Google+ and Business

So you’ve likely read articles and heard some buzz about Google+ – when it was first released in beta and then to the public, everyone seemed to be talking about circles and getting connected. Well, this hype has settled a bit and while there are some dedicated Google+ users, it is still not making large inroads into the Facebook space.

Recently Google+ has opened itself up for businesses. What this means is that you can create branded pages on Google+ – another way for you to market yourself and focus on some inbound marketing activities. But with everything that is “new” and “better” – there is lots of discussion out there on the WWW about the pros and cons of using Google+ for business.

We thought it would be a good idea to look at the pros and cons and break them down for you. By the end of this blog post you’ll have a wider understanding of Google+ and why you may or may not want to use it for your business. (As always, if you have any questions or would like some additional advice – don’t hesitate to send us an email and we’ll get together and talk!)

The Basics

Officially called Google+ Pages (why not simply call it Google+ Business…), Google is touting this recent offering as a way for people to connect with their favorite brands and businesses. The idea is that you can build relationships with the people behind the brands and businesses that you like, frequent and are interested in. This type of relationship building helps consumers build a connection and relationship with a brand, and then when shopping for a Christmas presents for example,  hopefully this brand will be the first picked up off of the shelf.

The way this all works with Google+ is that people can recommend your company, brand or products with a +1 and even add you to one of their circles for a long-term connection. Then the sharing and communicating starts – perhaps your constomers will ask questions about your recent product developments or even have an idea for a new product. The key in all of this is that you need to communicate and be active on your Google+ Pages.

Pros

Google+ Pages does have a lot of pros and benefits for business and brands. Here is a look at some of the top-rated pros:

  • You can easily promote your business and brand to those who are interested in it. In other words – targeted communication with people who really want to know what is going on or have questions.
  • 40 million people are using Google+ so now you can tap into this market of current and potential clients.
  • A link with Google+ Pages definitely can help your page and website ranking in Google searches.
  • It is now easier for you to take advantage of Google+ Hangouts and really connect with others.
Cons
Just as there pros to Google+ Pages there are also some cons to be considered:
  • You cannot customize your Google+ Pages for your business. This makes it hard to have your page stand-out amongst your competitors.
  • You are limited to one administrator – so one person is essentially responsible for the communication, connections and relationship building.
  • It is not possible at this time to measure the success or failure of your Google+ Pages – so you can’t measure what is working and isn’t working.
  • In order to follow your Google+ business page, you must first be following that person. (In other words people can visit your page and simply click the Like button….)
  • Regardless of the number of followers, +1 and connections you have, you cannot have a vanity URL.
What To Do?
So with this information, what are you supposed to do? Well, first off, take a look at your current social media marketing activities – what are you doing with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube? Do you feel as though you are using these social networks effectively and purposefully? Take a look at your analytics and statistics for these communication tools and consider the success and failure of your marketing activities.
Essentially, before leaping onto another social networking tool – it is important to ensure that you’re using the other tools the best you can. There is not much point in joining Google+ Pages and not being active on the network. So really take the time to think about what you want from a presence on Google+ and consider the pros and cons of this new tool.
(Yes, we can help you out with all of this!)
Further Reading
Take a look at these articles to get some other viewpoints and perspectives on Google+ for your business:
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What Is Klout?

If you’re new to Twitter or even if you’ve been around the Twitterverse for some time now, you may have seen rumblings about Klout and Klout scores. There are lots of folks out there just like you who have questions about Klout, Klout scores, and what this all means to your online and social media profile. So in this blog post, we’ll do our best to explain Klout, Klout scores and try to make sense of what this all really means to you.

Now, of course like everything on the Internet and particularly with social media, there are lots of opinions, theories and beliefs on what is really important and crucial to your online and social presence… So before we get into Klout, it is important to remember one very important thing: to be effective you must be active and social with social media – if you are asking questions, responding to comments, following new people, and generally communicating with others – then you are doing it right. So don’t get stressed about your Klout score, your “level of influence”, etc. – what is important is that you’re out there and begin active on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, and writing regular blog posts – do this and the rewards of effective social media marketing will come your way.

What Is Klout?

The slogan on the Klout website reads: The Standard For Influence – so this should tell you that Klout is all about measuring sphere of influence on social networks. According to the website, each time you interact with someone, post a comment, or engage with others, Klout measures and records this activity to determine your “true reach”.

What this all really means – how many people are you affecting and impacting with your activity. As well Klout can measure and tell you in which areas you are most influential. For example if you typically post about vegetarian recipes, cyclocross racing and your pet cat, then likely these are the areas in which you’ll have the biggest sphere of influence and weight.

What Is A Klout Score?

Your Klout score is a number between 1 and 100. Yes, a very big range! And this score can fluctuate based on your activity level on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Klout believes that “influence is the ability to drive action” – so based on this your Klout score is based on the number of retweets, targeted Twitter messages, and likes and comments on Facebook. The more of these you have – the better for your Klout score. In addition the more people you have following you and engaging with you who have high Klout scores – the higher your score will be.

Just like the mystery behind Facebook algorithms, it is not possible to find out what really drives and controls your Klout score….

Why Does My Klout Score Matter?

Well, this is a big topic up for debate. There are people on both sides of the Klout fence.

If you listen to the folks at Klout, you can use Klout scores to help determine who to follow and engage in. As well, you can track your Klout score to see how you are “performing” on social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Then of course there are those who say that to be effective on social networks you need to simply be active and get engaged. Rather than following a company, brand or person because they have a high Klout score – follow them or engage with them because you like what they’re saying or they represent an ideal you support. In other words, by engaging and socializing with those who have like-minded goals and niches – you will attract the true followers you are looking for. Particularly when it comes to promoting your business on Twitter and Facebook.

So Should I Care About Klout?

Hmm, tough question. The answer is this: yes and no.

Pay attention to your Klout score – it is very interesting to see in which areas you’re considered influential. As well it can be interesting to see how your Klout score fluctuates based on your social network activity. For example, if you’re doing a big online promotion for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is worthwhile tracking your Klout score before and after the promotion to help see if your social network marketing had an impact.

But this being said, don’t live and breathe based on you Klout score. It is not something that you need to check each and every day. Keep doing what you’re doing – engaging, communicating, and being active on social networks. Continue to pay attention to your new followers and who is liking or commenting on your Facebook posts – this real data can tell you more about the effectiveness of your social network marketing campaign.

To learn more about Klout, visit the Klout website.

To read a few different views on Klout, take a look at these links:

Why Klout Scores are Possibly Evil

Forget Klout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Facebook Changes; What You Should Know

We had intended to post about the Facebook changes last week, but well time ran away from us… So better late than never, here is our take on the changes to Facebook and what you need to know.

Subscribe Button: this feature allows you to really narrow down on who you hear from in your news feed. Before the subscribe feature,  you essentially had to wade through all of the updates from all of those in your Facebook feed to find the information that you want. Now with Subscribe you can choose to “subscribe” to a person’s status updates – this allows you to guarantee for example that you’ll stay up-to-date with your best friend’s post, the status updates from your favourite coffee company or the latest headlines from a news agency. You can even streamline things further by choosing what you receive from those in your news feed: maybe you only want photo updates from one person and you want all status updates from another – the Subscribe button lets you narrow down and control this. To get the full scoop on the Subscribe button, see the Facebook help.

Timeline: essentially this is a way for you to beef up your profile and keep a log of your life – on Facebook. Your Timeline is just that – a timeline of your activity on Facebook. You can edit and customize it – adding in photos, updating it with key dates and moments. The idea is that because your status update is constantly being updated with the most recent update, the older information gets lost and “squeezed out”. Now with the Timeline, your complete history can be kept up-to-date. Take a look at this article about Timeline to learn more.

News Feed Changes: it used to be that we had two main choice for our news feed: Top News and Most Recent. These options no longer exist. Now instead your news feed is continually updated with the most recent news – so this means there is more traffic but the idea is that you’ll miss less content this way. The idea is that the more popular information will still be at the top of the list – think posts with photos and links. Really, this is a small change that doesn’t take too long to get used to.

Ticker: this is perhaps one of the more controversial changes to Facebook. In the right hand corner of your Facebook screen/window you’ll see a scrolling and constantly updated Ticker of all the most recent activity of everyone of your friends. So you’ll see if your friend John commented on someone’s status or clicked the Like link on a post. Already after only a few days, a lot of folks have a love-hate relationship with the Ticker. The good news is that you can hide the Ticker so that you’re not distracted by the activity of each and everyone in your Facebook. While you can’t close or hide the Ticker via Facebook, there are a few apps and hacks out there that will let you do so…

Lists: if you have a lot of friends on Facebook and follow a wide-range of folks, you might want to create Lists to filter Facebook updates. Facebook comes with a few lists automatically created for you: Close Friends, Acquaintances, and Restricted. Also based on your profile, the Facebook magicians will have created lists for you automatically: for example we had lists created based on our high school, previous employers, and place of residence. You can create as many lists as you want and customize them however you like. In a sense, these lists are very similar to the lists that most of us use on Twitter to keep track of different feeds. The List feature can be a bit complicated and Facebook does a help page devoted to the topic.

This is the quick-hit list of the high profile changes to Facebook. To read more about some of the other changes and to get a feel for what is coming up next, take a look at this article from Mashable.

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Online Video Killed the Television?

Is cable television dead? Are the days of sitting down and turning on the television soon to be a thing of the past? Yes, these are heavy questions and ones we’re sure television executives really wish weren’t viable. The reality is that television might actually be on its way out. All thanks to the Internet. Oh and a very popular website called YouTube.

Yes, YouTube. YouTube has only been around for six years – but given its wide-reaching impact and effect, it really feels like longer. YouTube was officially launched on Feb. 15, 2005 when founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim  registered the domain. After posting a few short videos on the site, it didn’t take long for retailers, specifically Nike to recognize the potential of online video. On October 21, 2005 the first Nike commercial launched and was viewed on YouTube. The official launch date for YouTube was Dec. 15, 2005 but the website was quickly gaining steam before the “official launch”.

YouTube has now grown to a site that sees in excess of 1 billion visits a day. Yes, 1 billion. Companies, everyday people, advertisers – everyone has embraced YouTube. Basically if you have a way to capture video, you now have a way to access millions – maybe even billions of people. In fact more and more people are turning to online sites such as YouTube for the entertainment and news.

What YouTube did is show us how easy it is to post video on the Internet. It also spawned an entire industry of folks who can now use their creative talents to create compelling digital online video advertising, movies, television shows, and video podcasts. This has wide-spread acceptance of online video has flowed over to mainstream television stations now making their shows available online, providing live streaming of events (recently the World Track and Field Championships), and of companies making video part of their social media strategy.

A couple of weeks ago, the Danny MacAskill video titled Industrial Revolution was posted on YouTube and as of this minute has been viewed 2,116,392 times. And this is for a video of a guy doing some very cool stuff on his bike! Imagine the power of this medium to advertise products, spread messages, make your movie or book a bestseller – yes, pretty much infinite.

And now thanks to various websites, people are even dropping their cable and choosing to download television shows (often free of commercials). The need for the television cable subscription package really may be going the way of the dodo. So what does this mean for your big 50 inch flat panel television? No problems, simply hook your computer up to the television and watch your favourite shows, movies, YouTube videos, Vimeo videos, and live streamed events.

Do we think the days of cable are long gone? No -not yet. But it is up to the cable television stations to really get with the times and recognize that the cable channel subscription package is not really a viable business model. Why pay for 300 channels when you get your entertainment on the Internet and not have to worry about commercials and you can pick and choose what you want – when you want it. All thanks to a small start-up called YouTube.

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