Mobile Internet use grows - are you growing with it?
Sixty-one percent of mobile users surveyed conduct local searches on their phones, and 72% of them said they made a purchase based on local searches on their smartphones. Repeat: "made a purchase." That's more than six in 10 conducting local searches and more than seven in 10 actually buying. Now, to encourage businesses to develop mobile-friendly sites for their local businesses, Google has launched an initiative called "GoMo." Social media blogger Stephanie Hobbs summarizes the 10 best practices "GoMo" identifies, including keeping mobile experiences quick for the customer, optimizing interactive elements on the website to be "thumb-friendly," and the need to have your mobile site run on any mobile device, regardless of platform. (Hint: don't use Flash.)
Little-known LinkedIn feature packs a big punch
"Stop thinking about LinkedIn as a professional resume and start thinking about it like a pay-per-click advertisement," writes social media expert Christopher Penn. Click on the "Who's Viewed Your Profile?" link on the right side bar of your LinkedIn Home page to see graphs of the number of your appearances in LinkedIn searches and the number of views of your profile. These are the key metrics that tell you if your LinkedIn professional presence is attracting attention. (That's why you're there, right?)
Now that you have that Facebook Page for your business... use it!
Four excellent, easy, and time-efficient ways to use Facebook Fan pages to reach out to local customers, from Miranda Miller, staff writer with Search Engine Watch. Many business owners find themselves at a loss for ideas about what to do to keep their pages fresh, relevant, and working to build engagement. Try these ideas especially suited to attracting customers in your local market.
Gender-based marketing: could you use a little more data?
This fun and informative infographic rounds up research and statistics about gender-based marketing and differing consumtption patterns between the sexes. Hint: Women rule the roost when it comes to buying decisions. Don't miss the case studies about Harley-Davidson and Axe, and how they've made some interesting and surprising pivots in their marketing strategies.
"Flawsome": people connect with brands that don't pretend to be perfect
One trend that should please small-business owners worrying about not having the time, resources, or expertise to be "perfect" in social media is what Trendwatching calls "Flawsome." People actually prefer to engage with brands that aren't perfect, don't pretend to be, and own up to their mistakes. It turns out people have a hard time connecting with those who have no weaknesses or flaws and make no mistakes.
Get ready: 7 Facebook Fan Page changes that will affect your business
This report by blogger Andrea Vahl from Facebook's fMC 2012 Conference highlights seven changes that are either already in place or coming soon that will affect Facebook marketers. Limits on what can be in a Cover Photo are only one example. The biggest change may be the elimination of the default landing tab. This means that the custom landing pages that have been so popular for the last several years won't work the same way anymore, although the pages still exist. Learn some new tricks here.
The new Timelines interface is here for Business Pages on Facebook
Five excellent examples from blogger Allie Herzog about creative and effective use of the new Timelines features that will become standard for all Facebook Business Pages on March 30. Learn some great new Facebook marketing angles from the likes of Cover Girl, Tiffany's, and The Company Store.
New rules for Cover Photos on Facebook Brand Timelines
Cover Photos is an attractive feature of Facebook's Brand Timelines for Pages. But there are pretty specific rules for what can - and cannot - appear in them. On March 30, all Facebook brand pages will migrate to the new Timelines format. Social media blogger Jason Falls provides a guide to the new rules, and some good examples of effective and compliant pages. Falls writes, "...unless you click through to see the FAQs about Cover Photos, you're not likely to see the policy. As such, many brands will violate these rules." You can get banned for violations, so this is important information if you have a Facebook Fan Page.
Pinterest: how your business can use it to drive traffic
Social media phenomenon Pinterest has grown very quickly to about 30 million users. It's now driving more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined. Pinterest is new, very visual, and very popular. Some people describe it as a sort of online shopping spree. Here's a good primer from blogger Debbie Hemley, who provides 26 tips on how businesses can use the hottest thing on the Web.
Pinterest now second only to Facebook in social media use
As interest in Pinterest continues to soar, this infographic provides some useful data on current users - including some helpful tips on how to get started using the latest social media phenom. Examples: women are by far the largest group of users of Pinterest, at about 87 percent; and their age distribution of 25 to 54 is about equal at about 26 percent in each bracket. Have a look at this infographic for the lowdown on Pinterest.
Using Google Places to improve AdWord results
Does your business use Google's AdWord search advertising platform? Here's a great tip from Christopher Penn on how to use Google Places information to target local search advertising more effectively. The problem is that while you want to avoid the expense of irrelevant clicks from outside of your local market, you don't want to miss nearby customers by not casting your net widely enough. Google Places shows you where driving directions requests are coming from, allowing very precise targeting of search advertising.
Should you be using Google+?
Now up to about 90 million users, Google+ continues to grow, if much more slowly than Google had hoped. Nevertheless, the introduction of Business Pages last fall complicates the social media landscape for many small business marketers. Israeli marketing consultant Lior Levin provides six pros and cons of using Google+ for your business. (One of the cons: another social media channel to manage!) He also highlights some of the strengths of the platform that make investing some time to learn about it well worth your while. Word to the wise: Google definitely pays attention to its own social media network as a factor in search engine ranking for websites.
Daniel Lieberman is the founder of Daniel Lieberman Digital ("I speak Geek - You don't need to."), based in Shelburne Falls, Mass. He helps companies, organizations, and individuals learn to use the Internet to communicate, market, and brand themselves using the most up-to-date tools and techniques. Contact him at 413-489-1818 or email@example.com.
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