Brands need to combine search and social media

The Internet Advertising Bureau - the trade association for digital marketing - and Microsoft Advertising have collaborated with industry leaders including Nielsen, Mindshare, Tamar, Latitude and bigmouthmedia to illustrate the importance of a search and social media strategy.

The report, entitled 'Search and Social Media: making your brand stand out' provides brands with a thorough guide to the ways in which the two can be employed to best effect when combined. With real-time and social content becoming increasingly visible within natural search listings, the voices of consumers are now louder than ever.

In a roundtable held in November last year, attended by brands such as the COI and Coca-Cola, alongside a number of social media agencies and search specialists, the IAB and Microsoft Advertising found that many marketers are not yet fully aware of the inextricable link between the two disciplines.

Both organisations are now urging UK advertisers to boost their branded online visibility and guard themselves during PR crises by implementing a solid, joined search and social media strategy.The IAB and Microsoft Advertising have also aggregated case studies and best practice examples, research, quotes from practitioners and consumer insights to create a holistic overview of the market, and the future implications of the continuous merging of these two worlds.

Featuring a foreword from Dr Qi Lu, President of Microsoft, Online Services Division, the report outlines the ways in which search and social media can work together:

Combined effect: search and social media working together Informing strategy: using social media research to inform your search and overall business strategy Response and reputation: using search and social media as a response tool, to successfully manage your reputation online

The IAB and Microsoft Advertising have also enlisted recruitment experts such as Propel London, to explore changing company structures and where the responsibility for search and social media lies within advertiser organisations.

Cedric Chambaz, Marketing Manager for Microsoft Advertising said: "Microsoft Advertising's mission is to help brands thrive by leveraging the full possibilities of digital. This means remaining at the forefront of any trends to anticipate future developments, whilst being anchored in the present so we can accompany our partners and customers to this destination. "In today's online world, it is important that brands maximise the full possibilities of digital, understand the synergies between search and social media and the impact that has on their business. We developed this guide with this dual philosophy in mind and the outcome is a pragmatic, actionable resource that marketers can use to really make the most of two critical digital marketing techniques."

Kieron Matthews, Marketing Director at the Internet Advertising Bureau said: The charm of search is its failure to stand still. While other online channels can be criticised for lacking innovation, this report clearly demonstrates how search has adapted to social interaction and how brands need to keep up and shield their online presence.

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