Making a case for Google+

For many small business owners, staying on top of social media can be challenging at times so the thought of adding one more social network to the mix may seem like a daunting task. However, the benefits of having a Google+ business page and community may outweigh the drawbacks of having to set one up (which really isn’t that hard anyway).

Google+ is owned by Google, so what happens on G+ can actually impact your standing in search engine ranking and improve your search engine optimization (SEO). The reason for this is that Google gives a great deal of weight to the social behaviors and recommendations from your connections on Google+, especially at the local level.  In fact, Google treats Google+ pages as regular sites. You can check this out yourself by doing a search and see what pages come up. Often, information from G+ pages is ranked higher than other, non-Google sites.

As a small business, having a Google+ Business page and working to increase your connections (circles), by sharing reviews, posting YouTube video, images and posts, you can actually increase your visibility in search results. Another bonus is that by analyzing those in your circles, Google will be able gather more and more targeted information about what your customers are looking for. Google will incorporate recommended and shared sites from people you are connected to on G+, which can go a long way in ensuring that their friends and circles will be more likely to find your business in a search.

For your customer, this is a good thing. It means that they may actually be presented with search results that not only are they more interested in but with endorsements from trusted friends and colleagues who have vouched for the business/product/place etc. 

Let’s look at it this way.  Say you do a search for the best local restaurant.  In your search results, you see that your friend has shared a great review of the restaurant and vouches for the restaurant’s cleanliness. Can you think of better validation than the endorsement from a trusted friend? 

By creating a page and reaching out to other G+ pages to increase visibility and connections, you will not only help establish yourself in the local community where you do business but you can engage with other, complementary businesses to become a local referral source. Using reviews, +1’s and discussions on group pages, you will be able to continue to build your community, and your brand.

So, what are you waiting for? Go claim your spot on Google+! We’d love to connect with you. We could even Hangout!

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending January 14

CES might have been going on this week, but the rest of the world still kept journalists hopping on the social news - from SOPA to Google to a place called Boner's BBQ. I bet they never expected to be nationally known. And I'm officially not sharing just five links because the SOPA/Google stories are just too complex to throw just one out there.


Source: Stop SOPA Page on Google+

SOPA is the acronym for Stop Online Piracy Act and if you're not aware of it or think you're unaffected because you live outside the U.S., please read this brief overview or this more comprehensive overview (the long one is worth your time) to get up to speed. The U.S. is a world leader and they set precedents for other jurisdictions all the time AND your site may be "based" outside the U.S., but that doesn't mean it's immune from being affected. One interesting development (and I'm surprised it's taken so long to come to light) is that the sponsor of the bill appears to have his own copyright infringement issues. Tim O'Reilly shared his thoughts about SOPA with GigaOM this past week and I think he makes a lot of sense. Yesterday, the news out of the White House gives me hope that this will never see the light of day. Obama disagrees with some key parts of SOPA and PIPA, which leads some to believe he'll veto both if they pass. Following the release of the statement from the White House, Jeff Jarvis asks some pointed questions about where the U.S. Government will let this battle go in the future. This is important for all of us who want a free Internet. That really is what's at stake with should any of these bills pass. It's important enough to some that they're initiating a blackout this Wednesday.

It's hard to say whether Google or SOPA won the race to the top of the news heap this week. The release of "Search, plus Your World" has led to a vocal backlash where some believe this will lead to further anti-trust investigations and few speaking up to support it (including Matt Cutts, of course). Meanwhile, there's been a back and forth tiff between Twitter and Google that resembles something from the schoolyard. Facebook has been fairly "quiet" about the whole business. Mathew Ingram summarizes the entire Google search saga quite eloquently and points out that this war between Google and Twitter is only hurting users. Finally, Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land did some pretty interesting analysis of real-life search examples if you'd like to see how this is working.

Marketers, PR reps and humans in general gasped in horror at Papa John's and Boner's BBQ for their unbelievably offensive treatment of customers this past week. And in true Gini Dietrich style, she's given them the advice they need to avoid the post-screw-up PR disaster that they've just experienced should future mishaps occur. I just hope more businesses start reading Spin Sucks so they respond appropriately and timely to avoid getting into these tangles in the first place.

Finally, this week Facebook - without much fanfare - rolled out sponsored posts that will appear in your news feed this week. I haven't seen any in my feed yet, but the majority of the pages I "like" are not the kind that would purchase this kind of advertising.


Who out there uses social media and has been followed by (or follows) someone claiming to be a guru, ninja or expert in social media? (I'm raising my hand.) Mitch Joel admits to being fascinated with Social Media and the rise of the social media celebrity. He raised some thought-provoking points this week about the social media Kool-Aid.

"Social business" is a term I've been hearing more and more lately - 2012 is apparently the year of the social business. I'm still making up my mind, but I don't think I particularly care for it. I'm not sure we need to designate everything social if it comes into close contact or touches social media. I'm not sure we need to have a term to reflect the changing culture of business with the rise of social media use. Widely accepted business practices have changed in the past and we didn't necessarily put a name on it. That said, there's a lot of wisdom in Pam Moore's tips for becoming a social business that businesses should heed.

You probably already read it, but it's worth repeating. Seth Godin's post this week on the TED imperative is short, sweet and so very well said. It's the Cole's(Cliff) notes version of Pam's post about social business, but it's really all anyone creating content needs.

Ever since I realized a friend in my teen years had a bit of a jealous streak aimed at a talent I had that they were less proficient with, I've felt strongly that we each have to accept our strengths and weaknesses. Recognizing them makes life easier and allows us to ask for help where we're weak and speak up to help where we're strong. Finding your strengths can be so empowering - here's a few tips on how to do it.

I sometimes struggle to work at home, but most of the time it's really productive. This article helped me see how I could do even better.

This week from The Media Mesh

This past week The Media Mesh started a new series, Social 101, and our first topic was Twitter. I hosted the first twitter chat for #MediaMeshBBC. And the Sixty Second Social this week was about social media shortcuts and trying to emulate high profile people. Coming up this week, I'll be sharing the details of our next Business Book Club assignment, going over the 5 Ws of Twitter and more!

Buzz and Brilliance - Week of September 19

Last week was a more balanced week for buzz and brilliance. This week has been all buzz about Facebook. Mostly. Sort of - this might be a long post. :) So, let's jump right in.

Facebook's 4th f8 came on the heels of updates to Facebook that left users with very mixed reactions. The updates included the ability to subscribe to other users' public posts, the one move that I admittedly liked but also wondered if it fit the one-to-one relationship building that Facebook was built on. Apparently, I'm not alone in this line of thinking. But that doesn't mean the subscribe button is a bad thing - some like its potential. One update that I think is a great enhancement, but I may not use much is the smart lists. Why? Mostly because I don't do much filtering of content and I'm stingy about the data I enter into Facebook. Therefore, several of the built-in smart lists aren't even available to me. And let's not forget the two most controversial changes - the top stories and the ticker. The top stories I'm going to tolerate for a while without complaint. The ticker...well, I like it. But if you're desperately wishing it would just go away, here's how you can make that happen.

Personally, I didn't find the changes made a huge difference to my user experience; it was comfortable progress. I still knew where to find everything. Was that that all Facebook had up its sleeve this week? Not a chance. Here's the short, sweet story of f8 announcements, but read on if you want a quick overview and more in-depth coverage.

It's hard to know where to begin with the f8 announcements there was so much happening. The keynote started with Andy Samberg "hijacking" the stage and poking a bit of fun at Zuckerberg.

As exciting as these changes are, some believe Facebook still has some work to do. But so do users. Check your privacy settings, think about what you're posting. In amongst all the #f8 tweets, I spotted this tweet that says, "Make no mistake. Your timeline is now your new resume. Don't populate it with stuff you don't want people to see." Wise words that were reinforced by All Facebook. With all this talk of OpenGraph, some are worried that this is the new Beacon.

The biggest disappointment of The Week of Facebook is the lack of change in mobile apps. Despite that, Facebook raised the bar this week, giving Google+ some incentive to bring their A-game.

Speaking of Google+ - it's officially open to everyone. If you want to get started on G+, here are a few tips from Christopher Penn. And while you're at it, keep this in mind. Fortunately for Google, they didn't stop at opening up Google+. They also added 9 new features that are packed with potential. They're still under fire for their stance on names and I'm wondering if they'll ever relent. Finally, you can now link your Google+ profile to Klout!

Another big announcement from Google is the roll out of Wallet. My guess is this is another of those tools that Canada is just going to have to wait to use. Other Google news includes their announcement that AdWords will reward mobile-optimized sites. Just a little something to think about if your site isn't mobile-friendly yet. Google search now has a preview when you hover over search results. I spotted it today before I read about it and it's not too bad - it will save me clicking on the wrong site occasionally, no doubt.

Foursquare achieved the milestone of a billion check-ins this week and made some changes that will protect the exact location of your home. I can guarantee you that I still won't be checking in at my home any time soon (a.k.a. ever). I share a lot online, but that's way beyond my comfort zone.

Fail Whale Winner

The most outrageous story I've seen in a long time is one I clued in to when I saw Peter Shankman tweet about it this morning. He sees it as a lesson about passwords; I see it as a lesson about letting others tweet under your name, as well as some seriously lacking exit procedures. TechCrunch thinks this story is funny. And now it appears that a second ghosttweeter has gone rogue. It's not funny - it's sad that someone who claims to be an "internet sales and marketing professional" could be caught so completely blind by something like this - especially after tweeting quite frequently about how to use social media. Incorporating an exit checklist would probably benefit him if he's going to fire staff in the future. For instigating a most spectacular #fail, he wins the fail whale this week.

Last, but not least, I wanted to share that women are the dominant force in social media, according to a study reported by Mashable.

What is it about social media that is so attractive to women? Anyone have a theory?

And - any thoughts on the news that came out this week? Who's dying to see the new Facebook roll out NOW??
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