Posts Tagged ‘Google+’
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Ads are coming to Google Plus. Well, kind of. Google has announced that it will be offering what it calls +Post ads, which are in essence social, interactive ads that are similar to Google Plus posts, but will be published across the Internet.
The advertisements will look very similar to Google Plus posts and will give site visitors the opportunity to +1, share and even comment on the ad. Another interesting facet of this new ad strategy is that businesses who create +Post ads will only have to pay Google if a reader hovers his mouse over the ad for two seconds, and the ad expands, making it easier to interact with it.
According to Google, Google Plus users will even be able to easily turn their posts into ads, which makes ad creation much easier for businesses. Currently, only a few businesses are testing +Post ads but they will be available to all businesses at a future date. You can sign up for the beta version now.
Google has stated that these new ads will not be shown on Google Plus, which doesn’t show any ads, but will be posted on sites that are part of the Google Display Network. This network includes about 2 million websites, so it is a powerful channel for marketers.
With the announcement, Google stated that these interactive ads are more effective because they encourage interaction, help build conversations and even have higher click through rates than traditional ads.
Why +Post Ads Could be Valuable to Your Business
If your business is working toward building an online community and reaching its target markets through a variety of websites, these ads could be very valuable to your brand.
With +Post ads, you can generate interaction about different topics, products and even make it easier for people to respond to your calls to action. These interactive ads also give brands a new way to let loyal customers and fans help them do their marketing.
Since +Post ads can be shared, users can help your business by promoting it to their friends, which can help you get your ads in front of more people and can help persuade potential customers. In many cases, people are more likely to trust their friends more than a business, so by allowing your market to share, or endorse, your ads you can more easily influence your market.
Of course, these ads can also help you build your Google Plus following, since all of your ads will include a “Follow” button. This is an excellent way to both advertise your business and boost your social media following.
If your business uses Google Plus, or is working on ways to use social media marketing and online advertising, this option is definitely worth exploring. The new +Post ads give businesses the unique opportunity to create extremely interactive online advertisements and connect with their markets in entirely new ways.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Image courtesy of Philip Chapman-Bell/Flickr.
With the holidays just around the corner, you may be preparing to set up your social media accounts so they will run on auto pilot while you are out of the office. Many, many businesses use social media scheduling tools to help keep their accounts active and to keep promoting content during holidays and just to help them keep up with their social media marketing.
The problem is, if you rely too heavily on social media scheduling, you risk looking like a spammer. Your followers know when you are simply pushing content on them and aren’t being genuine. Sometimes businesses fall into the trap of sounding robotic, losing touch with their market and becoming less genuine when they use social media scheduling.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can use scheduling tools to help you keep up with your accounts without compromising your brand and becoming a spammer.
Start Finding and Creating Valuable Content to Share
First, don’t just write scheduled posts at the last minute for the sake of having posts. Start planning in advance by deciding what kind of content you want to share through scheduled posts and start finding it or creating it.
The idea is to be purposeful with your scheduled posts so that the content you share when you aren’t posting live is just as valuable as the content you would normally share. Don’t leave your audience hanging by posting less helpful content just because you are scheduling it ahead of time.
Write Scheduled Posts as if they were Live
Even though you are writing social media posts days or even weeks in advance, write them as if you were writing them to be posted immediately. Use the same style, tone and voice that you would normally use so that your audience can’t tell that you aren’t posting live.
Also be sure to use the correct tenses when scheduling posts. For example, don’t use the future tense unless it will be necessary at the time of the posting. Instead of writing “Don’t miss our holiday sale next week,” write “Don’t miss our holiday sale going on right now!”
Don’t Change Your Posting Frequency
When you sit down to schedule social media posts, it can be tempting to get carried away and schedule more content than you would normally post. If you do this, you will come across as spammy and you could even lose followers.
Instead, maintain your regular posting frequency even when you use scheduling tools. If you normally post three to four times a day, schedule posts to go live three to four times a day.
Check in Whenever Possible
One of the best ways you can avoid making your accounts look spammy when you schedule posts is to check in whenever possible. If you can, don’t rely completely on the scheduler to maintain your accounts for you, but find a middle ground. For example, maybe you can schedule posts that share content, but you can still log in periodically to engage with your followers.
Keeping an eye on your account even while content is scheduled to go live can also help you make sure things are running smoothly. When you log in you can make sure your posts are being shared and monitor activity more closely.
Using social media scheduling tools can help you manage your social media accounts, especially during busy weeks or when you won’t be in the office. These guidelines can help you make sure your accounts maintain their followers, stay active and continue to provide value to your market.
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
There are many, many online marketing tactics your business can use, but all of those tactics fit into four basic online marketing categories. Online marketing is a broad field that encompasses lots of tools and strategies that can help your business do anything from increase sales and website traffic to promote awareness and build stronger relationships with your customers.
Search Engine Optimisation
You are probably familiar with the term “search engine optimisation,” but do you know how SEO can benefit your business? In essence, SEO strategies can be used to make your company’s website appear higher up in search results. For example, with the right SEO campaign your furniture company’s website could appear in the top results when someone searches for “furniture shop in London.”
Studies show that people pay more attention to the first few pages of search results, so getting your website to rank at the top will be extremely beneficial to your business as more people find your website. A good SEO strategy will employ things like optimised content, link building, social media and mobile tactics.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing may be one of the most popular forms of online marketing. Almost all businesses use some kind of social media network, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn, to promote their products or services.
But, with a strategic plan, social media marketing can help you do so much more than promote your business. You can use it to learn more about your market, drive traffic to your website, create strong relationships, improve your reputation, join industry conversations and so much more.
Online advertising can be a powerful way to market your business. You can buy advertising space on all kinds of websites, including social media networks, news sites, blogs and other sites. Different websites have different requirements when it comes to advertising, and more popular sites will generally charge more for advertising space.
The key to making online advertising work is to buy advertising space on websites that attract your market. Make sure the advertisements appeal to your target market and are placed on sites your potential customers already visit.
Affiliate marketing is another popular type of online marketing that can bring a lot of success. Businesses that do affiliate marketing work with another company and agree to promote its website. The business makes money depending on how many sales it produces, how much traffic it directs to the website or how many clicks it generates through links it has created.
There are lots of affiliate marketing opportunities out there and the businesses that are most successful with this know their market and blog readers and choose to work with affiliates that will appeal to their customer base. To do well with affiliate marketing, you must also have a large readership and have a good relationship with the people who visit your site.
Depending on your business, market and goals, your company may use just one or two of these types of online marketing or all four. If you are looking for ways to promote your business online, consider these four basic options and decide which ones will be most effective for you. Then, create a solid plan, execute your strategy and measure your efforts so you can constantly improve your online marketing strategies.
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Image courtesy of Alan Reeves/Flickr.
How do you get more social media followers? You probably use a variety of strategies to get more followers and more “likes” and you work to drive traffic to your accounts. In addition to those strategies, you need to be showing off your social media accounts wherever possible.
There are five main places you need to add social media buttons in order to gain more followers and get more out of social media marketing.
It may seem like an obvious place, but far too many businesses don’t put social media buttons in a prominent place on their website. Keep in mind that your visitors may leave your site when they click on your buttons, but if your goal is to drive people to your social media accounts, this strategy is a good one.
Try putting the buttons near the top of your page, on a side bar or in another area where they can’t be missed. Also be sure your buttons are easy to read so your visitors know what they are.
Each of your blog posts should have links to your social media accounts. Some businesses use buttons that allow readers to share the content on social media, which is beneficial, but it can also be helpful to use buttons that allow readers to connect with you on social media.
Using buttons here will help you target two audiences: the people that visit your blog and the people that see your content through social media, RSS feeds or other means. Both of these audiences can help your business grow if they know you have social media accounts and know how to connect with you.
Your email signature is another important place to include links to your social media pages. When you add links to your Facebook, Twitter, Intagram or other social media accounts, every single person you send an email to will know you use social media and how to connect with you.
But, don’t stop with your personal email account. You should also include social media buttons in marketing emails, promotional emails, email receipts and any other form of email communication your business uses.
Product or Checkout Pages
People who buy things from your business, or your current customers, are likely to want to connect with you on social media. These people probably already like your brand and support your business, so they may want to connect with you to show their support, stay up to date with your business and access and share your content.
Encourage these people to become social media followers by including social media buttons on your product and checkout pages. Then, as customers are browsing your products and making purchases, when they are most likely having positive thoughts about your brand, they can easily find you on social media.
Biography or “About Me” Sections
If you use biographies or “about me” sections, you should include links to your social media pages in the copy or as buttons. These sections are often used for:
- Guest Blog Posts
- Blogs with Several Contributors
- Employee Directories on Company Websites
- “About Pages” on Websites
- Social Media Profiles
- Press Releases
When people read these paragraphs, they want to know more about you or your business, so they will probably be interested in social media accounts that let them interact with you.
The more ways you can spread the word about your social media accounts and show people how to connect with you, the faster your accounts will grow. Start boosting your social media accounts now by adding buttons or links to them in these five places.
Friday, November 1st, 2013
Google has launched its newest service, called Helpouts, aimed at giving people a way to get one-on-one assistance for all kinds of things. Both individuals and businesses can create Helpouts, which users can use to do anything from learn new skills to get professional help with a task.
What are Helpouts?
What exactly is a Helpout? It is a live video session that helps users learn something or provides assistance for a specific task. According to Google, the purpose of Helpouts is to “Help people help each other.” Helpouts can happen instantly or they can be scheduled in advance. Some providers offer free Helpouts, while others charge for a session. Some Helpouts are available at a per session fee and some providers charge by the minute.
While you are using a Helpout, you will be able to see live video, talk with your customer, share your computer screen, work through a project and even record the session.
Right now, Helpouts are organised into eight different categories and already cover a wide variety of topics. You can browse sessions by topic or you can search for something specific. The eight topics currently offered are:
- Art and Music
- Computers and Electronics
- Education and Careers
- Fashion and Beauty
- Fitness and Nutrition
- Home and Garden
Google has told its users that even more topics and Helpouts will be added soon.
Who is Using Helpouts?
Both individuals and businesses will be able to create Helpouts. Google announced that some major brands, including Weight Watchers, Redbeacon, Sephora and Rosetta Stone are already using the new tool.
People all over the world are joining Helpouts with experts and businesses to learn more about specific topics and get individual assistance in real time.
Can my Business Use Helpouts?
Right now, you will need an invitation code to create a Helpout, and you can request one from Google. When you post a Helpout, you will be able to provide live help on your own schedule and even use a mobile device to connect.
Helpouts could make it possible for you to provide a new kind of individual assistance to your customers. You will be able to provide a completely personalised experience and speak face-to-face to people, no matter where they are.
This kind of service could be an extremely beneficial marketing and communications tool for your business. When used strategically, it could give you one more way to connect with your market and a new channel for creating your brand and solidifying your reputation.
When you host Helpouts, you will be making it possible for your market to interact with you in a whole new way, and your online brand will become even more engaging. Both free and paid Helpouts could help you establish your brand as an industry expert which could help you become more successful in all kinds of areas, from raising awareness to increasing website traffic and sales.
If you are interested in using Helpouts as part of your digital marketing campaign, decide what kind of content you can provide to your audience. As with other marketing materials, your content should be professional, branded and provide value to your market. Then, request an invitation from Google and start connecting with your market in a new, highly individualised way.
Thursday, October 31st, 2013
If you use Google Plus, you no longer have to use a long, confusing URL for your profile page. Google has started offering some accounts custom URLs, which can make your page more memorable and more inline with your brand.
Businesses will qualify for a custom URL if they are a verified local business or if their website is linked to their Google Plus profile. A custom business URL will look like: “plus.google.com/businessname.”
Coach uses a custom URL for its Google Plus page.
If you are an individual, and not a business, you will need to have a profile photo, an account that is at least 30 days old, and at least 10 followers to qualify for a custom URL. Once you meet these requirements, you will get an alert when you login to your account telling you that you qualify for a custom URL that looks something like: “plus.google.com/name.”
This new feature is being made available to users slowly, so keep an eye on your account for a notification letting you know you can update your URL.
3 Google Plus Features You Should be Using
Big Foot Digital’s circles.
Google Plus makes it very easy for you to organise the people you are following into groups, or circles. For example, you could put some of your contacts into a circle called “Local Businesses” and another in a circle called “Industry Partners.” Why would you do this? So that you can easily share different posts and marketing messages with different audiences. This feature makes it easy for you to target different markets on Google Plus.
Xbox has a Google Plus community where its fans can connect and share posts.
Communities are groups of users that join together to discuss certain topics. You can create your own community, about anything you want, and you can join communities created by others. These communities give you another way to make your Google Plus marketing more targeted so you can reach the right people with the right content.
If you create your own community, remember to keep it active by asking questions, interacting with members and inviting others to join. Setting up your own community can be an excellent way to build an online hub where you can interact with your market.
Links in “About” Section
Google Maps includes keywords and links in its “About” section.
Did you know you can actually link to your website from your “About” section? Of course, you should enter your company’s URL into the “website” box, but don’t pass on this additional opportunity to build links!
The best way to take advantage of this is to use keywords, that you are trying to rank for, on your page and then link back to your website or pages within your website. Don’t spam your followers, but don’t be afraid to use a few links throughout this section.
Google Plus is a steadily growing social media network, and now that custom URLs are available, you can more easily brand your page. Features like circles, communities and the ability to link back to your website with keywords make this social media channel a valuable one that you can’t afford to ignore.
If you already have a Google Plus page, set up your custom URL and make sure you are using these feature to enhance your social media marketing. If you haven’t set up a page, now is the perfect time to start building your presence on the site.
Friday, October 11th, 2013
Image courtesy of Victor1558/Flickr.
Measuring your social media marketing results is absolutely vital. If you don’t measure your efforts and the impact they have, how will you know if your social media strategies are benefiting your business? Good measurements can also help you enhance your plan and see even more results from your social media tactics.
There are all kinds of programs and tools you can use to measure your social media efforts, and you can be as detailed as you want when you decide which numbers to track. Here are a few guidelines that can help you take measurements that will benefit your business.
Set Goals and Take Measurements to Track Progress
First, set some social media marketing goals. Your goals will depend on your business, market and your current focus. Some common social media marketing goals include raising awareness, making more sales, driving traffic and getting more email subscribers.
Make sure your goals are measurable. An example of a measurable goal would be: “Increase the number of email subscribers by 20 percent in the next 6 months.” Measurable goals include a benchmark and a timeframe.
Now you can determine what you need to do with your social media accounts to reach those goals, which will tell you how to measure your efforts. For example, you may need to get more followers or post more links to your email subscription page. These goals translate into social media measurements and will help you meet broader marketing goals.
Compare Account Success
Not all social media sites are equal. Different sites attract different kinds of audiences, have different features and can help you accomplish different things. Therefore, it is important that you measure accounts individually as well as collectively.
You can use different kinds of measurements for different social media accounts and you may even have different goals for each of your accounts, based on their strengths and your followers on that site.
More comprehensive measurements, that track the progress of multiple sites, shouldn’t be discounted though. These numbers can help you get an understanding of how successful your social media strategies are overall.
Track Social Media Account Growth
Generally, social media accounts are more effective marketing tools when they have a lot of followers and engagement. You are probably already working to get more “likes,” followers, comments and shares, but do you know how much progress you have made?
Measuring your social media account growth can help you find correlations between account growth and other successes. For example, you may start to notice that as you gain more Twitter followers, your sales increase. Or, maybe the more engagement you see on Facebook, the more visitors you get on your website.
Knowing this kind of information can help you understand how you can use your social media accounts to their fullest potential and discover what is working and what isn’t when it comes to growing your accounts and reaching your goals.
Don’t Get Stuck on the Numbers
While it is important to take accurate measurements, and businesses do need to be aware of their social media numbers, it can be dangerous to focus too heavily on statistics and not enough on people and more general goals. Remember, numbers are just numbers.
The danger of getting stuck on the numbers when you use social media marketing is that your other, more important goals can fade into the background. As you work to increase your email subscribers, remember that you also want to be producing quality content for your emails, using appropriate marketing messaging and fostering relationships with your social media followers and email subscribers. Without action, your social media followers and statistics are just numbers.
Measuring social media marketing tactics and successes is an important step in using your accounts to help you promote your business. Use these guidelines to make sure your social media measurements will help you improve your digital marketing strategies and help your business be mores successful.
Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.
You have probably heard the claims that Google Plus is a ghost town, that it has very few users and that it isn’t worth the time and effort to use it for social media marketing. But, these claims couldn’t be further from the truth.
According to GlobalWebIndex, Google Plus has 359 million active users. But, that’s not all. GlobalWebIndex also reports that the relatively new social media site has 1,203 million visits per month. In contrast, Facebook has 809 million and Twitter has 416 million visits per month.
These statistics show that Google Plus is a viable marketing channel that your business should take advantage of. How do you do that? Here are a few tips.
Create a Complete and Useful Profile
Just like any other social media profile, your Google Plus profile needs to be complete and useful. Make sure you use a good description of your business and that things like contact information and business hours are up to date. Don’t forget that you can include links in your profile, so take this chance to link to your website, blog or anywhere else.
Google Plus allows you to create a personalised URL, so you can get rid of that long string of random letters and numbers and replace it with something more memorable and something that reflects your brand.
Build Your Audience with Strong Promotion
Since Google Plus is still relatively new, you may have to put extra effort into promoting your page. You can use buttons and badges provided by Google on your website and blog and you can even use your other social media channels to promote your Google Plus page. Don’t forget to use things like email marketing, blog posts and even traditional marketing tactics to publicise your page.
As you promote your page, you might find it helpful to offer incentives and good reasons for people to connect with you there. Things like giveaways can be good, or you can simply brand your page as a place where followers get inside information first, or information your market won’t want to miss out on.
Use the Channel Consistently
If you want to build a large following and strong Google Plus community, you need to use the channel consistently. Post your content, converse with others and share content from other users. Becoming part of the existing community and making your voice known will help you get more followers, which will make your page an even more valuable marketing tool.
Build Circles and Use them Strategically
Another essential way to build your community and use Google Plus for marketing is to start following other users. Google Plus allows you to group your connections into circles, so you can easily create niche lists and use them strategically as you market your business.
Think of these circles as different markets or sub markets that you can send personalised messages to. Different markets require different messaging, information, and tactics, and Google Plus makes it easy to deliver custom marketing messages to each of your groups.
Your business can’t afford to discount the power of Google Plus. With a very active user base and features that lend themselves to social media marketing, this social network can help you enhance your digital marketing strategies.
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Image courtesy of photoraidz/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
If you use social media marketing in one form or another, one of your goals is probably to get more engagement. Comments, shares, “likes” and other activity on your social media pages help you interact with your market and more effectively share your message.
But, getting engagement can be challenging. Social media is full of people and businesses interacting with each other and competing for users’ attention. Getting more engagement does take time and dedication, but here are some tips that can help you inspire your followers to interact with your social media pages.
On social media it’s not enough to wait for the conversations to come to you. To get more engagement you need to start conversations with the content you post and by posting questions or comments that encourage people to comment or share.
Don’t be afraid to ask your followers for their opinions and share content that you think will get people talking. You can use this tactic strategically by encouraging conversations about specific topics that will help you meet your business and marketing goals.
Give People a Reason to Interact
Give your followers a reason to interact with your social media page by posting interesting, new, or even controversial information. Things like contests and giveaways are also a great way to get people talking and engaging with your page. If you do a contest or giveaway, make sure part of the requirements to enter include actions that will help you in the long run. For example, asking followers to “like” something, share a status, or retweet a post will help you get more exposure and more followers.
People aren’t likely to interact with your page if they feel like the conversation is one sided. Encourage people to interact with your page by responding to their questions and having conversations with them. When someone comments on something you share, respond to them or thank them for taking the time to leave a comment.
You can get more engagement by crowdsourcing things through your social media pages. Some examples of this tactic include asking people to write photo captions, fill in the blanks, vote for the next giveaway item or even choose what kind of discounts you offer. This is a great strategy because it proves to your followers that you are listening and that their voice matters.
Don’t be Shy
Let your brand’s personality shine on social media! If your account is stiff, too formal, and too serious, people won’t want to interact with your pages. In general, social media is more casual, so find a tone and voice that is friendly but still matches your brand. Remember that social media is meant to be conversational and the best conversations have personality.
To make the most of your accounts and see the best benefits, you need to build a strong following and an active social media community. These tips will help you reach out to that community and increase the engagement on your social media pages.
Image courtesy of emptyglass/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
There’s no question that businesses today need to take their marketing to a mobile level. With mobile Internet use expected to be higher than desktop Internet use by 2014 (according to Microsoft Tag), your business has a lot to lose if it doesn’t take full advantage of mobile marketing.
Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?
Consumers expect business websites to work smoothly and quickly on their smartphones, so if your business doesn’t have a mobile-friendly website it’s time to act. In fact, according to Gomez, 46 percent of consumers probably won’t come back to a mobile website if it didn’t work correctly the last time they accessed it. That is a large percentage of traffic you can’t afford to give up.
Make your site mobile friendly so your market can find the information they need and have a positive experience while using your site from their mobile devices.
Do You Leverage the Mobile Aspect of Social Media?
Social media is a very mobile tool. People access Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, and all kinds of other social media networks from their smartphones. This gives your brand an opportunity to create mobile-centric marketing tactics. Just a few examples of mobile and social media tactics include:
- Twitter Chats
- Social Media Event Coverage
- QR Codes
- Photo Contests
With the right strategies, you can use social media to help you get in touch with and interact with your mobile market.
Do You Use SMS Marketing?
Smartphones are capable of so much more than just sending text messages, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon this feature. You can take full advantage of mobile marketing by allowing your customers to sign up for text message alerts so you can send them deals, announcements and perks. One approach is to make this an “exclusive club,” branding it as a way to get insider information that no one else gets. This strategy will entice people to join your SMS list and can help you grow your audience.
Do You have an App?
Having a mobile app can be very beneficial to your business. A personalised app that allows your market to access branded content or interact with your business can open new doors to mobile marketing opportunities. Businesses create apps for all kinds of purposes ranging from providing entertainment to offering information and from delivering special rewards to selling products.
If you do decide to create an app, make sure you plan well. Don’t just create an app to have an app. Instead, think strategically and do research on how your market uses smartphones and mobile gadgets. Identify business goals that could be reached with the help of a mobile app, and then create an app that helps you reach those goals and market your business.
Mobile marketing is becoming bigger and more important. With an increasing number of people accessing the Internet, social media, and email from their smartphones and relying on mobile apps every day, your business has a lot of opportunity. Find ways you can incorporate mobile marketing into your campaigns and goals and then plan strategically so you will see the best results.