Game Changer: Google Plus Changes Search And Social Media Marketing

On Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, Google made the biggest change to their search algorithm ever.  They have integrated their 60 million (and growing) user strong social media network into their results.

Above, I searched the term “Internet Marketing”.  If I was going to pay for this keyword on Google I’d probably pay $100 a click.

This result shows Facebook expert Mari Smith as the number one result on the far right.  This is the coveted paid real estate.

You can also see that I was not even signed into Google Plus.  Which means they are not just showing me things in my social network.  They are deeming her important because of what she has done on Google Plus overall.

What It Means

The game has changed.  The reason Mari is now number 1 for a highly competitive search term is because she earned it.  The days of gaming Google for rankings are over.

Mari is number 1 there because she creates content about that topic and has close to fifty thousand people who have her in their circles.  If you’re not up on your Google Plus terminology yet, that is the same as a Like on Facebook.  And those likes and circles, that’s just good old fashioned list building.

Google Plus has decided she is a top influencer in Internet Marketing based on what she has created on their social network.  Social media has dictated who appears on top of the search result page, put her picture up and gave her primo real estate.

Told Ya So

I hate to say it, but I’ve been shouting this for a long time now.  I’ve been telling everyone who will listen that content and social media are going to be the key to search.  And today we wake to validation and proof of that fact.  It is no longer a theory.

Like Aragorn said to Frodo; “You can no longer wait for the wizard.  They are coming…”.  Businesses can no longer wait to get into social media.  Your competition is coming and they’re about to eat your lunch.

Search Results
Made To Order

In the picture below I am now logged in to Google Plus.  And you can see the results are similar but now personalized to me.  I am actually the number one organic result for Social Media.  But, I may be the only person who sees this result this way because they’re giving me results from my own life.

 

The Lords Of Content
Will Prosper

What does this mean? Simple, content and connection is king!

These results may not yet be seen by everyone the same way as Google rolls out this massive change.  And things may change as advertisers very likely shout about their lost real estate.  Or as Google itself decides to make tweaks.

But one thing is for sure, the handwriting is on the wall that people who create valuable content and draw an audience will win.  And win big.

Google will now show you not only influencers that have big Google Plus followings but also people you may already be connected to.  If someone who is connected to someone you know talks about what you’re looking for, it may bring that back to you as a personalized search result.

What Should
Businesses Be Doing?

Create high value content and connect and share it with people in Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter and whatever other social media channel important to you.

Make sure your profile is optimized.  Look at Mari’s profile page below.  Notice how choc-full of keywords it is.

She’s got pictures and links to her other social profiles.  Optimize yours like she does hers.

Internet Marketers
Are Freaking Out

In the not so old days, as in up until Tuesday, you could use black hat SEO trickery to fool Google into ranking you.  Smoke and mirror tactics like building backlinks by bulk commenting on blogs or forums.

There’s many things that people could do to get Google to see your site.  Then Google thinks your important because of all this inbound activity and you’re ranking high.

Now we know- and this has really been going on for a while-that they care about the quality of the content.  If people go to your site and bounce out, (which means they see the content sucks and leave), you’re not going to rank.

So now you have to make them stick to your site like never before.  You have to have great content that makes them want to stay and participate.

With social media though, this really makes it very hard, if not impossible, to trick the search engines.  Social media is self policing. If people don’t see you as a real human who has something of value to say, they won’t follow and participate.

Fakers and spammers just lost their jobs.  2012 is the year of content and connection.

I’d love to be added to your circle.  You can find me on Google Plus here.

 

Things To Do To Build Your Social Media Presence

Day 19 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

Today’s article is not really going to be an article in the classical sense of the word.  Instead, I thought, as we go through the 30 day challenge together, I want to simply give you a social media action list.

These are simple things you can do with your social media (some not so simple but most are).  You can do some or all of them.

And it is by no means an exhaustive list.  Feel free to add your own actions to it.  Make sure to leave a comment on this post with suggested actions to share with the rest of the community.

Some of these action items are simple and some are complex.  It assumes you’ve already got a good foundation of social media.   It also assumes you’ve read the other articles in the 30 day challenge and understand the strategy and vision.  If not, I’d suggest going back and start your 30 days off from the first article.

 

Preparation/Analysis

  • Create your own monthly report that documents what you’re going to do and what you’ve done.  Track likes, follows and any other things you feel will help you measure and track your ROI.
  • Create a list of resources you can use of influencers, blogs and websites that talk about your topic.
  • Create a posting calendar spreadsheet to plan out posts into the future.  You can always add as you go, but having this filled with things you can use will be a great asset.
  • Create posting guidelines for yourself and any other people who will be posting for you
  • Setup Google Analytics of other measurement tools so you can see where traffic is coming from.

Marketing Your Social Media

  • Make sure social media links are on your website and blogs.  Every channel you use-Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc- should have a link on every online entity you have.
  • Make sure the like, share and plus one buttons are on your website and blog posts.
  • SEO optimize your information pages on all social channels.  Create keyword rich descriptions with links back to your sites.
  • Give great content so people want to like.
  • Create welcome tab and sidebar images that brand your Facebook page and other social media that allow for this.  See Parent Match for a sample.  First time visitors see a welcome landing tab asking them to hit like.
  • Don’t keep it a secret.  Tell customers about it.

Tactics/On-Going Management

  • Create regular, high value content on your central content hub.
  • Regularly look through searching tools to listen for things happening online about your brand and your company.  Search Twitter regularly for real time conversations going on about your brand and company and then enter the conversation your prospect and customer is already having.  Same goes for Facebook and any other social channel that allows you to search (that’d be most of them if not all).
  • Find reasons to place links to news stories, blog posts written by others and yourself, information you find useful, how to videos, a joke (make sure it’s appropriate) or anything else you feel would be of value that you can share in your status updates.
  • Like comments people make on Facebook.  On your page or their own.
  • Use @tagging on Facebook and speak directly to your fans.  Thank them for commenting, answer them or anything that’s appropriate.
  • Thank people for re-tweets they make on your posts on Twitter.
  • Send direct messages to people who followed you on Twitter thanking them.  You can link to your website, blog or other social media you might want them to visit.
  • #FollowFriday, give #ShoutOuts and do other things to help people expand their network on Twitter.
  • Talk to people who comment on Facebook.  Treat all social media as a conversation.  Get back to them right away.
  • Re-tweet things by others – Do this with followers, people you follow and people you find. Great way to get on the radar of new influencers.  Do a search to find people talking about your brand and re-tweet away.
  • Make daily status updates
  • Ask questions to prompt comments
  • Share pictures – (The thing people click most on Facebook are pictures)
  • Don’t say anything that could get you in trouble – (but don’t fear being provocative)
  • Share things (hit the ‘Share’ button) influencers and other people have done on Facebook.  Make sure to place a comment about why and what you’re sharing.
  • Like and comment on other people’s and brand’s Facebook pages as your page
  • Use tools that can help you automate like Hootsuite.  But, do not over automate.  Be human.
  • Review your Facebook insights to see trends and metrics
  • Join and participate in groups on Linkedin
  • Answer and ask questions on Linkedin
  • Favorite, like and comment on Youtube videos about your brand – (You don’t need to ever upload one video to be able to do this.  But it’d be great if you did).
  • Use sponsored ads and PPC (if you have the budget)
  • Tweet with hashtags.  Make your own; #myhashtag.  But also tweet with trending hashtags that are congruent with your message and brand.
  • Hold a Twitter Chat.  You can organize your own or get in on one associated with your own brand.  Search Google for ‘Twitter Chat’ and your brand and see what you find.
  • Host teleseminars/webinars and teach something about your brand or company.  Keep it free and non-marketing.  Educate and entertain.  Then re-purpose the content as a freebie for people who like your page or join your mail list.
  • Run a contest – (Make sure to know the Facebook terms of service and how to do this with a 3rd party app before you attempt).
  • Study other successful social media campaigns to learn and see what is working that you can add to yours.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  And this is also meant for the average person who does not have thousands of dollars per month to plunk down on enterprise level social media tools.

The key is to take action and do things.  You certainly don’t have to do everything.  But everything you do will make your efforts that much more successful.

Make sure to leave a comment with your advice and anything you think should be on the list.  George Carlin’s ‘list’ started with only 7 words.  Over time it got much larger.  We can do the same here.

How To Keep Your Fans And Followers And Get New Ones

Day 18 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

On Day 15 I wrote an article about driving traffic to your social media channels.  Today I want to expand on this even deeper.

In the article I gave some ‘Must Do’ things for you to do.  These are designed to get traffic to your page.  But in short order you’re going to have fans and followers.

Once you do, you’ve got two goals you need to focus on when it comes to these folks.  The first is to keep them your fans and followers.  The second is to get more fans and followers through them.

Keep Your Fans…
Your Fans

It’s a dog eat dog world out there. There’s a ton of competition for our attention.  Combine that with our ever shortening attention spans and if you’re not careful, loyal fans will move on to the next thing that grabs their attention pretty darn quick.  Better to be the dog doing the eating than the one being eaten.

Make sure you employ a strategy for keeping your fans.  It’s hard enough to get a fan.  Keeping them is even harder.

And quite frankly it’s more important than even getting a fan.  Most people focus all their efforts on getting fans and then wonder why their base never seems to grow.

Back when I ran a martial arts school, we used something we called the Integrated Marketing Approach.  Ever hear the old saying: “It’s easier to get new business from a current customer than to get a new customer”?  It is so true!

New customers are just one profit center in any business.  Retaiuning that customer is also a profit center.  There’s other profit centers.  In the martial arts school they were: upgrades, special events and retail sales.  If we focused on just one, we were leaving a ton of money on the table.

Think of retention as closing the back door.  If you spend all your effort on getting people to come in the front door but your back door is wide open, you’re loosing customers and you’ll never grow no matter how many new ones you bring in.

When we focused on all those profit centers, the business quadrupled.  Same thing can happen with your social media channels.

Here’s an article from Sarah Goliger on Hubspot called “4 Ways To Keep Your Facebook Fans From ‘Unliking’ Your Page.  Sarah says you want to keep your posts interesting, publish relevant and valuable content, find a good balance for publishing frequency and keep them coming back for more.

Notice a lot of what Sarah talks about revolves around content.  You can never go wrong by giving your fans and followers great stuff.

Get New Fans Through
Your Current Fans 

The other side of this is leveraging your current fans and followers to get new ones.  This is the place social networking really shines.

If one person shares your content, it is possible that hundreds (the average Facebook user has 130 friends) of their friends will see it.  If they like what they see, maybe they’ll click through to learn more about you.

Engaging your fans and followers is vital.  Not only to keep them coming back for more, but to get them telling the world about you.

Here’s some rules for your fan engagement:

Know your audience:   Before you start speaking to them, you need a great understanding of what makes them tick.  What are their likes and interests?

Keep it real: Talk to them the way you would any person face to face.  Be congruent with your marketing message, but don’t be fake.  People see right through it.

Act naturally: Think about what you might do in real life to get a response from someone and just do the same thing in social media.  This isn’t rocket science.

Ask A Great Question
Get A Great Answer

If you were face to face with me and wanted me to respond to you, what would you form the words coming out of your mouth into?  A question!  If you want someone to respond to what you say, end the statement with a question mark.

Asking a great question in social media will result in a great answer.  Then everyone connected to the person answering has the opportunity to learn about you and your content.

My friend Jason Silverman, (whom I’ve mentioned in several other articles), called to ask for advice on something yesterday.  He is going to a New Year Eve costume party where guests are supposed to come as a TV or Hollywood couple.

My answer to that question was not suitable for this blog as it contains humor that some may not find very funny.  You can use your imagination but that’s beside the point.

What I did offer is that a question is perfect for fan engagement and that he should ask it on his social channels.  It has all the right elements of a question that gets great mileage in the socialverse.

  • It is interesting – Many people love going to costume parties and can relate.  It’s a fun topic.
  • It is personal – Builds rapport with his fans and followers
  • It asks for help – People love to feel like they’re helping out.  People will follow a random stranger into a dark alley if they were lost and needed directions.
  • It allows people to be clever – People will want to provide their funny and interested answers

Sure enough the post grabbed an immediate response.  So far after one day he has at least triple the response he would normally get.

There are a lot of tactics and techniques, (here is a great post from Social Media Examiner by Mari Smith on how to better engage your Facebook fans), that you can use to up your fan engagement.  Clever comments, great content from others, pictures, videos to name just a few.   If it follows the simple rules discussed above, there’s a great chance it will get shared and bring other people back to you.

Who Else Wants To Be The Content King In Their Niche?

Prelude To The
Thirty Day Challenge

So you’ve stumbled upon this blog and maybe wondering what it is.  Well, glad to have you here.  This is the very first post in a sequence of 31(ish) posts to be made every single day for 1 month.  The first few posts are going to be introductions.

So I want to take this post, the first one, to tell you what this is so you know if it’s right for you.  The idea here is for you to jump on in and do the challenge with me.

How To Build A Social Media
Presence In 30 Days

So, what this is: the 30 day challenge is to create a social media system for yourself, your business or your brand.  After 30 days, your new social media system will have high value content and position you as an expert (if not THE expert) at what you do.

What we will do: every day for the next 30 days, you will create one piece of content to publish to your social media channels.  The content itself will be on your own blog which you then share on all your social media channels.

The Golden Rule:
Content Is King

Why do this: simple… content is king!  Great content equals instant credibility, celebrity and audience.

Creating unique content that is really truly valuable is probably one of the most difficult things to do.  The better you are at it, the more people will be magnetically drawn to you.

It’s all about communicating and connecting.  Anyone can communicate.  All you need to do is open your mouth or start typing.  The hard part is connecting on a raw, emotional level.

The ones who are the most successful are the ones who can connect the deepest.  When their audience hangs on their every word and will literally do anything for you, you’ve connected.

 

Learn How To Connect
With Great Content

That’s what you’re going to learn to do during the next 30 days.  If you already know how to do it, great, then this can take you to the next level.

This challenge is for me as much as for anyone else.  I am not just teaching this; I am doing this right along with you.

Who is this for: this is for anyone who wants to manage social media for a business.  Content is everything.  I can’t stress it enough.

Great Content And Social Media:
The New SEO Powerhouse

Google is rolling out algorithm changes that make it more and more important to create high value content that is shared in social media.  This is the new reality.  Well, it’s always been the reality.  People with the best content have always achieved more success in every way.  But the search engines are evolving to the point that people who do not create content will literally not stand a chance.  They will be off the grid.

So this challenge is for people who want to learn how to create this kind of content.  Or want a better or new way.  Or simply want to add another arrow to their quiver.  Or just want a kick in the pants to motivate them.

This program assumes you have a basic knowledge of social media already.  If you don’t, I’ve created a tutorial series that will get you started fast.  It’s called the ‘Quick Start To Social Media Success’ and it teaches you how to do the basics. Like setup a Facebook page, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube and a blog.

Enter Your Email To Get
The Social Media Quickstart Course

Even if you are already an expert, there’s some tips and tricks that you may find helpful.  To get it, just enter your email on the page, (somewhere that you see a place to enter an email).  And of course, like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, etc.

The emails will give you the training video series, daily emails that go right along with the 30 day challenge to keep you motivated and on track, and more.  As you get good at creating content, we also want to invite you to contribute here.  Only subscribers have the opportunity to write for this blog.  That is part of my vision; to create a community of people writing, teaching and sharing here.

So your pre-homework is to get yourself up to speed on social media if you’re not.  And even if you are, make sure you’re registered so you can get all the challenge materials as you go.

Thanks for taking this with me.  I look forward to following you!

Editorial Note: I am doing this live without a net so if the emails don’t get to you right away, be patient, they will.

Q&A With Joe Pulizzi On Content Marketing

Social Media Examiner invited Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute to be a guest moderator on their Facebook page today.  For one hour, Joe answered questions live posted by members of the Social Media Examiner page.  SME has thought leaders host Q&A sessions like this one on their page for regularly.

If you’re a social media manager, you likely know these two names already.  If not, you’re in for the introduction of a lifetime.

You can find Joe Pulizzi on Facebook at  http://www.facebook.com/joe.pulizzi or Junta42.  And if you’re not a fan yet, go and like this page right now: Social Media Examiner.  Go on, I’ll wait.

The interview was filled with a ton of great information and a hugely valuable tool for any social media manager.  I have aggregated the questions and answers (to the best of my abilities… If I missed any, please leave a comment.) here for easy reference.

Lana Corcoba: What do you think is one of the most engaging possibilities to do a Facebook Fanpage contest (without external or additional help of apps or blogs)?

Joe Pulizzi: The biggest thing that we’ve seen work is actually not topical, it’s consistency.  Whatever contest you decide to do, you should do it regularly…like every Friday for example.  I chatted with a winery recently that has had great… success by doing their contests every Friday at 10am.  Over time, people start to anticipate that.  It’s the same thing with any great content…be consistent (i.e., when does your favorite magazine arrive?).

Maggie McClelland Buerger: How often should you blog? How long should each post be (# words)?

Joe Pulizzi: Great question Maggie.  You blog as often as you can do it – with the resources you have AND valuable, relevant content.  If that means two times, it’s two.  I will say it’s better to increase velocity than decrease, so start with less and perfect that first.  There are no silver bullets.

As for length, again, no silver bullets.  Some say – catchy headline, 300-500 words, lots of bullet points, etc., but that may not be what works for your audience.  For example, some of our best performing posts at Junta42 are well over 1,000 words.  So, find your voice.  Blogs should be as long as they need to be.

Radz Alexander: What implications ‘branded entertainment’ strategies being pioneered by Red Bull and Old Spice do you see having on ‘branded content’?

Joe Pulizzi: First of “branded entertainment” or what I like to call content marketing, has been around for hundreds of years.  John Deere produced a magazine for their customers way back in 1895.  The evolution of that is Red Bull (fantastic iPad magazine) and Old Spice (integrated program) have been doing some amazing things.  BUT, the key here is great storytelling.  We as companies must learn to be the BEST storytellers in our industry…bar none.  Red Bull and Old Spice work because the stories work for the audience they are targeting (Red Bull also produces a great magazine called Red Bull Bulletin).  So, regardless of technology, the best storyteller wins.

Mi Vu: Do you have any ideas of how to get fans to a new Google+ business page? We opened our business here, but seems if nothing is moving so far… Any tips?

Joe Pulizzi: 1.  Determine if Google+ is right for your business.  2.  What are your goals?  3.  What do you want your circle members to do?  4.  Determine your content strategy – what are the stories you are going to share?  5.  Are they original or curated?  6.  Share those stories via your Google+ page.  7.  At the same time, be very active on those pages who are influencers or customers.  8.  Be consistent.

Mia Kristiina: What are some of the best content marketing examples you can think of within the last year?

Joe Pulizzi: I  love these examples.  We put them in a video:

Katrina Thompson-Upton: What kind of posting schedule do you recommend? What are your thoughts on extreme content curation (like Guy K)? Any advice for creating a Holiday promotion content plan?

Joe Pulizzi: Extreme content curation may work for some thought leaders, but it goes horribly wrong for most businesses.  For example, according to Exact Target research, the #1 reason someone will unsubscribe from your brand fan page is because you post TOO MUCH.

As for general posting schedule, as long as the content is outstanding and helpful, do that as consistently as possible every day.

Holiday content plan – Best predictions for 2012 posts for your industry are always a winner.  We are working on ours right now.

Mezzo Zee: I have hosted many virtual events, some free and some with a fee.  The ‘likes’ are high, but the attendance is low.  How does one convert social media followers/fans into event attendees?  Our content is great, and those who have attended have left great testimonies.  Need help getting it to the next level.

Joe Pulizzi: I’ve helped produce over 500 online events in my day and one thing is true…EMAIL is the best at getting people to online events.  So, work to convert your social media followers over to email, then promote the events through email.  With the rise of smartphones, email is as important as ever.  That is probably your most important subscriber channel right now.

Relationship Cafe: We are looking to increase our fan base so that our wall discussions and live events can be more engaging.  What are some no/low cost ways to increase followers/fans/members?  We aren’t only interest in numbers, but actual people interested in our content.  We have seen ways to increase numbers, but we want people who will interact with our page and who are interested in learning how to have healthy relationships of all kinds (family, marriage, dating, friendship, etc.).

Joe Pulizzi: Actually, Social Media Examiner is the best example I’ve ever seen so they should answer this question.  From what they did, build a great online community with great content…be consistent with your content offerings…get active on all y…our influencers social networking sites…follow/fan all influencers…mix the content up between push content and questions (quiz tools).  You may also want to consider starting with an initial push through email…I know a couple businesses that have sent an initial invite through email that has worked (but include a very special offer).

 

How To Setup Your Google Plus Business Page

Google finally rolled out their pages for business.  And, it’s actually pretty easy to setup.

Basically, all you need to do is login to your personal Google Plus account.  On the left of the page will be a link to setup a page.

You can setup multiple pages.  I set a few up; one for my business, one for my name.  Took all of 4 minutes.

Made a quick tutorial for you where I show the basics.