Social Search: What It Is and How to Add It to Your Marketing Strategy As your social media postings become more important in search, digital marketing expert Stephen Woessner offers up some tips on leveraging this tool.

By Stephen Woessner

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Nowadays, having a strong social media presence on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is vital to your startup's digital strategy. But what about social search?

First, a definition. Social search is different than traditional search, as it takes into account information pertaining to your social graph, or a tool that allows users to discover content created by family, friends and colleagues, among others.

And while Google and other traditional search platforms aren't going anywhere, social search will likely play a larger role in how you both interact and transact online. Think of it as a complementary tool used to increase site traffic.

Here's how to integrate social search into your overall marketing strategy:

Use keywords and hashtags when relevant. Search engines will index tweets, LinkedIn connection updates, Facebook updates and Google + posts that aren't private. Including keywords and hashtags within those posts will make it easier for search engines to identify you as an expert source for that topic.

Related: Social Media May Soon Drive More Traffic to Your Website Than Search Engines

Also, keep in mind that more people are opting for long-tail searches -- that is, they favor more specific keywords over basic search terms. If someone searches for "best marketing agency in Dallas," and that specific keyword isn't in your post, Google will skip right over it.

Link to supporting content. Just because someone pulls up your tweet about widgets doesn't mean he's going to buy any, or even click on your site. To increase the chances of a purchase, link to your bestselling widget or latest widget blog. That way, when someone clicks on an enticing link, he not only adds traffic to your site but the likelihood he'll make a purchase increases. Plus, your site's social cred with search engines will go up.

Share your distinctiveness. Use your posts to remind followers of your expertise. When you speak at a conference, publish new research findings or appear in a media article, share it. By doing so, you get the conversation going, allow for interaction and demonstrate your expertise.

Related: 12 Must-Know Trends in Digital Marketing

Ensure content is relevant. If you're using a keyword in your social post, be sure it links to content on your site that's directly related to that keyword. Otherwise, Google could penalize you.

A rock-solid social presence is essential to your success. But know that there are no shortcuts to search-engine stardom these days. You need the right message delivered in the right way to connect with your audience. With consistent, relevant social engagement, you can boost your revenue and develop stronger customer relationships.

What other tips do you have for utilizing social search? Let us know in the comments below.

Stephen Woessner is a digital marketing expert, the bestselling author of Increase Online Sales through Viral Social Networking, a speaker and an educator. He is founder and president of Predictive ROI, including their signature event, Predictive ROI LIVE.

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