Let’s Link Up on LinkedIn

linkedin-logo

Are you a working professional? Do you have a job, but are looking to showcase your accomplishments? Are you job hunting? These are just a few of the reasons you should be on LinkedIn. As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn has 225 million members in over 200 countries. It’s a great outlet to connect with former colleagues, current colleagues, and future employers.

LinkedIn provides users with a way to showcase their resume in a new way, by not only writing about work experience, but also showcasing work. It also allows users to endorse the skills of others and write recommendations. It really takes the resume to a whole new level.

LinkedIn also provides an endless variety of professional groups. By joining a group in your preferred field or a field you’d like to work in, a user can make connections and learn more. Groups can help users stay informed about changing industries and figure out who the influencers are in certain professions, either nationally or in their local communities.

On my LinkedIn profile, I highlight my work experience in both broadcast journalism and healthcare marketing. My “summary” section is up to date and complete, while my work experience blurbs are also detailed. This can help with keyword searches for specific jobs or qualifications. I’ve already had several potential employers contact me because of my LinkedIn profile. I also showcase some of my recent work projects and highlight the fact that I am currently enrolled in a master’s program about social media marketing. My “skills and expertise” have been endorsed by many people, which I feel helps a potential employer see that my current and past colleagues will vouch for my experience.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn!

Analyzing Facebook Insights and Email Analytics

For this week’s assignment, we were asked to analyze the Facebook insights and email analytics for “ABC Company.” This company is a health-oriented organization based in central Florida. In addition to Facebook, it has Twitter and Pinterest accounts, as well as, a YouTube channel. It also sends out a bi-weekly e-newsletter. facebook-insights-icon-resized-600Facebook Insights are the social network’s version of webpage analytics. Insights allow page administrators to keep track of information, such as page views, unique views, fan demographics, engagement, and more on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This feature allows administrators to better understand the user trends for their pages, which can help with content development and marketing strategy. When looking at ABC Company’s Facebook Insights a couple of things stood out to me. Over a month’s span, the number of page “likes” increased, but the number of people “talking” about the page was down. The demographics, not surprisingly, for a health-oriented company swing toward females, ages 25-34. The insights also show that the company never uses “paid posts” and many people are not finding the page via Google search. The company may want to consider including some Facebook ads, or boosted or sponsored ads to increase the brand’s visibility. It may also help to run some sort of “check-in” promotion. Many health clubs or facilities here in southwest Virginia, where I live, do this and then offer deals or coupons for individuals who check in. It could definitely boost engagement and the popularity of the page. When it comes to content posts, the Insights show decent reach, but very few people sharing or talking about the information. Even though I can’t see all of the posts’ content, the two most popular posts seem to do with awareness days, including National Cancer Survivor Day and Memorial Day. Since this type of content tends to do well with its audience, the company should look to raise more awareness for health-related causes or community causes. Since the company does have other social media channels, it should definitely cross-promote and incorporate all of the channels on a regular basis. They should promote YouTube videos on the Facebook wall and website. Tweet about events and link back to Facebook event pages for more information. Promote new Pinterest boards or pins that may be relevant to a specific cause or health topic. email-analyticsAs for the company’s email analytics, all of the numbers seem pretty poor to me. Of the 2,624 total emails sent during one week only 25% were opened and only about 11% of users clicked on a link. The most telling stat: 0% conversation rate. So, these emails are not translating into any type of conversion or ROI. This is not good for a company. I would encourage the company to improve the call-to-actions in each email. Make it easier and more valuable for consumers to convert or make a purchase. They can also offer special promotions to those on its email list. If a consumer feels special, or that they are getting something a regular in-person consumer cannot, they may be more apt to make a purchase. From both of these analytics tools, I believe companies can make real changes to how they decide to market to target audiences. It’s nice to be able to check on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis what type of posts and content resonate with consumers. Every company should be taking advantage of these tools.

Why Businesses Should Care About Google+

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Relatively new to the social media scene, Google+ has always had a lot of buzz surrounding it. I mean, it is a Google entity, so that’s not a surprise. But despite the initial hype and droves of people who signed up and created profiles, Google+ has left a lot of people and businesses confused. It has similarities to Facebook, but it doesn’t “feel” the same to users. What is it’s purpose? Why should I care who is in my “circles”? How can Google+ help my business? Before we tackle some of these issues, let’s start from the beginning, which for Google+ was in 2011.

History

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Google+, owned and operated by Google, launched in June 2011 with integrations across a number of Google products. It was initially launched as an invite-only social network, but quickly suspended that requirement because of high demand. With many of the same features as Facebook, Google+ allows users to create personalized profiles and personal connections. Businesses pages have also become available. In January 2013, Google+ surpassed Twitter as the second largest social networking site in the world. With approximately 500 million registered users and around 320 active users, Google+ shouldn’t and can’t be ignored by businesses.

Features

As I mentioned, there are some similarities to Facebook, but Google+ has several unique features, as well.

CirclesScreen Shot 2013-10-11 at 10.54.10 PM

  • Allows for targeted sharing within subsets of a user’s social groups. Put simply: Circles are small groups of people that users can share specific information. Each has a name, such as family, friends, co-workers, and classmates. It’s an interesting way to separate your social groups in real life and share specific information with specific people. Again, it helps with personal versus professional relationships.

+1google+1-button

  • Similar to the “like” button on Facebook, the +1 button let’s you show users what content grabbed your attention and you wanted to endorse. When a user hits the +1 button on your content you’ll be notified, and anyone in their circles will be able to see what content they’ve clicked +1 on. This feature also adds weight to search engine results. So, the more +1s your posts have the higher Google will rank the post in search results.

Stream

  • Provides three columns of updates from users’ circles. The stream can be filtered to only show certain circles at any given time. Users can think of this as similar to Facebook’s wall.

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 10.52.27 PM

Hangouts

  • Places used to facilitate group video chat. A maximum of 10 participants can interact in a single Hangout at the same time. Hangouts can be shared to YouTube (also a Google entity) to be watched multiple times. Even President Obama has taken part in a Google+ Hangout. That’s pretty cool!

Communities google-communities1

  • Allow users to create ongoing conversations about specific topics, helpful for professionals in specific industries or individuals interested in certain hobbies.

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  • As with Twitter, hashtags (#) can group content of a certain topic together and display the highest ranking or most popular topics in search results. Hashtags can help get your content be easier to find and be noticed by more than those users who are already in your circles. From a business standpoint, hashtags are key to reaching a broader audience.

Google+ Local

  • Allows users to see reviews of local businesses from people in their circles, as well as see pictures and read about experiences from public users. Businesses should monitor Local to see what people are saying about them. It would also be beneficial to have your loyal consumers post about you or their experiences with the business, again, this would help attract new potentional customers.

Mobile

  • Launched in September 2011, Google+ mobile includes most of the features of the social network, including easy photo uploading, easy mentioning, and notifications.

Who is Using Google+Google+-infographic

Early adopters were generally male, ages 25-34. Google+ originally had an age requirement of 18, but in June 2012 opened the network up to users as young as 13. Still, today, the average user tends to be male (63%), around 28-years-old, and who is technically savvy.

Every month, nearly 320 million people worldwide use Google+ to post messages, make video calls, and endorse search results by clicking the so-call +1 button. In fact, in 2013 alone, 100 million new users joined Google+. The social network still struggles with the amount of time users spend on it. On average, active users spend on 12 minutes per day on Google+. That compares to the average Facebook user spending at least 20 minutes, per visit each day.

Here’s 11 surprising facts about Google+ you may not know.

So, Why is Google+ Important to Your Business?

This seems to be the main question most businesses debate. Why should resources be put into a social network that lacks engaged and active users. Well, the simple answer is: Google. The benefits to your businesses being on Google+ are numerous, but the most important one is search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO

Google+ posts get indexed almost immediately by Google. This means your posts count toward your overall SEO ranking. Content from posts has the same value as content on web pages. This is huge! It doesn’t take much to craft a successful post on Google+ and link it back to your business’ website. By doing this consistently, you’ll help your business rank higher in search results, and in turn, become more visible to potential consumers.

Also, because Google+ is owned by Google, those posts tend to rank higher in search results, another bonus for businesses. Unlike most other social networks, Google+ passes link authority. So, when you share a link to a page, that link is free of a “no follow” element that would strip away its link authority. Learn more about link authority here and other reasons you shouldn’t ignore Google+.

The larger your business’ Google+ network is, the more directly or indirectly you’ll influence search results of people who have you in their circles. Remember, just like with “regular” SEO on a website, keywords are key in Google+ posts and will help good content become more visible (and don’t forget those relevant hashtags either!).

Personalized Search

Social networking gives Google more details about its users, like where they live and what their interests are, so that information provided in search results can be personalized. Messages, photos, or videos tend to appear in search results from users’s personal connections, making those results seem more personalized.

YouTube Comments

Recently, Google also announced that comments from Google+ users circles would rank higher on YouTube videos than even the video’s creator or celebrities. The company says it recognizes that people care more about comments from people they know than complete strangers. If your business is on YouTube, it’s inevitable that you’ll almost be forced to join the Google+ platform because of this integration.

What Should Your Strategy Be?

Would I recommend putting a ton of resources into producing content specifically for Google+? No. But should it be an important part of a integrated marketing communications plan? Yes. All businesses should be on Google+ for at least the SEO exposure alone. But don’t make it harder on yourself or your staff, take content already being produced for other social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, and re-tool it. Remember, be aware of trending hashtags (I can’t say this enough, right?), be specific and strategic with keywords, and know who is your circles and provide content to those users that they will find valuable. Also, make sure your profile is complete and optimized, so users can easily find your business page. This includes a complete introduction, tagline, contact information, and photo.

Another benefit of Google+ is your content extends beyond the social network. It follows users across all of Google’s products: Reviews, Maps, Chrome, Ads, Hangouts, YouTube, Calendar, and more.

See how businesses around the world are using Google+ to get noticed and connect with their audience.

Outlook

Google+ may still be a mystery to some, but be proactive and take advantage of the benefits that come along with. Let’s be honest, Google isn’t going anywhere, so you should think of Google+ in the same light.  As Google+ develops and reinvents itself in the years to come, the fact that Google owns so many platforms will only grow. This cross exposure on other platforms is another way you can market your businesses to the masses.

Interactive Google+ Presentation 

Sources

Farnworth, D. (2013, March). Why Google+ is the best social platform for content marketers [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.copyblogger.com/google-plus-content-advantage/

Frasco, S. (2013, April 2). A Google+ overview: breaking through misconceptions [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/stephaniefrasco/1332761/google-plus-overview

Hof, R. (2013, May 16). Google still struggles to explain why normal people should care about Google+. Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2013/05/16/google-still-struggles-to-explain-why-real-people-should-care-about-google/

Honeysett, A. (2013, October 9). Should your company be on Google+? [Blog post] Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2013/10/09/your-company-on-google-plus/

Kocher, J. (2013, August 30). SEO: 5 reasons not to ignore Google+ [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/57948-SEO-5-Reasons-Not-to-Ignore-Google

Kopytoff, V. (2013, October 3). Google is far from losing the war over social. Time Business & Money. http://business.time.com/2013/10/03/google-is-far-from-losing-the-war-over-social

Shepard, C. (2013, April 20). Amazing correlation betwee Google +1s and higher search rankings [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://moz.com/blog/google-plus-correlations

ModCloth Does Push and Pull Marketing Well

If you couldn’t tell by last week’s blog, I love ModCloth. Beyond what they offer from a fashion standpoint, the company knows who its consumers are and as one of them, I appreciate the connection I feel from the brand. ModCloth does a great job of balancing both “push” and “pull” marketing techniques.

Push Marketing Techniques

Weekly email blast from ModCloth

Weekly email blast from ModCloth

When it comes to push marketing, ModCloth does various things. Consumers and allowed and encouraged to sign up for weekly email blasts. The emails vary when it comes to content, but usually provide consumers with exclusive offers, ways to further engage with the company, and new trends. This weeks e-blast promoted items the consumer “can’t find anywhere else!” Is that true? Who knows, but if you like their products, chances are as a loyal customer you would believe them and be more apt to buy something from them.

Any successful marketing strategy hinges on content and ModCloth does a great job of producing and utilizing fresh content. The blog site is updated nearly every day by several bloggers, producing content on a variety of topics. This helps engage consumers who may share similar interests or have different interests all together.

As I mentioned last week, ModCloth also makes it easy for consumers to become part of the company, and have a voice in what items are sold via the online store. There are several references and links on the site to “join the ModCloth community.” It’s very easy for users to navigate the site and engage. The “community” feeling is also a great way to enhance loyalty and brand preference.

Pull Marketing Techniques

Sponsored ad on Facebook

Sponsored ad on Facebook

ModCloth also uses pull marketing techniques to promote the business and engage with consumers. For instance, on Facebook, ModCloth often has sponsored ads that pop up in users’ newsfeeds and on the right side of the Facebook homepage. I’ve also noticed recently more Facebook events popping up for the company. The most recent one I saw promoted a Game Night themed event. Not only it is a chance for consumers to interact with the company in person, but it also allows the company to promote some if it’s new items through an event, instead of just through their traditional website.

No. 3 non-paid search on Google for "vintage inspired clothing"

No. 3 non-paid search on Google for “vintage inspired clothing”

ModCloth also does a great job with SEO. When I put in a generic search for “vintage inspired clothing” into Google ModCloth popped up as the third non-paid result. Not bad for a company that started as a hobby in a college dorm room. The company is obviously conscious of SEO and allowing users who many not know of the brand find it easily through a simple search engine search.

Mobile and Social

ModCloth app Promotion

ModCloth app Promotion

ModCloth Mobile Site

ModCloth Mobile Site

ModCloth also does a great job of connecting with consumers on mobile and social media outlets. It has an app for both the iPad and iPhone, which is promoted in many areas of the website, as well as in the weekly emails.  It also has a mobile website, which makes it easy for users to navigate which on their smartphones if they do not have the app downloaded. If companies are not creating responsive website designs or acknowledging the importance of mobile sites they are missing the boat since many consumers now search the internet via smartphones.

ModCloth also make a conscious effort to connect its consumers to all its social media networks. I’ve always thought Modcloth does a great job of using different social networks and in the correct way. They don’t just post the same content on each social network. While many are similar posts, you can tell each post if targeted for that specific social network and its users.

ModCloth makes it easy for users to find and connect with its social networks from the website.

ModCloth makes it easy for users to find and connect with its social networks from the website.

Overall, I think ModCloth is doing a great job of balancing both push and pull marketing strategies. While I think the company does a great job of pushing it’s social networks, I could see them incorporating more direct promotion of specific networks on its website homepage slider. For instance, if they start a new Pinterest board, they could promote it in the homepage slider to generate more pins and follows. I always look forward to what new products are being promoted each week, and I find myself using all of ModCloth’s networks to stay engaged with the company. In the marketing world, I think ModCloth is #Winning!