The energy was electric at the Search Marketing Expo the week of March 11 in San Jose, CA, where Milestone’s Benu Aggarwal had a one-on-one interview with Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager with Bing’s Webmaster Program and author of the book, “How To Make Money With Your Blog.”
When Benu asked Duane about the impact of social on search, Duane had poignant insight and thoughts about human nature and the power of engaging in what people are talking about.
“What social is about is engaging with a customer – having that meaningful relationship. And when we [Bing] see those things happening, obviously we’re interested in it. We want to know why you’re [hotel] important to people. We want to follow that and pay closer attention to it. And if those signals from social are telling us that you’re important, then obviously we need to pay attention to that.”
“One of the smartest moves you can make as a small business is make sure you think through a well-planned-out and well-executed social media program. Social media is not a direct sales tool…it’s about having meaningful conversations with people – even those people complaining about you. Those are some of your greatest wins, because everyone else sees you engage with them, sees you try to fix the problem, and they feel better about doing business with you.”
“You can literally start this on your own for your business by starting to engage people…. You’ll get great feedback, you’ll get great ideas, you’ll get great amplification, people will love you, and the search engines come looking at that.”
Duane Forrester says that social definitely plays a search role for Bing, because it’s looking for those things. “Social can be an indicator of something that’s important suddenly, something that’s trending or going viral,” he said. “Because those things are happening in social, we have to pay attention to it early. We have to treat everything like it’s going to pop up and we have to see if it does go viral. Over time we see the patterns and we know how and when to react.”
Forrester understands the synergy of other channels working with social, and speaks to the importance of SEO, linkbuilding and the user experience. “The single biggest thing you can be investing in is content. That is really going to make a difference for you in whether people love you, want to share you, and come back to you.”
The SMX West conference featured 60 sessions, workshops, clinics, boot camps, and keynotes on paid search, SEO, social media marketing, and mobile search, including a keynote address by Google Search Chief Amit Singhal. Find out more at http://searchmarketingexpo.com/west/agenda.