Recently, Twitter rolled out a new effort to build up their advertising business. Now you can purchase ads that will reach users based on the keywords in their recent tweets as well as the tweets they’ve interacted with recently. Today we’re going to go into some detail about this new feature and talk about how useful it might be to you.
In other words, we’re going to tell you why you care.
We might also talk about ice cream because it’s May now and summer is coming!
What is keyword targeting?
Keyword targeting is a way for brands to show ads to users based on specific words in their tweets as well as words in tweets they’ve interacted with recently. In this way, people can be targeted based on things they’ve already said they’re interested in. As Twitter explains it, marketers can “reach users at the right moment in the right context” instead of trying to reach them on the basis of geographic location or demographic information.
This does not mean you’ll see more ads on Twitter
Twitter promises us that this won’t mean that every time we tweet something we’ll see an ad for something related to it. It just means that we’ll see more stuff related to things we actually care about. We’ll still be able to ignore Promoted Tweets, but we might not be as likely to ignore things since the ones we see will be more relevant to us. And indeed that is the hope behind these changes. Twitter hopes that this new feature will make people a lot more likely to engage with Promoted Tweets.
And this is why you care: people who are already interested in what you’re saying will see your tweets.
Pretty freakin’ sweet, right?
Speaking of sweet…
How it works
Twitter uses the example of advertising concert tickets to explain how this all works, but we’re going to talk about it in language that more of us can understand and appreciate: ice cream.
So let’s pretend that a user tweets about totally digging red velvet cake, and it so happens that YOU just added that flavor to your ice cream menu. You can run a geotargeted ad campaign using the keywords “red velvet cake” with a tweet that links to your ice cream shop’s website. That tweeter, having expressed an interest in red velvet cake, will now become aware of the glory and the wonder that is your newest flavor— red velvet cake ice cream. And it’s all because of this keyword targeting business.
How to do it
Setting up a targeted keyword campaign is easy peasy. First, you do your research and come up with the keywords you’d like to use (in our example that might be “red velvet cake,” “red velvet cake ice cream,” etc.). Choose whether you want to use phrase match or unordered keyword match. Next, you pick from other targeting options like geographic location, gender, and type of device. Your promoted tweets will then appear in user’s timelines when they mention any of your keywords or interact with other people’s posts that contain them.
It’ll be interesting to see how this takes off, but we think it sounds like it’s going to work really well. Folks who have already tried it are giving good reports, but we’d like to hear from any of you who’ve given it a whirl.
How did it work for you and would you do it again?
So, you’ve read our post about Google AdWords and Facebook Ads and you’ve decided to go with advertising on Facebook. But now what? They have so many products! There are Promoted Posts, Sponsored Stories, Page Post Ads and Marketplace Ads, but what do all these things do? It’s overwhelming!
Not to worry, GLAD WORKS friends. We can sort this out for you.
Let’s dig in and take a look at Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories—the two things we think you’re most likely to be interested in to start out with.
A year ago this May, Facebook rolled out Promoted Posts, which gives businesses a chance to pay to get their content in front of more eyeballs. Since only a very limited percentage of your page’s followers actually see your posts come up in their news feeds, using Promoted Posts makes sense if you’ve got something you really want people to see.
The cost to promote a post varies based on your geographic location and the number of people you’re reaching, but you can spend anywhere from $10 up to $100 to make the magic happen. If any of your followers interact with your post (by sharing, liking, or commenting), a higher percentage of their friends will also see it.
Promoted Posts show up exclusively in news feeds and you can purchase them right there on the post. Just look for the “Promote” option at the bottom right hand corner of each post. You’ll have a few options for how much you want to spend as well as an estimate of how many people will see your post.
Another way to get your content in front of more Facebookers is to use Sponsored Stories. Sponsored Stories are built around user activity. As an advertiser, you pay to highlight an action that users have already taken. That action appears to the user’s friends either on the sidebar or in their news feed. An audience that’s not connected to a brand page themselves or through a friend will not see a Sponsored Story.
The goal of a Sponsored Story is to get more users to take the same action that a friend has taken. So, if for example someone Likes a page, the Sponsored Story will appear either in the news feed or sidebar of that person’s friends, hoping to inspire them to follow suit. Think of it as being like “word of mouth” advertising.
There are different kinds of Sponsored Stories:
- Page Like Sponsored Stories appear when a user has liked a page
- Offer Claimed Sponsored Stories appear when users have claimed an offer
- Sweepstakes Sponsored Stories show up when someone has entered a sweepstakes.
You can purchase most Sponsored Stories through Facebook’s self-serve ad tool.
Which is right for you?
Well, that depends on your goal. If your goal is to remind your existing fans that you’re still alive and kicking, or to spread the word about something awesome you feel the world needs to know about, Promoted Posts are a fantastic way to do that. You have to have more than 400 likes on your page in order to use the Promoted Posts option.
Sponsored Stories can help you grow likes on your page, but it can also help you when you’re running a promotion on your website or hosting an event. For example, if a user signs up to go to an event you’re hosting, that story will appear to their friend who will hopefully say “Oh! That sounds like fun! I want to go too!”
It’s tough to say which one is right for you since every audience is different and the answer isn’t so clear-cut. It might make sense to dip your toe in the water a little bit and go with a Promoted Post first. If you don’t have enough followers, then a sponsored story might be the way to go toward getting your message out while giving you a chance to attract more likes to your page.
Whichever you choose, be sure to use it strategically and then track your results. Not everything is going to work for every audience, so keep testing to be sure you’re not wasting your time, money and effort on something that’s getting you mediocre results.
If you’re thinking about investing in some pay per click advertising, but you’re not sure if you should start with Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, then this is for you!
We can help you get it all sorted out so you’re on your way to a solid plan by the end of this blog post!
As it turns out, Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are both good, but for different things. It all depends on what you intend to do with your ad. So, the first thing you need to do is establish your goals. They’ll help you determine what the best fit will be since even though there are many similarities between the two, the web audience for Google AdWords and Facebook Ads behave differently.
But before we get into how they’re different, let’s talk about how they’re alike.
Google AdWords and Facebook: more alike than unalike
Both advertising platforms share some basic things in common. Both have massive audiences and both offer self-service pay-per-click advertising. They’ve also got free marketing tools like Google Places and Facebook Pages. But perhaps the best thing about both of them is that they each allow you to run highly targeted ads to very specific folks based on geographic location and other demographic data that they’ve collected about their users. However, as similar as they are, they work differently.
What’s your goal?
Having a well thought out goal for your ad is super important. If you’re heading into it with a shot in the dark approach saying, “I’ll just pick one and give it a try” it’s probably not going to work the way you want it to. So, ask yourself if you’re wanting to build brand awareness or if you’re hoping to get more visits to your website.
The answer to that question will determine if you should go with Google AdWords or Facebook Ads.
When to use Facebook Ads
Let’s say your goal is to build brand awareness or to get a specific message out to a certain group. Facebook Ads are your best choice here because these ads are highly targeted to folks who may be interested in what you’re offering at some point. Facebook users are generally there to catch up with friends and look at cute kitty pictures. Nobody is really looking to buy something right then and there when they’re on Facebook. This means that fewer people are going to click on your ad since they’re on Facebook for another purpose. With Facebook Ads, the demand is created by the ad. Think of it as planting a seed. Just as it takes time for a seed to grow, it may take time to see results this way. But as people develop a need for what you have, they’ll think of you because they saw your ad.
When to use Google AdWords
With Google AdWords on the other hand, the demand is already there—the seed has already been planted and the consumer is searching for what you’re offering. This means that more people are going to click through to your site and possibly purchase something because you came up in a search at the exact time they were looking for you. Google AdWords can capture their intent right away and send them over to your site. So, if you’re trying to get some traffic, this is a good choice.
What’s easier to use?
We tend to think that Facebook has the advantage on this one since more people are accustomed to Facebook’s user interface. Google AdWords can be overwhelming because of all the fancy features and functions, so if you find yourself crying in the corner after trying to do this yourself, you can always call us. Nobody’s going to think you’re silly for needing the help because it can be tough to navigate this stuff!
The short version
If your goal is to get some business quickly, then Google AdWords is the way to go. If establishing brand awareness and visibility is what you want, then go with Facebook. Of course, nobody says you can’t choose both! That would be ideal, but if you’d prefer to be conservative for now and just dip your toe into the waters a little bit, use your goals as your guide and see what happens. You can always try your other option later.
When we tell you that as a business, not being on Google+ could turn out to be a big mistake, you’re probably thinking something like this:
“I’m having enough trouble keeping up with Facebook and Twitter! I do not need another social network. Go sell crazy somewhere else, GLAD WORKS!”
And a little while ago, we would have told you to focus your efforts on Facebook and/or Twitter if that’s what’s been working for you. But things are different now.
Facebook has become difficult for brands to use, forcing them to pay to reach their own audience. But we’re not going to sit around crying and being poo poo babies about it are we GLAD WORKS friends? No, we’re not. Because when it comes down to it, Facebook is really just a tool. If this one no longer works for you, there are other tools out there for you to use. Like Google+ for instance!
Here’s why it’s your friend:
Second largest social network
Google+ is now the second largest social network, ranking second only to Facebook. It has about 90 million users. To put that in context, Twitter has about 100 million. Not too shabby, right? Rumors that Google+ is lame city are just that. Rumors.
Topical, not typical
Google+ is not a typical social network, it’s a topical one. It’s organized around content rather than who your acquaintances are. This makes perfect sense since Google’s entire reason for being is to organize information. So, naturally Google+ is going to be centered on that. This makes it a very hospitable place for anyone with content to share.
Google + IS Google
Recently, Google+ has been integrated with Google Docs, Chrome, Google Reader, Gmail and YouTube. The header featuring Search, News, Maps, Gmail etc., now incorporates Google+. It’s like all the other Google products are ingredients making up the Google + sandwich. This means that Google+ isn’t a stand-alone social network like Facebook is. Google+ is Google.
Search results heaven
Google search results now lead more and more to Google, which means that if you’re using Google+, your stuff is going to come up first when people search Google. If you have no Google+ presence and your competition does, guess who’s going to pop up first in a search? Not you!
These are only a few quick reasons for giving Google+ a whirl. We’re not saying that you need to abandon Facebook altogether because let’s face it, Facebook can be very fun! So use it for what it’s good at—talking to people who might become clients and customers. Just don’t feel like your success in the social sphere is totally dependent on Facebook. Because it isn’t. Not at all.
We hope you leave us today realizing that it’s ok to change directions if things aren’t working for you. Just because you’ve had a presence on Facebook doesn’t mean you have to keep pouring precious energy into something that isn’t doing its job. Direct more attention to building what holds promise for success. Whatever platform that stands on is up to you, but we encourage you to give Google+ a try.
After all, it’s up to you as a business owner to be flexible and willing to adapt as trends shift. You’ve gotta stay on your toes!
Have you noticed that your engagement on Facebook seems to have dropped recently? You may be thinking that your followers have deserted you, but that’s not the case, GLAD WORKS friends. They can’t see you as much anymore because Facebook recently rolled out two new features that some say will have a devastating effect on brands, while others say it’s a chance to re-connect with truly passionate fans and followers.
The changes come in two flavors: Opt-in Notifications and a separate Pages Feed. Opt-in Notifications for page updates allow users to opt to receive posts from brands they like, allowing them to filter out posts by other brands. (To add a brand to your interest list, go to the brand’s page, click on the arrow next to “message” and in the drop down menu, click “add to interests list.”) There’s also a separate Pages Feed (click on "Pages Feed" in the left sidebar to view) where users can see all posts from pages they’ve liked instead of seeing them come up in their feeds along with family and friends.
Some say these new features offer brands a chance to re-connect with their fans, others fear this is a devastating blow to brands who have already worked hard to acquire and engage their fans, forcing them to pay to reach their followers since with the new features, Facebookers who ‘like’ a brand page will now only see about 10% of what that brand posts—unless the brand opts to pay to promote their posts.
To help us sort all this Facebook Tomfoolery out, we interviewed Adam Harvey, the social stallion (he totally made us call him that) in charge here at GLAD WORKS. Here’s what he had to say…
What impact have these features had on brands so far?
So far it looks like these two new features are negatively impacting brands. We see it happening on our own Facebook page. Our interaction with our followers has gone way down since the changes were rolled out—despite taking active steps so that fans know they need to add us to their “interests lists” to keep seeing our posts. I know this is true for other brands as well.
This is a big problem for many brands whose followers don’t know about the changes or who aren’t motivated to add them to their “interests list.” Many brands are finding that they have to take active steps to get their fans to do that.
To continue to get posts in front of some eyeballs, brands have to pay to promote posts even though they’ve already spent a lot of time, money and effort trying to build a community of followers. They’re essentially shut out--Facebook has basically broken their own system so that brands now have to pay for the solution.
What can brands do to get around these changes and keep their communities alive?
We’re all going to have to find ways to be even more creative and engaging than we were before. Now more than ever “speak to, not at” is the golden rule of social media. We’ve got to be as interesting as possible—as interesting as family and friends if we want to get our posts seen.
This means no more random postings about “stuff.” Every post must be carefully thought out and planned, then supplemented with a paid promotion strategy. If you don’t know how on earth to do this, now might be the time to hire a specialist (ahem).
But how do we know what truly engages our followers if our interaction has gone down so sharply?
Take what you have and work with it. Learn from what is engaging that fraction of fans who do see your posts. Pay close attention and track what kinds of things are really getting them talking to you. When you’re sure you’ve got a good post, pay to promote that one. This doesn’t mean that you have to pay to promote every single post, but maybe shift your focus to quality rather than quantity.
I think you should still keep a regular posting schedule, and don’t lose hope. You can still engage followers; it’s just a bigger challenge. Facebook’s algorithm still tends to push posts that are more engaging (getting more likes and comments) onto users’ news feeds. The better the post, the more chance for engagement, the better the odds that people will see it. That’s one way to sidestep the paid posts issue, but you’re still going to have to pay to promote a post or two here and there.
Sorry Facebookers. It was going to happen to us sooner or later!
Greetings GLAD WORKS friends and welcome to the wonderful world of Yelp! We’ve written about Yelp before, but today we’re going to talk about some stuff we bet you didn’t know about it. It looks like more businesses are getting on board the Yelp train lately, and if you’re thinking about it too, this is a good time to read up.
Yelp is cool beans, you guys. Let us show you…
Not just for restaurants
When folks think about Yelp, most of them think of it as a place to look up a new restaurant before taking a risk and eating something expensive and gross, but the truth is that shopping is actually Yelp’s biggest category. Restaurants are a very close second, but they have a natural advantage. We think it’s because it’s food related and people have very strong opinions about that. They also have strong opinions about customer service, which must be why shopping and dining experiences get so much attention on Yelp.
Nobody’s really going to go on there to review their dry cleaner, are they? Maybe, but not as likely as the more fun stuff like eating and shopping. That dry cleaner would have to have some pretty spectacular customer service to motivate people to review them…
Customer service rules all!
Customers appreciate it when the people they encounter are nice, friendly, and helpful. In fact, great customer service is a big way to inspire people to write reviews. Even if the food was bad or the dry cleaner didn’t get that stain out of your favorite shirt, if the customer service was good, people are going to recognize that and their review will reflect it.
Asking people to write a review is naughty
Let’s say you own a hair salon and you have a customer who’s on his or her way out the door positively beaming because they looks so darn good, it might be tempting to ask them to write a review. Yelp discourages this behavior. Instead they want customers to come upon the idea on their own. Perhaps they can be made aware that you’re on Yelp, but they shouldn’t be made to feel like promotional zombies. Remember you’re there to serve them, not the other way around. That said, we don’t see why you can’t plant the seed by at least making people aware that you’re on there.
You know, maybe you can slip into their houses at night and whisper “find us on Yelp!” into their ears as they sleep.
Something subtle like that.
If that makes you feel weird, you could just put the Yelp logo on your business card, put a sticker on your cash register, that kind of thing. Yelp’s Flickr page has a bunch of free downloadable signage for you to use.
You can earn stickers!
Have you seen those “People Love Us on Yelp” stickers? No? Well that’s because they’re hard to get, GLAD WORKS friends. They don’t just go giving those out to people. Instead, they give them only to businesses with high overall ratings. You pretty much have to be a rock star to get them, but you know what? It’s a fun thing to strive for and it just might help you motivate yourself to go above and beyond to inspire those great reviews.
If you get a bad review, you don’t have to shut up and take it
But for the love of all that is good and businesslike in this world, don’t respond with anger! If somebody says something unpleasant about your business, Yelp is fine with it if you want to dispute it. Just keep it professional because everything on there is public, meaning that everyone can see every word you type.
So are you guys ready to get on board with Yelp? It’s super cool, and if you want, we can help you figure out how to use it to your greatest advantage. Maybe we can even help you get one of those fancy stickers! How cool would that be? Way better than the ones that say “my kid can beat up your kid!”
Since we started our Pinterest account a few months back, we’ve been learning some things about Pinterest that we thought you’d like to know about. Whether you already have an account, are considering one, or you’re sitting there scratching your head going “what the heck is Pinterest?” this article is for you!
Back when we first wrote about Pinterest for business, we talked about the basics like setting up an account, strategizing, planning, choosing your pins, and following key people. This time, we’re going to delve a little deeper into the finer points of maintaining your boards and participating in the Pinterest community. Just like with any other social media platform, Pinterest has some rules and best practices that we all need to follow if we’re going to keep it civilized amongst the 17 million users.
By knowing and taking the right steps, you can leverage Pinterest’s massive potential for referring folks to your business.
Get the Pinterest app for mobile so you can participate wherever you are. There are lots of new management tools emerging too, so give those a whirl as they come up! And don’t forget to put that “Pin It” button on your browser so you can share awesome things when you see them. You can use image creation tools such as Instagram to create your own “fresh” pins as well.
Pinterest is a space buzzing with creative energy. Most pins are re-pins from someone else, so if you want to be noticed, create some new content by pinning your own original, “fresh” pins. You can do this by choosing great images for your blog and pinning them. You can also pin a variety of different things like photos, infographics, video, and text. That said, be careful about being self-promotional. You don’t always have to be trying to sell something on Pinterest.
However, when you ARE doing something promotional, don’t forget to include a call to action in your pin to invite people to act on what they see! You might also want to put a little price banner at the corner of your pin if you’re pinning one of your products.
Simply pinning things isn’t going to get you very far. You’ve got to get in there and engage people by commenting on the pins of others and tagging other pinners by name. Don’t forget to acknowledge people for repining your stuff! Just like you say “thank you” when someone re-tweets your tweet or shares your Facebook status, you have to acknowledge kind pinners too.
Follow, follow, follow!
Remember to follow lots of people. These folks can be customers, but also what we call “taste makers.” Tastemakers are the heavy hitters on Pinterest who pin all the livelong day and have scads of followers. Follow everyone, comment, like, re-pin, and when you’re done, do it some more!
Oh, and the SEO!
Everyone is always talking about SEO because it’s really important that people notice your profile and pins! Otherwise, why are you pinning? Be sure to add categories, keywords, interesting captions, #hashtags, and URLs to your pins. By all means, pin original pictures and content from your website, but carefully consider what content might entice Pinteresters the most. What do you want to bring them in with?
Don’t forget to track your ROI!
Google Analytics can help you track your traffic from Pinterest via referral sources and keyword searches. You can use that to see how people are reacting to your pins. You can also track your activity to count followers, likes, repins and comments. As always, use what you find to help guide your efforts.
Just like with any other social media platform, rocking it out on Pinterest involves some degree of trial and error. This whole thing is a learning process and it takes experimentation to learn what your particular audience is going to be into. Stick with it, follow these best practices, and you’ll be leveraging the potential of Pinterest in no time! Happy Pinning!
Foursquare recently rolled out some pretty exciting stuff that gives business owners lots more power to communicate with their customers than ever before. So today, we’re going to talk about these changes and what they can mean for your business. If you’re not on Foursquare yet, this just might make you want to take the plunge!
Previously, business owners had the ability to claim their venues and set up specials. That was about it. Foursquare didn’t give merchants a lot of control, but after taking the whole thing apart and rebuilding it from scratch, business owners will enjoy a completely redesigned web dashboard with features that make it easier to market in a more targeted and relevant way.
Consumers on Foursquare will notice a new feature called “Local Updates.” This is a tool that helps business owners engage more with their loyal customers by sending updates about their daily specials and events. These updates appear in a user’s news feed, on a merchant’s venue page, and after a user checks into a venue. Merchants can even share photos and news like in a Tweet or Facebook status update. If a user has checked into the business many times or “liked” it on the app, they’ll start getting updates from that merchant when their phone location indicates they’re in the area.
So, a customer could “like” her favorite bagel shop on Foursquare and get updates on specials, but only when she’s in town. If she goes away on vacation, she won’t get those updates until she returns, leaving her feed free of deals that aren’t relevant to her.
But what good is all this cool stuff? How do you know it’s working? Well, that’s what the new dashboard will show you. It’s a great way to keep an eye on what’s happening—what works and what doesn’t.
The new dashboard allows merchants tools to access stats about total check-ins, unique customers, who likes the venue and/or its updates, and how traffic changes from month to month. Clicking “view report” will bring up day-by-day stats for a look into the daily buying habits of customers. With this information, business owners can spot trends that can help them optimize their updates and specials to get more bodies through the door.
These cool new merchant tools are still completely free for businesses to use, but Foursquare is gearing up to make its tools so powerful and valuable that businesses will be willing to pay to use them. For now though, it’s time to get on board and start seeing what Foursquare can do!
How do you plan to use the new Foursquare features? We want to hear all about it!
Starting in late May, Facebook rolled out a new feature called Promoted Posts. It’s a way for you to pay for an individual post to be seen in more of your fans’ news feeds, and it may be a nice little option for you to consider taking advantage of as part of your social media marketing mix.
Here’s the 411!
What is a Promoted Post, exactly?
Your Facebook posts are seen by some portion of your fans. But many people might not be frequent Facebook users, or they may have tons of friends or other brands crowding their feed. Promoted Posts are a paid way to push your posts more prominently into their feeds. It’s like putting on a giant orange wig and a pair of stilts and walking through a crowd. People are bound to notice you.
Have you noticed at the bottom of your posts that there’s a new metric there showing you how many people have seen your post? It’s the number of people you have reached and the percentage of your fans that have seen your post. This is most helpful information because it gives you direct feedback on your social media ROI. If the number of fans you have reached with your posts is 10% or below, you might want to consider doing some promoted posts to make your Facebook page more effective. Even if it’s higher than 10%, you’ll still want to consider promoted posts because they can be really helpful to you in ways we’ll mention in just a sec.
But first, let’s talk a little more about what Promoted Posts do.
Why you care about Promoted Posts
Promoted Posts are an easy and affordable ($5-$300) way to increase engagement. Think of them like paid SEO. We think they’re a great option because it can give your engagement a boost and provide a way to re-engage fans who have perhaps wandered off a bit, or who haven’t seen your posts for a while.
This is really important because clicks, comments, and shares will help you get back into more news feeds. The more people who see your posts, the more good stuff will happen.
Fun facts about Promoted Posts
- Promoted Posts are only available to brand pages with more than four hundred fans—yet another motivator to get those likes up!
- You can only run a promoted post on a new post that’s less than three days old.
- Your posts will be pushed for three days.
- Once a post is running, you can stop it if you change your mind.
- You can set and change your budget as you see fit.
- Under your posts will be a tag that lets people know it was sponsored.
- Promoted Posts are trackable: both during and after running your campaign. You can get a detailed report that shows you how much interaction your post received.
Which posts to promote
Well, this takes a little experimentation.
Typically, at least in our experience, our more directly engaging posts get the most attention and interaction from our fans as opposed to some of our more “businessy” ones. This is not to say that you’ve always got to be the life of the party, but sometimes it’s nice to put on your dancing shoes and have a little fun with your fans. It makes you approachable and human. So, promote some stuff that directly and actively engages your fans along with your industry-related stuff. It’s more likely to be shared.
Maybe throw a picture of your mascot up there or talk about something interesting that happened at the office. Did somebody send you a cake as thanks for a job well done? Before you let your office food vultures dig in, take a picture for Facebook! The only rule you need to follow is to keep it clean, professional and grandma friendly.
If you’re planning on running a promotion, having a sale, or offering a new service, Promoted Posts are absolutely perfect. If you’re trying to do a little marketing research, you can also use Promoted Posts to get as much feedback from your fans as you can.
If you’re still stuck for ideas, you can analyze your content a bit. Look back a few months and find your most popular posts. The ones that got the most engagement will be the ones that will do the best when promoted. So, make more like that and promote them.
What about those posts that bombed? You can still use that content, but think of ways you can rework it to give it a new life.
At the end of the day, Facebook’s Promoted Posts are another great way to help you increase your social media engagement. With a little forethought and some data gathering, you can set yourself up for success and make the most out of your investment.
A few months ago, when Google+ came out, we told you a little bit about it even though it wasn’t time for businesses to start building their brand pages quite yet. (If you missed that article and you’re unfamiliar with the basics of Google+, we suggest you go back and check it out so you’ll know what we’re talking about today.) Now that the networking site is properly optimized to meet the needs of businesses with Google+ Pages, it’s go time, people.
Google+ brand pages look a whole lot like a Facebook fan page with images at the top, a list of followers displayed down the side of the page, and a place to post messages/status updates, etc. But, Google+ has some cool things that make it different from Facebook.
For example, Google+ Pages allow users to recommend brands by using the +1 button:
That button functions similarly to the Facebook “Like” button. By clicking on the +1 button, you aren’t automatically signed up to get updates from a particular brand. You have to opt-in for that by adding the brand to your circles. So, users have more control over how much or how little they interact with your business.
But you have control too! With the circles feature, you can create different circles and sort your fans/followers into different groups. So, if you have a particularly loyal group of followers, you can create a special circle to put them in so that only those people get special offers from you. Likewise, you can make an introductory offer just to your new people. This gives you tons of options when you’re running a promotion or you want to target specific content to a specific segment of your clientele. Google+ Pages allows you to have even more focused and intimate interactions with people.
Speaking of interacting with customers, the Google+ Hangouts feature is pretty slick. Remember when we talked about holding seminars a couple of weeks ago? This might be an interesting way to do that. And with the integration of Google Docs into Hangouts, you can even share documents with your attendees! But that’s not all! Hangouts can also be great for a face-to-face alternative to traditional customer service calls. If you can’t be in the same room with your customers, this is the next best thing.
But one of Google+’s biggest strengths lies in the fact that it reaches a much larger audience than Facebook. When you use Facebook, it’s fairly contained within the walls of that network. Google+ content, on the other hand, is directly relevant to search results which means that all of your +1’s will reach not only the 40 million or so people who use Google+, but also all the people who use Google every day.
That’s a lot of people, and if you’re trying to build up your web presence, Google+ can certainly help you do that.
This isn’t at all an exhaustive list of what Google+ has to offer as opposed to Facebook, but it’s some food for thought just in case you’re considering starting a page.
At this point, you’re probably wondering how you’d even use a Google+ brand page. After all, you’ve already got a Facebook page, right? You’ve already invested lots of time into that, so why would you start a Google+ page and what on earth would you do with it if you did? Well, one argument for starting one in addition to your Facebook efforts is that more brands are appearing on Google+ every day. You want to beat your competitors to it, if you can. You should also get in on the ground floor before all kinds of new features are added and it becomes more difficult to learn your way around.
After you’ve started your page, and filled out your profile completely, don’t feel badly if you don’t know what to do once you get there. Many brands haven’t quite figured that part out yet either. Some even go so far as to ask their followers what they’d like to see them do on Google+! There’s no shame in asking your fans for feedback—after all they’re the ones who make this whole shebang worth doing!
Another good way to help you remedy the “we’re here, now what?” situation is to write out what you might be able to accomplish with some of Google+’s features and develop a strategy to go along with it. Have you been wishing you could send a special offer to only a few customers, but lacked a good way to do it? This could be a pretty cool way to do that. Plus, it’ll make you look like a social media rock star—rockin’ the Google+ pages while everyone else is still depending only on Facebook.
At this point, we’re not going to say that Google+ is the best thing ever, but it’s got some really neat features that you could take advantage of and we think it’s definitely worth going over and starting an account to play around with. Besides, we’re there! Come hang out with the cool kids and don’t forget to add us to your circles!