Google Business Photos should be on the radar for hotels, retailers, restaurants, event rental companies and any other business that has a storefront.
Last year, I wrote on how to set up you business on Google Places, a critical step for being found in local searches. To enhance your listing, Google also introduced Google Business Photos. These are like Google Streetview for interiors. Google is working directly with local store owners across the US, Australia, UK, New Zealand and France to take complimentary professional interior photographs.
To find a Google-approved local photographer and get your Google Places set up with interior photos, visit Google’s Business Photos site.
We have a tendency to cling to what is familiar, even when it can have a detrimental impact on us and our businesses.
Most event planners I’ve talked to have been very hesitant to embrace Google Plus, Google’s social networking site. The key reason? It feels like Facebook, without your established network, a few unfamiliar tools thrown into the mix…and, let’s be honest, who needs yet another social network to worry about?
Well, Facebook has a pool of about 800 million users, but billions of people perform billions of searches every single day. And that’s precisely why it would be a mistake to ignore Google Plus.
2 weeks ago, Google announced ‘Search, Plus Your World‘ a controversial revolution in the world of search that will have a major impact on your brand’s online presence. As Google states on their website:
“Search has always brought you information from across the web. Now, search gets better by including photos, posts, and more from you and your friends. When signed in with Google+, you’ll find personal results and profiles of people you know or follow. You can even expand your world by discovering people related to your search.”
It looks a little like this:
Search was once a competition of keyword relevance. Brands would hire an SEO expert to optimize their sites and find other ‘relevant’ sites to link to theirs – all to have their site ranked higher than their competition.
Google aims to change this by making search socially relevant. In other words, when someone within your social circle shares something, Google believes this content is likely more contextually relevant to you.
If you google yourself or your brand right now, it’s very likely your Google Plus profile (if you have one) will be on the first page and, in many cases, the first result. That’s because Google is giving priority to content from their social network (just like Google gave priority to YouTube videos and pictures from Blogger blogs – two platforms they own).
Connect the dots and that means:
There are now over 1 million business pages and 90 million users on Google+. Will you be one of them?
It launched in December of 2009, but many small businesses have just started hearing the buzz about Pinterest in the past few months. Still officially in Beta (and invitation-only), Pinterest has joined the weberatti, sitting alongside Facebook and LinkedIn, as one of the 10 most popular social networking sites. It now boasts over 5 million users and has been touted as the fastest growing social network in history. Have I piqued your interest?
Brides, wedding bloggers, fashionistas, graphic designers and artists have embraced the site. And more recently, I’ve seen real estate agents, television brands and teachers jumping on board. At a time when nary a person would say that they need another social networking site, Pinterest has flourished. Why?
In my opinion, they have the magic formula for an over-stimulated and time-starved internet user:
What makes Pinterest so interesting are the users behind the tool. Grandmothers, stay-at-home Moms, husbands, students and everyone in between. The thread that binds is that they’re looking for visual inspiration or to inspire others visually. In fact, there’s very little discussion altogether, which makes this tool totally unique to any other social networking site.
So, if you’re products or services aren’t visually compelling, this likely isn’t the site for you.
That said, as this tool quickly becomes the place to collect and bookmark things we love, we may see the way it is used shift over time.
Create an account for your event:
What are your favorite ideas? How are you using Pinterest for your business?
What does Google+ Ripples mean for small business?
Visualized data - We understand what we see well before what we read. This is part of what makes Ripples so powerful – a way to very quickly visualize complex data.
Potential Influencers – With this visual tool, you can quickly identify users who have compelled other people to share your information (one indicator of potential influence). Arrows within Ripples show the direction of resharing and circles within circles represent the resharing sequence, so large circles indicate heavy resharing.
Post shelf-life – Ripples can help you understand the lifespan of a post’s shares. Does your post die out after a day? Or does it have shares spread over a few days? These types of insights could indicate whether your content is time- or event-sensitive, novel or sustainable. Note: Ripples only shows data for the previous 53 days.
Time-lapsed insights – By clicking on the play button, you can view how often the post was shared and by whom, sequentially, over time.
Niche communities – Not only can you identify potential influencers based on the size of circles, but you can begin to identify how people are related to one another. Are they connected, purposefully or not, based on shared likes, interests and beliefs? Uncovering these insights can lead you to niche communities that exist within and (potentially) outside of Google+.
Experimentation – The power of understanding these analytics is the ability to experiment, like test posting factors such as time of day, day of week, titles, visuals, etc to understand how they impact shares.
To witness a Ripple, simply click on the right arrow on the top right of a public post and select “view ripples”. See below for a demonstration of the feature.
An important note: as Google states on their support site, “While Ripples displays a lot of cool information, you’re not actually seeing all the action that’s taken place. For starters, Ripples only uses public shares, so there may be a discrepancy between the number of shares that you see on a post in the stream and the number of shares that Ripples displays.”
And, Google has been very clear that Ripples is categorized as an experiment – meaning that they may evolve or dismantle the tool over time.
The short answer is only if you’re using Google+ as a part of your communications strategy (and most are not). That said, new ideas in the technology space are rapidly replicated. Although Facebook already has their own visualization tool called Touchgraph, it pales in comparison – if Ripples is a success, I wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar in other social media sites.
The second key issue is that, based on privacy rules, we will only ever be able to track public posts and shares. This significantly affects the intent behind sharing content and, ultimately, true data collection.
So, what do you think – is Ripples an exciting advancement in analytics? Will you be using this tool?
There are many different schools of thought on the topic, but the best definition I’ve seen pertaining to social media influence is by Brian Solis:
Influence is the ability to cause desirable and measurable actions and outcomes.
Klout is an online tool that claims to measure social influence by defining it in the form of an influence score. They use a host of algorithms and it’s a recent change to those algorithms that has caused many to see a drop in Klout scores. The result is a lot of disgruntled Klout users.
The short answer is no. But the better question is ‘were you really that influential to begin with?’
There is no single tool that will tell you who holds influence within a certain community – so even if you had a high score to begin with you might not have been that influential after all. Influence is social behaviour and can’t be defined by algorithms. Tools like Klout can measure data like the size of your social graph, the number of RTs you get, who RTs you, etc. But they can’t understand the intent behind these actions: how others feel about you and what motivated them to share your content.
Rather than focus on a score, think CREST:
My friend, Jessica Levin, challenged her readers to think about better ways to measure success in social media and I echo her sentiment. Spend less time worrying about how a flawed system scores your influence and more time thinking about how you want to be known and how you’ll measure success.
What do you think?
(Photo via Gipsy Art)
For the second year I’ve been approached by Amiando to preview their Social Media & Events report (last year’s report was How to Make the Most Out of Twitter). Before I share my insights on the findings, I felt it necessary to provide some context not included in the report on who was polled and how. Each of these factors contribute to the quality of the data and its relevance to you and your business (see my previous post for event planners on the importance of understanding the information behind statistics and data).
There are a few very important considerations to keep in mind when reviewing the findings. Namely:
Click to access the Social Media & Events Report 2011
For more detail on the answers to my report questions, please read on…
In part 2 of my report, I will break down some of the findings as well as some insights for event planners using or thinking of using social media.
They’re everywhere. On transit shelters, in newspapers, on real estate signs, store front windows, at trade show booths, and even on your case of Heineken. QR codes are spreading like butter on warm toast.
I’m what is aptly referred to as a Digital Native. I am technologically savvy, I write and speak around the world on digital trends, I have a smart phone, an iPad, and close to 80 apps…and yet, there have been but a small handful of times over the past few years that I have scanned a QR code. I have never scanned a transit shelter, a newspaper, a real estate sign, store front window, trade show booth or even a case of Heineken. Why? Because there wasn’t a compelling enough reason.
The other day, I wrote on the importance of the idea behind the tool. QR codes, although au courant, are simply pixelated barcodes. The problem with racing to create a bunch for your business is that I’ve never heard anyone say, “If only I could scan a pixelated barcode…I’d finally have someone to give my business to.”
QR codes themselves are not bad. It’s usually the ideas behind them that are. Ideas are the spark that have made some who implement them into their marketing successful. Specifically, ideas that are rooted in relevance, meaning and usefulness.
The most important question to ask yourself is will QR codes add value to my business and customers or am I running to keep up with the hype?
More reading on QR Codes: