Google have announced a new ’social search’ feature that will see the results from searches from within your social network added to normal search results. This is an opt-in feature that may have ramifications for many businesses. Will big businesses have a head start on many small businesses is my first question.
One of the biggest issues that small business owners have had to face is whether or not to build social pages using a personal or business profile. Medium to large businesses have not had that issue – they have gone straight into business profiles. When other users have added them to their contacts pages, they have done so knowing it was a business.
Small business owners on the other hand have often used personal profiles and promoted their business from that angle. I think it may be time for a rethink. Why do I say this? If you opt in to the new Google social search option, your whole social network will be included in any search results. This includes personal contacts you may have – do you want a conversation you had with Grandma about your recent holiday to Spain appearing in search results because one of your contacts entered a search for ‘Spain’?
Why will this happen? It’s simple. You haven’t differentiated your personal and business profiles – everything has been created as a personal profile – more importantly, you use it as both a personal contact and business contact network.
The first thing you need to do now is to establish as many business profiles as you feel you need and to build up as many friends, followers, contacts or whatever, as possible. Be sure then to use those profiles for everything related to business.
Here is the video presentation from Google. Think about the ’social’ part of social search and consider what I have said. Only 9% of small businesses have Twitter profiles. I wonder how many small business owners have personal Twitter profiles that have also been used to promote their business?