5 Ways to Kill It on Google+

Over the past few years, new information and analytics have determined that creating a presence on Google+ is a smart move for any business wanting to grow and engage with fans online. Whether you already play in this space or not, here are the top 5 ways to be successful on Google+:

1. Try embedding Google+ posts directly onto a site. 

Everyone is familiar with embedding a tweet or Facebook post onto a website, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you can also link your content from Google+. Although it’s a tad more difficult to do than other social platforms, click the arrow button in the right hand corner of a post and click “Embed post” from the drop down. The code comes in two parts — one that is added within a HTML template, the other that can be used anywhere!

How to Embed a Google+ Post

2. Use a catchy headliner.

What’s great about Google+ posts, is that each one is similar to a blog post. There is ample room to write copy, editing options to make your content count — and the ability to add a captivating headline. Because the headline is pulled into the title tag of the Google+ post and because this is what shows up in Google search results, having a good headline is very important for SEO purposes.

3. Know what and when to post.

Thanks to a lot of great research by the folks at Quick Sprout, there are five types of content that are inherently preferred by Google+ users including, questions, quotes, video, animated GIFs and of course, images. Animated GIFs often garner the most +1s, while questions get the most comments from users.

Top 5 Pieces of Content on Google+

4. Use Google+ hashtags in every post.

Thankfully, Google+ makes it super simple to add hashtags to your posts — and even goes so far as to recommend which ones to use. Put 2-5 appropriate hashtags directly in the copy or include it at the end of a post. Either way, keep an eye out for trending hashtags in order for your business to stay relevant and to create more engagement with conversations that are already taking place online.

How to use hashtags within Google+5. Know how to use Google+ circles effectively.

Google+ circles gives businesses the chance to interact with a targeted group of users or on a larger scale, community groups. Because circles are manually created, your business is can market to a list of top followers or to an entire group, depending on your strategy. Continue to build relationships with your circles to increase engagement and better determine what content is sticking and what is not.

Google+ Circles

Is your biz on Google+? If so, what do you do on the platform to be successful?

— Samantha

 

Best Metrics for Social Media Reporting

Measuring Social Media

No matter if you manage a small or large community on social media, one question always remains: What’s the most effective way to measure growth and effectiveness of one’s social efforts?

As any community manager knows, engagement and ROI is often difficult to measure. If you decide to focus on only one metric to measure success, you risk it fluctuating and negative results can occur with subsequent reports. When social platforms change, so do the way we need to measure them. Here’s what you should focus on:

1. Engagement: Although it shouldn’t be the only metric to measure, it’s definitely a good place to start. Engagement represents users (and/or current customers) interacting with your content and brand. By tracking overall engagement (comments, likes, posts, RTs, mentions, etc.) manually or with a program, you can determine how well your brand is doing within the community.

2. Sentiment: Often thought of as a difficult metric to measure, sentiment is very helpful to understand and could ultimately better your customer service efforts. “Social listening” is a hot phrase in the social world, but truly understanding what your customers are saying about you online can help you determine how your brand is currently being viewed and where you could improve within the community in the future.

3. Conversion: This metric is very important because every business wants to determine how their social efforts are translating into actual sales. Typically, social managers use Google Analytics and other tracking measures (query strings, etc.) to see how visitors find you and ultimately purchase products. Creating unique coupon codes or links to specific website pages will only help you stay organized.

4. Leads: Leads are measured because they will (hopefully) evolve into conversions for your company. Being able to predict future conversions from the tentative leads you’ll receive will help shape your overarching digital strategy. Don’t forget to also focus on measuring traffic from social media sites to help count such leads.

Tell us: How does your small business report social media? 

— Samantha

How to Use TweetDeck

TweetDeck Screenshot

Need an easy platform or management tool to help you juggle multiple Twitter accounts at the same time? Try TweetDeck by Twitter. No only does it make it easy to multitask, but there are options to schedule tweets and track multiple keywords/hashtags, etc.

TweetDeck has a new version which boasts a better layout and backend framework that is truly derived from the Internet. Now, you can access TD through multiple browsers including Firefox and Google Chrome and can be obtained for Windows 7 or OS X (versus only limited options previously).

Want a log in right now? Head to http://web.tweetdeck.com to start your own account.

Getting Started:

As soon as you’ve created your own log in, you can add multiple Twitter accounts to the dashboard by clicking on the (+) Add Column button at the top of the screen. Each column on the dashboard will keep one feed of information visible and will be set based on your own preferences. We prefer to keep columns like the Timeline (similar to the typical Twitter newsfeed you see at Twitter.com), Interactions (to see who has recently mentioned us), Messages (to track direct/private messages) and several unique #’s to make sure that we’re staying up to date with current conversations that are happening around us.

Scheduling a Tweet

The best part about TweetDeck is the ability to schedule updates at specific times. This function will allow you to queue up your tweets for the upcoming day or week (or month), so that you have time to do other important things! Keep in mind: We don’t recommend scheduling tweets too far in the future as you still want your content to remain relevant with your audience.

To schedule a tweet, simply click the blue icon in the upper right (or left) hand corner which will let type out your tweet and subsequently, change the future posting settings. Be sure to double check the date and time of your intended scheduled tweet before clicking the “Tweet” button to set the tweet.

TIP: Add another column to your dashboard that contains future tweets. This way, you’ll be able to easily delete, add or change scheduled tweets.

And there you have it! A simple platform to use to help manage all of those interesting accounts that you’re using — or following! We use TD daily and believe that it helps us stay up to date with the hottest conversations taking place around the world and more easily allows us to tweet succinctly and successfully to our target audience(s).

Tell us: What management system do you use to organize your social accounts?

Samantha & Mike

 

Teens on Facebook Can Now Post Publicly

Teens on Facebook

Before, teens with Facebook accounts could only share content with friends, friends of friends and specific custom groups. As of Wednesday, teens 13-17 years old will be able to post publicly and gain ‘followers’ on their profiles, just as anyone over 18 years old has the ability to do so.

Facebook recently blogged saying, “Teens are among the savviest people using of social media, and whether it comes to civic engagement, activism, or their thoughts on a new movie, they want to be heard. While only a small fraction of teens using Facebook might choose to post publicly, this update now gives them the choice to share more broadly, just like on other social media services.”

To post publicly, teens will need to manually change their audience preferences on each post to ‘public’ before sharing. Note that the platform’s audience settings will remain the same for all posts for all users, including the newly added teens. Having said that, a secondary reminder will pop up for teens after they choose to post publicly a following time.

Although we agree that younger generations are incredibly tech-savvy, we are curious to see how the recent changes will impact the current Facebook base. Teens naturally gravitate toward social platforms, but with the increase of the ability to share, will this simply add more noise to our already full newsfeeds, or will it simply mean that our community is better connected?

Tellus: How do you think this new freedom for teens will impact Facebook?

— Samantha

Most Relevant Factors in Search Marketing

Simply put: If a customer cannot find your company online, they’ll probably head to your competitor.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, plays an integral part in increasing an online presence for a business. It’s the process of garnering traffic from free and organic listings on search engines including Google, Yahoo and bing and giving certain content higher ranking to those that are most relevant to users.

A 2013 study completed by Searchmetrics uncovered the best and most relevant factors in search marketing. Based on the numbers, it’s clear that a higher ranking eCommerce site will increase sales. About 33% of traffic floats to the top listing in Google’s organic search results, while 18% of traffic goes to a second spot, etc. The key takeaway? If a company’s website doesn’t show up on the first page of a customer’s search results, a business will risk great revenue decreases.

Other factors in the report that increase SEO include backlinks, on-page technology and great content. The factor that got our attention? “Social signals continue to correlate very well with better rankings.” After the past year, Searchmetrics found that there’s a direct correlation of URLs that garner large numbers of social engagement and those that are highlighted in the top of search results. The more you tweet/post/comment, the better your SEO!

Great news for us digital marketers where likes, shares, comments and tweets are pushed on the regular. Although we’re always trying to find new and better ways spread the news about a business, it’s nice to know that our efforts on social are actually making an impact.

Here’s to a better relationship between social media and search!

— Samantha & Mike

Ranking Factors 2013

Facebook to Add Shared Photo Albums

In the latest & greatest updates on social media, Facebook has announced that they will be adding a brand new feature to their site. Shared photo albums will be in incorporated into the already photo-friendly social platform on Monday, which will let multiple Facebook users to add photos to the same album.

Unlike before when fans could only add pics to albums they created, the new shared photo albums will be able to ask others (up to 50 fans) to add images to a single shared album.

Facebook Shared Albums

With new privacy and editing settings, Facebook hopes that creating sharable albums will be easier for the user. Now, fans will be able to create albums for events like birthday parties, weddings and vacations, where photos from multiple sources can be added together to form more compelling collections of stories.

Although this new feature will continue to evolve over the next few months including increasing the photo limits and extended mobile abilities, we can’t wait to experience this highly collaborative way to share experiences with friends and family. In addition, we’re excited to see how this roll-out will impact businesses to better showcase events, product launches and more!

How do you plan on using a shared photo album on Facebook?

— Samantha & Mike

Why People Overshare Online

Status Update on Facebook

We all have the friends on Facebook or Twitter who overshare the details of their lives with the rest of the internet. They’re the type of people who consistently update statuses and feel the need to share every detail of their lives — from what they last ate for lunch to their opinion of their favorite TV show. Although it’s certainly their right, what makes it so easy to overshare on social media platforms?

Author and social scientist, Sherry Turkle, believes after one shares feelings or thoughts in a public space, the brain’s neurochemical reward system is automatically triggered. This action, in addition to the idea that our private lives are constantly being infiltrated by reality TV and social media, adds to an innate urge to share.

In the most recent paper by Russell W. Belk titled “Extended Self in a Digital World,” he argues that people’s relationships with social media sites are ultimately allowing us to create a more complicated concept of who we believe we are as individuals. With the addition of various platforms that let us be creative through status updates, highly-edited pictures and funny videos, Belk says that humans are able to create a unique, desired identity in a space that makes us feel ‘invisible.’ Consequently, when individuals believe no one is listening or watching behind a screen, they gain more confidence to divulge personal details about their lives that wouldn’t typically be shared in normal day to day life.

Overall, it’s clear that the line between private and public is quickly disappearing with each status, tweet and Instagrammed photo. People want to be interesting, popular and cool. They want to be heard and respected — and will often give up such self-respect to feel valued by their peers. But how far is too far? And how much worse will it get as our world continues to highlight reality stardom and materialistic values?

Tell us: How much do you share via social media? 

— Samantha

The US Open Goes Social

The US Open is one of the oldest tennis tournaments in the world. Every late August & early September, it draws the league’s top players and thousands upon thousands of fans.

This year, the US Open (hosted in New York) will be accompanied by a brand new attraction: a 50-feet-by-8-feet social media wall that will aggregate all social content made by fans and players in real-time. Although the content will be monitored, fans will be able to send tweets, Instagrammed pics and more to better connect themselves to this world-famous event, using the official hashtag #usopen. It will also serve as a meeting spot for the over 700,000 attendees expected to be at the tournament.

US Open Social Media Wall

We think this is an amazing idea as it encourages tennis fans to engage with the US Open and with the sport of tennis in general. In fact, we love this social media wall so much that perhaps it should be rolled out to more sporting events in the future to help increase awareness for a particular team or brand partnership. Just think: Tens of thousands of fans at a baseball or football event would be able to watch a screen displaying not only the score, but a ticker or ‘wall’ of the latest social conversations taking place around the game. Fans would be able to view and engage with the current dialogue between team members, fans and even brands, therefore adding a truly personal experience to the event.

And although we’ve seen this at some basketball and hockey games by way of a social ‘ticker’ or half-time entertainment on the big screen, such a staple at every game would result in an automatic uptick in engagement numbers throughout a season. With more engagement comes better brand or team awareness, ultimately resulting in a higher interest in the game, more stadium tickets sold and better customers for those sponsored brands involved.

As huge sports and social media fans, we’re big supporters of a roll-out of this nature. Are you?

— Samantha & Mike

ThingLink Comes to Facebook

Earlier this week, the popular interactive image platform know as ThingLink, officially hit Facebook. ThingLink allows users to enhance images with embedded information, like a video or a text block. Since the additional information is inserted within an image, the person interacting with this image will not have to leave the current screen they are on. This is great for brands and marketers because they can get more information in front of a customer in a shorter amount of time — a benefit that could increase engagement and eventually, sales. ThingLink also will help Facebook since users will now spend more time on the Timeline and News Feed, not having to link to other websites do obtain more information.

Capture

Back in November, ThingLink debuted on Twitter with great results. Since it’s launch, major reps have reported seeing more than five times as much engagement on their posts that contained ThingLink images. We believe these new interactive images will quickly become the norm. With online attention spans decreasing by the day, the ability to cram as much information in front of a customer as quickly as possible is paramount.

-Mike