Posts Tagged ‘news’
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
Wednesday, December 4th, 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 SimonQ錫濛譙/Flickr.
Facebook has announced a few changes to the News Feed that can help businesses drive more traffic to their websites and strengthen their Facebook communities. While Facebook seems to be unrolling new features and updates on a regular basis, these new changes are especially important to businesses that use Facebook pages as part of their social media marketing strategies.
High-Quality Content to Appear More in News Feeds
The first change Facebook is making will reward high-quality content by allowing it to appear more often in users’ News Feeds. Facebook hasn’t divulged exactly how it will determine what constitutes high-quality content, but it has told us that links that are clicked on more often will be recognised as high quality. So, as more people click on a link, Facebook assumes the content is valuable and high quality.
Facebook’s announcement states that referral traffic from Facebook has almost tripled in the past year, showing that people who use Facebook are clicking on links to high-quality content.
The links that receive more clicks will start appearing for more users, and therefore could drive more traffic to your website. As your business produces and shares more high-quality content, more people will click on it and it will be shown to more and more users, helping you get more traffic to your website.
Related Articles will Be Displayed Below Links
Another new feature that will soon be added to Facebook is related articles. Now, when a reader clicks on a link on Facebook, a list of related articles will appear underneath that post.
As you produce and share high-quality articles, they may appear in this section of related content. This gives your business another opportunity to get your content in front of your markets and drive traffic.
Older Conversations will be Revitalised
Lastly, Facebook has introduced a feature that will bring new life to old posts and conversations. If you feel that your older posts benefit your business for a few days and then are forgotten and buried by your newer posts, this new feature could be a good solution.
Now, posts that have new comments from peoples’ friends can show up in their News Feed again. Before this update, new posts were only featured once in the News Feed, but this update makes it possible to continue older conversations and strengthen social media communities.
As your posts continue to receive comments, they could continue to be displayed in users’ News Feeds, so they can gain more momentum. This update could mean that your posts will get more comments and could drive more traffic to your website, as more people see the links you share.
Facebook continues to be a major tool when it comes to social media marketing and these latest updates will make it even easier for businesses to drive traffic to their websites and build strong Facebook communities.
Your business can start taking advantage of these updates by producing and sharing quality content that your audience will want to click on and comment on, triggering the News Feed algorithm to share that content with even more users and repost it in peoples’ News Feeds.
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
While LinkedIn may not be the first social network that comes to mind when you consider social media marketing, it is one you don’t want to miss out on, especially with this newest feature: Showcase Pages for businesses.
This new feature makes it possible for businesses with multiple products, or brands, to create a page that highlights each one. LinkedIn users can follow Showcase Pages to get updates from businesses. For example, Microsoft has a Showcase page for its Office product, which people can follow for updates specific to Office, rather than Microsoft in general.
But, businesses don’t have to create Showcase Pages for products. They can create them for business units, programs, initiatives or anything else. This feature is slowly being offered to all businesses, so watch for the ability to create a page on your account.
To set up a Showcase Page for your business, log in to LinkedIn and go to your company’s page. Then, choose “Edit” and then “Create a Showcase Page.” From here you can set up a Showcase Page for your business that highlights a specific product or element.
Make sure the information you include on the new page is complete and targeted for your market. Then, share relevant content through the Showcase Page. You will be able to track how well your page is doing through LinkedIn’s analytics tools.
Once your Showcase Page is ready, you can start promoting it to your LinkedIn followers, other social media followers and your market in general. When users visit your page they can click on “Follow” in the top, right-hand corner. People who follow your Showcase Page will see updates from the page on their news feed.
What Showcase Pages Can do that Business Pages Can’t
You may be wondering why you should create a Showcase Page if you already use a Business Page. If your business is large enough to have several different products, sub-brands or major initiatives, a Showcase Page can help you target your market in ways a Business Page can’t.
The more you are able to make sure the right audience sees your content, the people who will respond to it, the more successful your business will be at social media marketing. This new feature lets you target your markets more precisely.
You may also be able to connect with more people by setting up Showcase Pages. People in your target market who aren’t necessarily interested in your business in general may be hesitant to follow your Business Page on LinkedIn. However, they may be interested in following a Showcase Page that provides content that is relevant to them, their interests and needs.
LinkedIn is an excellent social media marketing tool that can help you promote your business and reach your market. If the people in your target market use LinkedIn, you should be using a Business Page, and now you can set up Showcase Pages too.
Start by deciding which products, or elements of your business, you want to create Showcase Pages for and setting up the pages, and then share content and start getting followers!
Monday, November 18th, 2013
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Press releases are a popular tactic that many businesses use as part of their digital marketing campaigns. Depending on how they are created and used, good press releases can strengthen digital marketing, search engine optimisation and public relations strategies. But, do you know when to use a press release?
Don’t let the popularity of this tactic influence you to use it when it won’t be very useful and when it could actually bring negative consequence. Knowing when to, and when not to, use a press release can help you enhance your online marketing.
When to Use a Press Release
Originally, press releases were used to pitch stories to media outlets, like television stations and newspapers, as a way for businesses to get coverage. Now, press releases are used digitally for many reasons, although this original reason is still the basis of a good press release.
Announcing Something Newsworthy
The best way to use a press release is still to announce a piece of news. All good press releases should include newsworthy content, but can provide added benefits like building links and driving traffic.
Raising Awareness about an Event or Cause
Press releases can help you get coverage from media outlets and major blogs and websites so you can raise awareness about an event your company is hosting or a cause it is promoting. Most events or programs that the public needs to know about can be promoted successfully through press releases, although you should still use other marketing channels.
Building Quality Links
When your press release is published by a news outlet or major blog, or if it publishes links back to your business when covering your story, you have an excellent opportunity to build quality links. While this shouldn’t be the main purpose of using a press release, it is an added perk you should take advantage of.
When Not to Use a Press Release
When you use press releases for the wrong reasons, your business won’t benefit and you could be wasting time and resources that could be used in more effective ways.
Sharing Basic Information
Basic information, that isn’t newsworthy, shouldn’t be shared in a press release. Instead, use a blog post, marketing email or even social media post to inform your market. Information that isn’t newsworthy won’t get much online coverage, so it is best not to waste your time creating and submitting a press release for something like this.
Acting as a Major Part of an SEO Campaign
Press releases should not make up the major part of your SEO campaign. Getting links through press releases is an added benefit that you should keep in mind and include in your SEO strategies, but your plans shouldn’t rely on press releases. Strong SEO strategies use many different tactics to gain rankings.
Submitting to Link Farms
If you are writing keyword-heavy press releases and submitting them to link farms for the sole purpose of building links, you will not be successful. Search engines penalise this kind of activity and algorithms are constantly being updated to discourage these kinds of strategies.
When used correctly and strategically, press releases can help you promote your business, reach your market and even increase your search rankings. Start seeing the benefits of press releases at your business by using them to announce news, raise awareness and build quality links.
Monday, November 11th, 2013
Image courtesy of Garrett Heath/Flickr.
Twitter has launched a new feature, called timelines, which will make it easier for users to create streams of related tweets. For businesses that use Twitter to promote their brand, publicise events and connect with their public, this new feature could bring lots of new opportunities.
What is a Timeline?
In essence, a Twitter timeline is a stream of tweets that are all related to each other. A user that creates a timeline will get to decide which tweets are displayed. Right now, users will use TweetDeck to drag and drop public tweets into timelines, but Twitter is testing an API that will allow timeline creators to add tweets according to topic or specific requirements.
How do People View Timelines?
Twitter timelines are displayed on their own page on Twitter, much like a person’s profile page. When you create a timeline, you can share a link to its Twitter page, which people can see even if they aren’t a Twitter user or logged in.
Timelines are also very easy to embed, so you can add them to your website, blog or anywhere else. The embedded timelines are automatically updated as you add tweets through TweetDeck, providing a constant stream of tweets to those who visit your website.
How can I Create a Timeline?
If your businesses wants to set up a timeline, you will need to use TweetDeck. From there, add a new column and select “Custom timeline.” As you find tweets you want to add to the timeline, just drag them into the new column. You can just as easily remove them by clicking on the “X” in the bottom corner of the tweet.
To share the timeline, use the column options and click “Share.” This is where you can navigate to your timeline on Twitter.com or embed it on another site. If you choose to embed it, you can customise everything from the timeline’s height to its colour theme and link colour.
The timeline API is currently being tested, but once it is widely available you will be able to use it to set up logic rules that fill your timeline with tweets.
Why Should I use a Timeline?
The possibilities of Twitter timelines are virtually endless. If your business uses Twitter you should consider whether or not timelines could enhance your social media marketing strategy.
Just few ways you could use the timeline feature include gathering and sharing tweets related to:
- Promotional Events
- News Events
- Product Launches
- Twitter Chats
- Ways to Use Your Products
- Customer Support Topics
- Company Developments
When you use a timeline, you are collecting tweets that can help you keep your market informed. Since you are able to separate these tweets from your regular Twitter feed, using a timeline is much more powerful than simply retweeting related tweets.
Some examples of timelines include Carson’s Voice Timeline created by Carson Daly and Music Superstars created by Twitter Music. The Guardian used a timeline to highlight some questions and answers during a recent Twitter chat.
If you already use Twitter as part of your digital marketing strategies, take advantage of the new timeline feature by using it to keep your market informed about anything from an upcoming event to new product launches.
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Recent reports have shown that teenagers, who were once one of the biggest groups of Facebook users, are leaving the site in favour of newer social media sites and apps. This means the audience on Facebook is changing, which could have an impact on how your business uses it for social media marketing.
Earlier this month, Facebook made a statement that included the news that Facebook use among teens is declining. Teenagers are tech savvy and are quick to jump on the next new thing. They also make up a very viable market, so the fact that they are spending less and less time on Facebook is big news for marketers.
Why are teens leaving? Many experts are pointing to two reasons: the increase of adults on the site and the need to find more private ways to connect. Trends prove that more and more people in older age groups are joining Facebook, including teenagers’ parents. It’s likely that as their parents join Facebook, teenagers are looking for parent-free social media networks.
Since teens are gravitating toward apps and networks like WhatsApp, SnapChat and Kik, some believe they are also looking for more personal and private ways to communicate with their friends. Instead of broadcasting status updates, messages and pictures to hundreds of friends and acquaintances, teens are looking for ways to share media with friends in small groups or individually.
What this Means for You
According to Emarketer, most Facebook users fall between the ages of 25 and 34, a market that is quite different than the teenage crowd. Facebook’s user base is constantly trending toward an older age group, a fact you should keep in mind as you create social media marketing strategies.
If you already use Facebook, you may need to alter your strategy and messaging so they will resonate with the age groups that are becoming more common on the site. To get more followers and more engagement, and to make sure your Facebook page is benefitting your business, you need to share content and information that appeals to an older audience.
On the other hand, if you have been using Facebook primarily to reach teenagers, you may need to rethink your social media marketing strategy. Realise that teenagers are branching out and using other social media sites more than they are Facebook and that you will need to follow them there.
Reassess your social media marketing strategy and define your goals and which markets you want to reach through social media. Then, make sure you are using the social networks that are most likely to help you connect with those markets.
Some of the foundational aspects of good marketing have always been the ability to reach your target market, capture people’s attention and then encourage them to respond to your calls to action. Social media marketing is the same, and as the user base for various networks changes, your business will need to adapt to ensure it is using social media to its fullest potential and reaching its key markets.
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.
Friday, October 25th, 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 25th, 2013
Instagram has started launching ads, in step with the plans the company revealed a few weeks ago. For many, the move isn’t surprising considering Instagram was purchased by Facebook last year, and Facebook has been focusing on increasing revenue.
The introduction of ads on Instagram could be good news for your business. As of now, the ads are slowly being launched in the United States, but it’s likely that businesses in the United Kingdom will soon be able to advertise on the site.
Instagram boasts 150 million users, which is an attractive audience for marketers. Right now, only select businesses are able to create and post ads on Instagram. Those businesses include General Electric, PayPal, Levi’s, Lexus, Ben and Jerry’s, and Adidas, among others.
The photo-centric social media site has stated that it wants its ads to blend in with the photos and videos in users’ news feeds, so businesses will need to create artistic ads that fit in on Instagram.
The example below is an ad from Instagram. You can see that it is clearly marked as a “Sponsored” post, so users will know right away that they are looking at an ad. Users will also be able to push the “…” button to hide the ad and tell Instagram why they don’t like it.
Instagram says that ads will be targeted according to information regarding what a user does on Facebook and Instagram. Things like the photos and videos users “like,” the people they follow, and the interests and “likes” they share on Facebook will all be used by advertisers to target their ads.
Instagram has also made it clear that advertisers will not be able to use Instagram users’ images, and that users still own their photos and videos.
Using Instagram to Promote Your Business
While Instagram ads aren’t yet available to all businesses, you can still use the site to promote your business. First, identify which of you markets or submarkets is using Instagram. This will help you shape the direction of your Instagram campaign. This site is visual and tends to attract a younger audience that uses mobile phones to take and share pictures.
Build a Following
Like any other social media network, you will need to build a following on Instagram in order to use it as a marketing tool. Advertise your account through your other social media accounts, blog, website and any other marketing channels you use.
Don’t Abandon Your Brand
As you use Instagram, make sure you are staying true to your brand. You want your followers to immediately recognise your posts as being associated with your business. The types of pictures and videos you share and the style you use can help you maintain your brand.
Be Approachable and Fun
In general, social media is casual and conversational, so use an approachable voice for your Instagram account. Make some of your posts more fun and casual and include stronger messaging in others.
Have a Purpose
Your Instagram posts should be part of a larger social media marketing strategy. Find ways you can use the site to help you reach your marketing goals. You can use Instagram for all kinds of purposes, including raising awareness, making more sales, publicising an event or promoting a new product. No matter what your goal is, make sure all of your activities on Instagram will help you be successful.
Instagram’s new ads will bring a lot of social media marketing opportunities for businesses. When the ads are available to your business you may want to consider using them to market your brand. Until then, you can still use Instagram as a valuable part of your social media marketing strategy.
Image courtesy of Robert Scoble/Flickr.
Some search engine optimisation experts are wondering if PageRank is a thing of the past, and considering Google’s recent activities, they may be on to something. PageRank has been an integral part of SEO so the idea that it may no longer exist is big news.
What is PageRank?
PageRank is a number, between zero and 10, that Google assigns to websites. In essence, it tells people how important a page is. Google has stated that PageRanks are assigned by an algorithm that counts the number and importance of the links to a page. More important websites, with more and higher quality links, receive a higher PageRank.
The whole theory behind PageRank is that pages that have more links to them are more trustworthy and more important. Since SEO experts know that this is how PageRank works, one common SEO tactic is to build links to a website in an effort to increase its rankings and get it to appear higher on Google’s search engine results pages.
PageRank is also often used by SEO experts to evaluate the value of a page and decide if getting links on that page will help increase their own page’s rank.
Google updates PageRank numbers on a daily basis. So, as SEO experts work to increase their rankings, their pages are constantly reevaluated and assigned a number. But, public rankings, which are visible through the Google toolbar and browser plugins, are only updated once in a while. Marketers keep an eye out for these updates so they can evaluate their SEO strategies.
Is Google Doing away with PageRank?
So, what is the problem? Google hasn’t updated public rankings since the beginning of the year, which is unusual. This, among other things, has some experts speculating that PageRank will soon be a thing of the past. For example, Matt Cutts, the head of Webspam at Google, has mentioned that PageRank “started to go away a little bit” and that it may not be worth maintaining in the future.
When considering that Google’s Hummingbird update encourages businesses to create high-quality content and focus on doing what is best for Internet users, Google may be deciding that PageRank isn’t as important as it used to be. It is possible that Google doesn’t want marketers and SEO experts focusing too much on PageRank.
What Should You Do?
Since it is still unclear whether Google will stop using PageRank or not, it is hard to plan too far in advance as far as SEO strategies go. But, for now, you can benefit the most by creating excellent content, maintaining a relevant website and focusing on quality, not quantity of links.
We already know that the world of SEO is always changing. Google updates and algorithm changes lead to changes in strategy, and as experts find tactics that work they change their SEO campaigns to make them more effective.
More SEO developments and news about Google’s plans for PageRank will likely come in time, and right now, marketers will have to wait to see if PageRank will be discontinued and what kind of effect that change will have on SEO best practices.