The Second Largest Search Engine Is Twitter (and you still don’t get it?)

Twitter Search Queries Up 33%, 24 Billion Searches Per Month (SearchEngineLand) – that’s pretty huge!  Just a few months ago they were up to 11 billion.  What a leap.  Why?  Well because Twitter isn’t going away; Google’s bringing it a lot more visibility, and it’s so easy when you give it a chance.  It’s a human run search engine.  Whether you go to search.twitter.com, or search through any one of Twitter API powered apps or sites, you’re going to quickly find fresh results.

Last week at a friend’s party, a drunkard mumbled, “Twitter is for idiots.  Nobody cares what you’re doing!”  Well, I don’t get offended that easily.  But I wasn’t about to bother explaining – he clearly enjoyed his obstinance.  But what I could have told him is Twitter is only what you make of it.  It’s a connecting tool between friends (like a status update on Facebook), or a news aggregator (follow those who post nothing but up to the minute news).  Maybe it’s an entertainment tool?  I know I like to follow people that make me laugh every day.  Maybe it’s a customer service tool (@ComcastCares).  I practically IM my coworkers with DMs using ChromeBird.

Granted, the 24 billion searches are probably from Twitter power users, of which I am one.   I routinely search for content and links via Twitter.  I think Twitter is one of the most useful social properties on the web, hands down.  You get used to the 120 (oops – 140… thanks Jack… I was asleep at the wheel there) characters, I promise.  Besides, we all have short attention spans anyway.

Are you a power user too?  Follow me @bill_sebald

Update:
So the word now is that these searches are inflated.  Apparently sporadic API calls from all the apps (like my ChromeBird) that ping the search command are included in this announced total.  Well, yeah… technically that’s a search, but really Twitter?  A little deceptive to put the number out there without that caveat.  You still have an incredible achievement to be proud of.

Related: Small Business SEO Services

Social Media Marketing Is Like Dating

After my divorce, I got lots of advice from single friends on dating.  I was pretty clueless.  I learned that waitresses weren’t really that into me (they were just being nice), and not all women are into video games.  They also didn’t seem to care about SEO.  Hmm…

night at roxBut one friendly lesson stuck with me.  “When in a club, don’t look too eager.  Women notice that!”  This hit me – not because I was necessarily being one of those Night At The Roxbury guys, but I realized I did notice it when I was out; single guys craning their necks to target every woman.  Like throwing a flurry of darts with reckless abandon.

Many businesses who get into social media remind me of this.  It’s a sea of people, and instead of learning to speak the language, make friends, and nurture relationships, they start aggressively firing shots at potential closers.  When they don’t convert, they blame the night club (platform), or the girls (customers).  It’s too frantic.  In online social marketing, your customers expect you to engage with them.  They know when you’re desperate.  They see businesses do it all the time – the only rookies in the social media space are the businesses still going for instant gratification.

Unfortunately, bad pick up lines with your customers are just as bad, if not worse.  They destroy your chances and put you in a much worse light.  Cheap engagement tactics and sloppy execution without sizzle and value make businesses look even more desperate, and turn a flat “no” on the dance floor to blatant giggling and pointing.  Put some thought into what you should really do when taking your chances.

I had to learn to shape my conversations to my new audience (and not talk about video games).  Businesses need to do the same.  Forget a conversion rate if you can’t do this.

Track Your Social Media Commentary

In today’s online climate, you constantly hear about how brands should be monitoring social media for conversations.  Most brands don’t do this now though many agencies and vendors are offering services to do the monitoring, and providing recommendations to effectively act on these conversations (whether it’s damage control or customer acquisition). I have seen brands like Zappos pay attention to my social media posts on Twitter, and reach out to me personally – well, maybe it was an agency. Still I couldn’t help feel a unique connection with this otherwise faceless brand. From that reach-out, I now have a one on one connection to Zappos through Twitter. I’m a perfect target for their marketing.

I found a great online tool who’s goal is to “deliver the most relevant and current conversations happening in the world of social media.” – Whostalkin.com . It’s a bit like BlogPulse, though I’m not sure who has the deeper spider. Whostalkin does let you segment different networks which is a useful feature.

How to Auto-Reply (and spread your message) With Twitter

Update April 3, 2011
I originally wrote this article in 2009. It’s still one of my most popular, but I have to say, I don’t really recommend this method anymore. Twitter is five years old now and has really changed since 2009. The auto-respond practice has really been beaten to death. Now, when I follow people, I often have second thoughts about them if I get an auto reply. It feels spammy, and I sometimes look at the person I just followed with more scrutiny especially if the auto reply has a marketing message. Though more time consuming, I would recommend reaching out to your new followers in the public stream with personal attention or overall global value… Not an automated triggered response. Still, for those of you who’d like to know how to do it, read on.

Original article:
Twitter is a great marketing tool if you use it right.  Like any social media, it’s a relationship building tool.  When you earn the love and loyalty of your network, you find your stage has a pretty bright spotlight.  The more you use Twitter and contribute useful content, the more you find followers will find you.  There are many tools where your authority can be found aside from just surfing Twitter itself.

Twitter offers the ability to send a direct message to people who follow you.  Have you ever noticed on occasion when you opt to follow someone, you immediately receive a direct message with something like “thanks for following – check out my site at www…”  For that direct message to be sent, the Twitterer is either doing it manually (unlikely, especially if they’re busy) or using a web 2.0 tool like Tweetlater.  This Twitter auto respond tool lets you schedule your tweets, but also has a convenient “auto-reply” feature.

Pretty useful to market yourself a little further.  Just make sure you have something to say in your Twitter auto messages.  It’s a great way to Twitter clients specifically, as well.

For those who were curious but didn’t ask, my Twitter obsession also hits Tweetdeck, TweetEffect, TwitterGrader, TweetBurner, Tweepler, MyTweeple, and TweetVolume pretty often.  I’m about as addicted to these as I am Firefox extensions. […]

J.J. ‘Jake’ Gittes, SEO

I’m a movie geek. I like the classics, I like arty flicks, and I like zombie movies. But one of my all-time favorites is Chinatown. It’s perfect fiction, perfect storytelling, and amazing cinematic atmosphere. Jake is a the original ‘persistent nebbish P.I.’ who gets into something pretty twisted. If I wasn’t doing SEO for a living, I would seriously consider being a private investigator.

JJ Gittes

I can’t complain too much. Keyword research is fun.  It’s the closest to private investigator I’ll ever get, and with so many avenues, the challenge never goes away.  Finding that one special keyword/keyphrase that kicks the barn doors open is pure joy.  Planting it and letting it sprout into other traffic strains is even more fun. I may not get to put a cheap stopwatch under a tire, but I do get to scout scout (or eavesdrop?) in social networks to learn what people are saying. Some of my greatest keywords have come from this “investigation”.

Here’s my favorite moves:

  1. Analytics – Analytics is so much more valuable than most companies know.  It’s more than just recording data and providing reports.  It’s an absolute goldmine of insight, and is my number one starting point for most creative SEO excursions.  In this case, tracking your inbound links from social networks, and really getting into the traffic-sending conversations, can be a major eye-opener.  Don’t be afraid to jump in and stimulate replies.
  2. Social Alerter – A great new program, Social Alerter, does for a few social properties as Google Alerts does for the whole web.  For Digg, Del.Icio.Us, Mixx, and Propeller comments and posts, this tool works nicely.
  3. Google Alerts – Speaking of Google Alerts, it’s a classic tool to track site / brand messages.  Look for some keywords (or inspiration) with this.
  4. Tweet Volume – If you have some keywords that could be unique, and want to see how they are passed around int Twitter, try Tweet Volume.

Also, just searching and browsing in social networks for your brand or topic, and paying special attention to the tags as inspiration, will do more than just collect keywords.  It will help you collect opinions, get inspired, and really connect with your visitors/customers, so you don’t get your nose cut.

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