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November 2011 Social Media Roundup

Siri changes the game for search

The intriguing new Siri application that comes with the iPhone 4S has big implications for local search marketing. First, Google is the default search engine used when a search is done with the voice-recognition application. Bing and Yahoo can be requested by the user, but most will stick with the default, a big win for Google. And, since a search for the keyword "ravioli" on Siri will return a list of restaurants that mention "ravioli" in their Yelp reviews, understanding the keywords that people search for continues to be crucial in local seach marketing. Siri assumes a local search by default, so a request to Siri for a list of restaurants will use location services to show nearby ones.

Steve Jobs ran Apple like a owner

Steve Jobs focused on "delighting customers" rather than on "shareholder value," says Ben Heinemen in an article on the HBR Blog Network. Small business by definition succeeds by creating value in the "real market" instead of playing to the "expectations market" of Wall Street, like so many large corporations do. Apple's performance and valuation certainly demonstrates that this is also a good way to build value for everyone, shareholders emphatically included. Jobs' passion for his products and his understanding that the rule in business must be "concentrate on the customer" were his greatest strengths.

Class action suit against Yelp dismissed again

A class-action lawsuit against Yelp been dismissed, after a second attempt by plaintiffs who accused Yelp of hard-sell tactics bordering on extortion by demanding paid listings as a quid pro quo for removing bad reviews. The social reviewing giant has emphatically denied the allegations, but it is often difficult for small-business owners to understand why some reviews are filtered out while others cannot be. Yelp used to offer advertisers the ability to post positive reviews on their pages to help balance the negative ones, a practice that was discontinued in April 2010.

23 million moms are on Facebook. Are you?

"Facebook moms" are defined in this study by eMarketer as woman with children under 18 at home who use the site at least once a week. According to the study, more of these moms use Facebook and social networks than average Internet users. No matter how you look at it, 23 million is two thirds of all U.S. moms online. If this demographic matters to your business, you need to be there, too.

Search and social reviews dominate research

A new survey from Harris Interactive examines how people find local business information online. Search engines are the first place used by 59 percent of those surveyed; for people under 35, that number increased to 83 percent. And, in what many business owners would consider a surprising finding, fewer than 10 percent of the study's 1,000 respondents visited merchants' websites first. The results differed for mobile device users: when researching local businesses and restaurants, just 17 percent based their decision on a search engine and 15 percent used online reviewing sites such as Yelp and Citysearch; and only 8 percent used businesses websites as a primary resource. Franchise businesses seeking to reach customers on their mobile devices still must optimize their mobile presence. However, an optimized presence in local search results and review sites appears to be a greater priority in reaching a larger audience.

Google Place now allows a "virtual visit" inside your stores

Using the same cameras and photographic methods that Google's Street View technology employed to provide spectacular views of 17 famous museums, a new program, Business Photo, will allow businesses to add professional, high-quality imagery to their online presence - providing users with a 360-degree view of photos taken inside their store. To be in the program, businesses must fill out an application and consent to the use of the photographs by Google. Faces of people in the store will be blurred out. According to David Angotti, writing on Search Engine Journal, only small businesses are eligible at this point, and Google is concentrating on popular restaurants, gyms, and shops. Interestingly, hospitals, big-brand chains, and lawyers are not eligible.

Get started in website video... with an iPhone

Many businesses would like to experiment with video content on their websites and social media platforms but balk at the expense of dedicated equipment. Here are some easy ways to get started with video and audio content using the iPhone. Blog author Tom Martin points out that newer iPhones have ever-better cameras, and and software are improving rapidly on Android phones as well as iOS devices.

Four mistakes to avoid in your holiday marketing

Planning your holiday marketing push? Good advice for making sure your holiday marketing is fresh, relevant, and appealing to your customers can be found in this article on Hubspot Blog, where blog author Rachel Sprung says to avoid the following four mistakes:

  1. Running the same holiday campaign each year.
  2. Forgetting to reach out to your network.
  3. Forgetting that not everyone celebrates the same holidays.
  4. Neglecting to make your holiday marketing campaign strategic.

Online video jumps 5 percent in 2011

Seventy-one percent of adults online now watch videos on sites like YouTube and Vimeo, according to an article on MarketingProfs. And, on any given day, 28 percent of adults online are watching videos. The rise in popularity of online video has been particularly noticeable among rural adults, who are now just as likely to be watching as urban and suburban adults. Franchised businesses can make use of the growing popularity of online video both by buying "pre-roll" time and by creating their own content.

Why you should find an extra hour a week to have a blog

It's easy for a small business owner to feel overwhelmed. Sitting down and writing a blog is the last thing tired people want to think about after everything else they have on their plates. But if you have a website, blogging is a very useful marketing According to Hubspot, businesses that blog attract 55 percent more traffic to their websites. Blogging also is extremely useful for building the kind of content that increases rank in search engines. Local business owners can use blogging to turn the detailed, personal knowledge of their industry and community they possess into valuable information that both attracts and engages customers.

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