4 Easy Steps to Social Search Success

For multichannel marketers to get the maximum return on social media assets like articles, videos and images, they must treat them like PR professionals treat well-timed news releases.

First, marketers must build a new-age public relations network of social media “influencers” — i.e., long-standing contributors to social engines like Digg and StumbleUpon who have organically grown their influence within the social media sphere through a process similar to how respected journalists earn credibility.

Second, marketers need to control the timing of their releases directly to their network of influencers before having them crawled by search engines. This approach gives social media assets the best chance to generate short-term viral traffic and longer-term search engine visibility, essentially turning these assets into instant “earned media.”

Before the advent of social media, the term earned media referred primarily to traditional media coverage that PR practitioners earned through newsworthy brand-building campaigns and by leveraging relationships with influential journalists. Social media’s distributed nature and attendant lack of marketer control compared to advertising or paid media makes it a new form of earned media because advertisers cannot pay social engines like Digg or StumbleUpon to place their content at the top of the recommendations.

That honor is distributed to the social engines’ legions of users who “vote” for or “like” content that they come across while surfing the web. The more “votes” and “likes,” the higher the placement on Digg’s and StumbleUpon’s recommendations.

Social engines have grown in usage to serve the same purpose for millions of people that newspapers, magazines and news broadcasts once did — sources of aggregated information and entertainment. A very select few of these social engine users have gained the status of influencers — power users who have been regular contributors to, and users of, the social engines since their inceptions.

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