Google+: 2 Years and Counting

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee/Flickr

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee/Flickr

After 2 strong years, Google+ is now the second most active social network in the world. It has grown tremendously and has now surpassed Twitter on the social media network. Google+ has over 400 million users and counting. It still has a lot of catching up to do in order to take over the number one spot, Facebook, but it is very well on its way.

Most businesses have started to get involved with this social network due to the SEO boost is received by being backed by the number one search engine, Google. Although there are some who use this platform for personal use, a lot of the users are on it for business. Being a recent graduate, if I would have known, I probably would have used Google+ a lot more to interact with the college and use Google Hangouts with others in my classes. I realized not a lot of college students know about all the benefits Google+ can offer.

In fact, not a lot of students know about Google+ in general.

Through personal and business use for ME Marketing Services, I’ve learned to use it and I’ve learned to like it. I actually find it enjoyable! The platform itself is very professional compared to Facebook. It has all the same capabilities as Facebook, such as the lists (circles on Google+), status likes (+1 on Google plus), and being able to post statuses and share links, photos and videos. But there’s more!

Like Skype, you are able to video chat with others on the Google network. I’ve used Google Hangouts a couple of times for business purposes and it is great. Quality-wise, it is better than Skype. I always have trouble seeing the other person clearly on Skype but with Hangout, I have never had that problem. The video conference I had, had great quality. We had eight users and we did one conference at night since that was the only time everyone was available. People from different states (Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Kansas, Ohio) got together on this Hangout and we got a lot of planning and brainstorming done. That was the first time I realized how great this platform was.

Another awesome aspect about Google+ is their mobile app. It is better than Facebook’s mobile app by far. I have not had any problems with the rate at which pages load on the Google+ app. I have had to struggle numerous times on the Facebook app because it wouldn’t load the most current data, it was slower than using dial-up internet, or it just plain out wouldn’t work at all and would crash every time I try to open it. Google+ has dominated the mobile app field. It’s fast, it’s easy and it hasn’t crashed on me (not even once). The Google Hangouts app is also a perk. You can do conferences on your phone and iPad by just using the app. The clarity is unreal and the quality is great, straight from your phone. The clarity is also better than doing FaceTime. Try doing a Hangout from your phone.

After just two years of existence, Google+ has already surprised us with tools other social media sites haven’t been able to do. It is the more professional way to use social media and the number of users continues to rise daily. I would say that this network is one of the better ones out there right now. As for the upcoming years, we will just have to wait and see what Google has in store for us.

What are your thoughts about Google+? Do you use it more for business or personal? What do you think is going to be the next big thing Google+ comes out with?

8 Reasons You’re Not Connecting on LinkedIn

Today brings the third installment of my “8 Reasons” posts.  So far we’ve talked Twitter and Facebook, and today we cover LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the platform that most professionals are on. Recruiters search for job candidates and people network with each other through groups and connection requests. On average, I receive about a dozen LinkedIn connection requests each week. I only accept about half of them. Why you may ask? Let me share with you 8 reasons LinkedIn connection requests are not being accepted (or in the case of #8, disconnected).

1.  You do not have a profile picture.

This is not anything new.  Like each social media profile, you have to have a professional-looking profile picture.  Leaving this blank is just not acceptable. 

2.  You have a profile picture, but it’s unprofessional.

LinkedIn is one of the, if not most, professional social media sites on the web.  A profile picture of you and your kids is not going to help (even if they are cute).  Likewise, a picture you’ve cropped yourself out of with a drink from a business event won’t help either.  It does not have to be an expensive official headshot, we just want to see you and your professional-looking self.

3.  Your bio is nothing but a sales pitch to sell me something.

I understand the bio section is a place to tell everyone about yourself, however, I’m reading it to get to know YOU, not the fact you have a special going on for $199 that can help me make thousands of dollars. And yes, that was from an actual profile of someone who requested a connection with me. You should use the bio section to inform us about yourself and what you do.  Without the sales pitch.

4.  Your profile is barely filled out.

If your profile is not filled out to even 50%, you are losing out. Everyone should have their profile filled out to 100%.  Why?  It gives people the chance to get to know you and find out what you do and if/how you can help them.  The more information you give, the better the chance of making a valuable connection.

5. You indicate on your request that we are “friends” when in fact I’ve never met you before online or in-person.

This is my #1 pet peeve on LinkedIn.  Please do not say we are friends when we have never interacted online or in-person.  Honestly, it’s kind of creepy.  If you really want to connect with me, write me a personal connection request or go to my website to get my email address (even though you don’t have to have it to connect with me). 

6.  Your profile is set up a business and not yourself.

Yes, another example of a connection request I received this week.  LinkedIn has company pages for businesses.  Profiles are for individuals.  If you can’t play by the rules, I can’t accept. 

7. We have nothing in common.

If I receive a connection request and we have no shared connections or anything we could relate to (interests, schools, groups, etc.) I do not usually connect.  I know some say that may be missing out on business, but if we have nothing in common and they want to connect, they will send a personalized connection request with why they want to connect, not the default message.

8. I accepted your request, but now you do nothing but spam me with promotional messages.

I know we have all had this happen.  You connect with someone and then the next thing you know you are getting spammed at least 2-3 times per week.  Spamming on any platform is unacceptable.  I will quickly unfollow/unlike/unconnect with you if you spam me.

I would suggest one thing to help you make more and better connections – craft a personalized connection request.  Personalized requests receive more acceptances than requests with the default message, at least with me and my business.  When you want to connect, tell them why you want to connect and how you came in contact with them.  You want to give them a reason to click “accept”.

I know there have to be some reasons that weren’t covered.  What are some reasons you won’t connect with someone on LinkedIn?

 

Social Media Users Beware

I love social media.  I love using social media.  I love helping businesses incorporate social media into their marketing strategy.  However, I am very careful with social media.

Why?

Well, because there are all these so-called social media experts and gurus running around practicing bad social media.

You may be asking, “what is bad social media?” so first, let’s define it.  My definition, since there’s no entry in Webster’s Dictionary, is social media done incorrectly or not by the rules; cheating the system.

Examples of bad social media are…

Running contest against Facebook’s Terms of Service

Contests violating rules can be those such as “share and like to win!”, “tag and share to win!”, “photo with most likes wins!”.  If Facebook catches you, then you might end up like this company from New Zealand who had their page deleted without notice.  20,000 fans gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Putting contact info on your Facebook Page’s Cover Photo

This is just asking to be reported.  Per Facebook’s Terms of Service, “Cover photos must be at least 399 pixels wide and may not contain: Price or purchase information, such as “40% off,” “Download it at our website,” or “Free Sunglasses All Summer Long.”, Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section., References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or other Facebook site features.,Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

There was an article posted by Mashable shedding some light that Facebook was starting to get serious about this particular violation.

SEO Gaming on Social Media Sites (aka Keyword Stuffing) –

This is a relatively new one.  This sample was taken from a social media “expert”‘s LinkedIn profile.  People have started to do this so search engines will pick up on the keywords.  Well, Google and LinkedIn are cracking down on this and will blacklist anyone practicing this.  It’s spamming for pete’s sake!

You are probably wondering what SEO gaming/keyword stuffing looks likes?  Here’s an example from an actual LinkedIn profile:

“Social Media Strategist, Social Media Consultant, Social Media Training, Social Media Manager, Social Media Marketer, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Branding, Social Media Services, Social Media Expert, Social Media Coach, Social Media Speaker, Social Media Strategist, Social Media Consultant, Social Media Training, Social Media Manager, Social Media Marketer, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Branding, Social Media Services, Social Media Expert, Social Media Coach, Social Media Speaker, Social Media Strategist, Social Media Consultant, Social Media Training, Social Media Manager, Social Media Marketer, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Branding, Social Media Services, Social Media Expert, Social Media Coach, Social Media Speaker”

Side note: anyone who calls themselves a guru or expert is walking on ice.  See my blog post why.

Some reference articles fo keyword stuffing:
18 SEO Killers You Must Clean Up and Avoid for 2013 and Beyond
Super Savvy Business Identifies Top 5 Common SEO Myths of 2012 That Should Be Avoided in 2013Social Search & Influence Games: Why Did You Do It LinkedIn?

Now that we’ve defined “bad social media” and seen some examples – why beware?  Well, unfortunately some of these “experts” are teaching these things and doing these.  New people and businesses to social media honestly do not know better and are putting their trust in their social media managers and strategists, however there are a large amount who are doing it wrong!

I would not for one instance trust my social media stuff to someone who practices bad social media.  If you are a business and are looking into hiring someone to handle it, please ask for links to other accounts they are handling and their own accounts too.  Look at what they are doing.  Your business’ online presence depends on it.  If you are a social media professional, please do not practice bad social media and if you are – STOP!  It’s hard for those of us doing it right to go in and clean up the mess made by those who are doing it wrong.

Now you may be asking, so now what?  Where do I go to find someone doing it right?  Not every social media professional is doing it wrong.  I know a lot of guys and gals who are doing it right. One example is the Social Solutions Collective.  This is a group of ladies who are dedicated to doing social media right.  I will be upfront and tell you that I am very proud to be a part of this group so it may be like a shameless plug, however our mantra is “Social media and social business solutions collective intent on doing social right.”   If you would like other suggestions, please comment below or email me. I would be more than happy to point you to some other great people to follow.

I don’t want to see any business get their social media accounts deleted or blacklisted.  We’re all businesses who are in this to succeed no matter what country you are in or language you speak.

Now it’s your turn – what are some bad social media practices you see that you would like stopped?

 

Your Social Media Image

What is your image on social media?  Are you seen as a savvy businessperson or perhaps a partier?  Do you know what you post online, both business and personal, helps shape your image?

What brings me to this topic today come out of a discussion in our Sunday School class this past Sunday.  I’m not going to get all churchy on you today 🙂

We talked about how what you post online is taken by others.  I want to pose a few scenarios.  I know that everyone can relate to these….

1.  The after-hours party picture.

We’ve all been there.  Happy hour with a few co-workers.  A conference we attended.  Even a football tailgate (that hits close to home for me).  What does is say about you if there are a lot of pictures of you posted holding a beer bottle or even a red solo cup?  If someone is looking at your profile for a prospective job and this is all they see, what do you think they will think?  In case you are wondering, yes, that is my husband and myself in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl in 2007.  To spare embarrassment of some of my friends, I used myself as an example here.  This picture has since been deleted off my Facebook account.

 

 

 

 

2.  The bikini shot.

This applies mainly to teenage girls and ladies who post pictures of themselves in swimsuits.  There are a lot of stalkers and child predators online.  Do you really want a picture of yourself or your daughter in a swimsuit/bikini for the world to see?  If that’s all those teenage boys see, they don’t just see a nice looking girl in a swimsuit, they see someone they might be able to take advantage of.  Sorry, that’s a teenage boy for you.  For the women, I’m sure your male counterparts at work do not want to see pictures of you at the beach.  One of the secretaries at my husband’s office did this and she has no idea what those guys are saying about her behind her back.  Trust me, it wasn’t compliments.  Now I know they shouldn’t be doing that, but the reality is, that is what happened.  I could make this one bullet point an entire post in itself.  Fortunately, I get to speak at our church’s girls conference on this topic!

3.  Your grievances.

Please, please, please whatever you do, do NOT air your dirty laundry or complain your friends, co-workers or job.  That is the quickest way to not get a job or get fired.  I quickly unfriend/unfollow those who do that.  I love my friends but some of them do this and it’s a big turn off.

 

If you have any of these on your accounts, may I suggest you go ahead and remove them?  Any prospective client or employer will be checking you out online.  You want to show them the wonderful, professional professional you are.

I invite you to chime in – what would be some tips you would give someone on their social media image?

4 Tips for Social Media Time Management

Raise your hand if you’ve gone onto Facebook to check on a client page and you go down the rabbit hole and come up 3 hours later and have nothing done!  Yes, I have done it too.

Recently I surveyed my fans and followers about their biggest social media struggle and time management was overwhelmingly #1!

With several different platforms to choose from, it is easy to get lost down that rabbit hole. Here are my tips to more effectively manage the time you have for social media.

1.  AUTOMATE!  The more you can automate content, the better. Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer are three popular platforms.  All of these allow you to schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  A good Google+ scheduling tool is the Do Share extension for the Google Chrome browser.

What I suggest is take about 1 hour, once a week, to schedule your content for the next week.  You can then spend the rest of your time responding and interacting!   This is what I do my myself and my clients.

2.  PLAN AHEAD!  If you have a goal to blog 1-2 times per week, dedicate time each week to spend writing and scheduling those posts.  This will save you from the “oh crud” moment you have when you realize you are suppose to have a post up in 12 hours!  WordPress sites have scheduling functions within them to schedule a post for the future.  For example, I am writing this post on Sunday afternoon and it will be published Tuesday morning.

The plan ahead suggestion applies to more than just blogging – plan ahead as much as you can for everything.  This will keep your organized and in a routine.

3.  NOT DO IT ALL.  Yes, I did just say you do not have to do everything.  Many businesses think they need to have a presence on every.single.platform when in reality, they don’t.  If you know your target market posts on Facebook more than any other, then concentrate on that one.  There is no sense in wasting your time updating 5 or 6 social media platforms when your customers are only on Facebook or Twitter.

Concentrating on those platforms that your target market is on and forgetting about the rest will free up a lot of time.  Trust me, it easy to lose time on these platforms – just stick with what works!

4.  TIME YOURSELF.  Decide how much time you want to spend on each platform and then set a kitchen timer or an alarm on your smartphone to buzz when your time is up.  For example, if you want to set aside 30 minutes per day on Facebook, set the timer to start when you do and then it will let you know when your 30 minutes is up.  At that time, move on to something else.  I know of several who do this and swear by it.  Placing a time limit can force you to concentrate on what you need to do and get it done.

I hope by implementing these tips, you will find your time better managed and your product increased.

What tips would you give to better manage your time?  Comment below, I’d love to hear them!

Want more?  Click here for my Top 10 Social Media Tips.

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