Social media has become more and more prevalent in the daily lives of professionals which is great news for PRs.

It allows us to monitor what’s being said about clients across a range of web-based communications channels, tailoring content accordingly and ensuring maximum online exposure for improved search results. This is an overview of PRNewswire’s webinar on October 27th 2010 called Yin & Yang: How Do Search & Social Play Together?  It examines how using social media increases your online presence as well as search engine optimization, calling to attention the special relationship these two phenomena have.

Content equals opportunity and opportunity equals currency

Let’s take a step back and look at this a little more closely. As PR professionals, our job is to create content (whether in the form of a press release, white paper etc.). What we do with that content determines whether we create one opportunity (sending it out on a newswire and hoping it gets a few pickups) or hundreds (tweeting about it, blogging about it, fostering discussions on online forums about it etc). At Aspectus PR, we pride ourselves on creating storylines and being able to use that content appropriately across several communication mediums.

Statistics from comScore show that Yahoo! News and Google News top the news search charts with over 120 million and 100 million unique visitors respectively for any given month in the past 2 years. The online version of NY Times hovers gently around the 80 million mark. You can do the math. Having your news appear in these search engine data aggregators means it will be more likely to be found by your audience. What we, as PR professionals, need to figure out is how to do this. And how do we do that, you may wonder? One way is by using social media to boost your SEO (search engine optimization). 

If nobody can find your content online, how do you expect it to be shared?

That is why it is vitally important for us to get our clients’ content where it’s easily visible by millions of internet users: search engines!

In order to improve your SEO, you need to employ the power of social media. Because social media indexes well and is traceable by many programs (social media monitoring tools), we are able to distinguish which communication mediums are more effective than others, helping to boost ROI. Furthermore, Aspectus will always link content back to the client’s website, working on the notion that a client’s website is their communications hub – to which all outgoing information is directed!

It is equally important to surround content not only with links to the client’s website, but with other relevant content. For example, for a client whose new trading solution upgrade comes on the heels of a new regulation by the SEC, the created content needs to be placed in the public domain surrounded by additional applicable news (articles addressing or examining the new SEC imposed regulations etc.)  This gives internet users the idea that your content is worth looking at because it is clearly linked to other related content.  

Let them find you in as many relevant places as possible

Twitter, Facebook and blogs are among the most popular forms of social media communication.  However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t additional alternatives that may be more appropriate for your audience. In the PR newswire presentation, an example was given about a woman who owned a horse that had contracted some bacterial or viral infection. After doing a thorough internet search, she stumbled across an online forum which directly addressed the issue that she was facing. Other people with similar situations were recommending a specific type of feed that drastically improved the mysterious condition. Unbeknownst to the users, (who were genuinely participating in the conversation) the online forum was established and monitored by the feed’s marketing team!

What this example shows is that the feed’s marketing team created a connection with their target audience. They engaged them in an appropriate way and made it easy to participate in the conversation. By organically stimulating conversation around their organization, they were boosting their SEO and ultimately their web presence. Ok, so this may be a slightly extreme example, but it certainly demonstrates the point.

Bringing it full circle

The necessity of integration between search engine optimization and social media is clear. Each one relies on the appropriate implementation of the other, illustrating an inversely proportional relationship.  When one goes up, the other goes up. This is a testament that opening your business and products up to the public domain in such a way that creates dialogue and promotes discussion can be extremely beneficial. Atypical from the all too popular press release factories, Aspectus uses strategically placed content in meaningful places to gain maximum benefit for clients. If nothing more, I hope this overview stimulates thoughts on how the integration of SEO and social media can work for your company.

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