If you do a Google search for Tiger Woods (as I did in the image above), you'll notice something has changed. At the top you have a news story, then a few results from the web, and under that is a frame with constantly updating new stories about Tiger, including tweets from Twitter.
Yes, Twitter. Live Search is now here, as Twitter and Google recently struck a deal to have tweets about popular topics included into Google's search results. Google struck a similar deal with Facebook as well, and I'll cover that in another post.
If you are a company, you have to understand the ramifications of this. Potentially, YOUR tweets as well as the tweets from Twitter users ABOUT your company, could be integrated into Google search results. As with most areas of social media, this can either be a great thing for your company, or a nightmare.
Consider this; Let's say your company suddenly has a major product recall. Speculation in mainstream media is running wild that this could just be the tip of the iceberg, and that other more popular product lines could be affected as well.
When people run to Google to do searches to see what is happening, tweets from Twitter will very likely be served up highly in the results. This is where your company can either benefit, or be in big trouble.
If your company has been proactive and is engaging with Twitter's users about this issue, then not only will your responses show up in search results, but so will the responses of Twitter's users, that have likely been influenced by your responses.
On the flip side, if people are discussing this on Twitter and your company has no presence there, there's likely to be wild rumors and speculation thrown about, and if your company isn't there to address these rumors, they will only get worse.
So what can you do about this?
1 - Start monitoring Twitter immediately. Go to Twitter Search and do a search for your company. Here's a link to a search I did for 'Heinz'. Notice up in the top right there is an RSS icon and it says Feed for this query. Click there, and you can subscribe to these results in your favorite feed reader.
2 - If you haven't already, reserve your company's name on Twitter. If the exact combination that you want isn't available, pick a name that's to your liking, and edit your profile to explain who you are, what you do, and include a link back to your website or blog (if you have one).
Now in all honesty, as the deal currently stands, this likely won't affect most companies. For example, I did a search for Jones Soda, and no tweets were served up in the search results. So if you are a small business or even a mid-sized company, this likely won't change much if anything for you. But if any news-worthy event happens that attracts MSM attention, it could very easily have tweets inserted into search results.
So it might be best to remember that Noah built the Ark before the rain started.