Sohini Sen

Social Media Week: Can Social and Search Media marketing Co-exist?

Aditi Bhandari from the Web Marketing Academy explains why the twain shall - and should - meet.

Looking at different aspects of social media and the diverse opportunities it presents to each of us, the Social Media Week - Mumbai 2014 conference continued in full swing on Day Three.

Social Media Week: Can Social and Search Media marketing Co-exist?
While social media is the buzzword for this generation, marketers have also recognised the scope it gives them for brand promotion and reaching new markets. But while social media marketing becomes more popular, can search marketing be totally ignored? According to Aditi Bhandari, Google AdWords trainer, Web Marketing Academy, there are benefits of marrying the social media and search media worlds of advertising.

Bhandari started her discussion by elaborating the differences between social media and search media. Search media depends on a model where people actively search for some product or service. This pulls the consumer through queries of intent, using platforms such as the Google and Yahoo! search engines. The primary objective of marketing through this medium is to drive traffic or sales, and the brand value impact is seen as an added bonus.

Social media marketing, on the other hand, thrives on people interacting with the content and information proactively distributed by a brand. Using popular mediums like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, this form pushes messages to highly targeted audiences. Social media marketing does not actively look at increasing sales, but tries to better the brand value.

According to Bhandari, both mediums enjoy certain benefits. Search marketing reaches a targeted audience at the right time and right place. It is more suited for businesses where consumers want to purchase directly from the business. The data collected in this form also lets one know what and how are people searching. A greater advantage that search marketing gives is that brands can buy their way into search results like Google adverts and Bing. While using search media marketing, a brand can further customise its appearance, making it more relevant according to the consumer data available with them.

Customisation is not possible in social media marketing, but it too has tremendous advantages. Peer recommendations are the biggest plus point for social media marketing, which also lets brands respond to criticism in real time. This also ensures continuous engagement.

Bhandari used data to show that neither of the two - in this scenario - can be ignored completely. While 90 per cent of India's online audience has access to Google or its properties, there are at least 100 million Facebook users in India. In addition, the country consumes five billion videos a month on an average.

Bhandari went on to explain what a marketer should do to mix these two formats and reap the rewards. She felt that marketers must make social campaigns more search friendly. One must also, she suggested, create social media-influenced paid search campaign. Bhandari further suggested experimenting with key word advertising on social media sites. Marketers must also explore remarketing for search ads to cater differently to people who land on their websites from social media platforms. She explained that a lot of companies also embed social media plug-ins or buttons into their websites to get visitors to follow the brand on social media, which works to their advantage.

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