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

 

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Instagram Adds New Editing Tools

Instagram Editing Tools

If you’re like the rest of the human population, you’re probably on Instagram everyday 🙂 Well, good news for the platform’s users: new photo editing tools.

Earlier this week, the popular image sharing social platform rolled out a new set of tools to help edit photos even more, including the ability to change an image’s contrast, warmth, saturation and more. With many IG users already turning to additional apps to help edit pics, it only makes sense for the platform to provide its users with tools they really want and need.

Instagram stated, “You take a photo to capture a moment, but often what you see in the photograph doesn’t feel the same as what you remember. From brightening up a photo of your dinner party to better capturing the warmth of a sunset portrait, these new creative tools help you bring out and share the beauty of the moment as you remember it—right inside the same simple Instagram you already know.”

Although it may not seem like a drastic change in the application, for many this means cutting out the middle man — or other editing apps like the popular VSCO Cam. Similar to how IG added video capabilities after Vine was launched through Twitter, this new addition will make many folks happy and consequently, continuous use of the platform.

Have you tried the new IG photo editing tools yet?

— Samantha

Facebook Knows What You’re Watching & Hearing

Facebook Feelings App

As of Wednesday, Facebook launched a new opt-in audio recognition feature to their platform that can identify songs and TV shows that you’re listening to or watching, then help push the content into a post to share with friends.

Although this new app is technically part of Facebook’s recent “Feelings” feature (see photo below) and makes it easier to share what one is listening to or watching, it also allows Facebook to collect data from its fans at an even faster rate. For example, if the tool is turned on but the user decides not the share the post, Facebook still keeps the data. As there have been 5 billion “Feelings” posts in the last year, this new addition will only help the growing platform obtain more and more information about its users.

Facebook Feelings App

Sound scary? It should to a certain extent. Although Facebook has noted that no actual audio will be recorded, nor will your information be shared to company servers or be monetized, it is a creative way to allow fans to share more — and not just with their close friends. As a tip, always be aware of how much information you’re providing others.

This will be a slower roll-out for all users, but keep an eye out for the new tool coming soon!

— Samantha

4 Tips for Better Facebook Posts

Making a Facebook page for you company is one thing. Taking care of it to encourage growth and brand awareness is a horse of a different color! In order to succeed on this mega platform, you have to use some elbow grease and a knowledge of your audience.

Here are a few tips that will put you ahead of your competitors:

  1. Use bold imagery. If you want to get your fan’s attention, use bright, colorful, striking photos. In fact, photos receive 5x more engagement than links and those featuring faces rate even higher. It’s no wonder why Facebook paid $1 billion to purchase Instagram!
  2. Keep copy short & include a CTA. About 70% of fans access Facebook via mobile, so you should be motivated to write short & concise copy. As we’ve seen many brands do, a paragraph of text simply don’t work & you’ll lose your audience before you even get their attention. Try to include a question, fill in the blank or simply request people to ‘watch’ or ‘share.’ Be sure to make it a low barrier so the customer can actually do it with ease.
  3. Figure out what works. Check out your Reach and Engagement numbers (in Facebook Analytics) to gauge what post are doing well — and which are not. After a few weeks of consistent posts, this data should help you figure out what your fans like engaging with so you can do more of that in the future!
  4. Target & boost posts. When you can (& if your audience is large enough), try targeting your post by gender, location &/or language. By doing so, you’re narrowing your target to a specific demographic, which could mean more eyes on your content (versus throwing a ‘big net’ & hoping for the best). Lastly, consider a bit of paid support via boosting posts to counter Facebook’s recent algorithm changes. Do it early — within the first 24 hours — and make sure you’re pushing posts that received high levels of engagement early.

Got a tip to add to the list? Tell us below!

— Samantha

Vine Turns 1 & Celebrates Best Videos of the Year

A Year on Vine

It’s crazy to think that a whole year has passed since Vine was introduced to the world.

For those who are unfamiliar, Vine is a mobile application where users can create six-second videos, with the ability to start and stop recording as many times as they want. In January 2013, Vine was acquired by Twitter and made big news as people and brands could now easily express themselves through another medium.

Although competitor Instagram introduced video capabilities in June 2013, Vine has remained popular. Today, it celebrates its first anniversary. To get the party started, check out Vine’s 200 video compilation totaling 18 minutes, including funny clips from fans, as well as videos from President Obama and Justin Bieber.

We picked out a few of our faves:

Tell us: Which is your favorite vine video from 2013?

— 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

Top 5 Ways to Tweet Like a Pro

Sike Social Twitter

Many digital experts believe that a presence on Twitter is a key piece in a successful social media strategy. We can’t help but agree! Read on to find out how you can amplify your tweets to make the most of this popular platform.

#1: Be short & sweet. You only have 140 characters, so use them wisely! Like many journalists or writers, think about what is most important about your message and use words or terms to succinctly get that idea across to your followers.

#2: Enter the conversation. Don’t make the mistake of tweeting in a vacuum. Join events taking place in real time by using a pre-existing hashtag and providing useful info to your fans. Don’t forget to RT (occasionally) to show your support of others as well!

#3: Don’t over hashtag. Although hashtags are a great way to aggregate content, be mindful of which ones you use — and how often. Stick to two or three and make sure they pack a punch. For example, #social may be too broad, where as #socialmedia or #socialmediamarketing will carry more weight and will get more eyeballs on your content.

#4: Request a RT. Asking your fans to RT your content (every now and then) is acceptable and could bring your RT rate up by 12x, versus not asking. Make sure you leave enough characters in your tweet for your followers to add their own two cents!

#5. A photo is worth a 1000 words. If you have a relevant image to tweet with your message, do it! A tweet with an attached photo receives up to two times more engagement than those who don’t.

Some more tips?

  • Be consistent when tweeting! Once you tweet, it literally disappears in seconds on a follower’s feed. As a result, make sure that you’re tweeting several times a day, throughout the day. Use a platform like HootSuite or Tweetdeck to schedule tweets!
  • Make sure that your company is following the right people. There are many fake accounts out there, so choose wisely by looking for quality content — not just people looking for more followers!

Got more? Let us know in the comments below!

— Samantha

Where Sports Fans Engage on Social Media

Sports fans

Big sports fan? Ever talk about the game on FB or Twitter? You’re certainly not alone.

Catalyst’s annual fan engagement study studies sports fans to better determine where they play on social media — and where marketers can better reach them! In Catalyst’s recent study, the team surveyed 2,100 sports fans (16 and 64 years old) who follow the NFL, NBA, MLB, college football, college basketball and soccer.

A few top points are highlighted below, but check out the full infographic below

  • Surprisingly, only 57% of fans surveyed “liked” a brand/sport team page to show their support — versus 61% who “liked” a page for a coupon or discount.
  • Although more fans are on Facebook in general, Twitter is the most popular platform on a game day.
  • Post game, Instagram rises in popularity, when fans are most likely sharing images from the game or viewing party.

Catalyst Sport Infographic

 

— Samantha

Three Ways Brands Successfully Use Vine

When Instagram introduced their video feature, many thought Vine would soon be on its way out. While Instagram may have the advantage when it comes to number of users, we still see great opportunity with Vine, especially for brands. Vine offers a fantastic platform for brands to connect with their audience in a whole new way. Below, we have highlighted three such ways brands are successfully tapping into their Vine following.

1) Announcing New Products

New product promotion is always incredibly important to a brand. After all, whats the point of developing the latest and greatest if nobody knows about it? Here are two examples from Twitter and Puma of how to effectively promote a new product in six seconds:

2) Behind the Scenes

People love seeing behind the scenes footage. Whether it’s from the Super Bowl or the Grammys, audiences love exclusive material that the average consumer might not get. Here is a Vine from a Kate Spade fashion shoot and one from an XBOX event:

3) Straight Up Entertainment

One of the best ways to succeed in social media is simply create content people want to share. Regardless of topic, the more people linking your content, the bigger audience you reach. Here is a cool video from Urban Outfitters on glow-in-the-dark body paint and another one from Oreo, who may have just revolutionized your ice coffee:

-Mike & 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