Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

FINALLY! Google+ Strategies for Businesses

This is the blog businesses have been waiting for!  I am going to tell you exactly what strategies you should use on Google+.

Remember when businesses first started joing Facebook?  No one knew quite what they were doing so they mostly just spammed fans with promotional posts.  So it’s no surprise that barely a year after the launch of Google+, businesses still aren’t clear on how to use it.

Where does Google+ fit into your social media marketing strategy?  Think of it this way.   Your website is the professional face of your company.  It hosts a lot of information, but it’s not particularly interactive.  Your Facebook Page waters down that information into conversational posts.  Twitter takes engagement to a different level as an real time customer support tool.  Each network should build itself around a different angle or facet of your business to build familiarity and excitement around your brand.  Let Google+ take your audience behind the scenes of it all.

Give your viewers an exclusive G+ experience that they cannot get from your other social profiles.  If Facebook represents your brand’s image, then let Google+ reveal the company and culture behind it.

So how do you break down the fourth wall (so to speak)?  Let’s take a look at some strategies by industry.

  • Fashion: Fashionistas would die for the chance to join a Google+ Hangout with Christian Louboutin and ask him directly about his inspiration! Fashion fans are hungry for insider information about their favorite designers and upcoming trends.  Reveal exclusive images of patterns or fabrics being considered for upcoming lines and get their feedback.  Give sneak peaks of what’s coming and they’ll pledge their loyalty to your G+ Page.
  • Retail: Retailers have some of the most loyal fans!  Share photos of your engineers or design team working on upcoming products.  Share sketches and mock ups and bring viewers in on the process of how it travels from concept to completion – all while building enthusiasm for upcoming products.
  • Food and Dining:  What does it look like in the kitchen on a busy Saturday night?  Foodies would love to see videos of their favorite restaurant’s head chef creating that night’s special.
  • Art: Museums should regularly feature Curator Hangouts, where art lovers can ask questions about current exhibits and the specific artists or pieces on display.   I would love if galleries gave a behind the scenes look at where artwork is stored when not on display or posted video of a gallery going from blank walls to a newly launched exhibit in fast motion.  Give first looks at newly acquired artwork before it even goes on the walls!
  • Tech Companies:  Set up G+ Events for new product launches and let your fans share the first photos and reactions in one place in real time to amplify their excitement!

These strategies are just a start so use them as a launching pad.  Google+ is still considered somewhat of an underground social network.  It’s the perfect place to make your fans feel like “insiders” with rare glimpses into your business that they won’t find anywhere else.

I know I only covered a handful of industries, so feel free to submit others in the Comments below or on my Google+ Page and I’d be happy to offer some strategies for those as well.  What ideas would you suggest for Google+ business pages?

This blog is part of a week long Google+ series.  To read more about G+, choose any of the blogs below:

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Join Google+ … Before Your Fans Leave You on Facebook

Before I offer some Google+ strategies for specific businesses, let’s talk about why your fans are getting sick of your Facebook and Twitter Pages.  There is a big difference between an incredible brand and incredible social media.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because a page has a massive following that their social media is all that exciting to their followers.

Initially, social media was an opportunity for brands to show a little personality and interact directly with their customers.  But just like anything else, brands went from not having a clue how to do that to perfecting it to the point that everyone follows the same formula and posts are starting to look remarkably similar.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at posts about the 2012 Olympics by some top brands.

Olympics Facebook Posts

Don’t get me wrong, some brands still feature a unique social media persona.  Applebee’s Lunch Decoy is pretty darn clever and show’s a sense of humor you don’t always see on brand pages.  But just for fun, visit a handful of Facebook pages and count how many times you see the following posts from the past week: Caption Contest, Fill in the Blank, Open-Ended (but mundane) question, sweepstakes, or the celebration of a weird holidays like National Cheesecake, Chocolate, or Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Retailers are especially guilty of falling into a routine of formulaic posts that get plenty of Likes and Comments, but more so because the brand itself is so beloved – not because the content itself is all that interesting.  As you read through brand posts, start asking yourself, “If this was a small no name brand, would anyone respond to this content?”

In a weird sort of way, these are the types of posts that fans have come to expect on Facebook.  They’re easy to Like and comment on and there’s an unending stream of sweepstakes and contests.  Unfortunately, they’re also easy to tune out after a while when you see the same repetitive content in your News Feed.

Google+ is an opportunity to return to the foundation of what draws your clients and customers into Social Media Marketing in the first place – Authenticity and transparency.  In my opinion, exclusivity is key to Google+ strategy.  Offer an experience that fans and potential followers can’t get on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or your website.   One strategy is to remove the veil to reveal a behind-the-scenes look at your business, your products, your employees, and more.

Tomorrow’s blog will offer some industry specific strategies and content ideas that you can start implementing on your G+ Page right away.

This blog is part of a week long Google+ series.  To read more about G+, choose any of the blogs below:

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Your Parents Were Wrong About Strangers

I finally tried out Pinterest and it assured me of two very important things. 1) I have an incredible sense of style, and 2) consumers will trust a stranger much more than they will a business.  Let’s rewind a little.  Pinterest is a site that lets you collect all the things you love and organize them in one place under themes of your choosing.  I pulled together several home décor items I’ve been coveting online and in minutes could see my kitchen and family room coming together.   I was thrilled when strangers appeared out of nowhere to Like, Comment on and Repin many of the items I found.  Much to my husband’s dismay I now have an army of online strangers that agree with my choice of yellow plates.  I had stared at these items online for weeks, but it wasn’t until a horde of strangers told me they loved my choices that I decided to pull out the credit card.

Consumers don’t trust businesses because they don’t have to anymore.  Instead they turn to friends and strangers on Social Media to get the real scoop.  It’s completely changed the way businesses should market to their audience.  You need your customers and fans to talk to strangers about your business and create a spotlight on your brand. This happens when businesses spark a conversation and then promptly hand over the reins to their followers.  Your marketing is much more powerful when it comes from a customer or stranger, rather than your business itself.   We trust the picture of a restaurant’s food that someone posted on Foodspotting more than the description listed on the restaurant’s website.  We’re more likely to visit the mechanic that’s been visited by hundreds of people on Foursquare than the one who promotes an oil change deal on Facebook week after week.

People will trust what strangers have to say about your brand, but you have to give strangers encouragement to post photos of your products and talk about your services.  Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Take the sales pressure off your Followers!  If all your posts start with “Buy this…” “Check out that…” “Visit this…” then you’re not staying true to your brand.  If you talked to a customer that way in real life, they’d be out the door as quick as possible.  Social Media is no different.  Use interesting posts that are 
    relevant
     to your brand without continuously trying to sell your brand.  This is much more fun for followers and allows them to let their guard down and get to know you a little better.
  • Use contests to encourage fans to talk about your brand, post pictures of your products, and share them with strangers.  Modcloth is promoting a wedding themed Pinterest Contest to encourage fans to create collages inspired by the Modcloth brand.  They are cross-promoting the contest with #wedding and #Modcloth hashtags and Facebook posts.  It’s a perfect combination of giving your current fans an opportunity to become brand ambassadors while spreading the word to strangers like wildfire on multiple social networks.
  • Let people know about your Social Media Pages!  This may sound obvious, but you’d surprised at how many people do not have all their Social Media icons listed on their website, forget to add them to their business cards and never mention them to anyone who steps foot inside their business.  If the people who already love your business don’t know you’re online, how can you expect them to turn strangers into customers?

Strangers are the key to promoting your business online.  Whether you like it or not, your future customers don’t trust your business as much as they trust strangers.  The best way to foster word-of-mouth is to create outlets for people to talk about your brand.  Give the reins to your followers, but point them in the right direction with interesting posts, occasional contests, and continuous interaction.  What they have to say about your brand is much more powerful than anything you could post about yourself.