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This article suggests so… Gerd Leonhard on why social media engagement is taking over from search as the primary route for customers to find and interact with brands…

You have stated that social media beats search 10:1, can you explain this?

One emerging and very recent trend is that traditional search is losing out to what people are doing on social networks. Brands are getting more from social media. I believe in the long run, social media will be ten times more influential than search.

This will change companies’ attitude over time, and they will hire more people with experience of social, as social creates a kind of polling mechanism.

The companies that have been used to controlling their environment will have to adapt to this. There has been a shift from this control to a situation where trust and engagement is more important for customers. The difference here is that trust and engagement are ‘soft factors’; ones that brands can have an influence on, but ultimately cannot control.

Brands need a two-way model, and conversation is a big part of this mix. This in turn means that marketing changes; old style advertising is becoming useless, it’s no longer about simply pushing something at people; this is not what consumers want on the web.

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