Is Google+ a serious social media contender?

Remember when Google+ first launched in 2011? It was a social media platform that could only be joined by ‘invitation only’, a strategy that generated so much hype that many people where calling it the ‘new Facebook’. Soon after, the hype seriously fizzled out and Google+ soon became open to everyone. Unfortunately, nobody seemed to really care anymore. I remember saying to my friends and colleagues ‘Hey, whatever happened to that Google+ thing? What a #fail’.

While myself, and pretty much everyone else, went back to enjoying Facebook life, Google+ was making some serious updates and changes that would make it the marketing goldmine it is today. To many individuals, Google+ still seems a little foreign, however marketers and big brands are quickly jumping on Google+ and including it in their marketing and PR strategy. Google+ is now the second largest social media platform. I know, right? When did that happen?

So, why should Google+ be taken seriously in your marketing and social media strategy?

This one is obvious, but Google+ is owned by Google. Anything owned by this corporation will continue to update and improve until it reaches its desired popularity. Remember when you could sign in to YouTube normally and then all of a sudden one day you had to make a Google+ account to sign in? This might be why it’s the second largest platform, but it’s a testament to how integrated social media will become in the future.

Essentially, Google+ has taken all the best features of the most popular social media sites and rolled it into one amazing package. There are groups, videos, maps and even the possibility of conference calling.

Google+ may seem like ‘another Facebook’, however there are many important differences that need to be noted. Facebook is mainly about connecting with your friends and family and maintaining your relationship through them. Google+ is about building new relationships and discovering new content, which will expand your interests and horizons. Google+ allows you to set up communities called ‘Circles’ allowing you to categorise your connections with your interests. This is why Google+ is so beneficial to marketers – it’s a platform about information and storytelling and your audience actually WANTS to listen to what you have to say and learn from you.

Google+ also has incredible reach both on and off the platform. Have you ever forgotten you were connected to someone on Facebook and wondered why you never see their posts in your newsfeed? This is because Facebook filters your news to show you only what it thinks you’ll be interested in. With Google+, if you have 300 connections, your updates will show up in every single one of their pages.

Most importantly, Google+ has absolutely insane SEO potential. Every post is continually crawled for content and indexed, just like a website would be. This is why sometimes in your Google search, a bunch of Google+ sites will pop up on the first page. Some people have critised Google for its extreme bias towards its own platform, but in my opinion, if you play Google’s game you’ll be rewarded immensely.

Do you have a Google+ profile? Do you use it for building connections or for its SEO potential?

Contributor:

Sarah Brown, Account Co-ordinator, Stolen Quotes

Quantity versus Quality

Let’s play a game. Imagine I have both of my hands filled with M&M’s – but my right hand is far more full than my left. So full it’s overflowing. And you’re a chocoholic. Which hand are you going to pick?

(If you said left, then you’re either lying or not playing properly.)

Here’s where my metaphor will start to shock. That overflowing hand of M&M’s you’ve picked? All of the chocolate is stale, and mouldy and inedible. In my left hand – the hand that was nowhere near as full as my right, are peanut butter M&M’s. And they are fresh. And they melt in your mouth. And you love peanut butter. Are you catching my drift?

This is the old quality versus quantity debate. Most people will choose the hand with more M&M’s – not questioning the quality. More means better, right?

So how does this relate to PR?

With the convergence of traditional and digital media, the PR landscape is rapidly changing. It’s no longer enough to send out media releases to journalists in the hopes of getting front-page coverage on a metropolitan newspaper.

Today it’s all about digital. A rise in social media platforms, SEO awareness and user engagement has naturally lent itself to the PR industry. Companies today are touting themselves as ‘social media experts’ claiming they can assist with ‘social media strategy’ as a component of an overall PR strategy, getting your company’s Facebook page hundreds of likes in days of launching.

But how do you know you are getting value from these likes and follows? And how do you measure ROI?

This is where strategy comes into play. Before commencing any social media project, make sure to compile a digital strategy report. The report should highlight the varying social media channels including recommendations around whether your company should even be on social media in the first place. That’s right – sometimes it’s better for your company to stay off of Facebook.

If your company does require a social media presence, make sure to work at creating online communities that cater to your business’s target market audience. Facebook insights are brilliant in that they tell you exactly who is engaging with your page; by age, gender, occupation – you name it.

The thing is, anyone can buy your page hundreds, if not thousands, of likes in a matter of days – even Tony Abbott did it. But the insights tool will show you that these likes are from hundreds of people in Mauritius (as an example). Great if you’re launching in Mauritius. Not so great otherwise.

It’s time for businesses to realise that the true value in social media and digital strategy is not necessarily around how many likes your page has, or how many followers like your status. It’s about the quality of the connection – does the follower fit your target market? Will engaging with them online increase sales opportunities?

If your social media page has far less followers than your competitors, but over 80% of your followers are your target market, then you’re onto a good thing.

And you should reward yourself with a handful of M&M’s.


 

Contributor:

Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager for Stolen Quotes

Facebook ‘Bumping’

Facebook is starting to roll out a new algorithm that dictates what appears at the top of your news feed. It’s called ‘Story Bumping’ and it means that older posts will be ‘bumped’ to the top of your feed depending on their relevance.

For those of you who have had enough of seeing the same post promoting a product you don’t care for, by a brand you’ve never heard of, in a product category you want nothing to do with, this might be Facebook’s saving grace.

The Facebook newsfeed will begin prioritising posts that are ‘new to you’ rather than just posts with thousands of likes. Facebook’s new formula will favour unseen posts with more likes and comments from friends who you have interacted with most recently. The result is that newer and more relevant content will be appearing higher up on your feed.

This means as a user, you will no longer have to wade through the murky waters of promoted content and posts of acquaintance’s children to see if there was any new content from your closest friends and favourite pages.

While it is currently unclear what this means for brands that promote their posts, it does mean that non-promoted posts will garner more attention and engagement with an audience that cares about them.

According to Advertising Age, “Facebook claims that engagement for posts from “pages” – which could be from a brand, an organization, or a public figure – were up 8%.”

We think story bumping is a great step forward for Facebook and we’re excited to see what new content pops up in our newsfeed from friends and brands alike.

Also, remember to hop onto the Stolen Quotes Facebook page if you’re a fan of memorable quotes, PR and advertising, and street style photography.

Contributor:

Jason Gieng, Designer for Stolen Quotes.

How ‘social’ is social media?

If I’m at a bar and I don’t check-in, was I ever at the bar?

Okay that was a joke question, but it highlights an interesting concept around the way social media affects the way we socialise today.

According to recent statistics, the average Australian person spends around 13 hours a week on social media. If we assume that most of us don’t spend our working hours on social media and we don’t include the time we are asleep, we are spending a large proportion of our free time scrolling through our news feed, updating our status and Tweeting to the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media, it’s a huge part of the industry I work in and using social media is an essential part of my job. I spend a good chunk of my working day on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. While I love feeling connected and building relationships through social media, I have to wonder what I miss out on when I completely disengage from my physical surroundings.

When I think about some of the stand out moments of my life – travelling, seeing my favourite band in concert and my 21st birthday, I disengaged from all these moments to reconnect with my online social network. On my birthday, I spent time checking in and taking photos. When I saw my favourite band, I filmed my favourite song and uploaded it to Facebook straight away. When I travelled, I took hundreds of selfies in front of famous icons and put them on Instagram. The scariest (and somewhat embarrassing) truth to the travel photos is that I didn’t take them so they could be treasured memories of my trip – I took them because I know travel photos get a lot of ‘likes’.

So here are some questions for consideration:

  • Has our social media started to dictate our social lives?
  • Does appearing to have a good time mean more than actually having a good time?

Whether we like to admit it or not, I’m sure many of us answered yes to these questions, myself included.

This month the Stolen Quotes team is trialing #LowFiJuly. We are all putting away our mobile phones at lunches, work drinks, networking events and pretty much any social outing. (Ironically we’ve made #LowFiJuly a hashtag – we only tweet about it after lunch, we swear!) So far we’ve all done extremely well and I feel personally more connected and engaged in the lives of my colleagues. It actually feels like a weight has been lifted because I no longer obsessively scan my news feed while trying to tell the team about my weekend plans. Who knows, #LowFiJuly might stick around for August.

Contributor:

Sarah Brown, Account Coordinator for Stolen Quotes.