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4 Skills Every Social Marketer Should Have in 2020

By: Britney Muller, Senior SEO Scientist, Moz

December 9, 2019

As a social media marketer, you know your work has an impact on your brand. All of your efforts are focused on engaging and growing a qualified audience, after all. But are you aware of how social impacts the SEO of the site you’re marketing, the relationship between organic and paid social, or how you can use SEO insights to your advantage? Here are four ways to tie together your technical and creative skillset this year and into the next.

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Brittney Muller, Senior SEO Scientist, Moz

An understanding of how SEO and social are related. As far as we know, Google doesn’t use signals from social for ranking a website in search. But that doesn’t mean good social coverage can’t boost your SEO. Successful social coverage gets your site content in front of a wider set of eyes, reaching an audience that is uniquely interested in the brand (that’s why they chose to follow you!) and—if your posts are crafted to wow and be shareable—they grow your SEO in a few ways:

These are all signals Google can identify and use to help rank a website. And while higher social media engagement doesn’t directly translate to higher page rankings, you can provide insights to your SEO team around which content is resonating with your audience. In turn, your search marketing colleagues can offer you insights on site content that performs well, providing you with ample content to experiment with on your organic social channels. If done right, you’ll create a virtuous cycle where social is the proving grounds for content, content continually improves, and your social metrics benefit as a result.

A “unicorn strategy” to make the most of resources. It’s not uncommon for social media marketers to be caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to a paid social budget. You’re asked to maximize what you’re given, but often it’s less than it should be. It’s a frustrating situation, but employing a “unicorn strategy” is a great way to maximize returns on your PPC investment:

  1. Analyze which posts, titles, URLs, etc. have earned 10X–100x returns via organic channels—these are your “unicorns.”
  2. Work with your marketing team to ensure the content you’re promoting satisfies a goal, whether that goal is hitting the next step in the sales funnel, promoting a CTA, or something else will depend entirely on the overall marketing strategy.
  3. Promote “unicorns” heavily using your paid budget

Bonus tip: Take a close look at your competitors’ top social posts and paid ads—these are great for seeding inspiration and strategy. It’s far too common for marketers to waste time and resources promoting a campaign that never had a chance to begin with. Take hints from what’s worked in the past, optimize, and use it to your advantage—spending your energy and resources wisely.

Active listening. Don’t get caught up planning your messaging and response strategy without considering one of the most powerful tools social media gives you: listening to your target audience. Often they’ll tell you exactly what they want from you, if you only listen. There are plenty of tools and software that can clue you into important social conversations and themes, but all you really need is knowledge of your target audience and an open mind. Monitor and track the topics people are talking about in the industries and niches that matter to you. Take note of what questions they’re asking. And to really take it to the next level, make sure to interact with them in the spaces where those questions are being asked—not only does it reflect well on your brand, but you’ll be humanizing your social presence and separating yourself from your competitors. Remember, successful social media is a mix of education and entertainment—and participating in your audience’s real-world conversations is a fantastic opportunity to practice both.

The ability to balance optimizing for exposure and conversions. It’s easy to fall into the rut of posting the same old types of content to organic social, while desperately trying to maximize your conversions on the paid side of things. But tipping the balance too far one way or another is only going to drain resources and create inefficient processes. Using the tactics mentioned above, make sure your organic social is optimized for exposure. Grow your audience and ensure that each piece you promote organically—using those SEO insights we discussed earlier—gets in front of as many eyes as possible. Take the highest-performing content from the bunch, optimize it, and promote it via your paid channels. Save your budget for the content that’s proven to work.

When you consider your marketing strategy as a whole, you’re far more likely to understand how your work in social media plays a part in driving important business initiatives. Take the time to learn the relationships social has to organic and paid, and you’ll find your job easier than ever.

At The Social Shake-Up