SEO and Public Relations: This Small, Small World Has Room For Both

April 14th, 2011 by Search Influence Alumni

In a world of fierce, undercutting, and faceless competition, Search Engine Optimization mixed with social media brings back to small businesses a much-needed breath of fresh air. It has been learned that you can’t fight big business on its own turf. Unlike the national chains that have dominated the first part of this century, small business owners cannot cut prices and run million dollar ads. The overhead of trying to compete in this manner has bankrupted many of Middle America’s small entrepreneurs.

Enter SEO and social media; suddenly this big bad world is more reminiscent of a classic ride at Disney World. You know, the one where all the little kids talk about how there isn’t that much difference between you and me regardless of language or location. That’s right, because it’s all about getting to know each other and figuring out how to communicate. This is exactly the purpose of using SEO and social media outlets to bring people to your business, except in our “big kid” world we call it public relations.

Okay, I understand that most of your pure business gurus out there believe that public relations is, and I quote, “just ass-kissing and party-planning.” Five to ten years ago they might have had a point, but in this contemporary economy the true principles of the craft are a huge part of why smaller companies have a fighting chance again. The consumer has a renewed interest in quality, and is willing to spend a little more for a more personable experience. While the bottom line is still net profit, they way to success lies within the methods you use to obtain your goals.

If Google and other search engines have replaced the YellowPages, then SEO has replaced the one-page ad. Sure, Adwords are still a highly profitable drive for visits and conversions, but the SEO in and of itself spans beyond the normal realm of marketing. A business owner takes special interest in what the consumer is looking for when they go searching. The use of these technologies can help a business mold their image into something much more appealing to the audience. They are interacting directly and specifically with their public through just a few small changes.

When you throw social media into the mix, then you are really getting some classic public relations action. The basic idea of the PR world is to promote goodwill for your company to its public. So a business going on Facebook to garner “likes” that convert to sales has to add things to this medium that will stir interest. Some of the typical things you will see in a business fan page are news, specials, and community projects. This is public relations! You are showing your consumer the good you do for them and the community. These simple acts inspire the kind of loyalty that results in a stronger bottom line.

In effect, established public relations principles mixed with cutting-edge marketing strategies not only gain customers, but implore them to be active members in the community that is your business. They feel a connection not only with what you do but also with the personal responses you show to your environment. This is the way small business regains its individual face, loyal customer base and larger profits. Now that’s something to plan a party for!