Google Social Search & The Value of Brand Consistency in Word-of-Mouth Marketing

At the end of last week, Google Social Search broke out of its experimental phase, making itself available in beta for all users to create a more personally-tailored search experience. 

Outside of Facebook (which has a strong privacy setting against being indexed by search engines), various blogs, social networks and collaboration sites a user is connected to will appear in SERPs when information or images are relevant to the search.

In the social media world, users trust information and opinions provided by friends and contacts more than information received in generic search results. Google’s social search provides new headers of “Results from your social circle” as well as results from “My social circle,” a list where the user can view his extended network of contacts and view degrees of separation from other users, much like LinkedIn provides.

Although Facebook’s privacy policy puts a heavy damper of the ideal workings of Google social search, Picasa, Flickr, Blogger, MySpace and a number of other social media sites provide results for any account holder whose content is publicly published to the web.

Information collected and distributed through Google social search is no more than information the user provides to her various social media accounts. Twitter feeds, Bebo pages, and other accounts must be added manually by a user to his Google account in order for those results to arrive in search results.

What does it all mean for you?

As a business, the more consistency and relevance in your search engine marketing and social media marketing strategies, the stronger your chance of connecting with your target audience and gaining brand loyalty. 

With brand loyalty comes an increase in customers‘ natural tendency to mention your brand’s message, share recent posts from your brand, or recommend your brand organically when a friend is searching for a relevent product or service. Also consider that just one off-putting impression from your brand can cause a user to choose to no longer see your brand’s future impressions or posts.

As a user, social search puts you in the driver’s seat. You pick and choose from who, where and when your search results arrive.  

Will your results come from the brand’s informative page, from a biased representative of the brand –often a source emptily pushing the brand message like a salesman– or will you prefer to receive results from a number of trusted friends who have organically become advocates of the brand based on positive experiences over time? 

Consistent, informative engagements from your brand through its social media page win organic brand ambassadors much easier than a user pushing a brand’s products or services in a biased or unsolicited manner.

The best part of integrating a successful social media marketing campaign with real-life customer satisfaction: It doesn’t cost a penny to have a great reputation and word-of-mouth referrals spreading like wildfire.