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Social Media’s Halo Effect on Organic Search

On December 30th, 2009, Selena Gomez, (better known for her role as Alex Russo on the TV show “Wizards of Waverly Place”), visited Daireds Salon and Spa Pangea (client) for a haircut. Later, she tweeted about the positive experience to her 1.3 million followers. What followed was a minor Twitter explosion about the Daireds brand. Nothing that would be unexpected given Selena’s large network of engaged fans. On Twitter, the Daireds brand was mentioned (mostly through retweets), well over 100 times (includes numbers from both retweet formats). The potential reach of that tweet would be somewhere in the millions. Unfortunately, Selena did not use a link or mention the Daireds Twitter account in her tweet, so other than the branding effects, there didn’t seem to be an immediate benefit to her tweet. Then, a few days later, I looked at the analytics for Daireds’ website. What I saw surprised me. On the day that Selena published her tweet, overall site traffic increased by 300% from the previous day – mostly through organic search. Selena’s tweet produced an extraordinary halo effect of people using search engines to find out more about Daireds. Brand related keyword referrals (those containing some form of the word “Daireds”) were up almost 900% compared to the previous day. An equivalent pay per click media buy for similar traffic numbers would have been several thousand dollars – and that doesn’t take into account the cost of a traditional media buy that would generate the number of brand impressions that were also created. Of course, the traffic and exposure were all free for our client. This truly speaks to the power of social media to reach and influence even mainstream audiences. Even better, when compared to the exposure provided by other endorsement vehicles, the tweet has a much higher degree of permanence and engagement potential. Not only will the tweet survive in the digital space for much longer than offline media, but it provides valuable opportunities for interaction with the Daireds brand, either through the Daireds Twitter account, or through further conversations with Selena. Have you had any similar experiences on your web projects?

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