Tag Archives: Google +

Social Media Graveyard

The Rumors of Social Media Death…

Google+ is dead. Facebook is dead. Twitter is the new Facebook. Instagram is the new Twitter. Sound familiar?

It seems that social media marketers can’t go more than a month or two without pulling out torches and pitchforks to raze another network to the ground. Why is it that any change to a social network results in massive outcries and swarms of marketers moving to ‘the next big thing?’ Are we all just hipsters, desperate to be the first agency to discover the next marketing sensation? Are we cynical and jaded, taking pleasure in the failure of whatever network we like the least? Are we lazy, desperately insisting that G+ isn’t worth the effort so we don’t have to invest time into learning how to use it? I think it’s time we really sat down, looked at the numbers, and proved once and for all that – for these social networks – death is certainly a great exaggeration.  Dead? He gets that a lot.

Google + is Dead (52,100 results on Google)
Let’s get Plus out of the way early, since they’ve recently been making plenty of headlines.

What You’ve Read:
Google + is the Walking Dead. Abandoned by long-time advocate Vid Gundotra, Google + is finally going dark after years of failed attempts to dethrone Facebook. The network never managed to capture a mainstream audience, and has become a barren echo chamber where a small cult of devotees parrot the same tired ideas back and forth, hoping the rest of the world will someday latch on to the ‘quality over quantity’ community strategy.

What the Numbers Say: 
Depending on who you ask, G+ is either the biggest sleeping giant in social history, or it’s a pitiful ghost town desperately clinging to a small but dedicated fanbase. According to a Google report from October 2013, Google + users had increased by 58% over that year. However, Econsultancy countered that statistic with social data showing that, of Google +’s 1.1 Billion users, only 35% actively used the network. There is no doubt that Google’s recent efforts to consolidate their regime have increased the amount of people with a Google + account – after all, you can’t use YouTube, Gmail, or any of Google’s other services without one. But the data proves that people just aren’t sticking around to chat. While Google + probably shouldn’t be the forerunner of your social strategy, we still can’t say ‘no’ to the SEO boost. Besides, the network’s content formatting options and video integration are the perfect way to simplify blogging, if you feel like a full dedicated blog isn’t worth the effort.
Is Facebook Dead
Facebook is Dead (425,000 results on Google)
Like talking crap about the cheerleaders behind their backs at lunch, people can’t wait to poke holes in the world’s most popular social network.

What You’ve Read:
Facebook killed organic reach in a landmark algorithm change in late 2013. Brands marketing on Facebook are now all but required to invest small ad budgets behind every post in order to make an impact. Many major brands are tracking organic reach as low as 1%, meaning those massive audiences you’ve spent years building are almost entirely wasted. The dollar is the only path toward social success – everything we know about quality content has gone out the window.

What the Numbers Say:
Ready for the hard truth about Facebook metrics? Here it is: There are no simple answers, and no global rules. What’s true for one page (or most pages) isn’t true for all of them. And while it has been widely reported that organic reach took a nosedive at the end of 2013, that simply isn’t true across the network as a whole. In fact, organic reach can fluctuate from 2% to 47%, depending on dozens of invisible factors. We still don’t know everything that Facebook uses to calculate what shows up in users’ newsfeeds – we can only speculate based on the data we have. Every page – and every audience – is unique. Facebook’s public claim is that the drop in reach has more to do with increased competition than it does with a larger behind-the-scenes strategy.

Whether or not you believe them doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, paid impressions and promoted content will always perform better than organic posts, and that’s just the way it is. While this may be a bummer for small ‘Mom & Pop’ outfits, major brands shouldn’t notice much of a problem, since promoted content should already be part of your strategy.

Is Twitter Dead?

Twitter is Dead (177,000 results on Google)
If attacking Facebook is going after the popular kid, attacking Twitter is like throwing erasers at the class nerd. Everyone knows he’s got numbers on his side, but does anyone take him seriously?

What You’ve Read:
Twitter’s growth has been slowing down for years. Millions of users tune in to the network for major events or disasters, and then uninstall and tune out as soon as things calm down. It’s an outdated platform, designed for audiences that can’t or won’t engage on more sophisticated channels. It’s a text-only channel playing catch-up in a world of rich media and interactive video. They spent too long focusing on offshoot channels like Vine and Medium instead of improving the platform they already had.

What the Numbers Say:
In 2012, the biggest shock in the world of Twitter was its popularity among farmers. Getting fast, accurate information to each other was key for successful agricultural businesses, and Twitter proved a perfect host for that communication. Today, very little has changed. Twitter’s largest body of users in 2014 are mobile users. Most recent numbers suggest that over 75% of Twitter users access the network exclusively on smartphones or tablets. There are dozens of official and unofficial Twitter apps for every mobile device you can name, and you can even update your feed via SMS messaging. This makes Twitter the most accessible social network in the world. I bolded that so you can’t skip over it. When consumers are driving, shopping, watching movie previews, browsing thrift shops, shouldering through mosh pits, and base jumping off skyscrapers, Twitter is the channel they are most likely going to be reading and writing to. That makes Twitter the perfect place to focus your flash sale promotions. You can grab the attention of people walking through the mall your shop is in by riding along with a local hashtag. Throw a few dollar bills behind a localized promoted tweet and bring in some traffic from the county fair down the road.

And as far as Twitter being a slow-to-change network, that isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. Those farmers we were talking about earlier? They’re still there, and in huge numbers. Not to mention, the old tactics still work. Responding to consumer questions, sending direct messages to users looking for a product you sell, even celebrity endorsements via retweet – all of these are still viable strategies. It may not have the ROI of Facebook, but there’s something to be said for not needing a new social strategy every 4 months.

So, there you have it. You can’t always make a judgment call based on a sudden dip in a data sheet. We social marketers are data-driven people, and that sometimes means creating patterns where there isn’t really anything to see. Social networks are constantly changing, and the users and audiences you can reach with them are always in flux. Yesterday’s ‘Senior Study’ Group is today’s ’10 Year Reunion’ Group. As long as you are willing to do the legwork, there’s something of value to be found in any social network, no matter how many feet they have in the grave.

Google is pushing Google+ and marketers are listening.

Thanks to the massive emphasis on Author Rank and Authorship, Google+ was hailed by many experts as one of the biggest content marketing trends to watch in 2013.

A cursory search on Alexa reveals that Google is #1 in traffic with Google+ comprising more than 8% of their total traffic.

To put that into perspective, Facebook ranks #2. YouTube ranks #3. Twitter ranks #12. LinkedIn ranks #14. Instagram ranks #60.

According to Business Insider May 1, 2013, Google + has now surpassed Twitter, in terms of active users. They report that Google+ now boasts 359 million active users, up 33 percent from 269 million users at the end of June 2012, according to GlobalWebIndex.

Google+, while significantly younger than Facebook, still lags behind the social media giant, which boasts more than one billion monthly active users. Continue reading

The Problem With Google+ Pages

Google recently launched their business pages product. The product is not without serious flaws or issues. Most importantly, officially you are only allowed to have one person as an admin of a page.  The page must be attached to one, and only one, personal account. At the agency level this makes Google plus pages nearly impossible to work with. Having multiple administers serving several different functions is a basic requirement of social networks in 2011.

Google+ Brand Page Creation

Creating a Google+ Brand Page

There are several reasons why businesses need to have multiple, and replaceable, administrators that are obvious at surface level. When working within an agency there are even more reasons. Community Managers, Clients, Media Teams, Digital Strategists, Account Executives, among others might have a need to log in as an administrator of a page.  In fact for most businesses, more than one person needs to have access and control of a social channel. Google, as a company that recently switched CEOs, should have realized this reality. The Spam controls are great for the network as a whole, however, they are well beyond what is needed from the first iteration, mostly because pages didn’t NEED this much functionality at launch.

The fact that the Google plus business product is missing this core administrative feature is probably most disappointing, because it represents a failure Google has been able to avoid since the inception of the network. Until now Google has not re-created the Facebook wheel. The administrative rights alone indicate that avoidance of early Facebook mistakes may have been more luck than skill. Had Google launched nonfunctional pages with just an avatar, static info, and multiple admin rights it would have been better for everyone. Almost every feature they have is 3 or 4 steps beyond the basic administrative level, and shows an inability to fully understand challenge of running a business channel on social media.

I reached out to Google to ask if the Facebook pages 1.0 solution, *creating a business profile that has no activity for the purpose of managing a page*,  was acceptable. The response, “there will be no terms of service exceptions.” With the real name profile policy on Google Plus the Facebook 1.0 solution out of contention. Google seems to be serious about their terms of service, unless of course, a brand spends a few million in ads every year or it is Google themselves. If  you are not in this category or, you don’t value your adwords, Google Docs, Google Analytics  or Gmail accounts, it is probably not worth breaking the rules.

At this point Google Plus has nearly the same number of active users as Foursquare and Get Glue’s user-base put together, or about 20% of active Twitter users. Until the admin issue is resolved, or the network explodes additional resources are best used for the following purposes.

  • Keeping an eye on brands that are messing up/ creating fire storms on the network
  • Looking for bright spots
  • Investing in developing a strategy for organic growth (few brands are doing this at all and it is very possible, that is a different blog post)
  • Clocking post life
  • Analyzing ripples
  • Personally using new engagement functionality no social site has ever brought to a brand
  • Learning the Terms of Service, Google has shown they are not gun shy about closing down anyone, even big name players! (Looks at Ford)
  • Looking at the SEO considerations

Google Plus Pages is hardly a complete or even adequate product for large organizations at this time.

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Mike Handy has been working in Social Media since Facebook was only for college students. He started his first blog in 1999 when most people were still figuring out this “Internet thing”.  These experiences paired with his background in advertising and data-centric approach provide him with a unique view of social media. When he isn’t working he is probably watching, playing, or doing something hockey related.

Limitless Email, In an Email-less World

If you get the reference, I like you already.

Last week I killed the QR code. Now I have email in my sites. Rather, in my opinion, Google has email in their sites.

I’ve lived in my inbox for far too long. I am Pavlov’s dog , or this guy (from Crank Yankers “You’ve Got Mail” video).

For my generation it was ‘cool’ as much as it was a business tool. That’s right, we walked uphill both ways to school in the snow and checked our email and we liked it! If you get that Dana Carvey reference, I like you even more.

What’s the point? I’d like to thank Google for killing Gmail off and weaning me off my addiction with Google+. Even the base URL is cool www.google.com/+

Yes, replacing an addiction with an addiction isn’t really a help. BUT, it’s such an improvement in the opportunity to communicate regardless of the message or audience, that I’m happy to wake up with a G+ hangover.

Email has  tone (which is left to interpretation and can be dangerous).

For example, if you asked me what I think of the new Justin Bieber album and I said to you, “I like it,” in email, would you pick up my sarcasm? Or would you run off and tell your friends that I think the new Justin Bieber album is muy caliente!

G+ has mindset and context. It takes a conversation, whether business or personal and puts it in an environment designed to deal with personality and tone, aka a social setting. I can throw a photo in front of someone and know they see it vs. worrying about what their inbox is going to do with the attachment.

Mike Handy is probably smiling and saying, “It’s Enterprise 2.0.”

Well for me, it’s an addiction and one I’m happy to try and get others hooked on.

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Josh Jordan is the president and founder of Make Me Social, a marketing agency that combines traditional and new strategies to enhance an organization’s online presence and importance. Having held leadership positions with several Fortune 500 firms in industries including marketing, advertising, technology and media, Josh has developed new tactics and processes for improving outreach, sharing information and demonstrating subject matter expertise. As a difference-maker in a constantly evolving industry, he has combined the components of his background to create a communications philosophy that can assist non-profit and for-profit clients develop campaigns that deliver measurable results.

Sorry QR Codes, I Think You’re Done

 “The Future” … It’s better than today, full of promise and nobody’s wrong …

The Future” – who can’t get behind that? And who doesn’t love Mark Hamill from those Comcast Ads?

In the mid-90’s “The Future” for me was what these guys were doing: Lernout & Hauspie. Who didn’t want to stop typing? Who didn’t want to just ask a question and have the answer fed back to them by a robot voice?

In “The Future” we were going to add the word “uber” to the word “access” and skip the whole bandwidth thing.  We could buy concert tickets, book flights, get stock quotes, improve customer service, cut costs and jump to production of flying cars through phones that didn’t need fancy displays, or apps, or widgets, or video! Better still, no more buttons like you had to use with those pesky IVR systems. Who wanted to have to push buttons?!

A little optimistic?

Maybe? In the last 15 years, Nuance swept up the assets of L&H along with some other small players and is trading around $25/share. You may be most familiar with Dragon and probably have it on a work station, laptop, or mobile device…

The space has also gotten more crowded with some patents and service offerings residing with some ‘small’ players like IBM, Microsoft, and Google

What’s this have to do with QR Codes?

Well it’s Back to “The Future” thanks to this device  from Apple. Once again, they packaged up a feature (voice search) in a nice, neat little bundle and gave hipsters a reason to stop typing and start talking … I’m still waiting for my Twitter integrated speech-to-text function because I’m pretty sure birds don’t type when they Tweet, and after all, it’s really about evolutionary regression and that dinosaurs became modern day birds and who doesn’t want to be a dinosaur! Sorry, QR codes…

So, Mr., or Ms. Marketer that decided to put a QR code on the TV screen, or billboard (should have been a #hashtag to begin with, but that’s another conversation) … guess what … turn that funny square into a search term and “let’s get the conversation started” … with Black Eyed Peas music playing in the background. You’re welcome. #songnowstuckinmyheadallday

And somebody get Mark Hamill back in TV ads talking about “The Future!”

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Josh Jordan is the president and founder of Make Me Social, a marketing agency that combines traditional and new strategies to enhance an organization’s online presence and importance. Having held leadership positions with several Fortune 500 firms in industries including marketing, advertising, technology and media, Josh has developed new tactics and processes for improving outreach, sharing information and demonstrating subject matter expertise. As a difference-maker in a constantly evolving industry, he has combined the components of his background to create a communications philosophy that can assist non-profit and for-profit clients develop campaigns that deliver measurable results.

A Social Discourse: Google Plus and the VIP Delusion

The world of social media is still dominated by powerhouse platforms and many competitors are attempting to replicate those sites’ successes. Despite the apparent monopoly, hundreds have popped up over the years and many of them carry enough weight to be considered valid for the social media marketer. However, judging this multitude of sites is difficult, if for no other reason than determining variables that can easily apply to the full gamut of social platforms. Regardless, I have tackled the challenge and come up with general criteria that should define any social site from the marketer’s point of view.

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel that it is my responsibility to intro this blog with some relevant information. I love everything Google does. I am a Google Groupie, a junkie, a willing consumer of everything the Google giant sends down the pipeline. I purchase only Android phones, I do all of my personal browsing in Chrome, and stare in naked confusion when co-workers suggest that SEO on Bing is worth considering.

That being said, this blog will not be all that similar to most of those written on the subject. Many of the marketing-industry blogs I have read regarding G+ are very insistent that we have a simply fantastic product on our hands. These writers stress that – while they are not available yet – the soon-to-arrive business pages will be a Mecca of integrated social marketing and SEO. I’m not going to consider all of that. The simple fact is that technology (especially in the social media space) changes too rapidly and too drastically to make that kind of prediction this early. I have the utmost confidence that Google + will do everything Google says it will do, but I can’t help but think that people are perhaps building up their expectations a tiny bit.

Indulge me in resorting to a metaphor for a moment.

Mission Hill, a phenomenally underrated animated comedy, has an episode perfectly suited for this kind of discussion. In it, the three main characters find themselves frustrated and on the street after another weekend of being rejected from the lines of the city’s most popular nightclubs. As revenge, the group sets up some velvet ropes outside of their apartment building’s meter room, and stand outside of it with a clipboard. Soon, dozens of elitist hipsters stand outside in the cold, desperate to enter the hippest and most exclusive club in town. “No one has gotten in!” they pass along. After hours of temptation, the main characters get bored with their plan, and set off a smoke bomb, claiming a freak electrical accident has destroyed the club. The Meter Room passes into legend, forever remembered as the most heavenly experience in the city.

Mission Hill, "The Meter Room"

Mission Hill, "The Meter Room"

Until recently, Google Plus was an exclusive club. Beta invites were scarce and coveted, and those of us that received them were all too happy to lord it over our pitiable friends and followers. On the inside, however, we found an experience that was sleek, modern, and shockingly empty. During the beta period, it was somewhat difficult to track down people worth following. Few people had truly completed their profiles, so circles became a sea of gray anonymous faces. Those that were contributing content were usually no more than news aggregators, which are technically not allowed on the platform. Mashable.com was (and apparently still is) largely guilty of this. Based solely on those profiles, a lot of discussion was taking place, but people that were willing to comment on these posts rarely contributed anything of their own.

Content on Google Plus, from Sean Bonner

This all comes back to one of the largest flaws that I see in Google’s plan. As pointed out in this blog post, G+’s circles are not organic groups. On Facebook, I can go to a friend’s page, see all of their friends, all of their groups, and all of the people in those groups. It is an invasion of privacy, yes, but it is also an incredibly simple way to find other people to network with. G+ presents you with a general list of whom a given person is following, but it provides no information as to the relationship between those people. This seems like a silly point to harp on, but it makes a significant difference.

Let’s assume that I have created a circle for dubstep artists (I have. It is very small). No one viewing my G+ profile would have any way of knowing that this circle exists, or that any of the people linked to my profile are part of that circle. This means that any interested parties must sift through everyone I am following, to draw their own conclusions as to why I am following them. Facebook’s groups and fan pages solved this problem by making both instances a public entity. When I create a dubstep fan page on Facebook, hundreds of people instantly see that group, and are free to join it and share it amongst their friends as well. The groups grow organically, as more and more networks connect to them. Circles are completely private and personal. It makes it easy to talk behind someone’s back, but not particularly easy to grow a community.

There is an obvious counter-argument, brought up by Chris Brogan:

It’s funny how many people are lamenting the temporary shutdown of brands on Google+. Meanwhile, I’m seeing lots of smart business people connecting with people, making relationships, sharing a mix of personal and business materials, and building relationships that will transcend the vagueness of following an official stream.

Business is about humans connecting with humans. This new platform is the top shelf of potential for doing a great job of doing that. Keep doing what you’re doing as a brand of one, and just be sure your ABOUT page represents your organization well.

Go forth. Be the brand. Just be you as the brand.

Google Plus is a beautiful piece of technology, and it presents a list of features that will make any social platform jealous. At the end of the day, however, a social network is only as good as the discussions taking place on it, and for that, for now, G+ is little more than an empty white room. There are a handful of “celebrity” accounts belonging to high-profile bloggers or industry news aggregators, and almost all of the platform’s content is coming from those people. Unless something changes, G+ will not likely see many Facebook converts.

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Tim Howell Andoidified

Tim Howell created 14 circles, and is a content manager for Make Me Social. He studied fine art, psychology, and international pop culture at Bowling Green State University. In his spare time, he is a blogger, bartender, and social activist with a passion for cooking.