Maybe you have looked a little and toyed with a social media outlet here or there. Maybe it was YouTube, Twitter or Flickr. Did you come away thinking “This is just a big waste of time for my business. I don’t care what someone is having for lunch today!”. Well, if you place any value on how Google sees things on the web, you just might want to think again! With or without your business included, social media has become an online force of growing strength and scale.
At least for the time being, Google seems to be placing some premium on the placement of social media in their search results. Companies who participate in these forums find that their social media presence is listed highly in Google results. For these companies, this can only be a good thing.
As an example, in a recent Google search for “Starbucks” there were three separate social media related results in the top 20 listings, they included Twitter, Facebook & YouTube. Of the remaining seventeen results in the search, only four were generated from the starbucks.com domain itself. By the effective use of social media, Starbucks nearly doubled the number of top 20 listings in this Google search result, which pointed to web pages under their direct control!
Starbucks is just one of many examples of the same thing happening over and over again. It is routine now for more and more nationally recognized companies and brands to use social media as tools in their arsenal to communicate with current and potential customers.
Comcast is a well known example of a nationally known company using social media to communicate directly with their customers. Specifically, with their many accounts on Twitter (most notably @ComcastCares) Comcast uses the Twitter platform as a tool to interact with their customers directly and nearly in real time.
So what exactly is Comcast doing? They constantly monitor discussion on Twitter looking for any references to their company. When they do find a disappointed, or flat out irate customer, they immediately open up the lines of communication. They take customer service directly to the disappointed individual and solve the problem as quickly and professionally as possible, in a very public forum. The result is a bad situation which has been turned into a good one. Comcast wins, and their customer wins.
So maybe you do want to think again about how social media might benefit your company. Sure, some people are contributing mundane details of their day on these forums, and what is really wrong with that. Your business however, can use these tools in a very different way and end up with better search results, better customer communications, some positive public image and a thriving business! And there is nothing wrong with that!