Social Media Roundup: March 25, 2014

Where Are the Kids?
YouTube soft pedals it for fear of alienating advertisers seeking other age groups, but the 14- to 18-year-old set is their single largest demographic. A survey from The Intelligence Group shows that 74% of users in that age group report using YouTube frequently, while only 60% say the same about Facebook. The usage numbers are more evenly balanced between the two services for the rest of the age brackets from 19 to 34. In any case, both YouTube and Facebook are nearly twice as likely to be frequent stops for the younger set as iTunes, Instagram, or Twitter.

Making Adwords Effective for Small Businesses
The New York Times reported in February that many small businesses find that Google's dominant pay-per-click Adwords platform is not a practical marketing channel for them, based on the media cost of their campaigns. This piece by Larry Kim on Search Engine Land argues that their lack of positive results more likely stems from insufficient effort in designing and managing Adwords. Many companies rarely or never log in to Adwords to check their results and tweak their ads; nor do they add new keywords and remove ineffective ones. Most also ignore the use of negative keywords, which are very effective in avoiding inappropriate clicks.

Want To Expand Your Twitter Reach?
Twitter can be a very useful tool for small businesses, but building a following can be time-consuming, and many small business owners find Twitter confusing. Writing on Social Media Examiner, Stuart Davidson shows five ways to get going on Twitter (which had 241 million users globally in December 2013), along with lots of sound advice on good practices.

What Ads Americans Aren't Watching
Americans ignore online advertising at more than twice the rate they ignore television ads (82% vs. 37%), according to a recent survey from Goo Technologies. It makes sense, in a way: while TV ads are intrusive and annoying, in many respects they are the best-produced and most entertaining part of what's on television. This is not the case with online ads. More-affluent users are more likely to ignore online ads, while younger users are significantly less resistant. In a blog on Media Post discussing the survey, Jack Loechner noted that, "Overall, the 65+ age group ignored the most, while the 35-44 age group ignored the least." It probably comes as no surprise that the banner ad (a widely despised medium) is one of the most frequently ignored types of online advertising, at 73%.

Local Marketing SEO Myths
My favorite in this collection of mistakes and misunderstandings about search engine optimization for local businesses is the one about microsites. These are basically "dummy" sites that exist only to capture searches for the keywords in their URLs. Old-fashioned SEO firms still sell these to businesses as if they were some kind of magic (they're not). If you're uncertain about search engine optimization for your local business, read this article by Chris Silver Smith on Search Engine Land to get more-accurate information about the opportunities and challenges you face in getting your business seen online.

Restaurant Menus Now Available on Google Search
Good news for restaurant owners: Google's test of adding restaurant menus to its search results has taken a major step forward, at least in the U.S. Explaining the change in a blog on Search Engine land, Matt McGee pointed out that while Google is showing restaurant menus as a OneBox-style answer at the top of its search results, "There's actually more that we don't know about the menus than we do." For example, where is Google getting the menu information? How does a restaurant operator update the menu Google posted? What if a restaurant doesn't want its menu posted? Google's response to McGee was that the data comes from a third party, so far unnamed. A statement from Google said, "We get all of our menu data from a partner, similarly to how we show other types of answers, like weather. As our data comes from a 3rd-party provider, we cannot add menus for individual restaurants directly, but we are constantly working to expand our database of menus and restaurants." Restaurant owners should keep an eye on this new service to correct errors or misinformation about their businesses, and to stay current with the service as it develops.

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 daniel@daniellieberman.org.

Published: March 25th, 2014

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