Posts Tagged ‘Cindy King’
As social media marketing has become ubiquitous (88% of marketers say social media is important for their businesses), hundreds of new tools have developed just in the past few years: tools for social media management, monitoring, measurement, automation, identifying influencers, creating graphical content, and more.
No one has time to put every one of those tools through its paces. Which are most worth investigating and investing in?
In the posts highlighted below, 20 (or so) social media marketing pros review more than 200 tools, ranging from popular, widely used tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and Feedly to intriguing but lesser-known apps.
12 Tools to Help You Optimize Your Social Media Marketing Results by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
***** 5 STARS
Noting that 26% “of marketers spend 6-10 hours a week on social media,” Debbie Friez proceeds to “explore twelve possible problems and the tools that can help solve those problems and make you more productive,” among them Directr, which lets you “easily create videos” and “includes tons of storyboards to help you organize your video”; Nuzzle “for Facebook and Twitter, tells you when your friends are sharing a piece of content and emails you with the details of the latest posts”; and Uprise.io for competitive research.
7 Social Media Tools to Boost Your Effectiveness in a Noisy World by Seriously Social
Based on one of his conference presentations, Ian Anderson Gray showcases seven tools “that can help you be more effective and efficient” at managing your social media marketing activities, such as Friends+Me (which is “similar to Buffer but allows you to repost to your Google+ profiles, pages, communities and collections. You can also post to Tumblr. It converts Google+ into a social media management tool”) and Agorapulse, a social media management tool that integrates with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
6 Free Social Media Tools for Startups to Build a Strong Social Media Presence by Duct Tape Marketing
Jessica Davis provides compact reviews of half a dozen helpful free tools for building a presence on social media, including DrumUp (“a smart content discovery tool that scours the web for relevant content based on the keywords you input. The tool acts as a central dashboard for your Twitter and Facebook profiles, letting you manage multiple accounts simultaneously”) and Easel.ly, an infographic creation tool which “offers ready-to-use infographic templates that are categorized by subject.”
John Koetsier reports on research conducted with more than 1,100 social media managers to determine the most-used social media tools. Among the findings: “For enterprise, Oracle is surprisingly good, as are Sprinklr and Komfo. For smaller companies, Meshfire, Sendible, and Hootsuite lead the pack. And for the midsize company, Sendible, Meshfire (again), and Oktopost are leaders. Other tools you can’t ignore? TweetDeck, Buffer, SocialFlow, Spredfast, and Crowdbooster.” And the most widely used tool of all? Check out this post.
26 Social Media Monitoring Tools [Reference Guide] by Razor Social
***** 5 STARS
Frequent best-of honoree Ian Cleary lists five different areas you should be monitoring on social media (brand, competition, your prospects…) then serves up concise but useful reviews of more than two dozen free and fee-based tools (with pricing), including Talkwalker, Trendspottr, and Trackur (“a social media monitoring tool that provides executive reporting, sentiment analysis and influence scoring. It’s unusual to have sentiment analysis available for a monitoring tool with a relatively low starting price” of under $100 per month).
5 Essential Social Media Monitoring Tools for Beginners by Social Marketing Writing
Joe Cox lays out the advantages, features and pricing of a handful of popular social media monitoring tools including Hootsuite, Buffer, and Followerwonk: “Twitter’s own built-in search tools are incredibly limited, and Followerwonk aims to correct this, making it easier to find the right people to engage with. If you have been struggling with Twitter because you find that the signal to noise ratio on the network is so poor, then Followerwonk could revolutionize how you use the service.”
Karianne Stinson explains how social listening can provide benefits in areas well beyond marketing, including customer support, competitive analysis, product development, crisis management, and sales support (“Social listening can give your sales team great insights on potential customers pain points”); details ways social listening can help achieve corporate goals like reducing customer service calls (by helping the brand produce “content that proactively answers questions”); and then lists 11 helpful and free or low-cost social listening tools.
3 Tools that help you Understand and outreach to your Audience by State of Digital
Bas van den Beld provides in-depth looks at three tools “that help me get a better grip of who I am targeting” as he puts it, including Peerreach (“Peerreach gives you a nice one page overview of someone. It shows you the topics the person is ‘all about’ and it will show you the interest areas their followers have. It also has a Chrome plugin to show on your Twitterfeed how ‘important’ the Twitterers are. And one nice thing is that you can compare them to other Twitterers by adding up to four handles to compare and see who has reach on what topic and whether or not they ‘fit’ your needs”).
16 Social Media Tools The Experts Swear By by Social Fresh
16 social media marketing pros (and past Social Fresh Conference speakers) briefly highlight their favorite tools, from Matthew Knell on Buffer (“We’re big fans of Buffer because of its simplicity and it’s ability to plug into a bunch of other content aggregation / curation tools (Feedly, Pocket, Mention) to make content easier to find”) to Eric Boggs on LinkedIn (“I get more value out of LinkedIn than any other tool or platform. It is a fantastic prospecting / sales resource for B2B marketers”).
Top 28 Social Media Tools to Make Your Job Easier by SlideShare
Catherine Pham presents the basics about a range of helpful social media tools in this slide deck, from commonly used platforms like HubSpot, Buffer and Hootsuite to more specialized tools such as Tweepi and Twitonomy for Twitter, viralWoot and Piqora for Pinterest and Instagram, and Circloscope for Google+.
15 Best Social Media Tools by CodeGeekz
The English is a tad rough but the list is solid as Gavin Matteo reviews “a list of Best Social Media Tools for our audience,” from Mention (Google Alerts on steroids) and BuzzSumo to Rapportive (which displays LinkedIn profiles for your contacts from inside Gmail) and Tagboard, a “multi-platform, free and highly useful tool. It offers an easy way to monitor social interactions and act on them quickly. You can also search for specified hashtags on several social networking systems, including Google+ and Vine.”
10 Free Online Tools to Monitor Your Social Media Influence by NoPassiveIncome
Erik Emanuelli offers compact reviews of free social media monitoring tools ranging from Google Analytics and YouTube Analytics to Twitter-specific tools like Tweetstats and Twitter Counter, which “is a useful service to measure some parameters of Twitter, like the followers growth rate, the average number of tweets per day, and more. It also allows you to compare different accounts, which means you can get an instant overview of your relationship with your competition and your overall progress.”
6 Super Quick Social Media Productivity Tips + 23 Tools to Help! by Maximize Social Business
Frequent best-of honoree Neal Schaffer here shares six strategies for accomplishing more with social media in less time; working “smarter, rather than longer” as he puts it. Each tip links to related tools. For example, to help schedule your posts, he recommends WordPress JetPack Publicize, CoSchedule and SMQueue.
16 DIY Tools for Social Media Management by Business2Community
Jim Belosic shares an infographic highlighting “16 tools that can help businesses with their social efforts,” and which is “helpful for folks who are preparing to migrate away from Wildfire and North Social” (both of which were acquired in 2014). The tools are categorized into three groups: social media messaging & scheduling; analytics; and social landing page tools.
6 top social media management tools by iMedia Connection
Greg Kihlstrom “discusses six tools that help you manage your communication and content delivery across one or more platforms. Their capabilities vary from managing content, to analyzing and reporting on the best times to post, to determining the effectiveness of campaigns,” including SocialFlow, Sprout Social and IFTTT.
Ian Cleary (again) summarizes a presentation he delivered covering “a range of tools to optimize social media performance…really interesting and useful tools to help you target the right people, get better results with your content, convert more traffic and improve results,” such as Leadpages, a landing page creation tool that “provides you with a range of landing pages that are known to convert very well with existing customers.”
5 Top Brand Monitoring Tools for Marketers by 60 Second Marketer
Jamie Turner provides concise but helpful reviews of a handful of popular social media monitoring tools, from Social Mention (which is free) to Brandwatch  (which isn’t–but is very powerful: “check out how many mentions your brand has across the internet, where they are coming from, and how far the comments have reached. The tool gathers data from a staggering 70+ million sources that include social networking platforms, forums, blogs and news sites”).
Marketers Adopt Social Media Analytics Tools by eMarketer
More than 60% of U.S. marketing groups have adopted social media analytics tools. The top three uses for such tools are campaign tracking (60%), brand analysis (48%) and competitive intelligence (40%). Yet more than half of those marketers still cite staffing/resources and linking measurements to objectives as significant challenges.
10 Tools to Make Your Social Media Management Easier by SteamFeed
Andrew Jenkins reviews 10 of the tools he uses “to consume and curate content as well as manage and interact with (his) community,” including commun.it (specific to Twitter, commun.it gives gentle prompts and reminders regarding who to engage, follow, unfollow, get back in touch with or acknowledge for the level of interaction and engagement you have had”) and Nimble (“Nimble takes what commun.it does for Twitter and carries it across LinkedIn and Facebook”).
16 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use by Visually
To maximize the business benefits of social media, Stephanie Castillo writes “you should develop a strategy, based on as much knowledge as possible about your audience and their behavior,” then outlines 16 tools to help in that effort, ranging from Visually’s own (very cool and free) Google Analytics Report to Tailwind, a tool that ‘tracks activity across Pinterest about your company, products and competitors.”
9 Tools to Discover Influencers in Your Industry by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Noting that “people with a strong center of influence can provide valuable context and credibility to a company seeking to connect with an audience of buyers,” Lee Odden provides concise reviews of nine tools to help identify and engage with industry influencers. Among the tools: Traackr (a premium tool used by PR, communications and marketing pros), Buzzsumo, and Kred.
29 Social Media Tools Recommended by the Pros by Social Media Examiner
In this outstanding list of tools and star-studded post, Cindy King compiles reviews from 29 top social media marketing pros of their favorite tools. Among them: Mari Smith reviews Pocket, which “allows you to consume and save a wide variety of online articles, which you can then post to Twitter or Facebook, schedule via Buffer or review at a later time”; Ekaterina Walter covers ShareRoot (“an all-in-one solution for Pinterest”); and social media monitoring tool TalkWalker is reviewed by Gini Dietrich.
Despite the occasional “death of blogging” pronouncements (often made, ironically, in blog posts), blogs remain the core of a robust social media strategy. The proliferation of themes, tools and plugins have transformed blogs from mere online text collections to powerful interactive, rich-media sites that can attract, engage and educate your potential buyers.
Particularly with Google’s emphasis in its recent Panda and Penguin algorithm updates on content that is fresh, compelling, unique, social, and naturally linked to, blogs have become even more essential to SEO strategies.
For those who still aren’t convinced of the value of business blogging (as well as those who need to convince others), the “why blog” posts below provide compelling evidence. Those getting started or already active in blogging will discover how to:
- • grow blog traffic,
- • make content more valuable to readers,
- • increase blogging productivity,
- • generate more comments and social shares,
- • find royalty-free images,
- • promote your blog, and
more here in 30 of the best business blogging guides and resources of the past year.
Why You Want To Be the Last Blog Standing by Outspoken Media
Reporting that “the number of Inc. 500 companies maintaining corporate blogs has dropped for the first time since 2007. Did you hear that? IT DROPPED! According to Dartmouth’s research, just 37 percent of companies interviewed said they had a corporate blog, down from 50 percent in 2010,” frequent best-of honoree Lisa Barone advises readers to “let your blog be the last blog standing because while sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn may be effective and sexy all in their own right, they don’t hold a candle to the sexiness and superpowers possessed by your blog,” and backs it up with 10 reasons and tactics to beat your competition through blogging.
Kristina Weis provides a baker’s dozen reasons for creating a corporate blog, from demonstrating your expertise (“If [prospective customers] can easily find some articles written by you and/or your staff that show your company’s expertise, they’re going to feel a lot more confident about spending their time or money [or both] with you”) and increasing website traffic to helping with customer support and generating new product ideas.
Past, Present and Future of Blogging: 3 Infographics by jeffbullas.com
Jeff Bullas shares a wealth of fascinating blogging facts and stats here, such as that 27 of the top 100 blogs are built on WordPress, with 16 on TypePad. 43% of U.S. companies now maintain blogs. And more than half of all social media-driven blog traffic comes from Facebook (28%) and Twitter (26%) combined.
7 Tips for Blogging – Maybe Your Most Important Social Media Activity for Business by SocialSteve’s Blog
Contending that “Everyone always jumps onto Facebook and Twitter as one of their first social media activities. I recommend you think about blogging first. No other endeavor can be better to promote you or your brand as a subject matter expert,” Steve Goldner offers seven tips for blogging success, such as utilizing your passion, speaking (writing) naturally, and posting on a consistent basis.
Dozens of reasons why corporate blogs still matter in B2B marketing by Content Marketing Experience
J-P De Clerck makes a comprehensive case for corporate blogging—as long as it isn’t done the “wrong” way: “It’s traditional PR in a new package: corporate blogs as a way to shout how great they are.” Done right, blogs serve as the hub of a company’s social media strategy, a magnet for search traffic, and an opportunity to speak to prospective customers on a more informal, human level. He points out that 57% of companies with blogs have acquired at least one customer through blogging; that blogs make it easy to share multiple types of information; and that they make it easy (and even inviting) for customers and prospects to provide feedback.
Blogging Tips and Guides
Frequent best-of author Heidi Cohen offers nearly three dozen ideas “to help you efficiently leverage resources in seven of the areas where many bloggers typically need support,” such as content block (one idea: “Answer customer questions…Collect the questions prospects and customers ask from sales and customer service; then answer them”), lack of creative resources, and disappointing blog traffic.
20 Ways to Improve Your Blog by TribalCafe
Reporting that “28% of brands that (didn’t previously) publish a blog (planned) to do so in 2012—bringing the percentage of brands that publish a blog to 85%,” Gary Fox lists 20 ways to attract more readers and generate better business results from blogging, among them using strong visuals, varying blog topics, and making your content SEO-friendly (“focus on a keyword [phrase] for each blog post and try to not venture too far” from it).
5 Tips to Becoming a Top Blog in Your Industry by Social Media Examiner
Michael Stelzner shares a handful of techniques he used to make Social Media Examiner a big success, such as surveying the interests of your audience (“When you know precisely what content your readers crave, it’s much easier to create posts that are widely read and shared on social channels”) and spinning a single hot topic into multiple posts from different perspectives (e.g., a beginner’s guide, biggest myths or misconceptions, case studies, etc.).
Five Tips to Make Company Blogs Worth Reading by Marketing Profs
Muhammad Yasin offers a handful of helpful recommendations for making your company blog a success, including focusing on expert tips: “If you are not an expert yourself in a particular field, find experts and learn from them. See what they are writing about, absorb their knowledge, and share their tips. Better yet, invite those experts to share their knowledge on your blog as guest bloggers. Allowing independent experts to write for your blog can provide a much needed fresh perspective and may result in their recommending your products or services.”
Fixing The Social Media Plateau by Soulati Media
The delightful Jayme Soulati identifies 10 signs that “may be an indication it’s time to step up your game, take it to the next level, and grow or remain complacent” in terms of your social media practices, such as “Learning new things becomes more rare; another 20 ways to use Pinterest blog post isn’t providing new insight over what you know now,” and tips to get un-stuck (e.g., “Reduce the time spent on the channels that don’t return much to you. That way, you’re not spread as thin”).
10 Valuable Ideas to Help You Find Time to Blog by MyBeak Social Media
Writing that “Creating content and finding the time to do it are the biggest obstacles entrepreneurs and small business owners face when marketing their business,” Laura-Lee Walker presents helpful ideas for generating more content in less time, among them inviting guest bloggers, repurposing existing material, and using mobile phone apps like Dragon Dictator: “You don’t have time to write down all your ideas or blog posts…simply use an application…that will translate your voice to text. (They are) not perfect but will give you a head start and reduce the time you spend on typing your blog articles.”
21 Business Blogging Tips From the Pros by Social Media Examiner
The impeccably discerning Cindy King curates an outstanding collection of blogging tips from pros like Leo Widrich (“A product is only useful if you know others want it. Validate an idea for a blog post in the same way”), Heidi Cohen (“Understand prospects, customers and the public are on your blog to get answers to their questions and accomplish their goals, not yours”), and Stephanie Sammons (“Work to develop a blogging style that is unique to you. What’s your angle? What’s your view? How can you differentiate yourself from others who are blogging in your niche?”).
Guest Blogging: Seven Tips for Success by Spin Sucks
PR expert and author Gini Dietrich offers several excellent tips for expanding your reach by publishing guest posts on other influential blogs. My favorite tip is her first, on how to gauge authority (and corresponding effort) of a blog: “Go to Open Site Explorer and type in the URL for the blog for which you’d like to submit content. I’ll do it for Wood Street…You’ll see the site authority is 48/100. If the authority is 40-70, it’s worth pursuing. If it’s higher than 70, you’ll have a tougher time getting your content on the site, so you’ll need to be extremely patient, but persistent. If it’s between 90 and 100, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get something placed there without the help of a communications professional.”
Noting that “the majority of blogs starting every year end up failing,” Wendy Marx offers 16 tips in this infographic to beating the odds, such as “Be consistent: Whether you keep an editorial calendar or not, it’s important to continue to publish content on your blog because that consistency brings in more traffic” (amen!) and (perhaps most importantly), “Have fun with it: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun with the process and enjoy every minute as your grow your audience and build your business.”
Guest post: 7 powerful headline techniques to skyrocket your blog traffic by Creative Ramblings
Reminding us all that “in the online world, your headline is the single most important part of your content…instead of reading every blog post, people scan for information. They look for headlines that capture their interest, and only click on the ones they feel are worthy of their time,” Lillian Leon details seven techniques for crafting headlines that grab attention, including “Fear: Identify the one thing your readers fear the most, and you’ll have yourself a headline that’s pretty much impossible to ignore.”
10 Additional Ideas to Generate Comments and Shares by Spin Sucks
Following up on an earlier post on the same topic, Gini Dietrich (again) offers 10 more ideas to increase engagement on your blog, from writing book reviews and rants to covering the latest trends and answering questions commonly heard by your sales force or customer service reps.
Content Development and Writing Tips
26 Tips for Writing Great Blog Posts by Social Media Examiner
In her own unique and highly creative style, Debbie Hemley presents “26 tips, from A-Z, to help you create optimal blog posts every time you sit down to write,” beginning with A for Anatomically Correct: every blog post should contain the “six parts of the anatomy of a lead-generating blog post” such as an eye-catching title, calls to action, and social sharing buttons.
Peg Fitzpatrick passes along content curation tips from Guy Kawasaki in this post showcasing the top dozen places to find shareworthy content, starting with your own network and including both popular sharing sites (like StumbleUpon and AllTop) and less obvious choices (e.g., Futurity, TED and NPR).
How to find photos you can legally use anywhere by CBS MoneyWatch
Observing that “No matter what you publish — a blog, updates to the company website, project reports, or even the venerable tri-fold — you no doubt need artwork to complement it,” but just haphazardly reusing artwork found online can lead to legal troubles, Dave Johnson recommends two easy methods for finding photos that are usable under the Creative Commons license.
29 Free Blog Images Sources: Where to Get Royalty Free Photos by Directory Journal
***** 5 STARS
In case Dave’s recommendations above don’t quite meet your needs, Gail Gardner provides a massive list of sites where you can find free or reasonably priced images, as well as resources for comparing prices across different image sites, selling your photos, identifying trademarked images, adding images to blog posts, and more.
5 of the Most Important Content & Social Media Tips For A Successful Business Blog by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Lee Odden writes that “If I were only to give 5 content marketing tips to a company that wanted to get the most for and from its customers through blogging, here are the tips I’d give.” Among his top five tips? Focus on the problems your audience faces—but don’t forget to tell them how you can solve those problems. Create an editorial plan. And measure results to support continual improvement.
How to Differentiate Your Content by Geoff Livingston’s Blog
Geoff Livingston lays out four steps to becoming an “A-list” blogger in your niche subject area. Given Geoff’s success, I won’t argue with his methodology—though it’s not for everyone. But if you’ve got the time, intestinal fortitude and financial backing or wherewithal to pursue his program, go for it.
The Nine Ingredients That Make Great Content by KISSmetrics
Contending that “In order to boost SEO rankings, gain traffic and/or leads, you need to have great content on your blog or website,” Zach Bulygo shares nine tips for producing stand-out content (such as making your content actionable: “The best content gives the user a sense of how to apply the information…Many times, just writing well about a topic will spark some ideas for readers,”) then follows up with half a dozen examples of sites that consistently provide remarkable content.
Blog Promotion Tips and Tactics
6 Tips For Building a High Quality Blog Following by Fearless Competitor
Shane Snow channels Jeff Ogden and Brian Clark in this post, providing “six tips to attracting readers who stick around longer than the click of a StumbleUpon button,” such as speaking to a specific audience, guest blogging and publishing guest bloggers, and encouraging loyalty through consistency: “taking an editorial stand for what you believe in, rather than watering things down to avoid offending anyone. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to try to be controversial. In this day and age, simply taking a position and standing behind it will bring people who agree, and people who don’t.”
Want Your Blog Noticed? (Hint: It’s Not Just Content!) by Heidi Cohen
Heidi Cohen (again) supplies 23 tips for growing awareness of your blog, such as integrating your blog’s brand into related content and activities (“As a media entity, your blog deserves its own brand. If it’s a corporate brand, it should be adapted for the blog”), referencing and linking to sources, and guest blogging.
Want to Increase Blog Traffic? Some Fab Tips for Success by Positively Peggy
The ebullient Peg Fitzpatrick (again) serves up five tips for growing blog traffic, such as sharing your content at optimal times: “Buffer App helps you not only share at the optimal times based on your followers being online but also evenly distributes your amazing content throughout the day so you don’t annoy your followers with a huge spurt of brilliance and then lose them with silence later.”
How Bloggers Can Grow Each Others Readership by The @Steveology Blog
Steve Farnsworth recommends Triberr as a tool for increasing the reach of your blog posts, and explains in detail how Triberr works and how to get the most out of it (e.g., by starting your own tribe, joining other tribes, and “dating around”). While the tool is a great concept and has potential, its ongoing technical issues are frustrating.
How to Effectively Promote Your Blog Posts by MyBeak Social Media
***** 5 STARS
Beyond the big social networks and Triberr, Laura-Lee Walker (again) presents an infographic illustrating 30 ways to promote your blog content using social media, social bookmarking sites (does anyone still use Digg?), your contacts, other blogs, and 10 top syndication sites.
5 ways to promote your blog by commenting on others by Creative Ramblings
Cendrine Marrouat explains why commenting on blogs is beneficial (chief among the rewards: “You get to connect and build relationships with other bloggers”) and how to do it well (e.g., add value to the conversation, share relevant links, and comment regularly on the same blogs).
30 Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts by Listly
***** 5 STARS
Ted Rubin shares a bookmark-worthy list of tactics for sharing and promoting blog posts, including Facebook (“Add it on your personal & business pages, groups and through ads”), Pinterest (“Create a board specifically for all your blog posts and pin each post to it”) and through AllTop.com (“syndicates content in every category, from autos and food to business and sports”).
As noted in 33 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012 So Far, posted here a few months ago, social media marketing adoption is now so widespread there’s little further question of “if” or “when” in the minds of most marketers–but many “how” and “what” questions still remain.
How can marketers make more productive use of their time on social networking sites? What’s the best time of day to post updates on Twitter or Facebook? How can you make sure your company’s social media policy doesn’t run afoul of employment law? What under-utilized site has been called a “social media powerhouse,” and which highly popular social bookmarking site is frequently overlooked by marketers? How can you measure (or can you measure) social media ROI?
Find the answers to those questions and many more here in almost two dozen of the best social media guides, tips, tools, insights and rants of 2012.
Social Media Marketing Guides and Tips
The brilliant Gini Dietrich reports on research showing that marketers commonly choose the wrong time of day to post and engage on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as to send emails. While the study was fairly small, the findings are consistent with other sources indicating that they key to better social media results may lie in better timing of updates rather than just more of them.
12 Essential Social Media Cheat Sheets by Mashable
Tools guru-ess Ann Smarty shares a dozen helpful “cheat sheets,” which “are basically infographics that can give a user a simple rundown of various features and how to use them.” The collection here provides guidance on getting the most out of Google+, Facebook and Twitter, as well as network-specific spam definitions and keyboard shortcuts.
Fortune 500 CEOs Don’t Get Social Media! [Research] by Heidi Cohen
Quoting research showing that “70% of the Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence on social media networks…Two thirds of CEOs on Facebook have less than 100 friends and over a quarter of CEOs on LinkedIn have 1 or 0 connections,” the always insightful Heidi Cohen suggests three reasons why CEOs fear social media (such as liability concerns) and three ways they could actually leverage it instead (such as setting an example for employees: “An active CEO encourages others to engage and shows public support for social media activity that helps build brand and customer relationships over time”).
How your brand is abusing social networks by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS
In this must-read post for social media strategists, Rob Rose explains in his own often provocative and always entertaining manner how brands are commonly misusing social media by treating it as another marketing channel, the dangers of that approach, and why each social network should instead be utilized according to its own unique personality and etiquette. “Marketers are the nerdy freshman at the cool kids’ senior party. Say the wrong thing — or say it in the wrong way — and risk getting ridiculed and bounced out. Come with a case of beer and some great conversation, and you just might be a hit. But even then, you are only one mistake away from a viral case of #Fail…make no mistake, this is challenging — and it’s not an even playing field. It used to be that marketers could simply avoid being “salesy” on their social channels, and the world would be OK…But as social marketing becomes increasingly business driven — and content strategies converge in the paid, owned, and earned (POE) models — simply using social channels to engage and entertain is no longer quite as simple…it’s no longer good enough to want to show up to the party with a case of beer. Now, you’ve got to find a way to pay for it as well.”
Beyond the Basics: 30 Fresh Social Media Tips for 2012 by KISSmetrics
Frequent best-of honoree Kristi Hines provides an outstanding list of general social media tips (e.g., “Cross promote your social profiles. Look for opportunities to add links from one social profile to others. Google+, for example, allows you to link to as many of your other social profiles as you choose”) as well as specific suggestions for getting the most out of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Slideshare: The B2B Social Media Powerhouse by Heidi Cohen
Noting that “Slideshare receives 60 million visitors per month. More importantly, these visitors tend to be highly influential business people seeking to engage with relevant content,” Heidi Cohen (again) serves up 10 actionable Slideshare marketing tactics, from knowing your target audience on the site to using hashtags, optimizing your presentation’s title and tracking results.
Five Ways Social is Shaping your B2B Customers by LinkedIn Today
David Edelman shares a presentation from McKinsey’s Lareina Yee on the Social Enterprise, which includes five ways social is shaping B2B customers, among them “DIY prospecting” (where customers conduct significant research before ever entering the sales cycle), peer influence, and “click to compare”–conditioned to price transparency in their consumer lives, B2B buyers are coming to expect it from business product and service vendors as well.
3 ways to stop wasting time on social media by iMedia Connection
Drew Hubbard outlines three social media management practices that will “free you up to do more of what really matters in social media — respond and engage.” Even more helpfully, he lists tools that will assist with each practice. For example, useful tools for keeping a collaborative calendar include Google Calendar, Outlook, Basecamp and ZOHO.
The 5 Best Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Traffic to Your Website by WindMill Networking
Guest blogger Lilach Bullock shares a handful of tips for increasing web traffic from social media, including being active and engaged (“The one thing that most business owners using social media don’t do is listen”) and making influential links (“identify a list of key influential people in your industry and engage with them. If you are genuine in your praise they will naturally want to find out about you too”).
7 Sources of Inspiration for Writing Sizzling Social Media Posts by Rebekah Radice
Writing that “Unless you are a natural born writer with exceptional skills, running out of content ideas is inevitable,” Rebekah Radice offers tips for finding topic inspiration such as through social media (Facebook groups, LinkedIn questions, Twitter trending topics), books and other industry-related publications, and (when all else fails) re-purposing your own older content.
Social Media ROI Measurement Guides
Social Media: ROI Possible by SlideShare
In this presentation originally delivered at SES San Francisco, the delightful Angie Schottmuller explains why social media seems like it should be easy, but isn’t. She notes that “social media” is far more than Twitter, blogs and Facebook, now encompassing “social listening,” content curation, crowdfunding, social gaming, social CRM and more. She shares the three reasons that social media ROI measurement is rare, then presents a plan to address each obstacle.
If the presentation alone doesn’t supply quite enough detail for you, check out Social Media ROI: How To Define a Strategic Plan, Angie’s guest post further exploring the same topic on Search Engine Watch.
6 Expert Tips for Measuring Social Media ROI by OMI Blog
Megan Leap share half a dozen tips on social media ROI measurement from Nichole Kelly, author of How to Measure Social Media: A Step-By-Step Guide to Developing and Assessing Social Media ROI. such as “Social media interactions take place on the web, which is inherently more measurable than offline channels like print, TV and Radio. Measuring social media is actually really easy and most marketers have the tools they need. They just need to start using them a different way.”
Social Media Tools
5 Tools to Simplify Social Media Monitoring Tasks by Link-Assistant.Com Blog
Ann Smarty (again) reviews a handlful of helpful social media monitoring tools, including a couple of familiar names (SproutSocial, HootSuite), a couple of less familiar options (such as Cyfe), and even shows how the free Google Reader tool can be used for basic brand- or keyword-monitoring.
The Top 5 Social Media Managing Tools by Social Media Today
Jen Eisenberg present highlights of five social media management tools, including not just popular applications like HootSuite but also newer, lesser-known tools such as RebelMouse and Flavors.me, which she calls “a hidden treasure…You can pull your photos, updates, videos, music and more from 35 different web services, one of the most of any social media aggregators.”
Social media tools for the smart agency by iMedia Connection
Scott Fiaschetti reviews seven tools for social media monitoring and management, ranging from relatively simple and inexpensive (uberVu) to more sophisticated offerings like Adaptly, “a platform for execution and optimization of social campaigns across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and YouTube.
Social Media Cheat Sheet for Image Dimensions by The Landlord Blog
How large should your cover photo be on Facebook? What about a story image or shared Facebook video? How many pixels of your Twitter background image are visible to most users? What are the correct dimensions for a cover photo on Google+? Find the ideal / required dimensions for all of these uses and many others in this highly bookmarkable infographic.
24 Must-Have Social Media Marketing Tools by Social Media Examiner
***** 5 STARS
Cindy King compiles two dozen recommendations from social media pros on their favorite tools, from Commun.it (which Shelly Lucas says helps her to “build and nurture relationships with supporters, influencers and potential customers on Twitter”) to AgoraPulse (which according to Aaron Kahlow “provides everything your Facebook Page will ever need”).
Writing Social Media Policies
Eight Ways Your Employee Social-Media Policy May Violate Federal Law by Ad Age Digital
Every marketing manager knows that his/her company needs a social media policy for employees, right? Actually, no—as of mid-2012, only about 40% of companies had such policies in place. Even worse, according to Brian Heidelberger, is that it’s quite possible “most all of our current social media policies are illegal.” According to rules established by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a social media policy likely runs afoul of the law if it prohibits or restricts “friending” other employees, posting about the company, talking about coworkers, talking to the press, or using social media sites while at work.
Your Social Media Policies by iMedia Connection
Lee Schneider outlines nine key points to keep in mind when creating a social media policy, among them “support individuality but stay on message…Many company accounts have multiple posters. Encourage them to let their voice come through, but also make it clear that they are posting for the brand and what the brand stands for,” encourage dialogue but never argue on the Internet, and don’t delete complaints (but do respond to them humbly, helpfully and publicly).
Reddit Marketing Tips
6 Ways to Use Reddit to Grow Your Business by Social Media Examiner
I know—Reddit? A site whose home page is frequently dominated with stories that have headlines like “How I respond whenever a girl thinks I’m cool” and “Extremely Scary Ghost Elevator Prank in Brazil” hardly seems like a promising venue for professional marketers, but don’t write off the second-most popular bookmarking site on the web until you’ve read Ben Beck’s discussion of half a dozen popular business-oriented communities there.
Reddit Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC] by e-Strategy Trends
David Erickson shares the Reddit Marketing Field Guide infographic, which provides stats about Reddit use (2.5 billion monthly page views), the typical Redditor (18-34 years old, geeky, liberal and male), and tips on adding content that will get shared (spamming will get you nowhere). Despite its high traffic, Reddit isn’t appropriate for every marketer; but if this is your target market, then this is your helpful infographic.
YouTube Marketing Tactics
6 lessons in launching a branded YouTube channel by iMedia Connection
Michael Estrin shares tips from several agency professionals on how brands can get the most out of their YouTube channels, from starting with a strategy and plan through keeping your audience engaged. In the end, success comes down to “picking what is achievable for your brand and matching realistic key performance indicators to them.”
The ultimate guide to video marketing on YouTube by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS
Reporting that “global internet video traffic will make up 54 percent of all consumer internet traffic in 2016 — up from 51 percent in 2011” and “Video offers greater retention and recall — up to five times greater than the written word,” Kent Lewis provides an exhaustive guide to everything from video marketing best practices and optimization essentials to YouTube advertising and video sitemaps.
Innovation is alive and well in the development of cool free and low-cost web-based tools and apps. It’s great to find a tool that automates some little process or provides a new capability you’ve been looking for, and fun to find a tool you didn’t even know you needed.
How can you quickly find out how far a link has spread on Twitter? Surf the web securely and anonymously when using pubic WiFi? Manage all of your social media accounts from a single login on your iPhone? Back up your Gmail account? Make more productive use of your time on social networking sites?
There’s an app for that—or cool web tool. Find tools to do all of the above and much more in this collection of helpful business, online and social media tools, apps and reviews.
Update 4/15/2013: I unlinked several tools that are no longer offered. This economy sucks.
Cool Social Media Tools
A slick service that enables you to easily add a QR code to your business card which links to your LinkedIn profile and contact information. Anyone scanning the code can conveniently contact you without entering any additional information. And when you log in to PingTags, you can view analytics like how many people scanned your card and which links they clicked.
Buffer is a tool for automatically posting content to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. As the site puts it, “Fill up your Buffer at one time in the day and Buffer automagically posts them for you through the day.” It’s available at three price/service levels: free, Pro ($10 per month), and then a big jump to Premium ($99 per month). Nothing replaces real social media engagement of course, but used carefully and in conjunction with real-time monitoring, automation tools like this do have their place.
One of the easiest ways to import an online store into Facebook, even incorporating translation and foreign currency support for buyers in other countries. Plans have a monthly fee (with the most popular priced at $30-$50 per month) but you can try it out for a week free.
Four51 offers two sets of tools for local business and consumer brands. FanTools uses “knowledge gained from across the FanTools network of small businesses to deliver plans” that enable local retailers, restaurants and other types of businesses to use exclusive coupon offers mixed with other content across their social networks to drive engagement and purchases. It’s priced for small business at $50 per month with a 90-day free trial offer to try it out. CommerceTools uses cloud-based technology to help companies streamline the distribution of products, supplies, services and content to individuals or groups by simplifying and automating order and fulfillment processes.
***** 5 STARS
ALOT is a catalog of free “apps for your PC” in a range of categories including entertainment (comic books, TMZ, The Onion, IMDB search), food, games, travel, music, news (The New York Times, CNN, Fox News, Stock Market Watch), reference, social networking (e.g., apps for Facebook, Twitter and Evite) and more.
ShortStack is a tool that helps businesses customize their Facebook Pages with “contests, sweepstakes, videos, custom forms and more.” Yes, it is “Timeline ready.” The tool is free for pages with up to 2,000 likes, with pricing starting at $30 per month above that level.
Mywebees lets you display your website on your Facebook page. It’s not a copy of your site, but your actual site—displayed in a Facebook iFrame. It’s a very cool, easy way for small businesses to increase the interest and value of their Facebook presence. No word yet though on how this may be affected by Timeline.
Cool Twitter Tools
How many people saw that link you tweeted? Tweeted or retweeting it themselves? Which Twitterers exposed it to the largest audience? Find out in a snap with TweetReach. In just a few seconds, I discovered that a recent post I wrote on social media storytelling for PR reached 56,689 people via 25 tweets—over 10,000 people just through Jim Dougherty.
This free tool graphically shows peak Twitter activity for any Twitter handle. It takes a few minutes to load completely, but once fully loaded shows activity on your network by day of the week and time. I wasn’t surprised to learn that most of the activity on my network happens early in the morning, but it was interesting to note unexpected spikes in activity at midmorning on Monday and Tuesday and around lunch time on Wednesday and Thursday.
An automated free tool to help “flush” Twitterers you are following who aren’t following back, follow those who are following you, clean up inactive users (requires paid “premium” subscription), force spammers to unfollow you, and find interesting new tweeps to follow.
Other Cool Web Tools
A free tool for clipping, saving and sharing just selected parts of web pages such an image or a selection of text. Clipped content can be kept private, shared only with friends or shared publicly.
Concerned about your web browsing security and privacy when you’re away from home and using public WiFi? AnchorFree’s Hotspot Shield is a free (or optionally ad-free low-cost) VPN encryption service that provides secure, private web browsing anywhere. It works on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. On mobile devices Hotspot Shield enables data compression, increasing the amount of data a user has under their mobile data plan and thus saving users money on mobile data. Hotspot Shield also protects users from over 3 million malware threats, phishing sites, and spam.
A simple app that syncs contact information, emails and appointments between Google and Salesforce, eliminating time-consuming copying and pasting. After a 14-day free trial, the service is priced at $10 per month (or less per user for larger teams) with a 50% discount for non-profits and schools.
A free online project management and collaboration tool, similar to Basecamp, that lets users switch between projects with one click, delegate tasks, track task changes, subscribe to tasks and receive notifications, and manage people on projects with groups.
The new way to present—way beyond PowerPoint. Prezi is an online presentation tool that lets you pan and zoom around your presentation “canvas,” present online or offline, easily collaborate with teammates anywhere to develop a presentation, and add a timeline using “frames and a path to create a cinematic journey.” Pricing ranges from free (though your “Prezis” will be public and include Prezi branding) to $159 per year for the Pro version (your own logo, lots of storage space and more).
Cool iPhone Apps
A free app for Apple iOS devices that enables users to manage multiple social media accounts at once. A users can post to his/her Facebook wall, send a Tweet, share photos to Flickr and TwitPic, upload a video to YouTube, post a blog entry and manage other social accounts all from a single login and tool.
A free iPhone app for discovering what events are happening in your area, who you know that’s going to each, browse ideas from nightclubs to museums to movies (along with ratings), connect with others who are attending the same events and share thoughts and photos.
5 Awesome Spreadsheet Apps for the iPhone by Search Engine Journal
Frequent best-of honoree Ann Smarty reviews five spreadsheet apps for the iPhone that “allow you to look at anything from profits and annual earnings, to employee checks and monthly expenses” anytime from anywhere. She notes that there are many others available, but calls these “arguably the best around.” All are priced at $10 or less.
250 best iPad apps: social media apps by The Telegraph
Brief reviews of top social apps for the iPhone including Flipboard—which “takes the activity from your social networks—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and plenty of others are supported —and presents it in an attractive magazine-style layout…This app is must-have on all iPads”—Gowalla and Spout.
Social Search and Social Media Monitoring Tools
Billing itself as a real-time social search engine, Topsy is reasonably good at finding topical and brand references across the social web. While it’s no threat to professional monitoring tools like Radian6, it’s a decent, free, quick-check tool for smaller companies and one-off searches.
Synthesio is a powerful, professional social media monitoring system that combines technology with human assistance for global brand reputation monitoring, topic monitoring, influencer rating and social community mapping. It is multi-lingual, customizable and filters out much of the “junk” picked up by other monitoring tools. This power and flexibility comes at a cost, however, as pricing is based on the number of search returns and starts at $1,500 per month.
A social media analytics and engagement tool that incorporates search, analytics and engagement capabilities. Within “engagement,” for example, you can evaluate the “degrees of separation” between a company and its audience, schedule tweets, and assign tweets to different team members for response / follow up. Pricing starts at $150 per month, but you can try it out first with a 14-day free trial.
Chatmeter bills itself as “the first and only Local Brand Management service—the only platform that informs with daily alerts to monitor and respond to customer feedback from across the web combined with a dashboard to see the real impact on how customer experience is affecting online visibility for each location.” Priced at $40 per location per month (volume discounts for chains), Chatmeter purports to save chains thousands of dollars in lost revenue by improving marketing effectiveness and providing the tools to easily respond to customers immediately for each of location.
Inefegy’s Social Radar is known as a social media monitoring platform that is powerful, fast, has an outstanding user interface, and “now tracks some 40 million Web sites, including blogs, forums, image sites, news sites like CNN and the BBC, Twitter and more.” You can “request” a free trial, and the pricing is flat rate (you can run unlimited searches for one monthly fee), but specific pricing information is difficult to come by.
Cool Tools for Creating Infographics
10 Awesome Free Tools To Make Infographics by MakeUseOf
***** 5 STARS
An outstanding article by Angela Alcorn which provides guidance on how to create an infographic, followed by helpful, illustrated reviews of 10 free tools to assist in infographic creation, such as Stat Planet, Hohli, Creately (which also supports collaboration and easy flow chart creation) and Inkscape.
The 5 Best Free Tools For Making Slick Infographics by Fast Company
Noting that “It’s not enough to simply write about data any longer; the world wants visuals. While there are many professional information designers making a name for themselves, such as Nicholas Felton of Feltron.com, the majority of these digital artists are up to their eyeballs in high-paying work. Where does this leave you?,” Amber Mac reviews five free tools for creating infographics—four of which were covered in Angela’s article above, plus a new tool, Visual.ly.
Reviews of Cool Social Media Tools
Introducing PeerIndex: A New Companion to Klout for Social Media Influence Measurement by WindMill Networking
Neal Schaffer reviews PeerIndex, a competitor to Klout for social media influence measurement. Klout had an opportunity to become the standard before it stumbled badly in October 2011 when it radically changed its algorithm, calling its validity into serious question, then arrogantly refused to apologize and reverse course. A newer and (possibly) more accurate influence metric site is Kred, which is also worth checking out.
Is HootSuite Pro a Smart Investment? by Social Media Examiner
Nichole Kelly answers the question many of us HootSuite fans have been asking: is it worth it to upgrade to the Pro version? And after detailing the differences between the free and paid versions, her conclusion is…probably not, for most users. But it’s worthwhile (and HootSuite could make it more worthwhile, with a little work) for agencies and larger companies.
How to Back Up Gmail by Time Techland
Worried that Gmail could crash and lose all of your email history? Doug Aamoth details five different methods to protect yourself from just such a possibility, ranging from easy and free (e.g., Gmail Backup) to harder but free (forward to an email client such as Microsoft Outlook) to other slightly more involved but still free alternatives.
Search Social Media More Efficiently with Greplin
Josh Peters reports that Greplin is a powerful tool for topic-searching across your “personal social graph,” to find instances of people you’re connected to talking about topics you’re interested in. “Greplin social media search can access more than just your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. With a basic account (free) you can also include your DropBox, Gmail and Google docs accounts to the search to include content you’ve created. With a premium account ($5 / mo) you can include Evernote, Yammer, Basecamp, Highrise, Google Apps, and Salesforce accounts with more to come.”
4 Great (free) Tools to Measure Social Sentiment and 4 Important Stats by Social Media Today
After highlighting four important statistics (among them: “53% of people on Twitter recommend companies and/or products in their Tweets, with 48% of them delivering on their intention to buy the product”), Nick Bennett reviews four free tools for measuring social sentiment, including Twendz and Twittersheep.
Content Tools: This Week in Social Media by Social Media Examiner
Cindy King reviews a handful of fairly new tools, including Storify, a content curation tool that “gathers content from various social media platforms to create your own story. You can then create a widget of this story to embed it in your website” and 23press, a low-cost tool that simplifies the process of moving a blog from one host to another.
Free analytics tools you should be using by iMedia Connection
Josh Dreller advises marketers to “Check out some of the following free tools that can help you collect, analyze, and take action on data. In fact, a combination of all these systems would certainly push your data-driven organization to another level. With these free analytics platforms, any company could truly compete with the advanced data tools and tactics of even its largest competitors”) the reviews eight free tools including Quantcast for demographics, 4Q for free survey analytics and TubeMogul for video analytics.
5 Productivity Tools for the Busy Social Media Manager by Social Media Today
***** 5 STARS
Leo Widrich shares five of his favorite tools to optimize his time on social media, including Refynr, which lets you “Create a social savvy filter of keywords you want to have included…(then) creates a ‘refyned’ news stream for you with only the most relevant tweets”), Triberr (an invite-only community of bloggers), and Tungle for setting up meetings.
48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools by DreamGrow
Priit Kallas reviews four dozen free social media tools in two groups: one including the tools he uses most often (e.g., HootSuite and Social Mention and one arranged alphabetically from Addictomatic for searching “the best live sites on the web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. It’s a tool to keep up with the hottest topics” to WhoUnfollowedMe which enables the true Twitter paranoid to “check your unfollowers on your schedule, every 15 minutes.”
17 Alternatives to Klout by ReadWriteWeb
Acknowledging the Klout trainwreck and noting that no influencer rating measure will ever be perfect, David Strom nevertheless runs through 17 alternatives for Twitter influence measurement, Facebook metrics, Google metrics, tools with a multi-site focus (e.g., PeerIndex, which is “probably the closest competitor to Klout” according to David), and sentiment analysis tools such as Kred (which has since emerged as one of the top alternatives to Klout).
7 Apps That Rocked My Work by iMedia Connection
Jason Harty reviews his favorite seven work-related apps, including Editor by Pixlr for easy online photo editing (“If MS Paint ain’t cutting it and Photoshop is over your head, give Editor by Pixlr a look”), Evernote for online and on-the-go note-taking, and Jing for quickly capturing any portion of your computer screen.
Nine companies B2B marketers should know about by Velocity Partners
Doug Kessler provides brief reviews of nine marketing products/tools for B2B professionals, such as EPiServer (web content management for the .Net platform), Reevoo (a social commerce platform for brands and retailers) and Marketo (marketing automation software).
Google+ (or Google Plus) is many different things, depending on who you ask. It’s the fastest-growing social network ever. It’s the tool Google will use to beat Facebook. It will fundamentally change SEO. It’s a pain in the arse because it’s yet another social network to join. It’s Google’s latest attempt at social media, and they finally got it right. It’s mostly a playground for engineers and marketers. It’s appealing, but too late. It’s “the linchpin of Google’s plan to own the entire internet” (see below for the source of that quote).
Most likely, it’s some combination of those things. What it’s clearly not, however, is a venue that businesses can afford to ignore.
So what do organizations need to know about Google’s latest foray into social media? How can they get the most out of it? What impact is it likely to have? What are Google’s future plans for the platform?
Learn all of that and more here in almost three dozen of the best Google+ reports, guides and insights of the past year.
Google Plus Tips, Tactics and How-To Guides
Getting Your Small Business Ready for Google+ by Blue Focus Marketing
Mark Burgess explains how small business can build trust and creatively use circles on Google+ (“This insight [that people prefer to share specific information with specific groups of friends or followers] led to the creation of Google+ circles, a major differentiator between Google+ and Facebook. Circles enable you to ‘narrowcast’ messages…Suddenly, Google+ can enable micro-targeting via circles.”).
Google+ Pro Tips Round-Up: Week 1 by Business Insider
Simon Laustsen provides a Google+ “cheat sheet” for getting started with the network, covering account setup, tagging, commenting, managing your circles, finding hangouts, rejecting spammers, inviting people and more.
How to Migrate from Facebook to Google+ by How-To Geek
Justin Garrison details tools that can be used “to migrate pictures, videos, and friends” from Facebook to Google+ (assuming you want to connect with the same people on Google+). He walks through the migration process, including helpful screenshots to illustrate each step.
Tad Chef details the most important considerations in optimizing your Google+ profile, from your profile image (“Make sure you use a bigger image than just the tiny thumb you’ll see elsewhere on Google+ (or) on your profile it will look awful. Google simply scales it up. It needs to be 200 x 200 pixels or bigger.”) to proper use of the “Other names” and “nicknames” fields.
HOW TO: Integrate Google+ Into Your WordPress Site by Mashable Tech
Kelli Shaver shows how to display your Google+ profile information on a WordPress site/blog, add the +1 button, and even use a Google+-inspired WordPress theme, with details about and illustrations of three examples.
Frequent best-of honoree Pam Dyer explores a bit of what’s behind the Google+ “project” then shares more than two dozen resources for getting started on and using the network, from using circles and hangouts to its impact on SEO, and from tips small businesses need to know to feature comparisons to Facebook.
There’s no need to wait for brand pages to do business communication on Google+ by Holtz Communication + Technology
The brilliant Shel Holtz explains how organizations can tap into the power of Google+ circles for content marketing, completely apart from brand pages, noting “I’m skeptical about brand pages, since research indicates most people connect with Facebook’s version only to learn about coupons, discounts and special offers.”
Google+ Tips, Tricks and Tidbits by The Search Agents
The Ultimate Google+ Cheat Sheet by HubSpot Blog
***** 5 STARS
Frequent best-of honoree Kipp Bodnar shares all the basics you need to know about Google+, from the social network’s unique vocabulary (hangouts, circles, sparks) to shortcuts, user demographics, configuring privacy settings and more.
Who to follow on Google Plus? Google+ Suggested Users
***** 5 STARS
In one of the first, if not THE first, Google+ directories, you can find people to follow and add to your circles across a broad range of topic areas from bloggers, journalists and tech entrepreneurs to scientists, filmmakers and foodies.
Google Plus Tips & Best Practices by webbROI
Amit Banerjee explains why you should sign up for yet another social network (“You use Gmail/Google Apps as your email provider, don’t you? You use Google as your search engine, Chrome as your browser, YouTube to watch videos, and Google Reader to read blogs. Plus, what about Google Maps, Google Translate and a plethora of other Google products?”), what’s behind circles and sharing attributes, how Google+ differs from Facebook (“No walls here!”) and more in this informative post.
12 Google+ Marketing Tips From the Pros by Social Media Examiner
Cindy King shares tips for getting the most out of Google+ from 12 social media pros, including Mari Smith (“Craft an eye-catching mini-bio for your hovercard”), Kristi Hines (on optimizing your profile), Debbie Hemley (on promoting your Google+ page) and Jeff Korhan (on how to create a suggested circles list).
5 Top Google+ Plugins by Kim Garst
Writing that “Having fun with any new kind of social media like Google+ means you get to make it your own, and playing with the different plugins available can help you do just that,” Kim Garst reviews five of her favorite Google+ plugins for the Chrome browser, such as Helper for Google+, a multi-purpose plugin with functionality for notifications, translation and bookmarking.
SEO and the Google +1 Button
Google Explores Re-Ranking Search Results Using +1 Button Data by Wired Magazine
Ryan Singel takes a close look at how Google may use +1 data in search result rankings, and shares some interesting observations: “Google would love to get at its (Facebook’s) data — the way that Bing is already — but the two companies go together like toothpaste and orange juice. Facebook will likely never let Google anywhere near its data stream, which meant that Google had to build in its own social network. But therein lies the rub. If Google’s search results become heavily dependent on social signals from Google+, then there’s going to be heavy pressure on the net’s websites to embed the Google+ button. And depending on where you work — say, Facebook or the Justice Department — that could look like Google is unfairly using its search engine might to boost its Facebook alternative.”
How to Implement Google +1 Button for Social Sharing by Search Engine People
Joydeep Deb explains how to add and customize a Google+1 sharing button on any website, as well as how to modify +Snippets “to customize the Title, Thumbnail Image and Description that appear when your content is shared.”
Google+ Brand Pages
Google+ Pages for Business: What You Need to Know by MediaPost Search Insider
Janet Driscoll Miller points out that the main reason for businesses to create yet another social profile page, this time on Google+, is that “Profiles help your brand SEO and help your online reputation management (ORM) efforts.” She then steps through the process of how to create one.
13 Cool Examples of Google+ Brand Pages by DreamGrow Social Media
Mart Prööm presents more than a dozen examples of cool, and pioneering, Google+ brand pages from companies like Pepsi, Toyota, Fox News, Yahoo! and Angry Birds. And that’s possibly the first time those five brands have been mentioned together in a single sentence.
This may be what Google+ is all about. Sam Diaz notes of brand pages that “On the surface, the new feature feels like Google’s version of Facebook fan pages, a place where companies, celebrities and other ‘brands’ can interact with their customers and followers by sharing news or engaging in discussions. But Google brings something extra, something that Facebook and Twitter can’t offer – the power of open Web search.”
Test Driving Google+ Brand Pages by iMedia Connection
The always insightful but socially oblivious Daniel Flamberg writes about what the Google+ platform is, what it means to marketers, how consumers are reacting (e.g. “Google+ has attracted almost 50 million users since launch (as of mid-November); 68% of Google+ users are men; The single biggest occupation is software engineer; Biggest company affiliations are IBM and Google; It looks like a technology-focused, early adopter crowd”) and predicts how professional marketers will react to the platform in the near term.
How to set up your Google+ Brand Page right by Biznology
Chris Abraham walks readers through the process of “setting up your brand page right away in the right way. If you follow these steps, you’ll be as well-placed as possible,” from selecting a category and uploading an image through adding friends and optimizing your profile.
10 Guaranteed Ways to Get More Google+ Page Followers by HubSpot Blog
Contending that “without an ample following, all the time and effort you put into your presence is ultimately a waste,” Pamela Vaughan provides 10 tactics to grow your following, such as promoting your Google+ page in other social networks, writing a blog post about your new page, and making yourself eligible for Direct Connect.
10 strategic benefits of Google+ brand pages by iMedia Connection
Tom Edwards examines the similarities and differences between Google+ and Facebook company pages, and the benefits of Google+ brand pages for businesses, including search integration (“Google currently owns 68 percent of search market share. The fact that the Google +1 icon is now a part of every Google search result shows a glimpse of the level of integration Google has in store for users and brands alike”), using circles for audience segmentation, hangouts, and social gaming among others.
How to Create a Google+ Business Page by Practical eCommerce
Paul Chaney outlines how to create, use, and build a following for your Google+ business page. He concludes that “The features for Google+ business pages fall short of those available on Facebook, not the least of which is the ability to add custom apps. Google likely will add more features in time. Until then, the social network may serve as a second-tier channel through which you can build some brand equity and…improve search returns.”
11 Best Practices for Your Google+ Brand Page by Sexy Social Media
An excellent post outlining “ten things you should keep in mind when putting up your Google+ Business Page” such as looking at what’s working (and what’s not) for major brands already there; crafting a creative (and keyword rich, for web presence optimization purposes) tagline; and being “chatty, but never spammy.”
Google’s Holiday Gift to You: Google+ Adds Multiple Page Administrators Capability by MediaPost Search Insider
Janet Driscoll Miller (again) reports on Google’s decision to enable pages to have multiple administrators, why this functionality is important (e.g., “Allow multiple individuals to make updates…(and) Maintain personal account security”), and how to invite others to be administrators.
Google Plus Strategy, News and Commentary
What You Should Know About Google+ (Plus) by WP Blog Talk
Rob Cubbon reviews the basics of Google’s latest attempt at a social network, starting with Circles (a feature that sets Google+ apart from most other networks) and posting (along with helpful shortcuts) and moving through hangouts, the +1 button, privacy, Google’s philosophy behind Plus, and new features likely to be added in the not-too-distant future.
Google+ Creates Data Gold Mine For Advertisers by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Laurie Sullivan outlines the value of Google+ for advertisers (“‘”For advertisers, one of the biggest benefits from Google+ will become the user data they don’t have access to from Facebook,'” according to Debra Aho Williamson), the network’s rapid growth (“Google+ has become became the fastest-growing social site — hitting nearly 25 million visitors worldwide as of July 24, just four weeks after launch…It took MySpace 23 months, Twitter 33 months; and Facebook 37 months”) and its user demographics (“About 63% of Google+ users are male, compared with 37% female…the highest percentage of users falls between the ages of 25 and 34”).
Stop Calling Google+ a Facebook Killer by iMedia Connection
Jon Elvekrog expounds upon the unique strengths and drawbacks of Google+ as a social network, its benefits to brands and advertisers, and why he believes it is much more likely to coexist with Twitter and Facebook than to supplant either one.
Social Relevance: Google+’s Algorithmic Implications On Networks by MediaPost Search Insider
Rob Garner counters skeptics, demonstrating how Google+ may help the search giant not just catch up to but leapfrog Facebook and Twitter, who, Garner believes, are far behind “in terms of applying algorithmic relevancy to the social experience.” He recommends that organizations treat Google+ as a “primary top-tier social network” and notes the importance of creating content and sharing it through Google+ for search success.
Google+ – Too little, too late by Inside a Marketing Mind
Gareth Case likes Google+ and understands its appeal, he just thinks that Google may have “missed the boat… By about 5 years” in terms of building a viable social network. His post includes an excellent graphic illustrating the distribution of social media traffic across the major networks.
Can Google+ succeed among the common people? by iMedia Connection
Alejandro Rivas-Micoud reports on results of a focus group test with Facebook users in various age groups test-driving Google Plus and providing feedback. These users liked the concept of circles, but found other aspects of Google’s social network confusing, and weren’t sure it offered any compelling differentiation or reason to switch from Facebook. The conclusion was that “simply improving upon the Facebook experience is probably not enough. Instead, to gain a meaningful market position…Google+ (needs) to either carve out a specific, complementary niche to Facebook” or just be flat-out better.
What Brands Need To Know About Google+ AdWords Social Extensions by Search Engine Land
Kelly Gillease explains what social extensions are, why they matter (“The main advantage for in-house marketers implementing the new Social Extension is to boost their +1 counts all around, AdWords ads and Google+ pages will receive boosts from each other’s increasing +1’s”), how they impact AdWords ads, and what companies need to do to complete the verification process with Google.
9 Facts About Google+ You Need To Know by Agile Marketing
Jim Ewel presents “9 facts about Google+ that may help convince you that you need to add Google+ to your social media marketing in 2012,” among them that Google+ will affect search results, that it helps people to find your business, and that activities there are easy to track.
How Google+ Is Changing the Web, Even Though No One Wants It To by HubSpot Blog
Kipp Bodnar (again) contends that “Google+ isn’t about changing social networking. Google+ is the linchpin of Google’s plan to own the entire internet. The company with the platform that can give internet users EVERYTHING they want will win. This is why you’ve seen Facebook partnering with music providers, launching its own email service, and allowing users to make images and updates public to improve Facebook Search. These two internet giants are locked into the early stages of the business equivalent of a death match.” The logic is hard to argue with, but Google’s strength has always been that it’s not a walled garden (like Facebook now, or AOL before it). Going down that path would leave a clear opening for someone to become what Google was on its way to becoming before it decided it just wanted to be the next Facebook.