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March 19, 2008

Social Search: The Next Step

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Last session on Day 3. I’m exhausted. I shall summon all of the energy buried inside me to finish this day off. On panel we have Steven Marder (Eurekster), Erik Qualman, Simon Heseltine (Serengeti Communications) and Marty Weintraub (aimClear). [inhales deeply]

Up first is Simon Heseltine:

What is Social Search? It’s that human involvement.

Regular search engines provide algorithmically ordered results. Social search engines use human involvement, are completely human generated, or adopt a hybrid of algorithmically ordered results+ humans to deliver results.

Types of Social Search

  • Listing Search
  • Q&A / Opinion Search
  • People / Profile Search
  • Social Aggregators
  • Social Media Site Search Engines

Simon picks an example to use to demonstrate all the different types of engines: Elliot Spitzer.

  • Listing Search Engines: Anoox (People can vote on listings to move them up. The challenge they have is that their spiders only pull in the home pages of sites. They can’t go in deep.), Sproose, ChaCha, Mahalo, and iRazoo.
  • Q&A Search Engines: Tezaa, LinkedIn
  • Profile Searches: yoName
  • Social Media Site Searches: Digg, Mixx, StumbleUpon, Flickr, Facebook
  • Social Media Aggregators: Twing, Zudos, Friendfeed, Flock

Social Search Issues

  • Some sites are slow – low investment in hardware
  • Sourcing of data challenges
  • Low volume of active users – takes away the Human element & relevancy
  • Being found amongst the chatter
  • A group with an agenda can hijack a SERP (if controls are not in place)
    • Editorial approval?
    • Potential Reputation Management Issues

Reputation Management

Reputation Management Problem Sources:

  • Disgruntled (ex)Employees
  • Disgruntled Customers
  • Journalists / Bloggers
  • Activists
  • Your Competition
  • Trolls
  • Self Inflicted

Now What?

  • Analyze & Assess
    • Tone & Context
      • What is being said?
      • How is it being said?
      • Where is it being said?

Now What?

  • Analyze & Assess
    • Participants & Audience Reach
    • Are the influencers talking?
    • Are the influencers reading?
    • Who do You need to talk to?
    • How can You engage the community?

Now What?

  • Analyze & Assess
    • What are your Goals?: Damage Mitigation? – SERP based OR Damage Control? – Setting the record straight.

How to Respond

  • Legal Threats?
    • Even if they ‘work’ they rarely work
    • May cause more issues than they resolve

How to respond in the world of Social Search

  • Community Involvement – be real & not defensive
    • Address the issues: If incorrect / invalid – explain why. If valid – explain your next steps
  • Put out great content
  • Boost other positive / unrelated sites
  • If in doubt seek professional guidance

Social Search: The next step

Social Media sites constantly appear and disappear

  • Each requires a unique profile
  • Each requires time and effort

Aggregators make it easy for you to work, follow individuals, and track buzz across multiple Social sites.
Up next is Steven Marder.
What is social media? It leverages wisdom of crowds, passion of the community to connect info in a collaborative manner.

Why should you care? It will help your company to acquire and retain users, drive action and build/reinforce your brand.

Social media optimization and social media marketing encompasses authoritative info, entertainment, humor and useful applications.

What you can leverage: Power of community, user participation, social media tools, and your brand. You want to leverage the interests and passion of your community. Provide useful tools, apps to let them interact with your brand.

Social Search 2.0: What is it? It’s social media meets search.

  • Algo + human
  • Blend of intent driven search and discovery
  • Publisher guided, community sharing
  • Community contribution and collaboration
  • Many to many

Social Search for Marketers is leveraging all aspects of social media and applying them to marketers needs.

From here, Steven basically gives users a demo of Eurekster and spends the rest of his time plugging it.

Challenges and Opportunities Ahead:

  • The need for a trusted relationship or expert source: Potentially increasing search results relevant by applying the social graph to search
  • How to effectively apply the social graph to search: Socially connected ala Friendster vs profiles
  • How to create additional high quality content for UGC: Need for community and collaboration
  • How can sites owners establish feedback looks with site visitors: dialog and collaboration.

With social search, content is still king. Thus, next generation search will consider the quality of site content and user interaction with the content for ranking and prioritization. While true personalized search is focused on the individual user profile, personalized social search applies the behavior and wisdom of crowds to topical search results

Adding community and generated content adds another layer of content qualification to a search result, as well as an instant feedback loop.

Next up is Marty Weintraub. He has 48 slides to go through in 15 minutes. I can feel the tears forming.

Importance of Social PPC Ad Platforms

Potential customers congregate everywhere and we are there to sell them things. Welcome SMO. We can measure chatter, there are free tools, incredible market insight, you can ID the authorities, etc. Social PPC is the 800lb gorilla.

How do you make money with social media? Google wants money. The fundamental premise of search is that we research people, market to them and then use tools to build ad groups. This is not groundbreaking news.

Buzz Pocket Mining (Organic & PPC): It’s the new KW research because these sites are congregation points for people. There are hot topics that define these communities. Every community has idiosyncratic tools to measure the chatter.

FB Perception = Trendy Stuff There are biting zombies and drinking teenagers and food fights.

Facebook means so much more than this! It’s the millennium harbinger of what PPC will be in the future. Count on it, PPC Ninja-Warriors – You will be using social PPC interfaces.

Marty shows how to advertise/create an ad in Facebook and how to target the social graph. He goes through it lightning fast. The livebloggers are just staring at the screen blankly. He shows how you narrow down your niche. I cried a little.

Don’t piss off Facebook, says Marty. Read the TOS because Facebook is militant. They’ll send you letter that you’re harassing their users. It’s very jagged; traffic comes in waves.

Tao of Keyword Research/Buzz Pocket Mining: Use free tools to measure buzz. Stay abreast of FB, Open Social and other emerging social PPC platforms. More important than Facebook. Recognize that the inevitable future is here.

Last but not least is Erik Qualman.

The belief that social networks are just for kids and are just a fad is not true. Companies often hear this and then either ignore it or they say we’re developing a strategy for it and they’re not learning by doing. Some concerns that you hear about FB are valid – like privacy concerns. However, that stuff is happening without you anyway.

People are developing Facebook groups for your product without your permission. If all your sheep are going to a new pasture, you have to pay attention to them. Otherwise, the wolf (your competition) is going to snatch them up and eat them. Oh no! (I don’t like our calling customers sheep. Maybe it’s me.)

Companies may try and immediately police social networks. Avoid this. For example, John Deere has over 500 Facebook groups and yet there’s no official page. People are using their logos. Don’t bash your users for using your logos with permission, instead create a fan page and give people a place to go to talk about you. Go out and contact the people in the unofficial groups and invite them to the official one.

You can’t ignore this kind of activity because if someone else creates a group for you, then they’re in control of it. Your competition may try to infiltrate your group and cause you harm.

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