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BizReport : Search Marketing : February 03, 2010

The difference between search and social search

If you are like many small to medium sized businesses in 2010 you'll be upgrading search and social campaigns. But a new area is quickly evolving that must also be addressed: social search. Consumers have become so social over the past eighteen months that many are looking to social networks rather than search engines.

by Kristina Knight

What can a marketer to do not only make sure consumers find their information in this rapidly evolving space? A social search campaign is one option, but before beginning there are fundamental differences in search campaigns and social marketing campaigns.

First, what is a social search campaign? Where a search campaign is based on keyword buys and keyword rich content leading to high search engine rankings and more consumer traffic, a social search campaign is more like a conversation. In the social marketplace consumers ask questions of their social friends - by posting a status question or Tweeting a question. Friends then reply with their opinion and usually a few links are exchanged.

A new report from Aardvark called "Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine" explains it this way.

Social Search allows users to:
• Ask questions in natural language, not keywords
• Receive content 'on demand' from a large user base
• Ask and answer questions based on their own goodwill

Aardvark is the Web's first real social search engine, allowing people to ask other consumers specific questions and receive specific feedback.

Because social search doesn't use keywords, it is important to brands to have not only a branded social page but to include product information on those pages. This will help consumers find the information and share it with others. Social marketers would also do well to create a kind of 'first response team' which can answer product questions, respond to negative comments and protect the brand in the social space.

Tags: Aardvark, search marketing, social marketing, social search, social sharing

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