An effective social search strategy widens the reach of your business as a large number of relevant users see your business profile while querying for information on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
What is Social Search?
Wikipedia defines social search as a type of web search that takes into account the Social Graph of the person initiating the Search Query. So, how and why is it important for your business? Since it is contextual to people and has relevance to their social graph, they tend to easily relate to social search results.
Social Search Optimization vs. Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been a revelation ever since it was introduced. It’s a common misperception that Social Search Optimization (SSO) is the same as search engine marketing; the reality is that they are poles apart. SEO focuses on organic search (e.g. Google, Bing, etc.) while SSO is focused on gaining more traction within the social network realm. SEO is algorithmic while SSO is contextual.
It’s an interesting decision for businesses to make – Whether they invest in social search optimization or SEO or both? While SEO specialists are quick to write off social search as merely another link-building exercise, social search specialists claim that though SEO is beneficial in any marketing campaign, it is not the defining factor.
The truth is that picking either SEO or social search is not the solution. They are not alternatives to each other. While the end goal is the same, the means of social search optimization and SEO are drastically different from each other.
Is Social Search Industry evolving?
Though it may still be at a nascent stage as compared to SEO, the social search industry is growing in leaps and bounds. Twitter took a giant step when it collaborated with Google to display tweets for search queries. Facebook-Bing partnership is another milestone in the social search realm.
Google, Facebook and Twitter already offer real time searches which classify as social search. Facebook recently overtook Google as the most accessed website in the United States and going by the rate at which the number of Twitter searches is increasing with every passing day, it will be unsurprising if Twitter overtakes Google as well.
How to Optimize Your Brand for Social Search
Now back to the all important question – how do you optimize your business brand for social search? Though my observations relate more to Twitter and Facebook, they should apply equally well to other social networks as well.
- Ensure that your social media profile is informational with relevant keywords and leaves a positive impression on visitors. Avoid being too flashy or stuffed with random incoherent keywords with an attempt to game the social search engines. Keep things simple but try to present them in an attractive way.
- Track what your followers/ fans/ other users are saying about your brand by using social monitoring tools. Accept constructive criticism and ensure to hand out clarifications whenever required.
- Track your competitors to see how they are performing on the social search front. Once you know where your competitors stand, it provides an objective assessment of where your business is.
- Moreover, make it a point to keep track of what people are saying about your competitors. Your competitor’s loss is your gain.
- Periodically monitor your social search performance. If the results do not match up to your goals, it’s time for a reality check and corrective action. Measure your success and failure – it helps.
I read an interesting statistic somewhere. To reach, the 50 million users mark,
- Radio took 38 years
- TV took 13 years
- Internet took 4 years
- Facebook and Twitter took less than 6 months
The choice is yours. After all, it’s about your business and how you grow it. Remember to leave your comments below.