May
06
2013

Digital Trends 2013: Social data and social search in 2013

As digital living took hold in 2012, social media became a significant part of everyday life for millions across the UK.  Indeed, social media makes up 12% of all internet visits and a remarkable 23% of the total time spent online in the UK.

With more than a billion Facebook accounts and half a billion Twitter users, this year will undoubtedly see even more of the marketing budget spent on reaching social media users – though the obsession with blindly chasing fans or followers has thankfully lost credence (yet remains sadly prevalent in some organisations).

The challenge will be to monetise and measure social investments by understanding the value of the data, insights and conversions that these social channels create.

I believe 2013 will see the evolution and more mainstream adoption of tools that provide straight forward ways to measure the value to the business of this social sharing. In turn, this will help businesses return to the challenge of creating the unique and amazing social media campaigns that are necessary for word of mouth to flourish.  Adding to the social challenge is Facebook’s recently launched Graph Search.

Social search

With Graph Search, marketers will be faced with the same issues, as they look to use it effectively for their business. For a long time Facebook’s search bar has been uncomfortably inadequate.

The Graph Search announcement was therefore a relief, but, as always, advertisers are already working to identify the associated opportunities and challenges.  Brands will need to ensure they are effectively engaging with their communities to ensure that they feature in individual searches so creative and impactful content will become even more important. Clever marketers will use social data to inform the type of content used within their communities to add relevancy to campaigns.

So, here are some tips on how to prepare for the inevitable rise of social search.

  1. Get your house in order
    It is important to ensure that your Facebook page is as complete as possible (as is already the case in SEO best practice).  Every single field must be filled out; if you aren’t categorising yourself, Facebook will make decisions for you or you won’t feature at all.
  2. Start thinking in pictures, minimise links
    Only directly shared photos and videos will show in photo and video searches, so minimise links off Facebook for this type of post.
  3. Keep building your community
    Advertisers have recently taken issue with the newsfeed algorithm changes that resulted in a decline in organic reach. Those who have spent their budgets acquiring fans were beginning to ask what their pages were worth if they weren’t able to reach their fans with a simple page post.  Graph Search will boost the value of this community; the more fans you have, the more likely you are to show up in a user’s search.
  4. Encourage sharing
    Search results will be highly personalised, meaning that an identical search will yield different results for you and me.  Strong connections between a user and an object will likely be given priority over weak connections, and therefore brands need to think about how they can strengthen the relationship with their fans by encouraging sharing of content from their page.

In the first roll out, Graph Search will only include results according to people, pages, apps, places and groups, but brands should expect this to branch out to include posts and comments in the near future.

With large scale user take up, Graph Search provides another way for brands to distinguish themselves from their competition.  The key will be to get the basics right – don’t let admin slip and continue to build your fan base.  After all, it is a brand’s fans that will provide its biggest advantage when Graph Search becomes mainstream.

Find out more about Experian’s Alchemy Social


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