Harnessing the power of Google Analytics

Nate Silver correctly predicted the electoral college results of all 50 US states the 2012 Presidential Election. His blog was the most visited page on the NY Times website during the election. This would make him the world’s leading political analyst, except he is a statistician. Despite stinging criticism from journalists and politicos who called him a ‘joke’ and his skill a ‘numbers racket’, Silver’s success shows that data does not lie.

If data can predict something as notoriously difficult to call as voting patterns, then figuring out people’s habits online should be easy. And it is when marketers make use of the analytics tools now available. Many social media sites have analytics features built in that businesses can access to track traffic to their pages.

The leading light in web analytics for marketing is Google Analytics. There’s so much information at your finger tips if you know how to use it. We at ChatterHound hold training workshops to help businesses use Google Analytics to make their online marketing more effective.

Contact us if you’re interested in learning how to track your online campaigns and make the most out of your website.

What is Google Plus?

Google + Circles logoGoogle Plus now has 100m active users. It has been described as an information network where people can share and follow interests rather than a purely social site like Facebook. So how do Google Plus features stack up?

 What are circles?

Google Plus allows you to group people into circles. This mean you can pick and choose which content to share with different circles.  It’s not a new idea. We’ve always had different relationships with family, close friends and work colleagues, Google Plus just allows us to do it online. The default circles are Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Following, and can be renamed at any time.

 The Following feature is similar to Twitter. You can follow celebrities or thought leaders in your field. There are some great circles for online marketers

Circles are private. Nobody knows which Google Plus circle you’ve put them in. They can’t see the name of the circle or who else is in it.  Somebody else may have you in a close friend circle while you group them as an acquaintance, they’ll never know.

Hangouts

Hangouts are video chats with a group of up to ten people. It takes what people love about Skype and adds a social element. Families or groups of friends with people scattered around the world can catch up at a time pre-scheduled using Google Calendar.

Businesses or NGOs can use Google Hangouts to hold meetings. A great feature is that people can share screens or watch the same YouTube video during the Hangout.

Celebrities and public figures often hold Google Hangouts on air, streaming Hangouts publicly on Google Plus profiles, YouTube channels and websites. YouTube can automatically save the Hangout to be shared like any other video.

 

Google + 1 vs Facebook Like

Google Plus 1 buttonWhen you Like something on Facebook all your friends can see it in your newsfeed for a while. But then other things are posted and your like gets buried . The difference with Google Plus 1 is that when your friends later do a Google search for that product or topic, your +1 will be displayed in their results. The buzz lasts. This makes a Google Plus 1 much more useful to marketers than a Facebook Like. 

 

Games Tab

Facebook game and app invites constantly popping up on your feed can be very annoying. Google Plus instead has a games tab where people can check what others have been playing lately and then start competing with friends.

What does Facebook have over Google Plus?

Abandoned Grand Central Station NYC

700 million more users. At the moment Google Plus could be compared to a beautiful building with nobody in it. But as Google Plus becomes more integrated with search and SEO, it is only a matter of time before more people start to take advantage of it’s features.  Google Plus hit 100 million followers a lot quicker than Facebook or Twitter. Is the next stop global domination?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why use online content marketing?

Who would you listen to when deciding what to buy? A sales person who only pushes the benefits of their own product or service? A trusted expert who gives you valuable advice?

Content marketing is about creating and sharing free content that builds a relationship with customers.  Although the content can and should be related to what you sell, it is not a form of advertising.  The most important thing is to be informative, helpful and – if it’s not too much of a stretch – entertaining.

people dancing

Viral is healthy

With online content marketing, businesses create content that speaks directly to their target audience and promote it using their websites and social media.

Thanks to the  power of sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, businesses have lots of opportunities to share their quality content for free. Content that catches on and shared by a lot of people is said to have gone viral.

Practically useful content or posts that arouse emotion in people are always more likely to be shared. You should also try to make it visually interesting – a good picture, infographic or video often gets shared.

SEO benefits

In 2011 search giant Google changed their algorithm to prioritise fresh and original content.  This was seen by many as the nail in the coffin of traditional SEO, where web companies could use tricks to appear higher in search ranking.  Due to this change online content marketing is now at the core of  search engine optimization. This is because websites with relevant, good quality and frequently updated content such as blogs will rank higher than those with flat, unchanging content. Traditional SEO tactics such as link building and keywords content should also be built into your content to maximise reach and effectiveness.

 

Don Draper from Mad Men on the phone

Don Draper just heard that content is now more effective than advertising. (Image copyright of AMC)

 

Web traffic drives sales

Content is the best way to get people to like and trust your brand. This is what conventional ad campaigns used to do but can’t seem to do as well online. This criticism does not apply to Google Adwords or Pay Per Click campaigns.

Online content marketing such as blogging and social media can drive traffic to your site that you can focus on converting into leads or sales.  See your businesses as fulfilling a need or desire and let your content reflect that. The more informative and/or entertaining the online content, the better chance you have of converting visitors to customers.

Be patient 

Online content marketing is not a quick fix but could transform your business over time. It

Aerial view of Rome

Rome: Construction took a while

takes planning, hard work and dedication to identify your target market and craft quality content. It is easy to dismiss something that may not immediately generate revenue, but effective online content marketing will ultimately pay off.

Which Social Media Sites are Best Suited to Your Business

When choosing a suitable social media site for your business it is important that it is in fitting with the type of attention that you are hoping to attract to the site. As is the case with any product, service or promotional campaign it needs to be positioned in the right place, at the right time and to the right people in order for it to be a success.

To demonstrate this point further let us look at the example of the potential advertising campaigns of a business. The business in question will need to analyse what are the most effective ways of reaching their target audiences for their products and services. Depending on the type of business, the type of product or service being offered, the demographics of the target audience and the impression the business wants to make they will opt for different advertising tools. This can range from television ads, newspaper ads, billboards, sales promotions and the many options available online. It makes no sense for a business to advertise in a local newspaper if their target audience are mainly reached online and so on.

The same principle applies to social media sites. Some social media sites are more suited to particular types of businesses than others. A business will hold a clear advantage in the market if it is present on the correct social media sites, this being the same social media sites as their target audiences.

Facebook offers an excellent opportunity for businesses to avail of Business to Consumer (B2C) opportunities. The main audience that businesses target on Facebook are consumers or individuals who use the site. Facebook is an excellent means of developing awareness of a brand or product.  Facebook also offers consumers the chance to interact with a brand or company by having the opportunity to post queries or observations about a brand or product online and have the unique experience of having their query answered directly by the company.

Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is a professional network and involves Business to Business (B2B) interaction. LinkedIn consists of purely professionals, therefore it is the perfect method to generate product, service or brand awareness among other businesses. LinkedIn offers the opportunity to create groups and this is an excellent way of involving customers and to advertise to people that you feel will benefit from your product or service.

Twitter can be used by businesses along with Facebook or LinkedIn or as a sole means of social media representation. Twitter allows business to keep consumers or other businesses up-to-date through short posts. A company’s presence on Twitter can be hugely beneficial if it is monitored correctly and updated regularity. It allows regular posts to be made and encourages interaction and feedback from customers. On the one hand, the very public domain of Twitter may not be advisable for businesses that do not respond well to negative posts. On the other hand, it is a priceless opportunity for businesses to respond successfully to negative posts and display their customer service skills.

As a general guideline of what social media sites to choose for different types of businesses the following examples will hopefully help to shed some light on the choice.

TYPE OF BUSINESS RECOMMENDED SOCIAL MEDIA SITE
Local businesses
Local shops
Small businesses… selling local produce, food, drink, services and so on
Facebook / Twitter
Professional services companies
Business accountants
Software programmers
Web site designers… selling specialised highly skilled products to other businesses
LinkedIn / Twitter
Businesses looking to promote their goods and create a buzz online while increasing their customer levels Facebook / Twitter
Businesses looking to network, create contact lists, find suppliers and buyers LinkedIn

Hopefully the above tips will help you to determine which social media sites are best suited to your business and help to successfully establish your business online.

Why are Social Media Sites Necessary for Your business to Remain Successful

It is safe to say that almost everything imaginable has developed some form of online presence in recent years. It should be no different for your business. There is a huge amount of activity online and it makes no sense to be missing out on what could be the start of something huge for your business. Social media allows contact between businesses and customers to develop into a two-way communication process with businesses not only promoting products and services but listening and responding to customer feedback. It is essentially about the customer’s experience and how a company can make itself as appealing as possible to the both current customers and potential customers online.

FACEBOOK

LINKEDIN

TWITTER

What is it? Facebook is a social networking site which is equally suitable for both businesses and individuals. LinkedIn is a social networking site which is specifically designed for a professional community. Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging site designed for individuals and professionals alike.
What does it do? Facebook allows users to create a profile, send messages, upload photos and videos, advertise to determined demographics, and to create and promote public pages around specific topics. Members can establish networks with people that they are professionally linked to. LinkedIn displays members’ professional criteria including employment and education history. Twitter allows users to create posts no longer than 140 characters long, which are known as ‘tweets’.
Privacy Requirements Privacy settings are an optional extra however, remaining as a ‘public page’ will allow a company’s Facebook profile to remain searchable. LinkedIn requires that members confirm how they are connected through selecting a number of possible options The default settings on Twitter are public so anyone can follow a Twitter profile without being accepted to do so.
Cost A Facebook membership is free of charge. A basic membership on LinkedIn is free. However, it is possible to pay for a membership which offers more to users. Membership on Twitter is free. Although there is an option to pay for a ‘verified account’.
Advertising Advertising is available to businesses on Facebook with different price ranges depending on the size of the advertising campaign. Advertising on LinkedIn is available to businesses. Twitter has an option for ‘promoted tweets’ which is available to businesses for a small fee and is a means of advertising on Twitter. It ensures that posts are high ranking in relevant searches.
Advantages As people share a huge amount of personal information on Facebook it is possible to target users by specific demographics.Users choose to interact with a business so your posts and messages will only be viewed by those who have chosen to interact with you. You can be confident that your posts are reaching the right audience. Advertising on LinkedIn has proven hugely successful as all members on LinkedIn have established either their employment or education status. This makes it possible to target specific demographics and ensure it is your target audience that are aware of your campaigns. Posts on Twitter are saved to the Twitter website and are both searchable and public. Twitter allows customers and members of the public to interact instantly with a company and likewise allows businesses instant access to communicate with customers.
Important Points Facebook users can choose what pages and businesses they ’like’ and interact with.It is essential a company or product Facebook page is monitored to ensure positive feedback with customers and any negative comments made can be acted upon. Connections can only be created on LinkedIn with individuals with whom existing relationships already exist. These relationships will need to be verified before a link can be made. It is important to note that the public element to the Twitter application allows posts to be made freely by members of the public regarding businesses and products. It is vital that company Twitter accounts are constantly monitored, and customer queries are responded to as soon as possible.

When deciding on what social media outlet is best suited to your business it is important to first understand the purpose of the different social media outlets available and then decide which is best suited to generate awareness of your company online.

It is important to choose the social media site that you feel is the most appropriate for the type of service and products that your company offers customers.

The only thing left to do is to sign up and see how these social media sites can benefit your business!