Social and Search Strategy: What Do I Need to Know?

Last week I attended a fantastic presentation sponsored by the Social Media Club of Kansas City. Keynote speaker Corey Morris spoke about the relationship between social media and search engine rankings (if you missed the event or are interested in learning more, you can view Corey’s presentation here).

I know search engine optimization is extremely valuable in improving visibility for nonprofits and businesses alike. But I’ve always thought of Google as a magical thing. I was wary to dive into the science behind the results I see when I Google “best Chinese delivery in Waldo.” (Here’s looking at you, Princess Garden.)

After hearing from Corey, who is very knowledgeable and passionate about social and search, my apprehension faded. I also picked up some excellent tips nonprofits of all sizes can implement.

Use a variety of platforms, but remember everything is connected. Corey firmly illustrated that we need to end “siloed thinking.” And I couldn’t agree more.

It’s easy to think of social media (or even individual platforms like Facebook and Twitter) as separate entities from e-mail marketing and other digital efforts. But if you are able to be consistent across your chosen platforms, and even use certain key words or themes regularly, you’ll be able to establish your organization more firmly as an “expert” in your area.

Be a friend. It may help you build your brand. Yes, our end goal is always to “build a strong brand.” A strong brand naturally attracts links, mentions and social following.

Fostering relationships with other organizations and professional groups is extremely helpful. You can increase your social following with your own original content, as well as by following and mentioning other organizations and people. Respond when you’re mentioned on Facebook and Twitter! Social media should be a two-way conversation.

Link to and produce quality content. My biggest takeaway here was that the number of people who engage with your posts is significant. Links are becoming increasingly important, and can help increase volume and quality of engagements.

There’s a lot of conflicting information floating around about the effect social media actually has on search rankings. But Corey stressed that social matters, regardless of all the data and opinions. Focus both on volume and quality of engagements, and present a brand identity that is unified across all of your chosen platforms.