Google+ Reaches 90 Million? Kind Of.

google+ larry pageGoogle CEO Larry Page announced last week during the year-end earnings call that Google+ (Google Plus, or G+) now has over 90 million users. This is in addition to the amazing growth in the single month of December, where Google+ saw almost 20 million new sign-ups, much of it through the millions of brand-new Android devices unwrapped during the holiday season, according to Google+ watchers.

Google+’s last official estimate, in October, was 40 million users. And though Page claimed that 60% of Google+ users engage with Google every day, he did not specify if these 54 million users were engaging with Google+ pages or the other wide range of Google products.

Google also reported its first $10 billion quarter, and they’re up 50 million Android devices since last quarter, bringing it to 250 million.

At any rate, Google+ is only 6 months old. It took Facebook almost a year to reach one million users. Google+ had 10 million in 16 days. On the other hand, Facebook is expected to reach the billionth user mark by the end of this year.

(Do any business owners have any doubts right now as to the reach of social media networks? If you do, please, call us. We’ve got some talkin’ to do.)

As for Google+ and Larry Page, we’re going to file this under “one to watch.”

B2B Social Media Marketing

b2b social mediaAs a business owner, you can no longer ignore the role social media plays in the survival of any business.

You may think that Business to Business has nothing to do with social media; you may be surprised how vital B2B social media is for your business’s success.

6 Steps to Get You Started with B2B Social Media Marketing

Step 1: Understand what you want B2B social media marketing to achieve for your business.  Remember, with B2B social media marketing, it is a means to an end. This golden rule will help you measure your B2B social media marketing success. If, at any stage, you are unable to identify what you are trying to accomplish, you are wasting your time. Begin your B2B social media marketing by setting one or two clear goals and always have them in mind as your guide throughout your marketing efforts.

Step 2: Find your B2B social media audience. The main point of B2B social media marketing is to successfully reach your target audience. Find out where your customers spend their time online. Where are they most vocal? Identify the proper channels to address. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time.

Step 3: Develop the proper B2B social media content.  Of course, everything eventually boils down to proper content. Why is content strategy essential in B2B social media marketing? What type of information is relevant and interesting to your target audience? It’s something they’re already talking about. It becomes a matter of creating content and then using the proper methods of distributing that content — which differs from audience to audience (that is, from industry to industry).

Step 4: Consider Search and SEO in B2B social media. Be search engine friendly as a matter of course throughout your B2B social media marketing. People Google their questions and do their research through search. Customers and clients go online to finalize their purchase decisions. Optimize everything. Leverage keywords so they find you when they’re ready to make a deal. This is where your B2B social media marketing feeds into your bottom line. 

Step 5: Establish a digital footprint for your B2B social media. Leave a description of your business and an active link for users to click on, everywhere. Besides supporting your SEO efforts, active links are a direct line to your website so users can find it with minimal effort. At the very least, put a link to your site on all your landing pages, welcome pages, and profiles (where applicable) on all your B2B social media channels.

Step 6: Hold yourself accountable. Business requires trust and reliability. Be who you say you are. And establish a regular process for reporting, such as through analytics, so that you can measure your business’ progress at the end of each month.

 Summary

One important thing to note through all this is that running a B2B Social Media marketing campaign requires a lot of hours. Keeping open communications with people you regularly do business with is one thing. But knowing when to outsource is a smart move. A good Internet marketing team can improve targeted traffic and:

  • Create fresh content and push it out on a daily basis
  • Keep an eye on analytics to measure your business’ reach — then interpret and act on the insights provided
  • Manage accounts to make sure you’re not missing important communications with potential business partners and customers
  • Optimize everything

Call us if you need help. We can do all of the above. With a smile.

Social Media Ads: Facebook Users Click Ads Twice as Often than Twitter and Google+

Facebook ad campaignsChitika, a data analytics company, has released a study that reports Facebook users click on ads more than twice as often as Twitter and Google+ users.

“Given the announcements and roll out of new social media advertising programs on platforms including Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, we wanted to investigate where advertisers will have the highest potential to engage with users based on CTR (Click Through Rate),” a representative for Chitika said.

The study measured the Click Through Rate (the likelihood of a user clicking on an ad) of different social media users, taking data from referrers. Essentially, what it looked at was which social media advertising platforms were bringing in the most traffic. It examined which social media networks provided the Click Through links that landed users on websites in their sample. For example, if a user saw a link on Facebook and clicked it to get to iquariusmedia.com, Facebook would be considered the referrer. The data was narrowed to include the Click Through Rate of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+  — and it was this data that was the basis for the report.

The compiled data set included millions of impressions from social media, which yields the Click Through Rate of the average user on the three social media networks.

In the same report, it was stated that social media users click on ads on Google+ and Twitter with about the same frequency (Google+ at .1% and Twitter at .09%). Facebook measured a .24% Click Through Rate.

There were several key points about social media advertising addressed in the report.

  1. The best social media network to run an ad campaign on is highly dependent on the type of campaign being run.
  2.  A time-sensitive ad campaign may benefit from Twitter’s promoted trends
  3.  Simply using Google+ to promote products or services may have new benefits to search visibility
  4.  It is possible to optimize for all segments of web traffic

“As always, a cost-benefit analysis is key to identifying which platform (if any) is worthwhile for your product or service,” Chitika says, “…and when making the final decision on an ad campaign, it is essential to keep your target market in mind.”

Optimizing Your Social Media Ad Campaign

As marketers, we are excited about the possibilities of optimizing your ad campaign for different types of audiences. We are incredibly optimistic about Google+’s new functionalities and interconnectivity with Google Search — and what that can mean for your marketing strategy and search visibility. We like the growing sophistication of analytical tools for Facebook and Twitter and are confident that they can help us design an ad campaign that is optimized for you as well as for your product or service.

What to do:

1. Call us to tell us what product or service you’d like to promote.

2. We’ll make our recommendations about which social media networks to run your ad campaign on.

3. Then we’ll work with you to custom-fit the ad campaign around your needs and budget.

4. After you make your final choices, we’ll execute the plan within hours.

Google Starts Getting More Personal Today (1/10/12)

google peopleStarting today (Tuesday), Google search results will start looking different more frequently for different people. Google will start including content from their social network, Google Plus (G+), including photos and comments, when it performs a search. This way, search results will be more intimately tailored to each user. The search engine will even start incorporating content from their older photo service Picasa.

This feature will automatically be made available to all English-language searches conducted by users who are logged into Google. This is just one step toward one of Google’s most ambitious goals. Eventually, Google hopes to amass enough information about each person’s individual preferences and interests in order to provide custom-fit search results. Google is calling this functionality “Google, plus your world.”

People signal what’s important to them through what they do and share on the social networks, and it’s this information that Google is in the business of curating. Facebook has greater insights into personal tastes, though, because of its 800 million users sharing 1.5 billion photos each week. This is the territory that Google is hoping to encroach on with these new additions to their search.

Here’s the part we wanted business owners to hear.

In more general searches, like “music”, “sports”, “fishing”, “design”, you name it, Google will generate a drop-down box of suggestions from companies, people, and places that have accounts on Google Plus. Couple that with Google’s ability to localize search results — and the fact that Google Plus signed up 20 million users in December alone – and the implication for companies is huge. This brings the idea of targeted traffic to soaring new heights.

[Existing clients: Call us, as always, if you want more information on how Google fits into your marketing strategy and what we can do for you. Potential clients: Ditto.]

Damage Control in the Age of Social Media

If you have a one-star rating on Yelp, or some disgruntled customers are taking their complaints to Facebook so that all your other “loyal” followers can see it, what do you do?

Have you been following what’s been going on with Fedex and the videos, spreading virally across the Internet and social media, showing their delivery people abusing their customers’ expensive-looking holiday packages? The way we see it, they’ve gone a few hours over their response time already.

Social media is the easiest way to build – and break – your brand. When you’re visible on Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, StumbleUpon, etc., you’re potentially in front of millions. If you’ve got negative sentiments about your company or brand floating around the Internet, how do you swat it out of the air? What if it’s as serious as a company boycott organized on Facebook?

You can try old media techniques, such as issuing a formal company statement – and get promptly ignored. Blanket statements and one-way “conversations” don’t work. When you’re hit on social media, social media is the only thing that has the reach and the speed to fix it.

As business owners and social media marketing experts, we know this about your social media connections: if you ignore them or underestimate them – it’s at your peril.

From one end of the spectrum to another, social media is changing the game. Aside from all the celebrity backlash and corporate misfires that we witness constantly, it’s hard to ignore the power and reach of social media when we can watch something like the drama of a revolution unfolding in the Middle East through tweets and Facebook groups.  No one is immune – and that includes individuals, politicians, corporations, and entire governments.

How old media stacks up against social media: it doesn’t.

Kanye West and Pepsi

When Kanye West snatched a microphone away from Taylor Swift at the VMA show, he made quick enemies of his own fans as well as Swift’s. He won back much of his fanbase by apologizing on Twitter. Similarly, Pepsi was quick to take their apology to Twitter when they received backlash for an insensitive ad depicting “one lonely calorie” committing suicide.

What Kanye and Pepsi had in common was that they knew they were going straight to the people who cared the most. The point is, your followers are already oriented toward you, and it’s up to you to honor that.

The Domino Effect

Back in 2009, a couple of Domino’s employees posted YouTube videos of themselves doing disgusting things to the food they were about to deliver. It went viral with over a million views in just a few short days. A Google search for Domino’s treated users to references to the video – about half of the first page of search results. Of course, the news took off on Twitter. At first, executives decided to lay low and hope the controversy would die down. That’s when it snowballed.

Domino’s spokesperson Tim McIntyre said they were “blindsided by two idiots,” and that, “Even people who’ve been with us as loyal customers for 10, 15, 20 years, people are second-guessing their relationship with Domino’s, and that’s not fair.”

It wasn’t until they retaliated through social media that things started to get under control. They realized that a lot of the Twitter comments and questions were, “What’s Domino’s doing about it?” Domino’s responses weren’t being covered in Twitter. So, a couple of days after being alerted about the videos, the pizza chain had put their CEO on YouTube and created a Twitter account to address the comments.

By responding quickly on the proper channels, Domino’s diffused a PR nightmare.

The Taco Bell Lawsuit

If you get attacked through social media, you have to fight back through social media. If you get caught in a traditional attack – like a lawsuit – you still have to fight back through the social media networks.

When Taco Bell had a class-action lawsuit thrown at them saying their meat wasn’t really beef, they fought back on Twitter and Facebook. They linked to Stephen Colbert on Twitter to provide comedic commentary on the controversy; they offered free tacos on Facebook and invited customers to make up their own minds. The bottom line is that, despite a hit in overall sales, they still have seven million fans on Facebook. And the lawsuit? Dropped.

The Bottom Line

Social media has the power to accelerate and amplify your message and your credibility (or lack thereof). 

Success and failure can hinge on how well companies understand this.

It starts with getting into the conversation. And, just as in “real” life, being heard isn’t about talking the loudest or saying something over and over, hoping it’ll stick. And simply feeding commercial messages into your social media stream will only get you ignored and un-followed. It’s all about sincere participation. Social media has brought people closer to their idols and other public figures like never before. And, yes, to corporations and companies, too. It’s about sharing information, not manipulating the truth, so that what you are on social media honestly represents who you are and what your business means. That’s how you stay safe on social media.

Bad news and negative publicity can spread like wildfire through the social networks. But so can good news and good customer service. Proper management of your social media marketing is crucial. If you’ve got bad reviews or complaints in public forums like social media, respond properly. And do it fast.  If you don’t have time to manage your campaigns or keep tabs on social media, get someone who can (we can think of a pretty good team if you’re having trouble finding one). And be who you say you are.

Social Media is Here to Stay | Supplement Your Business Website

social media marketingIf  you have been reading blogs about marketing businesses,  you’ve  been bombarded with talks about how social media marketing can strengthen your marketing efforts and how it is important to find the right social media company to represent your business.  While many website owners and business owners understand the influence of social media,  many businesses don’t think they need social media marketing to strengthen their chances of landing clients. Many business owners think that this is just another expense on their part. Truth be told, social media marketing is the most cost-effective method to market and promote your business. Hiring a good social media manager is the fastest way to dominate social media channels.

Having a social media strategy is imperative for survival in today’s evolving global market.

Once you are getting regular quality traffic, there’s a small possibility you could  stay visible using traditional SEO methods. The problem is, your competitors have already found an inexpensive and effective marketing resource and are using it.  Time to consider getting on board.

Once you’ve decided to hire a social media consultant and have created a foundation with different social media sites, you have started the journey. It’s a great way to send traffic to your website.  But, it’s way too much for one person to handle. It takes a team of talented professionals to deliver your message and all that you want it to convey. So don’t delay. Do your research and ask questions. Take note of the word on the streets. Find a social media company that you feel is right for you and your business. (We know where you can find a good one, you know.) Good luck.

Pixar’s Next Movie Gets A Mysterious Photo Blog

Pixar is known for its long development cycles: the Emeryville, California-based company can take years to churn out a new animated movie. Now fans will be able to get an oblique sneak peek inside the studio’s next film — thanks to a new blog started by Lee Unkrich, a director and member of Pixar’s creative team.

The blog, simply called “Lee Unkrich,” will feature one image a day for the development cycle of the new, untitled film. That could mean a lot of updates. Unkrich already guessed, via his Twitter account, that he may be chronicling for up to four years.

Right now, the blog only has two entries. The first is captioned “The starting line.”  The opening image — a close-up of a Mac keyboard — doesn’t give away many clues. The second entry is titled “My standard lunch” and shows a bowl of broccoli and a sandwich. In other words, the blog looks like it will touch on things both central to the film and charmingly off-topic.

The blog is a nice way to share exclusive content with Pixar fans, but we’ll see if Unkrich can actually keep up a photo-a-day for the entire development process.

Is this Lee Unkrich feeling the attraction of engaging with fans on a daily basis? Because, if so, we know exactly what that’s like.

The Cyber Monday Myth

Cyber Monday is a myth. Let’s put that a little more accurately: Cyber Monday was a myth. It started as a marketing ploy by an e-tailers’ association that encouraged its members to create special ads for a Monday in 2005. Sales were good, but not the best – and they haven’t been the best.

Until last year.

In 2010, Cyber Monday became the first online shopping day to surpass the $1 billion mark, exceeding all expectations. It was a marketing campaign turned self-fulfilling prophecy.

There’s more.

The next two weeks or so after the initial Cyber Monday sales brought on the second, third, fourth, and fifth heaviest sales days of the entire year:

  •  Green Monday (12-13-10) brought in $954 million
  • 12-6-10 did $943 million
  • Free Shipping Day did $942 million
  • and 12-16-10 rounded out the top 5 with $930 million

Local businesses (with Small Business Saturday, for example) as well as the big retailers are going so far as to cut into their profit margins to market for Cyber Monday and Cyber Week. For many retailers who make upwards of 40% of their entire year’s sales during this period, the cost of not getting in on the action is steep.

The rules are simple.

  1. Join the fray. Create the discounts for your store or services and start marketing. It means nothing to do one without the other. The discount can be simple, and it doesn’t have to be for everything.  Saturating social media with “Cyber Monday this” and “Cyber Monday that” and that without having a deal to back it up is not a good idea. Not that a lot of retailers don’t do it – but consumers are also especially wary of that kind of thing during this season.
  2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Think of Cyber Monday as a kicking-off point. Use the momentum to fuel the rest of December’s sales.
  3. Keep Internet marketing content fresh, and keep it coming. Consumers – and while we’re at it, Google – is looking for mentions of Cyber Monday of THIS year. Tag, link, blog, etc., accordingly.
  4. Stay real. Seriously. Being too sales-y will just get you lost in the noise – there are thousands of retailers out there spouting sales copy, and the trick is to not sound like them.
  5. Get help. It’s exhausting enough being a shopper during this season, let alone a business. Hire an Internet marketing team, or load up your existing team with work.

Black Friday doesn’t have the numbers to back its claims up as the busiest shopping day of the year. Cyber Monday does. Get marketing. Can you afford not to?

It's A New World and Social Media is Here to Stay.

At iQuarius Media, we speak and interact with company owners, as well as marketing and advertising professionals, on a daily basis about things such as social media, web marketing, online video marketing, email marketing, and even text message marketing. It’s an exciting field to be involved in. Without exception, every business owner wants to solve the same dilemma: how do I get the absolute most bang for the buck out of my advertising and marketing budget? It’s a tight economy today and maximizing resources is an important component of business if one wants to attain — and maintain — success in the marketplace.

Cue internet marketing and social media.

Where else does one tap a potential client base as large as the Internet for pennies on the dollar? Nowhere. If you’re not taking advantage of this precious opportunity to advance the growth of your business, you may want to move into the right lane because passing is in the left lane. If you’re not utilizing this cost-effective means of promoting your business and/or website, you risk losing your loyal clients, as well as a vast well of potential clients, to those entrepreneurs who have the foresight to understand that social media is not just a trend. Social media is a new way of life.

Before you get started…

Once a business owner has decided to make use of the social media platform to help their respective business progress, there are a few things they should keep in mind.

  1. Definitely do some research and ask some questions about the company you are considering hiring. Hire a reputable and well liked company that has some experience and tact. The company you decide on could make you or break you.
  2. Make certain to negotiate a contract before venturing into business together, so that both you and your social media company are legally protected.

Those are the basics. Now we  can move on to the main purpose of this article: to accentuate the benefits of having a social media presence to make your business more effective and far-reaching.

Social Media is global.

Building a social media campaign is THE most cost-effective method of online advertising and promoting. Think about it: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter are free. In addition, there are literally hundreds of other less popular websites that can help your business get the exposure it deserves.

All of these networks have a reach that spans the globe. Why not attempt to reach out to this global market? A perfect example of this is Twitter, where one can log in at any time of the day or night and see real-time tweets from Japan, England, France, and India, to name a few.

Social Media is the new momentum.

Social media enables you to join groups of people with the same interests and goals. On LinkedIn and Facebook, one can join groups on yachting or interior design or web design. The possibilities are limitless. Think limitless when you think of all of the potential clients out there in this massive world of ours. The ability to have direct contact with people who have the same interests and hopes and dreams as yours is amazing. So get on board the greatest momentum shift to happen in eons. You have no excuse not to.

So Why Social Media Marketing? Why Bother?

Based on a current Razorfish Consumer Experience Report, 49% of Internet users now buy something according to suggestions they acquired via a social media site. Yet, only 25% of companies employ a Facebook page. Is it just us, or are the numbers a little off here?

Social networking online communities are breeding grounds for connections. Consumers are discussing your products, your services, as well as your organization itself, on social media sites such as Facebook. It’s inescapable. Are they going to understand how to locate you? Social media networks are where the PEOPLE are.

Let’s say there was an expo taking place in which 300 million people would be attending, and we offered you a totally free presentation area. Would you accept it? Of course you would. Facebook, for instance, keeps growing at a rate of 600,000 new users a day. Attention spans continue to keep getting shorter and trust in advertising and marketing will continue to deteriorate. The only real option you’ve got is to take part in the already occurring conversation. You probably know this. We trust our friends a lot more than those overly pleasant folks in commercials. You could be the voice on television that gets ignored, or you can befriend your customers on Facebook, or Twitter, or the ever-expanding Google Plus. The call is yours.

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