Facebook has unrolled a new feature: the ability to comment on posts from Bing search result pages. When a Facebook user searches for a term, Bing displays relevant posts from the user’s friends on the right-hand side of the page, where searchers can now add a comment. Another new feature is the ability to add a new Facebook post from Bing.
Last year, Bing added social search results from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, but today is the first time users have been able to interact with those results from Bing. For users to use the new features, they will have to login to Facebook through Bing.
Are Social Results Helpful?
Social search results aren’t anything new; Google has been offering it for years. But, how useful are these results? If someone is searching for information through a search engine, does he care what his friends think?
There may be cases where social search results are helpful, but it may be more likely that the results are more for fun, adding a new dimension to social media. However, even if a searcher doesn’t think he cares what his friends have to say about a topic, he may still see related posts and be influenced by them.
Studies have shown that people value their peers’ opinions. When someone’s friends are all talking about a new product, that person is bound to become interested as well. People’s friends and family members also have a tremendous influence on one’s decisions.
For example, if a searcher is researching a product, and sees a post from a close friend that speaks highly of the product, the searcher is more likely to purchase that item.
How Can Marketers Use the New Feature?
Perhaps the biggest way your business can use Facebook and Bing’s new feature for your marketing campaign is to bolster your social media marketing efforts. Social media is a powerful marketing tool, and with social search results, it becomes even more powerful. Knowing that your target market may see social media posts that mention your brand when they use a search engine, you can make an effort to create more of a buzz about your business on social media. As more of your customers post about your company, your business will be more likely to appear in social search results.
Encouraging customers to post positive messages about your business, products, services and events can have a big impact on your overall success. Taking advantage of this feature can help you leverage people that are influential over your target market, so you can gain more customers.
Another benefit of this feature is that it adds one more way companies can earn search engine results. If you are using a search engine optimisation campaign, you can add this feature to your list of tools that can help you earn higher rankings. While these rankings may not directly bring traffic to your website, they can help raise awareness about you brand and spur people to seek out your company.
Facebook and Bing have worked together in the past to bring new features to users, and this latest update is just another example of how the two companies are influencing the way social media and search work. Your business can take advantage of this feature by recognizing that your social media presence is growing increasingly important, that you can leverage comments from influential people and that you now have one more way to gain search rankings.
This week Facebook unveiled a new service, currently only available to some users, called Graph Search. Graph Search will eventually be available to all users and is an expanded search function for the social media site.
Facebook is working with Bing, the search engine Facebook already incorporates on its site, to provide this new service. Right now, Graph Search makes it possible for users to search and view friends of friends and find local businesses more easily. It also lets users search public photos and even public data about their friends and friends of friends.
Unlike Google, Graph Search lets people search for people and things within their social sphere. On Google logged in users do see some personalized search results, but Graph Search is purely social, with no other “regular” search engine results.
More Marketing Potential
With Graph Search, the foundation of how you can use Facebook to market your business and reach your audience hasn’t changed, but a few new opportunities have arisen.
More Space for Ads
As of now, Graph Search doesn’t include any ads. However, knowing Facebook’s track record and the way the site includes ads in several different ways, it wouldn’t be surprising if ads are later added to the new function. Ads in this new space could be very successful, since users use Graph Search when they are looking for something. If your product or service fills their need, you could get some clicks on your ads.
Opportunities for Local Recommendations
If you’re a local business, you know recommendation sites like Yelp have an impact on your business. Since Graph Search will let users search for local hot spots like restaurants, hotels, organizations, nonprofits and any other type of business, you could have an opportunity to leverage some local recommendations or local search results.
Make Your Business More Visible
If you play your cards right, you could make your business more visible on Facebook. Using image captions and descriptions and using keywords in your status updates could help your business earn top rankings for Graph Search results. More visibility can raise awareness and increase sales.
The Chance to Include Influential People in Marketing Campaigns
People look to their friends for recommendations on products and services. If people on Facebook are talking about your brand and someone searches for your product, his or her friends’ comments about it will likely appear in the search results. Friends and family can be majorly influential, so this is an exciting opportunity for your company.
Facebook’s new Graph Search brings new opportunities and new potential for Facebook marketing. As the feature develops and more people begin using it, your company will be able to incorporate it into its digital marketing plan.
Socl, Microsoft’s new social media site has opened its doors to anyone with a Microsoft or Facebook account. The site was initially launched in May, but only to a few select beta users. The Internet is abuzz with speculation about whether or not Socl will be able to compete with existing networks and what exactly the new site’s role will be in the world of online networking.
Whether Socl will become one of the big players in social media remains to be seen, but now that anyone can login and test the waters, the site will likely see some rapid growth in the coming months. As new users begin using Socl, brands will likely follow, looking for ways to connect with their audiences and promote their businesses.
What It’s All About
The main page of Socl, or the news feed, looks a lot like Pinterest, except it includes status updates, photos and video. The Pinterest layout has become wildly popular with blog themes and other websites, so it’s no surprise that the tiled-image look is being carried over into new social networks.
Posting to Socl is much different than posting to other social networks. Like other networks, users can add a post title and a caption as well as images, videos and links to outside content. But, this is where the similarities end.
After adding a title and caption, users can type keywords or topics into a search bar (powered by Bing), toggle between web results, images, videos and news, and then select content to add to their post. As users click on search results, the images, videos or links are added to the post in a grid format, creating a very visual post. In fact, users are encouraged to create posts based on a topic and existing content, as the post button has users type a topic, rather than a status update, to start the posting process.
When creating a post, users can type in keywords or topics, then select content from Bing search results to add to their post.
Most social networks allow users to share all kinds of media, but Socl stands out from the crowd because it lets users combine several pieces of media and personal comments in a whole new way to create content-rich posts.
Another way Socl stands out is by the mere fact that it lets users post links to their other social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, Tumblr. Users can also include a link to a personal website or blog. This (along with the fact that users can login with Facebook) seems to signal that Socl doesn’t see itself as a competitor to these other channels, but as another way for people to connect online, using existing content and channels.
Socl takes a page from Pinterest’s book by letting users follow certain interests, allowing them to view a news feed full of content with specific tags, as shared by other users. Users can also add a Socl bookmarklet to their browser, making it easy to share content to Socl while browsing the Internet.
Users can follow interests to see a feed of content tagged in specific areas by other users.
The combination of being able to follow your real-life and online friends as well as specific interests makes Socl a unique social media channel. Users aren’t constrained by what their friends share, but are still able to connect with their friends to share updates and media. In fact, people may end up using Socl as a way to browse news stories and Internet content, rather than a way to stay in touch with friends.
Because much of the sharing on Socl relies so heavily on Bing, there may be a shift in the search engine optimisation industry. Where Google was once the king of search engines, SEO professionals may begin to pay closer attention to Bing rankings in an effort to make it more likely that their company’s content gets shared more frequently on the new network.
In line with the current trend of making content visually appealing, Socl focuses heavily on the look of a post. Businesses may see the need to produce more visually appealing content like pictures, videos and infographics. This type of content already gets more action on other social media sites, but with the visual focus of Socl, visual content may become even more important.
Of course, many social networks have come and gone over the past several years. Many, like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have almost become staples in Internet users’ lives, but others haven’t been able to gain much traction. As Socl gains more users, brands find ways to leverage its power and people find new ways to use the site, Socl will find its niche and time will tell if it’s here to stay.
Facebook isn’t the only one feeling the pressure from advertisers after their stock price plummeted this week; Twitter has come under fire too. As the alternative to Facebook, they’re now feeling the squeeze to prove that they can deliver results and monetize the 340 millions Tweets sent per day.
Justin Bieber has set a new Twitter record for the most number of retweets. 200,000 users retweeted his heartbreaking tweet about 6-year-old Avalanna who died recently. The tweet trended, globally. That’s some serious Klout.
After switching to a subscription model back in 2009, all content from Times newspaper was off-limit to all but subscribers – even the Google bots were locked out. Gaining only 200,000 subscribers apparently made Murdoch see the error of his ways, and Google bots will now be allowed to crawl and index all of the content. However, Google will only be allowed to show 2 lines of the content in search results, which could prove more annoying that anything else for non-subscribers.
Klout has received investment from Microsoft, and now has serious Bing integration. Klout scores will now show up in search results on Bing’s People Who Know section. There will also be integration with Wikipedia, as Klout users with Wikipedia entries about them will now see their score soar when their page is found and selected in search.
Facebook is venturing into e-commerce as they begin testing gift sales. It’s actually quite clever, as it turns user data into gift recommendations. And it gets cleverer. The gifts can then be sent via desktop or mobile to the recipient, who will receive it as a digital card, or a physical shipment. Missing a friend and want to let me know? You can now buy them a Starbucks, just cuz.
Part of a four part series about how Journalists are using social media, beyond Facebook, ReadWriteWeb looks at how journalists are using SoundCloud in new and interesting ways. Some are using it as a platform to publish interviews, while some are using it for mobile audio editing. This makes an interesting read for anyone looking to use different platforms in new and interesting ways.
And finally, if you’re struggling to connect with your audience via social media or direct marketing, have you thought about making your communications more humorous? According to Social Media Explorer, this can work for B2B marketing too. One method of incorporating this is to separate work time from play time. By posting funny things at the weekends, you’re showing your playful side, without compromising your usual serious marketing communications.
Here’s a rather odd video to get you started, and my viral video prediction of the week…
Are you a Google or a Bing person? Most people are one or the other, and will vehemently defend their choice of search engine when questioned. But what if you woke up one morning and realised you’re actually a Bing person, not a Google person, and you don’t rate your choice of search engine as highly as you think? This is precisely what is happening to people all over the world this week as Bing is on a mission to raise awareness of their underdog status.
According to independent research, in a blind comparison test you’d probably prefer Bing over Google. Answers Research conducted the survey with 1000 participants from the US aged 18 and over who had used a search engine in the past 12 months. Each person was asked to provide 10 search queries, and the results were shown side by side, with all branding, social and Knowledge graph information removed. They were not told the aim, or of any companies involved, they were simply asked to decide which search results they prefer, or to declare it a draw.
Of the 1000 participants 57.4 percent preferred Bing’s results, with only 30.2 percent preferring Google’s SERPs. Microsoft is now inviting users to take the test for themselves and see the results side my side. There are 5 rounds where you will be asked to rate results based on the suggested search terms, or enter your own. I have to admit, I preferred Google both times I tried this, but it was difficult deciding; if I’d been quicker to choose the results would have likely varied. (Also, SEOs are likely to skew the data, as they can probably spot the differences from 50 meters away.)
This research goes to show the extent to which habit alone can influence our decisions online. As Microsoft wrote in their blog:
Why did we think a blind comparison test of the pure web search results would be valuable? Because it is the best way to really test the quality of web search results where the majority of clicks occur – without the influence of the ingrained, habitual impact of the Google brand. Now you know there is a better alternative to Google.
It will be interesting to see if there is an influx of new Bing users following this campaign. Could “Google it” soon be replaced with “Bing it”? I remember hearing “Bing it” on a popular American TV Show and thinking, “that will never catch on”. Maybe I was wrong…
It’s been a busy week for keeping on top of various search engine optimisation and analytics updates. And as always, social media has been buzzing too.
Google announced new features on their analytics dashboard aimed at making your website content more engaging and your social referrals more traceable. They revealed the new experiments tab which allows web site owners to try out different layouts and content on their audience and track which achieves the best results. They also added new social analytics which will tell you where your referrals are coming from.
Bing announced new Webmaster tools available, and SEOMoz got the scoot direct from Bing in their Whiteboard Friday yesterday. Check out the video to find out how to make the most of these updates.
Have you noticed changes to your “Poeple Talking About This” on Facebook? You’re not alone, since Facebook introduced the new viral shares feature brands have been seeing an increase in PTAT numbers.
The Facebook App store is now open for business, and shows a push in the right direction for monetizing their mobile platform.
In other news, after reports that Facebook ads are failing due to the lack of commitment to mobile trends, Facebook is looking forward to announcing the results of a Comscore study which reveals that their ad platform does work. More on that next week!
Starbucks made a monumental mistake on Twitter during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. They accidentally asked Irish fans to tweet why they’re “Proud to be British.” Needless to say, their Irish audience was a little more than miffed. Starbucks issued an apology, but as with all social media gaffes, their audience were not so quick to forgive. It’s amazing how things can go so wrong in 140 characters or less.
Thought Instagram was just a tool for making lunch look vintage? Think again. This article takes you through the argument that Instagram is relevant for SEO – why? The Internet is visual, and images are shareable.
Twitter has re-branded and dropped the full word Twitter and lowercase t icon in favour of a simplified Twitter bird, they’ve also released some strict guidelines for its use. Below are some are the banned logos.
This article by search engine land, which was published just after the changes went live, shows the effects SPYW had on searches related to musicians with a strong social media presence. With artists such as Britney Spears, her Google+ profile ranked higher than her Facebook profile, even though her Facebook has gathered more fans and she share more content on it.
A study recently released by PageLever has revealed some interesting statistics surrounding page referral traffic to Facebook from Google and Bing. They tracked referral data way back to 2010, but only looked at data from April 2011 to April 2012, which includes the time before and after SPYW. They looked at 500 pages, all with over 10,000 like, to ensure they were active pages and likely to be the subject of searches. The data is shown below.
Four days before the SPYW changes went live we can see a fall in traffic from both Google and Bing. Since Bing also showed decreased referral activity it is difficult to say whether the results are conclusive. It’s interesting to note that the fall in referral rates began on January 7th, while Google didn’t roll out SPYW until January 10th – so either Google rolled it out sooner than they claim, or changes on Facebook’s end are responsible for the decrease in referrals.
Since this data also fails to include internal traffic on Facebook, it’s also difficult to determine if these changes were indeed “damaging”, or if improvements and shifts to Facebook search replaced the need for search engines.
What is interesting about the data is the similarities in peaks and falls in referral traffic between Google and Bing – but with a 2-3 week delay between them. PageLever attributed this to trending topics driving search terms, however, this doesn’t account for Bing showing the same trending topics 2 weeks late.
The most important take-away from this is that referral traffic from Google and Bing dropped by 51% and 59% respectively. Regardless of the cause, it marks a significant change for search engine optimisation.
Stumbling upon the news that Microsoft has ventured into the world of social networking is guaranteed to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Not that I have anything against Microsoft, or Bing, I actually love the new Bing layout. It’s just that Microsoft feels intrinsically uncool, it’s like the dorky dad of the Internet.
Based on looks alone, so.cl is quite obviously Microsoft branded, with the distinctive square stock photographs with thick white borders. And how exactly are we pronouncing So.cl? I refuse to pronounce it as ‘social’ until I see a few more vowels in there.
So.cl isn’t strictly a social network, it’s been described as the Frankenstein’s monster of the social networking world. Microsoft have taken the most successful aspects of each social network and mashed them up to create one sharing/ discovery tool which revolves around Bing search. You can ‘Pin’ like you’re on Pinterest, ‘Like’ like you’re on Facebook, ‘hangout’ like you’re on Google+ and Tweet like you’re on Twitter.
The question is, does anyone really have enough time to add yet another social network to their already hectic schedule?
The answer to this: Microsoft isn’t really asking you to. According to the promotional video, which I found deeply confusing until the end, So.cl is a student research tool, and it’s still in the early stages of development. It’s more likely an attempt to compete with Facebook’s file sharing for groups, which is ideal for academic project work. I can already see the benefits of being able to collaborate on project work with a tool such as so.cl.
With the Facebook IPO still fresh in our minds, only time will tell if any newcomer to the social networking scene can knock the top three off their spots. Do we want to combine our social networking, or are we happier to segment our online activities?
Top Tip: According to PC World, if you want to avoid the queue’s and jump straight in, make sure you connect with you Window’s Live ID rather than your Facebook account.
Facebook is engaging users! After all the concerns that Timeline would suck the interaction out of the experience, data is slowly trickling out that suggests the opposite. Here’s a list of the most engaging brands on Facebook, kindly compiled by Mashable. Not surprising, nearly all of the top 5 spots were occupied by food or beverage brands. We do love to talk about food!
Facebook isn’t the only one of the rise, with Google+ making headway in the fight to become a top social networking site. A study released by Simply Measured has revealed that brand engagment among the top 100 brands has been increasing enormously in the past 6 months.
Twitter hit the 10 million users mark for the UK, making it the fourth largest tweeting nation. This is a measure of actively tweeting users, and the data revealed that around 80% of them tweet on the go from a mobile device, which makes us the most mobile nation. Proud moment for all.
You may also have noticed that Twitter has rolled out summary e-mails, which ties in with their acquisition of Summify. You can now expect a round up of your most relevant tweets delivered weekly.
Google has received 3 patents for the Project Glass “wearable display glasses”, bringing us one step closer to having Google integrated into every aspect of our lives.
Introducing Wajam, the company bringing enhanced social search results to Bing and Yahoo. It works as a browser plugin, which integrates the companies social media results from your networks into search results. Allowing you to see what your friends thought of whatever you’re searching for.
And what has the potential to go viral? Well, some people are getting all hot under the collar about this spoof iPhone app for Dutch Shell. It’s difficult to stomach because viewers spend the first 20 seconds wondering if its real. It may stop short of going viral just because it’s so controversial and almost misses the mark of being well-played satire.
I’d never thought I could be a Bing person, I thought I would always be Google through and through. And then they go ahead and fix/ improve/ revolutionise the one thing that has always given me deeply troubling doubts about Google.
You guessed it, Social Search, ever since Google+ has arrived we’ve been cursing our search results as sites with the most +1′s are mysteriously pushed to the top of our searches. I don’t care if 50 people left a meaningless stamp of approval on this particular restaurant, I just want to know which restaurant is closest and serves Mexican food! I’m not alone in my frustration, Wil Wheaton recently voiced rather strong opinions about this on his blog – he claimed to be tired of having Google+ shoved down our throats.
So what exactly have Bing done that is so different?
Three. Column. Layout.
It’s everything that you want in a search engine, but with clear divisions. You have your pure and simple organic results to the left, a ‘snapshot’ of your search in the centre, and then social results compiled on the right.
Bing has come along in leaps and bounds to impove their search algorithm. They conducted tests which aimed to see which search results users prefered once branding was taken out of the picture. In January last year 34% of people preffered Bing while 38% preferred Google. Now, the same study shows that 43% prefer Bing over the 28% that prefer Google. Those are some fairly conclusive figures.
While Google has gone in the direction of Integrating everything in to their own Social Media agenda, Bing has embraced the trend towards keeping social seperate, but still close to hand. Bravo Bing! I know I’ll be switching.