Google+’s Latest Improvement

I have a lot of respect for any website that is constantly improving itself. Google+ is one of those and the latest improvement is the addition of Google+ Hangouts On Air.

If you haven’t heard of Google+ or Google+ Hangouts, then let me introduce you. Google+ is Google’s social network, the fastest growing social network in history. Hangouts is a video component to Google+ that allows you to interact with other Google+ users via video. Obviously, you need a camcorder or video recorder to be able to use it.

Google+ Hangouts On Air takes Google Hangouts to the next level. When this rolls out publicly (it is currently in beta), you’ll be able to record your hangouts and they will automatically post to YouTube and your Google+ stream. That will allow people not involved in the hangout to view it later.

This is a powerful feature of Google+ that will enhance your ability to market yourself online. The types of events you can hold are endless. Here are a few ideas for you.

  • Find a person in your niche to interview.
  • Hold a round table discussion with other professionals in your industry.
  • Host a book discussion group (great for bookstores).
  • Perform a musical concert for your fans.
  • Schedule a town hall meeting.
  • Invite customers to give you real time feedback.

These are just a few suggestions on ways you can use Google+ Hangouts On Air. I’m sure you could come up with your own ideas. But the bottom line is to do something that will challenge you and that will take your business to the next level. That’s why you started marketing online in the first place, isn’t it?

May 8th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Facebook Offers Opens A Door

If you’ve been wondering just when Facebook will open its Offers service to everyone, relax. It’s happening. Or, at least, it’s opening up to limited beta.

In a nutshell, this means that you can use your Facebook page to make offers to your fans and drive more traffic to your website. You can reach new audiences by allowing your fans to share your offer with their friends. And when that happens, your Facebook marketing will get better.

It’s just a matter of time before Facebook opens up Offers completely to the public. Right now, limited beta means you have to request an invite and then be approved for the program. I’m sure Facebook has criteria for who they will approve at this point. Maybe it’s first-come, first-serve. It’s worth a try if you want to get your foot in the door early.

Offers is Facebook’s answer to Groupon. You set your offers, distribute them through your network, and then watch to see who responds.

While Facebook isn’t exactly fast in rolling out these new programs, when they do go public they are worth waiting for. I’d say make a request to be allowed to participate in the limited beta of Facebook Offers. If you are declined, then wait until it goes public. Either way, it’s a good thing for your business.

May 6th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Are Your Facebook Friends Sexy Enough?

Two scientists in the Netherlands have concluded that the way to be popular on Facebook is to have attractive friends.

I’m not sure why “attractiveness” is being use synonymously with “sexy.” They are not the same thing. But that’s an aside. The study, based on a sampling of only 78 people, indicates that a person could be more likeable if their friends are good looking. But does that matter if you are a business owner trying to use Facebook to attract new customers to your business?

I’d say it shouldn’t matter. But you might be able to capitalise on your Facebook friends if it is true.

Personally, I don’t think 78 people in a survey or study is enough of a size sampling to draw a significant conclusion. Nevertheless, scientists have said for years that off line popularity could be tied to attractiveness, so why not online popularity as well? Maybe it’s true on Facebook.

Don’t be shallow. If you are trying to make yourself popular by chasing the beautiful people, then don’t be surprised if your plan fails or back fires. You’re running a business. So be business-like.

Use Facebook as a way to meet potential customers by interacting with people on a personal and professional level. Seek out people with similar interests or who may be in the market that you define for your business. Otherwise, you could just find yourself in the presence of attractive people and no customers.

April 26th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Social TV – An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Imagine watching your favorite telly program and you see a Like button appear in the corner of your screen. Or you’re watching the pilot for a new season premier and you see a QR code jump up on the screen. What do you do? Would you respond?

Well, a recent study shows that 64% of telly viewers have seen social buttons on their TV screens and 33% of them actually responded.

I think what we have here are the beginnings of the social TV revolution. Currently, it’s Like buttons and QR codes. I think in the future what we’ll see are advertiser buttons appearing on your screen. Not only will those shows be funded by 30-second commercial segments, but by sponsored tweets.

I’ve seen shows where the audience can interact with the personalities through the TV producers’ Twitter account. So we are indeed entering a new age of TV viewing.

It’s been predicted that TV and the Internet will marry up for some powerful programming and business opportunities. Now we’re starting to see it happen. But I predict that these trends will only get better over time. They can only improve.

My question for you as a business owner is this: If you had an opportunity to reach your target market through an on-screen social media button that enticed TV viewers to interact with you on a social network or your own website, would you take advantage of that opportunity at the right price? Why or why not? Hasn’t the time come for that?

April 20th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Google+ Redesign Shakes Up Web

Yesterday Google+ went through a massive redesign. It shook up the Web.

Some people liked it. Some people didn’t. But everybody talked about it. So, was it a good thing?

I rather think it improved the system. There were some initial hiccups as it caused some apps to break and there were some initial slowness in the website loading properly for many users. However, the design itself seems to be more user-friendly and once people really get used to the changes, then I think many of them who didn’t like it at first will come around.

Google seems to be making the most of their on-page real estate. They’ve added a “Trending on Google+” list that allows users to see at a glance what topics are hot right now on the service. If something catches your eye, all you have to do is click on the hashtag and see what everyone is talking about. As I write this, Axl Rose is the No. 1 trending topic.

The second most popular trending topic is #gplusgidi, a hashtag for asking questions of Googlers.

Another positive thing that comes from the Google+ redesign is the left sidebar of icons that allows users to manage their social media experience better. And, yes, I do think it allows users to manage their G+ experience better.

If you haven’t joined Google+ yet, give it a try. I see this service only getting better.

April 12th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Pinterest Increases Referral Traffic

Want more traffic to your website or blog? Then I suggest using Pinterest. According to an article in WebProNews, Pinterest traffic is up from December last year by 3.6%. But there is a certain way to use Pinterest so that you gain the maximum effect.

For one thing, you don’t want to use it only to pin other people’s images. You also want to pin your own. Otherwise, how will you send traffic to your website.

Besides simply pinning images, however, you want to group images into interesting categories. The more interesting your categories the more traffic you are likely to drive to your own website.

Thirdly, you want to take full advantage of Pinterest’s social networking features. After all, that’s the whole point – to network with other Pinterest users. That means following other Pinterest users and following their pinboards. When you do that you will also gain followers to your pinboards. What comes around goes around, as the saying goes.

Pinterest, unlike other social networks, revolves around the pinning of interesting images and categorizing them effectively. If you pin interesting images and add interesting commentary to them, then you’ll get followers and those followers will visit your websites. That’s the law of the web and it’s the law of Pinterest.

April 7th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Are Keywords Necessary In Social Media?

Let’s face it. Social media is here to stay. And you will need to do some in order to promote your business online, especially if you have a website. But do you need to worry about using keywords in your social media?

I’m not one to suggest that you should optimize every tweet and Facebook message for search. In most cases you should just be yourself and interact with people in a natural way. Not all messages on every social network is going to be indexed by the search engines. So don’t play the guessing game.

However, one place I would say keywords are very important in social media is on your various profiles.

If you are using a social networking site for professional networking at all, then do yourself a favor and research your keywords, then use them in your profile. Don’t over use them. Don’t spam your profile. But use them in moderation so that your social media profiles stand a chance at ranking for those keywords.

This will become quite valuable if people begin to search for you by name. When you use your keywords associated with your social media profile names, people will then begin to associate those keywords with you.

Let’s say some conducts a search on Google for “auto mechanic” in Ayrshire, Scotland along with your name. If you have social media profiles that are optimized for “auto mechanic” and your business address is listed on your profile page along with your name, guess what? You’ll likely appear pretty high up in the SERPs, especially if you are active on that social network.

Keywords are powerful marketing tools. You should use them eve on your social media profiles.

March 18th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Why LinkedIn Is Better Than Twitter

If you are a business seeking to do business with other businesses and you want to promote yourself through social media, which social media website should you use? Twitter? Facebook? Do you know?

According to some reports, you should use LinkedIn.

The reason you should use LinkedIn goes beyond the obvious. The talking point is that LinkedIn generates more leads than all the other social media websites. And that’s understandable. The service actually specializes in connecting business people with other business people. It’s not a business-to-consumer oriented website.

We all know Facebook isn’t a social marketing site. It’s a site where friends connect. Twitter is a bit of a hybrid. It has been co-opted by business people and it’s grown in popularity, but it isn’t the best lead generator.

If you are considering social networking for your business, then consider LinkedIn – especially if you cater to other businesses. But whatever you do in social media, learn to measure your results. It’s one thing to use a service. It’s quite another to use it with a goal in mind and to use tools that help you measure your goals. After all, if you can’t measure ROI, then how are you going to know that you are succeeding?

LinkedIn has a lot to offer businesses seeking a relationship with other business people. You can use the question and answer format, join groups, and participate in discussions that lead to meaningful relationships. Isn’t that was business is about?

March 12th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Will Pinterest Outpace StumbleUpon?

Pinterest has already surpassed Twitter in traffic. Is StumbleUpon next?

I suspect that Pinterest will soon, probably by the end of the year, be sending more traffic to websites than StumbleUpon is. And that traffic will likely be better at converting than StumbleUpon traffic. Don’t you think?

Of course, just because a site sends you gobs of traffic doesn’t mean that it will boost your business. That traffic has to convert.

Still, it’s important to understand the demographics of any social media site before you start using it. Pinterest is largely made up of a female audience. Twitter is mostly male. You need to keep that in mind as you use the two services.

Marketers who use Facebook and Twitter side by side understand that their audiences are completely different. They manage to use both services, but they don’t post the same information to both services. Rather, they tailor their links and messages to the uniqueness of each social media website. And that’s what you’ll have to do with Pinterest as well.

I like Pinterest as a graphical exposure website. Twitter allows image uploads, but seeing those images inside of the ecosystem is a lot different than the in-your-face graphical nature of Pinterest.

That’s why Pinterest is better if your messages rely on graphics for the impact.

Pinterest is going to be the talk of the town for a while. Don’t look for it to go away. If you have an interest in Pinterest, then I recommend learning how to use it before you criticise it.

March 10th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Facebook Timelines For Brand Pages

Facebook has introduced its Timelines idea for brand pages. And if you aren’t familiar with Timelines yet, then you should go to Facebook and start looking around. Many people are now experiencing Timelines on their personal walls. Now, you can experience on your brand page.

So what, you say?

Well, Timelines actually are a big deal. Mark Zuckerberg has gone on the record as saying this is the future of Facebook, and it actually has some implications for online marketing for businesses.

For starters, you have better control over your image with Facebook Timelines. You can upload an eye-catching image to serve as your Timeline header and use it as a way to brand your Timeline.

You can also select the content that you want to feature at the top of your Timeline. Any apps or social media campaigns you want to draw attention to can be promoted on your Timeline so that your brand page visitors can take advantage of interacting with your page more meaningfully.

Finally, and just about any business can benefit from this, you can add milestones to your Timeline highlight important events in your company’s history. That’s a big deal no matter how big your business is.

Will you be using Timelines for brand pages on Facebook? If not, I think you should consider it. If you haven’t thought about it, I think you should give it serious consideration.

What do you think? Has Facebook hit upon a good idea with Timelines for business brand pages?

March 1st, 2012 / Social Media Marketing