By Alan Glazier, OD, FAAO
Social review sites like Yelp enable recommendations for a particular business that are not selective; you are depending on the word-of-mouth referrals of a vast number of strangers—people who are generally not in your network.
But, think how much your confidence would be increased if reviews were generated solely from your social circle? Recommendations from those closest to you, friends and other close connections, are the most valuable recommendations, and the ability to comfortably contact those friends to get more information would add another social layer to the experience.
Social recommendation services are in fact a new web trend. Several new businesses are morphing their algorithms to weigh recommendations from one’s social circle greater than general online recommendations. Since Facebook is, right now, with upwards of 500 million users, widely recognized as having THE most powerful social graph, my money is on a Facebook app to win the social recommendation game, and right now it looks like Stik.com is in the lead.
Stik.com enables local businesses to capture recommendations by friends and customers one is connected to online, like on your Facebook businesss page. It also enables you to find professionals through Facebook via friend recommendations, similar to how one might use LinkedIn but specific to your Facebook network. Stik.com recommendations may also have search optimization value. There is also SEO benefit, within and perhaps outside of Facebook. When you are an optometrist or optician with a social network and a significant number of the people who have a relationship with you recommend you within your network, your content, conversations and network recommendations tag you as a thought leader for queries on “optometrist” or “optician” and help enhance your visibility when someone searches for keywords or keyphrases that are relevant to similar queries.
I have been participating on Stik.com for a few months now and building my network. My friends and contacts have been enthusiastic about providing Stik.com recommendations, and every time a recommendation is provided, it shows up on my Facebook wall for all my connections to see, keeping my expertise and services in the forefront of the minds of my significant social network.
Google is also getting into the game, and while I won’t discount the ability of the 800 lb. gorilla to make an impact, they have a dismal history of attempting to participate in the social web. Their +1 button is their attempt at a more efficient way for searchers to recommend content to friends without pointing away from search engine results. The +1 button allows your contacts through Gmail to see what links you like. Each time you search, the results will have a “+1″ button you can click which prompts Google to share that link with your network. It’s kind of a Google “Like” button. I am watching this feature and playing around with it, but I am not sold on it yet.
Connect with me on Facebook and visit my stik.com page and recommend me and I’ll be sure to do the same!
This post originally appeared on VisionMonday.com as part of the CLICK e-newsletter. You can see the original here.
Alan N. Glazier, OD, FAAO is the founder/CEO of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care in Rockville, Md. A search and social optimization consultant, he is now a regular contributor to CLICK and also writes a regular blog for SightNation.com. Glazier is email@example.com and his regular posts can be found via his Twitter handle: @EyeInfo, his blog: eyeinfo.wordpress.comand his website: YourEyeSite.com. Author: Searchial Marketing: How Social Media Drives Search Optimization in Web 3.0.