Why Search and Social are so Closely Tied Together (and why they're not)

When you have two people who have combined for over two decades of working with automotive website providers, you would think that they the company they would build together would be another website provider. It wasn't. There's a reason for this.

Search and social are the marketing venues we chose to pursue for one big reason: minimal parody. Car dealers have seen products and services come and go where there seems to be very little difference between one player and another. That's not the case in either search marketing or social media marketing. Sure, there are similarities between products, but the results delivered by one company can be completely different from the results delivered by another. That's not the case in other areas such as website marketing where switching from one to another normally yields only a minor difference in results.

There's another reason that we chose these venues. They're tied in very nicely together. The activities that are associated with proper search engine marketing are often complimentary to those in social media and visa versa. In fact, we often find that dealers can kill more than one bird with a single stone. That stone normally comes in the form of content.

When dealers or vendors separate out content into its individual goals, it doesn't always work as intended. For example, you could build a landing page that works properly for PPC, but it isn't easy to optimize and it can't achieve great results on social media. You can build great content that is socially sharable, but it doesn't rank for the right keywords organically and it can't be a target for PPC.

When you take these and other factors into account when building a piece of content, you'll find that the end result is often better than it would have been had you built different pages for each discipline. This is because the flow of benefits crosses over. This is the part where they're tied in and it's the part that I'll (hopefully) explain in detail here.

Social media is a part of the SEO puzzle despite what Google reps have said in the past. The numbers do not lie. When a page performs well on social media, it tends to rank better on search. Conversely, when a page has a high social caliber and it ranks well in search, it gets more visitors and thus more opportunities for people to share it.

Then, you bring PPC into the equation. The core of PPC is in driving action, which means that a proper landing page for paid search should get the visitor to do something. Call. Fill out a form. Visit the dealership. Something.

The second part of PPC is Quality Score. To achieve a higher quality score, a page must contain relevant content for the keywords it's target. This should sound familiar to anyone who studies SEO because search engine optimization calls for the same ideas. In other words, a proper PPC landing page should be easily optimized as well without having to do much to it.

Two birds. One stone.

Now that we understand why search and social are so closely tied together, let's talk about how they're different. I'll go into more details about this in a future post, but the basic concept is this: intent.

Search is passive. No matter how well optimized you are or how much money you're spending on paid search, you still have to wait for the shopper to initiate the search. They are actively in the market and are searching for you.

Social is aggressive. It puts the message in front of shoppers in the venues they visit the most during their day. It's much more like television that search in that they're going to these social media sites without an intention of finding a car. That's why it's so important to have the cars find them. They aren't actively pursuing anything at that moment, but when a relevant message is placed in front of a current car shopper, they're willing to leave the casual task of checking social media in order to pursue the more important task of finding their next vehicle.

To say that search and social go hand-in-hand is not exactly true. They're different aspects of marketing that play in the same field. Understanding how to make them sing together is the key to finding the right marketing harmony.

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