Social Media Management

Ron Burgundy ‘s 10 Marketing Tips for 2014

Ron Burgundy’s Dodge Durango SUV promotion, as well as character appearances on ESPN and a North Dakota news station have proven wildly successful. Combining marketing messages for sponsored product lines as well as the upcoming film release of Anchorman 2 has been a unique and well-received effort. As reported in Advertising Age  “Dodge brand boss Tim Kuniskis said: ‘We’ve seen almost an 80 percent increase in Web traffic alone since the (Ron Burgundy Dodge) campaign launched.'”

Anchorman Ron Burgundy – even though fictional – provides several marketing insights and lessons for 2014. For those planning promotional outreach, advertising or marketing campaigns in the coming year, these  10 marketing insights inspired by the recent success of the fictional anchorperson, might just provide that cutting edge message creation your organization needs.

Ron Burgundy Inspired Marketing Tips

Closing 2013 with such a fresh and successful communication strategy is a big win for Dodge, GM  and the other product sponsors that took a chance using the Ron Burgundy character. For others, the lessons we can carry forward into 2014 include the following 10 Marketing Strategy Tips:

10.  Release Your Inner Comedian
Okay… so not everyone is naturally funny. Still, attempts to lighten the emotional loads of others by providing some comic relief deserves respect. The ability to poke fun – particularly at one’s self – can be endearing and in subtle ways, build respect for the messenger. Reaching out via social channels using modest humor can be highly effective in building readership and inspiring return visitors.

9.  Introduce Humor – People Need It!
There is a lot of information in the news – most of it is bleak. Humor can help put some of this in perspective or at least point out some of life’s little absurdities. One has to be a bit careful using humor though, particularly around areas where people are highly sensitive; like politics, or religion, or.. pretty much everything … just do your best not to offend. And if you do, own up to it quickly and move on.

8.  Seek Laughter – It is Disarming
Seriously.. people that can make you laugh are easier to relate to. And those that are easily related to, find it easier to build relationships with others.  As relationship building is key to any marketing or communication effort, getting a laugh out of the audience can open the door to more serious interaction.

7.  Funny = Viral = Profitable
How do you reach more people with your message? Just make the message worth sharing! A meaningful message that has some entertainment value is much more likely to be re-shared over other’s networks. Developing content that fits other peoples social networks is the key to making content viral. And of course good viral content has the potential to attract large numbers of viewers and prospective customers.

6.  Event Association Works!
Associating the Anchorman 2 release with products and events (including actual newscasts) builds exposure and visibility for all participants. The news station in North Dakota that had the courage to put Ron Burgundy on in full character on a newscast succeeded in building a great deal of exposure. It also helped humanize its on-air personalities and make them easier to relate to.

5.  Promote Brand Association
Everyone can recognize a movie star – even a fictional one. Celebrity spokespersons are frequently used to promote specific brands by using their well known traits and characteristics. As Sam Elliot’s famous deep voice adds credibility to claims of truck ‘toughness,’  brand associations are particularly useful for generating visibility for lesser known product lines.  Associating humor with a brand is also highly effective. Just ask the Dodge SUV manager that agreed to do the Ron Burgundy ad.

4.  Expand the Brand
Supporting a good message using multi channel distribution is a great way to leverage exposure and increase visibility. More people may have watched Ron Burgundy deliver the news via YouTube recording than probably saw the event live. Leveraging social media to inspire conversation and build exposure about the brand expands its overall visibility and reach.

3.  Attention is the Objective
Don’t let dignity get in the way of a great message. Too often, image conscious marketers nix really great ideas because they don’t want to devalue their brand. Or, the risk of something going wrong convinces managers that the risk is not worth taking.

Even marketing and social media disasters can be made into assets though. Remember the Burger King Twitter campaign in February, 2013? The company released its Twitter campaign only to have it hijacked and replaced with promotions for rival McDonalds, accompanied by claims of drug abuse by employees. By the time BK regained control of the situation, their Twitter account had actually gained tens of thousands of followers.  Although the marketing and social media staff got a black eye on this one, Burger King may get the last laugh with its increased network reach.

2.  Exposure Doesn’t Have to be Great to Work
How is talking to a horse about SUV horsepower effective? Ron Burgundy illustrated the efficiency and high-horsepower of the Dodge SUV line by trying to discuss it with an actual horse.  The horse was simply an illustration and point of comparison. A real celebrity spokesperson probably couldn’t have made  the point having a conversation with a horse, but the Burgundy character pulled it off.  Many marketers get weighed down by quality requirements that strangles truly creative message creation.  Great messaging doesn’t have to be overly dignified or highly technical to work.

1.  Outside-the-Box Thinking Wins  in the Long Term
The ‘stick with things that work’ strategy can lead your messaging down a stale rabbit hole. Finding new message strategies that work is an ongoing, creative effort that has to be nurtured and undertaken with a fair degree of courage. Promotional events also need a fairly wide creative berth to compete for the attention of today’s overworked and over-communicated population.

Outside the box thinking for creative message development can pay great dividends. Some organizations separate the messaging from the risk analysis in order to generate the freshest possible ideas. When a new creative scheme is handed off to the risk assessment team, risk managers create contingency plans to handle any potential problems rather than try to throw a wrench back into the original idea.  Occasionally, sounder minds have to over-rule truly wild campaign or message ideas, but generating original, fresh and unique messaging is a process that should be nurtured, then vetted. Execution of these two tasks together dulls the creative processes , so they may be best performed separately.

Making the marketing message more enjoyable to consume makes the entire effort more successful. Creating great content that others want to share and talk about is a difficult undertaking, but it can be richly rewarding.  One may have to try multiple schemes and pilots to hit on something that works well, but in the end, creating a stronger company means taking reasonable risks at developing and deploying creative message strategies.

In the words of the Ron Burgundy himself…. “Don’t act like you’re not impressed.”

 

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Google is Everywhere! Search Engines Know Your Preferences

Massive Database Allows the Search Engine Giant to Customize Information Distribution

One of our colleagues noticed over the weekend that her Google News Feed contained information that appeared to be very specific to her interests. She wondered if she had configured her news feed on Google News to prioritize information from a specific publisher or about particular topics. A little research turned up that she wasn’t connected to the publisher in question through any immediately evident network association. Trying to reverse-engineer the display algorithm quickly appeared to be a fruitless effort.  In the end though, some past association , contact or activity connected the two of them so that when she called up her Google News feed, this bit of content was prominently displayed.

Google news feeds

 

The Google Remembers!

Internet activity is becoming less and less anonymous as more data collection allows increasingly intelligent -or at least relevant – information display on Google News. Enabled by incredibly detailed data collection and storage, search engines like Google can now store off individual activity – particularly when a user is logged onto their Google account. Search, social activity and other interactions are not only visible, they are recorded and stored.

Marketing Implications:

What does this mean for those that market products and services? The clear implication is that social activity matters a great deal. Whether on Google News or on search engines, an organization’s ability to reach large numbers of other active information consumers and content producers is important. This requires an active effort not only in creating interesting content, but in promoting it, discussing it, reaching out to others about their content, and in general, becoming an active part of the information flow. As Google “sees all” the greater one’s level of engagement, the greater the chance that some connection will bring reader and content consumer together – even at unexpected times.

Level of Engagement

Elevating social engagement levels can be costly. (We have some ideas for you on creating Low Cost SEO Solutions and Social Media Management if you would like to read more.) Monitoring social activity – particularly social activity relative to a company’s brand presence – can be time consuming. Commenting and outreach are tasks that cannot be automated, so it requires a live human being with some level of industry expertise to manage the engagement. This is a unique role within most organizations. Some resources might be found in the sales and marketing departments, but organizations that have successful engagement programs utilize the entire company to generate unique perspectives and above all, unique and meaningful content.

Social Engagement and SEO

This discussion points out the interaction between social activity and search results. As Google News provides content that appears relevant to the reader’s interest, search algorithms also make use of this data to determine what content is more valuable or relevant to a reader’s search request. In past studies, we have determined that elevated Google+ engagement improves search page result placements – sometimes dramatically. So it follows that better social engagement ultimately improves search engine placement results.

Social Activity More Important than Ever

For those engaged in the internet marketing arena, this is old news. But…. social activity is now more important than ever. Building social channels, creating and promoting content over those channels and engaging with others in one’s industry or market niche improves internet visibility. It is through this improved visibility that new potential customers, contacts and clients can be reached.


Introducing an Old Brand to a New Generation of Buyers

Old Company Reaches Younger Generation of Enthusiasts

Lionel Trains, manufacturers of the famous model railroads that chug around Christmas trees each holiday season, rolled out a social media campaign this season designed to introduce model trains to a new generation of buyers. The general idea for the train campaign was to associate its products with a popular children’s story – Polar Express. The film version of the Polar Express was released 10 years ago this season, providing just the right opportunity to connect a favorite story with a product line.

Lionel reported that a train set giveaway contest, featuring its Polar Express themed line of model trains, and outreach through its Facebook network, email campaign and other social channels generated significant numbers of new ‘likes’ as well as drove over 25,000 new visitors to its website. In an age of high-tech gifts, a model train set may not be at the top of every child’s wish list. But by using contemporary communication, and by reaching out to fans of the Polar Express story to increase visibility, the company enjoyed a nice increase in visibility.

Small Business Implications:

Merging marketing messages with well known themes or stories can work very well in building visibility. Online social networks provide unique forums to tell readers about upcoming events, invite them to read content and provide information about contests and other areas of interest.  Lionel leveraged the followers it had on its Facebook profile to reach out to new readers, who then responded by ‘Liking’ the Lionel page.  This added to the company’s visibility and reach into younger age groups.

Building relationships and expanding the reach of the social network can help in all manner of branding and sales initiatives. Building company social networks is essentially constructing your own communication channel that can be turned to any use you develop.Investing in social media development, search engine optimization (SEO) and in developing good quality and valuable content gets your message out into the wide world.

Our consultants can help build and manage social networks as well as develop the content to promote on them so that your business organization can grow. Contact us today for more information on helping to construct and manage your social media channels or about our low cost SEO solutions!

Christmas and Holiday Marketing Strategies

Quick Tips, Timing and Communication Strategies for Holiday Businesses

Holiday sales account for a great percentage of annual revenue for many small businesses. For some, such as those that sell ugly Christmas sweaters – silly clothing that caters to a peculiar need, holiday sales make up nearly all annual sales. This type of business focuses on the curious trend that provides social reward for appearing at holiday gatherings or during the holiday season in tacky or silly sweaters.  Some even have parties and events to reward the ugliest or tackiest Christmas sweater.  For these types of businesses, pushing sales into a couple months of the year creates unique timing challenges. Any mis-steps can severely impact revenue for the entire year.

So what are some of the unique marketing challenges faced by holiday businesses?  Many of these surround communication strategies and timing and tend to fall into a couple major areas including:

  • Communication Composition
  • SEO and Internet Strategies
  • Social Media Outreach

Communication Composition:

Understanding consumer stress during the holiday shopping season is important to creating memorable messaging. The most obvious but underused cure for this is inserting a bit of humor into the message. Using humor doesn’t require a great effort, but may involve simply re-sharing good content from other sources and then applying one’s own message to create either a social media update or discussion via a blog post. Blog posts, social media interaction and quick page inclusions that lighten the holiday mood can create memorable messaging as well as sharable content.

SEO and Internet Strategies:

Generating website traffic can help an organization increase sales – sometimes dramatically. The challenge to holiday businesses is that link building and social outreach that impacts search engine placement is a long term effort. So coming up with creative strategies to achieve good placement by the time the holiday shopping season rolls around can present some real challenges. Unfortunately, just going dormant over the non-holiday season will only get the website banished to relative obscurity on the search results. Search engine placement strategies have to pre-date the holiday shopping season significantly so that when h0liday shopping traffic does appear, the organization will be in a position to capture it.

Building search engine strength during the holiday rush is very difficult. Cracking the top tier is made even more difficult by the fact that top sites on the results pages become more entrenched as the holiday search traffic ramps up. Additional visitors to a site creates a stronger search engine ranking. The search engines observe that the traffic going to these sites is increasing, and are likely to conclude that those sites are appropriately placed in their rankings. For the challenger site, getting an opportunity to prove that they have a better product and a more functional website just won’t happen if they can’t crack the top tier before the annual increase in holiday traffic appears.

Of course the organization can engage in other types of marketing strategies if they are not well placed on the search engine rankings.  SEM, paid search and social media marketing can help the challenger business generate the traffic its needs to generate revenues.

Social Media Outreach:

One of the ways to overcome poor search engine placement during the holiday traffic season is to reach out via social media. Innovative and humorous messaging can drive visitors to the website and create that traffic buzz needed to improve poor ranking placement. Regular posting of good, valuable and hopefully compelling or humorous material can get content reshared. In this fashion, the organization can use the personal social networks managed by others to help distribute its messaging.

Timing is particularly important in this type of outreach. Just like SEO strategies, a social media outreach strategy should be an ongoing effort throughout the year. Building one’s social networks via Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can attract the traffic needed to prove to the search engines that the company’s website content is worthy of top placement.

An Ongoing Effort:

In the end, Holiday or Christmas marketing is a year-round effort. Building the communication networks necessary to distribute marketing information and content has to be an ongoing effort. After all, competitors are probably doing this as well, so in order to capture traffic when the holiday season rolls around, the networks have to be in place by which messaging may be distributed.  Arranging a good messaging strategy for use during the holiday traffic season can be made much more effective through ongoing message channel development through SEO and social media engagement.

 

 

Social Media Helps Colorado Residents and Businesses Recover From Flooding

Listening to reports of the recent floods in Northern Colorado, I heard a notice about a location well known as one of the premier Colorado summer camps. The radio broadcast noted that all roads out of the Estes Park, CO area had been closed, one closure at the Cheley Camp turnoff. Knowing a bit about where this location is, the magnitude of the flood emergency began to sink in.  These were real people and real businesses facing an immediate emergency, the long term impacts of which could last for months.

For those familiar with the Estes Park, CO area, there are only a few roads in and out. One will be covered in snow soon and impassable. The town relies on tourism for its economic survival, and now that the flood waters are receding, the magnitude of the economic disaster is also becoming evident. A town that needs people to visit and spend dollars relies on those people to be able to actually get to the area. It may be that most roads into the area will be under repair and impassable for the next several months, shutting off the needed flow of visitors.

What does this all have to do with social media? Organizations that have established social media networks are well positioned to keep in touch with their communities, followers, friends and customers. Many are already utilizing these networks to let their followers know how they are and what the status is of the businesses and communities they care about. Nothing can replace commercial activity, but a dedicated community of followers can always be motivated to help the recovery.

Investing time in developing robust social networks can pay off – sometimes in very unexpected ways. Social media “text-to-donate” sites (mostly reputable) have been established to provide financial relief to residents of the stricken areas. Some of these relief sites are inspired or sponsored by area businesses themselves utilizing their own social networks.  Other sites rely on concerned citizens to contribute their own social networks to reaching those interested in helping with the recovery. Although some may say that a cynical business interest is present when organizations create these sites, in many instances such as these, the local organizations are really just trying to lend a hand.  Below is a link to a business that put together a fund raising outreach program.

Oskar Blues Restaurants set up a fund raising account for its northern Colorado network.

Give Forward provides the platform for local businesses and other organizations to use their social connections to raise funds for worthy causes.

The Give Forward system allows people with established networks to leverage those contacts in times of need.

What makes this all work is an established and robust social network on Facebook, Google+ and other active networks. Waiting until great need arises is too late!

 

 

 

 

 

Google+ Used in Apparent Black Hat SEO Scam

Colorado Attorney General now Involved

Competition is tough! All manner of businesses are forced to compete with one another for the attention and good placement on the internet search engines. When prominent placement is achieved, revenue frequently follows.  The intensity of local competition though has caused some businesses to take chances with so called “Black Hat” schemes to get them this good search engine placement. At the core of this scheme seems to be a campaign for online reviews. Online reviews are validations for the goods and services that a company provides. The more positive reviews, the better the placement for the company on the search engines when users seek information about a particular product or service.

Getting positive reviews for one’s business can be difficult though. Not only does the consumer have to be satisfied with the service or product, he/she has to write a review on the right social media platform.  Enter Google+…    Google+ and Google local provide a powerful platform where positive reviews impact the way a local result is displayed. Get good reviews here and your search engine results should improve.

A Denver roofing company was recently featured in a local CBS news station story about how Google+ pages were apparently set up under the names of customers for the purpose of providing positive reviews. Positive reviews for the company did appear under the names of these customers. Interestingly though, the customers that supposedly provided the reviews may have never actually created the accounts or written the reviews. The customers were apparently all satisfied with the work performed, but the Google+ pages that bore their names didn’t seem to belong to at least some of them.

Investigating who created these accounts in the names of customers is an ongoing process extending up to the Colorado Attorney General’s office. Whether this tactic constitutes a form of identity theft or false advertising is a central question.  According to the Colorado Attorney General, the practice may also be a violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.  In the end, whoever created these accounts may wind up in much more trouble than they wanted. In any case, this type of “Black-Hat” SEO or internet marketing tactic will surely place the business and the marketer in a very negative light.

Vince Lombardi – famed Green Bay Packers Head Football Coach – was once reported to state that “winning isn’t everything – it is the only thing.” Winning in the SEO and internet marketing area does have some common sense rules and those that stretch the guidelines are likely to get themselves into trouble and significantly damage  their and their client’s reputation. Stay tuned to this story!

Here is the link to the local news story. Take a moment and watch the video as well.

 

 

 

 

Penguin 2.0 – Success in the New Algorithm

Late yesterday (May 22, 2013), Matt Cutts of Google’s Anti-Spam team announced that the long awaited Penguin 2.0 search algorithm update had been deployed. Impacting an estimated 2.3% of search queries in US-English, SEOs across the country are now evaluating the algorithm change. After digging through the numbers and graphs this morning, we are ready to make a few high level observations about the latest algo update.

To start, none of our clients noticed any serious degradation other than a SERP place or two for terms other than primary ones. We don’t practice In several instances though, we’ve noticed some solid improvements in client rankings. These clients had undertaken three primary efforts from which they now seem to be benefiting. The commonalities of those improved sites seemed to fall into three categories:

  • an updated, well researched on-page tagging,
  • a linking strategy based on content, and
  • a Google+ and social media engagement plan.

On Page Tag Strategy:

All web pages should undergo a periodic re-analysis of title, description and yes.. even keyword… tag information. Keeping these tags fresh and focused on good quality keyword terms is always a good idea to maximize possible search engine visits.  In the recent update, pages that had been updated within the last month seemed to enjoy improved placement. Reconfiguring the title and description tags, even around the same essential keyword terms seemed to help.

Linking Strategy Based on Content:

Simply put, clients that distributed regular press releases, posted interesting blog articles and distributed other content, found their search engine rankings improved this morning.  This indicates that the traditional, value and content methodology works with the new algorithm. (Although Google’s Cutts contends that no SEO value exists for links contained in a traditional press release, a press release does seem to be a part of a successful content outreach strategy when undertaken as part of a blog outreach process.) Clients that noticed improved rankings were ones that issued regular press releases,  posted consistently to their blogs and developed (and executed on) a content production schedule.

Google+ and Social Media:

Similar to developing an outreach or content production schedule, a social media engagement plan seems to be the other common thread of sites that improved in placement and position following the release of Penguin 2.0. This is perhaps the most intriguing of the apparent algorithm changes.  The clients we observed that have so far come out the best were ones that engaged in an energetic social media outreach program that included Google+. One client began the Google+ portion of the plan early in 2013 and just this week hit the 500 follower level. Using Google+ to promote its blog and other content seems to have attracted readers, referrals and may have contributed to the improved search engine placement.

As the implications of the latest Penguin search algorithm update become more apparent, we’ll pass on our observations.

Thank you for reading!  Follow us on Google+!

 

 

 

How to Get More Google+ Followers – Community Building Fundamentals

In building one’s Google+ following, there are a couple key strategies that may not be unique to Google+ but are fundamental to most social media relationships. Keeping in mind two simple strategies can make building one’s G+ community more interesting and efficient. These are :

  • contributing to the conversation, and
  • giving others a good reason to follow you.

These two points are really indistinguishable in their application, but tactically, there are separate considerations. Understanding these strategies can make your social media outreach much more efficient and rewarding.

Contributing to the Conversation:
Reading other posted content, commenting by adding bits of value is contribution in its simplest form. Really focusing on adding value though, can greatly improve the response you get from your efforts.

Adding Value:
What kinds of ‘value’ are appropriate to the social media outreach? Your experience, opinions and observations make the most compelling content. Observations or the sharing of your discoveries makes interesting reading and can help others in your niche achieve their objectives. The more you help others achieve objectives, the more others will keep you in their circles.

Much can be said for sharing useful statistics. Stats can be difficult to present, but they offer a real opportunity to prove your points. Sharing a case study that shows a specific action leading to a verifiable, measurable result can make a great bit of content that others will find useful. Research and the willingness to share results in your community will make your content valuable and will inspire others to share it within their circles.

Content creator frequently resist sharing their findings or research for fear of giving away their expertise. Sharing results doesn’t necessarily mean sharing all of the tactics or minute details about how the task was accomplished, however. A few generalized statements of objectives and process can frequently provide the value without sharing the actual inner workings of one’s processes. In the end though, being a part of the community may occasionally require sharing of a few of these success secrets. This is just part of being a niche leader.

Giving Others a Reason to Follow:
Adding value is of course the primary reason others will follow your social media sites. However, establishing relationships involves application of some standard social skills, including thanking others for following you and only following others that share good content. Establishing yourself as a thought-leader with valuable industry insight as well as being welcoming to new followers is an unbeatable combination. Followers are people, and people won’t stay around if they do not feel welcomed – even if the content is fairly good.

Following Tips:
Just as you wish others to follow you for the value of your content, only follow others that can contribute to the pursuit of your objectives. Staying within your niche is helpful, especially when reading the history feed. If you are part of a larger organization, this is especially important. Interspersing irrelevant information with valuable content takes time to sort through and won’t help anyone find useful information. So by keeping the content in your feed meaningful, internal readers can quickly understand if the content is worth spending time reviewing. In the end, a smaller circle of relevant, followed sites make the history feed more valuable and easier to manage.

Likes and Plusses:
Adding your vote to others’ content that you find useful by liking or ‘plussing’ it by clicking on the plus sign next associated with a G+ post is actually a good way to invite others to follow you. Telling the content creator that the material was valuable is a good way to invite her/him to join your community as well.

Many Google+ posts include links to the poster’s blog. Community builders that get in a hurry frequently ‘plus’ content without actually reading it. ‘Plussing’ a G+ post though, really implies that you have read through the material. This is where the value is to you, but it is surprising how many just go through their feeds and plus content based only on the description. Of course those that receive the plus vote are happy to get it, but by skimming through or plussing posts without reading through it only shortchanges the one doing the community building.

Citing a portion of the content and then basing your comment on specific parts of the material is particularly effective in showing that you read and understood it. Adding your value to other’s content makes the entire post more valuable to the community and establishes you as a major contributor. Savvy community builders look for others willing to add value, research and opinions for inclusion into their communities.

Inspiring others to follow you requires a commitment of time and effort. Time spent reading other content as well as adding your own value points shows that you are knowledgeable and would be worth having as a member of other circles. And.. whenever someone follows you, always send a thank you note!

Matthew Stone assists clients build significant Google+ communities to help them grow their businesses. Follow him on Google+ or follow Denver SEO Consultants  to join the conversation!

 

Get Google+ Followers – A Start Up Strategy

After working with Google+ for the past two months, we’ve identified some useful tactics and engagement strategies to build your following. These strategies required some significant investments of  time and effort.  However, the effort provided the somewhat unexpected benefit of being an incredible learning experience.  Not only did we build a following now pushing 400 in about eight weeks, we gained an incredible amount of knowledge from reading the content provided by others in the community. In the end, this is what building a community is all about;  sharing and contributing for the purpose of improving the knowledge base for all participants.

The adoption of Google+ by other businesses as a strategic social business platform has reached a remarkable level. Some estimates have the new user growth rate exceeding 30% per year. Based on our experience working with the platform and with the community we’ve built, this growth rate estimate might seem a bit low. Google+ is easy to use and allows efficient management of one’s community of followers and provides some very significant business benefits.

Why Users are Adopting G+

In addition to the benefits of improved knowledge, attracting a number of Google+ followers improves page rank and Search Engine Results Page ranking for the company website. A robust following generates direct traffic for blog posts or content that you might wish to share more widely. In the end, building relationships using Google + is worth the effort.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be discussing some of the lessons-learned from building our Google+ following and sharing what benefits we learn about.  We will also share the mistakes and errors we made when we got in a hurry.  Experienced social media managers may understand these points, but hopefully our ‘lessons learned’ will help you avoid the same troubles if you are undertaking this task yourself. This week’s post is about kicking off the effort.

Setting up the Google+ Page

The Google+ home page can be easily set up in a few minutes using your Google login. If you don’t have one, just go to Google’s Set Up Page  and click on the ‘get started’ tab. As Google has combined Google Local with Google+, the new set up procedure requires you to verify ownership of the site. There are a couple easy ways to do this that the system will instruct you through.  Once this is done, the system will ask if you would like to customize with some images.

Step One – Images

Image creation does not need to be one of your major strengths. However, selecting a logo is important. When the page is set up, the system will ask for a Profile and a Banner image. It is possible to set up the page without these assets, but leaving them blank or using the Google supplied images just shows a lack of effort and won’t be inviting to readers.

The most important of these is the ‘Profile’ image. Not only does this image display on the main page of your Google+ site,  whenever you comment, “plus” another comment or  post, this image appears in a greatly reduced form. Logos that are simple and contain little text work well. Logo images that have long wording will look fuzzy and unclear when rendered in the smaller version. Some users simply use their photos for their Profile image. This might take a little trial and error to get a good logo for use as the Profile image, but making sure that the image works well in both large and small form is worth the effort when you start commenting and leaving your mark as you build your network.

Setting up your banner image is very easy as well. You can just grab a snapshot of your storefront, office or other interesting image that fits the long space at the top of the page.  NEVER choose a stock image from Google for the banner as that just shows a low level of interest in managing your page and your page will look like thousands of others.

Setting up the Google+ page is really very easy. Working with the images really isn’t that difficult either. The time consuming part begins when you reach out to others in the community to start building your following.  Check back next week when we’ll get into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how to contribute and how to attract followers.

How to Get Followers on Google+ .. Using Photos and Images

Getting more followers on Google+ is the endgame for many social media managers. More followers means more traffic, better acceptance, a wider community and in some instances, improved search engine rankings. In the end, attracting followers is a function of effort; one just can’t build a good following without investing time in the process.

Putting in the time to reach out to others within the niche, comment thoughtfully on information and to participate in the wider online conversation is the essential procedure to attract followers. However, there are some elements that are frequently overlooked that, if unaddressed, will inhibit the organization from attracting as many Google+ followers as it otherwise might.

These overlooked areas of Google+ engagement include creation and management of the images and pictures used in the Google+ page itself as well as on any blog article or page that the manager chooses to link to from Google+.

Google+ managers compete for readers’ attention and must do so in an extremely limited amount of time – perhaps in sub-second intervals. In that short time, the manager has to provide a reason for the reader to look at the comment, article reference or click over to the G+ page for that organization. In most cases, that reason is the thoughtful comment or note. It is not uncommon though, for readers to skip over a comment if they cannot discern anything about the organization making the comment from the images displayed.

When setting up a Google+ page or evaluating its performance, it should be noted that images are important. There are three main types of images that most frequently appear in Google+:

  • Cover Photo
  • Profile Photo
  • Blog Image or Photo (from a page linked on a comment or post)

Each of these images should say or represent something about the company or about the business focus.

Cover Photo:
This image is the main masthead for the Google+ page. It is amazing how many users simply do not post anything! Google then inputs a non-descript image with some circles and colors across the top. Whenever a reader “mouses” over a comment, this image displays along with the top of the Google+ page. If G+ readers are looking for serious members of the niche to interact with, it isn’t helpful at all to be presented with a boring, generic image.

Every time your information gets in front of a reader – even if only for a split second, it is an opportunity to reach out and communicate. The Cover Photo is an opportunity to share information about the organization. Leaving it out is a missed opportunity! Taking the time to create an image or a photograph of the storefront (or even the sign on the door) is well worth the effort!

Profile Photo:
A Profile Photo is necessary for a Google+ page. The Profile Photo appears on the face of the Google+ page and is the square image that overlays the cover photo. It is very important that the Profile Photo or image be easy to read and reflect something about the organization. The reason for this is that each time the G+ manager makes a comment on other content, this image is displayed in a very small size next to the comment.

Images that look great at full size may not render well when the image is contracted. So.. care is needed to create a Profile Photo or image that will display well when reduced. Images using a lot of text typically do not display well. As a result, another opportunity to connect with readers may be lost. Care and testing should take place with selecting a Profile Photo to ensure that the image is still meaningful when displayed in reduced size. This may take some trial and error, but it is worth the effort.

Blog Images:
Blogs allow uploading of images of course to help the writer make her/his points. When promoting this content on Google+, these images are grabbed by the system and displayed as part of the news feed that goes out to all your followers. Infographics are hugely useful for inclusion in blog as they can deliver a great deal of information in a short period of time. When these graphics are included within a blog article, the image can help attract readers. Again, some forethought and testing can make the most out of one’s limited time to invite readers to follow and communicate.

Social Media Management assistance is provided by Denver SEO Consultants as part of a regular service package. Managing SEO and Social Media together allows the client organization to engage the community, expand its communication reach and even improve page rankings. Visit our home page to learn more, or simply click the ‘contact us’ tab and send us a note!