Google introduced its social search earlier this year and the marketing world has no choice but to adjust its tactics. It’s Google’s second big change after the launch of the social network Google+ and it was only a matter of time before it would affect social marketing.

Google has faced a few issues in the past: Facebook’s partnership with rival Bing and Twitter’s decline to renew the search contract. Both networks carry impressive value in social search data and Google has found itself cut off from using this data. Many have argued that Google is now trying to change the game to its own benefits by using search tricks. This concept has actually led to several users deactivating their Google+ profiles.

What does social search actually mean? It’s basically a way for you to find content created by people in your Google+ circles when you’re using the search engine. This content will appear on top of the page as long as you’re logged in to Google+. Content coming from other sources are listed below your social results, and we all know how important it is to rank on Google’s first page. In Google’s words, the new feature allows you to get more personalized content, which is true, but does everyone want that? Social search is set as default, so all Google+ members will experience it at some point in time. You can turn it off, but only after you’ve entered a search and this means your social results would have already appeared on the screen. From my experience, even when I turned it off, it doesn’t change a lot in the search results.

What does social search mean for marketers and SEO experts? It’s pretty simple: the more people circle your company, the more influence you will have on their social search results. This makes “getting circled” one of your top priorities. How do you get circled? The following are a few tips to answer this question:

–          Create valuable content: This is always a must in social media as this pulls people in and encourages them to share it on their own profiles.

–          Use “shared circles”: You can add an entire circle to your own circles this way, thus getting more exposure and increasing the possibility of others adding you to their circles.

–          Profile promotion: Promote your profile in various ways, such as your email signature, newsletter, on your other social accounts, or by encouraging employees to circle your page. Don’t forget to use to the Google+ button on your company’s website or any other online establishment.

–          Interaction: You can share and +1 other users’ content and respond to their posts and comments. Additionally, you can start or join a Google+ Hangout that’s related to your services or products. Once again, this all means more exposure for your page.

–          Circle other experts: It’s always useful to have different sources in the same industry as this will broaden your perspectives and provide you with valuable content

–          Use hashtags:  Google+ uses hashtags in a similar way that Twitter does; your content is easily found if you use these in your posts.

 

Once you’ve started using these tips, you’ll get the ball rolling and more people will circle you, and by doing so, helping your visibility in social searches. Any social media marketing strategy should include getting circled as a goal.

Whether Google has an evil master plan or not, it doesn’t change the fact that companies should get a Google+ profile ASAP, if they haven’t already. I doubt this will be Google’s last development in terms of social searches, which leaves a lot of speculation for the future.

Are you on Google+? If so, what do you do to get circled?