Google+ Communities: Do You Need/Want to Start?

Have you heard about Google+ Communities? Yeah… that’s a thing now. If this sounds vaguely familiar, perhaps you’re thinking about Google Groups, which is basically a forum that supports discussion groups based  on common interests. If Communities is reminding you of a Facebook service, that would be Facebook Groups.

Confused yet? Instead of arguing about who started what and who is copying whom, let’s take a look a quick look at these new Communities:

What is it?
Gather together“, “Have rich conversations“, and “Explore your interests“. No, these aren’t requirements of “The Finer Things Club”, but rather a brief description of what Communities have to offer. In short, 1) find things that interest you, 2) join, 3) invite others and 4) contribute away.

What do you do?
You can easily find, categorize and you can even participate in topics that you’re interested via Hangouts. If you’re lucky enough to find a free topic, you can even create and moderate your own Community. Remember, this isn’t your personal/business page or a place to promote yourself. I’m assuming that Communities were meant for personal social networking and actual discussions, not sales pitches.

Are you going to participate and do you need to?
If you’re an active Google + user, Communities might be the next best thing you’re looking for. Since so many people are comparing Communities to Facebook Groups, which I’ve seen used on a more personal and private level, we’ll just see what Google has in store. Will the content be publicly indexed like Google Groups or will it have the option to be more on more of a lock down like Facebook Groups?

I highly doubt Google Communities will be as mainstream as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ so depending on your consumer base, personal interest and resources, Communities might now be helpful for your business. On the other hand, if you’re in the business of mixing, mingling, learning different things and potentially opening new doorways, Communities might come handy.

Do you plan on participating in Google Communities? Check out these related articles and let us know:

Google Communities Might Best Facebook Groups, But How Long Before We Rebel?
Google launches Google+ Communities, competitor to Facebook Groups
Google+ Communities: Good for Users, Marketers, and Google

Happy Movember from MOmarketed

Greetings, MoBros and MoSistas! Forget about November… it’s all about Movember.

Contrary to what most people think, Movember is more than just a silly excuse to grow facial hair:

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.

In other words, it’s a great month to raise awareness for men’s health and to have fun while doing so. The growing popularity of Movember wouldn’t be possible without sharing via social media. Check out these stats from last year by Radian 6:

– Terms that increased in November include: “getting checked”, “make an appointment” and “see a doctor”
– Mentions of “MoBros” on social media = nearly 18,000
– Mentions of prostate cancer has increased month to month since August

It’s expected that 1.6 million men will raise over $120 million this Movember. While traditional social networks are great for spreading the word about worthy causes, this article on TechCruch also explores the world of social networking for collaborative research. How great is it for scientists and researchers to share their findings and work on a more sophisticated social networking? Now this is a step in the right direction that we can all get behind.

Make sure to check out our team page:
http://us.movember.com/team/659789 and share your progress with us if you’re partaking in Movember this year. In the words of our comrades: Let the mustache madness begin!

Why Do Social Shares Matter?

Social media marketing plays an important supporting role in more traditional online marketing campaigns. But if this isn’t a mystical cure-all, how does social sharing help your business? Let’s take a look at 4 benefits of active social participation and promotion:

Manage Your Brand Reputation: How do I rank for my business name? How do I rank for my own name? How do I rank for my name in Google images? These are a few questions that many people/businesses find themselves asking. Creating well-optimized social media profiles is the most effective way to rank for your personal or company name. Did you know even sites like Vimeo, Flickr and Slideshare can help? Check out a complete post (complete with infographic) on Search Engine Land.

Expand Audience Reach: Social networks now allow you to further expand your social reach. Facebook allows for mass promotions using contests and other Like-bait, while it still works great on personal outreach. As a recent post on HubSpot shows, 50% of Facebook fans actually prefer Brand Pages to the actual company website itself! Think if what you’ll be missing without a Page!

Reap Intangible Benefits: Being active on social media sites is all about building up trust and therein lies the grand potential. Sometimes, intangible benefits are great because it can be hard to put a dollar amount on goals such as “enhancing brand experience” and “improved customer response”. These are things that should be continuously worked on and social media can help your business vastly improve over time.

Relationship to Penguin/Panda?: Although strong social signals can’t make your site immune to Google algorithmic updates (such as Panda or Penguin), many believe there is a connection between sites that got hit and their social presence. Generally, it makes sense that sites that got penalized had very low or no social shares. And sites with quality content that didn’t focus on acquiring unnatural links is generally more shareable. You can use Google analytics or social tools like How Many Shares to check out your site versus competitors and see how things match up. Social shares are important metrics because it means that your content is interesting, relevant and most of all, trustworthy. This is natural behavior that is likely to be rewarded which makes it something you should think about, instead of just primarily focusing on links and anchor text.

These are just a few examples of why social media is becoming more important. It’s not a part of online marketing that you can just ignore now but something you should think about to work alongside your content strategy.

Supplementary Sites for Effective Website Video Marketing

Video marketing is hotter than ever and as the views rack up, your business can’t afford to miss out on this opportunity. In our post, “Does Your Business Use Facebook Video?” we covered using videos on Facebook Pages… so, is there really anything else worth pursuing outside of YouTube? Of course!

LinkedIn – This is the place for professional networking. But, this social site is often accused of being too uptight and not personal enough. Luckily, there’s any easy way to add video to your LinkedIn profile using SlideShare. There are other ways to add video to your profile using using Box.net and Google Presentation. On top of Recommendations and active participation on the site, this is a great supplement to make your profile stand out.

Pinterest – Guess what? Pinterest isn’t just for pictures! For certain industries, (like online retailers) the traffic from Pinterest is something that they could only wish for! Not only can you pin videos, but you can also optimize titles, descriptions and customize the screen capture that is displayed. Make sure to pin it to a relevant board and reciprocate by pinning/sharing related videos and pictures.

Other Options are Endless – YouTube isn’t the only place to share your videos. Justin.tv, Vimeo, Mevio, MetaCafe, Daily Motion, eHow videos and so many more. Just as Google isn’t the only search engine (although it’s the biggest one), it’s important to use different platforms that are available. YouTube will help bring traffic to your website but depending on your business, it can be worth it to build authority on different social networking sites. These sites can help supplement your presences in your main website or YouTube and help bring more relevant visitors back to your site and keep them there for longer.

Helpful Resources:
YouTube Ranking Factors – Whiteboard Friday
10 Fascinating Video Marketing Stats for 2012
Online Video Marketing: This Time It’s Personal
10 Video Tips for Businesses on Pinterest

4 Visual Networks for Social Sharing

look at me

Are you tired of Pinterest yet? If you’re looking for other sites for visual sharing, you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at these 4 picks and you’ll see why you can benefit from other, niche social networks:

1) Behance – This is a great place to showcase your online portfolio and organize collections. Use popular categories as you grow your profile for some awesome link juice. This site is an excellent, profession forum to review peers, show off and have some fun.

2) Snapguide – This site is like eHow (or similiar tutorial sites) …BUT it’s more visual appealing as pictures are front and center. Instead of relying on text that can be confusing/boring, you create guides using with chunks of text and easy to follow visuals. From “How to Get More Followers on Instagram” to “How to Keep Bananas Fresh Longer”, you’re sure to find a relevant category that you can contribute to.

3) Jux – When you visit Jux, the pictures literally take up your whole screen. Join to immerse yourself and share pictures, articles, slideshows, block quotes, videos and top 10 lists. This may seem like a lot but all these categories are based on big,beautiful pictures. Whereas sites like Pinterest can be overwhelming with endless pictures and thumbnails, Jux zeroes in by allowing you to only focus on one piece at a time.

4) Story Wheel – Instagram pictures, stories and nostalgia. What more is there to want? This site allows you to curate stories into neat little slideshows using your own pictures. Sometimes, words just aren’t necessary.

Whether you’re looking for more external link building resources, social media advertising inspiration, or just a place to connect online with peers, these sites are sure to be helpful. Let us know if you have any other favorite sites for sharing visuals!

Diaspora – Your Next Alternative to Social Networking?

Join Diaspora

Privacy concerns about Facebook and Google+ are growing. Just check out this infographic about Facebook security. As Facebook announced its new Timeline, many people feel that these features are too stalker-ish. Do you really need or want to know your friends’ timeline of events from the day that they were born? New privacy features enable all friends to see all your activity – this means your boss, client, mom, professor or whoever else you happen to be friends with. Although Mark Zuckerberg made it seem so good, this “frictionless sharing” is what a lot of people are afraid of. This problem also carries on over to Google+ accounts, which seems to made even more for public search than Facebook.

While Facebook and Google + seem to want you to open up more to the public, it’s hard to see how you can socialize AND keep your privacy. But the answer you’re looking for may come in the form of Diaspora. The selling point of this relatively new social network is that it is secure – you can share WHAT you want, with WHOM you want. Another great thing is that you own the pictures you upload. There’s none of this nonsense where you give the company consent to use your pictures however they please, ahem.. Twitpic.

I admit that I’ve had my Diaspora account for sometime, I haven’t been making full use of it. I’m pretty sure that my non-internet marketing friends and family are even aware of what Diaspora is. Which is part of their problem… some early reviews say that the profiles are too plain and that there needs to be more features. Also, Diaspora needs a helping hand when it comes to monetary funds and have been asking for donations to help further their project. Sometimes, simplicity is best and I’d like to see where Diaspora takes things.

What do you think? Are you worried about social networking privacy features of other mainstream sites and would you look into using alternatives like Diaspora?

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.

If Twitter is NOT a Social Network, What Is It?

Emarketed Twitter social media advertising

Earlier this week, Twitter’s own VP of business and corporate development, Kevin Thau, shook things up when he said that Twitter is NOT a social network. In his own words, “Twitter is for news. Twitter is for content. Twitter is for information.”

Maybe Kevin has taken allegations that Twitter is “pointless” to heart. Twitter is trying to revamp their image a place where news is broadcast and transformed. I’m not sure why Twitter wants to suddenly re-position their image as a news aggregator.

Twitter is a great place for social networking, so why would they want to turn away from that? I think it’s strange that they don’t embrace it but instead, turn to a direction that most users don’t associate it with. As one reader put it, “Since Twitter can’t compete with Facebook as a social app, they’re now redefining themselves as a news source. That’s my read anyways.”

What is Twitter to you and how do you use it?

What Bothers You About Facebook?

emarketed Facebook advertising
Whether you think that change is good or bad, it’s one thing for sure: inevitable. Facebook faces harsh criticisms as they are always changing features and updating their looks. Let’s take a look the pain points of Facebook:

Constant changes – People don’t always like change, especially when it comes to something that they’re familiar with. Facebook is always changing how Pages look and have recently put a size constraint on Facebook Page tabs and eliminated Boxes. They claim that the purpose of this is to enhance the user experience but how is it helpful for Pages to take things away?

Facebook Places also made its debut and people are up in arms over privacy issues, so learn how to disable it if you’re interested.

Lack of focus – Should I focus on gaining more Fans? Constantly updating my status? Adding new content? What’s the point of all this?! Many people find themselves asking these questions. It’s hard to find a balance in all this but you’ll eventually find the spot. To me, the most important aspect of a Facebook Page is to show your personality. An updated Page shows that you’re active and “social” so yes, it’s important to show your customers and fans that there is a real person behind your Page.

Irrelevancy and distractions – This article shows how Facebook Pages are becoming irrelevant in some ways. It claims that less people are visiting Pages. I think that well-maintained Pages will still get hits.
So, what are people doing on Facebook? I just noticed that I got a complimentary 25 credits for Facebook Games such as Resort World (nearly 2.5 million players) or Happy Island (nearly 9 million players). Time to spend that virtual money!

What are some other things that bother you about Facebook?

Whitman and Brown: Taking Politics to Facebook

Increased Social Media Efforts
If you’ve seen/heard TV, radio and online ads, you’ll know that the political race in California is heating up between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown. An article in the LA Times shows that Meg is launching “A New California” campaign on Facebook. On the site, she’ll ask fans to vote about issues that they think are important. Meg will then address the winning issue in a video that will be shared on Facebook. This clever Facebook campaign will bring Meg more fans and raise awareness on her platforms. Meanwhile, Team Jerry Brown has dismissed these “gimmicks” and says that “Meg Whitman even has to buy her friends.”

No matter what political party you’re affiliated with, it’s time to look at these campaign strategies for its effectiveness. Pretend you know nothing about politics or parties for a second…

Comparing Facebook Pages
The first look at Meg Whitman’s Facebook shows a welcoming statement and her vision for a “new” California on the landing page. Meg’s wall also predominantly features her stance on relevant issues, encourages fans to join her efforts and showcases recent appearances. Meg has a professional looking “Donate” tab for easy access and also has an Events tab reminding fans to vote for her on November 2nd.

In comparison, Jerry Brown’s Facebook is visually unappealing. The landing page tab features a list of different things from something about Green jobs to fighting political corruption. The title of the tab isn’t even completely readable, what exactly is “Fighting fo…”? Isn’t someone in charge of looking out for these things? There’s also a “Join Jerry:” tab. Again, what exactly are people signing up for – news about Jerry Brown or is their information going to be sold? If it seems simple enough, do it. A small blurb would help. On the bright side, Jerry’s Facebook wall is filled with updates about community members showcasing their support. It’s always a plus to showcase fans and show them appreciation.

Who Has What it Takes?

Meg’s Facebook approach is cohesive and interesting to her supporters. Jerry’s approach seems a little more cluttered and could use a stronger focus. But in the end, it’s not the Facebook fans that matter but the actual number of voters for each candidate. So, how well will social media work to help increase the votes? Meg Whitman is serious in her Facebook efforts and spending cash to do so. Will Jerry Brown have what it takes to catch up? Social media has given politicians a new chance for outreach but many of them still seem to be behind on the times. We’ll see what happens in November!