Real Time Web was coined to describe online activities in real time -- from status updates on Facebook, to microblogging on Twitter to uploading photos and videos on other social media sites. With the ease of mobile devices like iPhones, this type of communication has grown tremendously in 2009. Now Google (video) is offering the power of real time web searching to millions everyday. Although you may cringe when considering the personal implication of searching your updates and Twitter feeds, you can't deny the benefits to publicity and marketing.
According to Nielsen, social media and blogs are now more popular than email. As marketers, this presents us with a great opportunity. Reader engagement is not only important in today's market, it is essential. Although your web site is important, a savvy marketer knows that a page on Facebook is even more important for interacting with fans and potential readers. With Google and Bing now offering real time search results, the ease, power and speed of sharing information is changing before our eyes. Word of mouth has never been shared faster or more easily. It is important to remember that social media is public communication, you probably should never share personal information, comments or thoughts you don't want spread. But you can't simply ignore what investors are calling a new Web Revolution.
By staying off of Twitter and Facebook as a marketer you are not only missing out on community building, but you are also unaware of the conversations taking place about you, your books, and your competition. Real time search results are changing the speed at which a conversation spreads online. It is more important than ever to manage brand and reputation on social media sites. Content is streaming live with or without your blessing.
Some fantastic sites that offer good information on Twitter conversations are Topsy which shows how many people retweeted you. For example, if you do a topsy search on my name you'd see that my HuffPost blog about Facebook was retweeted 118 times, others were not as popular. Sency allows you to search topics and conversations, and Dailyrt allows you to track what is important to people right now.
These tools can allow you to stay on top of messaging. For marketing and publicity people, it can give you fresh ideas and leads for more exposure. For editors, it may give you ideas for your next book project and for authors it can most certainly show you what's important to your readers right now. Opinions are being shared online and in real time, and now through searches we can find them and notice trends and measure excitement.
Today if you do a search for Oprah on Google, the search results will include social media results, which means you can see what people said about Oprah a minute ago (see midway down). If that doesn't inspire awe (and a little fear) in you, I would be amazed.
Conversations are happening online in real time and now these conversations are being tracked, measured and searched. By becoming part of the community and paying attention to the dialogue around you, I believe your marketing efforts will benefit greatly this year and in the years to come. Real Time Web is becoming the norm -- there are tons of apps and programs coming that will make it easier for us to know what people are saying, where they are gathering, and what they are reading in real time.