Last month, Twitter announced a partnership with Google that would allow tweets to start showing up in Google search results. While that’s great news for social media marketers who want to maximize the audience reading their tweets, it really means they’ll be fighting for eyeballs in an even more competitive space.

With organic reach hovering at around 10%, it’s hard enough to get a substantial audience for any single tweet within the Twitter platform. But at least competition is only limited to other Twitter users. Once those tweets start showing up in Google search, they are competing for visibility not only with tweets from other accounts, but content from all over the world wide web.

That’s why, it’s not enough to simply construct tweets and hope they’ll show up in Google search results. Much like regular content, social media content needs to be search engine optimized so that it shows up at the top of search results and drives the most value. However, making social media content SEO friendly requires a different approach, one that’s a little more sophisticated than inserting keywords and hoping Google likes you.

To really take advantage of the real estate across both Twitter and Google, brands need formerly disparate teams to work together, with an integrated set of tools to act on a common strategy. Here are the core practices they need to put in place:

Listen Outside Social Media

Traditionally social media teams have used listening platforms to look out for trending topics across social media, so they can cash in with real-time marketing tactics. However, listening needs to go beyond the realm of real-time opportunities on social. So many conversations that are relevant to brands take place outside social media, on blogs, forums, news sites and niche communities. Brands need a platform that listens to all of the above channels, and feeds the relevant information not just to the social media team, but the content marketing team, sales, service and even human resources.

In this way, marketers can identify not just the obvious trending topics, but the topics most related to their brand that occur outside the tentpole events such as The Super Bowl or The Oscars. For example, Doritos can use a listening platform to identify real-time marketing opportunities during the Super Bowl, but imagine the value it would get by listening to how people were talking about Doritos outside social media, unrelated to the big event. The team could discover Doritos chips being used as a key ingredient in many recipes, and start crafting content accordingly. By discovering the non-obvious conversation around its brand, Doritos could tailor its blog posts and tweets to show up according to Google searches, rather than just what’s trending on Twitter on a given day, giving its content a far longer shelf life, and more of a chance to be seen.

Predict the topics that will trend

The earlier you publish on a relevant topic, the more likely it is to show up high in the search results for it. That’s why it’s not enough for marketers to just listen for what’s trending now, the savvier ones will try to predict the topics before they even start becoming popular. Fortunately there are tools built for this. One of them is Spredfast, which can predict trending conversations on Twitter four hours in advance, and offers a combination of publishing and analysis features to capitalize on it. Another one is Blab, which can predict trending topics 24, 48 and 72 hours in advance, as well as the channels (social, blogs, news) on which they are most likely to blow up. “We identify keywords that are trending based on conversations, and we put those keywords in the hands of social media strategists, providing them context on the themes and tones,” says David Clark, VP of market development at Blab. “Tweets crafted on the basis of those keywords will be more attuned to be findable within search rankings.”

Combine several tools to craft a winning strategy

No single social media marketing platform can provide a brand with all the tools it needs to execute on these strategies. The best ones allow for integration with other solutions that can be used in a seamless, cross-functional way. “What we’re really seeing as best practice is bringing together multiple systems in a command center environment and making them work together,” says Clark. “Using them in conjunction allows for adaptive, agile marketing which is driven by data.”

An example of such an effective process loop would be for the listening team to use a prediction tool (Blab/Spredfast) to identify keywords related to trending conversations and send those to a) the content marketing team to craft relevant content b)  the social media team to create tweets or images, and c) the paid media team to inform them of the work being done by the social team. Using relevant publishing tools (Buddy Media/Hootsuite/Sprinklr) the brand can push out all the content across its channels, and the listening team then uses its monitoring tools (Radian6/Brandwatch/Sysomos) to identify which pieces of content are performing the best. This information is then sent to the paid media team, which then puts a budget behind amplifying the most engaging content by turning them into ads (using paid social tools such as Kenshoo/SHIFT/Nanigans).

This example highlights the three key factors for success not just for tweets in Google, but for content marketing in the digital age: Be first, be relevant, and be holistic in your approach.


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