I recently downloaded a paper, called “Social is the Next Search” from Gigya. In this post I want to share a few takeaways from the paper that gives some good insights and also contains data from several sources such as Compete, Nielsen and more.
For the record, Gigya offers social optimization services.
According to the paper, online Businesses must optimize for social network referral traffic. I quote: “referral traffic is as significant from social networks as it is from search engines, making Social the next Search”.
The increasing popularity of social networking sites as a platform to share friend’s activities and opinions has created a new opportunity for businesses looking for an innovative marketing strategy and from a traffic viewpoint it is no different.
More and more people have been found to rely on trusted personal relationships on such sites to know what they should read, watch or buy online.
Some of the reasons why social networking sites can be used as an effective online marketing tool, according to the Gigya report:
- About 20% of online users have started using content within social networks (also known as social feeds) as a key navigational tool.
They are keen on following what their friends or online communities are doing and recommending; this is how they are reaching web content that’s relevant to them. This trend has been identified by Google and Bing as well. No wonder, they are incorporating social feeds from Facebook and Twitter into their search results and algorithms.
- In today’s cut throat competition among businesses in every industry, consumers are simply given limitless options in the form of advertisements, messages and enormous data available on the World Wide Web. This has confused them as to whom to trust. So, they have turned to their online friends as a reliable and trusted source of information. By using the experiences or reviews of their friends or like minded individuals, they feel confident in filtering out information available in the market and taking their decisions.
- With social networking sites, consumers can take their friends wherever they go online. So, enriching your user’s onsite experience can go a long way in bringing quality traffic to your website directly. In fact, Facebook Connect and Sign-in with Twitter are specially catering to online businesses. These online networks enable online businesses to register users using established identities, allow those users to effortlessly share content and activities through the social network feeds, use profile data to enhance and personalize the site experience, and tap into their friend networks to provide a more personalized and social experience on the site itself.
More and more businesses have already realized the importance of driving socially-referred traffic. As a result, they are not restricting themselves only to social networks; rather promoting social activities on their own websites as well.
Such activities not only generate increased traffic, but also promote “word of mouth” leading to increased quality socially-referred traffic.
For this, they have connected their sites to multiple social networking sites – Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo. Many companies have already benefited from this strategy in the form of increase in quality traffic, and the time spent by an online visitor on their site.
The process of using social networking sites to increase traffic is known as onsite social optimization. A successful onsite social optimization requires an online business to continually enhance their user’s onsite social experience.
Regular monitoring of the results is also important to improve the strategy.
Stijn De Meyere is an expert on the convergence of social media and
search. He also has a lot of experience in social bookmarking and
content marketing. You can follow Stijn via Twitter here.