I had the great pleasure of attending the Indianapolis American Marketing Association (AMA) October luncheon.  Jeb Banner, CEO of Indianapolis-based Smallbox, shared his insight on where SEO and social media are  going in a presentation titled, The Future of Search Engine Optimization is the Digital Brand Ecosystem.

According to Jeb, we are in the middle of a big shift where we are no longer in control of our brand. Our brand lives in a digital world where it is measured and weighted by Google and Bing. He explains that a digital ecosystem, like any ecosystem, sustains life by continuously replenishing the resources that make it successful. For a brand to sustain life in this world, it must do the following:

  • Define its goals
  • Refine its strategy
  • Create valuable content
  • Measure results

Here are some of the major takeaways from Jeb’s presentation, and how you can use them to build your own brand ecosystem:

  • Tell Stories About Your Brand:  Content is what fuels a digital ecosystem, and search engines will reward you for social sharing of content. Use stories and examples to convey your messages and engage the reader.
  • Give up the keys to your social media accounts: Search engines, hungry for a fresh source of content, are forcing companies to give up control of their brand to customers and employees
  • Brands are created out of culture: Marketing is no longer about what’s your message, it’s about what’s your culture. . Jeb quotes Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, in saying “Your brand is a lagging indicator or your culture”. Marketing your brand is no longer about what your message is, its about what’s your culture. Have a systematic strategy for how your culture will define your brand’s digital ecosystem. Successful brands will let their personality come through. 
  • Social media goes fast, what you say might not always stick, but the relationships will: Companies should publish and promote their brands message while interacting with the audience receiving it.

As small business owners look to improve their SEO, an emphasis on social media can help. Increase your search engine traffic by building your brand’s digital ecosystem online.