I know a lot of you businesses out there are playing with Pinterest a lot lately and thought you may find this of interest. ViralHeat is one of my favorite web apps for tracking social media use around our clients and my own brands. Take a look at what they’ve got going on now and I really urge you to try out their free service to see if it fits your marketing needs.
Social Media Sites
Google rolled out its pages for business today and, as per usual with Google launches, nobody really noticed.
I have been using Google+ to follow Matt Cutts and a few other notable people in the industry, but don’t have many friends actively using it, let alone women, which is the reason Facebook is what it is.
Anyways, I’m never one to hate on trends (I did not understand the appeal of Twitter), so I set up Linkbuildr’s Page to kind of get a feel for how it will work for businesses. So far, I only notice a couple of differences between the personal profile and a page:
First, your page has to be encircled to be able to circle. This will go a long way to prevent the twitter spamming method of following for followers and ensure that everyone who has you in a circle actively sought out your page and circled you. Opt-in marketing is something Google is very fond of and should encourage (enforce) some corporate responsibility. As such, I am currently the only person with Linkbuildr in a circle, and the page only has one follower. Change that for us! But I digress… The move will make it so that your page’s Google+ followers are of a much higher quality and anything you push to them via G+ should be pretty targeted content that they want to see. Hopefully this leads to much better interaction from the pages’ users and less opportunity to game the system.
Secondly, Google has added Direct Connect. Direct connect will use the plus modifier [+] to automatically bring you to and circle a page. If you’re looking for Linkbuildr, Googling +Linkbuildr should (one day, when we’re “eligible”) bring you to the Linkbuildr Google+ Page and automatically circle us.
Google+ pages will be showing up in the SERPS, so it’ll give your online profile a nice little bump for people searching for your brand name.
I think it’ll be great for businesses. The tools that Google+ offers can be very creatively applied to maintaining healthy relationships with your clients. The hangouts are a super easy way to connect visually and give face to face advice or what have you. Small businesses will be able to group their clients based on interests and only share what they think they’ll be interested in. You’ll be able to comment and interact with people in your circles and really get your name out there. Helping people will, I think, go a long way with these G+ pages.
As always, if you want to play nice with Google, do what they want you to do. In this case, they want you to create a Google+ page for your business. The links won’t pass juice, like any of their domains, but we know that Google accounts for social media profiles in their ranking algorithm and if you don’t have a G+ page for your business, your competition will. Google has more social information about your business here than it does anywhere else so you’d be silly not to.
Google also posted a clean little video sharing a bike shop’s experiences with Google+ pages and how it worked for him. It might be a nice little means of getting you pumped on working with your clientele.
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For those hotels still wanting to get marketing on Foursquare, or those unsure if it’s worth it should quickly watch this short video. Taken at SMX West recently, Bhawna Sharma talks with Foursquare’s own Tristan Walker about the specific benefits. As you know, we do a lot of hotel marketing and Foursquare is a gold mine for regular business use, driving into their API for advance use or coming up with unique link bait that works from their platform. At the very least, get your hotel in their system and build that venue page because you’ll at least get a nice link and the attention of current users.
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Badgeville jumped onto the scene when they won “Audience Choice” at TechCrunch last fall. Within two quarters they’re captured 50 clients for their “white label” social rewards, loyalty and analytics platform. As the name suggests, the Badgeville concept is similar to Farmville. The big difference is badgeville is an entertaining online version of a frequent-flyer program and Farmville is an entertaining online version of crack. And unlike Foursquare, you don’t have to physically go to Starbucks four times a day (more crack anyone?); you just have to visit your websites you frequent regularly anyway. And for anyone like me whose crack comes in the form of online shopping, you might as well be hooked on Badgeville too. So, enough about crack, here’s my rundown of Badgeville:
For the Users
Badgeville brings a new level of entertainment and engagement for website visitors and ecommerce customers. Through gamification, Badgeville combines elements of social games like Farmville with a rewards and loyalty program. Instead of tending to a digital flock of sheep, your regular actions within websites earn your points, awards or rewards. This can be for buying products, commenting, watching videos, filling out surveys and much more. With Facebook and Twitter integration, liking, sharing or Tweeting can equal rewards. This can earn you virtual currency, discounts, premium content to just bragging rights through trophies and badges. The leaderboard widget showcases the biggest fans and lists your friends on the site. The best part of all this is you don’t have to run around in a video game or real life, you just have to do what you normally do when using a website. You now just get rewarded for it, along with an incentive for doing more while you’re there. Participating is nice and easy too: visitors just have to login with Facebook connect or create a regular account through the website.
For the Website
Badgeville is perfect for any ecommerce, news or social website, or any fuelled by user-generated content. Its white label functionality means that its widgets and API integrate to your site’s design and doesn’t eat up any of your precious on-page real estate and
branding. You can pick through a range rewards and goals for your visitors and how, where or when they can achieve them. Badgeville provides real-time analytics. While this is a regular feature of many applications, they bring their own unique advantages. If you’re find pages or functions on your site lacking the traffic they need, you can incentivize them through Badgeville. By adding rewards of your choice to the needed areas, with a bonus for sharing, you’re looking at a quick and easy on-page SEO/SMO option. For an online shop releasing new additions, a few rewards or discounts will spread your message through participants’ networks. The leaderboard widget showcases your top fans, letting them serve as brand ambassadors to your other visitors. It also lists your visitor’s friends, giving them a chance to compete over and share your brand.
For both the Badgeville participant and hosting website, everything is in real-time. If you’re using Badgeville, you get live activity streams, leaderboards and friend graphs. If you’re the host, you get more than just analytics, but the ability to influence your analytics in real-time and set marketing goals, all through the Badgeville platform. Online retailer BlueFly is a big name on board, with 50 under their belt as of March 30th. SlideShare also plans to integrate Badgeville, which is great for online marketeers like me who find themselves there more often than not. For more, head over to Badgeville.
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I’ve been wanting to showcase some excellent Facebook Page marketing examples by large brands and this opportunity came to light whole browsing today. The Olive Garden is currently running a Facebook contest that blew me away, mainly because of the sheer brilliance of how they’re doing it. This example should be looked over hard by companies struggling to grow their Facebook Page, especially ones with a large marketing budget.
I have been nagging and annoying the hell out of our clients to get more socially involved. A lot of them don’t see it as a marketing method worth going after hard…and this drives me nuts. I’m very well aware of the coming change in search trends, and more and more people are sticking on Facebook. This means organic search traffic is not going to be the only player in town, and it certainly might even become the market companies focus on the most.
The Olive Garden has recently hit a milestone of 1,000,000 Facebook fans which is down right amazing for any company. We only have one here in the west coast of Canada, so it’s mostly Americans they’ve tapped into although they got my like! To celebrate the achievement, they have decided to run a contest that is going to send them quickly on their way to another few hundred thousand more followers.
If you’re a social media manager for a big brand, I’d take note of how many followers they grow by the end of the month. The Olive Garden hopefully will respond to my email request to interview their marketing team about Facebook and Twitter marketing. I also see they’re doing a great effort with Foursquare which is just fantastic. I wish them the best of luck, but by the looks of it they won’t be needing any of it!
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We all knew it was coming! Facebook Places is taking aim at Foursquare (and the other guys) with its new feature that is not at all original, but they have the user base so might as well. Of all the location based applications, this one will most likely give the Foursquare crew a run for its money depending on what else they do with it. One extra, cooler, better, faster, hard stronger ( sorry Daft Punk ) feature should be enough to leverage a lot of usage from the Facebook mob. For now I find myself not overly excited about this feature yet, and since I keep my Facebook profile on lock down, I don’t think I’ll use it much anywho. I do see the need for crucial integration of this feature into Facebook Pages though, and hopefully this helps brands and companies target their customers even more. Regardless, here’s a promo video that hypes it up a little more despite how lame it was done…all that money and this is the kind of production you put forth? LOLZ.
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Social media tools are flowing out every orifice the Internet has, so I only get the time to write about the good stuff. So what is Viralheat? It is easily described as a social measurement platform that is simply designed with the user’s ease in mind. This social media marketing platform was built from the ground up to be timely and efficient so you can get the most out of your time. Viralheat also allows users to easily comprehend social media, especially if you’re training new people on the team or have interns…should be a breeze to use! The data inside the app comes from the various API’s out there, and they bring in and track data from over 200 social media sites including all the popular ones of course.
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