Voice Search Is Exploding: How This Changes Your Digital, Content And Social Media Marketing Strategies.

Apple’s launch of the iPhone 4s in 2011 introduced the world to Siri. Since then we’ve had Google Voice, Microsoft Cortana, and Amazon Echo Alexis, but now voice search is poised for rapid growth. 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day. Click To Tweet Businesses can benefit from understanding how this shift will disrupt current search (SEO), content marketing and social media marketing strategies.

Voice Search Digital Content Social Media Marketing Strategy Quesenberry

Keyword searching is decreasing so sites optimized to keywords will see a decrease in traffic and engagement. Voice search sifts behavior from typing in key words or phrases to finding something by asking questions. This goes beyond long tail search strategies where marketers have combined multiple search terms to narrow results on smaller niche audiences. Long tail was in response to people using longer search phrases looking for more specific products and services. In voice search people use their voices to ask questions in full sentences.

Consumers are now asking questions of the Internet the way they would a person. With the growth of voice search, which uses natural language, there is increase in questions as part of the search phrasing. In fact, Search Engine Watch reports the use of search queries starting with “who,” “what,” “where” and “how” has increased by 61% year over year. This makes sense because many people now can use their voice and ask their phones.

Marketers must adjust so their content appears as a good answer. How? Think less keyword stuffing and meta tags and more full sentences and conversational copy. Respond to more natural language questions with more natural language answers – the way you would answer someone in person. Voice search results emphasize quality so you should think less like a marketer with heavy sales messages and more like a publisher or journalist – answering the “W” questions is the basis of writing a good news story.

Google Voice search has doubled over the last year. Click To TweetHow can you take advantage of this trend? Follow the four steps below.

  1. Research the most common questions asked by your target audience. Search industry, interest and product forums. Search comments on ratings and industry appropriate review sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor or even Amazon. Search questions and answer sites like Quora and your own Q&A page. Survey front line employees and sales people about most common questions and analyze your own social media accounts for common questions. If you don’t have a Q&A section on your website consider adding one.
  2. Search these common questions using voice search and see how the current answers are written. Use Siri, Google Voice, Cortana, Alexis to see what is currently appearing as the top results. This will help you identify current competition and provide a guideline for how to structure your own answers. Are there answers that are not being given? Concentrate there first, then work your way to trying to overtake competitor’s positions.
  3. Create website and social media content that directly answers those questions in simple clear sentences. Here remember the “who,” “what,” “where” and “how.” Provide clear and direct answers but fill out the information around the direct answers. Once you get the consumer on your site for the direct answer you can expand the topic. Also don’t forget to create content based on variations of the same questions such as how to fix, “how do I fix ____?,” “how do I stop ___?”, or who can fix ____?, “what do I do if ___?” Don’t forget all content that can be searched including blogs and press releases.
  4. Consider local voice search. If you are a business with a physical address you should consider a new element to potential customer questions. Here people may be asking questions based on geo-location such as “where is the nearest BBQ place?,” “where can I get an iPhone charger?”, Who has the closest free wi-fi?” Make sure your business is listed with physical locations in Google+ Local and other geo-location social media sites like Yelp, Foursquare and Facebook.

Voice search for product research is increasing. Nearly 50% of people are now using voice search when researching products. If marketers want their products to be found they should start to consider new strategies that emphasize natural language over keywords.

  1. Voice Search
    This chart from the GlobalWebIndex shows the increase in voice searches for products.

Digital and content marketing benefits to voice search optimization: Optimizing your website, blog and press/media pages with new information in the right structure can help get your content noticed over competitors to drive more traffic from highly qualified leads.

Social media marketing benefits to voice search optimization: Voice search optimized content will draw more engagement because you will be providing answers addressing your target audience’s most common questions. A focus on discovering and answering your target’s questions leads to more valuable and relevant social content that will drive awareness views and shares.

Business benefits to voice search optimization: Adjusting to natural language search helps you think more like a consumer and less like a marketer. This improved understanding of what your customers are currently seeking can lead to new product and service ideas to improve your business offering.

Over time the better you get at answering natural language questions the better your results. Bill Slawski from Go Fish Digital says that sites frequently selected and ranked highly can be deemed more authoritative and thus appear in more top results and drive more traffic.

We are still early in this trend. If you start adjusting strategies now you could benefit from a competitive advantage over your slower competitors. Have you considered how voice search will change your digital strategies?

Social Media Strategy QuesenberryFor more insights into the big picture in social media strategy consider my book Social Media Strategy: Marketing and Advertising in the Consumer Revolution. Get a free preview of Table of Contents, Forward and Chapter One in the Kindle version via this link.

Is Live Streaming Video Right For Your Social Media & Content Marketing?

Live Streaming Video has been in the news since the Meerkat app was launched Spring 2015 at SXSW followed by Periscope a week later. Then in late summer 2015 we were introduced to Blab and, not to be left out of the video steaming movement, Facebook has launched Facebook Live to all users in Spring 2016.

GoPro Live Periscope Live Video

Ironically streaming video has been around for nearly a decade.

Live video streaming websites like Livestream and UStream both launched in 2007. I used UStream for a live event promotion for an airport and airline client back then.

Why is live streaming video such big news now?

The newly released apps and services are designed for mobile phone use and Pew Research reports that Smartphone use has increased dramatically. From 2011 to 2016 U.S. Smartphone ownership has nearly doubled 35% to 72%. Live video apps have also grown dramatically – more so than previous social media apps. The Salesforce blog explains Instagram reached 10 million users in one year while Periscope grew much faster. It took Periscope just 5 months to reach 10 million users. Click To Tweet

Is it time for your business to jump on live video?

Despite this enormous grown, these social apps are sill very new and the user base is small compared to established social networks. Yet I see real opportunity in using live video to supplement current social strategy to boost engagement, build awareness, and, yes, drive conversion. Let’s look at each in more detail.

Live Video Can Boost Engagement           

After years of declining viewership (ratings) the broadcast TV industry has learned the value of live video programming combined with social commenting. Nielson research has shown that live TV shows leveraging Twitter can boost TV ratings. There is something about the word “Live” that makes us want to join in and not miss out. Live combined with social media means we are participating in consumption of content within community.

Bloggers like Copyblogger recently turned their comments back on after years of having them turned off upon realizing the value of real-time content consumption and feedback in community. A smaller user base sounds like a negative, but this also means higher engagement rates. That is why Snapchat is very attractive right now. And like Snapchat’s expiration on Snaps, live also builds in a sense of urgency. Some people can’t resist tuning in for fear of missing out and crave the community and direct interaction live video offers.

Live Video Can Build Awareness

Even with the smaller user base creating content in these new social media apps will attract new audiences because the room is simply not over crowed like mature social channels.. User base demographics are also probably different from your current social media channels. You’re showing up in different social circles that are smaller, so you get noticed. Plus, participating in live video is interesting new content that will also help drive awareness in your existing crowded social media channels with dwindling organic reach.

These social network apps are new and doing all they can to attract users. Live streaming content is getting preference over other content – it could help you stand out in the content arms race. Meerkat and Periscope send out notices like tweets to let your fans know you are on live. Periscope is even giving you a Periscope channel on Apple TV. Kim Garst says people watch her scopes like a morning TV show. Facebook Live sends followers a notification when you are live and places your video in your newsfeed. Right now these notices are guaranteed to reach your audience driving up your organic reach.

Live Video Can Drive Conversion

What better way to build rapport than live interaction with a real person? Seeing it in video makes it real. From product demonstration to sharing valuable content and answering questions, live video speeds up the the know, like and trust process and can quicken time to conversion. Kim Garnst has attributed 17,000 opt-ins directly from Periscope in 9 months adding multiple 6 figures to her business.

Live video is the best way to date to bring the full power of personal sales to social media. That is not to say that you jump in with the sales pitch. You have to deliver value first, but seeing and interacting live with a real person is powerful. Research has indicated that the impact of communication is determined 7% by words, 38% by voice, and 55% by nonverbal communication. If you are not using video you could be missing out on up to 93% of communication effectiveness! Click To Tweet Live video allows you to adjust your message on the fly based on number of people coming and going, hearts you are receiving, and questions being asked.

Who are the main players in live video?


icon175x175The talk of 2015’s SXSW, Meerkat’s appeal was how easy anyone could broadcast live from their smartphone. Meerkat was first highly integrated with Twitter, until Twitter cut off many of the features in favor of Periscope. But Venturebeat tells us brands have found higher engagement on Meerkat versus Periscope. The latest Meerkat stats available say this app has 2 million users.


largeicon-e1437357187302Periscope was introduced a week after Meerkat and is owned by Twitter. Periscope is also about the broadcast of the individual, but close integration with Twitter is a bonus such as Periscope streams being able to be viewed live in a person’s Twitter stream. The latest Periscope Stats report 10 million users, 2 million daily users, and 100 million broadcasts as of January 2016.


1024x1024srBlab is about live video but emphasizes more of a group participation dynamic. Similar to Google Hangouts, Blab brings in up to four broadcasters at a time with participants able to come and go as they please. This newer entrant has grown quickly because of its ease of use and slightly different interface. Blab is also integrated with Twitter for sharing and promoting. The latest Blab stats report 2.5 million users.

Facebook Live

Facebook LiveFacebook Live is the latest addition to live streaming. This option is integrated into Facebook’s mobile app. The big news here is that now any of the over 1.5 billion Facebook users can share a live video stream as easily as making a status update. Facebook Live user stats are too early to report, but they are starting with the largest bucket of current users. Facebook does report that users are 10 times more likely to comment on a live video than on a normal one.

What content can you create for live video?

Business2business community suggests:

  • Broadcast live company events
  • Make live announcements
  • Conduct live interviews
  • Do a live video blog
  • Moderate live panel chats

Entrepreneur adds ideas such as using live video to:

  • Promote other content you have already created
  • Live stream comments and discussion to your content
  • Use live video to create content like a Q&A session

Top Rank Blog says live streaming presents further opportunity to:

  • Supplement customer research with real time feedback
  • Newsjacking that draws audience by commenting on trending topics
  • Product demos that can share more than a standard press release

Of course one last consideration before you hop on one of these live streaming channels and start broadcasting it to consider the legal aspects. Social media law expert Keery O’Shea Goregone has a great Live Streaming with MeerKat & Periscope Marketer’s Legal Checklist. Her live streaming legal check list list covers considerations in: 1. Location, 2. Privacy, 3. Intellectual Property, 4. Likeness, and 5. Contingency Plans.

Perhaps now is the time to start experimenting with live video as a strategic addition to your social media strategy. Where do you see opportunity or where have you already seen success?

Social Media Strategy QuesenberryFor more insights into the big picture in social media strategy consider my book Social Media Strategy: Marketing and Advertising in the Consumer Revolution. Get a free preview of Table of Contents, Forward and Chapter One in the Kindle version via this link.