Tagged: google

Looking into the Future: 7 Social Media Predictions for 2016

 

2015 was a huge year for social media innovations. Marketers once again saw changes to their algorithms, leading to a need for increased paid promotions. Facebook also continued their policy of curtailing posts that seem too promotional, making the number one social media site even more difficult to to budget for.

Twitter’s growth really began to stall in 2015 after seeing its peak growth in August 2014. Marketers began to shift their focus from this platform to another emerging and popular site, Instagram. With its 400 million monthly active users, Instagram became the new hot spot for reaching an audience in 2015.

But 2015 has come to an end and the changes to the social media landscape happening more and more frequently. Here’s what to expect for 2016.

     1. More Powerful Social Media Searches

In November, Pinterest announced a new search tool allowing users to zoom in on specific objects in a Pin’s image and search for similar objects or patterns. It works like Google Image search, allowing users to find products in a new way. In 2016, expect other platforms to catch on to the idea of new and improved ways to search for content and technologies to change the way we use these sites.

     2. Live Social Broadcasts

Periscope didn’t exist in 2014, but by the end of 2015 it had become Apple’s iPhone App of the Year. With more than 10 million users, Periscope’s unique live broadcast abilities have become the new way to interact with consumers. In 2016, Periscope will continue to grow, so expect to see other sites (Facebook!) to find ways to capitalize on this new technology.

     3. Buy! Buy! Buy!

Leave it to Facebook to find a new way to take our cash. In 2014, Facebook started a trend in social media that we felt through last year. Buy Buttons have recently become part of the interface of Instagram and Pinterest, so expect to start seeing these ads more often in your feeds and your budget.

     4. Video at the Forefront

Humans are visual beings, and we like videos. It’s the easiest way for us to learn and retain knowledge. Cisco estimates that by the beginning of 2017, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be video, so marketers need to be starting a budget for video production for 2016.

     5. User Privacy Concerns

In 2015, about 32 million Ashley Madison users found out the hard way that privacy isn’t necessarily guaranteed online. With one of the largest hacks on record still fresh in their minds, social media users are now looking for assurances that their private information is, in fact, private. Expect to see major increase in protections offered from Facebook, Instagram and any other sites that store personal information like birthdates and credit card info.

     6. Incoming Messages

According to Forbes, the frequency of incoming messages are up almost one third from 2014. Consumers are catching on to a new way of connecting with companies, so expect to keep seeing an increase on incoming messages throughout the platforms. Don’t be one of the estimated 82% of brands who do not respond. Pay attention in 2016 and engage in a new way.

     7. Easier Publishing on Instagram

Instagram can be a time-consuming nightmare for social marketers simply because it must be used in real-time and is exclusive to mobile devices. If nothing else changes from last year, let’s hope Instagram has made Post Scheduling their New Year’s Resolution for 2016.

Using Google Plus for your Business

According to recent statistics, Google+ is the second most popular social media site in the United States behind Facebook.  Google+ has 343 million active users. That’s more than Twitter’s 200 million users.

If your business is not using Google+, now is the time to start your business page.  With a Google+ business profile, you can directly tie your website to your Google+ account.  In today’s blog, we have three tips to help expand your business influence and opportunities.Google plus

 

  •  First, install a badge!

Google+ allows you to install a ‘badge’ on your website to allow readers to communicate with you through this medium while remaining on your site.  With the Google+ badge in place, an active “Follow” widget appears next to your listing in search results.

This is good for two reasons:  First, your website visitors stay on your site.   Second, the code helps establish you as a blog publisher by tying it to your Google+ page.  By connecting your website to your Google+ page, your updates show up in search results.

 

  • Use #Hashtags!

You may be familiar with hashtags on other social media sites, and Google+ uses them as well.  Hashtags are useful because they provide added exposure to users beyond your followers.  The hashtags are connected to all your updates.

To help you, Google+ will sometimes come up with suggestions for which hashtags you should use.  If you use the suggestions Google offers, make sure to choose ones that are a good match for your topic.

 

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  • Use Google+ as Your Business Page

Instead of your personal Google+ page, use your business page to increase followers and exposure for your business.  Now, instead of seeing your own profile when you connect with others on Google+ as your business, you will have your marketing message in front of more people.

Similar to “liking” or “commenting” on Facebook, you can use your Google+ account to +1 and comment on other people’s Google+ accounts.

Be sure to  use the Google+ account whenever you communicate with anyone in the Google+ network, both those who are following you and people who share public information, even if they’re not following you.

Like other social media sites, find the most active Google+ pages, public personal profiles and communities that match your business.  Then start interacting with them to gain more exposure for your Google+ page… and your business.

Post links and videos about your company on Google+. Google recognizes this effort and improves your search rankings, helping your SEO.

 

Be sure to get the most out of your business by getting the most out of Google+.

Shortcuts to Avoid in Social Media

042313-shortcutShortcuts are something that are used in almost every facet of life. Be it keyboard shortcuts or a quicker way to get home from work, people like to do things the easiest way possible.  We have automation tools that allow for advanced programming of Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and even Instagram.  But where do we draw the line between convenience and practicality?  Does automation of posts deserve the bad reputation it has? We personally feel that automation has it’s place, but it require supplemental monitoring to make it effective.  Here we are going to go through some social media shortcuts that you should avoid with your pages.

1) Pre-Scheduling for Events

This seems like a no brainer, but you should avoid scheduling your posts in advance of a real time event.  If, for example, you have programmed tweets talking about a specific driver in an upcoming race, it could backfire on you if something about the event changes. The driver could be injured before the race or the weather may cause a delay.  Stick to posting real time updates on events if you cover them to prevent this from happening.

2) Auto-Replies

One on one communication should never be automated. Whether it’s thanking someone for following you or answering a message, you should always do these yourself. There is no better way to turn off a new follower than to send them an automated thank you.

3) Posting the Same Message Across Multiple Networks

This is where automation gets the most flak from critics.  A lot of times when using automation tools to schedule messages in advance, you can schedule the same message across multiple networks. For example, you may send out a message as a tweet and as a Facebook update.  Unfortunately, this is pretty noticeable to followers. After all, it’s still a little weird seeing a lot of hashtags on Facebook if you are cross posting from Instagram or Twitter.  We recommend tailoring each message you send out for the network you are posting on.  What makes for a good tweet may not translate that easily to Google Plus and so on.

4) Sending Connection Invites Without Personalizing

For networks like LinkedIn, you can send a message along with your invitation to connect.  There is a standard message already in the template, but you should take the time to make it personal. People will know if you just sent them the boiler plate message, so make sure to put your own spin on it.  Explain why you want to connect or how being connected to you will be beneficial to that person. Don’t risk looking like a spammer with the standard message.

password5) Using A Simple Password

Most people use the same password for everything. Be careful of doing this, especially with an easy password. Social accounts get hacked all the time for one reason or another, so stay on top of your accounts with solidly difficult passwords.  Also be sure to change them every so often to keep your accounts as secure as possible. The process for getting your accounts back after they’ve been hacked can be difficult and sometimes not possible. Better to be safe than sorry in this case.

6) Buying Likes

Did you know that some companies offer ‘likes’ for a price? These businesses create thousands of fake accounts to generate likes for their clients. Facebook has caught onto this scheme and actually punishes pages that do this by limiting their organic reach.  Avoid buying into any scam that is supposed to bring you likes on your page, it will end up doing more harm than good.

7) Only Retweeting/Sharing

Retweeting is good for networking and spreading other’s messages if they are in line with your brand. The same goes for sharing on Facebook.  Only retweeting and sharing, however, shows your audience that you don’t have anything original or unique to offer. Use the retweet and share buttons sparingly so as not to oversaturate your followers. Otherwise why should someone follow you when they can get the message from the other source?

8) Inviting Every Friend to Like Your Pages

Annoying your friends with constant invites to like pages they aren’t the targeted market for will actually hurt your reach. You want to make sure you are reaching the right audience for your brand with your ad campaigns.  Stick to trying to gain a following of appropriate customers.

tagging-on-facebook9) Tagging Irrelevant People

This is probably one of the worst things you could do with your social pages. Under no circumstances should you tag people in an update that have nothing to do with your message. Get permission from anyone you want to tag before you associate them with your company and only then tag them if they are relevant.  You will get more exposure by tagging, but it will backfire if it doesn’t make sense.

These are just a few things you should avoid with your pages. Social media management isn’t easy, but if you make sure you aren’t taking the wrong shortcuts, you will do just fine. Good luck and happy posting.

 

What to Ask a Marketing Agency

shutterstock_104707244We know that managing your company’s social media pages can be a time consuming task.

There are many media management firms that will take over your pages for a price. If you are thinking about outsourcing your social media marketing to an outside agency, there are several things you should consider before turning your pages over.

Firstly, can the agency use their influence to gain more traction for your brand and reputation? Ask about their understanding of influence and how to use it for media marketing. Does the agency have any connections that overlap to your industry? Do they represent competitors?

Don’t write off an agency just because they represent your competitor, as they should be constantly monitoring any brand they represent, and therefore should be in tune with the most cutting edge marketing solutions.

Another thing you should know is that the best user-generated content is usually produced by professionals.  Agencies generally employ copywriters who’s sole job is to write copy, or content, for publishing on various channels, be it blogs, facebook posts or tweets.  This is one of the benefits of outsourcing your social media and should be considered.  For most small business’s, copywriting is not something with a dedicated job position, so the time and skill to write good content is often overlooked or done poorly.

The last thing you should ask is if the agency will focus on specific digital channels for your business or try to cover all of them.

The best marketing strategy is to hone in on what will work for your business and not try to spread yourself thin.

Not every business is visual enough to warrant having an Instagram account but may benefit from a Pinterest page instead. Focusing your best content on select channels will ensure your audience is getting the most out of it, so make sure the strategy fits your business.

Third party marketing agencies exist to professionally put out creative content related to your business. If this is something your business is considering, don’t be afraid to ask what they will do for you.  After all, that’s why you will be paying them, not the other way around.  Putting your reputation in the hands of an outside party can be daunting, but if you find the right agency, it could be a match made in heaven.

How to Respond to a Social Media Crisis

crisis_managementSOSDo you know what to do in the event of a social media crisis? How do you defend yourself and your brand online? We’ve covered how to prevent social media meltdowns before, but now we will cover what to do when it happens to you.

Remember that your brand reputation matters, online and off, so it’s important to know who your critics are and where they are coming from.

Are they an upset customer? How about a competitor? Or is it just a troll who is seeking attention but no real solution?

First and foremost you should act quickly.  Avoid sitting on your hands waiting for answers and do your best to respond quickly and appropriately to any concern or criticism.

Next, take charge of the situation and assure your fans that you are in control of the crisis.  You will put people at ease by not only addressing their concerns quickly, but letting them know you have a good grasp of the problem.

You should be prepared to handle the reality of the situation and deal with the facts.  If someone is critiquing your product or a customer experience they had, allow them to vent but also try to rectify the problem at hand by engaging with them.  Dealing with the crisis as it arises will show others that you aren’t just trying to let it blow over.

To avoid any misconceptions, use all of your company resources to communicate what has happened and how you are going to fix it.  Encourage dialogue before others have a chance to spread negativity like wildfire.  Again, engage with the critics and nay-sayers before they accuse you of ignoring the problems they have.

reputationLastly, you should make sure you deliver on what you promise to do.  If you are handling customer concerns, do what you need to do make them happy.  Allow people to come back and say that you handled the crisis well instead of poorly.

There are many large and small companies that have made mistakes on social media, so don’t beat yourself up when they happen.

Remember that mistakes are part of learning and the experiences that don’t break you make you stronger.  This is especially true of crisis situations.  Make these moments your time to really shine and handle anything that comes your way.  You will be happy that you did.

Google+ for Business

google-plus-1

When you think of social media for business, Google Plus is often overlooked in favor of other sites.  However, Google Plus reached 100 million users faster than Facebook and Twitter. If this isn’t enough to convince you that your business needs to be on Google+, let’s simplify.

 You increase the odds of getting highly targeted visitors from Google’s organic search results if you have a Google Plus account.

Here are a couple of tips that will show you how you can use Google plus effectively for your business:

  • First, start with the about section. This introductory content will also end up being used by Google as your page’s meta description when it shows up in the search results. You can create links within that content that links back to different pages of your site. A couple of smartly used keywords would be nice, but avoid keyword stuffing.
  • If you have any other social media profiles, add them to the links section of your Google+ profile. What better way to get a little more link juice and authority from Google than to have your social profiles included on their page for your business? Remember sharing is caring for your Google+ network.
  • Finally, now that you’re sharing your own content, re-share quality content to your community. Leave valuable comments on what other people are sharing and “+1” other content.

When used correctly, Google Plus could be the most effective social media marketing tool available, so take advantage of it and start expanding your circles today.