Social Search: What it means for your business?
Google is adding its take on the “like” button — which it is calling the “plus-one” — in its latest bid to make search more social, as well as combat the growing dominance of Facebook.
It’s the most aggressive foray into social search to date and the first time Google has added a direct social signal into search results. Over time, Google will integrate the plus-one into the search algorithm itself so human votes will have an impact search ranking.
Business owners, brand managers, and marketers need to know a few things about how Google’s new social search results work; there are opportunities for gaining exposure for your business or brand that didn’t exist before, and it won’t be difficult to take advantage of them.
For most of the last decade, search engines were the main connection between people and web pages, but that is changing rapidly. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are increasingly driving people’s interactions with the Internet; that’s why Google has taken a big new step to take social media shares into account in its search results.
Here’s the skinny on what Google has done and how you can use it to your advantage.
How to leverage this?
There are two scenarios in which you can leverage this for exposure for your brand. In the first, you need to already have loyal customers following you on Twitter and Flickr. To gain repeat business from them, you can create and share content on Flickr and Twitter that might be related to the products or services you offer.
So let’s say you’re a travel agency, and a customer is following you on Twitter. Tweet about your deals and offers for trips to New Zealand, and even if your follower misses or forgets about your message, he or she will see your offers figure prominently when searching for information about New Zealand trips.
In the second scenario, you have less control, but it just goes to show you that attracting followers on Twitter can be a big boon for your business or brand. You might gain exposure through Social Search to some people who don’t even follow you, and who have never even heard of your brand.
That’s because those who do follow you might feel compelled to tweet about your services, or take photos of your products or retail location. When their friends perform a search related to your products or services, they’ll see those tweets about what you have on tap — and those results they see will carry special weight because they come from a friend.
So encourage loyal customers to connect with you online, and give them incentives to tweet about your business, either through contests, location-based deals on Foursquare and Facebook Places, or just good old social engagement.