Google+ is a social networking site that includes a number of features which could be utilized for social media marketing purposes. One of the best features for the user is the ability to click on the ‘+ Share’ button on the top right of their Google email page. This allows you to share photos, links, videos, and events with those in your Google circle. You can also filter who receives the information by selecting specific groups, such as family, friends, acquaintances, and those who you are following. Google+ was only launched in June, 2011, but has risen to near the top of the social media networking websites. Here is a quick look at the numbers:
Google+ has 343 million registered users.
Google+ sees 65 million site visits per month.
Google+ user base has grew over 30 percent between June 2012 and March 2013.
If your business already has a Google email address, it may already have a Google+ account as well. In order to find out, simply log into your Google email account and then visit Google+. If you do not have a Google+ account, you should see a call to action type screen that prompts you to join Google+. Whether you have a Google+ account or not, here are a few tips to make it the best possible:
Select an amazing cover photo. A key characteristic of Google+ cover photos is that they are big, so make sure the photo you choose is of the highest resolution and quality possible.
You will find a ‘Story’ section under the ‘About’ tab. This is where you enter detailed information about your business.
Brag a little, but don’t exaggerate.
Use keywords strategically because up to 77 characters of your description are going to show on the Google+ search results of those who are searching for specific products or businesses. It won’t necessarily be the first 77 characters either. Google+ will pick up the section of your description that most closely matches the searched keywords.
Use this section to provide links to your business and blog pages.
Invite your contacts.
While Google+ has an impressive number of registered and active users, it hasn’t taken off with social media marketers as quickly as other social media sites. However, there are still some key strategies you can employ to boost your online presence and gain new customers. Here are a few:
Events: The ‘Events’ option is one of the best features of Google+. Using this feature, you can set up calendar reminders for your followers as well as advertise upcoming events for your business. Are you planning a huge end of season sale? Create a splashy event for it. It gives you everything you need, including selecting a photo (upload your own or choose from their themed pictures), time, date and place, and a section to enter all of the specific details. You can even choose which circles of followers to invite and whether or not they can share the event with their followers.
When you maintain an active Google+ presence you will likely see a higher placement in the Google search results. This can be invaluable for exposure.
The ‘Hangout’ feature of Google+ allows you to connect one-on-one with people or broadcast a lecture, such as with a how-to session. You can also use this feature as a mode of customer service by addressing their questions. If the question has a possible ‘action’ response, consider showing them how to do it instead of explaining it to them in writing.
The Google+ community feature is another great way to build your online presence. Google+ communities are topical groups that members join to discuss similar interests. There are groups for car enthusiasts, movies, fitness, and even nail polish. By creating a community page, you can help strengthen your online presence as well as establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Your community can be as general or specific as you would like, and you determine what type of community you start:
Public: Anyone can join.
Public: Moderator approval needed to join.
Private: People find you through a search and request to join.
Private: Your community is hidden from searches.
Finally, as with any social media platform, your best chance at success on Google+ is to engage with people. Join communities and post comments. This lets other members know that your business exists, and it builds your Google+ credibility.
Instagram is an incredibly popular photo and video sharing social networking site that allows its users to upload digital media and share it on other social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. Users can comment on posted video and photos, as well as ‘favorite’ the picture. The more ‘favorites’ a picture or video has the higher in the rankings it will show. This spells critical exposure for your business, so selecting what to post is important. How many users does Instagram actually have, though?
Instagram has 130 million active monthly users.
Instagram users have uploaded 16 billion photos since its launch in 2010.
Instagram users ‘favorite’ 1 billion posts each day.
Instagram is a force to be reckoned with, and you should make it a key component of your social media marketing strategy. How? The first thing you must do, of course, is set up a business account:
Use a business name that clearly represents your brand.
Add the basics: profile photo, biography and a link to your website.
Connect your Instagram account to your other social media accounts, such as Facebook, through the ‘Edit’ section of your account. This will provide a direct link to those accounts, and photos and videos you post to Instagram will appear on those sites as well. This is an important step in your overall strategy, so do it right away.
Once you have connected your accounts, connect your followers by using the ‘Find Friends’ feature. This creates an Instagram news story for anyone who is both a follower on your other social media accounts and has connected their accounts with your Instagram page.
Notify your followers that you are on Instagram and provide them with your Instagram name.
Instagram set up is fairly straightforward, but use it to your advantage by completing all information possible. An incomplete profile never looks good for a business.
Now, here are some specific strategies you can use on Instagram to advance your social media presence:
Display pictures of your products. If you don’t sell anything, upload photos of your employees at work, or pictures of the equipment you use to get the job done. Showing action shots of how your work is performed gives your followers an exclusive inside peek into your business which, of course, adds to the sense of community and customer loyalty you are trying to build.
Are you relocating or expanding your business? Let your followers know by posting shots of your new building, or action shots of the actual move. Since you can caption the photos, it will be obvious to your followers what the pictures are about. Tie this together with a Google+ event and you have a great example of cross-platform exposure.
Are you having a birthday party for a staff member? Post a picture of the event. Candid office photos really add to your image as a business that isn’t simply interested in selling your products.
Consider introducing your employees. Show individual photos of your staff members to put an intimate face on your business.
Everyone likes animal pictures, so why not upload photos of your pets, and maybe those of your employees?
Promote photo sharing contests. Ask users to upload theme-based pictures (ex: funniest way to use your product) and provide them with a hashtag. Engage followers by asking them to vote for their favorite, and offer a prize to the winner.
Keep their attention by including discount promotion codes in the descriptions of some of your photos.
If you have a customer who has given you a positive response to your product or service, ask them if they would consider giving you a testimonial. It has to be short, but if you can get it done and upload it, their video review will have more power than any written testimonial.
Use hashtags: Instagram is easily searchable, so utilize it. When you post pictures, insert hashtags into the picture descriptions, such as #Mustang or #coldbeer. Whatever it is you’re showing in the product or service-related photo you are posting, you should maximize the exposure potential by using as many hashtags as you deem necessary.
Instagram is very user-friendly and you can connect your images to any other social media sites where you have accounts. So, definitely use Instagram as part of your social media marketing strategy.
Tumblr is an image and blogging social media networking platform. Through Tumblr you can share just about everything, including quotes, videos, links, music, and pictures. It is this fluidity and ease of sharing that makes it a star in the social media world. Like other social media sites that allow shared content, these characteristics are also what make Tumblr prime ground for your social media marketing strategy.
However, there are a couple of key differences. For example, the main difference between Tumblr and Twitter is that there isn’t a set character limit on blog posts, and unlike Twitter, Tumblr is more image-driven. Tumblris different from Facebook because Tumblr is more interest-focused, while Facebook is geared more toward personal connections. With Tumblr, the user has virtually free reign over customization of their blog pages. So, you can make it as focused on your business as you’d like.
But, how many people use Tumblr? Here are a few facts:
Tumblr has 300 million registered users.
Tumblr has 216.3 million monthly visitors.
Tumblr has over 125 million posted blogs.
The account setup on Tumblr is so easy that it won’t be covered here, but pay close attention to the themes they offer. You will find premium (paid) themes, as well as a few dozen quality free themes. You can format your page into single columns, or several columns, and they even offer paid customizable options. All of them offer a preview option, as well, so you can see how the page will display before selecting it.
Once you set up your Tumblr page exactly how you want it, consider some strategies on how to get people to actually view your page, become engaged, and eventually buy your products and services. Now it’s time to focus on some Tumblr marketing strategies.
The Tumblr ‘Admin’ option is one of its best features. It allows you to add users who can submit blogs to your page. This is ideal for those in service-related industries. For example, you can add your lead mechanic and charge him or her with the task of writing blogs related to engine repair. You can also add your office manager and ask him or her to create blogs related to auto repair management. The list is endless, and it is a great way to extend your outreach since there are certainly many aspects of your industry that can be written about. It will go a long way in establishing your business as an industry authority as well.
Upload clear photos and use them to reach people who think visually. Keep the text of these photos engaging, and include a link to photos and information found on your other social media accounts.
Showing a little personality is a good thing. People want to be entertained, so make sure that your photo captions are engaging and personable. The more engaging the photos and captions, the more posts (replies) you’ll get from your followers. Also, the more interesting the photos and captions, the more likely your followers will direct their followers (on all sites) to your Tumblr page.
As with other sites, upload how-to videos and ‘behind the scenes’ pictures to give your followers a feeling of being part of your team. Inclusive tactics work well on this site.
Consider allowing your followers to submit blogs. This is a great inclusionary tactic, and you can get some great stuff. When users see that you are engaging with them, it will speak volumes about how you view your customers.
Set up your Tumblr blog to allow ease of transition between the blog and your website. Not only will it direct your followers to your website, but it will increase your search engine ranking.
Depending on what type of business you operate, you may or may not use all social media sites in your marketing strategy. However, Tumblr is as close as it gets to the look of a real, personalized website, and it is the best place to strengthen your brand loyalty through the addition of useful blogs, high quality pictures and how-to videos.
The social media site StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that finds and recommends web pages to its users. Users ‘like’ websites they are directed to, and those sites are shared with their followers. One potential ‘like’ could potentially gain your business quite a bit of online presence because once users set up an account and submit information about the types of sites they are interested in, they are referred to seemingly random websites fitting their interests. However, most of the sites they are referred to are sites that were previously ‘liked’ by a friend.
If your business fits into one of StubmleUpon’s interest categories, you could see a steady, ongoing increase in visitors to your site. The key to StumbleUpon, as with any other social media site, is in active participation. The more ‘likes’ you get the higher your website gets in StumbleUpon’s placement rankings.
It may not seem that a pseudo-search engine has anything to do with social media marketing, or that it’s worth the investment of your time. However, consider the numbers and you will see that it is certainly worth a look:
StumbleUpon has 25 million registered users
StumbleUpon has 15 million estimated unique monthly visitors
StumbleUpon has 1 billion monthly page referrals
Obviously, the traffic on StumbleUpon isn’t as high as it is on other sites, but those figures are still impressive. By simply a click of a button you can add your businesses website to the StumbleUpon stream. Additionally, through StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery service, they lead people to your website. Let’s take a look at some specific strategy tips for StumbeUpon marketing:
Create a complete profile. This sounds obvious, but the more complete and professional your profile looks the more you’re likely to be taken seriously by consumers.
Look into their Paid Discovery service. It is a guaranteed way to get your website to show up when users search for websites that fit their interest categories.
Be selective and strategic about what you submit as a ‘stumbler’. Submit industry-related articles and blogs written by others, as well as yourself, so you don’t appear to be spamming the site. This will also help show you are an authority in your industry. This term is repeatedly used because it is of key importance in establishing a quality online presence.
Check out other users who have interests related to your business, and select those you think may be of interest to your followers, or benefit to your business. These are sources of potentially rich content and excellent leads.
Add compelling descriptions and titles to each thing you share. Make yours standout from the rest so users will be enticed to click on it.
Create a StumbleUpon channel. Your personal content becomes a part of your followers feed.
StumbleUpon, like every other social media site, isn’t going to be highly beneficial for every business. However, since it’s free and easy to set up, it’s worth considering. After all, you can’t go wrong with free advertising.
Reddit is a social news networking site where its users submit content through links or posts. Other users then vote on the submission, and the submission’s ranking, or presence, is gauged by the number of ‘up’ and ‘down’ votes it receives. Content is categorized by ‘subreddits’, which are basically a way to organize the submissions into groups based on subject.
Here’s a quick look at the numbers. It will help you understand why Reddit is on our top ten list:
Reddit has 69.9 million registered accounts.
Reddit has 16 million estimated unique monthly visitors.
Reddit has 4.9 billion page views each month.
Setting up a Reddit account literally takes seconds and has a simplified presentation. It looks like a basic news and information stream, and the way it works is just as simple. On your account page,simply click ‘Submit a new link’ or ‘Submit a new post’, and follow the prompts.
The trick with your marketing strategy on Reddit is how to get more views on the links and information you post. Here are some strategy tips:
Immediately after setting up your Reddit account, click on the ‘Edit’ button on the top right of your account page. This will take you to the location where you can clear out your subreddits. It doesn’t make sense to have your account cluttered with non-industry related posts.
Search for industry-related subreddits and subscribe to them. Use this time to find out how many users subscribe to the particular subreddit by reading the figure next to the ‘subscribe’ button. Subscribe to those with the most readers for maximum exposure.
Each subreddit you subscribe to will show a list of suggested/similar subreddits on the right side of their page. Use this information to expand your subscriptions in the right direction.
Before posting anything, identify what it is you want your audience to get from you. This sounds obvious, but it’s critical to building your authority and online presence. For example, if you are in the auto repair industry, make sure that you post links to articles from key industry players, like Ford, Edmunds and Honda. Also consider expanding it a bit to include industry-related articles from non-industry sites, such as Forbes.
The key to Reddit is in getting your submissions viewed and voted on, so make sure that your post title and included information are enticing and click worthy.
When you find noteworthy industry-related articles that are posted on Reddit, link those articles to your other social media accounts. Reddit is a great way to find pre-filtered articles that will boost your authority on your other social site accounts. Tweet the articles, blog about them, or simply show the link on your Facebook page.
Look into the benefits of a Reddit gold membership. For a few dollars a month you get additional perks such as notification when you are mentioned in comments, increased threshold in subreddit subscriptions and comment thread listings, and the ability to save the best comments so you can return to them later. You can also turn off ads and add notes, among other things.
Reddit is a free, incredibly simple way to increase your online presence. By simply posting links with catchy titles, you can build your reputation and use it to beef up your other social media accounts. This site does not require a lot of work to engage in, but the payoff can be substantial.