Traditional search engines are having a tough time keeping pace with social media. Of course, a number of tools have emerged to fill the gap, offering real-time search results for Twitter, Digg, and the likes.
Three notable mentions are OneRiot, Tweetmeme, and the latest contender, CrowdEye. The idea behind all three being web search engines (like Google and Yahoo) can only tell you what people are – technically, were – searching for. Social media search engines can tell you what people are talking about now – and what they are willingly promoting. From a viral marketing perspective, this measure of influence is often the missing ingredient. But I digress, let me give you a quick rundown of these services:
OneRiot crawls the links people share on Twitter, Digg, and other social sharing sites. Search results reveal a bevy of information, like the exact date/time in which a tweet or bookmark was shared, who shared it (links to their profile), the number of times it was forwarded, and the link provided. There’s also a sidebar for “Most Shared Items Today” and a trending topics tag cloud.
Tweetmeme is the most link-centric offering of the three, focusing solely on Twitter tweets. You can run a basic search, check out the most popular tweeted links, view a live activity stream, or narrow down your focus by channel (e.g. Iran or Swine Flu Outbreak). You can also browse by categories like Comedy, Gaming, Sports, etc.
CrowdEye offers a straight-forward dashboard view of Twitter activity. You can view popular links and tweets, as well as a graph of your term’s Twitter saturation over the past few days. Clicking on a related term in the tag cloud filters those results further. CrowdEye also throws in a Top Hashtags and Top Searches feature.
A great case example of how to use one, if not all, of these products is the recent SquareSpace Twitter promotion. SquareSpace is a simple website solution (and feed growth! topic). To drum up visibility for their product, SquareSpace is giving away 30 iPhones in 30 days (06/08/09-07/07/09). Participants need only include the #SquareSpace hashtag in any of their tweets to qualify. Since the contest launch, SquareSpace has gone from negligible mentions on Twitter to over 12,000 tweets a day. The #SquareSpace hashtag is now a top “trending topic”, and the company is receiving the type of publicity most social media strategists would salivate over.
We’re curious to see how many new signups SquareSpace generates off this promotion (feel free to share with the class); that’s the true litmus test. Still, social search engines like OneRiot, Tweetmeme, and CrowdEye are providing play-by-play action of this marketing tactic, and if the numbers are any indicator, SquareSpace should do nicely.