Social search changes game for marketers

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Aaron Goldman, Kenshoo
Aaron Goldman, Kenshoo

Twenty years ago, you would turn to your family and friends for recommendations, advice, opinions and any other answers. In certain situations, the phone book, newspaper, TV or encyclopedia provided the answers.

For the past 10 years, the answer was the Web. When in doubt, we just "Googled it." The algorithm seemed to know how to find everything you could possibly want and it knew you better than anyone. After all, it had been watching your every online move.

Today, the answer is again family and friends, and also friends of family and friends of friends. Social media is now the best source of recommendations for nearly everything.

Social media and search are converging because search engines are incorporating social signals. Google, Bing and Yahoo have incorporated Facebook likes and Twitter's tweets into their organic search results. Now, searchers see results in 
different formats based on activity within their social networks.

Social networks are expanding their own search functionality. Facebook now lets you search your News Feed for status updates, pictures and videos shared by your connections or brands that you "like." Twitter bought Summize and is continually improving its search capabilities.

Consumers are skipping search engines and asking their social networks for recommendations. This may be most alarming for marketers who are relying on search engine marketing.

Ensure that your brand is well-positioned in a world of social search with these three tactics.

n Monitor and respond. Make sure you're tracking all mentions of your brand or product category across Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Each post is an opportunity for you to deliver the "answer" a user is seeking.

n Leverage advanced tools. There are some great platforms available to monitor social media and simultaneously manage search and social to automate workflow.

n Be likeable. Create content and assets that people will really like. This will help drive engagement with your brand on social networks and improve your organic search visibility.

Aaron Goldman is CMO at Kenshoo. Reach him at

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