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Part 2 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.

INTEREST GENERATORS: People who don’t know each other personally, but share an interest or perspective. On Twitter, these are the people you “follow.” They may or may not reciprocate your interest, but you filter based on your desire to hear more of their voices.

People with shared interests gravitate toward the same places on the internet, just like anywhere else. Search on Google and you can find web pages. Dig into those searches and you find forums and chat rooms to read or comment in.

Move to Search 3.0 and you can search for most niche interests or individuals within that interest, and that’s where Interest Generators come in. I wholeheartedly agree with Herschberg that Interest Generators are an important, emerging type of connection in social media.

But how does this play into Search 3.0? And how does an affiliate network and online marketing campaign get involved?

For example: People who want to talk about a common interest on Twitter will use the #hashtag designation for a key term. If you want to start a Twitter conversation about this article you could end your message with #interestgenerators.

Marketers can recruit people who already have a reputation as an interest generator to start conversations about specific products or services. In the blogging world companies frequently give away products or gift certificates to influential bloggers as an incentive for said blogger to write about their experience. It’s good for everyone: free products and free publicity. And bloggers, being the innovative people they are, have done some incredibly creative things with the give-aways.

This kind of practice can be adapted to Twitter, or to a Facebook Group. If a Twitter user like @greenbiztweets, a respected resource for green business news with thousands of followers, were to start a conversation about my blog rather than just tweet my entry, there is the potential for significant buzz. In the social media spehre, conversation is marketing.

This can be a powerful way for an organized affiliate network to make their presence known and generate traffic. Imagine a carbon offset affiliate network on Twitter starting a public #conversation about carbon offsets, instantly having dozens of active participants (affiliates who are part of the Twitter network) and getting other Power Twitter users to join the conversation. Everyone who follows their tweets is suddenly following that conversation. #ConversationMarketing.

Even better, the conversation will exist as long as the people who had it are around on the internet. Search 3.0 empowers people to find people, not static webpages that get old. A good conversation that gets a solid message across will stay with people. If those people are Interest Generators, that conversation will be part of dozens of their conversations well down the road.

After that, not only will Search 3.0 allow people to find the conversation on the internet, social media search will allow people to find the people who can, once again, generate interest.

That’s the power of Search 3.0 Interest Generators.