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

 

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

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

Brand New Look for Facebook Brand Pages

New Facebook PagesIf you haven’t noticed already, Facebook has started to implement a brand new look for brand Pages (on desktops) that allow users to more easily access information — and help administrators behind each page find the tools and analytics that they need the most.

First, Facebook has updated the overall Page timeline. Now, you’ll see a column on the right side of the timeline that shows all of the brand’s posts. On the left, you’ll find a new column housing all of company’s important info, such as hours of business, phone number, location and website.

If you’re an admin, you’ll love how easy it is to view information about current ad campaigns, unread messages and notifications. There are new options at the top of the page that will make it simpler to view current and past activity, insights and settings. Additionally, there is a new Pages to Watch feature, which permits admins to create a list of Pages similar to the brand at hand to compare performance and engagement rates.

New Facebook Pages to Watch

For more about the updates made to Pages, check out the link here.

— Samantha

3 Tips to Improve Content Marketing & Search Engine Rankings (B2B)

When it comes to B2B (business to business) companies, here are a few tip to improve how you market content & more successfully turn up higher in search.

1. Create a corporate blog. A blog will not only add a personal touch to your company’s website, but it’ll be a great source of content that will ultimately help search rankings. Because blogs are indexed more frequently by search engines, especially when websites change, meaning that you’ll have a higher chance of showing up in a search, especially when new content is being added to the blog on a regular basis.

2. Make your content longer & higher quality. Some researchers have found that content longer than 1500 words will get more engagement on social media sites, including articles and blog posts. Content between 2000-2500 words often rank on the first page of a Google search. Although length can prove successful, make sure your content is of a higher quality and not spammy or worthless to your readers.

3. Long-tail keywords make it easy to rank higher. Why? People are used to searching, which has added to an increase of long-tail searches by 70% in the last decade. Having said this, people are also used to typing in longer phrases or complete statements when searching.

When it comes to your B2B website, make sure the content includes long-tail keywords to make sure that your site will rank higher when someone searches for that particular phrase. Thanks to content marketing, including more long-tail keywords will be easier and feel more organic when writing blog posts, including case studies and more!

— Samantha

Content Marketing, SEO

LinkedIn Study: 81% of Small/Medium-sized Businesses Use Social Media

Small Business on Social Media

About 81% of all small and medium-sized businesses use social media, based off of a recent LinkedIn study. Out of the companies that do use social, 94% of them are using it for marketing benefits — especially those that are experiencing high volumes of growth.

Finally, businesses are beginning to realize that having a social presence not only increases brand awareness, but also help push customers down the purchase funnel. Having said this, almost 75% of companies experiencing growth increased their social media budgets, including more online ad spend, hiring community managers, etc.

Lana Khavinson, the senior product manager at LinkedIn says, “We know that for SMBs the greatest challenge is attracting and retaining customers. Here is a really clear indicator of the value that social media is providing to companies that are rapidly growing.”

As the numbers of those small and medium-sized businesses using social increase, many social networks are benefiting, beyond LinkedIn (who has hundreds of thousands of small business entrepreneurs within it’s member base). For example, Facebook and Twitter, which both boast several million businesses with active accounts, will gain significant ad revenue in the future. We’ll see this start to take place as companies start to pay to rise above the clutter in people’s Newsfeeds on Facebook, and as Twitter expands its “self-serve” advertising ideas around the world to further attract small businesses in places like Canada and the UK.

We’ll be interested to see how much each social network can rake in over the next few years. To us, it feels like shooting fish in a barrel, especially as such networks are literally writing the rules to how marketed content is shown to customers.

Tell us: Does your small business utilize social media to its fullest potential?

— Samantha

4 Ways to Upgrade Your Social Marketing Optimization

Social Media Optimization

SEO (search engine optimization). Many of us have heard about it, but are you actually changing your social media content to make sure your brand makes the most out of SEO? As a quick refresher, SEO typically speaks to link-building. The higher number of links to (and from) your content, the higher it’ll be ranked in Google search, which means more eyes on your site or content.

While these links are important to consider, Google’s latest “Hummingbird” algorithm update in August forced brands to take a second look at optimizing their content for social. For example, Google +1’s rank in the top valuable factors in SEO, which automatically increases the value of all other social shares — Likes, Shares, RTs, etc.

Below you’ll find a few ways to better your social marketing optimization or SMO:

  • If applicable, use a catchy title that is optimized specifically for SEO. Focus on long-tail keywords that will help you better understand user’s intent — and be sure to come up with a few shorter copy options to use on social media platforms.
  • Edit, edit, edit. Make sure all included links are working properly and that all copy has been reviewed multiple times to avoid spelling mistakes.
  • Use images! As we’ve stated time and time again, posts with creative imagery will typically receive the most engagement. Make sure to keep actual post copy short and eye-catching too!
  • Keep engagement numbers high with captivating questions or other CTA’s (call to action’s) like “watch this video” or “click to read more.”

Tell us: Does your business pay close attention to SMO?

— 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

3 Things to Do Before Launching a Social Initiative

Social KPIs

You’ve successfully created one or more social platforms for your company and even built a loyal community online. You’ve made tracking your social growth a priority and now you’re ready for more! It’s time to launch your next social campaign (contest, giveaway), but what do you determine the objectives and keys for success?

Figure out your objective of the campaign. This part is important because without an objective, you won’t be able to drive the overall strategy. An objective is the reason WHY you’re launching this social initiative to begin with! For example, is it to drive brand awareness? Increase engagement? Get more fans and followers? Although each company’s campaign initiative will be different depending on the idea, make sure you choose one (or more) that you want to achieve!

State how you’ll measure success. Also known as Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), these metrics are what you and your team will use to measure success with the campaign at hand and what will ultimately help determine your goals. Make sure that your KPI’s align with your overall objective. We suggest looking at Comments, Shares, Likes/+1s to start, but other indicators to think about include:

  • Overall views & unique views
  • Time spent on your site/page
  • Engagement rate on social platforms
  • Contest entries
  • New fans, followers
  • Newsletter/email opt-ins

Set goals for your campaign. At this point in the process, you need to develop a set of goals which will help determine a return on investment (ROI) after. To get you thinking, talk with your team to understand how long the campaign will run for, what will drive traffic to the campaign (including a specific number of posts/tweets and possible paid support), what are possible conversion numbers (entries, shares) and how much fan growth is expected.

Once you’ve completed all three steps, you’ll be able to better track your campaign online. Repeat this several times and you’ll add an economic value to each indicator to truly help you measure the value of the initiative in relation to how much you’ve already invested.

Got questions? Let us know below!

— Samantha