Why Google Plus Matters for Marketers

google plus logo

I’ll admit when I first heard about Google+, I wasn’t thrilled. I thought: no, please, not another social networking site. It began to feel like every other day something new came out, and they pushed and pushed, and they were all going to be the next big thing.

Plus (no pun intended), I already had Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts, which took loads of effort, time, and commitment to stay active. I didn’t need another social media site—or so I thought.

I will tell you: Google+ is necessary for brands and marketers. Here are a few reasons to get on Google Plus:

  • 359 million monthly active users are on Google Plus. This is huge audience your company could be reaching, but isn’t because it’s not on Google+.
  • 70% of business brands have a presence on Google Plus. Who are these brands? Oh, they’re just your competition.
  • Google favors Google+ Pages in search engines results. This could mean a higher ranking for your company on Google search results.
  • +1 is clicked more than 5 billion times a day. Consider a +1 a “vote” for your company, like a favorite on Twitter or Like on Facebook.

P.S. Take a look at the ranking factors for Google search

ranking factors on Google search

  • Google+ is growing at 33% per annum. This is an incredible statistic for a platform just three years old. It’s also beating Facebook.
  • Google+, Twitter, and Facebook are the top three social media sites used by marketers. You should be on all three.
  • Brands’ Google Plus posts generate nearly as much engagement per follower as their Facebook posts and almost twice as much engagement per follower as their Twitter posts.googleplus interactions
  • 20 million unique mobile monthly users are on Google+. If you haven’t heard, mobile is everything.
  • Authorship (your picture + link next to search result) helps improve click-through rates. This helps you build influence.
  • Circles make it easy to group different people into categories and share the right content with the right audience.
  • Google Hangouts. These integrated video chats allow multiple users to “hang out,” or connect, in real-time. Think of all the opportunities to interact and engage.

And in case you’re not convinced, here is an awesome video about Google Plus that should do it for you:

So, next time you tell someone about Google+ and get a reaction like this….

G+ Mean Girls

…you’ll know exactly what to say.

Join me on Google+ and let me know how you like it!

Why I Got HubSpot Inbound Certified

Inbound Marketing Meme

I’m not sure what exactly piqued my interest in inbound marketing. Maybe it was HubSpot’s INBOUND 2014 conference, maybe it was HubSpot’s IPO. Whatever it was, HubSpot made inbound marketing a hot topic, at least in Boston. It certainly caught my attention, and I realized just how important and relevant it is. But what exactly is inbound marketing? This is the question I struggled to answer. And more importantly, how does one do it successfully?

These questions led me once again to HubSpot’s site, only I looked a little deeper this time. I came across HubSpot Academy and all it has to offer: certifications, webinars, examples, user groups, and more. The Inbound Certification, which is open to everyone, seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn and educate myself about inbound marketing. I earned my HubSpot Inbound Certification in one weekend.

The Inbound Certification

The certification consists of eleven courses that cover the core elements of Inbound Methodology. From the essentials of an effective inbound strategy to the fundamentals of blogging to cultivating happy customers, the classes provide a deep and clear understanding of what inbound is all about.

Each class is roughly 45 minutes long, and although this seems like lot to tackle in one weekend, HubSpot does a great job at keeping viewers entertained with amusing images, charts and graphics, along with a catchy tune that somehow didn’t get old. The courses are further broken down into chapters, and each course closes with a few key takeaways and additional resources to clear up any possible confusion. I appreciated the real-life examples provided to illustrate some of the more complex concepts.

For me, the sales and “smarketing” classes were totally foreign. I never learned past the attract and convert elements of the methodology. If this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry. Start taking some courses, and HubSpot will clear everything up.

What I Learned

I learned a heck of a lot from the inbound classes, including some best practices for the various social media platforms, the four elements of a quality landing page, and how to best align content with the buyer’s journey. By the end, inbound marketing will make sense, I promise.

I highly recommend this certification program to every marketer, especially college students studying marketing. Inbound is the future of marketing, and sadly, university programs take far too long to catch up. Fear not, this program has got you covered.

The Exam

The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice and true or false questions that address important lessons from each course. You have 75 minutes to complete the test and three chances to pass it. If you don’t pass the first time, you will have to wait 48 hours before giving it another go. To earn your official certification, you must receive a 75% or higher on your test. The certification is then valid for 13 months from the month you received it.

Here are some tips for passing the exam:

  • Watch the classes in a quiet space where you can focus and won’t be distracted—Some lessons are more complex and will require your full attention.
  • Take notes as you learn—This will help you make sense of things, and you can refer to your notes as you take the test.
  • If something is not clear, use the additional resources provided—Take advantage of the extra resources at the end of each class to really drive home an idea or concept.
  • Thoroughly read the study guide provided—HubSpot has an awesome study guide that will prepare you for everything covered on the exam.
  • Check out this article—The 45 Inbound Marketing Terms You Should Know

Good luck and happy studying!

The Ten Critical Things Public Relations Students Must Know About Google Analytics

Knowing how your audience interacts with your website is crucial for your success. Google Analytics is free and relatively easy to use for tracking websites, blogs, Facebook pages and more.

 google analytics

  1. Google Analytics provides information on who visits your site, where they come from, and who is most valuable to your organization, which allows you to better identify your key audiences.
  2. The platform tracks the search terms people use to find your site and what they search within your site, which provides information on what your buyers are really looking for.
  3. You can learn how people find your site, whether from search engines, direct links, or referral links on other sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
  4. Google Analytics tracks how many people visit your site and when spikes in traffic occur to show you what content is most popular.
  5. It tracks how much time people spend on your site and which pages retain users the longest so you can better tailor your content.
  6. The platform shows how people interact with your site, whether they download your documents, play your videos, or click your call to action links to help you best position your content.
  7. You can discover what keywords drive people to each page on your site and which keywords bring the most conversions.
  8. Google Analytics tells you which browsers/OS your audience uses to help you make smarter decisions on your sites layout and design.
  9. The platform shows which marketing initiatives and online ads of your campaign are most effective.
  10. It also allows you to pinpoint where people leave your site. If you know what exactly drives people to leave, you know what to focus your efforts on improving.

How Businesses Are Using Pinterest: the power of visual images

Pinterest is a web and mobile application that offers visual discovery, collection, storage, and sharing. Users create and share collections of visual bookmarks, called boards. Boards are created when a user selects an item and pins it to a new or existing board.

Basically, it can be seen as a counterpart to Google, in which users know what they are looking for. Pinterest, however, is all about discovery.

Pinterest

Photo found at http://bit.ly/1wxi5HO

More often, people are using Pinterest to shop. In fact, 70 percent of users use Pinterest for inspiration on what to buy, and 69 percent of consumers claim to have found a product on Pinterest that they bought or were interested in buying. Businesses such as Target, Nordstrom, and Whole Foods are tapping into the visual-oriented social network to promote their brands and drive users to their e-commerce websites.

Target, for instance, launched its Target Awesome Shop, which features the top-trending items on Pinterest and the top reviews on Target.com. When you click on a pin for more information, you are redirected to Target.com, where you can add the item to your shopping cart. As a result, Target has seen a 70 percent increase in traffic from Pinterest to Target.com, according to Target Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones.

Quick Tip: Publish high-quality images and use Rich Pins for a higher chance of your post being viewed and shared. There are five types of Rich Pins: product, place, movie, recipe, and article. If you’d like to promote a product, Rich Pins allow you to provide information on pricing, location and availability. Pictures that contain a product’s price have a higher click through rate than those that don’t.

Nordstrom uses Pinterest a little differently. It uses Pinterest to decide which merchandise to feature in stores, with a special red tag on shoes and handbags most popular on the social network.

Whole Foods uses Pinterest boards to capture the company values in areas such as community and the environment, healthy eating and education, and natural and organic foods.

For inspiration, check out How 5 Businesses Are Using Pinterest to Creatively Promote Their Products


Good News For The Holidays

Pinterest has proven to be a major force in holiday retail, helping consumers find products and retailers identify trends and market to the right consumers.

Pinterest Grid

Photo found at http://bit.ly/1pO9auh

A study of Pinterest users by market research firm Lab42 found that 54 percent spend more time on the site during the holidays and 94 percent say it has changed the way they make their holiday preparations.

Over the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday, Pinterest doubled the revenue sent to retailers on Black Friday. And on Cyber Monday, Pinterest revenue more than tripled.

Marketers and retailers, take note.


How Does Pinterest Compare to Other Social Media

Compared to other social medias, Pinterest generates double the referential traffic than Twitter, Google and LinkedIn combined. This is a great opportunity for marketers and retailers, who have the opportunity to capitalize off the power of visual images.

Pinterest shoppers spend significantly more, averaging $140 – $180 per purchase, compared with $70 – $100 per order on Facebook.

Check out this Pinterest VS Twitter VS Facebook infographic for more information.


Some Key Facts About Pinterest to Consider

  • The majority of users (68.2%) are female
  • Fifty percent of users have children
  • The majority of users (27.4%) are between the ages of 25 and 34
  • Annual household income is $100,000+
Pinterest Infographic

Infographic by Modea, found at http://on.mash.to/1wxhohG

How are you using Pinterest?

The Ten Critical Things Public Relations Students Must Know About Google AdWords

Google AdWords is a pay-per-click marketing service that allows you to create and run ads for your business. Advertisers can bid on the keywords that they want to bring up their ads in the search engine results page. Google decides which ads are displayed and in what position based on each user’s maximum bid and quality score.

google adwords

  1. The single most important factor is relevance. Google wants to connect searchers with ads that match their search query and give them what they are searching for.
  2. AdWords has customizable options that can be used to narrow your audience by location, time of day, language, browser, or device type to help you hypertarget your audience.
  3. You can discover how effective your keywords are and refine them to develop effective campaigns.
  4. AdWords provides a Keyword Tool in case you have writer’s block to help you find relevant keyword ideas.
  5. It gives you a major advantage over your competitors with potential to receive more clicks from search results.
  6. The service enables you to advertise to prospective customers who are more likely to search by topic rather than your organization’s name, as current customers might.
  7. You can target your ads on mobile phones, tablets, and other devices, which are becoming increasingly popular.
  8. High quality score lowers your cost-per-click and leads to more impressions. You can improve your quality score by implementing relevant keywords and an easy-to-navigate landing page.
  9. You can set a limit on cost per day, allowing you to budget your campaigns.
  10. You can use Google AdWords in other ways, such as selling your car, getting accepted to college, landing a job, or even a date!

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