for someone who knows how to tweet will not. There will be the need for strategic thinkers and those who can make sense of all of the data we are accumulating; not simply folks good with “tactics”.

Suggested reading for the month:

Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide

Content Rules By Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman

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