Is Facebook the New Google?

According to Parse.ly data, Facebook is now the top referral source to news websites – surpassing long-time referral giant Google. In July, 43 percent of the traffic to the media sites surveyed came Is Facebook the New Google from Facebook clicks, while just 38 percent came from Google. While just one genre of websites was surveyed (news media), the study is very telling of a bigger trend: people are gathering more and more information through social media.

This shift is important for all businesses to acknowledge and understand, especially small ones who have always had a distinct marketing advantage through social media. Some important points to note:

Word-of-mouth is alive and well. Google’s algorithm has always been based on sites having more credence when they are clicked on more, or referenced through linking on another site. This is word-of-mouth referring in an abstract way – being told what is the most relevant to you based on the largest group of people or third-party sites.

Facebook is different because it is inherently more personal. The links that you see and click on are from people you actually know. When someone posts a link or product on Facebook, it is an instant recommendation (and one that you can click on immediately).

For things like news stories, it is a fast way to spread information that bypasses the typical Google algorithm wait. Small businesses that may not normally make the cut when it comes to that coveted first page of Google search may get a lot of attention from a single Facebook post from a fan.

Search results alone aren’t enough. Google does a good job showing searchers what a link is really all about before sending them to it, but it does leave some things lacking. The biggest of these? A personal connection between that site and the searcher.

Facebook has an advantage because when a person sees a link posted from a friend, there is generally some commentary that explains why the reader should care. Even business pages posting their own links, or sponsoring them, can add just a little bit of content to make those posts more engaging, and clickable.

People value convenience. I can’t believe that I’m even implying that typing in a search term and waiting a millisecond for results is in any way an inconvenience, but with the instant gratification of technology, it makes sense. It is why people are willing to give up some privacy in order to receive the best deals, or customized health data.

People are on Facebook anyway – from computers at work, to tablets at home, to smartphones everywhere else. Having links right in the feed that are relevant actually IS more convenient than looking something up on a totally different site.

Google and Facebook provide different services, of course, but when it comes to instantaneously being referred to articles, products or businesses that impact your real life, Facebook does have an advantage. Small businesses need to be sure that they have a strong presence that is both brand centric and convenient.

What advantages for businesses do you think Facebook has over Google?

Pinterest is a Bigger Influencer Than You Think

 

Any fellow Pinterest addicts out there? The first step is admitting that you have a problem, and I definitely do. When I’ve exhausted checking Facebook, Instagram, and a parenting message board that I frequent, Pinterest in my next stop. And then the next thing I know, it’s four hours later, my mouth is watering with visions of desserts and delicious recipes and my wallet is cringing at the impending trip to Hobby Lobby for craft supplies.

Pinterest has done a lot of things right in its first few years. It has gained a huge following, opened itself up to businesses, and launched very user friendly mobile apps so that people can use the site on the go. While the network is not free of all Internet issues (think spam) it’s definitely a great example of a company that is run really, really well.

When you think about it, Pinterest is genius for everyone involved. Designed to be an online bulletin board, it’s perfect for users to keep track of recipes, craft ideas, decorating inspiration, and so much more. But it also drives traffic to websites. When you click “see more” you’ll visit an actual website. This has been a boon for many small blogs and companies that might not have gained exposure otherwise.

In light of all of this info, it should come as no surprise that Pinterest is the second largest referrer of web traffic when it comes to social media. Eclipsed only by Facebook and its more than one billion users, Pinterest is really in a league of its own when it comes to referral traffic. According to Mashable, Pinterest drives more traffic than the four other major social networks (LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter, and Google +) combined. I particularly love Pinterest because the traffic is primarily organic and sites are getting people to click through because they are genuinely interested in what they are seeing.

There’s no doubt that Pinterest is a juggernaut when it comes to the Internet. I’m interested to see what the company will do next.

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Maddie Heinen is a regular contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com. She is a freelance writer who specializes in blogging, content creation, and social media. When she is not working, she is taking care of her two kids, husband, and home in Central Florida. Maddie enjoys reading, shopping, and is interested in real estate. She is currently working on establishing her own internet-based media company, Red Hibiscus Media, which will specialize in both online content as well as print material.

Popular Social Networks in Other Countries

 

Facebook and Twitter are two huge forces to be reckoned with when it comes to social media. Both have huge user bases; Facebook has more than a billion users, Twitter has over 500 million. Both networks boast users from all over the world. The same goes for other social media power players like Instagram, Pinterest, and Reddit. Each social network brings in a different crowd that houses a mix of cultures amongst users. This creates an interesting dynamic.

However, other countries also have social networks that are specific to themselves as well. Surprising, right? It can be if you haven’t thought about this before.

Here is a little information about some other big social networks from around the world:

Badoo, founded in Spain

Badoo focuses more on dating and meeting people. The service is offered only to those 18 years and older, contrary to Facebook and its relatively lax 13 and up policy. Badoo is free for a basic profile, but charges for some upgrades like games. Badoo now has a presence in 180 countries.

Weixin and Weibo. China

Weixin and Weibo are two large social networks in China. Weixin is relatively similar to Facebook, but it has the option to share to smaller groups of friends and family rather than everyone on your friend list. Weibo is geared more towards the general public and has a more Twitter-like feel.

StudiVZ, Germany

StudiVZ is a social network geared primarily towards students in Germany and Europe. According to Wikipedia, the network gets its name from the German expression Studentenverzeichnis, which translates to students’ directory. Because the interest of the network is primarily education, users’ profiles revolve around their studies, including what they study, interests, and classes they are taking.

Bebo, based in California

Bebo became popular several years ago. It was founded in California but quickly gained a large international following. In 2008, Bebo had upwards of 40 million users. The network has since lost many users, but is being revamped by its original founder.

While I don’t want to sound like a cliché, social networking has essentially taken over the modern world. More social networks exist than you can even think of. With the amount of social networks nowadays are people going to start getting burnt out? Only time will tell.

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.