Google plus – Social media business strategies blog Fri, 29 Dec 2017 08:16:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 10 small business tips for using Google Plus Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:01:51 +0000 Continue reading ]]> google-plus

Target audience: Small businesses owners, marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

By Megan Totka

Google Plus can be a powerful tool for promoting your small business online, in more ways than one. In addition to being an active social network with 250 million users, the features and tools of Google+ can help you improve search engine ranking, strengthen your industry authority, and make influential connections to grow your business network.

Here are 10 tips for using Google+ to power your small business marketing.

Set up your business’s Google+ page

1Similar to most social networks, Google+ allows you to set up both personal and business pages. If you’re not already using Google+, or if you only have a personal page, the first step to promoting your business on this network is to create a Google+ business page.

You’ll need a Google or Gmail account to link to. The process of setting up a business page is simple: head to Google My Business to choose the best business category, and follow the prompts to create your page.

Make the most of your About page

2Your Google+ About page is the place to give an informative overview of your business. It’s also the page that’s most prominently indexed by Google’s search engine, so you have an opportunity to boost your search engine ranking while you draw in new customers.

Create an SEO-friendly description with keywords and relevant links. One unique aspect of Google+ is that it allows bullet points on the About page, so you can create a prominent list of your products or services that increases SEO and lets visitors know what your company does at a glance.

Use a professional profile image

3When you’re on Google+, your profile is automatically connected to a lot of popular services across the Internet, including the Google search engine and YouTube. Your profile picture will appear next to comments on Google+ and YouTube, and will also be displayed on Google itself if you’re using Google Authorship (more on that below).

This means you need to project a professional image, with either a quality headshot or your business logo. While a logo can work, it’s generally better to use a photo of yourself — this allows viewers to see you as a person, rather than a faceless business. And personal connections are the core of social networks.

Take advantage of Google authorship

4Google Authorship is an SEO tool that boosts Google+ users in Google search. The results of using Google Authorship can be dramatic — your posts and content automatically stand out from the page of text results and deliver increased click-throughs.

To set up Google Authorship, simply add a link to your small business blog or any website that you contribute content to, and then include a link to your Google+ profile at the end of each piece of content you publish.

Post often with optimized content

5One of the primary advantages of using Google+ is that it’s strongly linked to the most popular search engine in the world. Google’s search algorithm gives more weight to search results found on Google+, so the more you post, the more often your business will show up in relevant searches.

Whether you’re posting a status update, an article, or an image or link to your Google+ page, be sure to include SEO keywords that will get your posts indexed and promoted by Google.

Make strategic use of hashtags

6Twitter started them, Facebook picked them up, and Google+ uses them too. Hashtags are a great way to link your content on Google+ to relevant subjects, trending topics, and active conversations. What’s more, any hashtags you use on Google+ will also show up in Google searches, which further boosts organic discovery.

However, it’s important to not just throw in hashtags at every opportunity. The best way to use them on Google+ is to place one or two relevant hashtags at the bottom of your posts, where they won’t be included in the teaser text but will be picked up by search engines.

Dress up your content with multimedia

7A great image is still the best way to generate traffic on most social media networks, and Google+ is no exception. Posts with images consistently perform better in terms of views, clicks, and comments, so don’t limit yourself to text posts.

You may also consider posting GIFs (which are particularly popular on Google+) or videos to add value to your business page.

Warning: Make sure you’re using images you have permission to use; you don’t want to end up with a nasty lawsuit.

Don’t limit your posts to original content

8Social networking is all about sharing, and that means providing content for your audience that is relevant, entertaining, interesting, or meaningful — even if it doesn’t come directly from you. Think of your Google+ business page as a magazine. You’re curating content that will interest your audience, and providing valuable resources that will engage them and keep them coming back for more.

Participate with relevant users and conversations

9In order to make Google+ work effectively for your business, you need to grow your network of connections. Friends on Google+ are organized in “circles,” and a business page can’t circle another Google+ user unless they circle you first.

Interacting with customers, prospects, industry contacts, and other relevant users is the best way to expand your circles. Look for and participate in conversations where you can bring a valuable contribution, and show your own interest in what others have to say by clicking +1 or leaving short comments.

Interact with Google events and Google+ hangouts

10As a community-oriented network, Google+ allows you to create and conduct virtual events that let you connect with your whole audience at once. The Events feature lets you send out custom invitations to anyone, whether or not they have a Google+ account, for things like work functions, webinars, or live events. And with Party Mode, you can let all your guests instantly upload photos to create a real-time group photo album of the event.

You can also use Events to invite people to Google+ Hangouts, a multi-person live chat feature that lets you interact through text, images, voice call, and video chat. Many businesses use Hangouts to set up conferences or presentations, hold Q & A or meet-and-greet sessions, or simply connect with their prospects on a regular basis.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the Web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
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Why Google Plus is more like a forum than a social network Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:02:38 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Five-things-Google-Plus-changed-in-our-world
A Google+ affirmation graphic.

Tips on what works and doesn’t work on G+

This is the second of a three-part series on Google Plus. Also see:
Hey Google! Here’s why Google+ is still a ghost town
Why Google Plus is the antisocial network

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamIt occurred to me, after spending a week deep-diving into Google+, that Plus is not a social network — or even a social layer. It’s a global reboot of the message board.

If you want to succeed, you need to forget about your friends and your family. Leave them behind. There are cooler, smarter, funnier people on Google+ than we have in our own lives now.

Hello to birds of a feather

It’s not where you connect with people you know, it’s where you find birds of a feather. It’s where you can find better. It’s a bona fide online community along the lines of The WELL, Slashdot, and Reddit more than it’s like LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Facebook.

When I join a forum, I don’t expect all my friends to be there already. I don’t expect brands to be there. I go there because that’s where the experts are. When I go to the ADV RiderMotobrick, or BMW MOA forums, I don’t expect to see my cousin Joe or my high school sweetheart.

But, I do expect to meet folks who know much more about motorcycles than I do. Folks who’ve already sorted out oil changes, what to pack on an around-the-world expedition on a bike — all of that. I expect to enter a different world entirely. That’s apparently how Google+ is set up. Why bring the mundane people of your life with you?  Start anew with the smartest, most creative, most interesting folks that the entire Google Globe can offer.

How to be a Google+ success

plusBarStep one: Join Google+ (you probably already have one or more account on Google+ already that you may have checked out once, three years ago — it’s still there). Just go to your Gmail account — I know you already have one of these — and click either on the little white Rubik’s Cube or on the little bell (with the red circle with numbers over it).

Step two: Forgo any and all other social media platforms. Leave your other online homes and commit to G+ — even though none of your clients want to use it.

cDarlStep three: Start following some of the people whom Google recommends you to follow. Add them to your circles. But be sure you’re smart with your circles. Start slowly. Look, listen, then start +1ing the content you like. Realize that, on Google+, you can actually engage with everyone and anyone you meet. It’s not ageist, it’s not sexist, it cares nothing about caste, celebrity, success, or education (well, that’s not entirely true. Google Plus is a meritocracy, as are all online communities. Forget about “don’t be evil,” — don’t be stupid!)

Step four: Keep on adding people to your circles who you find interesting or compelling. Spend more time engaging in comments and +1ing for a couple of weeks until you get a feel for the community and people start getting to know you. I call it the “goldfish in the bag” time — where you’re in the fish tank but you’re still in the water in the clear plastic bag you were sold in in order to acclimate to the water temperature and your surroundings before you really commit to moving in.

cDalrStep five: Start posting your own content. Be sure that you share other people’s content as well. It’s not about dropping links from your own articles. It’s sort of like Reddit or Wikipedia in that respect. If your content isn’t good enough for other people to share onto Google+, it probably isn’t good enough (that really stung to realize, personally).

Step Ssx: Rinse and repeat, every day.

Good news & bad news

Despite Google’s overtures, I missed the fact that none of my friends were there — or, they were there but not participating. Brands generally weren’t there, friends weren’t there, and even people who are, aren’t there very long.

While people generally like what they see on first blush, they eventually leave the empty austerity of Plus to return to the messy excitement of Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Reddit. And, at the end of the day, I just kept engaged with Plus because I was afraid not to: I do Search Engine Optimization, Online Reputation Management, and endlessly promote my own writing and content, so I just assumed that posting onto G+ regularly would in some way curry favor with the Google Gods.

The good news: Google+ is probably one of the smartest, interesting, intelligent, interested, and compelling virtual online communities ever created.  G+ is a worthy inheritor of Real Name communities like The WELL, The Meta Network, EchoNYC, and even USENET. The conversation — both the initial posts as well as the commentary — is longer-form and can thread down into infinity. The people are loyal, devoted — often zealous — and are as likely to be photographers, educators, writers, physicists, philosophers, and artists as they are celebrities or featured guests. The people who live on Google+ are in love and cannot even consider spending their time, energy, and limited free time anywhere else.

dMacThe bad news: what I said in my last post is still true: If you’re just casually interested in making a virtual online community home on Google Plus, you’re still screwed. I was told, again and again, that if I had spent three years in the desolate wilderness of Google+, desperately holding on and sending out my weak olly olly oxen free in the form of posting, sharing, and dropping articles I had written, then I was doing it wrong. That I hadn’t wanted it enough. That I was to blame. That if I had really wanted to be a joiner, I would have. That my shitty experience on Plus is all me and had nothing at all to do with the social network — sorry, social layer — at all.

On Google+ I feel a little like Frankenstein’s monster

I’m in trouble. There’s a posse out to lynch me because of what I’ve been reporting about Google+: it’s a ghost town! It’s a spam box! The only reason to be there is to curry favor with Google for organic SEO benefit. I feel terrible, too, because there’s apparently very passionate members of this community, too. Folks who are not merely passionate about Google+ but simply devoted. Committed. To the exclusion of all others.

dStudAll I know is that I have been a member of Google+ from the very beginning — for very close to the entire three years it’s been nothing but a ghost town for me. Simply an elaborate connective tissue stitching together all of Google’s more compelling properties like Search, Picasa, Hangouts, and YouTube.

Well, my initial experience with the Google+ mob is that they’re committed to blaming the victim: me and all the folks who are unwilling to negotiate the initial desolation of the initial G+ experience we’ve all experienced as default Google+ members. We’re all Google+ members, right, just because we’ve all got Gmail accounts. Just by the virtue of that common thread, the designers of Google Plus should have “dumbed down” Plus in order to encourage everyone and anyone who has a Google webmail account to also have at least a brilliant kiddie pool experience with G+ as well — even if requires water-wings and a watchful parent nearby.

My friend BL Ochman loves Google+ and believes me wrong about everything. I agree that Google+ is pretty great, theoretically, sure — and the tools are gorgeous and shiny — but even BL sees little worth, especially in her most recent article, Dear Google: You are doing a terrible job of explaining Google+. It sounds like she’s worried.

Do you use Google Plus? If so, why?

So let me ask you: do you use Google+? Do you or your company have Google+ Business Pages. Do you have a community on Google+? And, if so, how often do you visit? How much time have you committed? How long did it take you to become a bona fine Plusser?

I found the Google+ affirmation graphic on Google Plus (at top), and it really makes me want to find a home there.

When I read through this list I feel pretty bad about spending the last three years dropping links and Facebook content into Plus as an afterthought. Sort of writing compulsory checks to my church instead of believing in God. Just because, that’s what you gotta do.  Maybe I have been mistaken. Probably.

This proves that everyone on Google Plus think they’ve invented the virtual online community. Not Lisa Kimball or Scott Burns and or Howard Rheingold and The WELL. It’s sweet, actually. Just like when millennials act like they’ve discovered the orgasm or something sweet like that.

I’ll stop giving Plussers any more grief. It’s just evangelical zeal. The passion and obsession of the newlyconverted. It’s actually lovely. Hopeful. It just means that persistent and intimate community online is not a vestige of the past but something that’ll persist into the future.

On the other hand, one of the nicest things about my online message boards and forums about motorcycles that I frequent is that there are posted FAQs, pinned suggestions, rules of the (forum) road, and also a bunch of old timers, moderators, admins, high-post-counters, and other fanatics who have taken it upon themselves to take me under their wings, facilitate my experience, and encourage me to come back and have a fulfilling time.

My organic experience with Google+ has been more sink or swim. More pass or fail. And, that’s the missing piece.

(H/T to Attorney Jason Kalafat for his support in developing this page)

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Enlist the power of the crowd for your next live event Mon, 12 May 2014 12:02:07 +0000 Continue reading ]]> apps

How to leverage your audience’s Instagrams, tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, Tumbls & G+s

Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, SEO specialists, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.


Chris AbrahamIcan’t believe you’re still hiring professional photographers with expensive DSLRs who shoot your events live but time-delay the results by days and weeks. Yes, I am looking at you!

I am not saying you shouldn’t hire a professional team for posterity, the annual reports, and your organization’s archive. But why are you time-delaying your fundraisers, events, conferences, gatherings, jamborees, and rally by hours, days, and weeks when you have all the cheap-and-accessible tools all around you to take dozens of “good enough” images real-time, allowing hundreds, thousands, and millions of friends, family, fans, and potential donors, clients, customers, attendees, and members to get a selective and well-curated peek into all the cool stuff you do every day, as it happens, live, en masse, over the course of the entire event, instead of only the tightly-edited album you may only share with your current friends and family, all in one dump, at one moment, well after the event is far in the rear view mirror?

Yes, those professionally shot 16.2 megapixel photos may well be well-lit, hi-def, perfectly posed, and color-corrected, but they’re also planned, dull, and edited down to so few images that all you’re left with are some boring photos of some random “celebrity” at a dais, some sponsors, board members, and honored guests mugging in a huddle, some glad-handing photos, and maybe a snappy of plates of rubbery chicken on linen-festooned banquet tables.

Expand your reach beyond who’s in the room

Keep the pro shooters but look to others who might be willing to live tweet, Vine, Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumbl on your behalf, logging in to your Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts before the night begins.

Alternately you can follow my advice below and get the sort of impact you need from the events that you’ve spent a lot of money and energy on already — events that could really help your brand profile in the noisy, noisy, world — but at which there are only dozens to hundreds of attendees and not the thousands-upon-thousands you’ve acquired through social media marketing across all of your social networks and social sharing platforms. Plus, there’s the excitement of the check-in, be it checking in on Foursquare, Facebook, Google Plus (or even on Foursquare through Instagram, actually).

Live streaming, live-tweeting, Instagramming and Vine

2014-04-28 13.48.52When I know I need to capture an event via social media, I use two smart phones and several huge, portable, backup batteries. Strangely enough, too few people carry backup batteries for their smart phones.

My two smart phones are an Apple iPhone 5 and a Google Nexus 5. The 5 has passable battery life, the Nexus 5 dies within an hour the way I use it. As a result, I fill up two Radioshack Portable Power Banks, each with 6000mAhs, every night.

The best thing about porting around too many batteries and cables? Well, you can hook your staff and the folks who are attending up with batteries and charging cables and still have your battery needs covered as well. In fact, you might decide to buy a bunch of batteries and chargers and adapters and plugs and maybe even have a safe charging station where people can leave their poor depleted phones. If you play your cards right, half of the people in your banquet hall will be attending your event through the lens of the video display of their smart phone. No, not their camcorder, DSLR, or Canon snappy, but their smart phone, uploading their Vines, Instagrams, tweets, and Facebooks, blogs, Tumbls, and Plusses right then and there, an entire corps of paparazzi.

Make wi-fi an ally, and buy some wi-fi repeaters

Also, offer some really good Wi-Fi, try to not require a password, or make the password so easy and free that it’ll not be a trouble. I recommend buying a number of Wi-Fi repeaters, such as the NETGEAR WN3500RP Universal Dual Band WiFi Range Extender or the cheaper NETGEAR N300 WiFi Range Extender Wall Plug Version WN3000RP — they’ll allow you to fill your halls with sweet wi-fi, amplified from the distant, weak, signal that you’re all using at once. It won’t solve anything, but it’ll boost confidence and the number of bars people see on their phones. And, if I am really busy, I’ll just live in Instagram. I can take short videos on Instagram, a-la-Vine, and also some pretty neat filtered-and-edited images, be it #filter or #nofilter.

Train everyone how to promote your brand via social

2014-04-28 13.06.44If you’re Miriam’s Kitchen, you should bring me in! If you’re not, maybe you can pay me to come in to train up your staff on who, what, when, where, why, and how to properly and professionally document brand, organization, corporate, or foundation events, including location-awareness, checking-in, swarming. Make sure people understand constraint, what you’d like, filters, cropping, titling, descriptions, tagging, hashtagging, @-inclusions, profile-tagging, checking-in, and all the yummy stuff that make these things cool.

Spend some time sharing how Twitter is different than Vine is different than Facebook is different than Instagram is way different than Google+, a platform that makes it hard to ever even cross-post to it. You need to explain the difference between posting to Facebook and Google+ profiles versus Google+ and Facebook Page posting (it’s important). And then, be sure that people realize that every single person you photograph wants to look beautiful, skinny, happy, successful, fit, and kind, so don’t post any photos that show people with double-chins, belly rolls, closed eyes, or food and drinks up in their pie holes. Make sure every image you make and every post you commit to is flattering and lovely. Not because you’re trying to misrepresent the event but because if you post anything awkward, embarrassing, or unflattering, you’ll surely hear about it. Consider twice, post once.

Let your entire team post as your organization

2014-04-28 13.06.09This takes both training and trust, guys, but you’ll be well-rewarded for your trouble. Get together before the event and either pile all the smart phones on a table and let a couple geeks who know their way around Instagram, Vine, Twitter, etc, set everyone up on their own phone with direct access to the brand’s account. Alternately, maybe you can get a bunch of phones that are the property of the organization and hand them out for the night, already set up for the Wi-Fi and pre-logged in for all the sharing platforms you intend to you. Hopefully you’ve already trained everyone up and let them all know how to best fill out all the content you need before posting, including using filters and light photo editing skills.

You also need to inform people what to do if there’s a terrible auto-correct mistake, a miss-post, or a misspelling: delete it yourself? What if it’s been cross-posted via Instagram to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and the lot? Is there someone at a desktop who can be a live air-traffic-controller? Is there someone you can text or call? Is there someone who can monitor all the streams to quickly delete any and all posts that don’t make the mark (without hurting anyone’s feelings?)

Empower your attendees to live-tweet about you

2014-04-28 13.08.13I love to live tweet events for Vocus and Miriam’s Kitchen — for free. I love how lovely they are to me.

They invite me to things and spoil me and make me happy and amused — and when it comes to Miriam’s Kitchen, I am changing lives! I know there are loads of people who work with Miriam’s Kitchen who would love to be tapped as a either part of above-mentioned “Team Tweet” or as part of the friends and family Team Livetweet that the attendees are more than welcome to become. In the case of Miriam’s Kitchen “Mission Possible” fundraising gala, they’ll want to devise a hashtag that everyone can use for the event, maybe #missionpossible or #missposs14 or #missposs — who knows — as well as the proper mention in every post, including @miriamskitchen. Maybe the hashtag could even be #mp14 to make sure the hashtag is as easy and simple and short and east-to-include as possible — and is in every single social media post.

2014-04-29 09.37.13And, be really generous with the retweets, reblogs, reposts, starring, favoriting, hearting, and all that. I know I already said it but it demands repeating.This requires some training, of course, and something you’ve already offered to your team, but it also requires doting and appreciation, too. I always live tweet, Vine, Facebook, Tumbling and Instagram all of my volunteering at Miriam’s Kitchen. Every single time. Because I love them. However, I work twice as hard doing it whenever I get lots of love, appreciation, favoriting, liking, hearting, retweeting, and reposting. So, one of the mandatory jobs that the air-traffic-controller needs to do is engage all of the live-tweeting attendees! You need to. Maybe, you even need to set up a moderated and curated screen that features the social media conversation that’s happening, real-time. Hey, it works for professional sports teams with their fans, it works like catnip if you really want people to live tweet your event.

Keep it simple, keep it Instagram

Like I mentioned earlier, Instagram is easy. It’s all photo-based, it doesn’t really need too much writing when you’re in the lurch, and it does an amazing job of cross-posting across Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, and Foursquare. Only thing is, you’ll need to make sure you connect your Facebook to the correct place: Pages and not personal timelines.

Post to brand pages and not personal timelines

Instead of your own personal Timeline, if you’re a Team Livetweeter, you should like to the Facebook Page you need to be associated with. There are two ways: Either log in as someone who already has permission to post to your brand’s Facebook Page; or, the FB Page administrator needs to make you an administrator of their Facebook Page. Alternately, if you’re the admin, you’re responsible to add everyone who needs to post to your brand’s Facebook Page access to that page, by adding them all as managers for the course of the event. Then, if it’s no longer useful or necessary, remember to remove their access as managers after the event is over.

You can always pare down the flood of posts later

2014-04-29 09.37.04There will be too many posts over the course of your event, especially if you give every team member who wants it, access to tweeting, etc, on your behalf as you, real time, but that’s OK. The next day (or that night) you can edit, edit, edit. It’s OK. Or just leave it. If you’ve done a good job promoting your event or your conference well in advance to your followers, members, and fans — and if you let them know you’ll be live-tweeting (and which hash tags you’ll be using) — then they’ll forgive the flood. Let it be, let it go — enjoy the rush. But, it is worthwhile going through everything with a fine-tooth comb, looking for unflattering images or adding tags to untagged photos if you recognize people and are connected to them via social media.

This is a great opportunity to follow people who love you already. It’s also an opportunity to thank people personally for their help. I might even collect all the people who live tweeted (and retweeted and favorited and so forth, even if they were not in attendance) and then include them in a #followfriday love pile. If someone’s willing to tweet you, they’re worthy of your like; if someone’s willing to live-tweet you (for free) then they’re worth of your love.

Post best-of photos in an album afterward

2014-04-29 09.37.00When you get your images from those fancy Canon, Sony, and Nikon DSLRs, upload them and post those guys to social media, of course, but also create “Best Of” albums as well, highlighting the best life-tweeted, live-Tumbl’d, live-Facebooked, and live Flickr’d photos and posts into one big pile of appreciation and love, including not only the life-tweeting teammates but also the best-of photos and tweets from the attendees as well — and include attribution and links and so forth. They’ll love being part of that end-of-party page-3 mention, especially of they’re tagged and thanked. How do I know? Well, because I really appreciate it. It’s some hard work, I warn you, but they work will only take you a couple-few hours on the Monday afterwards (or even the Sunday after, if you’re a workaholic) but you’ll really make people’s day! And, they’ll brag, share comment, and make a fuss again and again, well after the event’s been long forgotten.

Remind your team to log off from your brand’s social media accounts

Don’t forget to get all of your trained up team mates and staff to unlink their social media accounts to your profile. Maybe even check, There are so many stories of people forgetting to log off from their corporate profiles only to tweet and post totally inappropriate photos that night after a few too many Fireball Cinnamon Whisky shots at the after, after party. I know you can do it. It’s so worth it.

2014-04-28 13.09.19I think I have made it more complicated and complex than it is because I really would love people to do live-tweeting in a super-big way.

I want a hundred people to be making a noise on behalf of fundraising events, symposia, or conferences. Every conference should be its very own SXSX! You can always scale everything down to just a few people. Also, ask your lawyers. Maybe you’ll need to post a note at the entrance letting people know that the event will be live-tweeted to social media and that their likeness will probably end up somewhere on the Interwebs, “just in case you’ve invited your secret lover to this event and don’t want the entire world — and your spouse — to know.”

Go git ‘em! I know you be able to rock it, move the chain, and get yourself your very first Twitter trending topic!

Main photo credit: Jason A. Howie via photopin cc

Google gets more personal as it becomes more personalized Thu, 13 Mar 2014 12:01:22 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Tilted Kilt
A long-ago activity resurfaces at a mouse click.

Will you be assimilated into the Google Empire?

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamGoogle can’t get hardly any of us to use Google Plus, but they’re still trying. And they’re pushing hard. One of the reasons I love blogging is, for good or evil, I don’t need any evidence for anything I say. With that caveat, Google is closing in on its goal of being federated across all of its properties, so be acutely aware. They’re triangulating us all and will soon be able to identify not merely what “you” want, need, and desire, but what you, yourself, (or me, Chris Abraham), want in particular, down to your very essence.

Rejoice! I am no longer 35–44-year-old white, college-educated, man, living in Metro Washington, I am 43-year-old, soon to be 44, Christopher James Abraham, who lives between Columbia Heights and Arlington Views off of Columbia Pike in South Arlington, Virginia, who owns guns, motorcycles, spends money on eBay and Amazon, and loves eating fish tacos at Taqueria el Poblano during his weekday happy hour from 4-7 pm — and many other very specific details of my life.

Rejoice! Soon all Google “organic” search results will be curated for my specific proclivities and all ads over all Google-associated and Google-partnered advertising networks, both online and offline, will be tailor-made, based on both my literal history of past searches, emails, subscriptions, and purchases but also based on a lot of cross-referencing that will try to predict my current, short-, medium-, and long term purchase and search decisions based on other close-similar users and algorithms that can now access petabytes, exabytes, zettabytes, and maybe even yottabytes real-time.

Identify yourself? With pleasure, Google Empire!

What does it mean? Well, I don’t care about my privacy, really, just my convenience. Then again, I am one of those guys who consider Minority Report to be more of a promise than a threat. I am one of those guys who grew up on the Well and the Meta Network, online communities that enforced real name anyway.

So, I am running full speed into the arms of Big Data to the extent that I recently gave up my Apple iPhone 5, a superior device, as my primary mobile device in favor of the new LG Google Nexus 5, a terribly flawed but Google-integrated smartphone.

Deep content that used to disappear into the recesses of search engines now appear as the first content to show up on top

I am sold on the Google Empire because they stalk me so good.

The problem with the iPhone, as far as I am concerned, is how balkanized the phone is. It’s like the US: there is a Nation-State, Apple iOS, but the true power lies in the States, the Apps. Google Android phones are ruled by a federated, unified, Google OS, Android, with the Apps being mere applications under Android, with many of the top useful apps on Android devices being fully integrated Google Apps.

In the last six months, Google has made a lot of progress bringing us all in from the cold: from YouTube, from Google Search, from Picasa, Gmail, Google Apps for Business, Android phones, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Blogger, Google Hangout (née Google Talk), Orkut, and even Google Groups.

tilted Kilt

My friend asked me if I had ever been to the Tilted Kilt, a Hooters-like bar wherein the girls wear very revealing variations of the Scottish Kilt. I remember having been there years ago while in Atlanta. I searched “tilted kilt chris abraham” and the photos I had taken popped up in images, images that I believe I might have shared on Google+ years ago.

Until recently, these sorts of deep content had been disappeared and lock-boxed into the bellies of Google’s various properties for whatever reason (maybe to not freak people out, so that they felt more comfortable sharing on Plus without always ending up in search). Now, more and more of Google’s users’ content will be the first content to show up on top (as long as the content is set to public).


What’s more, Google has always been savvier than this. Google has always gamed serendipity by serving up search results that include the people who are in your Google network, be it in your Gmail Inbox, your Contacts, your Google+, Picasa, or through any connections.

My friends are always popping me notes saying how small the world is because how often they bump into my content when searching for information on social media, single-speed biking, digital PR, marketing, motorcycles, or firearms — yes, indeed, the world is small, but Google’s mad skills are making it (at least appear) smaller and smaller within your circle of friends and larger social networks. And, circa 2014, this will become even more refined and as close as real time as is “humanly” possible.

A world that perfectly reflects our hopes, wants, needs & passions

In many ways, the moment you step into an online world as curated by Google’s algorithms, you’re indeed entering a sim, stepping into a simulacrum of sorts, one of which Narcissus would be proud: the perfect reflection of your hopes, wants, needs, world-views, passions, and desires. We’ll all become the Kings of our online experience.

When Google buys applications, Web properties, new and cool websites, and all the rest, profiting directly from those acquisitions is not what they’re interested in, Google’s only interesting in heading you, as an online denizen, off at the pass. What they want is to flush all of us online grouse out of the bushes so that they can finally get a good bead on us. When Google finally gets us all locked in their sights, they’ll be able to finally identify each and every one of us all the way down to as close to our social security, passport, and drivers license numbers as possible.

And that’s an excellent thing if you’re willing and able to remain safely ensconced in the warm, soft, velvety embrace of the Matrix — like me — though I am not sure if this will reassure everyone as much as it does me.

And, since every action has a reaction, Google’s search engine algorithm has a profitable flaw: it tends to highlight and prioritize popular content. And, what content is generally most popular? Salacious gossip, embarrassing revelations, revealing photos, humiliations, and defamations. The dark side, of course, but also not Google’s problem: they just give the public what they want, just like anyone else — and if they didn’t someone else would — all the while running profitable inline, contextual, banner, pre-roll, and video ads. Good for me, too, as I am an Online Reputation Management professional consultant and expert, too, so all of this deep-digging through yottabytes of content spanning all of digital history is bound to make my phone ring off the hook from now on.

And all of this fun stuff is pinned to Google+.

As the saying goes, all roads lead to Rome. And Google’s Rome is Plus. Now that Google has us all hooked, they’re integrating all of these properties into the new Google+, whether or not you are currently a registered member. If you’ve invested in Google in any way, you’re a potential Plus member; and, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll just in feet-first. It’ll improve your participation everywhere else, trust me, starting with the world’s favorite site: YouTube. As you may know, Google’s changed access to YouTube commenting to prefer Google+ members.

Google’s almost completed their new roads project: all roads lead to Plus. Resistance is futile. Still fighting? This is quicksand, mate, stop struggling and just relax into Google’s vision for your media future, both online and off. It’s beyond your control. Enjoy!

Dominate your personal brand on Google Images Thu, 20 Feb 2014 13:01:47 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Feed Google with the freshest donuts you can!

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

chris-abraham-google-plusChris AbrahamMy buddy Terence has a problem. He doesn’t like what comes up on Google Images when he searches. He’s not suffering from a reputation disaster or an embarrassment of embarrassments — he just doesn’t like what he sees when he searches for his name.

I took a look and the fix was simple: he is a ghost online. When I say he’s a ghost, I don’t mean he’s invisible, he’s just translucent. Google doesn’t like to work too hard on delivering results, but when Google can’t find recent, fresh, and accurate photos, it tends to dig through the dumpster for just about anything. Google can get desperate.

In the case of my buddy, he takes the curation of his personal brand so seriously that not only does he not feed blogs, social networks, gallery sites, Pinterest, news sites, LinkedIn,FacebookTwitter, or Google+, he spends a lot of time asking site owners, myself included, to take down pics, snappies, and photos he doesn’t like.

The only thing left, really, are very eccentric photos of him a decade ago on Media Bistro when he was just a 24-year-old puppy. His photo results are so rarefied and so bizarre because Google gets desperate. After all, Google abhors a vacuum.

Google doesn’t like to work this hard. Google generally stacks the deck with brand-new, popular, quality, high-resolution, well-tagged and well-described photographs. But here’s a secret: Google loves fresh, hot donuts the most. Even more than the perfect photo, it wants the newest.

Inform Google about the content of your images


In order to push the world’s most powerful and responsive search engines to serve up not just day-old images but decade-old images, Google must have been starving.

What did I tell O? Feed Google!

Because Terence comes from a journalism background, he feels like feeding his own propaganda into the mix is cheating, but it’s not. Google’s just looking for quality content. Content that’s verified, possibly, or coming from a reliable source.

When it comes to Real Names, Google is even fussier.

tagNShare-300x112O needed to start pushing content into the Googlesphere, content that includes photos of himself (from the present and the past) that pass muster and live up to how he sees himself and his personal brand. O’s a designer and an artist, so he also needs to push as much of his work up to the Internet as well.

One caveat: Google cannot read minds (yet). Make sure that every photo, scan, and illustration is tagged, titled, described, and also named as completely as possible; and, in this case, with his full name. So, each photo of me, for example, would look like some version of this: chris-abraham-in-kathmandu-nepal-1991.jpg. Google does care about file name, if possible, and also cares about Exif data from your camera, if possible, too. So, if you have original photos straight from your digital camera, without too much post production work, then that could be useful for Google to understand each photo.

Google Plus as a way to feed the search beast


So my instructions were simple:

  • Feed all that content, little by little, into Google. Take enough time to make sure each photo is properly tagged and tag other people as well

    The most efficient way to feed Google, in my opinion, is through Google+. Google really wants Google+ to work, so it’s putting all its eggs in that one basket. I told Terence to pimp both his personal Gmail account’s Google+ accountas well as build up a Google+ Business Page  for his design firm. I told him to fill out everything completely, to the point of privacy pain, including his Google Profile and his associations, places he has lived or lives, sites and social networks he writes for and shares on, and every other detail he can. I also demanded that he set up both his G+ profile and page to be as public as humanly possible.

  • Create a folder with all the photos of you from your entire career that you feel like best represent you in the flattering light you demand, add to this batch photos and scans from your favorite projects, your best works, and your most memorable travels, and then…
  • Every day — slowly, surely, carefully — feed all that content, in little, careful, spoonfuls, into Google. Take enough time to make sure each photo is properly tagged (though Google will try to help you along) and that just because you can tag your photos as yourself, consider tagging other people as well. As I said, Google doesn’t like it when its members half-ass things. So, write complete and compelling descriptions when it comes to each uploaded photo but also make sure you write something interesting and compelling when you share the photos to your wall. And, be sure to tag as many people as you can find in your tagging search.
  • posting-300x496Try to integrate the Google+ profile into your life: share your address book with Google and make a point of trying to connect with all the people he knows, and then be sure to put them in their correct circles. Remember, Google works on the value-for-value exchange. The more you give up to Google in terms of who you are, what you do, where you will, have, and are doing it, what you look like, with whom you associate, and how you’re related (those crazy Google+ Circles).

Hopefully, if he really go up into his attic, search out everything he could find, be it digital or scanned print, make a point of posting every single photo that doesn’t make him physically ill (this will be both challenging and difficult for my friend Terence, surely) — and then make sure all the images are set to Public (and share them with all of your Extended Circles and all your other relevant circles if you feel comfortable with that) — then he should start seeing his own personal images and photos bubble to the top of Google Images search results, effectively pushing down all of those decade-old, goofball photos that have been torturing him for at least that entire decade.

Don’t forget to validate your business page

As a final note, there are a lot of other things he can do, as well. Since he’s sort of a famous designer, Terence can probably get his personal Google+ personal profile validated (sort of an honor you get if you’re a little bit awesome); Terence can also jump through the hoops to get his Business Page validated, too.

I would recommend that he distributes the photos between the two platforms, Personal and Business, but that he allow a lot of crossovers. I mean, most of the photos should be uploaded to his G+ personal account (since he is his brand); however, when it comes to his business page, it should probably not include selfies, party photos, or weekend getaways, that said, the more personable, accessible, knowable, and human Terence is able to come across through his business page the better.

And he shouldn’t be afraid to post (and tag!) the same photos to the different platforms, both the personal and business. The only filtering he should do is on content that’s inappropriate, too personal, or well outside the offerings that his design firm offers.

Finally, I recommended that Terence read about how authorship will help him extend his deep connections with Google, including all of the sites he’s posted on, the TED talks he’s in, the blogs he written, the news articles he’s produced — anything, including all of the social networking sites he’s on. Google wants to know it all, it wants to know everything. And, if he gives until his nose bleeds, Google will most certainly reward him, especially since he’s respected, well-known, admired, and acclaimed.

Like everything Google does, Google’s hoping that if Terence jumps on board to Google+ 100% then all of his friends will follow — and, when it comes to taking back his brand on Google Image search, he can — and must — take advantage of it.

Google Authorship: Involve your staff in your brand Thu, 19 Dec 2013 13:01:10 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Google-Authorship-Markup

Target audience: Brand managers, marketing and PR professionals, SEO specialists, business executives, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamEncourage your entire staff to link their Google+ profiles to your business site. All they need is access to an email address (such as on the same domain as your content — any content. According to the instructions, it’s not limited to journals, papers, blogs, magazine, or social sites. Your corporate site is just dandy. 

So, it seems to me that since one can now lend one’s Double-Secret Clout-Mojo to websites in order to help their performance on organic Google Search, why not really pile on by not merely hiring high-caste bloggers to guest blog and claim authorship on your site the way I recommended two weeks ago, but to get everyone who has an email on your domain to lend their own personal Google juice to your SEO strategy?


And it’ll work, too, because Google cobbles together its secret clout score based on how you use the entire family, including YouTube, Google+, Android devices, your Gmail, your corporate Google Apps for Business, any engagement with Google News and Google Analytics and other Google Apps, use of Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Google AdWords, Google AdSense and all the other little places, including Google Maps, Google Groups, and Google Play.

So, even the least likely to ever volunteer to blog or tweet on your company’s behalf staff member might very well be a Google Clout rockstar and never have written anything bloggish at all. Even the most anti-social, uncreative, and introverted staffers could be Google Clout rock stars just from their nightly obsession with cat videos on YouTube, their penchant for commenting, and the fact that they’re a Google Android super-duper-power user.

And this could be an easy-to-encourage, one time push. You just need to bring everyone together over an hour and just do it. Here’s what’s involved:

Linking content on a specific domain to your Google+ profile:

  • Encourage each staff member to sign up and fill out their Google+ profile as completely as possible
  • Make sure they have a real profile photo with a recognizable headshot uploaded to Google+
  • Verify that you have an email address on the same domain as your content.

Here’s a caveat: this will all work better if you can woo your staff members to actually produce content for your site with a real-name attribution and byline. Here’s what Google suggests:

  • Make sure a byline containing your name appears on each page of your content (for example, “By Steven Levy“).
  • Make sure your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.

Google wants to know the real you

What I’m doing here is sort of a hack. I’ve waited until the end to let you know that the Authorship program has been developed for authors, but when you look at your Google+ and Google Profile pages you’ll just see that Google wants to know as much about your organizational, social media, and business associations as possible. Using the Google Authorship program as a method of submitting and verifying your association with your company — and associating all your staff and employees to your company — could do nothing but good for the mojo of your domain and your Google results, I am speculating.

It’s all conjecture right now, although Google has historically rewarded all of us for committing more of who we are, what we do, where we go, where we work, with whom we hang, what we buy, where we live, what we write, read, watch, and how we comment as possible. It’s my experience that stitching your employees to your brand and your company as tightly as possible could only help the credibility and clout of your site, suggesting to the robots, bots, and algorithms that you’re kind of a big deal, thereby bubbling to the top of Google Search.

In a perfect world, I would do what Unison Agency is doing. Unison is getting each and every one of their team members to write for their blog, Insights. But it’s not for everyone. It’s admin time, not billed to clients.

So, you need to commit to supporting their creativity, offer editorial oversight, and allow them to let their mad skills shine from behind the shield of your brand. It takes courage to let your staff sign because everyone’s convinced that they’ll get poached. And, maybe your company is not set up to have its own little newsroom and newspaper.

However, either way, why not just start with getting everyone in your team piled onto the Google+ bandwagon — and your first step should be Google+ Authorship.


How to Make Google Authorship Work for Your Business (

Why Google Authorship matters to your business (

Google: Are authors replacing inbound links as the key to success in search? (

7 emerging social media marketing trends for 2014 Mon, 09 Dec 2013 13:01:28 +0000 Continue reading ]]> pinterest-vine-gplus
Pinterest, Vine and Google Plus: three of the sites to keep an eye on in 2014.

Predictions to help businesses stay ahead of the curve

Guest post by Nikhil Jain

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

nikhil-jainWith 2014 knocking on the door, we thought it was time to put down the eggnog and take a hard look at what’s going to be hot on the social media marketing front the coming year — and what won’t be hot.

Before we do, let’s take a quick look at a roundup of trends that have originated from the most popular social networks this year.

Google: A reboot of Google+

  • Expecting a whole new surge of Google+ users (and rightfully so), Google made a wise decision to revamp the look and feel of its social network. The visually appealing, streamlined look was well received as more mobile users came to appreciate the larger displays and intuitively separated sections.
  • Google+ vanity URLs are now available for users who fulfill certain criteria. To long profile links that contain a host of squiggly numbers, good riddance, we say!

Facebook: Hashtags and Verified Pages

Not surprisingly, 2013 has been the year of updates for Facebook.

  • #hashtags were successfully implemented for profiles and pages. Now you won’t have to be ridiculed when you place them in your posts – they are now completely searchable.
  • Facebook rolled out Verified Pages a la Twitter’s verified account. Even the little blue checkmark looks familiar, doesn’t it?

Twitter: Twitter Trends expand worldwide

  • Twitter Trends is now available in 160+ locations, allowing users to narrow down current events to a specific area of their choice.
  • Want to leverage the power of Twitter for your business but don’t know how? Luckily for you and other business owners, the Twitter for Business website was launched to assist both new and existing users in growing their audience.

LinkedIn: Notify your contacts

  • LinkedIn finally gave its users the ability to mention contacts when posting, not unlike a feature that already existed long ago. Once mentioned, your contact will receive a notification that they’ve been mentioned in your post thus warranting their action.

Pinterest: Never miss a beat

  • Pinterest greatly improved its look, and besides the aesthetic appeal, it now boasts a new Categories section that aids searches for business and connections.
  • The new notifications feature is a natural – this feature ensures that you’ll never miss anything important related to your pins and activity on Pinterest.

2014: Image-based networks, social CRM, micro-video & more

The Internet sure came a long way, didn’t it? Now that you’ve taken a stroll through the major changes that happened throughout the year, let’s take a look at the top marketing trends to watch out for in 2014.

Google+ will finally shine (yes, really)

1Google+ is hardly the leader of the pack when its number of monthly users (359 million) is compared to Facebook’s (a whopping 1.15 billion). However, Google is ramping up its efforts to appeal to those who want to gain a competitive edge in terms of SEO and search engine relevance to build their network.

More people to invest heavily in social media

2No ifs ands or buts: More and more companies are looking to enrich their social media presence to the extent of hiring experts to man their campaigns rather than delegate the task to a junior-level employee. Business owners will increasingly embrace social media networking as a means to:

  • Build their brands
  • Create viral advertising campaigns
  • Instill customer loyalty
  • Reward customers
  • Reach out to more people, even those from untapped audience demographics
Image-based networks will rule

3That’s right. While video giants YouTube and Vimeo continue to dominate, image-centric sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, Mobli and the likes will soar and businesses will aggressively leverage their built-in shareability.

Increasing need for social CRM

4Social CRM is the product of a perfect marriage between social media and web connectivity. More businesses will realize the importance of this tool, which encompasses benefits such as the ability to:

  • Manage social networking accounts from the CRM platform
  • Monitor and track current conversations and trends revolving around your brand
  • Analyze, track and scale your social media activities to bring profitable results
Micro video will prove to be more exciting than YouTube?

5Instagram might have hit the jackpot when it added a new video feature. Twitter followed suit with its very own Vine. The latter allows users to post 6-second long videos, a smart move that kind of capitalizes on the speed and fun concept made popular by Snapchat. Think of the value you can off customers in creating and sharing videos in the blink of an eye!

Foursquare might slink away into oblivion … or will it?

6There are predictions saying that Foursquare might not make it to see 2015, citing stale traffic figures and financial problems in 2013, but we think that this location-based entity is not quite ready to die a premature death. Sometime in October, Foursquare made a bold move in rolling out self-service ads targeted to small businesses.

This opens a whole new world of convenience for self-reliant business owners who want to create ads without enlisting help from the Foursquare team. Apparently, this move pleases business owners like David Feit, Sky Room’s marketing director, who was looking for better ways to spread the news about the location of his luxury rooftop bar. With the self-serve ads feature, he was delighted to reach out to potential customers and pay only for actual check-ins. Other businesses have since benefited from the move, so we think that there may be hope for Foursquare yet to co-exist along with other social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Hype will give way to simplicity

7In a bid to woo customers, innovative marketers are shying away from loud, brash messages. More efforts are being made to create social media marketing campaigns that mirror that of Pinterest where minimalist beauty is king. Forbes revealed that consumers are increasingly being immune to the overly garish sensory input churned out by marketers who were too eager to take advantage of our highly digitized lives. In order for a marketing strategy to penetrate through consumers’ stubborn mindset, the campaign message (as well as accompanying aesthetics) needs to be clear, concise and simple – a far cry from the flamboyant efforts that are fast losing effectiveness.

Nikhil Jain is the CEO and founder of Ziondia Interactive. Nikhil has over 9 years of experience in the Internet marketing industry. In that time he has owned multiple ecommerce sites and a few hundred MFA sites and did a lot of affiliate marketing. He currently offers guest blogging services at Ziondia. Connect with him on Twitter at @nicksjain and on LinkedIn.
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Listen & engage to build a trusted community Tue, 29 Jan 2013 13:33:08 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Chris- Klout

Grow your sphere of influence through reciprocity and generosity

Chris AbrahamSo many people ask me what my secret is: to my Klout score (77), to my Twitter followers (43.5k), and to my acknowledged influence online, for what it’s worth. They wonder how I gamed Klout, where I bought my followers, and what PR firm got me into Forbes. Well, there surely are shortcuts and you can apparently game Klout and buy followers, friends, and Likes. I have tried out many of them over time but I don’t believe that growing and pruning Twitter followers or paying money for followers and Likes actually builds a social media community.

Surely, all that buying and gaming does something, but it’s not community. Maybe it’s for bragging rights, maybe access to perks, or perhaps just to establish to the people in your space that you’re really a social media player and not someone who ignored social media as an essential aspect of your organization until last Thursday.

Community is something different. And I believe that Google, in its charming Vulcan way, is finally starting to understand what virtual online community really is (and isn’t) and how to bestow holy Google Juice on the denizens of the Internet who have committed to moving in, staying, taking up residency and then committing to citizenship. Those are the people, sites, companies, communities, and organizations that I believe Google is trying to hard to identify and then favor. But since Google has a tin ear when it comes to who’s gold-digging, who’s using, who’s being an opportunist, who’s being a fair-weather friend, and who’s actually true blue, it has taken a while for everything to come together. And, though it isn’t yet perfect, they’re getting closer and closer.

If your ears perked up when you started to read that Google is really starting to favor all those who are deeply committed to connecting and engaging – and all of their various blogs, sites, platforms, and social profiles to boot – then you’re going to have a hard time. Why? Because you really shouldn’t care at all about SEO or Google or your Klout or Kred right now. You should care only about your natural allies, your natural prospects, people in your vertical, the folks who already love you to death, the folks who don’t get you at all, and also the folks who hate you, for whatever reason. And then there’s the next step, which is hard.

First, you have to acknowledge the fact that every single follower, friend, Like, and +1 you acquire represents a human soul who has committed to participating in your folly. Yes I understand how many spambots, fake accounts, Perlscripts, codeballs, and hectares of outsourced, unengaged, human clickfarms exist in the world, but these people will never and can never become anything akin to your online family, your online community.

What would I do if I were to do it again?

Well, what I would do is simple: I would first leverage the real relationships I already have. Every social media platform worth its salt allows you to shamelessly exploit all of your webmail contacts that you have collected over the last decade, as well as all of the real friends that you may have already earned on Facebook. You need to take it all the way, too: Don’t just follow all the folks who are already on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook; you need to invite all of your personal and professional friends to come to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ (and others) just for you. If you cannot do this, then you’re really not willing to put enough skin in the game; you’re not willing to put your own personal reputation at risk in order to move your professional brand forward. This means you’re probably either a hypocrite or maybe know that you’ll eventually do something shady or short-game on social media that you really don’t want to be tracked back to your social media fingerprints.

All the individuals you’ll ever connect with in your online virtual community are indeed real people with hopes, dreams, fears, skepticism, concern, trust issues, and the like. It’s really best that you invite the people you really do know first so that you’ll always think twice before you engage with your community in a way that suggests you consider them — your followership and “friends” — to be just a professional asset.

online marketing

There are so many social media marketing articles online that are putting dollar numbers on what each friend, follower, Like, and +1 means, similar to the valuation that direct mail marketers put on addresses and emails. Unlike this valuation that’s based on conversion and past performance, the numbers that you have been and will be able to collect are on an equal playing field. I am not naive: Yes, you can sometimes convert them to joining, buying, clicking, Liking, and +1ing; however, they’re also just as likely to throw your marketing grenade right back over the wall back at you.

When you’re working on developing an online community, you cannot just collect followers, you need to befriend them. They need to ask you favors and you need to ask them favors.

When you’re working on developing an online community, every social media action has an equal or greater reaction. These are not just numbers and assets that you can collect until you decide to seize the moment. Activate them to do something awesome, buy all your stuff, and change your world — and bank account — forever.

Also, like real friends, you cannot just collect them, you need to befriend them. They need to ask you favors and then you need to ask them favors. They’ll ask you for help and guidance and you’ll do the same. Little things, big things, again and again, for different folks, the same folks. You need to build this community the same way you would build a muscle at the gym. You cannot just collect all these folks in a box awaiting the perfect moment when you can let them loose on whatever you’ve been planning forever. Tacit and weak connections are just that. Really becoming chums is something else. Don’t worry, you don’t need to become chums with everyone who follows and befriends you. Most of the folks you’ll interact with online don’t actually want to become your BFF.

Most folks who follow you don’t want to get married

The majority of the interactions I have with brands on a daily basis are superficial. Most of the interaction that folks have had with my brand has been superficial too. When I reach out to @KLM of Twitter, it’s to see what’s going on with my flight out of Schiphol. I don’t expect much, just timely information. When @KLM offers to spot me some time in their club or buy me a coffee or something, that’s terrific (and I am always easily bought); however, getting my question answered in a timely manner and to my expectations is what I really want — the rest is just garnish and appeasement (I love garnish).


Eighty percent of all of your interactions online should involve some sort of listening. That can indeed include commenting, retweeting, Liking, starring, Listing, +1ing, reblogging, and just thanking someone for including you in a #FollowFriday post or for retweeting something. Being grateful is one of the best things one can be when nobody gets paid a livable wage to read your updates, to share your posts, or to include you in anything. No matter how rock star you are, you need to go out of your way to search out, find, engage with, and thank all the folks who mention you, your space, your vertical, your products, company, or services.

Growing your sphere of influence

Once I have brought all the real people I know into the fold — not just from my personal address books but also from my current client base — I need to go poaching.

What I mean by poaching is to say, you need to go foraging — looking for new followers. One of the popular ways is to find out what sort of hashtags your industry, vertical, product or service uses to communicate among themselves. The same thing is true with message boards, Lists, Groups, Listservs, Pages, and whatnot. The great thing about the Internet and all of these simple-to-use social media platforms is that folks tend to create their own ad hoc communities when they cannot find them easily and quickly.

So, spending some time exploring Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Yahoo and Google Groups, email lists, and the magic world of message boards and forums is an essential way of getting to know the context of the world you’ve just elbowed your way into. Beware: every single community I have mentioned behaves a little like a very tight-knit family. Always go in submissive and make a point of quickly identifying a Majordomo: a tribal elder, high-poster, list or board owner, etc. If you would like to engage in conversations that are happening in a message board or an email list, engage the owner first and tell him or her what you’re up to and ask for some advice. Jumping in, all jazz hands and spittle, without knowing their context, their history, etc. (and without them knowing you) is more dangerous than you can imagine.

Simply put: If the hive doesn’t recognize you, it’s like poking it with a stick. Don’t be surprised when you get stung. Poor form. The solution’s easy and the analogy is easier.

Learn how to infiltrate the right way

How do you behave when you attend a party you weren’t directly invited to? What I do is this: I bring a nice bottle of wine or some beer. I dress as well as I think the nicest-dressed invitee will but no nicer. When I arrive, I ask around to find out who the host is and find him or her immediately. When I meet the host, I tell them why I am there: “Mike told me about the party and said it was OK to attend without him” or “Mike asked me to come and meet me here, but I just wanted to meet the host first” or “I live down the street and noticed there was a party going on and I thought I would stop by.” I then offer the wine or beer. I then spend as much time with just the host as makes sense, just so the host feels comfortable having me in his or her home and around valuables and friends and family. Only then do I grab a drink or wink at pretty people or take to the schmooze. Thing is, there’s really no reason to bullshit the host. If you are there because you’re looking to meet the neighbors because you’ve got a dog-walking service, let the host know and see if it’s OK to hit up his guests. If you’re really honest and the host likes you, there’s a pretty good chance that the host will take you by your elbow and walk you around to all the folks at the party who have dogs, introducing you to each of them, telling them your story on your behalf. That’s the perfect scenario.

And I do exactly the same thing when it comes to infiltrating communities I have not been invited to. I used the word “infiltrate” intentionally instead of “join” because so many marketers have rudely and shamelessly crashed parties without any care or respect for the community. Turn on any teen movie and you’ll see something quite similar in action (I am thinking about the party scene in “Mean Girls”). So, while you may very well be as well-intentioned as can be, folks are not going to trust you right way. By virtue of being in communications, marketing, sales, or in any way wanting to evangelize or promote yourself or your brand anywhere, you’re immediately guilty until you can prove yourself innocent.

I had every intention of geeking out and sharing some tools and step-by-step processes that one can use in order to engage online. However, I really think the first step has more to do with being willing to allow the folks with whom you’re engaging in your brand new, bouncing baby social media empire to be human: hopes, dreams, fears, insecurities, concerns, and issues.

In fact, communities are so used to being abused that you’ll be surprised and insulted by the level of caution, dread, and mistrust you’ll wander into, even if your intentions are pure and you’re just looking for ways to discover, engage, and help folks online. Because of the people who came before you, it’ll most likely always be an uphill battle.

So, I have a very important quote to share with you before I let you loose into the wild to meet your social media, online virtual community, fate, and attributed to Plato, Philo of Alexandria, Ian MacLaren, and the Rev. John Watson:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

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9 social media predictions & business recommendations for 2013 Wed, 05 Dec 2012 13:30:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]>
Scrollmotion’s enterprise sales tool for tablets.

Mobile, social, geolocation, big data, marketing —’s strategists eye the future

The social media landscape has undergone enormous changes since the current team of strategists partnered up in 2009. With the end of the year fast approaching, we thought this would be a good time to offer our forecasts into what the next year may hold in store for social media, mobile, social businesses and more. Here are nine fearless predictions — including a look at the current state, predicted future state and our recommendations.

When in doubt, think mobile — and especially tablets

Current state

1While mobile usage has been rising for years and a majority of Americans’ cell phones became smartphones during 2012, tablet usage is now eclipsing the smartphone numbers by threefold in the case of the Apple iPad to iPhone adoption (source: 2012 KPCB Internet Trends). Now, 55 percent of adults access the Internet from their mobile phone, double the rate of what they did only three years ago (source: Pew Internet & American Life Project). Along with bandwidth improvements, visitors increasingly access your organization’s page from a mobile device, with 13 percent of global traffic coming from mobile (source: 2012 KPCB Internet Trends).

Future state

The computing environment – along with our lifestyles – is moving away from the desktop and even the laptop, with users relying more heavily on their smartphones and tablet devices to do business, stay connected and share. Increasingly, even the road warrior is ditching a laptop for a tablet, Bluetooth keyboard and a set of apps to get through the work day or while attending a conference. User expectations are exceedingly high in terms of navigating a site for informational purposes, to complete a task, to make a purchase or a donation. They expect a browsing experience akin to the simple, intuitive navigation found in buying a book on Amazon or the crisp visual experience of inhaling your Facebook stream via the Flipboard app.


Design your site expecting the mobile user in mind. At the top of the page, place a hyperlink to a mobile version of your site. Having an app available for your site is a nice-to-have, but a truly easy-to-navigate mobile site will work for multiple uses and keep your development costs down as you weigh business needs for an app. Make your site swipeable on tablets by using Onswipe, a free service that lets your brand publish content with more of an app-like appearance. (JD interviewed the founder here a year ago.) Another company doing innovative publishing around mobile is ScrollMotion, an inventive New York startup that animates sales, marketing and training applications on the tablet, turning them into more interactive and dynamic content assets. The user experience is enhanced and complex subjects gain more visual elements. No matter what your site is telling or selling, the end user wants to consume and interact with your content in a way that behaves more like entertainment, from a look-and-feel perspective. (To learn more about mobile-related topics, visit’s mobile section.)

A wave of recommendations startups before the big consolidation

Current state
Mayorships and constant check-ins on Foursquare will become quaint, even unhip, a year from now.

2I just got an iPhone 5 this week, after remaining content with my iPhone 4 for two years and skipping the iPhone 4S and the siren call of Siri (is it too late to join the party, Zooey Deschanel?). But despite the Big Brotherish visage of Apple looming over the landscape, 2012 saw the rise a number of new arrivals on the Recommendations bandwagon, so much so that it’s now officially its own sector. These are the spawn of Yelp, which itself is the spawn of review sites like Zagat.

Future state

Trover, a geoloco photo-sharing app that doubles as a recommendation engine.

With dozens of guns aimed its way, it may be tough for Yelp to shake its rep as the go-to place for untrustworthy reviews from strangers and hucksters. So make way for a new generation of social recommendation sites. I just wrote about the launch of social recommendations engine Snoox (“Recommendations from friends, not strangers”) and only this week heard about another one, BagsUp (“Find the best places to eat … shop … play … stay”). What, no recommendation engine yet on the best place to shack up and have an affair? Maybe that niche will be filled by Trover (a cool little bicurious — Apple/Android — mobile app), RavedVillijLiveStar or Stamped (just bought by Yahoo!). One thing’s for certain: There’s no room in the marketplace for another dozen photo-sharing apps.

Meantime, the current champ of geolocation, Foursquare, is working hard to reinvent itself as … ta da! A social recommendations engine! Check-ins and mayorships are so 2010 and will become quaint, even unhip, a year from now. But geoloco is for real and will be huge in the years ahead, so look for Facebook or Apple (dark horses: Microsoft or Yahoo!) to snap up Foursquare by Q4 2013. The only question is whether Dennis Crowley becomes a billionaire or mega-millionaire.


Facebook desperately wants to own the social recommendations space. But so does Apple with its kinda-sexy intelligent agent, Siri. Google, too, wants in, and will increasingly enhance its mapping capabilities not only right up to your business’s front door — but inside the place, too. After all, photo sharing apps are the new Google Street View. And now Yahoo’s new CEO, Marissa Mayer, smartly bets on mobile and local as the future hope of the dysfunctional behemoth.

While most of us aren’t about to log into Facebook to rave about our latest purchase from Bed Bath & Beyond, we may take a snap of our cool new crockpot with our iPhone 5 or Android, upload it to Instagram and share it on Foursquare and Twitter. Recommendation technology is seeping into our lives through social sharing activities that are becoming part of the invisible fabric of our lives.

Quick! That fabric’s now on sale, for 40 percent off, at Pottery Barn!

Shut up, privacy nuts! Some of us see a benefit in oversharing

Current state

3I have always embraced applications that follow me around. From old man Google Latitude to upstart Highlight, I am always trying to overshare. Checking in on social networks has become commonplace. Facebook, Google+ and many others (thanks, in many cases, to a generous FourSquare API) allow us to log in to our respective social network profiles and identify where we’re at and who we’re with, and then share that with both our friends as well as with the public, should we wish. A couple of startups that have yet to catch on are taking the next step, allowing us to just allow our apps to check us in and share our whereabouts with our friends — or the public — automatically, while the services begin collecting our social data and begin sharing it with advertisers, business partners, etc.

Moreover, once all of this silliness about privacy is finally put to rest and folks learn to trade some of their privacy for convenience and value, there are so many other things that your devices can offer. I recently bought a Nexus 7 tablet with Google Now. Now offers users like me access to what I might need to know right now: what’s around me; how long it’ll take to get to my next appointment and how, based on traffic; what fun stuff is going on around me, and where I might want to get a drink or eat, as well as anything else Google can sort out about me. I have become obsessed with carrying it on me all the time so that Google can spend all of its time stalking me so it can become more and more useful — to me. The same thing is happening to Apple owners as they embrace Siri and other location- and context-aware platforms with calendar, search engine and inbox integration.

The RunKeeper app: automated updates.

Future state
I’ve become obsessed with carrying my Nexus 7 tablet all the time so that Google can stalk me and become ever more useful — to me

Until now, social stalking software companies have been so afraid of being accused of privacy invasion that they’ve intentionally limited the amount of share one is able to provide with their friends. This will soon end. The value of being able to actively passively share where you are, what you’re doing, even when you’re not going out, is too high to prevent the boldest of us to participate gladly. Even Google Latitude, which allows its users to “automatically check in here,” restricts that share to only fellow chums on Latitude with whom I already have a connection. As more and more applications integrate Google Maps, Foursquare and the like into their social networks (such as GetGlue, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram), giving them the ability to actively and intentionally check-in into the store, restaurant, gym, cafe, and home — but only explicitly and with exceptional intent. We all know that running your GPS on your phone burns the battery, but batteries are getting better and external battery packs are becoming more common, so that barrier will soon fall. One of my happiest personal states is when I’m running or walking and have my RunKeeper tracking my trip and sharing my entire route and performance with not only my friends in the RunKeeper community but also with everyone I am connected to on Facebook and Twitter, including the public.

We Americans are like frogs: We’re easy to boil if you drop us into a nice bath and then bring the water to a roiling boil rather than throwing us directly in to blanch. So Google, Foursquare, Facebook and the like are wooing us over time with tempting morsels, addictive functionality and set-up-and-forget convenience. 2013 will be the year when Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google and Bing will have convinced you to cross-integrate your calendar, email, search history and privacy setting in such a way that there will be a small, easy step — infinitesimal, in fact — toward location- and context-awareness, with opportunities to share everything: what you’re doing, where you are, how long you’ve been there, and whether you’re a regular (the mayor). It’ll happen implicitly, frictionlessly and whether I think about it or not.


While the tide of passive participation and frictionless sharing on social media is a tidal wave and is bound to come to pass, the self-proclaimed privacy police could very well spook Google, Facebook and the rest into hibernation, especially since Foursquare is having business and revenue challenges. Erring on the side of discretion and safety has kept the vast usefulness of location- and context-awareness in a box.

I’ll be honest, I think the real reason why these companies are unwilling to allow us to throw open our doors and windows is because there’s so much information — contextual, location-based, historical, as well as gleaned from search, email, browsing history, and online shopping and orders — that they’re truthfully afraid to reveal how much they know about us.

But without doubt, this will all come to fruition. And once we get over our jitters, we’ll discover how awesome a personal Web valet they can be. The obstacles are not technological but cultural. The coming year will mark a watershed, and privacy will no longer stand in the way.

Making sense of Big Data for analysis, metrics & sales leads

Current state

4According to IBM, every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. But the Big Data challenge isn’t only about the overwhelming volume of data available, it’s about how to make sense of that much data. To date, traditional data analysis tools have been inadequate and infrastructures not robust enough to meet the Big Data challenge.

Though the tools do exist – IBM Big Data Platform, Cloudera and Hadoop for instance – to take on the task, cost and lack of expertise has made it prohibitive for many companies to jump on board the Big Data bandwagon.

Future state

Google BigQuery: Helping close the gap.

Aside from a lot of hype about investing in Big Data and the data scientist talent shortage, there was relatively little discussion about advances in Big Data technologies in 2012. What we did see in 2012, however, was the rise of the cloud. Advances in cloud computing technology is what will bring Big Data analysis capabilities closer to the mainstream in 2013. IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) cloud services like Amazon Web Services Big Data and Google BigQuery will help close the gap for smaller enterprises.

Cloud technologies offer cheaper and more robust storage options for emerging Big Data platforms, so we are likely to see more of these platforms emerge, and existing platforms bloom.


Though enterprise is still the “big” winner as far as advances in big data technologies and predictive analysis, small- to medium-size businesses can still benefit. There are tools available now that help companies tap into Big Data for real-time analysis, application tracking, business metrics and long-tail sales leads.

Here are a few to keep your eye on:




And for those who don’t mind tackling a learning curve, there are a number of big data open-source technologies that can also be applied to IaaS technologies like Google’s BigQuery.

Time to reimagine mobile ads as supporting users’ goals

Current state

5Websites and social networks have been seriously gnashing their teeth in 2010-2012 as the “third screen” (mobile) has overtaken the second (computer) in prominence, effectively crowding out the key revenue source: display ads. The sun is setting on interruptive advertising.

Future state

In 2013, mobile advertising revenue will continue to fall, although its collapse is temporarily dampened by the popularity of tablets which, despite having mobile functionality, are usually used to consume data. This makes interruptive advertisements somewhat more tolerable. However, the breakthrough will come to advertisers that realize interruptive ads “do things to people,” so they shift to “doing things with people.” This works by reimagining “ads” as software that supports users (of the device or site) who are engaged in what’s most important to them. Where interruptive ads take away from users, “software ads” support them.


At a minimum, begin implementing the Facebook option on some of your display ads. Even better, get serious by applying agile software development to ad design. Identify users you want to engage and map their workstreams; ask yourself what knowledge or tools you have that could support users in unique ways and design “ads” to deliver the support. Note that this will work only when your firm truly puts users first. This approach will align you with users and distinguish you in 2013 and beyond.

Twitter will reach its zenith, and then begin to recede

Current state

6Social networks continue to be born every few weeks — seemingly every day. That’s fine, but not all of them deserve to survive.

Future state

A new yet-to-be-seen major social network will rise as we’ll watch another one begin to fall. Just as we saw the dramatic rise of Pinterest this year, another major social network will rise from the ashes to become the new social media darling. (MySpace? Probably not.) But in its wake a major social network will begin to fall. I predict it will actually be Twitter. Twitter is becoming less and less valuable.

Don’t take my word for it. Take a look at your blog or website analytics. Isolate the traffic that comes just from Twitter. Notice the bounce rate is much higher than your average and the time on site is much lower than your average. Twitter is becoming more and more useless as a traffic driver as most of the traffic it sends is uninterested garbage. And the noise from Twitter is drowning out the signal. Today the only way to truly consume Twitter is by following hashtags and other searches. But for tent pole events such as the Super Bowl, that’s impossible as there’s far too much content from just a single hashtag.


Twitter’s noise is deafening and it will soon consume itself. So don’t put all of your brand’s eggs in the Twitter basket. Diversify. You should be doing that anyway — especially in a space that sees social platforms rise and fall and come and go so readily.

More businesses will become roll-your-own Community Companies

Betabrand lets customers design and choose which products they make.

Current state

7Mass-produced products are way 20th century, and B2C product firms won’t maintain profitability unless they enable customers’ serious input into what they offer.

Future state

In 2013, the Community Company social business model will break through big-time. The Community Company puts stakeholders in charge of one or more of the firm’s key business processes. Ready examples are Threadless and Betabrand, which let customers design and choose which products they make. Threadless is the most “pure” in that its customers drive the product process, where BetaBrand is a hybrid whose “Think Tank” invites customer input.


Good practices here are creating various roles for stakeholders that are meaningful to them and harmonious with your core competencies. Use a hierarchy of social actions and workstreams to engage stakeholders who have various passion levels. Support each role with (online) tools, functionality and rewards. Design your innovation process to enable increasing stakeholder involvement over time. In the Social Channel, product significance falls in favor of stakeholder experiences when using products. Increase your competitive advantage by aggressively moving to give stakeholders key roles in how your firm works.

Firms will go cross-platform to raise the bar in social business

Current state

8With few exceptions, most firms’ social media processes are primarily organized around platforms, which add some value to stakeholders but leave money on the table. Marketers are driven by metrics, and platforms’ social actions are measurable, even though most are still not tied to real business impact.

Future state

In 2013, firms that want to make impact will jettison their platform-centric mindset, and focus on workstreams. Warby Parker shows how it will be done. They use Twitter to source and respond to the most popular customer service issues, and they digitize responses on YouTube, then provide links to the YouTube videos on Twitter. Note that the videos enable them to be personal, funny and helpful while harnessing massive scale.


To outperform using this technique, you’ll need a taxonomy of “problems” and naming for videos and links that will scale once you have hundreds of videos. You’ll also need some design standardization for videos, so they reflect the brand and become more useful to stakeholders. By no means does this mean they should be formulaic. Note that stakeholders don’t care for platforms; they have problems or goals, and they seek the most expeditious solutions. Firms need to align with them by knitting platforms into seamless business processes to support stakeholders.

In mapping out success, become the solution

Current state

9The Internet is full of advice on how to get more Twitter followers, Facebook fans and blog readers. Each of these “how to” articles are designed to teach you how to become more successful in social media.

Future state

The reality is that the only way to truly succeed in social media is not just be the guy who follows others’ advice, but to be the first in plotting out a roadmap to success. To pull that off, you’ll need to experiment … a lot. We’ll see more glimmers of that innovate-or-calcify approach in 2013. Some companies, such as TiVo, have established a reasonably safe haven for social media experimentation. Their philosophy is to try and try again. If you’re going to fail, fail quickly and cheaply. It’s the mantra of Silicon Valley, where TiVo (perhaps not coincidentally) is based.


The companies that will continue to succeed with social media marketing are the ones that don’t look for proof points on what to do, but rather become the proof points that others point to as markers of success.

What would you add?

Obviously we just scratched the surface of what may lie ahead in the new year. What’s your big, brash prediction for what we’ll see in 2013? Please add your thoughts in the comments below — we promise to respond!

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10 tips to take advantage of Google+ for SEO Mon, 12 Nov 2012 14:01:51 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Leverage the power of Google Plus to increase visibility

Guest post by Cyrus Shepard

It’s no secret. When engineers built Google+, they constructed an SEO juggernaut to dominate search results above all other social platforms. Although Facebook and Twitter are essential to marketing efforts, both restrict Google from accessing much of their data. This limits their SEO effectiveness.

Not so with Google+.

Here’s an experiment: If you use Google+, perform a search for your name and check the domain distribution of first 100 results. The graph below shows what happens when searching my own name.

Google+ SEO Dominance

Even though I use Twitter and Facebook far more often, Google+ dominates the search results. Multiply this for hundreds of millions of people, and you can begin to comprehend the scope of Google’s platform.

Fortunately, there are several ways to take advantage of this SEO dominance for your own benefit.

Optimize your G+ title tags

1The first sentence of your Google+ post becomes part of the title tag, which is highly correlated with rankings and greatly influences click-through rates. Choose your keywords carefully and consider that the first sentence will be the first thing most people see.

Check out how this simple post from Danny Sullivan ranks for its title.

A widely shared post with a good title has an excellent chance of ranking for its given keywords.

Use G+’s unlimited editing power

2Google+ is just like your own mini personal blogging platform. This means you can fully edit any of your posts at any time. Not so with Facebook or Twitter. Facebook gives you only limited editing abilities. Twitter, after you tweet, only lets you delete.

This is important if your Google+ post goes viral and you want to make updates or changes. If need be, you can also update the title tag and any attached media as well.

You may not own the platform, but Google+ gives you a broad amount of control over your own content.

Index new content lightning fast

3If you share new content on Google+, chances are that Google will index the page very quickly.

Rumor has it that new URLs are crawled almost instantly. This makes complete sense as part of the purpose of Google+ was to replace Twitter when creating Google’s Realtime Search.

In the old days, if you wanted a website indexed, you filled out a webform and waited several weeks. Today, it’s as simple as pressing a +1 button.

 “Google+ is the new Google Submit URL box.”
— Rand Fishkin at GROW 2012 Source

Share your new content on Google+, as well as your other social networks, for quick indexing.

Connect with influencers

4Google+ lists 17 different notification triggers that can help you connect with influencers in your industry.

Depending on the individual’s account settings, these notifications can take the form of an email, phone SMS, or the omnipresent red Google notification bar.

17 actions that trigger notifications:

  1. Mention them in a post
  2. Share a post with them directly
  3. Share a post and you’re in a circle they subscribe to
  4. Comment on a post they created
  5. Comment on a post after they comment on it
  6. Add them to a circle
  7. Suggest new people to add to their circles
  8. Tag them in a photo
  9. Tag one of their photos
  10. Suggest a profile photo for them
  11. Comment on a photo after they comment on it
  12. Comment on a photo they are tagged in
  13. Comment on a photo they tagged
  14. Start a conversation with them
  15. Send them an invitation or update an event
  16. Remind them about events
  17. Any activity on events they created

Several folks have introduced themselves to me on Google+ by “gently” using the methods above.

Be warned: The few who crossed the line into spamminess have been banned from several inboxes forever.

Optimize your author pic for more traffic

5Last spring, I performed a series of tests with my Google+ author photo that led to an increase in the click-though rate for my websites.

If you successfully implement the author tag (here’s a step-by-step guide on and have a catchy photo, it often doesn’t matter if you rank 2nd, 3rd or even 4th. With an eye-catching pic you can often grab free traffic away from even your competitor’s #1 ranking.

Test drive a G+ social media dashboard

6Google Analytics has progressed greatly with social media reporting, but if you live and die by social traffic, you want to bring the information front and center.

Adam Singer created an awesome social media dashboard that you can use for free. At one glance you can view all your essential metrics from Google+ traffic and all other social networks including:

  • On Site Social Actions, i.e. Google +1s
  • Revenue per Visit by Social Network
  • Overall Traffic Stats by Social Source

Bonus: Install this dashboard for free in your Google Analytics account by clicking here.

Check your CircleRank

7My favorite new tool is CircleCount. Try it now by pasting in your Google+ URL to chart your daily follower growth, the virality of your posts, and even see your “CircleRank” score compared against all other Google+ profiles.

CircleRanks of note (lower is better — it refers to how many people have you in circles, by rank):

The election is over. Britney won.

Follow your profile links

8Google+ not only allows you to link to your other profiles across the Web, but you can embed followed links directly into your bio with the anchor text of your choice.

The value of a link from Google+ is, in theory, like any other. It depends on the authority of both the page and domain. My own profile shows the following metrics:

  • PageAuthority: 49
  • PageRank: 3
  • MozRank: 1.91

If you can raise your visibility by getting more people to engage with you, share your posts, or link directly to your profile, the more valuable your profile links become.

Embed post links

9Like profile links, Google+ also allows you to insert followed links directly into your posts – as many as you want. Simply insert the full URL and Google will automatically format it as a link.

The value of these links increases the number of times the post is shared, linked to and +1’ed.

For example, check out this one sentence post from Alexia Tsotsis, which has a PageRank of 3 and is cached by Google every couple of weeks. (Even though PageRank is not highly correlated with rankings, for Google+ it’s often the only metric available.)

If your post goes viral or is reshared by high-authority profiles, the value of those links increases.

Be an awesome (late) early adopter

10About 100 million people worldwide use Google+ once a month. The rest log in even less, although this number is growing fast.

Press the +1 button, add comments on the truly great stuff, add buttons to your blog content and circle great people

None of these tips matter unless you actually use Google+. Out of the 400 folks I’ve circled in my Google+, only about 75 actively participate. No surprise, these tend to be the more savvy SEO and media types.

There’s still time. Folks are catching on. Yes, early adopters win the day.

You can do Google+ in less than 10 minutes a day. This means creating a few simple habits to fit it into your workflow.

  • Press the +1 button to spread share-worthy comments
  • Add comments on the truly great stuff
  • Add +1 buttons on your own content
  • Engage / Comment / Reshare / Start a Hangout / Create an Event
  • Circle great people
  • Make it easy for people to circle you.

Top-notch resources:

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Google+ SEO
  2. Author Rank
  3. Google+ SEO & Authorship
  4. Why Every Marketer Now Needs to Employ a Google+ Strategy
  5. GPlus Cheat Sheet

The first three belong to AJ Kohn, the authority’s authority when it comes to Google+.

Do you use G+? What’s your favorite Google+ tip? Please share in the comments below!

Cyrus Shepard is the Chief Marketer at Placefull, Inc. after spending time as the former lead SEO at SEOmoz. You can connect with him on Twitter at @cyrusshepard. This article was originally published at SEOmozSEO­moz is not affil­i­ated with and has not reviewed this trans­la­tion. The author’s posts are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz. SEO­moz pro­vides the Web’s best SEO tools and resources.
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• How optimizing my ugly Google+ pic increased free traffic 35% (

• Extended how to use Google+ for business video tutorial (

• 5 tips for managing your community on Google Plus (

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