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Search and Social are Colliding!

December 3, 2010 1 comment

On my podcast in the summer, we discussed an interesting phenomenon in Europe…more visitors were using Facebook than Google.  Back then, it was an interesting sidenote, but today that phenomenon isn’t exclusive to Europe.  It’s becoming more and more apparent the future, indeed the present, of marketing is through social contacts.

90% of consumers online base their decision on the recommendation of a friend.

The online marketing industry is taking note.  I was recently made aware of a multi-day conference where the entire subject is search/social convergence.  Several recent articles I’ve read discuss social site results showing up on search engines.  Businesses are rushing to create social profiles for the purpose of selling products and services.

Unfortunately, many of these businesses are going to step on some toes and incorrectly sell on social sites.  When we engage on social sites, we don’t want to be pitched or sold.  If we’re in the market for a product, we’ll ask!  So why should businesses have a social presence for sales if people don’t want to buy?  Several reasons.

1.  Facebook is a far more effective sales platform than a website because of the potential to extend influence to friends of your customers.  Activity on your Facebook page can be spread throughout the platform with very little effort.  Social activity can also be added to non-Facebook sites.

2.  Buyers want to stay on the platform they’re using.  Why go to a third-party site when you can make your purchase on a site you already trust?

3.  Searches for buying signals for your brand can be set up on Twitter and Google alerts.  For instance if you’re XYZ widgets you can set up searches for “XYZ widgets” and “buy XYZ widgets” and “XYZ widgets sale.”  Not only can you monitor your brand, but you can monitor people who want to buy your product or service.

I recently “asked Twitter” for a recommendation on telephone tracking numbers.  Within five minutes a vendor responded.  Of all the companies in that space, only one responded.  Are their competitors missing out on business?

The worlds of search and social media are definitely colliding.  As this new medium evolves I think we’ll see social media become more and more effective as a sales tool.  Search sites must adapt or they will be left behind.

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