Social media is often publicized as the next great leap for marketers, and in many ways it is. However, there are indirect marketing uses of social media that are often overlooked. For hundreds of thousands of web businesses, a favorable ranking in search engines is the most powerful marketing method available.

Of course, SEO is its own marketing form, and one that's given a large amount of attention already from marketers. But for all the focus that has been put on social media as an independent marketing platform, one area has been ignored: social media as an SEO marketing platform.

Every link that is posted on Twitter is another powerful backlink to your website. Every discussion on Facebook is another asset for your search results. While social media marketing is often relentlessly focused on the long-term, it is also a great way to generate short-term links to your website, powerful SEO juice, and other search marketing tools.

If you are planning a social media campaign, craft it so that SEO is a side effect. When built correctly, a social media campaign can be more than just an independent marketing exercise -- it can be a resource for SEO and long-term branding.

Four Reasons to Use Social Media For SEO

1. Social media generates backlinks on its own.

If you have ever run a promotion through social media platforms, it should already be clear to you how many backlinks you can instantly and naturally generate. With an incentive-based competition -- for example, a Twitter campaign involving a direct link to your website -- you can crowdsource not just natural promotion, but backlink generation. Sound good to sit back and let people generate PR for you, doesn't it?

2. Effective social media marketing inspires people to link to you.

An effective social media presence is not just about inspiring conversation, but about inspiring links. When you give people reasons to connect with yourself, your company, or your brand, they are inspired to write about you, and eventually link to you. A simple call for people to blog about you could end up with hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of organic backlinks to your business website.

3. Social media profiles hold high SEO value.

Google Profiles, a new addition to Google's huge information network, allow anyone to receive a backlink from a highly rated website. With a few strategic SEO-based social media profiles, you can get inbound links to your website from a wide range of high-value websites. Remember, it is all about trade-offs -- is it worth your time to generate hundreds of low quality links or generate the few powerful ones through social media? Social media carries dual value -- as a direct marketing platform and for SEO -- while links alone are only worth their search value.

4. Smart marketers use social media as a reputation management tool.

Ever been hurt by a wave of bad press? It is painful to search for your company name on Google, only to have a couple of negative articles pop up in the top listings. The good news is that social media profiles typically rank highly in search listings. With just a few social media profiles, you can control your search results and easily remove unfavorable listings.