As the lines between search engine optimization and social media continue to blur and form one synergistic effort, it is critical that both small and large companies stay up to date with new opportunities for spreading brand awareness and connecting directly with their audiences. When Google makes a move in the social space, it’s important to pay attention to, understand, and identify how the offering can and should be leveraged for your business.
With the recent announcement of Google+ brand pages, many people may be saying “My business is already active on Facebook and Twitter, why should I bother with yet another social media channel?” This is a valid question due to the amount of time and resources that are required to effectively manage each social media channel. At the surface, Google+ brand pages may seem like just another Facebook with a fraction of the user base. However, these are a few unique elements that you should consider before writing it off:
Smaller User Base
While it’s true that Google+ does have a much smaller user base than Facebook (estimated at 40 million vs. 800 million), it doesn’t necessarily mean you should ignore it and focus all of your efforts on Facebook. With fewer users, come less noise and more focus in the space. Facebook is packed full of updates from the recent integration of services like Spotify and The Washington Post, as well as games, “happy birthdays,” and pictures of friends and family. Google+, on the other hand, seems to be driven more by content of a professional, informational, and industry-specific manner. Because of this, brands may be able to create a much more direct and personal relationship with their audiences.
Google+ offers very unique functionality with its ability to host “Hangouts,” or live audio/video chats, between itself and its audience. Hangouts provide an opportunity to directly engage in discussions, receive immediate feedback, and/or provide exclusive content. One example of a brand already using Hangouts is The Black Eyed Peas, where they hosted a session backstage prior to one of their concerts. The Hangout allowed them to connect with their fans, give some inside information on the band, and thank their fans for their support (watch the full recording here).
Another creative use of Hangouts can be seen with Dell. Michael Dell mentioned the possibility that the company may soon leverage Hangouts as a place for face-to-face customer support and sales rather than requiring customers to call in.
Future Integration With Other Google Offerings
As Google continues its recent effort to unify its products and offerings, Google+ is ripe for deeper integration with services such as Google Places and Maps, Web and Image Search, and YouTube. Google has already begun this process in several ways. One of the most recent is the addition of Google +1s into Image Search.
Ultimately, whether or not using Google+ brand pages is right for your business depends on your target audience and your level of creativity to use the service to its full potential. In most cases, businesses must fully understand what types of audiences they have, where they are spending their time online, and what types of content they want to consume from each service. Finding the right balance of social interaction and commercial promotion is critical in creating that connection, positively affecting other marketing initiatives such as SEO, and ultimately generating the next sale.
Are you using Google+ for your brand? If so, in what ways are you engaging your audience? And if not, why did you decide against it?
One of my accounting clients called yesterday
and we had a chat about how his business is
going since he started doing SEO with me.
He told me that prior to doing SEO he was
spending $26,000 a year on Yellow Pages
advertising and was getting a handful of new clients
from it and over the last year he had dropped it to
$16,000 and got 2 sales.
But here’s where the story gets good…
He has been keeping track of where every single
new client they get has come from since the SEO
began and here’s the stats he shared with me:
- They are now getting 20 leads a week from the Internet
- They get an average of 4 new customers a week
- The average dollar value is $2000 (i.e. $8,000/Week in NEW business)
- They landed a BIG business account 3 days ago worth
$10,000 in fees a month
- and they only spend $500 amonth on SEO
So, the return on investment for this
client is 6400%!
Now the reason I share this story with you is that these
kind of returns are NORMAL for local business that
are on the front-page of Google.
Zero Moment of Truth (via Mobile & Search Marketing)
Online product information and reviews available at or near the point of purchase decision (i.e. your store, your parking lot, your competitor’s store) via a smartphone. This changes everything.
A “Zero Moment of Truth” is…
A BUSY MOM IN A MINIVAN, looking up decongestants on her mobile phone as she waits to pick up her son at school.
AN OFFICE MANAGER AT HER DESK, comparing laser printer prices and ink cartridge costs before heading to the office supply store.
A STUDENT IN A CAFE, scanning user ratings and reviews while looking for a cheap hotel in Barcelona.
A WINTER SPORTS FAN IN A SKI STORE, pulling out a mobile phone to look at video reviews of the latest snowboards.
A YOUNG WOMAN IN HER CONDO, searching the web for juicy details about a new guy before a blind date.
Would it surprise you to know that a full 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase?
Or that 79% of consumers now say they use a smartphone to help with shopping?
Or that 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them?
What was once a message is now a conversation.
Shoppers today find and share their own information about products, in their own way, on their own time.
Word of mouth is stronger than ever.
For the first time in human history, word of mouth is a digitally archived medium.
To learn more, watch the short video above (if you haven’t already), then download the free PDF below.
by Daniel Crivello – Correspondent Daily Herald
Published Sunday, August 21, 2011
Studies show 80 percent of consumers search online before making a purchase within a 10- to 20-mile radius.
If Google is the new Yellow Pages, then Gaede finds himself among a growing number of local business owners who have to wrangle with tech-savvy competition to achieve virtual visibility. Companies that can wield the largest resources to game the Google system — perfecting the art of search engine optimization, or SEO — earn the Internet’s most valuable real estate, Google’s first page. They can eclipse even those that are more locally relevant to customers.
It’s not a certain formula, but a using combination of techniques definitely helps one’s Google prominence. And maintaining that effort regularly costs money.
In the pre-digital age, naming your company with a letter combination like AA1 was all that was necessary to guarantee the top spot in local print listings.
Today, when few people even click beyond the first page online, small businesses that have not optimized their websites for Google have a much smaller chance to be found. In a recent study that included 8.9 million queries sampled over nine months, business sites received 95 percent of search traffic from page-one results, a sign that consumers favor websites with high ranking.
Rod Martin, an American Fork auto repair shop owner with nine employees, says he spends more than $6,000 a year on SEO and online marketing, illustrating the pressures today’s small companies face to stay relevant.
He stopped advertising in the Yellow Pages. “Yellow Pages is pretty much dead,” he said. Half his customers find him via Google.
“To be No. 1, your website needs word tags, blogs, keywords, changing content, having relevant content, linking to other sites and other sites linking back to you,” Martin said. “Having your bother-in-law do your website … I’m sorry, it isn’t effective. It’s time for the pros to step in.”
Martin’s company, World Class Auto Repair, ranks first out of seven competitors on Google under the keywords “auto repair American Fork” in both map and website results. He recently hired a computer firm to develop an attractive Facebook page for the company.
“Word of mouth used to mean that Fred told his neighbor Brian about an auto mechanic,” Martin said. “Now it’s Fred and Sally and Suzy and Tom on Facebook sharing my business with their friends. Word of mouth is now social media.”
“One of the most important things is to be proactive,” said Anais Moody, the company’s marketing and communication specialist. “It’s hard to stay on top. Google is constantly changing its algorithm.”
NorthStar Alarm’s new computer programmer will also be tasked with developing a mobile phone application, the new megaphone for marketing.
According to Web publication TechCrunch, local search by mobile phones has grown 50 percent year over year and become the No. 1 access method for local information.
Industry experts predict business search will not only be done on the phone but through friends’ recommendations on social media websites like Facebook. Even Google itself, feeling the pressure to include social circles in its search, recently unveiled a website called Google Plus.
The website, which quickly grabbed the public’s attention, uses circles of families, friends and interests, potentially assigning trust to people by topic.
The data on online recommendations are stark: More than 70 percent of respondents in a Harris Interactive study claim family members’ or friends’ reviews exert a “great deal” or “fair amount” of influence on a decision to use or not use a particular company, brand or product.
So if Google is today’s Yellow Pages, will social media be the Yellow Pages of tomorrow?
Aaron Wall of SEOBook.com is predicting that Google will kill SMB Self-Serve Adwords in the next few years due to lack of profitability?
Check out this “Google Ad Spend by Company Size” chart in Aaron’s post, very scary…
Google makes nearly all of their revenue and profit from a handful of large enterprise clients. SMB clients are numerous, but not at all profitable.
It makes sense. Nearly all traditional offline ad media (TV, radio, etc) only deal with large agencies because it costs too much to deal directly with millions of SMBs that only spend nickels and dimes.
Will your business have a Plan B in place? Will you have your organic/natural search rankings set up, ready to deliver the customers that Adwords used to deliver?
You can read more here…
I just received this email from Google…
You asked to be notified when the +1 button code was available, and today’s the day!
The +1 button makes it easy for visitors to recommend your pages to friends and contacts exactly when their advice is most useful — on Google search. As a result, you could get more and better qualified site traffic.
You’ll need to add a small snippet of code on the pages where you want a +1 button to appear. Ready to get started?
To stay current on updates to the +1 button large and small, please sign up for the Google Publisher Button Announce Group.
If you have questions when adding the code, check out the Google Webmasters Help Center. Thanks for your interest!
The Google Webmaster Central & +1 button teams
Google does it again! They recently introduced their version of the Facebook social “Like” button. The number of +1′s your site has will directly affect where you rank on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) in the very near future, so add your +1 button to your pages ASAP and start collecting points.