What Would D-Mac Do


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Facebook in Real Time Now

From the "Probably should have had this in order before you rolled out the technology" file, comes the announcement that Google is going to be displaying Facebook Status updates in the Real Time box. Well at least Andy Beal mentioned it this morning.

This is really good for agency search marketers. One of the most prevalent challenges we face is convincing our clients that their social media shouldn't be treated as some sort of silo independent of their SEO efforts. Generally, there's a PR firm in the mix that is territorial by nature and some SEO shop who comes along going "Hey! We can handle your social media too!" is not looked kindly upon. I can speak for myself when I say my intention is never to take PR duties away from a PR firm, since that's like, what they do and all. I DO however want to make sure the search behavior we see coupled with volume and activity on the website is properly communicated and proportionally responded to through social media. The two most definitely influence each other.

With this news comes an even more direct influencing effect. I've said it before, as have a few talking heads out there, but Real Time Search seems like it was launched a little too early. Basically authority and trust is given to whoever said something most recently. However, the fact Facebook status is included means it's one more place our clients can control their brand.

What I propose to do with this: Use Facebook and Twitter status with a liberal use of keywords in a game of leapfrog and double my chances of ranking in real time search. This is all the more reason the PR folks need to be aware of what we're seeing in search volume.

What do I expect to happen? For SOME of my clients, I think some people are going to search for their brand, and when a Facebook feed for their official FB page comes up, they'll go "Wow, so (insert big ubiquitous yet entirely impersonal brand) has a Facebook fanpage? Interesting..." and some of those branded queries will siphon off to the Facebook page and some of THOSE will become fans. I also expect this to be a blocking tactic for queries where we aren't getting any traction. Since I already know real time search doesn't have anything to do with links, retweets or any other measure of popularity (at least I think I know that), we can get in front of the SERPs here. The net result of which is that at least for brief pockets, we'll be able to pull in clicks to the Facebook or Twitter page and hopefully drive traffic into our own funnel (or whatever the goal of the site happens to be).

Now the crux of a project like this is that you have to be on top of where the buzz is. If you are pushing messages in Facebook and Twitter based on keywords that have seasonality to them, you better be doing so when that seasonality is at its peak. Don't talk about the wonders of Valentines Day in October in other words. Everything must be as topical as possible. We could get creative here too. Who says everything has to be based on whatever it is the client's brand sells? Why keep the brand in a bubble? I say the sky is the limit in branding.

Potential Topical Theme tie-ins (I'm thinking out loud here...so be prepared for some mass stupidity in this list):

-RIP for celebrities
-Birthdays for celebrities or people of note
-Weather phenomena (hello New York)
-Legislation / Political news (with care though since talking politics is a road fraught with peril)
-Sports (am thinking about how Gatorade could discuss Winter Olympics on their FB updates in real time and tie the brand in via Real Time Search Results)
-Space Shuttle launch/landings
-Awards show results (Grammies, Emmies etc)
-News of the Weird type stuff

My point is that the dual nature of social media, where the communication in the walled garden can now be indexed and shown in a SERP has some great possibilities for search marketers. I'm fine with this. Unfortunately, it's only a matter of time until Real Time Search is refined to the point where Google can parse which Tweets and status updates are important verses which are just background noise.

No comments:

Post a Comment