No matter what product or service your company sells, people need to be able to find it online. Climbing to the first page of results in Google (while extremely difficult) used to be the best way to help your customers find you on the intertubes.
However, the rules are changing, and while search engine optimization is still important, it is no longer enough. Search is going social, as the major search engines try to create more relevant results by leveraging the power of social networks.
For example, both Bing and Google now index tweets. Also, with Google’s new social search feature, whenever users enter in a search term, Google displays items posted by members of their “social circle” in the results, on the first page.
People are also becoming more likely to turn to social networking sites to find information, as opposed to search engines. Brian Solis notes that “20% of social consumers today, use social networks as their primary navigation hubs, relying on contacts and trending themes to point them in the right direction.”
What does that mean to companies and brands? On the Web Strategy blog, Jeremiah Owyang and Charlene Li explain that the forthcoming integration of social and search means that it is vital to get your customers talking about you (and to make sure they are saying nice things!):
“For the first time, consumers will be able to directly impact web search results. Although companies spend thousands of marketing dollars controlling their search results by using Google’s advertising services, customers and competitors can quickly and cheaply impact search results using simple tools like Twitter.”
Brian Solis has a helpful list of 10 steps that brands can take to optimize themselves for social search. Developing a presence on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is important, of course, as is developing procedures to monitor these sites for mentions of your brand. You need to connect with your customers and engage them directly.
But it’s not enough to simply create a Facebook page or a Twitter account. And you can’t simply talk about yourself-you have to encourage your customers to talk about you. One of the easiest ways to do that is to integrate social media sharing into your direct response campaigns.
Whether you initially connect with your customers via direct mail or email, if you provide them with a compelling offer and give them the means to share it on social networking sites, it’s possible to generate viral campaigns that can give your company more visibility in social search.
To quote Brian Solis:
“If the socialization of search and commerce is driven by any one behavior, it is that of sharing…In the share economy, currency is defined by likes, links, retweets, updates, comments, shares on Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, MySpace, et al. And, its impact only grows as Social Media becomes pervasive.”
With Dukky, you can quickly and easily create integrated campaigns that bring together direct mail, email, social media and mobile marketing. Through the use of pURLS, your offers become part of the “share economy,” with results that are trackable on our real-time dashboard. It’s a simple, yet effective way to get customers talking about your brand!