I will make a bold statement here: If you are not on Google+ now, you should be as it is an important part of your Social Networking and Marketing toolkit, as it will change how we interact, purchase things as well as rank in the Search Engines.
If you haven’t heard of Google+ or have been sitting on the fence, Google+ is a newer social media platform from Google that brings together the best of Social Media networks as well as Search engine optimization and a lot of great features. A bonus is that the layout of the site is very clean and easy to read.
There are quite a few things that separate Google+ from it’s rivals. Here are the key ones in my mind as a Business owner leveraging Social Media.
Circles – Laser Focused Marketing:
One of the features is the introduction of Circles. Circles are clusters of your Contacts placed into a group that you would like to address separately. You can put your Family into the Family Circle, your Friends into a Friends cirlce, Boat enthusiasts into another circles, Joggers into another one, etc.
What this allows you to do is to be able to broadcast your thoughts or messages to select groups, such as a timely article to only the Jogger Circle. That way you are not telling your whole list about the activity that will not relate to most of your list.
By having Circles, it helps to organize the people you have friended, into circles that are easy to give them a name that is easy to remember.
As a business owner, this is a great thing to have. What you can do, is as you find people on Google+ in an area that you are looking to target, you can place them into a circle. Let’s say you are looking for Musicians to be part of a festival and you only want local musicians. All you have to do is search for them via the search features and when you find them, without leaving the page, you can Add them to the appropriate “Musicians” cirlce. From that point on, if you have an item you need to say or market, all you have to do is click on the SHARE button and pick that Circle, and voila!, only those people will see it. Again you are not “spamming” the rest of your list so people will appreciate this.
To invite people to Google+, you simply add them into your Circle that you would like them to be part of. There is a button that says “Add a new person”. Next, you need to put them into a circle. Pick multiple ones if that person should be in 2 or more circles. Type in their Email address. Once they are located and they will get an invite from you.
+1 – Increase your Popularity and SEO while telling people that others like your stuff as well:
As you can see pretty much everywhere on the internet, a lot of sites are showcasing the +1 Button. This is the Google+ button that allows you if pressed, that you appreciate this article and find it valuable.
So if you like an article, even this one (hint hint), you can click on the +1, to show you like what information is being provided.
From a Search Engine optimization point of view for our Business or personal sites, Google is the king of all search engines. We all know that. Well, since it’s their social network, you are starting to see (if you are logged into Google+ while searching around – and usually unless you log out, you stay logged in), as you are logged in, Friends and contacts in your Circles that have +1’d an article and this provides the magic component of Social proof. Social proof is a way of showing others like your stuff, and makes it more appealing to like as well.
An example is if you +1 an article, and your friends on Google+ go searching for that items, say a restaurant review site, they will see that you +1 or liked it and that will make you more want to click on it as it’s like Winston likes this page, I will check it out as well.
The other MAJOR thing about the +1 is that for Google, once again the biggest Search Engine in the world, is starting to arrange the algorithm from how it indexes now to more of Social engagement. Put another way, the more that pages are +1 from Google+ users, the more it will help to move up the rankings.
Example: Bob pulled out all the tricks with SEO (search engine optimization) to create a top ranking page for a product on an Event in his town. Tim, another local person has a page for an event on the same day and wants to beat out the ranking of Bob’s site. Tim also does a great job but is behind Bob’s site. Leading up to the event, Tim gets quite a substantial number of +1’s and comments on his page. Since Google tracks this and the social input, it will cause Tim’s site to rise to the top, as it’s social proof that people are finding and enjoying that page.
This is crucial for SEO, development of sites and marketing from this point on. Google and other search engines see that basing rankings on what people like is truly the best way to rank pages.
On Google+ you can create Business Pages for your Businesses, Brands and other non-personal items.
Agan, the main benefit is that Google is running the show and this will lead to be indexing of your Brand and better page indexing than Facebook could ever do.
NOTE: Facebook is not indexed in google other than personal page indexes that link to you, if at all.
As a Google+ user, you can bring together your team on the site in a video chat area, called Hangouts. You can have up to 10 people at one time.
Facebook created a deal this past year with Skype however on FB, you can only do 1 person at a time on Video conference mode. They are still catching up and keep adding in features that look a lot like Google+.
In your Account Profile:
Once you have setup your Profile (and you can even transfer over all of your details from Facebook to Google+), people can see your Stream of conversation (or if you assign status updates for specific circles, on those can see it), About you, photos and videos as well as all the articles you have +1. I like that viewing of +1 as it allows me to bookmark sites I like with the +1 and then can refer to my profile to review them or re-read them.
There is a great site, called http://www.gplus.to that will take the ugly URL that links to your page and make it into a short URL for you. Just go onto the site, enter your long URL, add a nickname, as shown above and it will create a shorter, easier to use URL. I use this as it’s a lot cleaner in my Email signature.
This is mine: http://www.gplus.to/winstonbromley
Why Google+ Matters:
As there are many Social Media sites out there to be part of, I highly recommend for all it’s benefits, that you get a Google+ account today and start building your Network. It’s a very intuitive Site and poses many features that will help you and your Business to succeed in Social Media, SEO and whatever else Google thinks up. Google is the king of Content so let’s be part of their system and get the results we want.
Come and find my on Google+ and add me to your Friends circle.
See you there!
A few months ago, Facebook rolled out a Beta version (and now it’s a regular part of FACEBOOK) of what is called the Facebook Timeline. If you haven’t seen them yet, you can see an example at: http://www.facebook.com/winston.bromley
The Facebook Timelines are being pushed a lot these days and they have some really great benefits to a Business Owners if used correctly. As I teach at my online seminars or at live Events to Business owners like yourself, I always show how Social Media ties into your Business most effectively. After all, that is in the end why you are using Social Media in your Business – to create Engagement and in the end, make a profit from it.
Facebook Timeline is for personal profile pages only at the moment. They are not being rolled out yet for Business or Fan Pages.. so why am I writing about Facebook Timelines for personal pages?
The new Facebook Timeline is a PERFECT place to showcase what you do as a business owner as well as who you are a person. In the Timeline, there is a thing called Cover Banner, which is a 849 x 312 pixel cover image placed at the top of your profile which is a prime location for you and what you do.
Facebook is very strict on what you can post on these Facebook Timeline Covers Banners (as you see with mine: http://www.facebook.com/winston.bromley). You are not allowed to put up advertising banners or make it too salesy of what you do or only about your Business. The trick is to showcase yourself as a person AND as someone who can help others (in your Business)
Here are 3 main benefits to Facebook Timelines that you can get now:
- The ability to post a Cover Banner image that gives you a chance to personalize your profile as mentioned above showcasing your life and your Business. Don’t be too salesy….
- You can add in the Life Events that meant a lot to you, from the past, such as a wedding, a divorce (you never know what people will post on FB), a special event, etc. Right now the events fall in five categories – Work & Education, Family & Relationships, Home & Living, Health and Wellness, Travel and Experiences.Note: You can also add a year to your posts that will re-post a status in the year that that Event happened….even if you were not on Facebook at the time!… Such as pre-2003.
- By using the Life Events, you can showcase all your Talents that you did in the past such as organizing events or putting on Seminars. It can be a great tool for new job or career opportunities.
The Down Side
Right now, there are scammers are taking advantage of some users’ desire to revert back to the old profile and do away with the Timeline. Pages and apps have appeared that claim to be able to deactivate the Timeline and they ask users to click like buttons, share things with friends, etc.
The only thing they do is gain access to your Account and then Spam all your Friends, so don’t get involved with them.
Setup of a Facebook Timeline: Step by step
First off, to move over to a Facebook TIMELINE is now super easy, even for the non-techy people out there… and I know there are a few.
Version 1: Easy as pie, if you have a great Timeline image.
1. Go to http://www.facebook.com/about/timeline
2. Click on the button to the right that says “Get Timeline.” It’s now enabled, but not published yet.
3. Click “Publish Now.” You’re done.
Version 2: Easy setup with a few extra steps so you can preview what your Timeline page will look like
1. Log into your Facebook account and go to the About Timeline page at http://www.facebook.com/about/timeline
2. Click on “Get Timeline”
3. Scroll down on your new Timeline and remove or Edit any items that you don’t want shown. To do this, simply hold your cursor over the upper right of the item you want to edit, and pick a choice on the drop-down list.
4. From that drop down list, you can hide it from the timeline ,change the date of the item, add a location, or delete the post.
5. To“Feature” a post (as mentioned above), click on the star icon to the left of that pencil icon. This will make that item expand all the way across the page, so more people can see it
6. Once are done with all the edits, either go back to the top of your profile/Timeline page and click “Publish Now”. There is also an option that it will do the posting in 7 days.
As a side note; If you want to get a Custom Timeline Cover image created specific to your Brand, we can help you out. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject Timeline Cover and we will get the process started.
Have you seen this image before? It’s a white box with black (or coloured) boxes inside it and it does something.. but you are not sure what it does.. This image is a QR Code. and it will be your friend by the end of this article. We have been using them in our business for almost a year now with our clients and our own branding.
There has been a noticable increased use of the QR or Quick Response code lately and I wanted to let you know the benefits of why you should be using them in all your offline promotions.
The basics: A QR Code is really just a bar code that looks different from what we are used to, such as the ones we see on food and clothing we buy. It was created by a company in Japan to make the warehouse more efficient, in 1994. Since that time, they have become very big in Japan and Europe and recently over to North America where we see them today in Malls, in advertising, in magazines, on our food packaging and even on Clothing now.
How it all works is that a person would see the QR code in a mall, they can point their Smart Phone as if taking a picture at the Code, using any QR Reader software (most of them are free to download). Once the scan is done (it’s like taking a picture and very fast), your Smart phone will re-direct you to the page that it’s linked up to, say a Sales page or a Special offer page, on your Smart phone. So it captures your attention right away and can lead to sales.
I believe that QR code help to speed up the connection that is created between the Offline and online worlds a lot faster if used correctly. You can even link to your Social Media platforms of choice!
QR codes speed up the time of connection to your customers as you don’t need to remember a long URL to type in as it is Scanned in via the Smart Phone.
In your business, whatever you do, if you advertise in any way, QR codes offer benefits that a lot of regular lead generating tools do not. These include (but certainly not limited to):
– QR codes can dial phone numbers for you
– QR codes can link to email messages
– QR codes can link to Social Media platforms and images or even just text.
– QR codes can be read anytime and anywhere in any country, which makes it a great thing and convenient.
– QR codes can speed up purchases to generate sales (such as at malls, advertisements and mobile marketing)
Some ideas on where you can put QR codes:
– On Business cards (see the back of mine) to help speed up the connection with other people. Mine works well as people see it’s new and want to scan it.
– On food items and even restaurant menus to showcase the food content/ingredients/calories so the customer can choose the best for them.
– On your advertisement posters for your next event. Get people registered right from the Poster!
– Ticket purchases can use QR codes to be scanned at the point of entry
– Real estate agents can use QR codes to link to their website or more specifically to the property they are showing. It could even lead to a Virtual viewing. No need for the TXT messages that are on signs. Use QR codes. It’s 1 step and looks very professional.
One note on linking to a website via your QR code..
I want to show you an example of linking to a website. Please scan the image to the left with your Smart phone/QR reader and it will take you to one of my clients websites that we have done QR advertising with.
The Wine Ladies share the splendour of food and wine for all and the wonderful lifestyle it entails. They needed a way to advertise to their fans and new customers so they have begun using QR Codes in their promotional material to speed up the process of sharing information and generating sales from their Online store (by the way, there are some great things in there!)
We have create a mobile template as well as their regular website template. Here is their website: http://www.thewineladies.com.
When linking to websites via the mobile phone, if at all possible, you should ensure that the website is “mobile friendly”. What this means is that you create a separate template for mobile phones to see the site in a nice and concise way on their screens, rather than all the bells and whistles as you would on a normal computer screen. If you scan the image above and then click on the link to the site, you will see the same content but in a more manageable way for a mobile user’s phone.
How you create a QR code in a nutshell, is:
1. You would choose the URL you would like to take people to, such as your website, real estate property page, your CV,etc
2. Copy and paste that url into http://goo.gl/ for it to generate the QR code for you
3. Download or screenshot the QR Code that is generated for you (each on is individual to the system) and
4. Place it in your Marketing material
QR codes can be generated from services like http://goo.gl/ from Google and other websites for free, however these free versions are generally small to print so you may look around for a QR Code service that generates large QR codes for you.
So the next time you get something in the mail, or from the mail, take a look to see if you see the funny White box with black boxes inside and scan it. See where it takes you..
until next time