Yes, we talk a great deal about search engines, and how to get found online. What we don't do as much is discuss how to make use of social networking sites to search for discovery.
Social networking sites represent a gold mine of content related insights and perspectives. After all, think how much effort we put into creating blog articles and sharing links to valuable content on LinkedIn and Twitter...
Instead of thinking of them only as places for pushing and sharing information, consider them also places for pulling and discovering ideas - or intercepting them! - to react to and incorporate in deeper thinking about your business.
I share with you 8 social networking sites worth exploring via search for discovery... many of which don't require an account for searching!
1. Google Search - I can't imagine searching without Google which has also morphed into a social network. You'll notice search results highlighted based on social connections. Be aware when you search that you can change your geographic location and also log out [assuming you have a gmail account] for a less social experience. [I don't spend as much time with Bing, but I have noticed traffic coming from it to my site. Would you include it in this list?]
2. Twitter Search - a wonderful resource for filtering through the firehose of information called Twitter. Note the Advanced Search parameters and the Search Operators. If you have an account, you are able to save your search as a feed. For someone still trying to figure out whether Twitter is about more that what a person had for breakfast, this is a powerful way to find out the truth!
3. LinkedIn Signal Search - requires that you log into your LinkedIn account. Once there, you can search the status updates of your network and beyond across many parameters. For example, for specific mentions of terms, by company, location, industry, even time, and more.
4. YouTube Search - otherwise known as the #2 search engine and a treasure trove of amazing content. No account required to search. A gmail account means that you can subscribe to channels or videos you consider remarkable.
5. Pinterest Search - the new visual discovery darling! Pinterest is worth exploring, particularly if you are in a visual medium [think fashion, home related, crafts,...]. As more get involved pinning, the range of boards is expanding to include less obviously visual topics [e.g., marketing]. No account required.
6. Quora Search - requires being logged in [you can do so via Twitter or Facebook] to search. Quora is all about questions and responses to questions.
7. Facebook Friend Search - my least favorite search tool. This link allows you to search for friends, without a Facebook account. For a somewhat better search experience, log into your Facebook account. Just realize that Facebook is literal in its search algorithm [and inconsistent in my opinion particularly for finding companies].
8. Houzz.com - another treasure trove of visual ideas focused on the home and interiors.
What do you think? Which other social networking sites would you add to this list? What has been the most surprising discovery you've made while searching via these sites?
You may enjoy this previous post titled Search Tips To Find and Get Found Online.