I recently posted 9 Twitter tips for business beginners, an introduction to Twitter for small business owners who may not have the time or energy to delve into Twitter like they have Facebook. A recent announcement from Google might make you sit up and pay more attention to Twitter though:
Did you know that the majority of search activity is still conducted via desktop? That being said, having potential customers, clients, or partners see your real-time tweets about your business, industry or brand when they’re just performing a normal Google search is a game changer!
This announcement also gives you more reason to manage your social media more diligently. If an unhappy customer takes to Twitter to voice their displeasure, a current of potential customer or client could see that tweet if they’re searching for the same key words used by the unhappy customer.
At present, most of the results showing up are from the official Twitter accounts of brands, however this may change based on the context of searches and what people are clicking through to. Searches for certain #hashtags highlight the relevant Twitter results at the top of the search listings. A search for a trending topic also uncovers more specific, and current, tweets relevant to that search term.
Andrew Hutchison from Social Media Today notes: The key element to keep in mind when considering which tweets are going to show up is how Google is using real-time tweets to build better context around search queries. Google wants to deliver the best, most relevant results to users, and will only want to use tweets to better inform and add relevant context to queries. In that sense, it’s logical the way tweets are being presented in search results at present – if there’s no trending topic, you get tweets from the brand’s Twitter handle. However, if there is a trending tweet, or tweets (and how Google determines ‘trending’ is an aspect we don’t have access to) the chances of that tweet adding search context are pretty high, so that tweet (or those tweets) will also likely be included.
In a study by Stone Temple Consulting on what tweets Google has been showing in mobile search results since the announcement of the new Twitter deal, they found that Google was using social authority as a determining factor in which tweets were being shown in search results – social authority, in this context, being more than just follower count, with tweet engagement levels also being factored in. This means that if a celebrity happens to say something about your brand – good or bad – it’s likely that will show up. It also means that mentions from people with comparatively high Klout scores (agree with their measurements or not) may also play a part.
By appearing in mobile and desktop searches, real-time tweets will have a big impact on online engagement and, I think, influence search results significantly.