It is no secret to users of Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites that the fastest way to find out what's going on in the world these days is no longer by turning on the TV news. More and more frequently, news is announced first on social networking sites.
Recently, Google picked up on this fact, and struck deals with Twitter and a number of other social networking sites to include their feeds on Google's search results. Google's page is now a mix of the old standard style search results, and a stream of instantly updated results from social networking sites. A combination of search sources is called Universal Search. Many people refer to the “as it happens” content as Real Time Search.
Ways to promote your business and benefit from Real Time Search and Universal Search
When You Have Events of Interest
In the past, it took a considerable amount of time and search engine optimization effort to move a site onto the front page of Google for your chosen keywords. Now, with real time search, if you tweet or post on Facebook or Myspace about an upcoming event at your local business, anyone searching for keywords such as "bakery in Phoenix, Arizona" or "Concerts in Boston Massachusetts" is likely to come across your tweet or post on Google's front page.
Events How To Steps:
To take advantage of this, you would want to update your social networking sites frequently with tweets or posts that contain your chosen keyword phrase, and also ask your followers/friends to do so. Ask politely, of course; "I'm excited about my upcoming gallery show! Please retweet if you think your followers would be interested!" is a nice way to do it, rather than "Retweet this!"
Localized Search in Real Time Potential
If you type in the name of your city on Google you will get an idea of the power of this new real time search phenomenon. After typing in "Orlando Florida" on Google today, for instance, one of the results on the front page was an update that stated "I'm At Fat Daddy's Grill!" which is a restaurant in Orlando.
My search query “Atlanta GA” provided a stream of Facebook status updates and Tweets from the previous few minutes. This afternoon’s real time search notified Google users that an Atlanta GA artist was featured in a new video just uploaded to youtube.com; the newest real estate listing for an agent that tweets about them and several Atlanta job openings appeared within seconds of being posted.
If you own a business with a local customer base, it makes sense to encourage friends and customers to join a few sites like gowalla.com which allow people to post updates mentioning your business - and have your friends and customers mention your site in their updates.
This new search methodology is not just limited to Google; a lot of social networking sites are picking up on the fact that there are ways to monetize real time search. For instance, an online site called Yelp.com has reviews of local businesses all over the country. Yelp now offers apps for the Palm, Blackberry, iPhones and iPods, and other phone services. The app lists businesses in your area and allows you to hit a button called "check in" on places that you visit frequently. Now - in real time - when you "check in" on a local business, you are likely to get email offers with big discount coupons for either that business, or other local competing businesses. Why not test out the advertising for yourself? It doesn't get more targeted and real time then that.
Warning Note: View new social media networking sites as small tests Social media is best regarded as being being "in process" and "in progress." For example, Yelp is reported to be making some policy changes after small business owner accusations in social media and a flurry of legal actions. I read this information in a social media news stream and it is according to an post/article in the NYTimes.
Keeping Tabs In Real Time
Real Time Search is also an excellent way to keep an eye on the competition and on what is going on in your field right now. If you own a business, to stay competitive, you will want to see how your competitors are using Real Time Search to promote themselves. You can do that by regularly searching for their name on Google and on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Myspace.
If they have good ideas - adapt them for your own use.
Test the Water Ideas
What's the best way for YOU to use Real Time Search to promote your business? Test it.
1) One good idea is to join a few review sites, encourage customers, friends and family to do the same,
2) Start mentioning your business frequently on those sites, offer sales, discounts, and other promotions and promote them through social networking sites.
3) Observe which methods work best for you and your business. Every business is unique, and some methods will work better for you than others.
Please feel free to update us on your successes and experience using Real Time Search on Twitter or Facebook and we'll be happy to share them with our readers. On Twitter we are @kamaron_org
Please share the information if you think it can be of benefit to others. Retweet this article and share on social media and in your Facebook status updates.
Margaret Ross is president and CEO of the Kamaron Institute, a leading business management consulting, marketing research, social media marketing communications, and development firm.