By CT Moore
This is the third installment of our series on Blended Search and Reputation Management. In Part II we discussed how blended search can help with images and video. In this final part we look at Social Media and your Brand's reputation.
Finally, you can capture added SERP real-esate by setting up branded profiles on popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This part of your strategy, however, does come with a catch: these profiles cannot be left idle.
Aside from failing to rank for lack of fresh content, idle profiles will also reflect poorly on your brand because they'll look decidedly anti-social — an impression you don't want to make in a social space. It can make your brand seem apathetic and like it "just doesn’t get it."
On Facebook, for instance, your brand can reach out to employees, industry piers, and potential customers by sharing company news and organizing events. In fact, your brand’s Facebook page is probably the ideal place to gte your content to rank through other people's interaction — i.e. the more fans/members leave comments and develop user generated content around your brand's fan page or group, the better those pages will rank. Just make sure you make them public.
On Twitter, your brand can both share content and connect with users. One the one hand, you can share company news, product promotions, and other links related to your industry. On the other hand, you can engage existing and potential customers in conversation, and foster customer loyalty by demonstrating that your brand really cares about their product experience. Indeed, Twitter is a proven customer relations tool when it's used right — by brands both big and small.
Finally, through LinkedIn, your brand can set-up a company listing and engage employees and industry piers through features such as conversation threads. This will help your brand connect to niche, industry networks, and Google will recognize that network and index your content accordingly.
Essentially, if you're going to set up a social media presence, take the time to understand the medium you're engaging, and prepare a policy and/or strategy on how these profiles are going to managed and regularly updated.
The Final Touch
As you establish a content presence throughout the web, you'll have to ensure that the search engine have every indication that this is your branded content. And one of the best ways you can do that is by linking back to all of your content profiles from your actual site with appropriate anchor text – i.e. "my brand on Twitter."
The sidebar of your blog is probably the most convenient place to do this. But if you don't have a blog you can also do so from your "media" page or "pressroom", or by creating a kind of “community” page somewhere on your site.
Managing Your Brand’s Search Reputation
As Chris Anderson, the Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine once noted: “Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is.” So by optimizing for blended search, you can capture more listings in the SERPs, make your own content stand out more, and better influence just what it is that Google is saying about you (and your products and services).
Overall, in a world where brand’s are less and less in control of their image, blended search optimization can give you a little bit more control. Just bear in mind that gaining control and maintaining controll are two different things. If you're going to leverage blended search properly, you're going to need a content strategy that is both effective and sustainable.