Ian Lurie will be speaking about “Social Media Strategy” at SearchFest 2012, which will be held February 24,2012 at The Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living.

I’m the founder and CEO of Portent, Inc. – we’re an internet marketing agency focused on PPC, SEO and social media. We’ve been in business since 1995 (back when the internets were moved on covered wagons and such). I also write the blog Conversation Marketing – that’s where I rant, freak out, teach and otherwise pontificate about marketing stuff.

2) How do you define “social media” strategy and how does that differ from how most people define it?

‘Social media’ is not a new thing. It’s not some magical shiny occurrence that automatically qualifies you for a winning IPO. Social media’s been around as long as we could yell at each other. Any reasonably intelligent strategy is going to start way before tools. “Go set up a Twitter account” is not a social media strategy. It’s just dumb.

A good social media strategy starts with defined goals and a message. Everyone has a message, and ‘buy our stuff’ doesn’t count. Everyone has a goal, too, and ‘sell more stuff’ doesn’t count, either. A good goal might be “Get 100 people talking about us” or “Acquire five new customers.” A message might be “There’s a better way to do impact investing” or “Your shoes will be comfortable” or “Stop the blight of split fingernails.”

Then, the strategy should provide real, executable steps towards achieving those goals, by promoting the message.

That triangle between steps, goals and message defines a sound strategy.

By the way – if that sounds like PR or marketing strategy, that’s because it is.

3) How can a company best integrate social media strategy & search marketing strategy?

I actually think it’s hard not to. You have to really work to split the two. But some basic steps are:

1. Put your blog on your site.
2. Make social sharing easy throughout your site.
3. Treat ‘link bait’ as ‘social content’ or whatever trendy terms you want to mix together there.
4. Make sure you have a defined social media policy, and that the search team has it.
5. Use search to plug holes in social media coverage, and vice-versa.
6. Remember that what you say in social media will end up in the search results. Please. Pretty please.

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