Up until now social marketing was an option. Companies could partake if they wanted or they could sit on the sideline and wait. Up until now social media was looked at as a fad by "serious" marketers. It was simply filling a gap until we learn how to convert 15s and 30s into online pre-roll.Up until now you had reason not to participate. Until now you may or may not have looked at the buzz to see what's being said about you. Those moments are gone folks. Bye-bye. If you're not participating in social media someone else could be misrepresenting you in the vacuum.
A new generation of search engines are coming online and pressing the issue for us. 50Matches is one such search engine. The difference with 50Matches is that ONLY indexes content that has been tagged on sites like del.icio.us or voted for on sites like Digg and Reddit. The engine then returns the top 50 matches. The theory here is that the content tagged to those sites is pre-filtered and therefore more reliable and accurate than what you would get searching through Google, Yahoo or MSN. All of those major engines include any content on the web that is spiderable.
50Matches ONLY indexes content that has been tagged or voted in social networks
The following diagram shows why the team at 50 matches thinks this model works. As more people tag content the quantity will increase as will the quality.
50Matches is a young startup and is facing some pretty fierce competition (how would you like to have Google, Yahoo and Microsoft staring you down), but their model has potential. The idea of trusted content is evolving to answer a question that consumers are asking, "How do I filter all of this information into trusted, manageable chunks?"
I have noticed that Google is folding in social media site content into their primary result sets. This includes sites like Digg, tags in del.icio.us, myriad blogs, podcasts and even comments on blogs. Line that up with Google's AdSense Q1 2007 revenues of $1.35 billion and numbers from Yahoo that state 67% of US adults who research purchases online do so using search engines. Search is big business and it's being driven by consumers.
What are you doing to ensure your social media strategy is on track? Have you jumped in or just gotten your toes wet? Is there anybody that is stuck out there? Let me know in the comments.