Monday, April 6, 2009

Twitter as a Cross-Platform SEO Tool...

I’ve had some discussions within the media planning community about how Twitter can be seen as an extension of the search marketing discipline.

There’s still a lot of head scratching going on about the use of Twitter and it has yet to be embraced by SEM specialists as a search related practice. For obvious reasons, it took an abrupt landing into the social media landscape but looking closely, it’s got all the ingredients of an effective search media tactic.

Amidst the rising conflict about ghost writing and how the network seems to be rejecting the thought of using the platform as a feeding frenzy for publicity, there’s something to be said about moving in the right circles with the right messages. Hiring people to spam a large following of 10,000 plus with random messages is one way to do it. But there are more sophisticated ways of creating dialogue and connecting with the right targets using different writers.

I think it’s ok for one brand to show its range in voice. The tone that a brand x uses with males will be different than the tone used for women. Going a bit deeper, if brand x decides to work heavily on an environmental strategy; there’s a whole new rulebook of communication that needs to be followed. For this to be executed properly, brand x needs to consider setting up more than one @ handle.

It’s not as easy as AdSense in that you can select keywords and attach relevant messages. It’s more about finding groups or clusters in a more literal sense. Rather than focusing on the static ranking algorithms offered through Google, Twitter works more in the recency realm. Once a community is established, relevancy and recency create a potent media opportunity. For now, search results are available on engines like Twitter Search, Hashtags and OneRiot. Tomorrow, the distribution of search may multiply across the net.

Targeting on Twitter is fairly rudimentary right now. It takes some time to set up your broadcasts. As in any cultural situation, it’s important to spend some time observing before jumping in and assuming immediate acceptance. Pay attention to the varying target audiences; understand the topics of discussion and the tone of communication.

Varying strings of tweets across communities act in the same way as SEO campaigns do. Relevant content, frequent updates and link sharing all come into play. Twitter’s distribution across other platforms like Facebook give it an edge of Google because the links are directed straight from point a to point b but have the added benefit of pre-qualified intent for the context.

As long as brands continue to provide value to communities, it won’t be seen as the spam that seems to be surfacing today through mass tweeting into an abyss of followers that are in many cases, only following for the sake of belonging to a “mass tweeter followship”.

Oh, and it’s free…for now…


jestebanc said...

Let's hope it stays free. Can't imagine users having to pay to use it, but premium accounts are still one possible way they'll monetize.

simonbaptist said...

Here's the follow on from Twitter, in response to: do you think SEO/SEM will migrate? Or do you think it'll go social-PR? Lines are so blurred in PR these days - hard to tell

First, on the migration of SEO/SEM, yes and no.

1. SEO
SEO will learn how to use Social Media for better rankings, mainly at first for the major Search Engines. As the Social Media sites themselves start to offer better search (i.e.: More than last in, last out) than SEO is placed to understand best how to take advantage.

2. SEM
Don't think SEM will migrate on the current wave of Social Media, as I haven't really seen an effective approach purchasing Keywords on the latter.

But, taking the Planning & Tracking/Metrics then those skills are going to be very critical into getting it right in Social Media.

Second, on PR/social.

From what I've seen PR is driving hard to own social but I'm not convinced that they have enough of a data-centric approach to be the eventual winners, let alone the clear leaders at this point.

Sonia Carreno said...

Thanks for the insight Simon.

I agree on the SEO front and I like the term "current wave of social media" for the SEM part.

A few years ago there was a lot of talk about traditional media agencies buying up SEO/SEM specialty shops. Most agencies with significant digital media businesses have actually done this now or have built their own SEO/SEM service vertical in-house.

I haven't seen any aggressive moves by the PR agencies to buy up social media shops. I guess it's early days but I can see that eventually the discipline will be built out as a stand alone division within the bigger PR agencies as well as the traditional ad agencies.

There are so many social media agencies popping up now (here in Canada at least) - I wonder how the eco-system will look in 18 months...

simonbaptist said...


following on from this check my tweets about Twitter Partner.

It's a Twitter agency for brand management startup that's just launched in the UK.

Like I said in Twitter, I love how this is a startup with angel investment and some of the big names in the UK dotcom scene (e.g.: The founders).