But with the rise of Web 2.0, social media sites present a valuable opportunity that goes beyond traditional search.
Soyoon Bolton, Content Strategist at Siren Interactive, contributes this post:
Recently, I posted an update on my Facebook profile asking my fellow Facebook friends for book recommendations instead of doing a general Google search for recent book reviews. Likewise, I notice people are more frequently searching for information and recommendations from others on social media sites — from searching LinkedIn for job opportunities to searching Facebook for apartments or subletters.
Not only is social media a great communications tool, but its real-time search capabilities also help people find exactly what they’re looking for. In fact, some social media sites are starting to surpass traditional search engines for specific information — more people are going directly to YouTube to find a particular video than searching for it on Yahoo. Many social media sites are also intertwined with each other, making search more productive and further increasing user engagement. For instance, you can post a message, or “tweet”, on Twitter, which in turn can feed automatically into a Facebook status. Easily, you can receive replies from both channels. As more people connect with each other via social media, these networks are proving to be extremely efficient in helping people obtain the information they seek.
Rare disorders and social networks
As previously discussed, search matters more for rare disorders. In addition to traditional search engines, patients with rare disorders are using social media to search for the information and support they want. I recently came across a great example on Twitter that shows how an individual can connect with others who share the rare disorder experience –
“Pls DM [direct message] me if you’re living with ITP, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura or know someone. Pls RT [retweet].”
How efficient and productive! Through social media, patients with rare disorders can search and exchange real-time information, resources, and engage in active discussion.
So what does this mean for marketers?
Traditional search engines will still serve a key role. But with the rise of Web 2.0, social media sites present a valuable opportunity that goes beyond traditional search. Social media can help people find what they’re looking for by allowing users to narrow down the plethora of information on the internet to advice and recommendations from people they know and trust. Therefore, it is increasingly important that marketers reach their current (and potential) customers where they already are by becoming part of their personal network.
How do you think social media affects search? Tell us what you think.
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(Image courtesy of 7son75 via Flickr)