Friday, November 25, 2011

Creating a Google+ Page for your business

Earlier this week we talked about what benefits a Google+ page can bring to brands and businesses today we’re talking about the basics of setting up your own Google Plus business page.

Creating your own Google+ page is quite straight forward but would benefit from a bit of strategy about how your business wants to use the network. To start, simply log into your Google account or create a new account if you haven’t already got one for your business. Please remember to ONLY HAVE ONE Google Account for ALL your Google Products. Next, navigate to your +You profile page. On the right hand side there will be a box with the topic “Create Google+ Pages” click the “Create Google+ Page” which will take you straight to the sign up page.

Whilst configuring your business Google+ page, you can set it to be invisible to others, so they can’t see your edits.

When making your Google+ page, it is important that you select an appropriate category and fill in as many details as possible; add links, images, choose an appropriate title and when you’re happy with the appearance and functionality of your page, go ahead and make it public. To access and manage this new page you will toggle between the profile and the page.

Remember the Flashlight Search Marketing team can set this up for you, if you haven’t got the in house resource to complete and optimise your Google+ page.

If you’re hunting for ideas for your business Google+ page, why not take a look at some of these already established brands, such as H&M, Pepsi or X Games.

Once you’ve put together your page, please find a selection of opportunities to develop your Google+ page and some pointers to be aware of as aof25th November 2011. Google+ will be evolving and refining the network with new features and tools over the coming months.
Opportunities to develop your Google+ page

Flashlight can offer lots of useful page optimisation tips on how to use configuration tools for developers and linking your Google+ page and your website in webmaster tools.

We recommend:
  • Connecting your accounts from other services
  • Creating video for your news feed because videos are weighted more heavily that other types of content
  • Learning how to build campaigns on Google+ differently to the Facebook and twitter channels
  • Making use of the feature introduced on 2 November 2011 that allows you to +1 a photo
  • Adding a reciprocal social share badge link back from your Google+ page to the main page of your website.
  • Selecting tabs to display to your visitors
  • Reviewing how your profile appears to different people
  • Checking out how linked sites are eligible for Google Direct Connect
  • Utilising the feature of +1’s being shown with your brand page and search ads
  • Considering a future best practice strategy for linking the Google+ page to an Adwords campaign

Limitations and things to remember

  1. Ability to link page to Adwords Campaign not yet implemented.
  2. Google+ will not allow brands to run promotions or competitions directly on the social network - although you are allowed to display a link leading to a separate site where a promotion is being hosted.
  3. Need a maximum 10 participants to hold a hangout.
  4. There's a 90 minute check-in to make sure you're still there.
  5. Can’t rename photo albums once created.
  6. Does not have the ability to create multiple administrators to a page.
  7. Unlike some other Google webservices, Google Analytics is not currently integrated completely with G+, however referrals will appear from
  8. Does not have the ability to customise the URL / no vanity URL yet.
  9. You aren't able to see a complete list of the people included in your extended circles; it's a collection of people that's frequently changing.
  10. If a given page isn't in the circles selected to be displayed on your profile, that page won't be able to display your profile as among those who are following it.
  11. A page admin cannot add people to the page’s Circles unless that person has already added the brand to their Circle
  12. Use a clean URL when you add your content to Google+. Google+ hasn't been translating URL shorteners well, so our tip is use a link from the source.
  13. Instant Upload is only available for Android devices (2.1+) with the Google+ app installed.
  14. Google is not including the +1 button on mobile search results at this time. However, users may be able to see any +1 buttons they have added to web pages.

We have already set up a number of optimised Google+ brand pages for our clients, if you would like the Flashlight Search Marketing Team to developme a strategy or set up a Google Plus page for you, or if you’re interested in learning more about how your business can establish/improve their online presence, please call the Rocktime Sales team on 01202 678777, or use our contact us form to set up a meeting to discuss how we can assist.

Author: Fiona Anderson & Alice Cheetham

Monday, November 21, 2011

Google+ for Businesses and Brands

As we're pretty big fans of Google, it's no suprise we’ve talked about Google+ and how it squares up before, and now we're back there again!

This month finally sees the release of Google+ for businesses, so now we’ll be taking a look at what Google+ has to offer you as a business, or brand owner.

The Google+ strap line is ‘Real-life sharing, rethought for the web’ and refers to G+ as a social networking and identity service. Summarised it is a tool to help businesses communicate; ‘you share, they recommend, you both connect’ in short and it will make a difference to businesses that already use Google Products and that have embraced communicating and listening to audiences .

Google+ has a number of tools and features on offer.

  • Google Circles allows you to organize friends and acquaintances according to real life social connections, great for customisable list building and communications.
  • Extended Circles allows you to share content with those who are one degree removed from yourself.
  • The Stream allows you to see posts in real time of particular Circles, and any comments made will be visible to all Circle members.
  • Group and Video Hangouts allow you to hold video meetings, seminars or conferences with followers and fans without the need for additional software or websites.
  • Google+ also integrates smoothly with mobile and has its own app for Android phones; there is also a messenger function, games and profile verification.
  • Links can be added under the category of either recommended links, other profiles (web pages about yourself) or contributor to (sites you have written for), there is also, of course, the +1 Badge, which we’ve also talked about previously.

It is worth noting that +1’s will be shown with your brand page and search ads. A +1’d page shows prominently in the search results, with a trusted face attached called ‘authorship on search results’; an endorsement by people recommending your product or service.

Perhaps one of the most interesting features (exclusive to) Google+ is Ripples. Google+ Ripple is an interactive diagram that shows how a Google+ post spreads as it’s shared by users and you can look at this information for any public post on Google+.

So why is this useful for a business? Well, you can see an overview of who the top sharers of your content are, how the posts spread, what languages the sharers use, as well as the timelines and a detailed view of sharing within different circles.

Google+ Ripples
Not only does this make it incredibly easy to measure the impact of any campaign or content, but because all Ripples are totally transparent, you can look at an end goal and, to some degree, engineer your own Ripples.
For example if you see an influencer you want to get content too, by looking at who’s content they’ve shared themselves (and so on) you can work back through the Ripples to see what users you need to target content at, so that it might ultimately be shared by your influencer.

Let’s have a basic rundown of the benefits;
  1. Brand building

  2. Full integration with other Google owned products, such as YouTube, and Google cloud services, such as Picasa or Blogger.

  3. An attractive prospect to marketers; integration of Google+ searches within Google.

  4. Well designed user interface

  5. Real time updating

  6. No character limit (i.e. 140 characters on Twitter)

  7. Multi-media rich

  8. You can use Hootsuite to manage Google+

  9. Approximately 40m early adopter members, which represents just a fraction of the overall Google users, so a huge potential user base.

  10. Your Google+ page will rank higher then Facebook in Google searches for your brand name.

  11. Profiles can be optimised with meta and anchor text

  12. Ultimately, tracking traffic and conversion rates from your Google+ page will be easier, although Google Analytics and G+ are not currently connected; it’s definitely in the pipeline.

  13. For Local Businesses, a corporate brand page can be set up, then different Google+ pages for each local business.

  14. Google+ is content driven and can be used to share highly focused content that will track well in niche searches, Google+ brand pages could be used as landing pages in their own right.

  15. If you type ‘+’ into the Google bar followed by the brand name, its page will come up in the search drop down

  16. Social share badges to link your Google+ page and your website

Flashlight has already outlined strategic use of Google+ for clients. It is worth noting that ‘Google+ is not Facebook’. It is certainly more about doing business with likeminded people in your network; and as such, a business would benefit from outlining how a Google+ page will benefit them specifically, what type of content would naturally be of interest to their network and what tone of voice to use.

Google Fresh, the latest ‘Google Update’ is all about trust and authority and it encourages businesses to follow the good practice ‘business conversation and content guidelines’ outlined by Google and in return, Google returns these businesses high in the search results.

Google+, used appropriately, in conjunction with a good website, will improve a business’s chance of being found in a Google search. Google dominates the UK search engine market with a 90.59% share of the market.

If you’re interested to learn more about Google services and networks of interaction, and how the above can benefit your business, why not get in contact with the Flashlight team and see how they can give your business or brand a helping hand.

If you are reading this out of office hours, please use the contact Flashlight form and we will get back to you to discuss how Google+ can form part of your overall channel optimisation and campaign marketing strategy.

Check out the Rocktime Social blog later this month for a quick overview on the ins and outs of Google+ for businesses, and what to be aware of.

Author: Fiona Anderson & Alice Cheetham

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Geek Video of the Month

Spotted by our Technical Director, Kieron, this month we’re checking out some seriously ‘cool’ science!

With video courtesy of the Association of Science–Technology Centres, physicists from Tel-Aviv University have put together this fantastic demo of the phenomena of quantum trapping and quantum levitation.

Because of the way superconductors and magnetic fields interact, the cooled superconductor is held in position above the magnets. If you’re interested in learning more about the physics behind this demonstration, why not read up on their site or check out this video, which gives a breakdown of the process.

Author: Alice Cheetham

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Adwords Location Targeted Improved

This time last year we were letting our clients know that local search engine optimisation was destined to be a hot topic in the natural search engine result pages. We advised our clients of the numerous ways in which our clients can increase their local traffic via natural search (i.e. not paid for search adverts) this included geo tagging, local business adverts, local mentions, local social network tribes. Paid for options have included local directory listings and local targeted paid search adverts.

Over the last year we have been working on our local targeted proposition and in the new year will be sharing with you a selection of success stories.
A recent development with location targeting is: at the end of October 2011, Google Adwords team announced that the local targeted features within Google Adwords are getting a makeover.

Google has noted that several businesses have been using Google location targeting features to drive more qualified customers through to their websites. With tighter targeting, Google report that one of their customers (digital agency) was able “to lower their cost per click (CPC) by 36%, driving in higher quality leads at a lower cost”.

We are pretty excited about the new location features, as it will make it easier to discover and obtain more detail for our clients, on potential target locations. Google is providing more information on ‘reach numbers by location’ to help estimate the potential audience/ leads available. These numbers relate to number of users seen on Google products in a given location and should be viewed as trends rather than accurate figures.

To find out more about the improved Adwords Location Targeted development, talk to the Flashlight “Local Targeting Ambassador” Fiona Anderson, or visit the Google Adwords Insider Blog here.

The above image shows current location targeting feature “Polygon targeting”. This feature is being migrated by the end of 2011. Google recommend using the ‘Target a radius’ feature which allows you to selectively add locations within the radius target. To help determine which to target, we suggest you should run a geographic performance report to get an idea of which locations received traffic within the custom shapes and then target those individual locations.

You can engage with Fiona on Twitter @GeekChicSocial; let her know you read this blog, as she loves Maps, Local, Google and Geo chats.

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Friday, November 04, 2011

‘Street View’ Google Map Indoors Photos Go Live

After the Google Street View service that allows viewers to view the exterior of a business, Google adds a new feature to its Google map services by allowing users to see 360-degree street-level images of the interior of various businesses, including restaurants, hotels, retailer shops and gyms etc.

This new feature has been discussed in news and in social platforms for a while and we have been watching and waiting for this evolution since before April 2010 when Google invited US businesses to have their business photographed.

According to BBC news, Google officially announced a pilot project in selected locations including London, Paris and a number of cities in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the US.
"Building on the Google Art Project, which took Street View technology inside 17 acclaimed museums, this project is another creative implementation of Street View technology, to help businesses as they build their online presence," a company spokesman told the BBC.
"We hope to enable businesses to highlight the qualities that make their locations stand out through professional, high-quality imagery." he added.

Having indoor photos on Google Maps, which are taken by Google photographers, will be valuable for local businesses that depend on local patronage. Customers check where to visit or eat/drink on the web and give importance to ambiance, merchandise, layout, or decor when choosing where to go. Thus, this application will definitely contribute to a businesses’ ‘online presence’. Businesses have an opportunity to become successful and benefit strategically from the interior photography.

This development made Rocktime Flashlight team excited as we optimise location based platforms like Google Maps as part of our local targeted campaigns created for various clients, in order to increase local awareness and reach. We have already applied to Google on behalf of our boutique hotel clients to have their beautiful rooms and sports facilities photographed by Google photographers. In brief, we, Flashlight executives believe that Google Map Indoors Photos will bring extra value to local businesses, and we hope this service will be available in more cities soon.

Our Google Places optimisation for clients usual results in page one positioning for preferred keywords, after a period of 4 to 6 weeks, depending on competitiveness. Please ask the Rocktime Flashlight Team if your business would like to achieve this success as part of an integrated digital marketing strategy.

Author: Aysegul Yigitbasi