Where Search Meets Social – Ten Business Opportunities
By Jay Berkowitz, CEO, TenGoldenRules.com
With hundreds of millions of people starting their internet activities on social media sites, the old ways of searching and marketing on the internet are less often the norm. New Social Searches are changing the way we find information – we often search for people on LinkedIn, we search for how-to videos on YouTube and we ask our Facebook friends for recommendations. Plus, these influential sites offer us new marketing and new trends in social media search to be found in traditional search engines. Here are ten new ways to think about the new impact of search media on searching and the opportunities for business arising from the social sites.
- Social Signals – With their major update to their search engine algorithm over the past 6 months Google has included a new indicator for web page importance called ‘social signals’. This functions like links from other websites to make your website more important and get more of your pages to show up in Google searches. Social signals include Facebook Likes, Google+, Tweets etc. Adding these buttons to your articles and web pages will encourage people to like your content and signal its value to Google and the other search engines.
- Instant Search – Search.twitter.com is a great resource to find out what people are thinking right now. Breaking news or live events are always covered first on Twitter, so you can use this resource to stay on top of marketing and new trends in your industry. How can you use this for business? One opportunity is to look for people searching for your services or your expertise such as ‘Can anyone recommend a great internet marketing agency?’ Another opportunity is to set up regular tweets about your industry as Microsoft’s Bing and the other search engines show tweets in search results.
- The Power of Subscriptions – Social Media is the new newsletter subscription. Many of us enjoy reading news on the reader on our smart phone or through our Facebook news feed. Making ‘Friends’ and ‘Fans’ in Facebook, Connections in LinkedIn and Google+ and Followers on Twitter give you an audience for your news and content. Publishing great content spreads your signals virally as people Like, Comment and ReTweet your messages.
- Facebook Fan Pages – now in Google Searches – Facebook offers business-oriented ‘Fan’ pages for marketing on the internet. This is a great opportunity to position your company or service in a market of over 850 million active users. The content on these pages is now found in Google searches, so you should build your page with keyword-rich copy. In addition, you can offer free downloads and contests using applications such as North Social to build your email list.
- Social Feedback – Crowd sourcing is a great way to answer questions and create content for marketing on the internet. I often ask my social media followers for information and trusted opinions such as ‘What are some good eBooks to download for an upcoming road trip?’ And I also access my friends for business information such as ‘What are the top ten ways to make money from social media?’ the answers to this question helped me create a new presentation.
- Video Search = Big Traffic – Did you know that YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, second only to Google and ahead of Yahoo and Bing? We now search for things we want to learn on YouTube because we know someone has created a video about ‘how to unplug sink?’ or ‘how to get our website listed in the search engines’. YouTube videos don’t need to be expensive Hollywood productions; the most important thing is to have good content and good sound quality. Create videos that answer the top 20 questions people ask your company and include keyword phrases in the title and descriptions for your videos. When your videos come up in Google searches they’ll often also be found in Google searches.
- Optimize your Social Media Profiles – Your social media profiles, particularly LinkedIn should include descriptive keyword phrases for the services you provide, not just job titles. Make sure you detail all of you past jobs, education and any groups or associations you belong to. The more keyword-rich content you include, the more opportunities you have to be found in searches on the social media sites. Also, make sure you link to your website from your social media profiles.
- Use Social Media for Reputation Management – Have you Googled yourself lately? How about your CEO? Reputation management is a practice of proactively owning the search engine results for your name, your firm and your brands. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and over 350 social networks you can be listed on through Knowem.com are all opportunities to ensure that accurate information comes up about you and your boss instead of that one unfriendly customer service comment.
- Social Link Bait – Link bait is a term used to describe a tactic designed to ‘bait’ people into linking to good things you say about them. Creating a blog or Facebook post about the top 50 websites in your industry will often bait the top websites to link to your list to say “We’re on the Top 50 List!” These links make your website more important in the eyes of the search engines.
- Create your own Community – Creating a social community through LinkedIn Groups, engaging Facebook Fan Pages, and NING sites (see ours at www.InternetMarketingClub.org ) are great strategies to build your social followers and your social credibility. Everybody wants to be connected to the connectors, creating and managing a group or community builds your links, followers and influence online.
In conclusion, Google and the search engines show no sign of slowing up in the near future, but we have tremendous new opportunities in marketing and new trends from Social Search activities for marketing on the internet.