Ad:tech experts say SEO enables content discovery, and this is key to garnering social shares.

Social media marketing is all the buzz, but Michael Pranikoff, global director of emerging media for PR Newswire, firmly believes marketers need to remember one of the greatest benefits of social is that it offers a distribution channel for great content. With this in mind, he told ad:tech attendees to focus on the message behind their social outreach and to remember to always optimize this message for search.

Content marketing is the fuel for social engagement, Pranikoff suggests. If marketers hope to gain engagement, they need to ask themselves, “Why should people follow us?” It’s important to step outside of the “marketer’s bubble” and think about the value offered to fans and followers – and this translates into creating valuable content.

Pranikoff told attendees that search engine optimization lays the groundwork for content sharing, and he encourages marketers to have all social content derive from or point to their site. In this way, social efforts must be “directional,” and he says PRNewswire partners have seen success using optimized content that is easily discovered by searchers across the web. They recognize positive results with search-friendly blogs and site pages pointing to social channels and conversations that use core keywords directing users back to the website.An ad:tech expert spoke about SEO for social content and making content directional.

Moreover, he said, “SEO is the foundation of social marketing,” as consumers are searching not only in engines (such as Google and Bing) but also within networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to find relevant information. In order for consumers to share social content, they first need to be able to find it.

Brafton has reported that search is still the primary starting point for shopping on the web, cited as the first stop for research by 58 percent of consumers (compared to 18 percent who say they start searching for service and product info on social channels). Of course, the same report reveals that search and social marketing, together, increase overall CTRs.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.