Two consistent observations follow from our experience working with B2B companies on their web marketing strategies:

A. Most businesses care considerably about placement in Google search results
B. Many don’t believe social media is relevant for their company

As for point A, they’re right on. Search engine optimization matters – a lot. What they don’t often realize is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to achieve positive search results without participation in social media. Fast Company posted a great article a couple weeks ago titled “SEO isn’t what you think it is” and it concluded with this point:

So rather than asking yourself, “How do I optimize my website to better rank with search engines?” ask, “How can I optimize my brand so that it’s a sought-after participant in relevant conversations?” Answering that will bring you top rankings on the search engines and much, much more.

I’d highly recommend reading that full article – it’s short but full of good insights. In the meantime, I’d like to dispute point B from above.

In the context of search engine optimization, what follows are two big time misconceptions about B2B social media marketing that should be put to rest.

Misconception: My customers are old school and don’t use social media, so neither should I.

Good point on the traditional customer base – we see that often. But I’ll make a very strong argument here that your customers aren’t your only audience. When you share original content like blog posts or white papers and they get picked up by an industry journalist or publication, you gain exposure among their audience (just like when you send out a press release). What does this have to do with search engine optimization? Everything. Google rewards you in search results because you’ve gained additional credibility. Think of it this way. When the village newspaper picks up your story and links to your site, you get some points from Google. When CNN picks up your story and links to your site, you get lots and lots of points from Google. Consider everything in between part of a sliding scale.

Misconception: No one cares that I’m having a double cheeseburger for lunch (or about any other status updates at that).

OK, I kind of tricked you with that headline. Though I do love cheeseburgers, it’s true – that stuff doesn’t matter. In fact, businesses who are sharing that kind of information are completely missing the mark. But here’s the reality. Search engines (like Google) are all looking at your activity in social media. Those participating in discussions about your industry and contributing valuable content and opinions about things that do matter to your audience are being recognized by Google as influential parties. Google rewards these influencers with better placement in search results. Period.

We’d love to hear your stories about success or failure with social media in search. Please share your comments below. And if you want to talk social media strategy, get it touch with us. Thanks for reading.

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