What are the benefits of entering social media now rather than in the next 6-12 months?

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Social media has grown substantially in recent years. We’ve seen the steady development of Facebook into a global powerhouse, as well as the emergence of Twitter: the popular micro-blogging platform.

Many organisations are now considering their social media strategy, but it is important for them to act promptly.

In the last 12 months, we’ve seen Google fundamentally change the way it indexes the web (see ‘Google Caffeine’), so as to cope with the speed in which content is now generated (as a result of social media platforms such as Twitter). Several search engines now also embed streams of tweets (and such like) into their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), providing users with an up-to-date perspective on specific topics/search terms. As a result of these developments, tweets can be written by any individual/company about a subject and almost instantaneously, those tweets might feature within the Google search results.

Facebook and Microsoft also came to an agreement over search, but whilst Microsoft Bing currently powers Facebook Search, there is growing debate over whether Facebook might now be in a position to exploit it’s social graph data and enter the search market alone.

Recently, Google announced that it also considers social media activity within it’s indexing process and ranking algorithms, meaning the position a site appears in within the search engines, is now also influenced by the levels of engagement with social media.

If companies flirting with the idea of engaging with social media fail to immerse themselves soon, it is likely that they will fall further behind. What’s more, it won’t simply be a case of not generating anymore interest and consumer engagement through social media (over and above what they already have via other means), but in fact, those other means – particularly search rankings – are likely to suffer too, the longer social media is ignored. Organic performance is a cumulative process and improvements within the SERPs tend only to become noticeable after a 6-12 month period – so a delay would have a substantial effect on this.

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