Archive for the ‘Social Shopping’ Category

“Like” is the New Link: How Facebook is Reorganizing Google’s Web

October 24th, 2012

By Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media and author of Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& Other Social Networks)

You wake up one morning and your back really hurts. You’ve been putting off finding a new doctor ever since you moved to town, it’s been forever since you’ve had a check-up, and now you’re paying the price.

The pain is too much to wait any longer, you’ve got to find a chiropractor now. So you grab your computer, go to Google.com, and enter “back doctor” and your town’s name. You see a list of a ten chiropractors who have paid Google to be listed there and dozens of others who come up in the organic search results. But do you really want to trust your throbbing back to a complete stranger in an emergency?

Then you think of another idea, and you head to Facebook and again search “back doctor.” At the top of the results is a doctor’s listing with a sidebar telling you that three of your friends “like” this chiropractor. “Sweet,” you think. “Someone I can trust, because my friends like him.” You make a quick call, and you’re off to get your backache taken care of by a recommended doctor, a professional your friends “like.”

This scenario and scenarios such as this aren’t happening en masse quite yet, but the use of Facebook and the social graph for search and commerce isn’t far off. Think about it. Why would you possibly make a decision about a doctor, an attorney, a mechanic—or any important product or service for that matter—based on advertising or Google placement when you can make that decision based on the preference and recommendations of trusted friends? Facebook and social media have made it infinitely easier to do the latter. It’s nothing short of a gamechanger for marketers and businesses of all sizes.

The great news about the new world of communications we live in today is that everybody has a shot. Build a great product, get the word out to a few people, make it easy for people to share with their friends, and you can win without spending a boatload. Just five years ago, for instance, if you went to a new restaurant that you loved, you might have shared your thoughts with a few of your friends, family, and/or neighbors. Perhaps if you really loved the restaurant, you may have raved about it for a week to as many as 10 or 15 friends. Today, you can share those thoughts with 200 Facebook friends, or 300 Twitter followers, or 150 LinkedIn connections—all with one click on your computer or smartphone!

No matter what the size of your organization or client’s business, you too have the ability to follow the simple rules of social media to reap the rewards. Senior management—and anyone in a communications position for that matter—needs to know that marketing in a social media and Facebook world is not about broadcasting your message and getting the largest reach and frequency, it’s about tapping into the conversation by listening, engaging, and empowering. The loudest, biggest spenders don’t win anymore—the smartest, most flexible listeners do.

Search Engine Optimization Versus Social Media Marketing: A Battle that Doesn’t Need to Be Fought

October 12th, 2011

By Rob Croll, Professor at Full Sail University

Successful organizations know that their customers now “find” them online in many ways, including Google searches, Facebook pages, customer review sites, social shopping sites, and more. Some interesting facts and figures:

  • More than 16 billion searches were conducted worldwide during October 2010, according to data from comScore.
  • More than 250 million people use Facebook on a daily basis.
  • Twitter claims more than 50 million tweets per day.

That’s a lot of online activity, happening in a lot of different places. For organizations trying to maximize their effectiveness, it can be difficult to prioritize. Factor in limited budgets, and it’s easy to fall into either/or arguments, particularly regarding search and social marketing.

The arguments for search engine optimization (SEO) typically include that it’s often more targeted, that searchers are actively “looking,” and that traffic from search frequently converts better. The arguments for social media marketing typically include that it’s better at building longer-term relationships with customers, that it gives you more control since it’s not reliant on search engine algorithms, and that the social aspect allows for customers to engage with and evangelize brands.

However, any argument over which is better—search or social media—fails to consider the inherently symbiotic relationship between the two. In today’s world, focusing on one to the exclusion of the other is folly for most organizations. Of course, the relative merits of each differ depending on the goals of the organization and, more importantly, the objectives of the web user.

In a post called Comparing SEO and Social Media as Marketing Channels, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz noted that “search is an intent-driven activity. We don’t search casually (much), we search to find answers, information, and goods and services to consume.” Visitors who arrive at a site from a search engine are specifically looking for something. Generally (though not always), these searchers are further along in the purchase decision-making process and thus potentially more valuable, at least in the short term.

Social media marketing, however, brings potential customers of a different type. These visitors expect more dynamic content and more opportunities to engage and interact. Even if they don’t have an immediate intent to purchase, these potential customers represent a longer-term opportunity for organizations. If they feel positively about your brand, they may share that enthusiasm within their own circle of influence, expanding the reach of your marketing activities. Building a relationship with them also greatly enhances the likelihood that they will do business with you in the future. For example, studies show that individuals who have been exposed to a brand message in social media are more likely to click on an organic search listing for that organization.

Finally, consider that results from a searcher’s social graph now appear in the search engine results directly. These social results typically include an image, which increases the likelihood that they’ll be clicked. In an article on Search Engine Journal, Bill Sebald gives an anecdotal example of getting search engine traffic for keywords for which his blog didn’t organically rank well. That traffic was being driven by what he calls “the eleventh listing”—the “results from people in your social circle” on Google.

It’s clear that the relationship between search and social will continue to grow in the future. Search engines have been seeking to incorporate more social signals for some time now, and the momentum shows no signs of slowing. With advances in technology and shifts in consumer behavior, it’s time for marketers to look at search and social media as two critical—and inherently interrelated—components of their overall efforts.