Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Yelp Is Now Key In Local SEO

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Yelp had been the search engine for Siri on iPhone 4S. Although only most of the content came from Yelp the searching was done exclusively by the service. Apple’s new iOS, iOS 6, prominently features Yelp as the sole provider of local searching and for reviews on Apple’s new maps feature.

yelp2

Yelp has also inked a deal with Bing for content on local searched. Yelp is also advertising itself to businesses as the way into Apple Maps. Opening a business page with the service is the only way to make sure the company is listed when iPhone users conduct a local search.

Before the iOS6 announcement Google was the hegemon in local searching. Now it seems Yelp and Google are the binary stars around which the other services revolve. The social media agency will make sure that its clients are not only present on Yelp, but that those clients are actively recruiting feedback and reviews to make their listings more important.

Yelp Elevated By Apple Relationship

FaceBook Releases Find Friend Nearby

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Find Friends Nearby is FaceBook’s latest app for its mobile version. If two people have the feature turned on, then FaceBook will ping a user that another user is nearby. Ideally this will help build connections among people who recently met each other, but may not know much more about each other to be able to send a traditional friend request.

Facebook

One of the benefits for the social media agency is the ever widening network users will accumulate. By making it easier to bring in slight acquaintances, then the preferences displayed by a user will gain a larger and larger audience. This is especially important to the social media agency because new evidence suggests the preferences of weak ties of people are more effective than the preferences of close friends.

This app may also be a forerunner of FaceBook’s entry into conferencing software. If conferencing is able to move from laptops and desktops into the mobile arena, then it will be a boon for those advertisers associated with the conferencing software.

The app is very new so there is little research about adoption rates or effectiveness. FaceBook has also not been forthcoming with how far “nearby” extends. The service is also an opt-in service, which is unusual for FaceBook and may limit its functionality significantly.

Facebook Releases New App to Find Friends Nearby

Empty FaceBook Pages and the Empty Dance Floor

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Creating the FaceBook page for a brand is the easy part for the social media agency. Creating conversations and bringing fans on board, however, is where the agency earns the money. The problem is that these engagements are difficult to create. Great content is not necessarily the solution because if there are no fans to see the content, then there is nobody to recognize it is worthwhile. What is needed is a way to jumpstart conversations.

online conversation

Patrick Randolph, the VP of Business at Talkwheel, has a new essay about overcoming this very problem. He offers up an instructive analogy. The empty FaceBook page is like the empty dance floor. Nobody will go out there if it is empty and yet it remains empty. Before offering the solution Randolph says this is also the Google+ problem. Because Google+ and FaceBook are substitutes for each other (as opposed to complimentary services like FaceBook and Twitter) then one cannot succeed and that loser will be Google+.

How then does a social media agency overcome the empty dance floor? It reaches out to communities that are already proven to enjoy talking. The agency then needs to help them communicate better. Calling in favors from family and friends is also important. People who come by and see a conversation will not know that the conversation is among people that see each other regularly. The visitor will simply see a conversation and think this must be a worthwhile location.

Better communication on Social Networks

Etsy Opens To More Businesses

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Etsy is known for focusing on crafty and vintage products, but it is reshaping itself to attract more normal vendors and products. Part of Etsy’s rebranding will also focus on being more social, including an Etsy Local option that narrows searches to neighbors and nearby vendors. Part of Etsy’s rebranding is a focus on markets as conversations, and that is precisely where the social media agency excels.

etsy local

One of the benefits for putting brands onto Etsy is to help ease some of the burden on a brand’s own website. Etsy has a time-tested infrastructure in place to conduct sales and shipping procedures. Even if a brand does not need this help, it might be useful to experience how another operation works.

The other and the best benefit to adding Etsy into the portfolio of the social media agency is using it as a low cost way to test waters. Funky and creative projects can be added to Etsy with minimal effort—Etsy has an incentive to make it easy—and tested for reception by the public. Etsy also represents a different sort of community than can easily be built on the other social networks. The traditional user, at least until the rebranding is well completed, values quirky and different products.

The social media agency will also find the people at Etsy willing to do some of the work without cost. They are already being compensated by Etsy to do some feature work and this work can be piggy backed. In fact, it is encouraged. While Etsy will not make a small business a household name, it will help increase exposure and possibly increase sales.

Etsy becoming more social

Google To Release a Business Builder Suite

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Google is preparing to release soon its Business Builder Suite, which will help small businesses better market themselves. The suite is a bundle of Google properties put together to help the small business put itself on the internet with minimal hassle. The suite will include a Google+ Local page, AdWords Express, Google Offers, Google Wallet, an in-store loyalty product and a text based feedback mechanism for customers.

chrome-icon

This is probably not good news for the social media agency. Part of why small businesses come to the agency is for outsourcing these tasks and now Google will remove some of that need. There are some gaps between what this suite offers and what the agency can do. It is these differences that can be selling points. None of this suite deals with FaceBook or Twitter. There is also not a reputation tracking ability. Search ads are great and important, but increasingly the importance of an online presence is in things that Google will not be helping with.

In the long run this will be a boon for the social media agency because it increases the importance and relevance of online marketing. The Business Builder Suite is great for starting out with, but as companies want to increase their exposure, then they will need to approach he professionals.

WSJ: Google Prepares “Business Builder” For Small Business Marketers

Pinterest for Business Growing in Popularity

Monday, June 4th, 2012

The popularity of Pinterest continues to grow as a popular social media marketing tool for some businesses. Restaurants can share recipes, new or popular dishes, and photos of events. Small store owners can showcase unique items or gift ideas, which can be liked and shared across the web.

Pinterest is a relevant and fascinating approach to targeting niche markets, especially those in the wedding industry. Weber’s Restaurant and Hotel in Ann Arbor, Michigan has a brilliantly designed Pinterest board catering to area brides-to-be.

http://pinterest.com/annarborwedding/

The “Weber’s Ann Arbor Weddings” board makes planning your wedding at the historic restaurant and hotel easy. There are boards covering all aspects of a wedding, including “The Linens,” “The Venue” and “The Flowers”; there is even a board for wedding cakes in Ann Arbor. All of the pinned items featured are from local businesses and can realistically be incorporated into a bride’s dream wedding.

Pinterest also provides an interactive platform for brides to share their experience with others. Users can post their own wedding photos onto the “Weber’s Ann Arbor Weddings” board, making it easy for future brides to plan, create and envision their wedding reception in Ann Arbor.

New data About Twitter Usage

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has released its latest findings about Twitter usage. Since early 2011 the total number of Americans using Twitter has remained fairly stable, except that the number of people who use Twitter on a daily basis has doubled from 4% to 8%. What is really useful about the data is the demographic breakdowns of those users.

Twitter Users

Twitter still has a very high adoption rate among African-Americans. 28% say they have used it and 13% say they use it daily. That’s a significant bump from the American average and something the social media agency needs to keep in mind if that is a demographic being targeted.

Young adults use Twitter more frequently, 26%, than their older counterparts, 14%. That number has shown significant growth over the past year. In May 2011, the 18 to 24 year old demographic only used Twitter 9% of the time. That is almost a 200% growth over the past year. Part of that growth is attributed to the proliferation of smartphones into the younger demographic.

Another interesting data point is that Twitter tends to have higher adoption rates among the least educated and the lower incomes. Of the annual household income brackets, it’s the lowest one that scores highest on usage. 19% of households earning less than $30,000/year use the service.  The number also tracks to education levels. 22% of people without a high school diploma use Twitter. These numbers could reflect the growing usage among teenagers, although that does not necessarily explain household income except that teenagers may not be able to correctly answer that question.

This data is useful for the social media agency to better hone targets and campaigns. Depending on target demographics Twitter may not be the most advantageous channel, but for some groups it might be precisely the channel to use.

8% Of U.S. Online Adults Now Use Twitter Daily

Creating Brand Advocates

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

The growth of social media has extended the reach for brand advocates. These are those customers that, for whatever reason, recommend a product or a brand to their friends and acquaintances. It is at the heart of the social media agency’s mission to have people inject a client into their networks.

word of mouth

Zuberance measured brand advocates who recommend a product at least once a year online without being paid for that recommendation. Half of them made recommendations because of a positive experience with the product. This number is not too helpful because regardless of the study brands ought to be striving for positive experiences with customers. It does, however, elevate the after-purchase actions of a brand to help cement positive feelings about the transaction.

37% of brand advocates made the recommendation to help their friends make a better decision. This requires them to know something about a product and that product’s competitors.

8% do make recommendations, but only when asked. The social media agency should try to make those requests more often. If the user responds to a question on a social network, then others will see the answer and that will help generate affinity for the product. What is important to note of all these is that only 1% of brand advocates are doing so in response to incentives. Incentives might help the people in the other groups, but it is an unnecessary expense.

Tapping into these motivations can help expand a product’s reach on the social networks where a brand is present.

Building new brand advocates

User Tweets From Your Webpages

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

After Google’s latest updates and given the increasing importance of social to the search engine results, it is becoming more and more important that a brand’s social engagements not only have excellent content for resharing but also to be keyword optimized for greater search results.

retweet

Almost every website and page now has a function for sharing, but the text that is reshared is often not utilized and rarely utilized well. Aaron Friedman, the SEO Manager at Spark, has an essay that provides some helpful hints about maximizing that space.

Normally reshares are just a regurgitation of the title of the web page. But if the title is not optimized well, then the reshare also fails to capture any percentage of search results. Having a default reshare of the title also leaves characters unused. Using much of 140 characters in a tweet is important. Friedman’s essay then goes so far as to provide a snippet of code that can be easily inserted into a webpage and affords the social media agency more control of the message that is reshared by the user.

Friedman does provide some best practices as well. The character count needs to be around 120 and not the full 140, allowing room for the user’s handle or some added text from them. Without the cushion then the user is more likely to just retweet the URL and remove the brand’s curated message. Do not spam keywords. There ought to be a coherent message that has keywords embedded. It is not an opportunity to just spread keywords around. Change the messages up. Keep them different and people will continue to come back and retweet messages.

Keep your messages short and switch them up

Google+ Engagement Is Low

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Google+ claims to have 170 million users and to be growing by leaps and bounds. RJ Metrics was skeptical about this number, possibly out of a sluggish response to Google+ branding or based on personal experience, and conducted a study about engagement on the newer social network. The study was only able to measure posts that are made public, so there is some possibility it is not indicative, but the numbers are sobering.

Google+

Of users that make a public post, only 30% of Google+ accounts will ever make another public post again. This compares to an average of 70% across all social networks. That is a staggering difference that should make the social media agency hesitant to spend any money or effort on Google+. The average public post on Google+ is also seeing less than one +1 and less one reshare. This makes it nearly impossible for a post to go viral on Google+. Brands need to instead focus on other social networks for widespread sharing and engagements. Post decay is also an issue for Google+. When a new user signs up, then the statistics predict a public post, but the time between posts is long.

It seems possible that enthusiasm for Google+ is only in the beginnings, when an account is new. People then either give up on learning how to use the network or they abandon it for the networks that are already trafficked and seen by a user’s own circle of friends. Google+ might be gaining more traction as a forum for controlled posts, posts that are not made public and only shared among a small circle of friends. The study does not measure these uses. Whether or not that caveat if true makes Google+ a valuable platform for the social media agency is doubtful.

Google+ having trouble retaining users