As a result of separate deals with search giant Google and upstart Bing, Twitter feeds are coming to a search engine near you. Even as Twitter struggles with monetizing its service and holding spam down to acceptable levels, it has achieved search marketing value as search engines vie to be kings of the “real time Web.” While Bing also secured a deal with Facebook, the more financially viable of the two social networks, the majority of Facebook status updates remain locked behind a password-protected gate.
On the other hand, Tweets are mostly public statements shared by anyone with everyone. Tweets can be loosely summarized into 4 categories: Personal, Business, Spam and re-Tweets. Many simply contain links that reference sites elsewhere. That’s all good and well with Bing and Google. Search engines aggregate, sort, route, categorize, streamline, bundle and deliver information straight to the user, then sell PPC ads against it. But the question remains as to how they will utilize Twitter live stream searches to satisfy users’ queries for products and information. Bing already has a live Twitter feed, but it’s unclear how it will evolve over time.
In the meantime, here’s what brands need to do right now:
- Flood the Twitter channel with consistent brand messages. What current tweet search applications categorize very well are those that have distinct, recognizable names and terms—in other words, brands. And because there will be added exposure to tweets associated with your brand name, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your own brand is articulated the same way each and every time you tweet.
- Use hashtags to associate your tweets with the right business vertical(s). Search engines will undoubtedly face many problems sorting out and categorizing tweets using hashtags. It’s not a guarantee that Google and Bing will use them, but until it’s clear how they will be handled, it won’t hurt you to add them.
- Maintain a strong business-customer relationship within Twitter by vigilantly monitoring tweets that mention your brand. Twitter live stream searches will become an invaluable part in online reputation monitoring for any type of business or service. For now, you may need to use a 3rd party tool to do this, but it’s likely that very soon you will be able to utilize free tools within Google or Bing.