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@Your Business #Why Aren’t you on Twitter?

Hello readers, I want to pose you a question. Have you ever considered using Twitter for your business? I know, you must be thinking that Twitter is designed for friends just to talk back and forth to each other, and Twitter is something that you shouldn’t get involved in. But you would be wrong, horribly wrong as a matter of fact. The online advertising paradigm has shifted in the last few years and with the new revolution in social media causing this shift; all advertising has to be rethought.

Twitter and SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) is the key towards driving traffic towards your businesses website. The more unique and original content you have on the web, the more likely you will be found through search engines like Google. As stated in Search Engine Optimization Journal, “Both Google and Bing have admitted that social media signals are being incorporated into the search algorithm as a ranking factor.” This basically means that, when using Twitter, the more content that is Tweeted and reTweeted, the more important a search engine views it. So every time you use Twitter to make a tweet, you are adding more and more content. Whether you are talking back and forth to your followers or making a quick blurb about something interesting; all of these things actually help you to get found on the web.

Tweeting to the Masses

Having a website to display your business is a necessity in this day and age. You can post offers, contact information, and showcase your business.

However, without a way to get the word out about your business, your website doesn’t actually do much good. But, getting the word out is where Twitter really shines. As of February 12, 2012, there are over 500 million registered users on Twitter and over 140 million tweets (on average) are sent per day. With the week averaging out to a billion tweets you can see people are investing quite a bit into Twitter. So why wouldn’t you use it? If you are going to be having a sale, event, or celebration; why not utilize Twitter to send out your offers to the customers that follow your business? Getting more involved with your followers, in turn, get them more involved with you.

@at symbols and #hashtags

Twitter’s main function is as a short status update of your business, which you have to get across in 140 characters or less. Even though 140 characters may sound like a little amount of space to use, you can still impact a customer in that limited amount. This impact happens by using the @ and # function when you write a tweet. You can direct your tweets at a particular follower (with @) and include information that people can search for (with #). But let’s see how @ and # in action:

 

As you can see, in this quick little response tweet you can cover so much in that small amount of space. First, you answered the question. Second, you reassure the customer that their needs will be met at your business. And, finally you placed #MajorCredit in the body of your response. For this example I decided to make up a fake credit card company named Major Credit. You also may be wondering why I hashtaged the company Major Credit in my tweet? This is because if someone were to search Twitter for #MajorCredit; they would be able to view this tweet.

But What Does All Of This Mean?!

Hundreds of millions of people are on Twitter each day asking each other where they should go and what they should do. Your business should to be on Twitter making an impact on your customers and telling them why they should come to your store. But keep in mind, while Twitter may be a great marketing tool it should not be the only one in your social media marketing campaign. So, when you incorporate Twitter into your Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and/or LinkedIn marketing campaign you can really see your business take off through social media.

 

Want to sign up to get your business on Twitter? Click here

Want to ask Andrew Gorlewski at Optima Social Media a question? Email me at: Andrew@optimasocialmedia.com

 

Social Media is Always on the Move

 

Hello readers! Are you reading this blog through a Twitter link or from a Facebook post while you were checking your phone? I would actually not be horribly surprised to discover at least 50% of you reading this came to my blog via your phone. But why? When you think about it, everyone has at least 10 minutes of free time in their day. Whether it is standing in the checkout line at the supermarket, sitting on a train, or waiting for a coffee at their local coffee shop, everyone still has at least some amount of down time. And during that downtime, a large amount of people check their phone. If they are anything like me, they check their Facebook.

People like you and I love to catch up on anything we missed. For example, “Jake has a cute cat…wait, when did Jake get a cat? Oh, he posted he got a cat last Tuesday.”(Facebook) Or “What do I eat for dinner? The Taco Hut tweeted they have a buy one get one free. That does not sound like a bad deal.” (Twitter). All these little snippets of information we get through social media while we wait.

 

On the Go!

In a study done by Mashable Tech, they discovered that an average 38.2 million Americans use their mobile device (phone, IPad, etc.) in order to check up on their social networks on a daily basis. While this number is pretty outstanding it is also not surprising. The Huffington Post reports, “Apple’s device and other smartphones, have overtaken the basic mobile phone. Nearly half, or 46 percent, of all Americans are using them.” So this means roughly 150 million people in the U.S.A are using a smartphone. This does not include the amount of people using a tablet device. Let’s take me for example. Within the last hour I used my phone to quickly check my Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. And what makes this all the more relevant is my social media refreshment was done while I was waiting for a bag of popcorn to cook.

 

Mobile device impact

I could list off a ton of statistics about all the social media companies that would awe and amaze you. However, that would be terribly boring. Let’s just take a look at the impact mobile devices have had on the largest social media company, Facebook. Consider this: “In first-ever earnings report, company (Facebook) points to…more than 543 million monthly active users on mobile” I took this straight from the headlines from the news blog over at C|net.com. While this may have been from a few months ago, it is still relevant in illustrating my point; the growth of the mobile devices has directly impacted social media.

Facebook, a company which you could only access from a desktop computer, now has 56.8% of its monthly users accessing Facebook from their mobile devices. They saw this coming long before this report came out. That is why Facebook, back in July of 2011, launched its “Facebook for Every Phone” application, which brought Facebook to over 2,500 new brands of phones. While I could not locate a newer article about the specifics on how many phones now work with Facebook, can you think of any recent mobile device that does not work with Facebook?

 

Go Forth and Tweet

Now that I have given you a bunch of information… what should you do with it? Apply it to your business. Millions of people (predominately the younger generation) are flocking to their mobile device to check social media and it has actually become a hassle for them to go to a desktop computer. So now you need to consider who will be viewing your Facebook, Twitter, and Google + while you are posting. Do you want to post in the evening when people have access to their home desktop? Or are you trying to target a younger generation, which will go to their phone first and throughout the day? One can only imagine what type of impact mobile devices will have on social media within the next few years. But do not worry; I will be covering the newest developments as they happen.

 

Want to sign up to get your business on Twitter? Click here

Want to ask Andrew Gorlewski at Optima Social Media a question?

Email me at: Andrew@optimasocialmedia.com

Should You Find Pinterest Interesting?

A lot of hype has been going around about a social media network called Pinterest. While I have used Pinterest for a while now, it has only been within the last six months this social media tool has taken off and the pin-craze has begun. So I decided that this week’s blog should enlighten those of you who do not already know what Pinterest is, how to use it, and how it has gained traction in the social media world.

Some of you may want to jump on Pinterest right away because of the rumors of it being the next “big thing”. But, after you finish reading this you may decide that you don’t have the right type of business for Pinterest. If you do decide to use Pinterest, make sure to look for a later blog on how to use Pinterest for your business.

Pin, Pin, then Re-Pin!!

Pinterest has a very simple yet very elaborate theory behind it: have users compile images located from all corners of the internet and pin the image to their board (image gallery). This is achieved through using the “Pin-it” button given to you from Pinterest.com. By pinning an item, the image becomes tagged with URL link allowing anyone who pins the item, a way to back-track to the original website.

You are then allowed to share your board with others or have another person copy pins off of one of your boards and put it on theirs.

You can also use the “like” and “comment” feature to express an opinion about an item, much like Facebook. I know this may sound a tad confusing at first, but just bear with me.

Let’s take a look at a situation which occurs quite frequently on Pinterest. Say I am looking to redecorate my bedroom. Where do I begin? Well a theme would be nice. I really enjoy the beach; so how about something classy with a little ocean ambiance? So I start pinning images I found online, and from the Pinterest gallery, to my board. While browsing items online I come across a nice bed frame at my local big box retail store. I go to their website and sure enough there is a “Pin-it” button. I use the button to pin the image to my board. Then while sitting around the house I was able to locate images of the beach, a soft blue colored comforter, seashells, glass candle holders, a new TV, and wavy curtains. I look at some more items from my friend’s boards and copy them to my board. Finally, I have reached my budget and it is time to order. Thanks to the URL links, ordering has become much easier and simpler. This methodology is the key feature of Pinterest and that is why it has become so popular. Things like clothing can now be pinned to a board and you can determine an outfit you want to wear before buying anything.

 

They Grow-Up so Fast

Here is an infographic I found which does a nice job of explaining the growth of Pinterest.

Rising Star or Sinking Ship?

Just looking at the numbers alone, Pinterest seems to be the next big social media platform. It does a lot of things right such as: sharing, commenting, organizing, a way to follow what people are pinning, and a nice browsing tool allowing you to filter through all the images to refine your search. All of these items are the real strength behind Pinterest and when they are used together the site becomes very easy to use, navigate, and enjoy. However, the biggest downfall of Pinterest is; as it states in the “Pinterest Etiquette” section:

This poses a slight problem…you have to rely more so on your consumers to pin pictures of your items from your website, rather than being able to promote your items in the way you would prefer. This puts extra strain on you as a business owner. Now you have to consider having someone render your pictures on your website to make them appealing for Pinterest. And when you do so, it can make your images look inorganic and they end up clashing with the pictures you already use for your social media campaign.

Another item worth thinking about is; due to Pinterest’s growing popularity and user base, a lot of the images pinned are violating copyright. And even though Pinterest states how they are absolved of violation of copy write infringement in their Terms of service, it could be only a matter of time before legal action is brought against them.

To Pin or Not to Pin?

I am interested to see just what happens to Pinterest in the next few months to come. Things like recent shift in demographics (as seen in the infographic), expansion, and violation of copyright are my three biggest concerns at the moment. Things can grow exponentially with Pinterest or they can go terribly wrong. Only the next few months will tell what happens to this quickly growing social media platform.

 

 

Want to ask Andrew Gorlewski at Optima Social Media a question?

Email me at: Andrew@optimasocialmedia.com

MySpace…That’s right MySpace

When was the last time someone spoke about their MySpace page? Of course there has been the occasion when someone misspoke at a party when they were referring to their Facebook. But think about it, when was the last time you checked your MySpace? This titan of social media fell from grace and most of the attention that it had, shifted to Facebook. It seemed that all good news about this social media platform faded out of existence. That was until Justin Timberlake got involved.

 

On January 9th, Timberlake made an appearance at CES in Las Vegas and unveiled the vision for the future of MySpace. And believe me, after I got done watching the video provided by Mashable.com … I got excited. Why? It is because, thanks to Panasonic, MySpace will have the potential to be integrated into Panasonic TV’s. The idea of social media working seamlessly with television is something that we haven’t seen done successfully before. So this could be the idea which sets MySpace apart from its numerous competitors.

 

However, the buzz around MySpace died down for a while. For nearly 9 months there was nothing. Then on September 24th Timberlake tweeted a link which read “THIS IS MYSPACE”.

Brought to you by vimeo.com here is the new look for MySpace:

 

The real question I was left with after watching the video is could this be used for to benefit businesses? While the previous MySpace could be used like Facebook to promote and advertise; the only information we have about the new MySpace is what we can get from the video. But, if we look closely at the video, the potential is there. As you can see, MySpace looks to take the most successful features from three current social media platforms and combine them. The elements of Facebook (posting, platform linking, and commenting), Google + (circles), and Pinterest (photo display and wall organization structure) all seem to have been merged into one and been reshaped to make up the new look of MySpace.

 

While having all of these successful features is a good thing, I am also looking at what MySpace does for itself. Music was, in my opinion, MySpace’s greatest accomplishment so it is no wonder they decided to showcase a music section in this video. But that makes me wonder… if you are a business, will you be able to track your “top fans” and view the demographics of those finding you, like Musicians can? Also will you be able to take advantage of the beautiful landing page background and use that for promotional purposes? If you are a business how will you be able to showcase your business’s products and services?

 

There are just too many things that are unknown at this current moment. So I submitted my email address and am anxiously awaiting for an invite to test drive the new MySpace. I will render my verdict about the new MySpace’s applicability to business after I receive my invite. If you are interested in whether MySpace can work for your business make sure you follow my blog.

 

Want to ask Andrew Gorlewski at Optima Social Media a question?

Email me at: Andrew@optimasocialmedia.com

Revolutionizing Politics: Social media’s impact on elections

For those of you who know me; know that I am not very interested in politics. However, what I am interested in, is social media. And due to the election coming up soon, I have seen an enormous buzz around the candidates and their social media platforms. So rest assured this is not a biased blog, it is an analysis of facts.

Social Politics

It wasn’t until the election in 2008 that social media become a huge part of the political arena. In fact, it was President Obama and his team who started utilizing social media as a crucial part of their campaign. If it wasn’t for this, I believe that President Obama may have lost the election to Senator John McCain. I am not saying that Senator McCain did not use social media; I am saying that the Obama campaign utilized their social media much more effectively. But don’t take my word for it; let’s take a look at some statistics surrounding three of President Obama’s largest social media platforms:

According to GlobalHumanCapital.Org

  • MySpace (including accounts created for each key state) – 250 million friends
  • Facebook – a community of 140 million people
  • MyBarackObama.com (now renamed BarackObama.com) – 1.5million accounts creating 35,000 groups which in turn, set up over 150,000 campaign fund raising events.

President Obama would also have Twitter, LinkedIN, YouTube, and SMS (short message service) accounts made for the campaign as well. All of these accounts would connect to each other and also connect back to his website allowing users to submit donations towards his election campaign.

The website was designed around maximizing the effectiveness of his social media. For example, each of his social media platforms allowed his followers, in some way, to participate in his election effort. First, there were donation icons placed on each page allowing people to easily submit a donation just by clicking a button. Second, there were blogs and videos placed on the site (and on YouTube) which gave supporters ideas on how they can encourage others to donate. And finally, there was a section which was designed to help get people to register to vote, as well has how they could help others register. In my opinion, this was a brilliant idea. Due to President Obama’s web page and social media strategy, he was able to raise a staggering $500 million dollars in campaign contributions.

 

Social Campaign of 2012

When I was looking online I found a pretty handy infographic made by verticalmeasures.com. I chose this infographic because of how it conveyed the use of social media by both President Obama and Governor Romney. Even though some of these figures are a few months old, they still showcase the large amount of Social Media involvement in this upcoming election.

While the numbers in the infographic are stunning, I wanted to take a look at the most recent numbers around the biggest three platforms. Here is a recent breakdown of the candidates and their pages done within the past few days. Keep in mind that these stats are changing on a daily basis.

(*As of 5:00pm October 11th)

Candidate

Facebook likes

Twitter followers

YouTube Subs / Views

Barack Obama* 30,729,744 20,781,612 238,525 / 244,771,917
Joe Biden* 414,396 191,884
Mitt Romney* 9,016,412 1,355,570 23,285 / 25,965,101
Paul Ryan* 4,098,483 375,649

 

 

 

 

If you were to rank all those involved it would look like this: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Joe Biden. Even though these stats are always increasing, I highly doubt one person will overtake the other, considering the election is not that far away. But, as you can see President Obama has a strong commanding lead when it comes to social media followers. On the other hand, Vice-President Joe Biden does not even break the half-million Facebook “likes”.

When I initially looked at these numbers it hadn’t surprised me that President Obama was in the top spot; given the fact that his Facebook and Twitter accounts have been active since 2007. However, what did surprise me is how quickly Paul Ryan’s pages are growing. After the Vice Presidential debate, Paul Ryan’s “likes” on Facebook overnight grew to ~4,400,000 “likes” (as of October 12th) which is a growth of nearly 300,000 “likes”. Meanwhile, the new accumulated Facebook new “likes” of Vice President Joe Biden only increased by 34,000.

 

Tweet Explosion

The first presidential debate was outrageous, in terms of social media. The amount of tweets sent during the 90-minute debate broke all previous TPM (Tweets per minute) records by hitting a total of 10.3million tweets. And what makes this all the more interesting is, as stated by USA today: Moderator Jim Lehrer’s quip “let’s not” to Romney, who asked to move on to a different debate topic, generated a whopping 158,690 tweets per minute at its peak”. That is an astounding amount of tweets. If you were to break it down further, on average, during the debate there were roughly1907 tweets sent every single second.

Here is a TPM analysis of the debate from the Twitter blog:

 

While this graph does not show the positive verse negative tweets, what it does show is what people find most important. For example, based on tweets, there was a sharp increase in engagement during the discussion of “bipartisanship healthcare” verses the discussion of “trickle down government”. The amount of people engaging with their social media during this debate is record breaking. Needless to say, I am interested to see the TPM during the next debate on Tuesday night, October 16th at 8 p.m. Central .

 

Brace for Impact

I can only wonder how both political parties will interpret the information they have gathered from their social media. With all the possibilities that social media offers, such as demographic analysis, I wonder how they will use information they have. Things that also interest me are: how will each party modify themselves for the second Presidential debate based off the reactions from the first debate? Will their social media gatherings encourage them to talk about certain subjects? Will they look at the key swing states and compare them to the followers they have on Facebook?

 

When we get closer to the election I plan on taking another look at the statistics. Just make sure you follow my blog to see what happens with the candidates and their social media pages.

 

Want to ask Andrew Gorlewski a question?

Email me at: Andrew@optimasocialmedia.com

Google+: Why getting +1’d is amazing!

Social media is always changing. What is a necessity for your social media campaign today might be completely irrelevant next year. After all, things like Fan-gating, used to be a huge way to drive “likes” to your Facebook page. And now with the changing times and updates; Fan-gating is nothing more than an app, which is frivolous and unnecessary at best.

Don’t worry; Facebook and Twitter aren’t becoming obsolete. What I am getting at is, change is happening in the social media world…and that change is being caused by Google+ with its +1 system. So instead of diving into everything that Google+ offers, let’s talk about why your business should be +1’d.

What does a +1 do for you?

The biggest thing about Google+ is its +1 feature. Unlike Facebook’s “like” feature, +1’ing a piece of content actually has an indirect effect on SEO. I found this over at Mashable.com: “When a Google+ user +1’s a piece of content, he gives it his “stamp of approval.” Then, say one of his connections from Google+ searches for the same or related topic. Because of Search plus Your World, his friend is more likely to click on the same link the original user +1’d”

You may have a few questions:

  • Will getting a +1 boost me higher on the list results through Google? – Yes.
  • Will traffic be more likely to be driven to my site because of a users +1 my business? – Yep.
  • Should I be on Google+ getting a leg up on the competition? – Oh yeah!

What +1’ing looks like for your website

Thanks to Google being on top of its game, you can incorporate a +1 button into your website. This allows Google surfers a way of seeing which website has been +1’d by their friends. Let’s take me for example; say I want to get my tires changed on my Jeep before winter. So I type in “new tires” into Google (the most used search engine) and Google shows that my friends have +1’d my local tire shop’s website…literally:

.

Even though this isn’t an actual search through Google, I just wanted to show what this would look like on the Google search. But still, this is pretty nifty. Why? Well think about it. If I am anything like the average consumer, I will probably go with the link to ‘YOURBUSINESS’ simply because my friends gave it their “stamp of approval”. So if more people give your business a +1, the more likely their friends will go to your site when your product or service is needed.

Google+ is what I should focus on?

Without a doubt you should get a start on constructing a Google plus page as soon as possible for your business! But, this does not mean you should not put all of your other social media platforms on the back-burner. While Google+ has 150million active monthly users, it still has a ways to go to catch up to Facebook. Even though that isn’t a lot by comparison, take into account that Google+ has only been out since June 2011. Someday very soon, I believe, it will be just as easily recognizable as any of the other social media sites. In fact probably more so just because Google, as the big search bully on the block, will make sure it appears on your screen over and over again each and every day.

What else can we expect from Google+?

A LOT… But that would make this a ridiculously long blog and I wouldn’t want to leave anything out. Don’t worry I am not going to leave you hanging. Make sure to look for my blog coming up in November where I will take an in depth look at Google+’s “circles” and how you can use it for your business.

 

What do you think about G+? Are you currently using G+ in your social media campaign? Want to contact me? Email me at Andrew@optimasocialmedia.com or leave a comment below.

Who said “You can’t make money on mobile”? Not Mark Zuckerberg!

People were worried back in August when the stock dipped for Facebook to an all time low. Rightfully so, after all each stock had dropped to $19.85 a share from its original $38… needless to say, I was worried too. This dip had many contributing factors, but what seemed to be one of the reoccurring factors was Facebook’s “inability” to advertise through mobile devices.

Just getting started

If you read an earlier blog of mine you must be wondering why Facebook hasn’t already started advertising through mobile devices. Well, at first I had thought that advertising on a mobile device was an outlandishly complicated process which was nearly impossible to do well. But, I was wrong and leave it to Mark Zuckerberg to prove it to me and the world.

After the Q3 stock report showed an increase in profit of 10%, mashable.com did a phone interview with Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, which Zuckerberg flat out stated “I want to dispel this myth that Facebook can’t make money on mobile. This might have seemed true earlier this year because we hadn’t started trying yet.”

So just from this brief exchange we learn two things about Facebook’s mobile marketing strategy. First, at the beginning of the year mobile advertising was a challenge which a lot of people doubted Facebook would be able to overcome. Second, the reason why Facebook hadn’t overcome this hurdle, according to Zuckerberg, was simply because they haven’t tried to overcome it. Why haven’t they tried until recently? I haven’t the slightest idea, but I am not going to be the guy that questions the social media company with a billion active monthly users.

5 months, up 14%

Since the launch of the updated mobile app in June, the company reported during its Q3 report that mobile advertising now makes up 14% or $150 million dollars of its overall revenue. This is amazing once you break it down. Since the Facebook mobile apps update the company has earned $30 million dollars a month just from mobile!

I am no stock analyst by any means nor am I a great financial planner. Heck, I still have problems balancing my check-book. But, if Zuckerberg considers making $150 million in a little over 5 months, not trying… then I am anxious to see just what Facebook can do when they really get going.

What if Facebook tries?

I can only imagine how much the stock will grow when Facebook actually tries to advertise through mobile. But before I go any further I just want pose you a few of questions. How does your business’s Facebook page look on a smart phone? How easy is your Facebook to navigate on a tablet? If a big push is going to come for Facebook mobile advertising; will customers be looking at your Facebook on their phone and what will they see?

Now that I got you thinking about that a little bit, make sure you follow my blog and look for any updates on Facebook mobile as well as any other news in the social media world.

Do you think Facebook will bounce back? Has your business gone mobile yet? Want to brag about it? Leave a comment with the name your business so people can look you up on their smart phone, IPad, or any other mobile device.

Have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment or Email me at: Andrew@optimasocialmedia.com

Sandy on Social Media!

Due to Mother Nature’s tantrum, social media has been constantly buzzing with pictures, video, and testimonials from people all over the country. You must be thinking, “Of course, Sandy was a devastating hurricane and people are going to be talking about it; what are you trying to get at Andrew?” Well, it isn’t that social media was being used, it is how social media was being used which really fires me up.

Sandy’s Facebook

If you search ‘Hurricane Sandy’ on Facebook you will find a ton of different groups dedicated to the hurricane. Yes, most of these groups can be shrugged off (having fewer than one hundred likes) or dedicated to poking fun at the name ‘Frankenstorm’. But the one page which really stands out is the (self proclaimed) Official Hurricane Sandy Page.

Since the page was launched on October 28th this page has received ~2k likes, roughly ~2.5k people talking about the page, and having 54 photos uploaded to the page. Quite an amazing growth to take place over a few days. But why has this page grown so much? I believe it is because of the information! Posts about how the storm was moving and pictures of areas were affected the most. This page allowed its “fans” to keep up to date and current on things that were going on.

Another great use of Facebook during this disaster was the set up of a Hurricane Sandy Check-in page. The way people banded together during this crisis through the use of this Facebook group is awe-inspiring. Not knowing if their family and friends were okay; people had to rely on social media for aide. And strangers from across the country were more than happy to lend a helping hand.

Another very interesting thing that was going on was the trend words. According the information Facebook provided to digitaltrends.com, the top-shared US terms at 10 AM ET during Sandy were:

  1. we are ok
  2. power – lost power, have power, no power
  3. damage
  4. hope everyone is ok
  5. trees
  6. made it
  7. safe
  8. thankful
  9. fine
  10. affected

I am relieved that to find out that the term “we are ok” came in at the number one spot and not the term “damage”.

FEMA hits Twitter

FEMA tweeted to all of its 157,000 followers:

Why is this tweet such a great idea? FEMA took the initiative on this one and accomplished two goals at the same time; quickly get people in touch and assist emergency personal. If you and I were in this situation, our first knee-jerk reaction would be to call friends and loved ones right away. The thing is, if everyone did this there is no possible way the Cell towers or LAN lines would be able to keep up with all the calls. So by giving people this tip, an effort was made to help alleviate the phone congestion and free up the phone lines for people in dire need of help.

But that’s not all. FEMA used their twitter as a way to provide safety tips, shelter locations, and constant updates on the progression of Hurricane Sandy. This was also a great move by FEMA because cell phones don’t need to be attached to the wall to work, the cell phones battery would last though a majority of the storm and this way people could always be informed.

It wasn’t just during the hurricane that FEMA did a great job using Twitter, but FEMA has continued to send out updates and helpful information. In my opinion, FEMA threw Twitter into overdrive and accomplished so much.

What can be expected for the Future

Based on how social media has been used during Sandy, we can expect social media to aid disaster relief in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an “official” check-in page on networks like Facebook, which would allow people locate love ones easier and gather information on affected areas. Also, I would expect to see FEMA use more social media to help with clean-up and aid. Showing before/after pictures, postings on what they are working on, and pictures of places that have necessities. In my opinion, these are all things that would streamline the relief effort and show that FEMA is working hard.

Want to help?

Here are a few links which you can use to help:

  • Red Cross – With over 100 blood drive locations having to be shut down, the red-cross is in need of help. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or you could even text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.
  • Feeding America– To find out how you can donate food, visit www.feedingamerica.org or call 800-910-5524
  • World Vision – To help provide personal hygiene, medical supplies, and food clean up kits. Visit www.worldvision.org.

G+: What Circle are you in?

It’s another installment of Google+! I feel I don’t need to sing the praises of this awesome social network anymore than I already have, but here we go. Let’s get ready to dive back in, feet first, and really get into the nitty-gritty of what makes this social network really great for your business.

Unlike Any Other

All right, let me level with you for a minute. Tweeting to connect with customers and get the word out about your business; great! Using Facebook posts to share specials and bond with those who “like” you; really great! Using Google+’s “circles” to target key customers; ABSOLUTE GENIUS!

Out of everything that Google+ does right, in my opinion, the “circle” feature has to be the greatest part of this social network. There is no other social network which has or does this feature nearly as well as Google+. But, why? Don’t worry, I am getting to that, I just had to gush a little bit right there.

No matter which social network you use there is a small feeling of disconnect with a fraction of your target audience. No matter what you post and share, unless you single out an individual person in Twitter (with @) or post something directly on a customer’s Facebook wall, you miss out on a great opportunity for an customer/business relationship to grow as you do postings.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t use any other social network, nor is Google+ better than any other social network. What I am getting at is, you can use Google+ to connect with customers in a way that you just can’t do with Facebook or Twitter.

 

Will you Just Tell Us How to Use “Circles” Already?!

You got your swim trunks on? Alright! Then let’s start from the very beginning and go deeper into the Google+ pool. To be blunt, a “circle” is just as the name implies. It is a way of dividing an audience into smaller groups which from there you can target individually. By breaking down your audience/customers into smaller groups, you have the ability to address individuals specifically on a personal level.

Whether you decide to have a group of “best customers” or “automotive club”, you can exclusively extend offers and promotion to the members of these groups. By doing so, you use this as an incentive for your loyal customers to come back again.

But let’s take a look at what circles look like:

As you guessed just by looking at the picture, posting through Google+ has a very Facebook like style of posting. The only real huge difference is; you can do so much more with Google+. This is due the “circles” option located beneath the posting box. By selecting which circles get to see this post, I can easily direct the content towards just my family and friends.

 

What’s the Difference?

There are many different “circles” to choose from, here is run-down of all the different types of circles.

Public- This goes out to everyone in your circles and everyone outside of your circles can view this post if they were to browse Google+.

Your Circles- Only people who are in your circles can see this post. You can create an unlimited amount of these.

Extended Circles- This one is kind of tricky and the only way to describe this one is with an example. If I am in a circle of “Jacks Auto body” and they decide to extend me an offer, everyone in my personal circles get to see this post if they go to my page. This is kind of convoluted but this has a purpose.

Specific Contacts- by using the @ symbol next to a person’s username or email address, you can post a message to specific person.

 

Circles Everywhere!

If you haven’t guessed it by now, I get really excited by Google+’s “circles” feature. And just by reading this week’s blog you should be as well. After all, this feature has just so much potential for your business’s social media campaign.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to extend your best customers an exclusive promotion? How about create a reward system for your returning customers? The “circle” feature draws in people because it humanizes your business your business. People actually want to be in your “circle”, because of the exclusivity of the promotions you offer. In layman’s terms, if a promotion is exclusive and it is better than normal promotions, people want to get them. And when people want to get them, you have basically become their go-to place when they need something done. This is all thanks to Google+’s circles.

Comments? I love comments! You should tell me about your Google+ page. Or brag about how you set up the circles for your business.

Or just email me: Andrew@optimasocialmedia.com

5 Creative Ways to Use Your Facebook to Get More “likes”

I’m not going to lie; this blog is one you shouldn’t miss out on reading. This is especially true if you are a business owner looking to boost the effectiveness of your social media campaign. So, I am going to limit this week’s blog to just 5 ways to utilize your Facebook to get more “likes”. (Believe me there are at least five hundred other ways, but who has the time to read all of that?)

You interested? Are you sitting there shaking your monitor wanting me just get on with this blog already? Well, go get some hot-cocoa and a blanket (you know what I am talking about if you are from the Midwest or from the East coast) and prepare to learn some really creative ways to get genuine customer “likes” for your Facebook page.

1.) “Say Cheese!”

A picture maybe worth a thousand words, but a picture on Facebook can easily be worth a thousand views. With the whole goal of social media to humanize your business, why not post some pictures? Everyone likes pictures, right? Even if they are just from your cell phone, showing yourself taking an interest with customers really resonates with whomever is looking at your page.

  • Photo OP! – Why not try some photo contests? Get your fans to post pictures of themselves with your product or brand and whoever has the most “likes” gets some sort of reward. Any type of worthwhile reward will do. Go ahead and make something up and then follow up by taking pictures of the customer winning the reward. This makes people want to be involved with your Facebook page and they want to get their friends and family involved with your page just so they can win.
  • Who’s that?! – Give your team members some life on your Facebook page. Believe it or not people do have their “go to guy/gal”, where they love dealing with just that person. Have you ever gone into a Starbucks and turned around and left just because that one person wasn’t there who makes your triple cinnamon dolce latte just the way you like it? (I am guilty of this…) Any way, people want to see their go to person doing their job because, in the customer’s opinion, they do it the best. So why not show some off some of your employees doing their job? A business after all is the sum of all of its employees.

2.) Vanity is My Best Quality!

I know I am kind of getting ahead of myself with this one but number 2 is one you need to prepare to jump on. When your business Facebook page acquires a decent amount of traffic and “likes”, you can customize the URL. This is known as a Vanity URL and yes, it is just as ridiculously awesome as it sounds. A vanity URL is just as its name suggests, it is a custom tag that attaches to the Facebook URL. If your Facebook doesn’t have a vanity URL yet take a look at the URL address. I bet it looks something like this:

BLAAAAHHH! That URL just looks absolutely awful doesn’t it!? I mean look at all those numbers and who in the right mind would name their business “YOUR BUSINESS”?! This just looks way too busy and as long as your businesses URL stays like this it doesn’t do your business good.

But do not fret, even if you can’t get a vanity URL today, check tomorrow morning, check in the evening. Traffic to your Facebook changes regularly and the quicker you get your vanity URL the better, so just remember to check often. Now I bet you are wondering what to do with the vanity URL once you have it?

  • Put it everywhere! – Seriously, put your vanity URL on everything. Does your business have a mascot? Make him/her hold it. Put it on your business cards and in email footers. Just about everywhere is a good place to put your vanity URL, as long as people can see it, they will be easily able to go to it on Facebook.

3.) What’s Your Front Counter Look Like?

When was the last time you merchandised your front counter? Does your business Facebook page have a QR code? Well if you answered “No” to both of these you probably know what number 3 is all about. It is all about utilizing your front counter to advertise your social media. Yes, you did read that right. Even though Social media is a form of advertisement, if no one knows that your business is on Facebook then what good is it doing you? After all, most people look at your business as just a service and unless prompted to go to your page…5 times out of 10 they will not actually go to your page unless they know you have one. So here are some ways to get people directed to your Facebook page and in turn give you that “like”.

    • Quick Response Codes– If you read my blog about Mobile Devices and social media getting a QR code seems like a no-brainer. Basically, this little box is a hyper link for a mobile device. People scan the code and it immediately sends them to the link. By having one of these set up with your Facebook account you can steer people towards you. So put them on your front counter so when a customer sees it they can go like your page right away. Why else should you use QR codes? Think about it this way, QR codes have become recognizable enough to the point where most mobile phones have the reader application already built into them.
(Scan Me!)
  • “Like” us on Facebook – Believe it or not, some people don’t think businesses have Facebook’s. So strive to let your customers know that you are on and they should find you. As I stated earlier, letting people know you are on Facebook is key to getting you found.

4.) 4 out of 4 stars!

Alright, most business owners have a “rarely-used” suggestion box which sits at the back of the store, out of reach of most customers. Or they have small little section at the bottom of the invoice which reads “How would you rate our service?”. Well, why not use your Facebook page as a ground floor for all things customer service? Suggest to people that they should go on your Facebook and write a review about your business. You can even offer them some incentives for doing so. By getting people involved with your Facebook page as a “suggestion/compliment box” you can get people interested in talking about you.

  • The Good, the bad, and the Ugly – While using your Facebook page as a suggestion box is a great idea because you will hopefully get an enormous amount of good reviews; you still have to know how to handle those inevitable bad reviews. When you get a bad review, how this is handled makes all the difference between this bad review being seen as a positive or a negative. Whether you get a good, bad, or ugly review this is all seen by a lot of people. The section below goes into this a bit more.
  • Handle Unsatisfied Customers the Social Media Way- Say I am a customer who has had a bad experience, lets say it was slow service. If the business owner was to ignore my post on their Facebook wall about my complaint, I would feel less inclined to give them my business. However, if a business owner was to respond to me with:

“We are sorry that you had a bad experience here, Andrew. We always strive to deliver an optimal service in a timely manner. If you could tell us where you experienced slow service we would greatly appreciate it. Once again thank you for letting us know what we can improve upon to serve you better.”

Whether you post this on your wall or on my wall is completely up to you, but doing so turns the negative view into a positive. And your response is seen by current customers, the customer who posted the bad review, and all of their friends and family. Customers love feeling like they are part of a local business and if they are reassured that their voice is going un-ignored and they feel as though you truly care about them.

5.) Facebook Exclusives!

This is my absolute favorite way to get genuine “likes” for your Facebook. Not only is this simple, it is something virtually every business can use to boost sales and their Facebook “likes”. But not only that, by running a Facebook exclusive promotion it gives customers a reason to go to your Facebook. Use as the only way to get special promotions that you cannot get anywhere else. Special discounts and Facebook promotional tie-ins get people involved with you and follow your Facebook much closer than your competitors Facebook.

I Want More!

I am sure you do. And I have plenty of ways to use your Facebook to its full potential, but unfortunately that will have to be for another blog. After all, you are probably out of hot cocoa by this point. Make sure you keep up with my blog for more tips and ways you can use your social media campaign to its fullest.

 

Comments?! I love comments! How does your business get people to participate? Do you do anything special with your Facebook?

If you have any questions or just wanna chat leave me a message or shoot me an email at: Andrew@Optimasocialmedia.com

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