Social vs Search: Chalk vs Cheese (Summer series 1)

    Sam Mutimer

    I hate search.
    I’ll say it.
    Use it but hate it.
    I speak to people most weeks who still spend a lot in search and are hesitant to move any spend to social. “It works for us” they say. “Look at our analytics” they say and the discussion dribbles away in a series of wobbly blue lines and charts. I try to stay focused. Really, I do.
    Over Summer I want to talk through why the era of search (as we recognise it) is pretty much over and why social is more important for brands. Important now and important as f@ck tomorrow.
    As you know search is really about volume. “If we point enough people at our site someone will buy something yea?” “If we write search optimised copy and get the balance of text to images right we’ll appear high in search right?” Well, Maybe and Yes.
    I even speak to people who talk like they are being ranked at the time.
    Phonecall: “Hi it’s Keith here, I’m a search and social media expert working in social web 2.0 looking to help you engage with an online community.”
    “Hey Keith, um what does that mean? sounds cool (I think?).”
    Social works in the opposite way for most of the time. It creates interest in what people and brands are doing and pulls people toward them (in marketing speak). It’s a chalk and cheese comparison.
    The Chalk
    [said in sleazy phone voice: SEO baby

    28,103 unique visits and (a very round number) “50,000 smiling babies in New York”.
    Really? No way.
    Perhaps 28,000 visits, 29,000 page views, 250 customers and 50 repeat customers. Maybe 300 smiling (at some point) babies? Sound about right?
    The Cheese
    Butter Lane Cupcakes (customer review)

    Butter Lane Cupcakes look to be about the same size as GotoBaby.
    Rather than building their search presence they have focused on building a real community through social channels. They have a basic but functional website, 2,271 engaged Facebook fans and 1269 Twitter followers that chat regularly with BL and each other. They also have a presence on Yelp, Tumblr, a Groupon and LivingSocial offer and a Foursquare deal.
    Pretty impressive.
    These guys are very social.
    It’s not hard to see the difference between the GotoBaby and Butter Lane approach. I guess most of you have some thoughts on what approach will pay off – now and tomorrow.
    So hit us up. What do you think of search strategy and what do you say to a business that puts most of its online spend in this area?
    Let’s heat up the conversation this Summer.