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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3 Quick Tips to Be Successful on Tumblr

1. Be Authentic. Although this is nothing new, it is a good reminder for brands who try to push to many brand-centric messages to their fans. Instead, try to be real with people!

2. Test and Learn. Another important piece of all social and digital marketing, but one that is not implemented as much as it should be. Don’t fall in love with one idea — or get upset when something doesn’t work out as planned. Be flexible, learn & move forward.

3. Focus on Images. Although having great copy is always a must, making sure your images are just as amazing is important as well. Make your creative interesting, unique and eye-catching to get people to truly engage with you brand.

–Samantha

Sweetgreen: How Social Built A Restaurant

Sweetgreen Restaurant

We’ve all heard how important social media can be to a company’s marketing plan, especially for start-ups trying to make a name for themselves. Although social triumphs in retail and consumer-based industries are all too common, such success within the food industry sometimes flies under the radar.

Well, we’d like to introduce you to Sweetgreen: a start-up restaurant that utilized social media to its full potential and truly came out on top. Making salads cool, Sweetgreen was able to transform itself into a lifestyle brand, rather than simply a place to pick up a healthy lunch.

By taking advantage of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, Sweetgreen generates content containing much more than your typical “food-porn.” Such engaging content include helpful yoga tips, cool new music selections and even upcoming sustainability projects which ultimately keeps fans engaged with this salad company time and time again.

We think this is an impressive social strategy that everyone can learn from.

Take a look at the full story below:

— Mike & 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

Social Media Profile Photo Sizes

Customizing social profiles is important for any brand! Profile photos represent your company within the social space and should be clean, bold and consistent across all platforms.

Read on to find out more information on specific profile photo sizing, so you can make the most of your social profiles and learn the tips to best optimize your content!

Facebook

Facebook Profile Photo Size

Profile photos on this popular social platform are square (minimum of 180 x 180 pixels), so it’d be in your best interest to use an image with these dimensions or upload an image that is large enough that when cropped, will include the most important information, logo, etc.

When it comes to cover photos, choose wisely. This is a larger image than the profile photo, so it will be the first thing that a user sees when they visit your page. Although the minimum measurement is 399 x 150 pixels, your cover photos should be 851 x 315 pixels. Note that smaller images will stretch and as a result, will look pixilated and low-resolution.

To make sure that important information in your cover photo isn’t covered by your profile photo, note that your profile image is 23 pixels from the left side and 210 pixels from the top of your cover photo. Try uploading a JPG file that less than 100KB for best results. If your picture includes a logo and/or text, use a PNG file.

Twitter:

Twitter Profile Photo Size

Similar to Facebook, profile photos on Twitter are square — but much smaller, which means that you will need to choose a clearer, bolder picture. Although the main profile photo displays as 73 x 73 pixels on your profile on Twitter.com (and a tiny 48 x 48 pixels in a tweet), you can upload an image as large as 2MB (but will need to crop accordingly).

The header image should be 1252 x 626 pixels, up to 5MB. This photo will show up behind your profile photo, but don’t forget that your Twitter handle, bio information and URL will show over the image. As a result, we suggest choosing an image that won’t take away from the text in the forefront!

YouTube:

YouTube Channel Art Specs

FYI: The YouTube channel icon or profile photo is directly linked to your Google+ profile photo. Having said this, if you don’t have a Google+ account, you can still fully optimize your channel with custom images and various downloadable templates.

The “channel art” or cover photo will automatically scale to fit the size of the screen that it is being displayed on. Try an image with dimensions of 2560 x 1440 pixels for the best results. Note that the smallest size for “channel art” is 1546 x 423 pixels. As a result, make sure that nothing important (logos, etc.) are in this area so they won’t be cropped unintentionally.

Have more questions? Just ask! 

— Samantha

DO’s & DON’Ts for Community Managers

Community managers have created a true strategy for word-of-mouth marketing, but there are certainly rules to this type of work. Those that follow them can successfully grow their brand. Those that don’t, can wind up in a boatload of customer service trouble — and much faster than you think thanks to socially savvy consumers.

Originally, community management was done by young interns, who did not have the full ability to run a brand online. A study completed by Social Fresh in 2013 stated that the average age of community managers has increased to those in their 30s. Additionally, the pay has increased to an average of $60k which competes with many mid-level jobs within the marketing industry. (See below for a infographic from Social Fresh for more details!)

Having said this, the last few years of experience have evolved community managers into a true voice behind a company. With every post and tweet, they represent the business and should embody its exact personality and tone. When one has this much power and those on the outskirts are watching, it’s imperative that a CM’s actions 100% reflect the brand’s messaging and beliefs to create a seamless extension of the business throughout the online space.

Community managers must be creative, flexible and willing to go above and beyond. Most importantly, CMs must be consistent. And because they’re “virtually visible,” they automatically gain more responsibility. Everyone (customers, competitors, etc.) online can see their responses 24/7.

Here are some general DOs & DON’Ts for community managers:

DOs:

  • Be an expert of your company (or product).
  • Monitor, consistently.
  • Encourage engagement by genuinely interacting with fans.
  • Respond in a timely manner.
  • Be a friendly, approachable personality!
  • Listen to your fans and build relationships.
  • Don’t be afraid to take some conversations offline to better help a fan.
  • Truly resolve issues with the greater team to build a loyal community.
  • Thank your fans and show appreciation!

DON’Ts:

  • Be rude, sarcastic or defensive.
  • Delete comments, posts, tweets, etc.
  • Ignore people who are asking for help or answers!
  • Be ambiguous with your responses to fans.
  • Respond too quickly to those who may detract from your brand.
  • Use your social presence to blatantly ‘push’ products or services.

Comment below to add any DO’s & DON’Ts that I may have missed!

— Samantha

Community Manager Report 2013

Choosing Which Platform is Right for Your Brand

Jumping into social media can be a scary thought for any brand. There are so many options these days, from Facebook to Pinterest, where do you start? For example, you want to do some research like identifying where your customers are. This is not a new concept, just like in print advertising, you want to go where your target audience is. If you are selling custom NFL grill covers, it is probably not a good idea to advertise in People Magazine. Just like magazine readers, certain demographics gravitate to specific social media platforms.

There are a lot of factors to consider before setting up your social media presence. Just because social media is mostly free, that doesn’t mean you should take it lightly. After all, you would never start an expensive print ad campaign without doing extensive research first. Choosing that social media platform that is right for you is paramount, but how do you know which one is right? Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Who is my target demographic?
  • What are my objectives? (Improve SEO, Increase site traffic, Increase brand exposre, etc)
  • What platforms are my target demographic using?
  • What skills do I have that I can leverage on social media? (Copywriting, Graphic design, Photography, etc)

Now that we have you thinking a little more in-depth about social media and how it can help your business, take a look at this infographic by Social Barrel. Take it step by step and figure out exactly what platforms you can leverage for the best results.  Don’t waste your time and resources by investing in the wrong platforms, if you can successfully grow and cultivate your social presence, the results can be exponential.

how-brands-can-choose-the-right-social-media-platforms-for-their-goals-infographic

 

-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

LinkedIn Lowers Age Minimum

LinkedIn Logo

When Facebook first started in 2004, it felt like it was exclusive to college kids. Since then a lot has changed, including new rules allowing people as young as 13 to young the top social media platform. It comes as no surprise that more and more social networking sites are increasing their user bases, including LinkedIn who is officially allowing users as young as 14 years old, starting on September 12.

It seems that many young people automatically gravitate to social media, both for social and now for career-based reasoning. Specifically speaking of LinkedIn, the increasingly popular platform has always had strong ties to businesses, which allow companies to scout new talent or for new recruits to network and research future employers. It’s been noted that many in higher education establishments are even using LinkedIn to demonstrate the effectiveness of education by highlighting where many alumni work after they’re done with schooling.

Personally, Mike & I believe that opening younger users to a more “academic” side of social media could be extremely beneficial — both to the user/student and to the business. Although networking with 14 year olds will certainly be something to get used to, we think this means bigger, smarter and more connected communities for upcoming generations.

Here’s to linking up with your babysitter or little cousin, and hopefully more career-minded individuals!

— Samantha & Mike