What is it about search marketing that is so powerful as a lead generating tool? How is social media marketing catching up?
This is a general review of my talk at PodCamp Montreal 2010 with the slides, notes, and commentary.
To begin, I’d like to point out that my talk was by no means meant to be comprehensive. As I stated at the beginning, it was to bring everyone onto the same page as to the current state of affairs of “Search” and “Social” so that we could have something to discuss after the talk itself. The original presentation was three times as along and I did a lot of editing to bring out some of the main points.
The theme running through the talk was that search (the need for information, categorization, etc) and social (interactions, discussions, sharing, community, and so on) are part of basic human nature. As such, we needed them a million years ago, and we continue to need them today in our use of technology.
I had two main points here. One was to highlight the active search-directed behaviour of those who use search engines, especially Google. A second point was that the targeting capability of the search marketing was very powerful to marketers.
Some sensationalists say that the search industry is dead. Aside from that being a ridiculous statement, I point out that search is going to evolve, adapt, and change rather than die because of the basic human need for it.
Social Media Marketing
The primary aim here was to point highlight the interactive, community aspect of social media networking. Social media marketing is an in-direct, mostly passive activity. It involves marketing to people while they are playing. Since people hate being interupted when they’re playing, marketers have to be systematic about how they work their way in. That makes social media a process that includes infiltration (sounds worse than it is!), influence, persuasion, recommending, suggesting and so on. Companies must join the discussions and form relationships with consumers while not directly pushing products. If they do it properly, consumers won’t even realize they are being marketed to.
Hot vs. Cold Suggestions
This was one of the main points I was trying to get across. I see that it worked because it was instantly re-tweeted a bunch of times. I’m not surprised since so many people are trying to figure out the difference from a marketing perspective.
What I explained was that search will provide you with “cold” suggestions meaning that you don’t have any relationship or personal connection to the search engine results. You are after something useful and you hope to get it with a search.
On the other hand, hot suggestions come from your personal network of friends which is what you get from social media platforms like Facebook.
Integration & Convergence
I then go on to explain how Google has been pulling in social media aspects for years and has tried to personalize user experiences with iGoogle. The problem is that Google is fairly limited in the sense that once you leave the search engine, unless you are logged in or have the Google Toolbar installed, they aren’t tracking you directly.
On the other hand, Facebook’s Open Graph idea, especially with the emergence of “Like” and “Recommend” buttons are on their to a website near you. Everywhere.
The Facebook Search Engine may be the answer to the question of whether Facebook will become a Google Killer. It cuts Google out of the picture by having people vote with their “Likes” rather than links which is what Google uses to rank pages (off-site SEO/linking).
My Star Wars Empire – Facebook relationship was meant to be humourous but also to point out that letting everyone get networked on a platform in exchange for a loss of privacy is an issue that I believe “society” is ignoring. I think that Facebook is a fantastic tool and useful in countless ways. Just remember this: Your life may be great but you still buy insurance for that one day when disaster strikes. I see the continual changes of Facebook’s policy on how they use your personal information, networks, photos, videos, tastes, and so on as a disaster waiting to happen. It might happen to you. It probably won’t (just like your house burning down) but it’s still something that I believe needs to be addressed more. Then again Facebook Beacon was a disaster but I’ll leave that for another day.
Google tried to personalize their web experience but it looks like Facebook is going to master it. If Facebook’s plan works, people will be logging into websites all over the Internet with their Facebook username and password. Based on that individual’s friends, “Likes,” and so on, the website will then show them what it thinks they want to see such as a their friends’ faces in the side widget.
Consumer Identity Profile
I coined this term to point out that the data from Facebook’s Open Graph combined with what we know about our target market thanks to tools like Google Analytics can yield an incredibly powerful source of information for marketers.
Emerging Trends & Issues
I coined the term “social citations” as an idea that maybe Google will try to catch up by trying to see how frequently a company’s name appears in important places like wikipedia, blogs, discussion boards, comments, online newspapers, and so on.
This went really well! This is a hot topic and I tried to get as many people as possible to speak. I took the focus away from myself and acted as moderator to some extent. I wanted people to share their ideas which is part of what makes an unconference an actual unconference (although this really didn’t feel like one and neither did WordCamp. I have coined a new term with its own definition – I love defining everything – which I’ll write about in the future).
Finally, thank you to everyone who provided great feedback on my talk. I was actually surprised myself with how many people came up to me afterwards to let me know how much they enjoyed it. I appreciate all of the positive comments. PodCamp speakers don’t get paid so it makes it all worthwhile to hear everyone’s kind words.