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How Real-Time Search is Changing Social Media
By Lisa Wehr, CEO, Oneupweb

Google has done it again. It has jerked its search vehicle in yet another direction—and by doing so, has changed the marketing landscape once more. As a result, it’s now critical for businesses to truly evaluate their social media presence in 2010.

Why? Let me introduce you to real-time search.
 
Real-time search is the “now you see it and now you don’t,” live streaming section on a Google results page that’s composed of news articles, blogs, tweets, and more. The real-time results can appear anywhere on the page, but they're usually located above-the-fold on the first page of results.

Real-time search is still new, making it difficult to truly understand its ultimate magnitude. But your business must optimize its social media channels so that when results display in real-time, your business sees peak benefits.

How does Google select what tweets, blogs, news stories, etc. will appear in the real-time results? By choosing what the company deems to be the most relevant information—a critical step towards alleviating the information overload and clutter many searchers now face thanks to the plethora of digital properties available.

So, what does real-time search mean for your business? Today, social media plays a direct role in how and where your brand appears in Google search results. And in order for your business to prosper from and possibly monetize real-time search, you'll need to redefine the approach your business is currently using to handle its social media campaigns.

Here are a few steps you can take to start bolstering your social media presence, and ultimately, increasing your overall social media authority:

Reconsider your strategy.
The way your business approaches social media is a significant part of the overall success factor. And now that Google’s real-time results have provided another platform where your tweets, blogs, news stories, and more could possibly be displayed, it’s important that you approach your social media efforts with confidence, boldness, and above all, honesty.

That's because with real-time search, people no longer have to click on your social media profiles and pages to get a glimpse of what’s being said. So, take a robust approach when it comes to social media. Try new things, be innovative, and above all, don’t be boring.

Tweet things that will grab people’s attention and make them want to click.
You want people to interact with your brand, and it’s up to you to make it happen. Tweet exclusive offers, special promotions, breaking news, or any other relevant information that will tempt people to click through to your website when these results appear in real-time right in front of them.

Stop spamming or doing anything that resembles spam.
This should go without saying. But in case you need further incentive, Google has announced that it will be filtering results that are or resemble spam in any way, shape, or form.

Therefore, your chances of appearing in Google real-time results will be zilch if you continue down this road. Those twice an hour, every hour, tweets you’ve got set up from scheduling services could hinder you in more ways than one. Google’s real-time results are all about relevancy.

Increase engagement.
The release of Google real-time search results has made productive engagement with your consumers critical. Take Twitter, for example. If you have an influx of consumers constantly tweeting things to your business and you don’t respond, they could jump ship or start tweeting negatively about your company. You wouldn’t want possible customers searching for your brand to see poor reviews or an all together lack of engagement.

Overall, there are still many unknowns when it comes to real-time search. But we do know that it can have a huge impact on your brand if your tweets, blogs, news stories, and so are in the real-time results window.

So optimize your business’s social media presence, not only for Google’s real-time search results, but also as a way to increase your social media authority and the productivity of your overall social media presence.

---Source: i-Merchant Feb. 9, 2010 (www.multichannelmerchant.com). Lisa Wehr is CEO and founder of digital marketing agency Oneupweb (http://www.oneupweb.com/).
 

Melissa Data


 
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