Tag Archives | social networking

Is it Time to Join Google+?

Google announced that search results will now include posts from its social network, Google+. Called “Search Plus Your World,” the new format will include public posts and posts shared privately with you by your friends. Search results will be commingled with Web results.

The new feature has generated a lot of comment, most of it critical. (Read the New York Times, PaidContent, Mashable, and SearchEngineLand articles to get a good overview.)

With personal results now turning up in a Google search, what does this mean for businesses and personal brands? While Google+ is still a fledgling social network, it’s potential shouldn’t be discounted. Search Plus Your World is a good reason to pay attention.

Every business should have a Google+ page, even if you have it on low maintenance. If you’re looking to promote your personal brand – whether you’re looking for a new job or new clients – a little bit of engagement in Google+ can be worth it. In the case of Search Plus Your World, it could be very worth it.

For example, let’s say your expertise is in Drupal development. Every week you write a blog post, and send about 20 tweets. If you share that content on your  Google+ profile, it will likely show up in search results when people in your network search for Drupal news and information.

And now’s a good time to promote thought leadership on Google+. Relative to other social networks, there aren’t many people there, so the content you feed into this network has a better chance of being seen. With social search, it has a better chance of being read.

Relationship Economy: Personal Branding on Twitter

How many postings like this have you seen this week:

“Unsubscribing from all my email newsletters so that I can start the year with a clean Inbox. Good-bye Groupon, LivingSocial, and Staples newsletter.”

It’s not just email that needs cleanup. Your social networking channels probably need some TLC too. I’ve been cleaning up my Twitter account, unfollowing inactive accounts and marking others as spam (Ashley from Houston with 0 tweets, following 6,453: It’s time we said good-bye).

Some followers’ profiles, though, don’t just scream: “I’m an Ashley too!” Unfortunately, they are very ambiguous, making it hard to decide whether to cut them.

The problem is that many people don’t take the extra step of completing their profile. So it’s incredibly difficult for me to decide if I should continue following them, especially when they don’t tweet often. If I’ve met them somewhere in person, it’d be really rude (and disappointing) to unfollow, just because I didn’t recognize their online persona.

This is the Relationship Economy. Your next job or client will come from the relationships you build both online and off. This won’t happen unless you open up and let people know who you are. Here are three easy steps to keep yourself from losing followers:

  • Write a sentence to tell me who you are, what you do, and what you’re tweeting about.

Ken Mueller of Inkling Media is one of my favorite marketers to follow (@kmueller62). He has a fabulous – and very informative – profile:

Social Media/Inbound Marketing Strategist, Inkling Media. Music, books, coffee, & Philly sports. If you want me to follow back, tweet at me! I work on a porch.

To paraphrase a line from The Social Network, have you ever learned so much from just a couple of sentences? He even includes a call to action. And he works on a porch! How cool is that?

  • Include a photo!

Anatomy of Twitter Profile

This matters more than you think. We live in world of visual thinkers, where we gravitate to images before words. It’s much faster for us to recognize a face than a name. So, if I met you at a one-day seminar, I’m quick to make the connection when I view your photo.

You may be reluctant to post a photo of yourself for privacy or security reasons, but I believe that the benefits outweigh the risks. (Remember that new job or client?) If it’s truly a problem, create a gravatar, use a logo, or find an image that represents who you are in some way.

I’ve seen people use cartoon characters, images of inanimate objects such as typewriters, and photos of birds or flowers. You can also be clever with photos of yourself: hide behind sunglasses or be waving from a distance.

However, I much prefer to put a face to a name. I’m much more interested in what you have to say.

  • Tweet at least twice a day.

Finally, if you want me to follow, you must tweet. I always read the last few tweets someone has sent before I decide to follow them. If you haven’t sent a tweet in three months, it tells me you’re not serious. If your last three tweets read like advertisements (“Free Credit Card Consolidation!”), I’m unfollowing.

Be assured, it’s fine to lurk – for a time. Twitter is much more useful to all of us when a conversation is happening. So, listen for a bit, then jump in and tell me what you’ve got going on.

Diane Thieke now hopes that she hasn’t encouraged anyone to unfollow her after reading this post. Probably Ashley, but that would be ok. Follow Diane on Twitter at @thiekeds.

What is Pinterest and What Can it Do for Businesses?

Pinterest is a social network that launched in March 2010. Currently, Pinterest  is invitation only (I have invites, so comment below or email me if you’d like one). It has been growing like crazy, so it’s worth checking out.

For me, Pinterest solves a critical pain point. Keeping track of the latest technology, communications, and social media trends and stats is one of my biggest challenges.  I couldn’t settle on a simple way to keep relevant ideas together in an orderly way. I needed something that was easy to scan and search, was fast to create, and that I could share with clients.

Spreadsheets and Word docs were cumbersome, and not easily shared. Evernote captures info with a click and its search feature is amazing – it even searches the text of images. But it’s not very social.

And then I discovered Pinterest.

What is Pinterest? A Virtual Pinboard

What is Pinterest? A Virtual Pinboard

Most of the users (apparently) are women, and this virtual pinboard is used to create image collections around shopping, food, and art. Popular uses include planning a wedding, decorating your home, and swapping food ideas. Retail marketers should be paying close attention.

Here’s how it works: Start a board about a topic of interest, download the Pin It bookmarklet, surf the web, pin images of items that you find interesting. Once pinned, the image retains the original link, so you can easily surf back to the source.

Because it’s visual, it’s easy to scan board items and keep track of things you care about.

I’ve adapted my boards to business use: I’ve started boards to track trends and stats, books I recommend, and my favorite websites for monitoring innovation and future thinking.

I think Pinterest has huge marketing potential for retailers, small businesses, and B2B. Wedding planners could use it to help brides evaluate catering and flower options, for example. For B2B, it’s a great way to collect and share thought leadership.

I know it appeals to women, but honestly, can’t you see this as the perfect place to run your fantasy baseball league?

Definitely one to follow in 2012.

Diane Thieke is trying to find a way to pin her hopes to Pinterest. Email her if you’d like an invite to Pinterest.