It might not have been apparent before but it is undeniable today, social media should become a tool in every marketer’s arsenal. And social search is a big part of it. After numerous studies on the behaviours of the buying public online, it became clear that most of them utilise the simple search box found on social media sites to find information. It saves them a lot of time and effort in searching.
When you asked internet users how they looked for information before, their top answer is always search engines. Going to the retailer website directly is a far second. But as the web becomes overcrowded with information, it has become harder to find targeted information that really matter. Search engine results pages (SERPs) are crowded with dominant content sites that specialty sites or blogs that contain more relevant content are overshadowed.
Searching Social Media
Because of this, people are turning to alternatives. Instead of wasting precious time sifting through pages on the search engines, they chose to go to social media search. The interesting thing about social media search is that the algorithm includes a human element rather than completely depending on computer data. That is, aside from human input on the content, many programs also analyse intent.
In fact, there are a lot of websites that actually provide user-driven answers to questions. Yahoo Answers is a popular example. Others like Rollyo and Eurekster are also becoming highly popular. Rollyo enables individuals to create a search engine roll; this comes from pre-selected sites or other people’s roll. Many innovative ideas are cropping up because people are demanding better results for their query.
Social search is only one manifestation of changing customer needs. Social networking sites, RSS, blogs, and forums are making their impact. As the search engines become crowded, people now want narrower results that are relevant to their needs. Local search has become highly popular in recent years because small to medium scale businesses don’t necessarily want to target people from the other side of the world. Local search is also attractive because it is not as crowded as general search and therefore ranking here will be cheaper and faster.
Another trend that can be observed today is vertical search. Its popularity alone indicates that general search engines leave a lot of people dissatisfied. Vertical search has a targeting ability that can provide fast and relevant information to any user. Google, Yahoo, and MSN are still leaders in this market.