NPR Study: Best Local Stories for Facebook Engagement

Facebook engagement is important, especially around the holidays! Click on the picture above and see what NPR Digital services found in their experiment. It’s pretty self explanatory but the main point is that these wildly engaging stories often pull at the heart strings and put people in a good mood.

Nowadays, Facebook success is measured by more than just Likes. Thousands of Likes and zero engagement isn’t helpful for your business or customers. Instead of constantly self-promoting, it’s leaning towards a slightly different way to engage with fans: talk about subjects that are closely related to your brand.

Read more here:
5 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Engagement
Page publishing that drives engagement
The Real Value of Facebook Isn’t Your Likes or Fans
3 Ways To Get More Facebook Engagement By Using Photos

Share your favorite types of Facebook content and join us here!

47.3 % of Brands Plan to Invest More in Local for 2013

It might be too early to start thinking about your online marketing budget for next year… but think again! According to Balihoo’s study of nearly 400 national US brands, 47.3 % of them plan to invest more in local marketing in 2013 from what they spent in 2012.

Although all the companies surveyed had an annual revenue of at least $100 million, it can also be a strong indicator of trends that small businesses are going to follow in the years to come. Take a look:

A surprising find was that “Other Social Media” was the top digital tactic for 2012 with Facebook second and SEO third. For 2013, marketers plan to add mobile, local blogs and customer reviews to the marketing mix.

The bigger a business is, the more likely it is that they’ll use different digital tactics in 2013. And that makes sense… especially in the volatile world of organic search nowadays, it’s important to not put all your eggs in once basket and diversify.

Here are some more helpful articles related to local and feel free to contact us if you have any questions about local marketing for your small business:

Google Introduces Targeting Improvements To Help More Marketers “Get Local” For Holidays
U.S. Mobile Local Ad Revenue Will Reach $5.8 Billion by 2016
Why Big Brands Are Going Local In 2013

Google + Local: What Does it Mean?

Why The Sudden Change?
Get ready to say goodbye to Google Places and hello to Google + Local. This latest Google update is a push towards further integrating Google + into search engine results. And as you guessed, it’s a push to help local businesses become more connected to their customers through their Page via promotions and reviews.

Zagat Reviews
For all the restaurant owners out there, Google + Local will be integrating Zagat reviews. While the thought of more reviews and scoring sounds scary, the positive side is that there are different scores for food, atmosphere and service so that it isn’t all lumped into one rating on a “normal” point scale. (Remember, Google acquired Zagat in September 2011, so it’s no surprise that it’s being used!)

SEO Benefits
Of course, this update can’t be announced without benefits for search engine optimization. The great potential here is that Google+ Local pages will be indexed by search engines. Did you know that Google Places pages weren’t? This will give business owners a greater voice that gives tangible benefits via SERPs.

Time to Get Serious About Social
“With one listing, your business can now be found across Google search, maps, mobile and Google+, and your customers can easily recommend your business to their friends, or tell the world about it with a review.”

If this isn’t enough incentive for you to create a Google + business page, we don’t know what is!

Facebook, What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Facebook for businessesCompetition is always good for customers, right? Some people believe that all these new Facebook features are an aggressive response to Google +. Whether you think so or not, there’s no doubt that Facebook wants to be the star of the show in the social media world.
On September 30 (or 29th, depending on the source), Facebook will be launching a new Timeline feature. If you can’t wait to see it, Mashable has an easy guide that you can follow to get a sneak preview.

New features are great for consumers, but what about businesses? One thing that I noticed with this new Timeline interface is that the space for paid ads on the right has been greatly reduced. Where will these ads go and how do businesses take advantage of this new layout? You can bet on it – Facebook has a thing or two up its sleeve for small businesses. In fact, Facebook is launching an education program for small businesses. This initial outreach will consist of informative webinars and case studies where owners can learn more about Facebook marketing.

But wait, there’s more! In October, Facebook is sponsoring “road shows” across the country as a part of it’s Small Business Boost. This injection into the small business community will continue into 2012, where some small businesses will be eligible to receive $50 of advertising credit.

Social media is always evolving but the changes are motivating, as it always makes you think about how new changes will effect businesses. What are your thoughts on the new Timeline, small business features and anything else Facebook related?

Google Places Gets an Update


Last week, Google made a big update to its Places Pages and even more additions are expected to come! Why the sudden change? Google is trying to keep the focus on itself and focus on reviews made by Google users instead of other review sites. Before the update, Google Places showed snippets of reviews from Urbanspoon, Citysearch and even Yelp. As you can imagine, these other local-centric sites weren’t too happy.

Placing a stronger emphasis on customer reviews and business details will help owners reach out to locals. If you’re still not maximizing the use of local business directories, here’s what you’re missing out on (and you can definitely expect that number to grow):

– Local searches grew by 14 percent from last year.
– About 61% of local searches result in a purchase.
– At least 20% of online searches have local intent.
– 53% of mobile searches have local intent.

This update is important for small business owners because it means that you’ll have a better opportunity to marketing and analyze customer interaction with your brand. In their own words, Google describes the new Places as an “ongoing evolution”. Is your business ready for it?

Coming Soon: Google + for Businesses

Google sure likes the aspect of exclusivity when it comes to their new products, don’t they? Well, it seems to be working well for their latest project: Google +. Invites for exclusive trial accounts for Google + quickly exceeded “capacity”, as not everyone who was invited was lucky enough to score an account. I guess we’ll just have to wait! And for business accounts, it looks like we’ll have to wait even longer! Information Week reports that business users will have to wait until later this year.

Here are a few tidbits about Google +:

– You can easily organize and share with the different people in your life by placing them in different Circles
– Concerned about privacy? You should know that Google intends to make all Profiles public and searchable.
– Confused about the new vocab? Facebook has Likes and Google + will use Google + 1.
– If you’re interested in group video chat, Google Hangouts will be your new favorite thing!

What do you think about Google + and are you excited about it or do you think it’s just another social platform?
Make sure to check out Social Media Examiner’s in-depth guide to using Google +.

This Week in Social Media: Twitpics, Hamburgers, & You

Do You Know What Happens to Your Twitpics?

Last week, we discussed Twitter’s photo search. This week, I came across an interesting article about Twitpic’s terms of service. Many people may not know or care all together. Apparently, when you use this service to upload and share your photos, Twitpic has permission (or rather, given itself permission) to pass your photos off to third parties. Many people speculate that Twitpic has added this to its terms in an attempt to make money from photos tweeted by celebrities or photos tweeted of celebrities. Or maybe even breaking news stories? Although it’s slogan is, “Share photos on Twitter”… it should be more like, “Share photos with Twitter”! In other words: before you Twitpic, think carefully!

Everyone Loves Burger Week

No holidays to promote your business? Make one up! This wOinkster burger weekeek is official Burger Week at a local Eagle Rock hotspot. The Oinkster, has made quite a name for itself by taking on signature classics of other famous hamburger joints – such as the Big Mac and Umami Burger. With CBS, LA Weekly, LAist and more picking up on this story, The Oinkster has reached above and beyond in the world of local news and social media. If you check out Twitter search results, there are non-stop tweets as eager fans await another tasty burger of the day.

This is a great promotional campaign because it can be translated well into so many different mediums. Although word spreads quickly through social media, this will also spark word of mouth recommendations. And when it’s over, the buzz still won’t stop. I look forward to people posting blog posts, Yelp reviews and Flickr pictures based on this magical burger experience. Remember, these will all help your business SEO-wise in the long run!

On Display at Your Very Own Museum

Speaking of magic, have you seen Intel’s creative Museum of Me? It has been a top social media news story this week and for good reason. Whether it’s intrigue or just plain fun, social media users love to feel like they are part of something more. Intel’s campaign does a fantastic job of showcasing users’ connections to their social network in a simple way. (Oh yeah, and they also promise not to store your Facebook information). This ad campaign is successful because it reminds users WHY they want to use your product in the first place.

Do you have any favorite social media stories of the week?

Case Studies: Groupon & Foursquare for Businesses

Last month, we learned how Groupon is beneficial for businesses. Today, let’s take a look at some real life examples of how Groupon and Foursquare can be used to bring in new customers:


Cafe 50’s Uses Groupon
The concept of discounted dining is not new. Restaurant.com has been around for much longer than Groupon but it lacks a social and “cool” aspect of Groupon deals.

This weekend, I ate at Café 50’s for the first time after seeing a Groupon. This kitschy 50’s themed eatery has fairly good Yelp reviews and two locations in Los Angeles. After a yummy breakfast, the owner thanked us for coming and told us how much he loved Groupon because it was bringing him in so much business. How much exactly? He revealed that within 24 hours, nearly 4,000 people had purchased a Groupon! That number is pretty amazing to me for a local business. It’s also the kind of restaurant that is good for groups and families so I’m sure that they’ll be looking forward to more customers through word of mouth and online reviews.


Checking into Dodger Stadium with Foursquare
This weekend was full of new things as I checked into Dodger Stadium for the first time using Foursquare. I even earned a “swarm badge”, which means that I checked into a venue where 50+ others have also checked in. Foursquare badges and mayorships provide customers with a fun way to show their loyalty and encourage them to explore new venues. I also saw that fans checking in using Foursquare could also save 25% on their next visit! Groupons and Foursquare is great for restaurants, retailers and venues because they provide incentive. It’s a new way to invite people who wouldn’t normally visit your business.

Of course, there are downsides to Groupon and Foursquare if businesses believe that they could lose money (especially for service provides or small businesses who are not equipped to handle the volume). If your business is interested in Foursquare or Groupon, make sure to read the conditions carefully.