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 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. As 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.
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.
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.
As I mentioned, there are some similarities to Facebook, but Google+ has several unique features, as well.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Allow users to create ongoing conversations about specific topics, helpful for professionals in specific industries or individuals interested in certain hobbies.
- 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.
- 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.
- Launched in September 2011, Google+ mobile includes most of the features of the social network, including easy photo uploading, easy mentioning, and notifications.
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).
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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