What About Google?

google+With all this talk about Twitter’s Vine, Facebook’s Graph Search and content being king, I found myself thinking, what about Google? This led to a discussion this morning with a colleague where I couldn’t explain the difference between a Google+ Community and a Facebook Group. I couldn’t let this uncertainty sit for long so I quickly jumped to it and developed a little clarity on Google’s Social Network.. Google+ Communities offer businesses a platform where they can quickly find a large amount of relevant people that all share similar interests.

People join these communities because they have similar interests with the founder and hope to learn, grow and build their network. Through sharing, the group becomes more knowledgeable and gains reach with every new member. Google Communities allow people to manage a public or private group where they can house an unlimited amount of members. But, unlike Facebook, when you share in your public or private GC your comments will not show up in your network’s feeds. They will only show up on your page if you allow them to. GC’s allow for unlimited discussion categories as well as events and hangouts. Members of Google+ are also permitted to participate, create and moderate within the community. An added bonus to GCs is that the network is relatively more organized than Facebook groups. With +1 you can also share anything from across the web with your community. Ultimately, GC’s are very similar to Facebook Groups, but with subtle differences, better organization and SEO benefits. It is more discrete, provides more services and if you use it, Google rewards you.Google-Authorship2

I’ve read a lot of flack on Google+’s popularity based on its adoption rate, and how it was a ploy to copy Facebook. You’re wrong. I was also guilty of believing this. What really convinced me was how much I started using Google myself. This was shortly after I found out that Google’s search recognizes +1’s coupled with the discovery of Google Authorship. Employing Google Authorship as a PR channel has proved very beneficial to Google as they are now the second largest social network, next to Facebook. I’m calling it a marketing channel because it has helped Google build their social network around business trends and technology. I mean that it is now largely populated with geeky types who write, advertise; and you know what else? Know PR like the back of their hand. These writers encourage people to check out their articles and share their work via Google+ because big media sites pay these writers by the traffic they generate. The writers are also eager to get their faces beside their latest posts in Google’s search results because it increases their familiarity, credibility and following.

Google also corralled small business owners for the purpose of showing up in Google Maps and local searches. The added value of showing up in searches requires business’s to set up a Google+ Local Business page and you need a Google+ account to do so. This has resulted in a surge of accounts and why not? As business people we are taught to opt for the win-win solution, right?

Some say that this was Google’s plan all along. That it chose to rise to the top with the “slow and steady” approach. Personally, I don’t know if I believe that, but I do believe that by the end of the year Google+ will present some exciting new features as well as a much larger audience.

Author: Anthony Baisi

Advertisements

Why is Social Media Important?

ComputerCoffeeTaking that first step with your online strategy can be a little overwhelming, with content marketing, social media marketing, email campaigns, search engine optimization and endless reading. Staying on top of the online presence is no easy task and in some industries seems to be undervalued and often ignored. A company’s online presence has grown from just a marketing channel to an international representation of the company’s brand. It has become the voice, opinions, interests and personification of the brand itself.

The other day while I was on my way to grab a coffee before I headed into the office I decided to take a different route and stop at a different shop. I’m guilty of being a long time fan of Starbucks but I really did feel gouged at the recent mark up for a cup of coffee. With less than 25 cents as my catalyst I made the decision to try Urban Village even though I was a bit doubtful due to the price to food ratio for their lunch. Surprised, I bought a coffee equal to Starbucks Grande size and a muffin for 23 cents less than what I would normally pay for coffee itself at Starbucks.

With global transparency at an all time high, the audience has access to more information that it’s ever had. And what do people do with valued information? They share it with their friends, families, colleagues and professional networks in hopes that they too will find it entertaining, insightful or useful.
I can assure you that I shared this information with my colleagues because I was genuinely pleased and surprised with the score.
shattered
Then it hit me. Through the use of online marketing tools a local competitor to Starbucks could have easily anticipated this move. I used to cringe at the sight of people’s feeds that included every minuscule detail of their mundane lives. However, now enlightened I stand corrected because through relevant Tweets a business owner could discover my negative sentiment towards the mark up and could have simply converted me. If convenient enough he would have a long time customer and I’m sure that it would catch on with the office too.

The proper implementation of social media and online marketing is not a trend.  These new channels and platforms are the beginning of a new way of doing business. Content marketers, social media enthusiasts and community managers need to be using online marketing tools that leverage their efforts if they are to increase their progress. The scope of online marketing has grown and is continuing to grow and therefore marketers need increase their reach. Marketing today consists of wearing many hats and it’s easy to forget to change your hat sometimes, so it nice to have a little help sometimes.

Author: Anthony Baisi

Facebook Slams Twitter: Stonewalling Spurs Social Media Melee

4792969199_ae396dbfbfSocial media just got more interesting as Facebook stonewalls Twitter’s Vine application from integrating with its own platform. This sparring match first began when Twitter blocked Instagram links from opening directly on its site. Now irked, Facebook moved to close access to Yandex, the Russian social search app, as well as Voxer’s messaging service.  With a start like this, 2013 could prove to be a conflicting year for social media as the big get bigger and the walls get higher. This trend for independence has businesses in the tech industry pushing for widespread services of their own. The movement is evident with actions like Google going social, Facebook introducing Graph Search and acquiring Instagram, Yahoo acquiring Flickr, and Twitter introducing Vine. In contrast, these portfolio upgrades also come with a negative side as they build walls between platforms curbing the openness and integration of their user’s media.

While Android finds satisfaction in higher levels of openness companies like Apple have made the choice to become more independent. Apple’s iOS6 walled off Google Maps and continued to launch their own map application for its users. However, most users found this to be a downgrade and opted to install Google Maps anyways. Google’s CEO, Larry Page stated that they found greater success with getting their product out there on the web, but now with many new platforms it feels like they are taking a step backwards. This happens because companies are trying to wall everything off, seeking a superior social platform while impeding on the rate of innovation.money hungry

When it comes to social media companies the people are the product and as such we build the company’s reputation and credibility. What makes sharing media more enjoyable is the compatibility between said platforms allowing us to share with our entire network. Users expect their customer experience to be able to be spread throughout all chosen channels of service. But when Facebook blocks compatibility from complimentary companies such as Voxer and Vine they diminish the enjoyment and usefulness of their own service.

As the battle continues for the one stop, superior social network Facebook’s size and social information search makes them a clear contender. But, applications like Graph Search encourage rising concern for how social networks will actually use our private data. A sure guess is to say that these companies will continue to fight for openness and will be under close examination by privacy advocates.

Author: Anthony Baisi

Facebook Stirs Uproar with Privacy Advocates

facebook-graph-searchYeah, it’s true you don’t get the chance to take on a force like Google every day, that is, unless you’re Facebook. This challenger so to speak, has launched its new addition to the platform and has dubbed it “Graph Search.”

There is speculation however, that this was long predicted ever since Facebook’s growing presence started to rattle Google’s confidence on the web, especially in the online advertising market. In an interview between Wired and Larry Page, the CEO of Google said that “Facebook was doing a really bad with their products.” Seems a little disagreeable to me. But, if Google didn’t feel threatened by Facebook, why would they want to venture into the social media industry and not remain the search engine king?

We’ve seen a search engine go social with Google+ and now we get the chance to experience a change of suit with Facebook introducing its own search capabilities. However, this search engine is a little bit different as in users get the chance to search for answers from their friends and friends of friends. We know it may not be the place to go when doing research or simply solving a bet at the pub; but we can start discovering interests in people we didn’t even know before, right? But, the real question is whether or not Facebook will keep Graph Search as a private, social search that only includes personal networks, which makes for entertainment but limits the potential value. Or, Facebook permits personal data accessible to Graph Search in order to make it more valuable, thus hurting privacy advocates and tarnishing its core value: connecting with friends in a trusted environment.
spying
For business, Graph Search shows potential as a new form of marketing by introducing a better way to understand their target audience. A business could use Graph Search to gain insight into attitudes, opinions and interests of their audience. This could be filtered down to their favourite activities for Sunday afternoons, favourite locations, favourite artists, and favourite celebrities. Gaining this sort of knowledge helps companies leverage their efforts and ensures an impacting message. Hypothetically, a company could use it to find out a selective segment’s preferred artist and favoured hangout. That company could then incorporate these two customized elements into a highly profiled advertisement for that segment, guaranteeing a genuine interest.

Ultimately, Facebook’s dilemma has sparked the interest of its users because it infers that Facebook may possibly capitalize on what we’ve confidently shared with our friends. We’ve seen Instagram’s privacy debacle washed away with an increase in users and activity, why would this be different? After acquiring Instagram, will Facebook keep the momentum of its new counterpart and continue to push privacy concerns? Even if Facebook has over 1 billion users, making it the 3rd largest country in the world; do you think a stint like this would actually cause a loss in activity, or simply a shrugging of the shoulders?

Author: Anthony Baisi

Social Media’s really not that Social

Last night, I went to a networking event and met a guy named David. We discussed the usual small talk: “what do you do, where do you work and what do you like?” After we made attempts to sell ourselves to one another the pressure faded and we were left to talk about what would come naturally to us. He asked me: What does social media mean to you? (Before I answer, I have to tell you that I’m new to the industry and I pride myself on being completely honest with myself and others, this way I can never be disappointed with myself and continue towards what I feel is right.)

I replied: “that social media is frivolous or superficial at best. It’s shallow; it’s convinced everyone that the internet is a shameless popularity contest. I can shake hands, charm the room and get my quota of fifty business cards by the end of the evening, go home and plug all these names into my network, throw the cards away and never contact these people again. Except, for the far and distant chance that I’ll need them, and even in the slightest probability of me actually needing them, would I remember them? Or, more importantly would they remember me?”

Sure, I could be that guy, the tacky ornament at the party that graces every single person in the room with their handshake. Or, I could save some face and talk to David for the remaining of the evening and actually enjoy myself. I feel as if this nauseating ride that Facebook and Twitter are taking us on has got to reach a pinnacle soon and with it, we can start getting back to networks that matter. Why the heck do I want thousands of followers, or friends on Facebook? The human mind is only capable of recognizing a few hundred faces, at best; I can’t even recognize all the so called friends on my personal Facebook account. I think this myth of building connections has reached an over inflated point of no return and we should be more focused on relating with one another. Now I hate being cliché but I guess what I’m trying to say is we should be aiming for quality over quantity. David was kind of taken back by my response and openness, as was I when he agreed with me.

Author: Anthony Baisi

Revolutionize your Online Business

My Viral WebI try and imagine a life without the internet, and what it would be like to not check my cell phone every five minutes for email, SMS, or social media notifications. It’s hard to picture a time where it didn’t exist and what levels of communications came with its absence. The information age is at our finger tips as we have the ability to peruse social websites, business articles, and tech blogs, at the click of a button. But, with this vast amount of data that is available to us comes the process of sorting all this data into relevant information that is useful to us.

With the increasing presence and use of the internet comes amazing opportunity for those that feel like they have something to share with the world. This growing trend creates even further opportunity for those that have the knowledge and ability of website marketing. New tools and tactics like: blogs, Search Engine Optimization, social marketing, email marketing and others; are creating avenues of awareness and interest for businesses and entrepreneurs alike.

We’re not knocking on doors anymore; marketers are creating new ways to reach target audiences by relying on bona-fide interest and inbound marketing. However, creating rich and relevant content to attract your audience is time consuming and can deter resources from other internet marketing activities like running your website, blog, social media dashboard, email campaigns, and analytics.

Finally, there’s an online marketing tool out there that is capable of making this job a lot easier. My Viral Web is an online marketing tool, designed to make anyone feel comfortable with the usability; as a result, you don’t have to be a tech nerd to know what you’re doing. Marketing with an online tool like My Viral Web leverages marketing efforts to create a larger impact on the audience. It promotes a higher level of organization and clarity for the marketers so that better decisions can be made to create more online sales. Although, tools like My Viral Web are still just tools; marketers will still need to muster those creative juices for rich content and smart marketing strategies. But, by clearing the way of those draining, tedious tasks without having to be a tech wizard will help put your business ahead of the curve.  Social engineering concept

This is vital for businesses looking to expand their networks and get their name out there. If you’re having doubts on whether online marketing tools are suitable for your company or not, just take a look around the internet and you’ll soon understand that this is the next big thing. When marketing for business, you’ve got to make sure the program has the complete toolbox, it should at least include: search engine tools, social media tools, email campaign tools and analytic tools.

My favourite part about this tool is the ability to monitor your market. It comes with social media monitoring tools and analytic capabilities included. This allows businesses to know what is working, what has worked in the past and it will also provide information for forecasting. It even allows businesses to see what sentiment the market holds towards themselves and their competitors. Get into the market and find out who is saying what about your company and your competitors. Companies can use this to for an advantage and even convert the competitor’s disappointed customers into their own.

Online marketing tools create large advantages for businesses looking to build their networks with more relevant people. Learn how to connect with the most influential people in the industry and monitor your strategies all in one platform. Because tools like, My Viral Web offer an easier way to market your business; giving you more time to focus on what’s important, your customers.

Author: Anthony Baisi

The Kings of Online Marketing

Marketers have to learn that content, design, or big data aren’t and will never be king. The king is the reader, the viewer, the person that follows your company’s tweets, blogs, news or PR. The king is the people that find genuine interest in your content and share your stories within their social circles. Don’t get me wrong, good content and inbound marketing attracts more people with relevant and genuine subjects. However, these elements of marketing are merely the bait marketers use to fill their nets.

While companies strive to build those links and get those visitors the real value is what’s on the other side of the bridge that truly matters, significance. Now this could be content, the product or service, the company’s mission and vision or even the reputation. For example: Patagonia, I love their company vision, ethics and transparency. But, would I pay for the product? No. Do I like product design? Not really.

While the means of bringing the traffic in is important, it’s not what gets people talking about the company. It’s the relation that’s created between you and them, through the engaging factor. As a writer, nothing would make me happier than my boss telling me it’s my writing that is building our reputation; wishful thinking, right?
In the end, it’s about knowing what your customers want and how they want it.

Author: Anthony Baisi