One strategy the agency is using with its b-to-b clients to improve search results is to shift the conversation in social media channels by inserting keywords that specifically relate to a company or brand.
For example, for a client that specializes in virtualization software, GyroHSR started using the phrase “server virtualization” in conversations about database virtualization on social channels such as Twitter and Facebook. (DeShazer declined to name the client.) “As the conversation shifts to "server virtualization,' people will search on Google and will use the term being spoken about in social channels. We have an opportunity to influence what queries users are searching for,” DeShazer said.
The BtoB/Business.com survey also looked at how companies are using search to enhance their social media efforts.
It found that 54% of marketers search for conversations about their company's brand or products on social media channels; 42% perform search engine optimization on their social media content; 37% search for conversations about their competitors on social media channels; and 13% place social media links in paid search ads.
Nearly one-third (30%) of marketers said they are not currently using search to enhance their social media efforts.
The top metrics used to measure social media marketing efforts are: visits to websites (55%); number of fans, followers and “likes” on social media networks (48%); number of mentions about a company or product (35%); and number of retweets (28%). One-quarter of marketers are not currently measuring their social media campaigns.
The most popular social media monitoring tools include Hootsuite (15%), SocialMention (7%), Radian6 (6%) and TweetBurner (6%). More than half (53%) of marketers surveyed said they are not using any social media monitoring tools.
“The challenge with measuring how much activity there is in social is that you don't know if those comments are good, or bad or what they mean,” said Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction Corp., an online marketing agency in San Francisco.
“A lot of these tools have a sentiment analysis piece, but in reality, the sentiment analysis isn't as accurate as we would need for it to be to be meaningful. Semantics are so difficult to measure.”
In other survey findings, 39% of marketers described their company's level of sophistication with search engine optimization as needing improvement; 27% said it was somewhat advanced; 26% said it was adequate. Only 9% said it was very advanced.
Some marketers said they are just beginning to explore the integration of social media and search.
Nicole Lipson, senior marketing manager at Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, which makes products for commercial construction, said, “We are continuing to evaluate and improve our search program, mostly to ensure that important keywords for our business will bring us up to the top of the list. Integrating search with social media is something that we're just beginning to look at, and we are using experts to help us look at that.”
Georgia-Pacific Gypsum uses social media networks such as Flickr and YouTube to post product photos and instructional videos for its target audience of architects, general contractors and distributors, Lipson said.