Customer research with social media
Social media provides new and powerful tools for communicating with customers. But the real "killer app" for social media for many businesses may be listening to customers instead of talking to them. Here are some easy ways to conduct research on the questions your customers are asking and the kinds of content they're sharing with each other. Tools such as LinkedIn Answers, Twitter Search, and Quora give companies up-to-the-minute, precise information about their markets, allowing them to fine-tune their offerings and develop new products.
Google+ reaches 400 million (while Facebook tops 1 billion)
One year after becoming publicly available, Google's social media network, Google+, has reached 400 million registered users. According to Google, more than 100 million of their users are active on a monthly basis. While questions remain for many companies and marketers about how to use Google+ most effectively, this is a channel they can't afford to ignore. Meanwhile, Facebook topped 1 billion registered users worldwide in early October.
Infographic: marketing and branding tips for Google+
In spite of its size and rapid growth, Google+ has been called the "Rodney Dangerfield" of social media: it gets no respect. But Google+ has a great set of tools for media and content sharing, and Google has said they use it as a source of social signals for their algorithm. This infographic provides guidance for getting started using Google+ right.
LinkedIn adds publishing to the mix; "thought leaders" wanted
Business-oriented social media network LinkedIn has added a publishing platform to its offerings. "Thought leaders" can now publish articles on the site, and users can choose writers to follow. At the moment, LinkedIn has chosen an initial 150 "thought leaders" to kick off the new service, and it will be expanding in the near future. Those interested in joining the elite can request an invitation to submit articles.
Why Zynga failed: gaming platform loses luster
Just a year ago it seemed that Zynga could do no wrong. The maker of Farmville, Mafia Wars, and other popular social games used by millions on Facebook appeared to have tremendous upside potential. Now a combination of factors has cut the giant down to size. Facebook users got tired of endless game spam from their friends. They complained and Facebook listened. Now users are seeing a lot fewer game updates in their activity streams - and the viral growth of Zynga's offerings has suffered. The other big change was the quick migration of users to mobile devices. Gaming on smaller screens is a different experience for users, and Zynga's games have not proven as popular there. Also, owners of the Android and iOS platforms take a larger share of revenue than Zynga was used to, cutting profitability.
Reddit is "the front page of the Internet"
Having a promotion strategy to push content on social media platforms has become crucial to success online. It's not enough to create and publish great content. Companies need to spread the word about their content by getting it seen in places where people discover and share information. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are well-known channels to get content seen by a lot of people. The less well-known but very popular site, Reddit, can be a valuable part of every content creator's toolkit, too. This infographic gives you the rundown on Reddit, how it works, who uses it, and what it can do to help share your content.
Local search queries make up 43% of all Google searches
Two years ago, Google reported that local search queries made up about 20% of all searches. That number has more than doubled since then. Bing and Yahoo get about 25% of local searches. Also, about 75% of local searches are done from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). If your business hasn't investigated Google Places and the other tools Google provides for improving your results in local search, now is the time.
Domain names: To "www" or not to "www"? That is the question
This is kind of geeky, but important. Many website owners are confused about whether to use the "www" (which is actually a subdomain, technically). Google Webmaster Tools allows site owners to decide which is the canonical version for purposes of search engine optimization. The trend has been to drop www, but this article points out that it's a good idea to find out which version has the most authority with Google before deciding which one to use. Find out how to determine what the best URL is for your site, and how to set it up so that it works optimally.
Christmas is coming for search engine marketers, too
Like many retail businesses, online marketers find the holiday shopping season the busiest and most profitable part of the year. Here are some tweaks and ideas for tuning up pay-per-click campaigns going into the 2012 holiday season.
Google Analytics: getting started
One of the most important sources of useful, actionable information about your websites is Google Analytics. It's free and it's extremely powerful. If you have started using Google Analytics to track activity on your website and want to learn how to use it better, or if you want to get started right, here are some helpful tips for you.
Mobile restaurant searches: there are a lot of them, and they convert fast
Restaurants are the top category in mobile search: 95 percent of smartphone users search for restaurants, and 90 percent of them "convert within the day" by going out to eat. It probably isn't surprising that 64 percent convert either "immediately" or "within one hour." Restaurants need to pay attention to Google Places, Yelp, Urbanspoon, and other social reviewing sites. That's where the action is. There's some interesting information in the study about different search behaviors between smartphone and tablet users, too: only 44 percent of tablet users are quick converters, and they're more likely to search for menus. Smartphone users, on the other hand, are in a hurry and just want directions and phone numbers.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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