Yesterday, Google announced that they will now make Google+ much more of a search companion than it was. Google will introduce a “personalized search” button you can click to see who of your friends have posted messages that align with your search. To be honest, I had expected things like this to happen from day one. I even blogged about how I expected Google to integrate Google+ into everything they do. And surprise, surprise. They did.
The funny part comes next. Now a lot of people are yelling about antitrust laws and how it is unfair to use your monopoly on search to promote your social network. Which is interesting in itself. I am not saying that they are not doing that. I am just looking at the people making that statement and that surprises me. One of the biggest complainers is Twitter. You know, the company who tried to use their monopoly in microblogging to promote their search capabilities. Apparently, after a period of working closely together, they then pulled Google’s rights to use the tweets of their users in Google’s search results. Only to come back to Google to offer them the rights to use the search at a figure “below $100 million”. Imagine their surprise that Google denied it and turned around to do it themselves. In an official statement sent to a number of news outlets, Twitter even speaks of Twitter as the world’s primary source of breaking news. And Google’s new search results will harm information reaching users. (Read the full statement on TechCrunch for instance.) I would almost call that a “We’re better!” attempt. In an interview with Marketingland Eric Schmidt says that they are not favoring Google+ and that they are willing to talk to Twitter and Facebook.
Honestly, unlike Twitter, I do see benefits for people searching. I believe integrating social networks into search can be a step forwards towards offering better search results. But it will be important for Google to get Twitter, Facebook and others to join their social search attempt. Because even though I do like Google+, I cannot and will not see it as my only source of social search results.
Oh, I will quickly log in with my Facebook account. Wait, I don’t have to register here, I can just use Twitter. Or LinkedIn. Or any of my other social networks. Throughout the day, you are giving lots of services permission to use your social network accounts. It may be for authentication at first, but you will almost always be granting more permissions than the service really needs. And over time, you forget which services were granted what.
Time for mypermissions.org. An easy service that shows a couple of big logo’s from the major social networks. Clicking them will take you to the permission pages for your network account on that network. An easy way to check who you have been granting permissions on what. And believe me, even if you are not that active, that usually still is a surprising list.
Earlier this week I came across a commercial from Dove that specifically asked people to like their Facebook page. In return for my click they offered me a €1 discount on one of their products. So, in essence they are asking me to connect my online reputation and my position in the time line of my friends to their brand. And in return? They are going to be giving me a buck. Seriously? Dove, what were you thinking? Offering a discount for linking or following might just be the ultimate way of failing on social networks. And Dove just topped that mark by stating that my loyalty to their brand and the attention of my friends is only worth a single Euro to them.
Getting followers on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any other network of your choice is about connecting. Connecting lives with your brand. Connecting personalities, connecting friends, connecting reputation, connecting values in life. It is not about the numbers. It is not about getting as many people as possible as fast as possible. It is about connecting and creating a useful exchange. Yes, I am willing to connect to a brand. In fact, I am very interested to connect to the brands I love because they are close to my heart. But there needs to be a useful exchange. I do not care about being a number. I care about being a person in contact with you. With your brand. Share useful things with me. I am not interested in brands that are just posting little updates on their wall for me to discover in my timeline. I am interested in brands that want to communicate to ME. Personally. To show me things that I am interested in. Things that I care to share. Reasons why I want to be part of the circle around them.
A simple lesson emerges from this. People who come in for a €1 discount are not really interested in you. They are interested in buying your product at bargain prices. Those are not the customers you are looking for. And people who love your brand will not come in on a discount offering as they feel you are not appreciating them, offering them a mere euro instead of a meaningful relationship.
I am a story teller. I love to tell stories and I explain lots of things through simple stories when I speak in front of audiences. I believe in brands, organizations, people and things that tell stories. I really do. But big changes are ahead. And those changes are going to hit using the story for your marketing more than anything else.
Why? Marketing stories are usually great constructed tales that involve product, emotion and something that makes them almost personal. Something that allowed the masses to relate to them in one way or another. And as a marketeer you could bring that story to your audience where they were in their masses. So, you would determine your target audience, pick a place where they were most likely to see you and you would tell/display your story there. Nice. But not good enough in 2012.
Will stories not work in 2012? Of course they will. Will you not reach that audience anymore? Of course you will. But much more effective ways are coming. And they are coming soon. What can be more effective? Telling the story on a direct and personal level. Tailoring it to the interests and enthusiasm of the individual in your audience, that will connect them to you more and give something back to them. Whether in connections, in experience, in exclusivity or in something that touches their personal interests. As social media are becoming more and more integrated into everything we do, the reach of the general story becomes smaller and smaller. However, the personal story is getting bigger and bigger. And as people are connected to their niche interests, their valuation of what you give them will reach many in their niche community. Impact changes. And as a brand/organization, you need to determine what your next move is going to be. Are you going to be sponsoring the next X thousand people event for €100.000? Or are you going to be splitting up the budget to do separate events that touch your audience directly and allow them to share your awesomeness with their networks? Because you can. You can make it far more interesting than a huge event can be. And you will make a better conversion.
2012 will see new technology to make this even easier. Google+ already launched group hangouts in December. Video meetings by several people, or even several locations, that can be watched live by your audience, but can also be recorded and published on YouTube. As social networks integrate more and more with all our communications, it will be easier to stay in touch with everyone and everything. But more conscious personal filtering by your audience (new tools are released every day) makes sure that if you are not SUPER relevant, they will not notice you. They won’t tune out of your story, they will never have seen it in the first place.
So, for 2012, make this new years’ resolution: I will be personal, relevant and I will reach my audience on an individual level, to have the biggest impact I can ever have.
So Google has launched Google+ Pages. And you have read my earlier post and would like to have one. Great. But how do you do it? Read on, I will tell you how. (Click any image to see a larger version.)
First off, you need to find the “Create a page” button which Google cleverly hid on the right side of your screen. If you scroll down, you will find it below your hangouts button. Click that and you are on your way towards making your Google Plus Page.
As a start, you will see a familiar page setup. If you have ever made a Facebook page, you will recognize this. The page gives you five choices.
“Local business or Place” where you can register if you are a business with a local focus such as hotels, restaurants, places, stores, services etc.
“Product or Brand” where you can register if you have a clear brand like Coca Cola, or if you are are selling things like apparel, cars, electronics, financial services etc.
“Company, Institution or Organization” where you can register if you want to build a page for your company, organization, institution, non-profit or to promote your organization as a whole.
“Arts, Entertainment or Sports” where you can register if you are involved in or want to promote things like movies, TV, music, books, sports, shows and whatever else you can think of that falls into this category.
“Other” where you can register if your page doesn’t fit in another category.
After making that choice, your next step is to add some basic information. For this example, I will be making a page for my company Relationists. Some of the fields you will have to fill out might be different depending on the category you choose. When you do a local business you need to fill out your location first for example. Other categories follow more or less the same lines as this example will.
After you have made your choice for a category, you get to name the page and link it to a website if you have one. You can also pick the category the page will be active in and who is able to see it. Check the “I agree to” button after reading the Pages Terms and click create.
You will then be taken to a new screen to customize your public profile. Here you can write your tagline. This is the line that is put underneath the title of your page. You can also add a profile photo.
After you click the Change profile Photo button you will be taken to an upload screen. In true Google form you can drag a picture from you computer onto the screen to set it as your profile photo.
After you have added a picture, you will be able to do some basic editing. Make sure your photo is square or you might loose parts of it.
With the photo on the page, you now get the option to spread the word. You can skip this if you like. There are more possibilities to do this once the page is finished.
When you do want to share it now, you get a popup that you can put your message in. After sharing, click finished on the bottom of the page to continue.
Congratulations, you have just made a page. But it is not finished yet. Amongst other things, there is nothing to see there. So, it is time for a first post.
The first posts works like any other post in Google Plus. You can type, add links etc. and choose the circles to share it with. Please keep in mind that circles for pages work slightly differently. You can only add people to the circle of your page after they have added your page to their circles. A good thing is the flawless switch between using Google Plus as a person or as a page.
Now you are ready to edit your profile. Make sure you are using Google Plus as your page and you will see a new button appear on the right side of the screen. It says edit profile and that is what it does. Here you can edit the About, Photos and Videos pages.
Adding an introduction to your page is easy enough. Just a text field with limited layout options, but enough to make a nice introduction. After adding the introduction, make sure that you add ways for people to reach you. Your page is only as good as the options are for people to get in touch with you.
At the top of the edit profile page you can also add a photo bar. A nice feature which we have seen at Facebook before. Here you can add five photos that will be shown as 125×125 pixel squares. Just click the photo bar to enter edit mode and you will be able to add individual pictures. Creating a continuous bar is easy when you know that the width of the whole area is 685×125 and that every picture is separated by 17 pixels. You can use my example cutout to create your own bar in your own image editor.
Click ok, stop editing and your page is ready to go. Enjoy. But do not leave it at this. Your page should be personal and active. Add to your stream and get people involved in hangouts etc. Only then will your page reach its maximum benefit.
Yes, Google has added pages to Google Plus. And even though you might think that this is not that big a deal, I think it could have a lot more impact than you think.
Google has launched pages that are not that different from what we are used to in Google+. That means that, unlike Facebook, a Google+ page is just a single page. No extra fuss. No extra pages. They might come in the future, but for now your page only has a block of five pictures on the top, a timeline and three links to a limited About page and photo’s and video’s that you have uploaded. The good thing is that Google has incorporated the regular Google+ features. Obviously you can add pages to your circles keeping their communications where you would want it. However, what is much more interesting is the option to create a hangout on your page. So, if you run a celebrity page, you can now do an online meet and greet as easy as planning a time to open up the hangout. The Muppets did exactly that yesterday when you could chat with Kermit and Miss Piggy. And yes, this is to promote their new show.
Google+ Pages put the focus on people even more than Facebook does. Their point is that their pages are a great way to connect to the team behind the brand, the organization or the name. A valid point. And one that could explain the lack of extra pages. Though they might add the option to create extra tabs and create pages in the future.
So, with the parts they are missing, why would Google Plus Pages be even a remote threat to Facebook? Search, that is why. Even though more and more people use social search -asking friends a question- Google still holds all the cards in search. We have seen the impact of that with the +1 button which puts pages your friends have liked on top of your search results. And it won’t be long until Google Plus Pages will be doing the same. Their pages will turn up before the Facebook version will. And that will happen across the board. Whether on the computer, tablet or mobile, Google Plus Pages might become one of the most natural entrances to your brand from the search results. After all the effort you have put into your Facebook page, you might not like the idea. But it might all be for the best if you are a company that takes its customers seriously. Because the entrance through your Google page might become your key to individual success with your customers. Hangouts with key representatives will get potential customers to connect to your products and services much more than Facebook will ever allow you to. And purchasing stays at your own doorstep instead of Facebook’s.
Do I think Google Plus Pages will be a success? Yes. By the sheer size of the Google Plus network? No. But by the integration that Google is rolling out into every single one of its products. And by the personal nature in which you can start interacting with your audience.
Today Facebook has finally launched its long awaited iPad app. There were rumors that it was postponed until the Apple iPhone 4S presentation last week, because it would be so wonderful. Well, to put it bluntly, I know why they did not show it. Yes, it is nice, yes it is by Facebook, but no, it is not shocking.
The iPad app has a nice feel to it. You have your continuing news feed taking up about 75% of the screen and then you have the chat option on the side. On the left side of the screen you can pull up a fast menu for navigating through everything Facebook has to offer, including apps. Interestingly, there is no “pages” button in the sidebar. And I doubt Facebook forgot that button. I am wondering what their focus on pages will become in the near future after they have rolled out timeline etc. for every user. Another interesting button is the checkin. Above the news feed you have the option to leave an update, add a photo or to check in. Previously Facebook seemed to loose its interest in check-ins for businesses. So, is this a turn from a course set earlier, or is the button still in because it was there in the initial development? Those are interesting questions.
All in all, the Facebook app is nice. It has a good Facebook feel to it and that makes it easy to use and very familiar. It is easier to navigate and a bit easier to work with, as all the areas are just bigger in comparison to running the site on Safari on the iPad. Bigger fingers will appreciate that. As for me? I just appreciate it as it is a well functioning app for a service I use a lot. However, the iPad app misses the new timeline, the ticker, the selected news stories and pages. And missing out on the four features I use most on Facebook is just too much. So, this is not an app I am going to use.
I came across this yesterday and just had to share it with all of you. Just for the fun of it. Getmap.me is not an extensive site with all kinds of extras. It just reverts back to a Facebook app. What is the biggest use of it? Well, its only use is to help you display a map of all the locations in the world where your Facebook friends are located. Pin it on your wall, make it your desktop background or whatever else you like. And just dream of all the places your friends are at. And where you can go. Or where you need to make new friends to cover the globe. Try it. It is fun.
The original. Click it to go to the full set with 10 filters.
Great news for a boring Friday afternoon. The Flickr app has finally come to Android. So, you now need to download it and go outside to take pictures of everything you see. The app takes the whole Flickr experience along to your phone. You can browse your photostream and the streams of your contacts. You can comment and share pictures on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, your WordPress blog or via email. Nice.
Obviously, no Flickr app would be complete without the option to take a picture and uploading it to Flickr straight from your phone. And this app does that. Or so I have heard from others, as it crashes on my Nexus S every time I take a picture. Luckily for me, you can also pull a picture out of your phones’ gallery and use that.
The new Flickr app has got 10 filters that can be applied to your pictures for that Instagramesque feeling. Does it cut it? Well, it comes close. The filters are nice and consistent, but without a picture that matches the filter, it won’t be nice to look at. I have taken a standard photo with some nice colors, sun and shade and you can see the filters at work.
Will I use it? Well, I am doubtful. Why? Well, first off, because it crashed on me. I tend to dislike that. Besides, I share most of my pictures through Mobypicture and use the Camera Effects app if I want filters. Is it a bad app? No, it is actually quite a nice app. Great controls and easy to locate what you need.
As an extra, Flickr has launched Photo Sessions. A way to share your slideshow with your friends regardless of the device they are on. And they can comment on your photos etc. Nice. But I miss the audio channel of being able to talk to your friends to hear them as you share the pictures. Just a thought.
The like button has only been around for about a year. Just a year. And look what it has done. It has brought over us a storm of people asking us to click that button for their sake. It has brought us services that have included their own version of the like button like G+, +K etc. It has brought us endless buttons that are published for the sole reason of sharing a story somewhere on a timeline in your social universe. And now Facebook has come and taken it all away again. And that is a good thing.
To be honest, if you are a marketeer and your metrics consist of measuring your Twitter followers and your Facebook likes, you might as well use the weather report to assess your business success on social media. Though this might sound a bit strong, that is the truth. Neither of these figures tell you anything about your position in social media. The trouble is that neither of these figures shows whether there is a relationship. You can have a million followers on twitter and nobody who is actively engaged with you. The same goes for your Facebook likes. They might not have anything to do with the engagement of your customers. One of the reasons people would have to like you, would be to be able to post to your wall. Facebook has announced that this will change and that non-fans will be able to post to your wall soon.
Recent surveys show that people only “like” about 10 brands on Facebook. This means that not even all of your fans will be liking your page. As a matter of fact, I own and use a number of Apple products but I have never liked Apple on Facebook. And I bet you can look around your house and say the same thing about a lot of brands you use daily. On the other hand, liking has never been and never will be the basis of conversion. Your competitor with less than 1% of your likes might have built a very engaged community which might quadruple his conversion rate over yours.
The new social graph approach with frictionless sharing (automatic sharing of your ativities) and a redesigned timeline will make sure that your community will not be seeing as much of you as you might have wanted. And their network might not come across you at all. With the recent addition of the ticker for less important and quicker news, we see that most branded content ends up in the ticker and scrolls off the screen within seconds for more active users. There goes your like-button strategy.
Marketeers, just like anyone else on social networks, need to go back to the basics. What is the best way to engage with my audience? How can I connect to them on a personal and relevant level. How can I make sure that I help my target audience reach their goals. And how and when can I communicate with them on a personal level, so I do not interfere with, but add to their experience. If you are a marketeer for a company, whether you are small business or working for a multinational corporation, you need to let go of everything that you have learned about mass communication. You need to look at your target audience and just ask yourself one simple question; How can I relate to all these people in the most personal and relevant manner? If you can answer that question right, you are on your way to social media success. Especially on the new Facebook.
Last Thursday, Facebook showed a number of new features to the development community. If you read tech blogs, you might have already read about most of the changes Facebook will be making in the coming weeks. But in all honesty, it is not just about the changes in itself. Facebook has started to move in a direction that we have all been expecting, but that we set in a far away future.
Facebook really is moving away from their social network status. They have turned around to the old saying that content is king and are building their own contextual and personality engines. They are working to share with me what I want to see. Serendipity goes out the door and is automated by their contextual engines ‘accidentally’ showing me exactly those things that I am looking for. It enhances my relationships with my friends on Facebook as Facebook emphasizes the ways in which we are similar and slowly takes out the bits that are less interesting.
And then there is frictionless sharing. Lets face it, this is something that we have been waiting for for years. You might not think so, but none of us really likes to spend time updating our social networks. In a lot of ways updating your network is time that could be spent on friends. Facebook is now offering you the option of updating your social network by itself, leaving you the extra time to spend on your friends.
There has been a lot of shouting about privacy and logging out of Facebook and using browsers in incognito mode. The funny thing is that most of us have Google accounts as well. They don’t log out either. In fact, they have not been logging out for far longer than Facebook has been tracking our web behavior. Does that make it alright? Of course not, but it means that we do need to make clear choices on what we share with whom. Not everything should be for everyone. That goes for the new Timeline feature (pic), but also for frictionless sharing. And that is no different than it was last week. We still need to choose who we allow to see into our lives. Like we choose who we let into our living room.
Personally, I think Facebook has done a great job. Yes, I am enthusiastic and I expect many others will be as well. Mainly because it takes the work out of sharing what you are up to and it allows you to work on your relationships instead of your sharing apps. And that changes the playing field completely. Lets face it, will I consider another network that will not allow me to share with similar ease? Facebook has been a standard for social networking for some time. This will ensure that they will be for a long time to come and that if you want your network to be successful, you need to stay close to Facebook.
Gisteren mocht ik voor de Zeeuwse netwerkclub Fun In Business spreken over het praktisch inzetten van LinkedIn. Net als bij de meeste andere sociale netwerken leeft ook over LinkedIn vaak de vraag hoe het direct wat op kan leveren voor je bedrijf. De essentie van die vraag zit, zoals altijd, in het stellen van duidelijke doelen en het richten op een duidelijke doelgroep. Daarnaast heb je natuurlijk de technische mogelijkheden die LinkedIn je biedt om je te profileren en zakelijk te netwerken.
Hieronder staat de presentatie die ik gisteren gegeven heb. Allereerst ga ik in op het inrichten van een effectief profiel. Daarna kijken we naar de mogelijkheden om je te profileren door het gebruik van LinkedIn Answers, de bedrijfspagina en natuurlijk de groepen. Ook komen er een aantal handige tips voorbij voor het starten van je eigen groep. Na het profileren kijken we naar acquisitie via LinkedIn. Er zijn veel mogelijkheden, maar ook veel verkeerde benaderingen. Er komen weer een aantal nuttige tips voorbij. Uiteraard mag op een avond over LinkedIn het onderdeel werving en selectie niet ontbreken. Ook daarvoor heb ik 15 tips in de presentatie gezet. Afsluitend kijk ik dan nog even naar een paar tools die het gebruik van LinkedIn leuk maken. Daarvoor licht ik er twee functies uit LinkedInLabs uit, maar ook de nieuwe startup Vizualize.me. (Kijk naar mijn eigen Vizualize.me profiel.)
Natuurlijk is de presentatie maar de helft van het verhaal. Voel je vrij om de presentatie te bekijken en de delen met anderen. Wil je het geluid bij de presentatie hebben, neem dan contact met mij op. Ik kom graag eens bij je langs om te vertellen wat de impact van LinkedIn, maar ook van andere sociale netwerken kan zijn op jouw bedrijf.