Social media’s primary value to consumers is its peer recommendations. For example, the report mentioned above also states that 75 percent of people 18-26 used recommendations on social sites in product research before making a purchase.
Whereas search is primarily used to create a list of purchase options, social media recommendations are used to validate the relevancy of our choices with the people in our social graph. Even simple acts of brand affinity (Likes, @ mentions) can sway a friend’s purchase decision, based on the social connections between all parties concerned.
How Search and Social Work Together
Search is likely to become much more valuable and contextual for everyone. It will make purchase decisions more efficient because of the added social layer. Instead of performing a traditional search engine query, finding what you’re looking for, and then going out and reviewing the validity of the search results within your social graph, social search will have this feature baked in.
Social media marketing is a popular buzzword, but often times small businesses overlook it. The main reason is that it’s time-consuming and tracking sales is difficult. Which is why we see many local businesses with a profile on social networks, but no activity whatsoever.
The most important takeaway for businesses is that you must start to take social seriously. There is no questioning it: social is going to affect search results. It’s going to drive more relevant search results and decrease the amount of time we spend finding the best answers to our questions. It’s imperative for businesses make sure they’re ready for a world in which search introduces them to potential customers and validates them through their social graphs.