GoogleSocial media is constantly evolving and it can be a challenge to keep up with all the developments. One of the more notable recent developments was a deal quietly made between Google and Twitter back in February 2015.

The deal gives the giant of search engines access to Twitter’s firehose, the flow of data generated by 300-million active users, so when you search for something on Google relevant tweets will appear in the findings. Previously, Google had to send out its search robots to crawl over tweets and then index them; the change means that tweets will now appear in search findings in real time and get prime position at the top of the page. This then gives direct access to Twitter – select a tweet and you’ll be taken to Twitter where you can follow that particular conversation and also find additional content from that user. Clever!

Rolled out initially across Google’s Android and iOS apps and on searches from mobile devices, you may well have started noticing tweets appearing when you do a Google search on your desktop computer, an update that Google implemented in August.

So what does that mean for your small business?

Twitter logoIf you use Twitter regularly for your business, this additional exposure of tweets means that new audiences will be exposed to your brand, creating even more opportunities for potential customers to discover and engage with your business – it’s all good stuff!

Equally, even if you’re not hot on using Twitter it means you can still access what’s going on in your particular business sector and be aware of trending conversations that might be worth getting involved with. There is also great potential for you to pick up on good ideas or, by reading various tweets, get a spark of inspiration for a new initiative that might give your brand more of a competitive edge. And of course, it might just encourage you to use Twitter more!

And if you have international customers or suppliers, it’s also a good way of knowing what’s happening in other parts of the world, receiving news in real time that might have an influence on your business.

The cynics amongst us will quickly recognise that this new arrangement can be only good news for Twitter. Having somewhat stagnated in its growth in recent years, the Google-Twitter partnership is likely to encourage lapsed users to start tweeting and new users to sign up. But however you look at it, there is no denying that its potential for us small businesses is huge – and I’m a firm believer that free marketing tools should never be ignored!