⚠ We would appreciate if you would disable your ad blocker when visiting our site! ⚠

Social and Search: Paying Attention to Facebook and Google

Order a reprint of this story
Close (X)

To reprint an article or any part of an article from Hospitality Upgrade please email geneva@hospitalityupgrade.com. Fee is $250 per reprint. One-time reprint. Fee may be waived under certain circumstances.


March 01, 2013
Internet | Marketing
Joseph Buhler

Ever since Google shocked many in the search industry with its Panda and Penguin algorithm changes in 2012, relevant and fresh user-generated content, which is by and large produced via social media, has gained much more influence on how Google decides a website’s search ranking. Many an old back link and article strategy had to be reviewed or even ditched as the shift to social content has accelerated. While it has long been recommended that a blog is a great tool to produce fresh site content, social media-generated content has been considered separate from, and largely unrelated to, search engine results. That situation has changed and requires attention as we now live in a world where social search is a reality.

The introduction of Google+ was an early indicator that the search engine giant was not about to concede the social network space entirely to Facebook. At this time the Google+ user numbers exceed those of Twitter. Of course, both are still less than half those of Facebook, which has now reached one billion. With the introduction of the social graph search in early January, Facebook strongly indicates it will not concede the search space to Google either. The competition is intense and a lot is at stake for both these influential giants. For any business, it has become essential to be present on both the open Web searched, analyzed and ranked by Google, and to a lesser degree Bing, as well as the closed Web of Facebook, whose content is not accessible to outside search engines but is increasingly leveraged commercially by the social network.

A website, a page on Google+ and Facebook, as well as Twitter are essential tools for a 21st Century Web presence, one where your customers can find your brand everywhere they gather to not only search for, but also exchange information among themselves, on just about any topic imaginable. To make effective use of these social tools requires first of all an overall strategy based on corporate and marketing objectives. Resources have to be allocated to establish your presence and manage your reputation on the social Web and actively engage with present and future customers where they expect to find you. To just establish a presence and then leave it as an inactive, abandoned outpost is simply not going to cut it.

Social content, with the resulting search benefits, will only be generated by customers who consider your product or service worth talking about. This requires first and foremost for it to be of high quality and exceeding customer expectations. This basic business fact has not changed one iota from the days before the Internet, but has become magnified in today’s world of radical transparency and constant consumer interaction. To exceed those expectations at every possible customer touch point remains job No. 1.

What is new today is the ability to brag about it much more cost effectively by making use of the social media tools available and by becoming engaged, encouraging your customers to complement your own communication with their opinions. Those customer reviews have a much higher credibility than any paid advertising or press release that you provide. On the flip side, negative comments will also instantly find a much wider audience than in the past. All the more reason to listen to and actively participate in that conversation that is taking place about your brand. To do this successfully, resources need to be shifted from more traditional marketing to this no longer new world of the social Web. One thing seems certain, when IBM is placing full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal with the headline: “Liking isn’t Leading. The Rise of Social Business.” This is no passing fad, and the evolution from doing social, as a mere marketing after thought, to being social as an entire organization, will continue at a rapid pace.

Your choice is to participate, engage and stay in front of the competition or concede the marketplace to those who practice engagement on a constant basis and with conviction. Oh, and if nothing else, doing so will be beneficial to your search results, should that be the only Web measurement of success you were paying attention to in the past.

Joseph E. Buhler is a principal with buhlerworks, a consultancy company providing smart social Web marketing solutions for travel, tourism and destinations.

©2013 Hospitality Upgrade
This work may not be reprinted, redistributed or repurposed without written consent.
For permission requests, call 678.802.5302 or email info@hospitalityupgrade.com.

want to read more articles like this?

want to read more articles like this?

Sign up to receive our twice-a-month Watercooler and Siegel Sez Newsletters and never miss another article or news story.