Samantha Demetriou ⬥ 25 October
Last week, Facebook and Bingannounced a new facet to their partnership (if you use Facebook’s search bar, you’ll notice that the results page displays a section of “Web Results” presented by Bing). For Facebook users, Bing will now incorporate information from Facebook into its search results.
Here’s how it works: first, Facebook users have the option to link Bing to their accounts on the social networking site. If they choose to do so, every time they search something on Bing, in addition to the standard results, Bing will also display information from their friends’ Facebook accounts, such as how many of their friends “liked” the thing they searched or links that their friends posted about that thing on their own walls.
To use an example to illustrate, let’s pretend I’m looking to buy a car. Let’s also pretend I know absolutely nothing about cars, but I know that since I live in a city, I want a smaller model. I also remember seeing an ad for new Ford Fiesta recently, so to start my process, I head over to Bing and search “Ford Fiesta.” Lo and behold, I see in the Facebook results that the cute guy who lives down the hall “likes” the Fiesta. I also see that my super responsible friend has posted a link on her Facebook page to an article about the Fiesta getting good gas mileage. The Fiesta is now starting to look like a great choice.
There’s been a fair amount of speculation that this move was meant to be a direct jab against Google, a mutual rival of Facebook and Microsoft. But I’ll save the drama for Aaron Sorkin to use as fodder for “The Social Network” sequel. What struck me as interesting about this development was what it could mean for brands and their social media endeavors.
In my opinion, the most significant aspect of this new feature is that it is now possible that Facebook users will encounter brand pages even when they’re outside of the Facebook site. Going back to the car example, I normally would not seek out the Ford Fiesta page while perusing Facebook. But after seeing that some of my Facebook friends have “liked” it, I will likely be prompted to visit the page and perhaps even begin interacting with the company through Social. Indexing these results taps into the human element and can help to inspire a personal connection to a brand that did not previously exist.
If, on the other hand, I search for different car that has no Facebook page, this opportunity for a connection is lost. I won’t get into the lengthy argument for why brands should have a social media presence; that’s been discussed extensively both on this blog and elsewhere. Instead, I’ll suffice to say that the integration of personalized Facebook results into Bing ups the ante for brands. It is more important than ever to make sure that your brands are accessible and findable for consumers who want to interact with them, because now, being “liked” will have an impact beyond the Facebook ecosystem.