Posts tagged “Branding

Does My Business Need Google+?

Men at Work Reading GIF

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’d know that I am both a fan of Google+ and someone who is willing to admit that it isn’t always worth the extra effort to join as a business. That’s not a knock on Google+. That statement is true for almost all of the social media networks. It isn’t always worth it to get on Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or even Facebook. Deciding which social network to join takes some serious introspection into what your business needs are and whether a network satisfies those needs. Today, we’ll discuss a few scenarios that will make Google+ an essential element in a social mix.

For a long time, the play to get businesses has been the SEO play. While this is a strong factor in my recommendations for joining Google+, it is no longer the only one.

You Depend on Reviews

If your business depends on reviews (especially as a destination), you should be on Google+. If you’re either a hotel or a restaurant, it should be a no-brainer to get yourself on Google+. The Google Carousel is largely influenced by what your review mix looks like. If you want to appear towards the front, you should be actively seeking to attract reviews. It’s easier to not seem spammy about asking for a Google+ review if it happens to be somewhere that you already have a strong presence.

The bottom line is that local search will integrate more and more with Google+ as Google moves forward with its products and Google+ adoption grows. Don’t be behind the curve. Get ahead of it.

Pro Tip: Don’t depend on Google+ as the best way to actually find people for reviews. I highly recommend setting up some geocode filters on Twitter to listen for people who are talking about your brand. Build a legitimate conversation with them on another platform and then invite them in to review your business. The key is it feeling like a friend asking for a favor, not a brand asking for a review. (Learn about geocode filters.)

You Have a Brick-and-Mortar Location

As I mentioned in the previous point, Google+ has a definite play in the land of SEO, especially as it relates to local search. Google+ has gone back and forth about how deep this integration is but, with the introduction of My Business, I feel that Google+ will once again become a stronger player in local search results. Having an awesome page to click to can be a decision maker in a pinch. If you don’t believe that having beautiful pictures is a factor, do a user behavior analysis on your website and see if photo gallery isn’t one of the largest subsections that people visit before converting. I did this test with my travel resorts in Florida, Jamaica, Las Vegas, and North Carolina. My galleries were always incredibly close to my conversion point in the user behavior.

An important thing to remember is to not treat your Google+ audience like second class social citizens. The same way that you would give incentives to Facebook fans or Twitter followers, show some love to people who’ve circled you on Google+. As adoption gets greater, you want your fans to have the same expectations for awesome perks and news as any other social network.

You Put Out Content on a Regular Basis

Google+ is a great place to place content if you are trying to get your blog or articles indexed quickly. While most of the tests in this area are old, there is still a generally accepted correlation between content getting shared on Google+ and quick indexing by Google Search. Building on this, Google+ is still an easier place to make noise than other social networks. With Twitter being so quick and Facebook moving closer to a pay-to-play model, Google+ is rapidly becoming a more attractive place to share content. As a fan of seeding my content for ‘free’ amplification, I love Google+. In fact, among the major social networks, I would suggest that Google+ provides the best opportunity for seeding branded content. Take the time to join Communities that relate to your business and share articles inside of those Communities. It’s free and puts your content in front of people who are more highly influential on a per capita basis than many other networks.

You Have a Male-dominated Audience

Much in the same way that Pinterest is a place dominate by women, Google+ is currently dominated by men. According to research by Business Insider, Google+ is as much as 70% men. This could explain part of the reason that brands like Ask Men and IGN are doing so well on this network. It’s a great way to hit their target audience on a regular basis without getting dominated like they do in the Facebook News Feed. So, if you feel like your brand connects particularly well with a male audience, especially teens to early 20’s, take a second look at Google+.

You Are in Technology or Gaming

You could say that this point is a branch of the first but I don’t think so. Women are becoming more involved in both technology and gaming. This is a trend that shouldn’t be ignored and deserves its own point. Google+ is still a place where early adopters live and can see great success regardless of gender. The largest Google+ following that I know personally belongs to +Amanda Blain who has over 4.5 million followers and a very engaged audience. (Read her blog for more great Google+ info and geek awesomeness.)

You’re New to Social Media

Many social media experts have suggested that Google+ might be a great place to go with Facebook becoming more pay-to-play. Rather than pay a lot of money to get into the News Feed, why not examine if there isn’t an audience that you can reach for the price of your time on Google+. It isn’t quite as easy on the front end but it could end up being the best social media decision that you could make. building up a strong Twitter or Facebook following could be much harder given the highly competitive nature of both networks. Go where the competition is a little lower and build a core on Google+, branching out to Twitter and Facebook later if deemed necessary.

The conclusion that I’m trying to walk you to is that Google+ is no longer a ghost in the darkness when it comes to the social media landscape. There are plenty of examples of brands that do it well. There are many reasons to reconsider your Facebook-first or Twitter-only strategies these days. Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram have all proven to be networks that can drive legitimate amounts of business and at a much cheaper rate. Don’t follow the crowd. Find your own voice in social media and you might just find your own success.

If you have an instance where Google+ worked well for your company, Find me on Google+ as Tim Welsh or on Twitter as @TWel5 with it. I’d love to hear more case studies.

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Music: It’s What Your Brand’s Strategy is Missing

Over the last few years, and 2013 especially, everyone has been beating the drum about creating an experience with your branding. With companies like Red Bull skying above their actual product to become an icon, it’s not surprising that we’re all taking a second look at how we create a brand’s personality. How is it then that we all seem to miss one of the easiest ways to do this?

No matter whether you’re watching a movie, walking into the Octagon, about the get your code on or simply trying to push through the end of a workout; what helps you know how to feel? Music. In olden times, it was a legitimate legal defense to state that the music that you were listening to made you commit a crime. Music affects us and there is not denying that. Smell may be the strongest sense tied to memory but nothing takes you back to couple-skating in elementary school faster than some Blackstreet. Nothing makes you want to play football like some AC/DC. Nothing makes you want to buy some ______ and then go _____ like some _____> If you can fill in that mad lib, you may have the key to your brand’s success.

Let’s take a look at some of the tools at your disposal.

Throw a Concert

Yeah, I’m aware that this is probably the least likely scenario for your brand. Most brands can’t afford to hire a significant solo artist or multiple artists to throw a concert or concert series in their honor. If you have Mountain Dew or Adidas on your client list though, let’s get going. Throwing an event (and stream it online through your social channels) is a great way to promote your brand through music.

Yeasayer in Red Bull Concert Series

Yeasayer in Red Bull Concert Series

There is an inherent drawback to this plan. If the concert isn’t sharable, it is a one-and-done approach. This event has to be noteworthy enough to carry weight for time to come. Will people watch it again and again? This is why you might want to consider doing an event that teams up two artists who normally don’t team up or run an acoustic concert. These are events that will be looked up afterwards since there aren’t other videos just like it all over YouTube.

Spotify Playlists

One of the most underrated tools is the Branded Spotify Playlist. This has the added bonus of not costing a lot of money and diversity. You can also brand these playlists based on the activity that they’re meant to inspire. If you’re a fitness brand, why wouldn’t you have the perfect Pump Up Mix by _____? If you’re an energy drink that is branded around getting you through the workday, might I suggest some Eye of the Tiger in your blend?

I’m personally a fan of Spotify playlists over Pandora stations because it is more precise in your choices. You put exactly what you want on the mix. There are certain restrictions like having only one song per artist but that can be danced around a bit, especially if you can release an album for an event that you hosted. (See what I did there?)

Example from the show Parks & Rec: Benji’s Cool Times Summer Jamz Playlist

Other Musical Options

I could list out a bunch of great options but creating your own playlist or hosting your own music event are the main two that I would suggest. If possible, do both. That being said, one of the nice things about music is that it is incredibly versatile. There are always going to be new ways to get it to the masses. I’d love to hear from you guys on some of the other great musical initiatives that you’ve seen brands doing. You know where to find me in the Twittersphere.


Ashton Hands Over the Twitter Reigns: What Now?

Some of you may have seen on your news feeds that Ashton Kutcher aka @aplusk is relinquishing the management of his Twitter account to Katalyst Media. I heard about it on What’s Trending. If you really care what Ashton Kutcher has to say about news topics, you may need to reevaluate your priorities, but that is besides the point. Ashton has since apologized for tweeting some misinformation about the Penn State scandal to his followers. The real question now is whether or not Kutcher should have given the reigns over to someone else?

Here are both answers as I see them:

Yes, He Should!

After watching the backlash of various celebrities like Gilbert Gottfried for their tweets, Ashton is better safe than sorry. This time, a simple apology seemed to have worked but everyone is vulnerable to a slip up from time to time. What happens if next time his comment is viewed as racist, antisemitic, homophobic or sexist? That’s only cool if you are a Republican presidential candidate. Right or wrong, actors are held to a higher standard and need to be conscious of their words. Ashton is making the right decision to secure his roles in future productions.

No, He Shouldn’t!

By handing over the reigns of his Twitter, Ashton has given up what it was that makes Twitter awesome. When someone tweets a celebrity, they are not-so-secretly hoping to get some sort of reaction out of their beloved star. Knowing that a third-party is tweeting for Ashton could take a little wind out of the sails of every 16-45 year old woman who tweets @aplusk ‘on the daily’.

Even worse, if it doesn’t hurt his following, other celebrities with opinions may choose to follow suit, save Ricky Gervais. What happens when Twitter is no longer a medium where you can get the attention of and interact with those you follow? Is it really Twitter anymore or does it turn into a branded Facebook status? I don’t know but I don’t think that any of us want to see an opinion-free, bland Twitter.

What Happens Now?

@AplusK

When the celebrity dies, the brands continue to live. Even a complete loss of celebrities will not kill Twitter. It has become more and more brand-friendly over the years and companies have started using it more effectively. Digital/Viral celebrities will never leave. However, Twitter will be poorer if it loses the honest tweets of our Pop Culture Heroes. Besides, a tweet can be deleted and apologized for. Just don’t let anyone catch your rant on YouTube or audio…cough…Mel Gibson.

If all else fails, take a page from sports icons. It takes one great piece of work (championship) for everyone to forget about the most heinous of crimes. Just ask Ben Roethlisberger, Ray Lewis or Kobe Bryant how much can be forgotten and keep tweeting.


SEOcial: Social Media and SEO Work Best Together

First of all, if you are hiring any sort of digital media expert these days without rounded experience, proceed with caution. Everyone needs experience but that’s what internships are for. When you decide that you want to optimize your digital presence, you need to seek out TRUE professionals and true professionals understand that no one digital outlet truly lives on its own (See article about Clueless Marketers). If you’re trying to look for an exception, your head is in the wrong place already.

Link Through Social Media

Search Engine Optimization and Social Media are two outlets that have consistently been moving closer and closer to each other.The most basic of these reasons is linking. Ethan Lyon  of SEER Interactive has written multiple articles on how to build links with Twitter. (Twitter Backlink Article 2) Links can also be posted on a variety of other websites and I don’t know if you’ve noticed recently but YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and the rest of the gamut all have TREMENDOUS Domain Authority. I have mentioned the idea of social link integration before and it is only becoming more and more essential.

Drive Traffic to Dot Com

Besides the linking capability, social media drives traffic to your site, not only from YOUR page but, from pages that you link to on social media. If you aren’t utilizing other brands in your marketing efforts on Social Media, you should. After that, use the partnerships that you’ve made to direct traffic to your site. It’s free and, if you cultivate the relationship with their SM team, they will lend credence to your link by commenting, liking or retweeting. If you need a lesson in relationship marketing, check out Doug Ridley‘s Relationship Marketing Blog.

Optimize User Experience

The bottom line is that users are driven to social media and your dot com presence you experience you in different ways. Social Media allows you to better tailor what you need to post on your site. If it doesn’t pertain to the keywords that you are working for on SEO but could still be relevant to your target audience, direct them to your social media outlets. Tease social media with technical information then, direct them to your internal pages.

The bottomline is that SEO and Social Media cannot stand apart from each other and be truly optimized. They work perfectly hand-in-hand, as should your social and SEO teams…if they aren’t one in the same. Let’s take SEOcial to the next level