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Published April 10th 2014

Social Media, Search Marketing and Ron Burgundy

I find it amazing that to this day there are people and companies that keep social media isolated from their search and overall business and marketing efforts. Social can occasionally be frustrating—just ask the folks over at Eat24—but what medium isn’t?

Yes, social platforms change at a breakneck pace and keeping up with what is relevant at any given moment is time-consuming. Yes, navigating the waters of attribution is tricky. But no one said digital is easy. If it was, everyone would be awesome at it (which they aren’t).

The fact of the matter is social media is an incredibly valuable channel that, like any other tool, can be used to do amazing things when in the right hands. Think of social media marketing as legendary anchorman Ron Burgundy. I don’t know how to put this …

Want to know how you and your brand can become a big deal? Here are five actionable ideas to get you started.

1) Identify Your Audience

Would you like to get a better idea of the types of people who are engaging with your brand?

Would information like their age, gender and other interests help you craft content and messaging most likely to resonate with your target audience?

Marketer, meet social media. Social media, meet marketer.


This YouTube Analytics screenshot shows a breakdown of engagement by gender and age range. As this data is tracked over time, brands can adjust their messaging to each platform’s audience.

Using a platform such as Brandwatch, you can even track demographic and engagement metrics on competitor channels.

Pro Tip: Set up Demographics and Interests reports in Google Analytics  to get this type of data about users on your website. Analyzing the types of people who are coming to and converting on your site will allow you to better identify and target people on social.

2) Generate Quality Content Ideas

Consistently coming up with content ideas is more difficult than it sounds. Anyone who has ever managed an editorial calendar knows the pain of seeing gaps in the schedule and scrounging for something fresh to post.

Fortunately, the internet is literally full of people asking questions that your brand can answer. One way to sort through the noise and find these helpful nuggets is by searching with query operators on social networks.

Let’s pretend I own a company that sells and repairs laptops. I’m looking to expand my Help/FAQ section but am having trouble deciding what I can write that people would actually find useful.

Enter a muse named Twitter. I can simply go to Twitter search and input this query: laptop help, OR support, OR question. This query will return tweets that mention the word laptop and either help, support or question.
Now imagine being able to do this across a large portion of the publically crawlable web with a sophisticated set of query operators. Yay Brandwatch!

Pro Tip: Looking for more content opportunities? Here are 7 ways to generate content ideas people actually care about.

3) Supplementing Cross-Channel Campaigns


Back in 2011, Jim Lecinski of Google published a book titled ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth. The basic premise is that people are consuming an increasing amount of information about products before they buy them.

As part of the research into this subject, Google asked Shopper Sciences to do a study that ultimately revealed that the average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a decision in 2011, up from 5.3 sources in 2010.

What does this mean for all the Ron Burgundy brand aspirers?

It means that brands should extend their campaigns to all of the various places that their target audiences congregate. It means, that in many cases, putting up a page and buying a few AdWords ads won’t be enough.
Next time you run a campaign, consider supplementing your ad spend on these social and content discovery platforms:

Pro Tip: Make sure that your campaign and/or content is well-suited to the platform and is properly targeted within to those audience members. You do not want to end up on Mashable  as the result of a Promoted Trend or Sponsored Reddit gone wrong.

4) Hyper-Granular Targeting

There are a number of ways to utilize detailed targeting, but my favorite is to expose content or specials to a very specific audience.

Let’s say I own automotive stores in Orange County, California and my stores are having a special on Goodyear and Michelin tires. Let’s also assume for the sake of this exercise that I know my target audience is men between the ages of 25-44.


If I bid on a CPM basis for a Promoted Post, I could reach my entire target audience for this promotion on Facebook for less than $10. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea?

Pro Tip: When driving people back to your site, make sure you have re-targeting in place so you can reach the same consumers at different parts of the Consumer Decision Journey. Someone may initially see your ad on Facebook, come to your site, later view a display banner and finally convert on a paid or organic search result. Be in as many touch points as possible!

5) Contributing to the Knowledge Graph

Google’s Hummingbird update (excellent POV written by my colleague Brandon Schakola) brought the semantic web to the forefront of every online marketer’s mind.

While it is an incredibly complex and nuanced subject, one thing entirely within your control is implementing social markup on your website.

The most popular forms of this type of markup are Open Graph Tags, Twitter Card Markup and Pinterest Rich Pins, and not only will they add context to search engines as to the meaning of items on a page, they also allow you to define how you URLs look when be shared on social platforms.
Have you ever gone to share something on a social network and had a seemingly unrelated image show up as the only thumbnail or be shown some random text as the headline?

Take control of how your brand is presented across as many platforms as possible to help increase the odds that a consumer’s first impression of your brand is a positive one.

Pro Tip: Implement rel=”publisher” on your brand’s Google+ Page and website to verify the connection between to the two. Once you do, you may start to see your most recent Google+ post showing up in Google’s Knowledge Box area, which can increase the click-through rate on brand queries.

What are your tips to bring out the inner Ron Burgundy for any brand?

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