|"The social graph" is garnering a lot of attention these days, including a vigorous debate between search marketers who believe leveraging social networks is the next big thing, and traditional search marketers who dismiss social search as the latest fad. The social graph describes how people connect online. It's basically a map of how users are connected on the Web.
Understand that social search is technology that uses input from humans to influence algorithmic search results whereas social media marketing is a type of search marketing that influences others to promote websites leading to better search rankings.
Algorithmic search is really social in nature. Think about how the search engines collect data from users based on their interaction online. Reports suggest that algorithmic search has started to plateau as innovation is becoming more difficult.
There is a trend in user generated content on the Web. Hence the popularity of social networks. When we look at Social Media Marketing, we see that it has become popular because it's more of a marketing skill as opposed to a technical skill. It's more accessible and easier to do.
The webcast explored:
* The types of social media sites that appeal to search marketers. There are personalized verticals such as the Google Custom Search Engine, human/algorithmic hybrids such as Mahalo and social Q&A sites such as Yahoo Answers and Answerbag. popular social media sites include social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon, harvesting sites such as DIGG, Newsvine and what Chris referred to as "water coolers" the Facebooks and the Twitters et al.
* With social search there are some issues to be concerned with including tagging issues and spam. People tend to be lazy and there is a lack of controlled vocabulary when it comes to tagging.
* With regards to social media, popularity can quickly fade. 10% of social media users are the power users who dominate the influence which is not always of quality. There appears to be more people writing than people reading. Too much fluff out there?
* What works best? Chris suggested that a combination of algorithmic (organic) search and people mediated search may be the best way to go. Increased personalization and user control over result filtering is on the radar. In the future, social search will work best for non-text content (videos, music, photo)
* LinkedIn Answers is a high quality social network that can provide a link within an answer.
I posed the question as to whether social search works in the B2B space. I would agree with the response from Chris when he stated that social media marketing and social search probably does not work as well for B2B as it does for B2C. The B2B market tends to be more conservative. The buying process is longer and more drawn out, with purchase prices tending to be higher and the purchase decision taking longer to be completed. Social media marketing may become more important in the future for the B2B arena, but right now it is almost a non-factor.
Is social search the way of the future? Well no, but it is something that you will want to be as a part of your online strategy. Social Search and social media marketing offer unique opportunities for search marketers and site owners.
Labels: B2B Social Networking, social media