Part 3 in a 3 part series about Social Media and Search 3.0
In his March 30 article on Advertising Age, Peter Hershberg talks about the influence of Social Media on internet Search and the three types of connections that are emerging within Social Media.
“EXPERIENCE SHARERS: Other people who have done something you’re interested in, whether it’s someone who bought a book you’re interested in, someone who stayed at a hotel you’re considering or someone who has tested different air conditioners. The interest/connection is fleeting, but it’s often much farther down the so-called ‘purchase funnel’ and can have a big impact on sales.”
Communication and conversation. I’ve already highlighted ways that established Direct Connections and Interest Generators can be valuable assets for online marketers and affiliate networks. But Social Media enables an updated version of an already common practice on the internet: Recommendations.
Recommendations from other people are proven traffic generators in life both online and offline. When I walk past a restaurant I don’t know, I note to myself that I want to try it out if people are there eating, or if someone walks out and says, “Wow, that was great.” I don’t need to know them personally. I am hungry and they just got some good food. Experience shared.
People who enjoy sharing experiences and opinions are important for Search 3.0. Not only because they hold those strong experiences but because they can be counted on to share them. In fact, they often WANT to share them and will hunt down outlets to share them in. Online review sites for restaurants and products are filled with personal reviews of products. But even these are part of Search 2.0.
Recommendations are a crucial part of what makes affiliate networks function or what makes a good online advertisement or landing page. But imagine being able to point to Twitter accounts or Facebook pages of satisfied customers or affiliates instead of static quotes?
How will experience sharers in social media search 3.0 affect online marketing and affiliate networks? How can affiliate networks utilize experience sharers? People researching new products and networks will be able to find not just the experience of an experience sharer but the person who is doing the sharing. And not only that, Search 3.0 will allow that search to be current, focused and live.
The interaction, as Hershberg says, is fleeting, but I believe that is part of its power. Unlike direct connections and interest generators, where the connection is person based, the experience sharer connection is experience based.
Some of the most important components of a sales letter or pitch are the satisfied customers. Again, it’s about trust. Search 3.0 gives people the power to not only find satisfied customers but to contact them. For an affiliate network, add customer contacts or a recently dated forum conversation alongside a banner ad?
Affiliate networks will benefit from having online representatives share their experiences with that network, and online marketing campaigns that include current statements from real people who are available online will lend the same solid, personal credibility that makes me want to go get dinner at a restaurant where I see lots of happy, dining customers.
That is the power of Search 3.0 Experience Sharers.