Advantages of Using Google+ For Business

Google+ offers a myriad of features that has made finding, sharing and engaging with content more effective and innovative. These include the +1 button, personal profiles, business pages, circles, communities, events and Hangouts. Google+ differs from Facebook in that you can follow anyone without that person having to accept a friend request.

With circles, Google+ offers a unique way to organise and share information with specific groups of people, so you can easily choose who you want to share your posts with. With the amount of benefits Google+ offers for marketing and promotion, most businesses cannot afford to ignore Google+.

Before you get started with Google+, you really need to understand the features and benefits that Google+ can offer for marketing your business. You’ll then be able to work out whether Google+ is for you, whether your audience is active on Google+ and how you can use Google+ to achieve your overall marketing goals.

In the following article, Jackson Lo oultines 8 reasons why every business should be on Google+:

8 Reasons Why Every Business Should Be On Google Plus

It’s incredible how much the web has evolved. More specifically, it’s incredible how many new products Google has introduced in the past year. When Google first announced their new platform, today known as Google+, I thought, “This could be a game changer in the social space.” But did I jump on it right away? No, not really. I was traveling in Vancouver for a company Face-to-Face event when Google+ was made available on a limited access basis. It was good times when all of us at Cardinal Path were able to take Google+ and Hangout on a test drive for the first time.

There’s been a lot of discussion since then around the potential of Google+. SEOs are taking advantage of what Google is doing with their platform like Authorship and AuthorRank. While Google+ is not a social network, we default to thinking it is because it’s another one of those sharing and communication tools with users who are always saying, “If you’re not on it, you’ll be missing out”.

Google+ is a ‘social layer’ that sits on top of many of Google’s products. You may have noticed the ‘+ Share’ button appearing in the top right of many Google properties and the many privately owned websites with the +1 button on their pages. Google wants you to use their platform because they believe there is some unique value in it that we, as users, can benefit from.

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In early 2015, Google announced some news about the separation of Google+ from its other products that led many marketers to believe that it was the beginning of the end of Google+. However, it wasn’t the end of the network, and Google is still investing heavily in the platform. In this article, Kirsti Hines discusses what has changed with Google+, and what the updates mean to social media marketers:

Google+ Changes: What Marketers Need to Know

Why Marketers Should Care About Google+

Before we dive into the specifics of the new Google+ updates, it’s important to address what these updates mean to social media marketers as a whole. Since news about the breakup of Google+ products began in early 2015, some marketers believed it was the beginning of the end of Google+. These thoughts were further supported when Google announced the separation of Google+ from it’s other products.

But now, we can see it’s not the end for Google+. “Google+’s new changes are a sure, and comforting sign Google+ is here to stay at least for the undetermined future,” predicted Jesse Stay, author of Google+ Marketing for Dummies. He added, “It shows Google is still putting money and resources into the website, and still sees it as a product worth spending money on.”

In terms of marketing, businesses that want to reach people who are passionate about something will find it easier to do so with the new changes to Google+.

Discover what marketers need to know about the changes to Google+.

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This infographic highlights some of the core reasons why using Google+ as a marketing tool for your business could be a valuable marketing move for any business:

google+infographic

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Advantages of Building a Large Network for Your Facebook Page

In order to develop an effective Facebook marketing strategy, you need to consider the expansion of your fan base as a top priority. A large Facebook fan base can provide a number of significant advantages because the web has become an infinitely more socially-driven platform.

Here are some of the top advantages that you can receive from building a large Facebook fan base.

Advertising optimization

When it comes to ranking advertising across the Facebook network, the size of your fan base can make a big impact. For every piece of advertising that you create Facebook collects analytics that can help you to see just what type of advertising is working the best for your business.

Furthermore a larger fan base allows you to save money on the cost of your Facebook advertising. This is because when you choose to advertise exclusively to your fans and followers rather than just anyone, Facebook charges a lot less for your ads. In fact, you could save as much as 40 to 50 cents per click.

Traffic

One of the biggest benefits of having a large targeted network is in the traffic you will be able to generate for your website. According to research by HubSpot, the more targeted fans you have, the more traffic you will be able to drive to your website. In order to drive traffic to your site, you need at least 1,000 genuine fans.

Free advertising via Status Updates

With a large fan base, you can launch targeted updates directly to fans: Facebook allows business pages to send out daily status updates to fans via the News Feed. There are absolutely no limits to how often you can interact and advertise your business to your fans. Although you will need to be strategic with the way you communicate with your fans, this gives you a large organic reach and can make sure that your message is heard across your social media target market.

Social Proof

It is a well proven fact that a Facebook Page with a large fan base commands more authority than a Page with just a few fans. Consequently, the more fans you have, the easier it will be to get other potential fans to like your Page. This concept is known as social proof. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect the correct behavior for a given situation.

On Facebook, this type of behavior is driven by the assumption that other people possess more knowledge about the quality of a particular Page. In essence, there is a lot more implied value to a Page with 1000 likes than to a Page with just 10 likes because they naturally think that others don’t think much of the Page. So, if people visit your Facebook page and you have very few fans, they are less likely to click the Like button versus if you had 1,000 fans. Consequently, social proof plays a big part in growing your fan base.

Content Virality

When your followers interact with your content, their actions get fed into the News Feed of all of their connections on Facebook. This is excellent free advertising for your brand, because it means that you are being seen in many more News Feeds. Studies indicate that most people on Facebook spend their time in their News Feed rather than visiting actual Facebook Pages. Consequently, the more News Feeds you can get into, the greater the brand awareness for your business.

You can find similarities in your target market

A large Facebook fan group can help you identify a need for new products, similarities between your target market as well as help you target future advertising. Facebook collects a large array of data about each one of your Facebook fans and it’s easy to compare at all with the tools that they give to businesses online. Creating a larger sample base can help you develop more targeted products and advertising.

Genuine fans become leads for your business

When you have a large fan base of genuine, targeted fans, it is easier to convert those fans into leads and ultimately into customers. This is because these are people that are already interested in your industry as well as your business. Furthermore, it will be much easier to build genuine relationships with those fans and stay top of mind with them.

Understanding Engagement on Facebook

Engagement with your fans is the single most important activity required for success of your Facebook marketing campaign. If you do not have a strategy in place for how you will engage your followers, your campaign will likely end in failure.

It is useful to always bear in mind the end-goal of your Facebook marketing campaign. Having a large, targeted network of fans who are interested in your business and industry is a powerful asset and great for social proof. However, your end-goal is not just to grow a large fan base. Your network is only a means to an end.

Your actual end-goal is to engage with your fans and convert them into leads, and ultimately customers. There’s no point in building a large network with thousands of targeted fans if you don’t have a plan in place for how you are going to engage or interact with them. If your fans are not engaged, then you will achieve very little on the platform, and all of the hard work and resources you’ve put into acquiring those fans will have been a waste of time.

What is Engagement?

Engagement on Facebook has nothing to do with how many fans or likes you have. Engagement with your fans is where:

  • Your fans believe they have a relationship with you beyond simply liking your Facebook Page;
  • Your fans trust you and believe in the value of what you do;

If your fans are not interacting with your Page in any of the aforementioned ways, it means you’re not getting any engagement with your fans.

Engagement is really all about having two-way conversations with your fans, building relationships, posting relevant content, asking questions, replying to comments, thanking fans for their feedback, etc. People are social by nature. “Social” is all about relationships. This means you need to engage your followers in conversations and build relationships with them. If you’re the only one doing all of the giving – broadcasting quality content to your fans without getting any interaction from them, you’re not really building a relationship, and you’re not going to get any meaningful action from them because the relationship is one-sided.

As you’re probably aware, one-sided relationships don’t work in real life, and it’s the same with social media. Although you may be building your credibility by sharing relevant and meaningful content that your fans or followers appreciate, your fans need to take action by engaging with you rather than simply consuming your content.

This is so that when you want them to take a bigger action such as actually buying your product or subscribing to your paid service, it doesn’t seem like such a big step for them. The more your followers interact with you, the more they’ll like and trust you and be willing to buy your product or subscribe to your service.

Understanding Facebook Audience Insights

Audience Insights helps you learn more about the people that will see your ad before you actually spend any money on it by providing access to all of the data that Facebook has on everyone. Facebook is purchasing data from 3rd party data companies on Facebook users. So when you sign up for a Facebook account, Facebook doesn’t just collect data on what you do on the platform, they cross reference their users against data aggregators. This is the power behind this tool.

Specifically, audience insights allows you to build out the interests that you’re going to put into your Facebook PPC campaign by identifying a list of big brands who are competitors in a specific niche. This is because these are the people most likely to buy your products. You can make sure your ad only shows to fans of these competitors. This will increase the likelihood of your target audience liking what you do, and your ad generating a great return on investment.

You can add specific types of information about your target audience and what they like, and Facebook will build an audience for you and tell you how well the audience will perform based on the information that you select so you can determine whether you’re targeting the right kind of people.

For example, if you want to setup a page likes campaign, this tool allows you to put your ad in front of people who are fans of or have already engaged with Facebook pages that are similar to yours. So if you’re selling a coaching product on SEO, audience insights allows you to put your ad in front of people who have purchased similar products or services from top competitors. You’ll also be able to see what pages have been liked by people who like the competitors you’ve added to your list, and you can add these pages to your interest targeting when you’re building your ads.

This will give you insights into the demographic you should be targeting in your ad. Once you get Insights into your audience, you can use Power Editor to customize the audience you want to target in the campaign. It is aggregated information based on a variety of demographics, purchase behaviour, page likes, and Facebook usage.

Audience Insights allows you to break down audiences to learn a whole lot about them, including:

  • Age and Gender
  • Lifestyle
  • Relationship Status
  • Education Level
  • Job Title
  • Pages Liked
  • Location and Language
  • Activity on Facebook
  • Devices Used to Access Facebook
  • Household Income
  • Home Ownership
  • Household Size
  • Home Market Value
  • Spending Methods
  • Purchase Behavior
  • Type of Car They Drive

The goal of Audience Insights is to help marketers figure out how to best tailor their marketing messages to reach current and potential consumers across the social network. The tool allows marketers to acquire insights into three types of consumers:

  1. current target consumers (created inCustom Audiences),
  2. general Facebook users, and
  3. users who are connected to a particular Page or event.

You may have created a custom audience based on your website visitors. But how much do you know about the people that visit your website? Do you know things like what percentage are male vs. female; where they live; their household income; education level; and relationship status? Do you know what their top interests are, and where else they like to spend money? Do you know what other pages they like on Facebook and how active they are on the platform? Audience Insights can provide all of this information:

The Audience Insights tool was “designed to help marketers learn more about their target audiences by finding out more about what they like, and not just what they are interested in. For example a particular user may like books. However that doesn’t mean he or she likes all books. Audience Insights lets you know more specifically, what kinds of books are liked by that user.

Audience Insights help marketers in the following ways:

  • Understanding the demographics of your page audience vs. the entire Facebook population
  • Identifying the other pages liked most often by the audience that has liked your page
  • Viewing the lifestyle categories that index highest for your brand page audience

The data

Audience Insights is loaded with data coming from two different sources:

  • Data users share on their own on Facebook
  • Data provided by third-party companies and matched with Facebook’s records

You can use the Audiences Insights tool just like the Ad Creation tool, where you can enter various criteria to define your initial audience selection (e.g. married couples in the US, ages 25-50, with children ages 12 and under). With this base criteria established, marketers can get a 360-degree view of consumers’ Facebook behaviour including Page likes, interests, purchase and shopping behaviour, trends, location and language, as well as Facebook usage (how often they log onto Facebook and what devices they use to log on). You can measure affinity relative to the entire Facebook audience.

How to Use Audience Insights

To get the information you want out of the tool, follow the steps below:

  1. Your keyword: If you type in a broad topic such as golf into the interests box, this will narrow down the audience to the people who have indicated that they like golf. Note that in the main page, the grey box is all of Facebook, while the blue box are the people who like golf. However, using such a broad term will not provide users that are specific enough to market to. Rather than typing in something like golf, you’ll want to type in the name of a specific golf magazine. People that subscribe to a particular magazine are more likely to be more passionate about the topic than others who simply like the sport. This will give you a strong idea of the demographic you should be targeting in your ads. For example, if you see that a particular age group that is traditionally known to have more disposable income, then that is the age group you should be targeting in your ads.
  2. Lifestyle: This will give you an idea of the lifestyle of the target audience. are they parents, career-oriented, etc.
  3. Page Likes: This provides a list of the pages liked by your target audience. Check out the pages and take a good look at the type of content that is published on the page and the people who are commenting. What are they saying? It is really valuable to do this type of research.
  4. Location: This will identify the location of the users you have identified. You can see whether they are concentrated in a particular location or scattered across the globe. This will give you an idea of where to concentrate your marketing.
  5. Activity: This will let you know whether this particular group of people tend to like pages, post comments, share posts, like posts and click ads relative to the rest of Facebook. This will tell you whether the audience you’re targeting is highly engaged and the likelihood of getting a good response for your ad from them.
  6. Device Users: This will give you an idea of the largest segment of devices that are used, which will allow you to target your ad to the right devices. For example, if your users are logging in to both types of devices, it means you can advertise to those users on both types of devices. You’ll eventually want to segment the advertisement and display the same ad to both devices to see where your generating better results so that you can focus your ad spend on those devices. If more users are using Apple products than Android and the Mobile Web, it means they are paying more for brand products and are a more affluent group of people than the average.
  7. Household: This will give you an idea of the affluency level of your target audience in the United States only. You can see the home ownership, household income, household size (do they have kids?), average income, home market value, spending methods, etc. You’ll be able to see if they have kids. Take a look at their spending habits. This will tell you whether they are likely to spend money on what you are offering to them. Are they likely to spend more on things travel and entertainment, upscale department stores, etc. than the average Facebook user? Are they more credit card spenders than cash? If they are, it means they are more likely to splash the cash online than the average Facebook user.
  8. Purchase Behaviour:This will give you a clear indication of the purchase habits of your target audience so that you can target them effectively. You’ll get an idea of what that audience tends to spend their money on.

How to Optimize Your Twitter Profile for SEO

Twitter tags any links in your tweets, bio and profile with the rel=“nofollow” attribute. When a link is tagged with the nofollow attribute, it means that search engines will not pass on any of the normal search engine benefits that typically accompany a link (such as PageRank, TrustRank, etc.). Twitter does this as a way of discouraging spammers from abusing the social network. Note that you can’t see the nofollow attribute from the outside, it’s in the source code of the web page.

Consider what happens when a user conducts a search on Google or Bing. If a particular site is deemed relevant to the search query, studies have shown that the search engines also take into account social activity on the most popular social networking sites, especially including Twitter. Google will look at how many tweets and retweets a URL has, and the calibre or authority of the person tweeting the URL. If you have a very active Twitter account, at the very least, this can certainly have an indirect impact on your search rankings.

For example, both Google and Bing searches (mostly their organic searches, news rankings, and social search functions) can be impacted by the number of times that a link has been retweeted by Twitter users who have proven to be more influential. These shares are considered social signals (votes) and can add some weight to links in search rankings.

Below are steps you can take to ensure that your page and links are as optimized as possible when it comes to search rankings:

Your Twitter handle.

Your Twitter handle (or username) is a very important part of creating a search engine friendly profile. Likewise, your profile name, the name that appears next to your handle in the profile, further establishes your brand. Both of these names are effectively the SEO Title tags for your profile, and should ideally target important keywords related to your interests. Your handle establishes a static URL at twitter.com/yourbrand that search engines can index so that future information on your feed can be accessed and linked to quickly and easily.

It is significant to note that spammers usually create Twitter handles that include a set of numbers (e.g. @TopPlumbing23142). When Google’s algorithm scans links on Twitter, it often disregards such usernames as possible spam. It doesn’t matter if you are a legitimate business, because the search engine spider has been engineered to associate such usernames with spam. This is why it is always important to choose a username that is professional and meaningful.

Use engaging, search-engine friendly keywords in your bio.

Your Twitter bio is effectively the equivalent of the Meta Description tag in search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines often display your Twitter bio in the links’ description on the search engine results pages. Instead of filling your bio with industry jargon, do some keyword research using monitoring tools like HubSpot’s keyword grader tool or TweetDeck. Look for strategic keywords that have spurred the most interesting conversations and reflect your business in an accurate way. FollowerWonk, Formulists, and other Twitter search engines use keywords in your bio in search results when people are looking for similar users to follow.

Use relevant keywords in your tweets.

You must be relevant and relatable to your consumers, so engage your followers by speaking their language. Use relevant keywords and hashtags throughout the day in your tweets to help boost your rankings. Write tweets that are no more than 100-120 characters so that users will not be forced to edit your SEO-ready keywords when they retweet. Research has shown that 100 character tweets also have the highest clickthrough rates (CTR).

Content is still king.

If your content is remarkable enough and you are actively engaging with tweets from thought leaders and influencers in your industry, chances are that these influential individuals will take notice and may start retweeting your posts.

Since search engines will take into account the value of Twitter authority figures and correlate it with the value of the link posted, this could effectively become the Twitter equivalent of a solid inbound link. This is why it is important to actively engage with thought leaders on social networks and post high quality and compelling information that is relevant to your target market. Recognition from top influencers in your niche will have considerable influence on your optimization efforts.

Use Hashtags please.

A hashtag is a keyword or topic prefixed with the symbol # in a tweet. People typically use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to drive traffic and maximize their tweet’s exposure in Twitter Search. Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.

Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics. Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic. To find the best hashtags, take a look at the Twitter pages of any industry influencers and familiarize yourself with the hashtags that they use on a regular basis. Incorporate these into your tweets, but be careful not to overdo it. Too many hashtags can be viewed as spam, and devalue a tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.)

Hashtag tips:

  • If you see a trending hashtag that is relevant to your tweet, include it in your updates.
  • If you see a user tweeting with a particular hashtag, include it in your retweet so that your tweets can reach anyone who is looking at tweets for that particular hashtag.
  • Avoid starting a tweet with a hashtag, this gives a robotic and spammy impression.
  • Find hashtags by performing a keyword search just like you would Google, use the ones that move fastest and seem to best fit your topic area.

Build a comprehensive Twitter keyword list.

You probably already have a subset of keywords and key phrases that you use for search engine optimization (SEO). Optimizing for Twitter is completely different than optimizing for the search engines. Thus, it is important to note that due to the Twitter’s 140 character limit, all of those keywords may not necessarily translate over to Twitter – especially if they are long phrases.

Analyze your keywords through various tools such as HubSpot’s keyword grader tool and pick a subset of keywords specifically for Twitter. What you could do is to try to have a small set of keywords that you can use throughout the day in your tweets to help boost your rankings.

Your overall page content.

SEO optimization practices performed on your website are relevant and applicable when it comes to Twitter. For instance, you need to make sure your image has an ALT tag attached to it that’s keyword-appropriate. As mentioned above, your Twitter bio needs to be optimized with relevant keywords and hashtags as well.

If possible, try to keep your username short and simple but highly relevant to your line of business. This means staying away from spammy looking usernames that contain numbers. The shorter your username (and tweets), the easier they are for others to retweet.

Keep the length of your tweets short.

Tweets with SEO-ready keywords appear in the search engines results pages. To ensure that these updates are retweeted in their current form without having to remove important keywords, keep the length of the tweets to between 100 and 120 characters.

Ensure that you are visible on search.

To ensure you are visible in the search engines, you need to make sure that your company name is listed in your profile. If you offer a local service, then it would be a good idea to add your location to make it easy for people who are searching for businesses like yours in your location to find you. People searching on Twitter generally add a location when performing a search on Twitter, which is why it is always important to add a location to your profile.

As long as you have followed all of the steps outlined above, your Twitter page will have more authority and your content will be more likely to be retweeted by others with similarly authoritative pages, which means in effect that your page will be more influential when it comes to search rankings.