Google Plus Features And Overview

google-plus-featuresI love to get questions from my audience. This gives me ideas for content and helps me better serve my online community. Sometimes we assume what our audience wants to know or what they need but that should all be dictated by our audience. This weekend I was the special guest on a conference call where I was asked to talk about Social Media Marketing. I shared with the audience some of the basic definitions and how they applied to this particular industry of the listeners on the call. At the end of the call, they opened the line for questions. One of the questions asked was, What is Google Plus? I was not at all surprised by this question because Google+ has been growing rapidly as of late, so as a result, there is much interest about this networking site.

Google Plus is one of many social network sites just as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are social networking sites. All are unique in their own way and have unique features.

Google+ describes itself as having the ability to make sharing on the web more like sharing in real life. It’s somewhat similar to Facebook which has a news feed based on status updates and shared content, etc.). But Google Plus is designed to make it easier to share content with specific sets of people called Circles. This is one of the features that I like the most about Google Plus.

Circles make it easy to share specific things with specific people much like you would want to do in real life. Cirlces makes it so that you can share some things with close friends, others with your family, and almost nothing with your boss. When you “circle” people on Google+, it allows you to categorize them, by naming a circle and adding people to those circles. You might have circles for friends, family, business associates, business prospects, industry peers, or by special interests. When you post something that you want to share with only one or more of your circles, you can select that when you are crafting your post.

It also has a feature called Communities. Communities allows you to create a group where you can discuss your interests with people who share those same interests. You can join public communities around shared interests, or create private communities.

Google+ also has a feature called Hangouts. Hangouts are video chat. Hangouts can be done in different ways: 1) chat one on one 2) host a virtual meeting where you can use powerful tools like screen sharing and Google Drive collaboration. 3) you can go live in front of a global audience. 3) Group chat with up to 9 people.

Google Plus also has Pages. These are for businesses and brands. For businesses, Google+ helps you attract new customers and build deepers relationships with your current customers. This is done by making it easier to connect to the billion+ people who are searching on Google every day. Clearly, by this being Google, there will be SEO benefits that are enhanced by Google+ activity. I explain a bit about that on my Social Solutions Collective post about how to grow your online community with Google+.

Are you currently using Google+? What is your experience like? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

4 Easy Social SEO Tips

4-easy-social-seo-tipsSocial Media Marketing is all about connecting, engaging, building a community and sharing valuable information. Ultimately, we are trying to get our message across. We want to do that in the most effective way and with such a crowded online business world, we do our best to stand out. We also do our best to be seen. One way we do that is with SEO and Social SEO.

What is Social SEO? Well let’s break it down. SEO is Search Engine Optimization. The idea behind having an SEO strategy is taking steps to helps your website show up in search engine results when searching key words or phrases that are relevant to your content. Social SEO is simply the idea that there is a part social media links play in website search rankings. That means that your social profiles and pages will be key in helping with your SEO efforts.

Although SEO can seem quite complicated, and in some ways it is, there are some things you can do yourself to get on the right track. I am listing 4 ways that you can boost your Social SEO strategy with little effort:

1) OPTIMIZE your Profiles and Pages. In our Business Fuel Group, we share some “mini-training” from time to time on Fridays called “Friday Fuel.” The very first segment we shared when we launched our Facebook group community was about Making Your Social Media Profile ROCK! We were simply offering tips on how to optimize it. In a nutshell, be descriptive and take advantage of every opportunity to plug in those appropriate keywords and phrases in about sections and bios. By all means, DO create a BUSINESS Page on Facebook for example. For one thing, your business must have a page, not a profile based on Facebook’s terms. But also, Pages are indexed by Google, while Profiles are not.

2) Be Shareable. Make sure your content is as easily shareable as possible. Include social share buttons on your blog posts. This counts for your updates and tweets as well. That means you have to share valuable engaging content. So people WILL share it.

3) Post With Purpose. Be sure that when you’re sharing that valuable content, that you are including the keywords you have identified for your business. Be sure to also work in your business name. Share fresh content on Twitter. Always share your blog posts. “Cross-pollinate” your content by including images with your blog posts and pinning those images on Pinterest, for example.

4) Get to know Google+. Google Plus is google’s social site. That alone is a clue. Sharing your blog posts on Google+ is going to help you appear in Google search results better. The +1 feature allows people to recommend your posts and help further your reach and boost your SEO. See my article on Social Solutions Collective about how to grow on Google+ here.

Don’t neglect some very key things about your social presence like consistency, using your business name and customized URLS. Here is the video that my partner Tiffany Lymon and I made for our Business Fuel group that I mentioned above about maximizing your profile:

How To Set Achievable Social Media Goals in 2013

As business owners we like to set goals for the new year to help us achieve success. It’s important to be specific about those goals that you are trying to achieve for each aspect of your business. This includes your social media marketing. In this recent segment of Friday Fuel, we would like to show you how to set measurable goals and teach you how to measure those goals to help you achieve success.

Check out our video below.

We would love for you to be a part of our Facebook Community, Business Fuel. Join us for tips, news, and resources to help keep your business in motion!

What are some of your social media goals?

Smart Pinterest Marketing For Beginners

pinterest-marketing-for-beginnersPinterest continues to be a social media site that is growing at a fast rate and is driving lots of traffic to websites. For this reason, brands are finding ways to participate in the pinning phenomenon! People are going to Pinterest for a reason. They WANT to see what people are talking about. Including brands. They want to see what their friends are sharing. They want to get information and see the creative pins that are being posted. They come ready to engage.

Pinterest’s ability to drive traffic that converts to sales, makes it a smart component of your online strategy. If that isn’t enough, consider this: it’s easy to use, it drives engagement, and inspires ideas. Those ideas, inspires people to act, create, plan and shop!

So what should you do as a business owner to get started? Here’s how you can get started:

1) SIGN UP: Go to the Pinterest Business page to join the site as a business: http://business.pinterest.com/. Your name on your page (and the name people use to search for you) is your “Business Name.” You will also have a “Username”. This name will be used to create your URL, or link, on Pinterest, like mine for example: http://pinterest.com/socialwithsara).

2) CREATE YOUR BOARDS: Absolutely include Products and Services. This is quite simple if you have a product. Pin images of the products you sell. Do you sell candles? Clothing? Jewelry? Organize boards around the product. They can link directly to your site for purchase! If you’re a service- based company,
pin images that communicate your services. I have a board called I Love Social Media. On this board I pin images from blog posts (including my own) on the topic of all things Social Media Marketing. Social Sites, news and information on Social Media, SEO, blogging, etc;.

3) Valuable, Informative Info: Tips and tricks, how-to’s. Are you a chef? Do you sell beauty products? You can pin information on cooking tips, the best cookware, makeup tips, skin care tips. Anything related to your product or service that showcases your expertise and gives useful information to your audience.

4) Sizzle: This is where you pin the really good, fun stuff. A great example is for travel agents. Pin the most beautiful scenery, amazing resorts and sunsets that you and your audience would enjoy most. Travel images are very popular. What better way to get your target market dreaming of their next vacation?

5) Industry: Are you a entrepreneur? Why not create a board for likeminded individuals? Pin images of information, tools and resources for small business owners, solopreneurs or home based business owners. Build a community of your peers on Pinterest.

Make sure your images are attractive and interesting. Pinterest is a visually driven site. Pin images that want the visitor to want to know more, click the link and share it!

Make sure you dedicate time each day to following people, brands and businesses and sharing their content as well. Check out the Popular section of the site to see what people are interested in. Incorporate those trends into your strategy if it’s appropriate.

I encourage you to go on the site to explore. Get a feel for the environment and have fun. It is a FUN site that happens to have great business potential. So don’t take the fun out of it by ONLY selling. Be interesting and engaging and you will start building your community before you know it.

Are you pinning? What tips can you share? Please comment below.