Consumers look for social signals created by their peers or opinions posted online for recommendations about brands, products and services, and the search engines are taking note.
Both Bing and Google have updated their search engine algorithms to now include consumer-generated content, such as social signals.
Since the content is created by consumers, it is more relevant, and ranked higher in search engine results.
In addition, Bing and Google are now serving personalized results based on the data aggregated from consumers’ social graphs.
People searching on Bing are now served results that include information or likes their friends have shared on Facebook.
Brands looking to stay top of mind with their consumers must implement social initiatives that drive consumer-generated content, or social signals, around their brands.
We see social referral programs as a best practice for brands looking to tap into the power of their consumers to drive social signals that can improve search engine optimization.
Social referral programs, by nature, tap into the consumer desire to share information and content with peers, resulting in consumer-to-consumer marketing.
The opportunity for brands is to reach out to highly-engaged, loyal fans and turn them into social advocates — who, in turn, refer the brands and products or services to their friends and social communities.
If brands can properly harness the power of consumer-to-consumer marketing, they can create a new, high-value marketing channel.
This new channel can not only help brands foster fan-generated content to increase their search engine result placement, but also produce highly qualified new customers and sales, boost traffic and awareness and give them deep insight into customer behavior across their social graphs.
With the number of social signals on Facebook growing daily, it is imperative marketers implement social referral programs that influence the creation of social signals around their brands, products and services.
By launching social referral programs, brands will not only be able to improve their search engine optimization, but also their bottom lines.