Action Plan: Google+ Pages

google-plus 1Your Google+ Page promises to be a powerful tool in your marketing, but for now, information on making it so seems to be all over the place, as well as changing daily.  It’s easy to lose track of or miss opportunities, when setting up your Google+ Business Page if you don’t keep a few, core steps in mind.  This Action Plan will help you make sure no steps are missed, as well as assisting you to set things up quickly and easily.

Setting Up A Google+ Page for your Business

Setting up a Page for your business is simple — but it has to integrate with your Google account, so if you are setting one up for a client, ensure that client understands you will be using her Google account log in information — not yours!

What You Need to Have Ready:

While in the signup process, you will need to enter at least two of these three criteria, depending on the Category you choose:

  • A valid phone number
  • Your location
  • Your profile photo or Logo graphic (preferably square, though Google+ allows you to not only drag and drop but drag and position)

When you’re ready…

  • Go to https://plus.google.com/pages/create.  It will prompt you to log into your account, if you haven’t already done so.  (If you have already logged into your account, you can simply select the “Create a Google+ page” beside your stream.)


  •        Select the category most appropriate to your business.  Your choices are:
Category Description
Local Business or Place Hotels, restaurants, places, stores, services
Product or Brand Apparel, cars, electronics, financial services
Company, Institution or Organization Companies, organizations, institutions, non-profits
Arts, Entertainment or Sports Films, TV, music, books, sports, shows
Other Use if your page doesn’t fit in any of the previous categories

(Note you will only need your phone number for “Local Business or Place”)

  1. Select “Create”, and follow the prompts to add:
  • A powerful tagline of 10 words that best describes your business
  • Your profile photo or graphic

Inserting a photo is even more easy than usual:  Not only can you drag and drop your photo directly from your desktop, you can also select the area of the photo you wish to use, much as with re-sizing Facebook thumbnails:


Your end result — however the shape of the original — has to be a perfect square…


That’s all there is to creating your page!  (Took you just a few minutes, right?)

“But Wait… There’s More…”

If you stop at simply having created your Page, however, you’ll be disappointed in the results.  Even at this early Beta stage, there are a few vital tips and tricks that can significantly push your sites and Page up through Google search results.  Number one you’ve already taken care of — you’ve created the +Page.  Now you will need to amplify its power by installing a +1 Button on your site, so people can “vote” for you.  This includes not just subscribers and followers, but members of the general public who happen to organically find your site — helped by your strong Google+ listings, of course.

You see, Google+ Pages with real clout automatically open at the actual Page, if searchers are savvy enough to type “+YourName or Keyword” in the Google search box (Direct Connect)…


You can tell at a glance if a search parameter auto-connect and open up an existing Google+ Page:  The Page graphic and tagline will instantly appear in the drop-down Suggestions.  If you hit “Enter” on seeing such a result, that Google+ Page opens up.

The flaw?  Not all existing Google+ Pages open up or even show up, even if they exist!  However, you can weight your newly-created +Page to rise through the ranks and be eligible for Direct Connect by ensuring you employ a few simple strategies…

Step One:  Be Ready to Share!

As you finish creating your page, you’ll be given the option to share it.  Make sure you are prepared and ready to go.


(Google really does make it easy for you to cover many of the bases!)

 Step Two:  Setting Up your Google +1 Button

The number one key strategy lies in setting up a Google+1 button on all your websites; then publicizing the fact you have one and directing people with a call to action to “like” it.  (Don’t detract from the value of Google +1 buttons, however, by using emotional coercion, or +1 buttons will soon sink to the level of Facebook’s value-less “Like” buttons.)

Setting up your button and choosing the icon size is simple, and you don’t need step-by-step instructions.  It consists of:

  1.     Grabbing a snippet of JavaScript code. (Install this anywhere on your site.)
  2.      Scrolling further down that page and customizing the HTML code generated.
  3.      Insert the generated code in your web page at the spot you want your +1 button to appear


What the +1 button actually does is:

  • Help people discover “relevant content” (including ads) — from personal recommendations
  • Display your own profile photo, when you “like” a +1 button on someone else’s Page, site or Circle.  (You can choose to “hide” this, if you prefer.)
  • Allows others to recommend your own sites or Page
  • Allows others to see which of their own friends and connections has also personally endorsed your listings
  • Allows others to see how many +1 ratings you’ve received.  (You can customize this not to show, if your business, website and/or Page is brand new.)
  • Increases your sites’ relevance and value in Google’s eyes, upping your SEO status and rank
  • Increase your visibility and prominence in search results

Remember, however, that any page or site you add +1 to will be public — even if your Robots.txt file or WordPress blog settings are set for “nofollow”.

Step Three:  Enabling Google+ Circles

This area of Google+ already plays a big part in Google+ Page engagement and promises to grow in importance, so you might want to adjust your settings to automatically add Pages to your own Circles.  Here’s how to do it…

  1.     Click your profile picture in your Google+ menu bar, at the top of your page
  2.     Select “Account Settings”
  3.     Select “Google+”

Scroll to the bottom and customize your “Google+ Pages” settings

Here is where updating your page with fresh content really becomes part of a vital strategy.

Step Four:  Creating a Badge

Creating a Google+ Badge for your site is not the same as creating a +1 button, so don’t confuse the two.  You can simultaneously create your badge and your page; or you can copy-paste your page URL into the box provided:


Continuing down the page, you will select the size of badge you prefer…



This is the ultimate goal you are aiming for, when it comes to boosting your Google+ and Google+ Page rankings.  Google freely admits eligibility is “determined algorithmically”, based on:

Step Five:  Google+ Direct Connect

  • Relevance
  • Popularity

The most crucial defining factor is the number of links between your site and Google+ Page.   If you have followed the previous steps, you are already well on your way to becoming eligible.  All you need to do is:

Regularly interact with Google+, supplying relevant contact (Links, posts, keywords)

  • Pay diligent attention to ensuring your content is not only relevant, but original and valuable too
  • Educate your audience (especially those you network with) about Direct Connect and how it works.  They’ll particularly need to know that the option to sign into Google+ so they can add your page to their Circles is only offered the first time they visit your Page — after that it has to be added manually, which reduces the chance they’ll do so

Once Google perceives your value, you stand a much better chance of being admitted to the hallowed halls of Direct Connect.

This brings us to our last step (until Google+ rolls out more features)…

 Step Six:  Promote Your Google+ Page!

Television long ago learned the secret to engaging viewers and netting high conversions:  Namely, spelling out the obvious and telling viewers exactly what to do next.

And just as TV ads also employ the principle of repetition, you must realize that promoting your +Page is an ongoing responsibility.

Here’s how you can encourage your visitors and subscribers to spread the word:

  1.        Share your posts — but remember, even if you share a post from your Google+ Page, those in your Circle will actually see it as coming from your Profile.) And keep your content as consistent as your daily involvement:  Remember your main area of focus and use your best keywords, as naturally as possible.
  2.       Link your Page and your website or blog.  You may think you’ve already done this, if you’ve installed your Google+ Button on your site — but it’s actually a two-step process, to be effective:  You also have to add your site to your Profile!

Here’s how to do it, using a current browser such as Google Chrome…

  • In your browser, find your picture and select it (the top right corner)
  • Select “Profile”


  • In your Profile, select the “About” tab


  • Select “Links” and then “Add a Custom Link”
  • Enter (a) a Title (b) your URL
  • Save
TIP: Don’t skip this step — it’s currently the only way to ensure your site becomes eligible for Direct Connect.

 

 

  1.      Link your Google+ Page to your AdWords campaigns — Do it by making sure you include your +1 button in your ads.
  2.      Post Consistently — Regular updates and fresh content will add to your Google value. This will help build a firmer foundation for your +Page

Along the way, as you grow more familiar with your Google+ Profile and Page, you’ll discover other ways you can help boost your +Page popularity:  Enabling Google+ for Mobile (if you have the right type of phone, for example; as well as joining the Preview Platform so you can receive advance improvements ahead of the crowd.

Become familiar with the refinements available through Google Support Plus.  Be sure also to actively report bugs and provide feedback to Google+ (as well as never promoting your Page with the same dirty-pool, emotional blackmailing techniques that Facebook users quickly learned to employ).

The more you engage and bring quality to your Google+ Page, the more directly you will be rewarded in Google SEO.

It’s true that “you get out of it what you put in” — but fortunately with Google+ Pages, these six basic steps provide a solid foundation to help you easily and effectively get started.

Top 10 Ways to Grow Your Twitter Following

its-twitter-time-free-icon-setHaving a strong Twitter presence is essential for your online business strategy. It allows you to quickly respond to real time events, make announcements that people pay attention to, distribute content, build trust and put out fires. Also, the larger your Twitter following, the better your chances are of creating content that can “go viral.”

Growing a Twitter following from scratch can be intimidating. How do you go from zero followers to hundreds to thousands to tens and hundreds of thousands? These are ten of the top ways to grow your Twitter following. Use these to kickstart your Twitter account or help it reach the next level.

#1 – Search Your Databases

 

People often under estimate the amount of contacts they already have. Searching your databases and adding followers is a fantastic way to get new followers.

Start with your shopping cart buyer list. Since you’ll always have their first name, last name and email address, you’ll often be able to find people’s Twitter usernames. Also, check out their website and look for a Twitter contact if they provided a website during their checkout process.

Follow anyone who has already bought from you. Since they already know and trust you, there’s a very good chance they’ll follow you back.

Next, go to your autoresponder contacts. Again, search by names and emails.

Finally, search through your existing email contacts. Import your Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and other contact databases and look for people who know you. Follow them. Most likely, they’ll follow you.


#2 – Search Your Brand Name and Add Followers

 

Look for people who’re already talking about you. Since they’re discussing you, there’s a good chance they’ll be interested in following you.

Search for your brand name, your product name and any other relevant keywords using Twitter’s search function. Then follow them. You can also @reply them to increase the chances that they’ll follow you.


#3 – Follow Leaders and Join Conversations

 

Use tools like WeFollow.com, Klout.com and PeerIndex.com to find influential people in your industry. Follow these people and look for interesting conversations.

When people talk about something interesting, join in the conversation. Post insightful @replies and comment on popular relevant hashtags.

This allows you to leverage other people’s brands and other people’s influence to help you build your follower base.


#4 – Blog Commenting

 

Find high quality blogs in your industry. Leave high quality comments that offer value to other readers. Provide tips in your comments that other people would appreciate.

At the bottom of your post, sign off with your Twitter handle. People who appreciated your post will come and find you. Some blogs even have a plugin that allows you to include your Twitter name or you may be able to log into Twitter to post.

Note: Don’t spam. Provide real value and only mention your Twitter name.


#5 – Add Social Media Buttons

 

If you have a strong web presence, use it to promote your Twitter following. Add social media buttons at the bottom of each post and in the sidebar of your website.

Make it easy for people to retweet your content. You should have not only a “Follow” button on your site, but an easy button people can click to instantly retweet posts they liked.


#6 – Host a Twitter Contest

 

Contests have a tendency to go viral, especially if retweeting is a part of that contest.

Create a prize that people would want to fight for. Then create a contest that revolves around people retweeting your contest. You can also add other elements to the contest, like video submissions or getting their friends to vote.

Announce your contest on Twitter, on Facebook, to your email list and to your blog or website.


#7 – Retweet Often

 

Retweet other people’s content as often as possible. Of course, you want to make sure that you’re only retweeting high quality, relevant information. If you see a piece of content on the web that you think your user base would like, retweet it. Don’t be stingy with retweets.

Whenever you retweet someone else’s message, you generate goodwill. If you do it regularly, people will take notice. You can then start to build a relationship with them.

Then, if you post something that you think would benefit their audience, you’ll have enough clout to ask them for a retweet. More often than not, they’ll say yes.


#8 – Add Twitter to All Your Promotional Materials

 

Add your Twitter name to all your promotional materials. Put it on your business cards, your posters, your letterheads, your pens, your website and anywhere else.


#9 – Use Sponsored Tweets

 

Sponsored Tweets (http://www.sponsoredtweets.com) is a tweet marketplace where you can buy tweets from people who have major followings. Prices for putting out a tweet can cost anywhere between a few dollars to several thousand dollars.

Sponsored Tweets lets you sort feeds by price, by follower numbers and by category. If you only want to target authors for example, you can filter your list so that you only see authors who want to get paid to put out a tweet.

Paying for a sponsored tweet on other feeds in your industry is a fantastic way to gain more exposure. Make sure you check out their user base and level of engagement before paying for a tweet.


#10 – Use Promoted Tweets

 

Promoted tweets are paid tweets that show up prominently on people’s Twitter feeds. At the time of this writing, Twitter doesn’t have a self-serve advertising platform. Instead, you fill out a form to get in contact with Twitter’s internal advertising team.

If you have a significant marketing budget, this is a fantastic way to skyrocket your influence. You’ll get your message in front of people who may not have otherwise heard about your brand.


These are ten powerful ways you can build your Twitter influence and gain more followers. If you have money to spend, you can use paid tactics like sponsored tweets or promoted tweets to boost your influence rapidly. Otherwise, you can use organic tactics to steadily yet quickly grow and expand your follower base.

Ins and Outs of Posting on Twitter

Social-Media-Ideas-GirlFor someone who’s new to Twitter, understanding all the different types of posts you can make can be quite confusing. There’s not only a lot of different kinds of posts, but a lot of different kinds of terminology.

In order to use Twitter well, you need to be able to navigate the Twitter world and all its complexities. Being able to make all the different kinds of posts that Twitter users make is an essential part of that.

Here are all the different kinds of posts you can make on Twitter, along with descriptions of the different kinds of terminologies that apply to those posts.

Step 1: Replies

 

When someone posts something that you want to respond to, you can do so with a reply. This is also known as an @reply.

@replies are visible not only to the person you’re replying to, but anyone who’s following you and anyone who looks at your Twitter feed. In other words, @replies are public.

The easiest way to reply to a tweet is to hit the “reply” button.


You can also reply to someone by typing @theirname and replying to their message.


Step 2: Mentions and @Mentions

 

A mention, also known as an @mention, is any text that has someone’s name followed by an @ sign in the tweet. An @reply is a type of mention. However, a mention doesn’t have to be in response to a tweet.

Twitter (and other Twitter tools) has a special tab where you can view all your mentions. This makes it easy to see all the messages people are directing at you.


Step 3: Retweets

 

A retweet, also known as an RT is when you take someone else’s tweet and re-message it out to your own network.

Retweeting is seen as a form of appreciation on Twitter. Retweeting someone’s message is a good way to show you like their content and to begin building a relationship with them.


Note that you can’t change any of the text on a retweet. It has to be retweeted as is. You’ll get to see a preview of a retweet before you send it out.

To retweet a post, click the “Retweet” button below the post.


Alternatively, people often choose to do a retweet manually. Doing this allows you to change the text of the retweet. Just copy and paste the retweet text into your tweet box and hit “Tweet.”

Another common tactic is to add “RT @name” to the beginning of the retweet. That way, the retweet also becomes a mention and will show up in the author’s mentions tab. If you want to retweet a message and make sure the author knows that you retweeted their message, this is a good way to do it.


Step 4: Uploading Photos

 

Uploading photos on Twitter is simple. Just click the photo icon under the tweet box.


Any images you add to Twitter will automatically be converted into a link. People who want to view the photo need to click on the link to view the photo.


Step 5: Hashtags

 

Hashtags are the standard way of using Twitter to discuss a specific topic. For example, if you were talking about the SXSW convention, you’d use hashtags like #SXSW. Users who’re interested in the same topic can search for that hashtag and see what others are saying about the topic.

Often time’s hashtags are used to create live chats. For example, if you’re at a live concert that has a hashtag (say #concert2012,) you can use that hashtag to see what everyone else around you is saying in real time. These hashtag based chats are often called hashchats.


Posting a response to popular hashtags is a great way to get traffic to your website. A lot of people will be searching for those hashtags, so you’re guaranteed to get a lot of exposure.

Twitter by default gives you the top 10 hashtags that are trending worldwide. To get more detailed information on what tags are trending, use “What the Trend” (http://www.thashtag.com.)


What the trend allows you to see a lot more than just the top ten trending tweets. You can also sort trends by country. If you’re just targeting the United States or Canada for example, you can see only the trending hashtags in those countries.


Step 6: Direct Messages

 

Direct messages are private messages sent to someone who’s following you. Unlike @replies, direct messages cannot be viewed by anyone but the recipient. You can’t send messages to people you follow unless they’re also following you. Direct messages are known as “DMs” or “DM” for short.

To send a DM, click on “Send a Direct Message” next to someone’s profile.


Enter the message you want to send them and hit “Send Message.”


These are all the different types of messages on Twitter. You now know how to use @replies, @mentions, retweets, photos, hashtags and direct messages.

Understanding Google+ Business Pages

Google+_screenshot

Exciting times at Google

— not only have they just released Google+ to the public in open Beta (working model), but they’ve now added Google+ Business Pages.

So how can you, as an internet entrepreneur, take advantage of this new internet resource… and should you?  Before you rush to set up a page, it may help to take a look at the pros and cons…

Comparing Facebook Pages with Google+ Business Pages

 

Google+ is still very much in beta mode.  Its Pages feature has only just been launched, so any comparison with Facebook pages will probably be redundant by the time you read this, since new features are being added to Pages on an ongoing basis.

 

 


Your biggest reason for setting up a Business Page in Google+ should be not only to take advantage of powerful Google SEO, but to reach targeted customers or clients who hate and avoid Facebook — and this number is growing daily, thanks to Facebook changes such as the inability to prevent Facebook from broadcasting what you are doing online, moment by moment!

Facebook’s relevance is also taking a downslide at the moment, thanks to all the changes it recently instituted.  Friends are “disappearing” thanks to involuntary settings changes (and most aren’t even aware you now can’t see them).  Irrelevant posts seem to be on the increase.  And there’s generally a lot of confusion.

The worst part about Facebook pages?  “Out of sight, out of mind”, says V. A., Isobel Henderson.  “You really like somebody’s page, but then you get busy, and forget they have it.  Seems like you have to manually visit a page, to connect with it again, and that means making a conscious effort.  Who has the time?  Too busy!”

Early reactions gleaned from the net about Google+ Business Pages:

  • “Google+ page is way better, simple and clean than Facebook pages”
  • “Stop comparing them: G+ is not Facebook.”
  • “I think the positive thing is actually that the Google+ IS SO SIMPLE AND USER FRIENDLY to users and customers. Google gets what maybe only Apple gets also… No stupid irrelevant stuff.”
  • “The biggest disadvantage I see to the Facebook Business page is that I don’t use Facebook. So if the WWE wants to reach me socially, they’re going to have to do it through G+ regardless of how uncluttered it is.”
  • “If you like the big mess in FB, maybe is because you live that way. I don´t need a bunch of ads in my screen. I like to choose whom I want to follow and from [whom] I want info. FB to me, is a bunch of teens shouting the world they´re there. I really hope that G+ never turns into another Facebook. Maybe FB need to learn a lot from G+.”
  • “The addition of Pages will be a big boost in G+ usage IMHO.  I know I’ll likely be using G+ a lot more now that I am finally able to set up a Page.  For personal use though, all my family and friends are on FB, not G+, so G+ holds little to no value for me in that respect.”
  • “I really love how Google allows for non-profits to set up a Page!”


  • “…NASA got amazingly cool timing because of the asteroid coming towards earth has gotten lots of coverage and NASA’s profile already is very useful source on that topic. The interaction is amazing in Google+ especially because the You Tube interaction is so relevant often on discussion about recent news and future news.”

The underlying point of these comments seems to be that Facebook is losing control and turning into another MySpace or Yahoo.  In fact, seeing “disturbing or controversial Yahoo headline links” appended to peoples’ posts is the reason two business acquaintances of mine have recently “switched” from Facebook to Google+ in the last week alone.


“You can’t switch [Yahoo headlines] off or `hide’ them, the way you used to be able to hide posts from sources you didn’t like,” explained one.  Commented the other:  “Well, you can switch them off — but Yahoo posts enable themselves again immediately.”

Given the changing currents of social networking, why not set up your Google+ Business Page while it’s still simple to do so?  Who knows — maybe getting in on the ground floor will enable you to retain early features you like that are later “grandfathered” (like those animated profile photos on Twitter that a few people still cling to, but the rest of us now can’t create — even supposing we were animators, which would make them highly relevant!)

 Which Network Is For You?

 

One other factor to take into account, when deciding whether or not to invest time in setting up Google+ Pages — one often doesn’t use social networks to directly attract clients or customers.  It’s usually more about networking.

Current buzz seems to indicate that there’s a shift in Facebook as the primary network.  LinkedIn has gained serious ground… and so has Google+.

Among the items at Inside GPlus, you can see frequently-updated results measuring the comparative popularity of Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter.  (Be sure to add GPlus to your circle. You’ll find lots of real-time tracking feedback there.)

While everything is in a state of flux, why not set up pages on both Facebook and Google+… then see which one brings you the strongest results?

 What You Need to Know about Google+ Business Pages

 

Before you rush to do that, however, here’s the lowdown on what you can expect…

 

  1. Setting up your Google+ Page is currently an easy process, and will take you only a few minutes
  2. You need to have a Google account.  If you don’t already have one, you can create one right now or when you go    to create your page
  3. You can type “+” in front of any company name and instantly get a listing of their Pages
  4. Google pages are linked with Google search, which provide a one-key shortcut to Google+ Pages within the query box
  5. It integrates with Google+ Circles, making Page sharing easy
  6. You can create multiple Google+ Pages, if you have more than one business
  7. There are “lots” of “improvements” slated in the near future for Google+ Pages, according to Vic Gundotra, senior VP of engineering
  8. Google+ Pages are ideal for branding, since Branding has its own separate category

As with any new beta network, Google+ still has some glitches, as well as a way to go towards seamless web power and integration.  Here are seven of the most reported problems you might encounter or need to prepare for (and circumvent, when possible)…

Current Google+ Drawbacks

 

  1. Vanity URLs — Google states flatly that vanity URLs will not be available for Pages.  They offer instead “verification badges”, but these are not comparable to vanity URLs, since they operate as “security mechanisms”, not identifiers.

 You cannot apply for a verification badge:  Google decides whether or not you merit one and arbitrarily awards   them at their pleasure.

Verification badges are Google’s way of letting searchers know that “a site is legitimate”.  The motivation for creating them is eliminate impersonation — but since Google arbitrarily decides who is legitimate, there is a risk of an impersonator receiving the verification badge.

  1. Multiple Page Managers — Says Google, “Currently, only one person can own, post as, and edit a page.”  You can now create multiple Business and Branding pages, but if you have already set up a page for a company you work for that is owned by someone else and want to transfer ownership (since maintaining it means the company would have access to your gmail and Google account), this would cause a problem:  Ownership cannot be transferred.

The current fix?  Delete the page and create a new one.  But Google is making noises about the ability to transfer ownership “coming soon”.

  1. Google Places Integration — Right now, there is no integration, but it’s vital to keep your Google Places updated and current if geo-targeting is part of your marketing strategy, since if the information is there, Google will use it (current or not).  It’s up to you to make sure Google is not using outdated data:  Keeping Places current means local search and Google Maps will be accurately displayed.

Google does plan to integrate the two, in future.

  1. Google Login — Do be careful, when operating from Google+.  Make sure you don’t post miscellaneous content on your actual Google+ page, if you have different logins for you and your company.  Already many people have been careless, and admitted to getting egg on their faces by posting to the wrong area under the wrong login.

Google is public.  And that can be a drawback, as well as a plus — no pun intended.  (N.B.:  It will even “ignore” robots.txt file “no follow” instructions.)

  1. Google Apps — You can’t currently add apps to your Google+ page.  But it’s not clairvoyance to predict that will change fairly soon.
  2. Google+ Confusion — One problem many people seem to have is confusing their Google+ Profile with their Google+ Page.  Knowing the differences between your + Profile and your + Page should help you manage each with more confidence…

  3. Button Error Warnings — This problem only seems to occur on pages with a secure “https:” designation; also on older browsers, so do test your new button-optimized page in an older one too.  If your “https:” site generates an error message or warning, first look at the snippet of code Google gave you, when you created your button.  Make sure your button code actually uses “https:” too.  (Currently, automatically generated code always assumes your site page begins with “http:”)

Correcting the code snippet usually does the trick. If your page is still generating warnings on search, make sure your site contains this script:

<script src="//apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script>

You can find these tips (and many others) in the Google+ Help section.

Now let’s take a look at current Google+ advantages — particularly as they apply to Google+ Pages…

 Current Google+ Advantages

 

  1. Google +1 Button — One of your biggest potential advantages in creating a Google+ Page will lie in Google’s latest feature, the “+1” button.

 It can’t really be compared to Facebook’s “Like” button, but since you will most likely do that anyway, here’s a quick overview of the differences between the two features…


 The end result of the way Facebook’s “Like” button is set up has resulted in a lack of respect for “Like” results: Everyone knows that a good portion of those “Likes” were not truly value-driven. People pressed the “Like” button to support friends, gain networking favor or because misleading ads triggered them with emotional wording. For example, “Everyone who likes Harry Potter, Like us” — this seen on an ad that led to a site that had nothing to do with Harry Potter — but with Google’s +1 button, there is no artificial weighting. It’s set up so that people press it because they truly like the content.

Granted, you can up the chances of gaining +1 endorsements by educating your website visitors, social network followers and email subscribers about the existence of the Google +1 button, but everyone is soon going to be totally familiar with it.

And only add it to public pages (accessible to everyone).

  1. Google+ Badges — Not to be confused with the Verification badge! You can easily add a Google+ badge to your website(s) via a simple process you’ll be walked through when you create your page.

You can choose between several styles of badge: Standard badge, Small badge, Small icon, Medium icon, Large icon and No Badge.  The Medium Icon is shown below…


If you know you will speedily generate a number of approvals via your +1 icon or badge and have multiple pages or sites, you may wish to choose the standard badge:


  1. Google+ Direct Connect — This feature is already making a difference to the effectiveness of searching Google+ pages — though, right now, it seems to not always work.  All you do to access Direct Connect is type a plus sign before the company name you wish to connect with:  For example:


You will then be taken directly to YouTube’s Google+ page, instead of to all the search listings available.  (If you only want search listings, don’t type the “+” in front of the name, of course.)

 You’ll see the page like this:


You can add that particular page immediately to your circles, as well as easily share it, via the “Share this page” button…


Google admits there are some problems at this time with Direct Connect, but quickly states it hopes to make the option fully functional as soon as possible.

  1. Google+ for Mobile  — Apps are provided for several main devices, including the Android, iPhone and Blackberry. Although not specifically geared for Google+ pages yet, the fact that people can share and access Google+ via mobile automatically increases its value

How to Increase Your Google+ Page Value

 

In spite of the fact various features are glitchy or not yet active, you can increase your Google+ Page value (especially with Direct Connect by cross-connecting.  All this means is:

  • Placing the Google+ badge or icon on your site
  • Adding your website link to your page

Other ways you can increase your +Page value:

  • Actively use Google Hangouts (video chat drop-in)
  • Maintain a daily presence via Google+
  • Update and add to your Google Circles
  • Upload YouTube videos and post the links on your page and websites
  • Upload videos to Google+ and share them via your page:

  • Move your Google+ Page fans directly into your Circles.  (This seems to create automatic engagement!)
  • Make sure you have a Circle named “Following”
  • Make sure your site contains the “+1” button, as well as your badge or icon.  (This will require a separate snippet of code to that of badges/icons.)
  • Publicize your page.  Share it with your Circles and Hangouts.  Share it on social networks and in your blog posts and forum posts.  Include it as part of your contact information
  • Upload photos, as well as videos.  (GPlus offers some interesting statistics about Google+ photo uploads.)
  • Educate your readers, subscribers and visitors.  Remember the Golden Rule of marketing:  S-p-e-l-l  things out and include calls to action (telling your readers what to do next)
  • Remember that although Google+ Pages may “feel like Facebook”, they do have the huge advantage — and disadvantage — of open search via Google.  Follow the tips in this report to ensure Google ranks your page as highly as possible!

Remember:  The more active you are via Google+, the higher value Google’s algorithm currently seems to ascribe.

Google Adwords Advantage

 

If you use AdWords PPC advertising, you’ll love this further way to boost your Google+ page rank and garner more “likes”.  Google has enabled AdWords so that people can +1 your Page, right from your ad — so be the +1 button is included within your ad.

Google+ Platform Preview

 

Another way to boost your value to Google’s search algorithm (and indirectly boost your Page status):  Join the Platform Preview for advance news and information about upcoming changes and features.

Becoming a member of Platform Preview puts you on a “preferred” list, enabling you to automatically preview all the latest changes, features and updates to Google+ (including your Google+ page) before the rest of the world has access.

You can customize your contact options, from viewing the group on the web only to receiving daily emails, if you prefer… but note that you must use a Gmail address, if you want any previews to work.

Google+ For Your Blog

 

Yes, you can create a separate Google+ Page for your blog — even if it’s on Blogger and not hosted on your own separate WordPress site.

Branding Via Your Google+ Page

 

Opinions are currently split on how effective Google+ Pages are going to be, when it comes to branding your business.

For starters, currently only one person (with one login) can manage a Brand page and it’s attached to one account.  Sure, you can give people the login information — but if you’ve set it up with your personal login, you most likely won’t want them to have access to all your Google activities!

Do read the Google Page Terms of Service before setting up your Brand page.  It sets out explicitly what you can and cannot do.  Here is just one small section…


Another tip:  Don’t work with both your personal account and your Brand account within the same browser.  Ideally, it’s best to:

  • Manage each on separate browsers
  • Completely log out of one, before accessing the other

If branding is your primary purpose for creating a Google+ Page, do make sure you select “Product or Brand” as your Page Category:


Finally, do remember to actively use Circles to connect with other Brand pages (so they will +1 your own).

 Upcoming Google+ Page Features

 

Among some of the improvements Google says it is planning, you can look forward to integrating:

  • Analytics
  • Documents
  • Maps
  • Places

(But still no vanity URLs!)

It’s important to remember that Google+ Pages for business, brands and non-profits are still brand new and very much in a Beta state (as is Google+ itself).  But getting in on the ground floor will help your Page rank soar while others are still waking up to all Google+’s possibilities.

To your success!

Setting Up Your Twitter Account and Customizing Your Page

twitter-logoHaving a personalized, customized Twitter page can help make your Twitter presence appear more professional, more credible and warmer. People who see customized pages are more likely to spend time looking at the pages, more likely to read your tweets, more likely to pay attention to what you have to say and more likely to follow you.

If you’re still using your default Twitter background or if you don’t have your profile picture and bio properly setup, chances are you’re losing followers. Twitter users know that brands whore serious about connecting with their Twitter base have all taken the time to make their feeds look as great as possible.

Here’s everything you need to know about setting up your account and customizing your page.

Step 1: Accessing Your Profile

 

To begin to make changes to your profile, go to “View Profile” in the upper left corner of your Twitter main page


Then click on “Edit Profile.”


Step 2: Change Your Profile Picture

 

Your profile picture is the only graphical element you can change in the main window itself. It makes a big difference on how your page as a whole is perceived.

Your profile picture should be a head shot, it should be clear, the colors should be sharp and bright and it should appear professional. For brands, using a logo or using a photo that represents your brand (such as a product image) works well.

When you’re picking your profile photo, consider what you plan to put in your background as well. Ideally, the profile picture will compliment the background.


Step 3: Write Your Bio

 

Next, write your bio. The bio goes directly under your name and Twitter account in your main page.

Your bio should be descriptive. It should catch people’s attention and get them to read your feed. It should contain your primary keywords.


Below your bio, you can enter a website address. This is the best place to link to your main website.

Here’s an example of what your profile photo, bio line and website might look like after it’s complete:


Step 4: Switch to Design

 

To change how the rest of your page looks, switch to the design editor. Click “Design” in the left hand side of your “Edit Profile” menu.


Step 5: Choose a Premade Design

 

If you don’t want to make your own design, you can choose from one of the many designs Twitter has available.

Using this system is quite simple. Just click on any of the designs to instantly see it in effect. Save the changes to have your Twitter feed instantly updated to the new design.


Step 6: Upload Your Own Design

 

If you want to design something completely from scratch, upload it here. There are a few important things to note for Twitter page designs.

First, images justify to the top left. Also, images do not scale out. In other words, you can’t tell Twitter to simply stretch your image to fit the screen. Small images just go to the top left.

You have the option of patterning your design across the Twitter page. Just click the “Tile Background” checkbox to use this option.

Your image has to be a GIF, JPG or PNG image. It cannot be an animated GIF. Maximum file size is 800 KB.


Step 7: Set Your Background & Link Colors

 

If you’re using a smaller image that doesn’t cover the entire background, make sure you set the background color to the same color as your background image. Even if you use a large image, it’s a good idea to set this anyway.

Link color changes the hyperlink text color of your Twitter page. This is useful for making your link colors compliment the rest of your design.


Step 8: Using Themeleon

 

Themeleon (http://www.colourlovers.com/themeleon/twitter) is a theme designer that’s recognized and promoted by Twitter. It makes it very easy for users to change up how their Twitter feed looks.

To start with Themeleon, just sign in to your Twitter account.


You can then select the theme you want to use from one of their many choices.


Any changes you make will be immediately applied in the preview window.


Instead of using a background image, you can also just choose a theme color. Again, you’ll see how your profile will look immediately in the preview area. Choosing a theme color changes your border colors, your background colors and your link colors all to complimentary colors.


Once your profile looks the way you want it to, click “Save Profile” above the preview area. Because your Twitter account is linked into Themeleon, Themeleon can instantly save the changes to your Twitter profile.


Step 9: Downloading More Themes

 

There are dozens of different sites you can get themes from. Just browse Google for free Twitter theme sites.

Here are some of the more popular free Twitter theme sites:

Twit Backs – http://www.twitbacks.com/

Twit Paper – http://twitpaper.com

Twitr Backgrounds – http://www.twitrbackgrounds.com

Twitter Gallery – http://www.twittergallery.com

Note that some of these sites will add a watermark of their logo to their designs. You can pay between $3 and $15 depending on the site to have the watermark removed.

Here are a few popular premium custom Twitter design services. These sites will design a new theme for your profile from scratch, based on your brand, your photos and your color preferences.

Social Identities – http://www.socialidentities.com – Premium custom designs for $129.

Tweet Xillia – http://tweetxilla.com/ – Has free designs and does custom designs for $95.

Twit Art – http://www.twitart.com – Premium custom designs for $79.

Downloading a theme is quite simple. Many of these sites will simply plugin to your Twitter account and update it for you.

If you need to do a manual install, just download the Twitter background image from the theme site.


You’ll then need to change the rest of your theme to match the background image. Generally the theme site will provide you with a list of directions on what you need to change. For example:


 That’s how you change your Twitter profile picture, your bio line, your background image and the rest of your profile. You now know everything you need to know to create a highly customized Twitter experience!

Email Marketing Subject Line Tips and Starters

ListBuilding-Ideas-GirlIf master how to write great subject lines with your email marketing, you’ll be able to make more money from an email list than by mastering just about any other skill. Writing strong subject lines is more important than writing good copy. It’s more important than storytelling, it’s more important than using power words, it’s more important than writing compelling call to actions. It’s the skill to learn.

Writing good subject lines will get your content opened and read. That means more clicks and more sales.

So how do you write great subject lines?

10 Tips for Writing “Off the Hook” Subject Lines


  1. Personalize. Marketers often get tired of personalization and think it’s stopped working. It hasn’t. Split tests in most industries show personalization outpulls non-personalized emails in almost every test.
  2. Vary things up. Use different “styles” of subject lines, or people will start to filter out your emails.
  3. Experiment with lowercase and upper case. Sometimes writing in all lowercase is actually more attention catching, especially when everyone else is writing in sentence case.
  4. Don’t underestimate short subject lines. A simple “check this out” could get more opens than “My Simple System for Earning a Six Figure Income.”
  5. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What are their deepest desires? Address those desires in your subject line.
  6. Visualize someone in your market waking up in the middle of the night, smacking their forehead, saying “Gosh, I just wish ______________.” Fill in the blank. Use that as the basis for a subject line.
  7. Use numbers and symbols. They catch attention more than text. But use it sparingly, so it doesn’t look like spam.
  8. Write when you’re inspired. If you come up with a subject line spontaneously, chances are it’s a good one.
  9. Browse Twitter for ideas. Writing for Twitter is similar to writing headlines, as they have similar space constraints. See what other marketers are tweeting in your industry.
  10. Split test. Different kinds of headlines work better in different markets. Split testing not only gives you results, but teaches you about your market.

40 Subject Line Starters

At a loss for ideas? Use these subject line starters to

  1. How to avoid __________
  2. X Tips to ______________
  3. Incredible Proof That __________ Does __________ !

  4. When you’re _________, you’re ___________ (Example: When you’re relaxed, you’re powerful.”
  5. You’re invited to __________
  6. Whoa, did you know ___________
  7. It’s not too late to _____________
  8. Things have changed: Now _______________
  9. Announcing _____________
  10. Breaking news! _______________
  11. The #1 principle to ____________
  12. X mistakes to avoid when _______________
  13. I love when _________
  14. Did you know that ___________ ?
  15. I was shocked when I found out ______________
  16. When _________ BACKFIRED
  17. Do you hate _________? (E.g. “Do you hate cardio?” “Do you hate working a 9-5 job?”)
  18. A strange trick that ___________
  19. I’m __________ … Are you with me?
  20. If only you know _______________
  21. Please don’t hate me, but ____________
  22. I need you to know, ___________
  23. The cure for ______________
  24. Feel free to copy my _______ inside
  25. Last chance: Claim your copy of __________
  26. Only _____ hours left to _________ !
  27. My personal advice for __________
  28. Why most ___________ fail at _____________
  29. (action required) ______________
  30. It’s crazy, ___________
  31. Two words: __________ (Example: “Two words: Guaranteed. Profits.” “Two words: Easy. Workouts.”)
  32. [New] ______________
  33. I’m sick and tired of __________
  34. I asked and I received: _____________
  35. Finally, ___________________
  36. What if I told you ____________
  37. Instant ___________ you can start immediately
  38. Wow, it worked! ____________
  39. Ever wish you could __________ ?
  40. Hooray, you _______! … Now what? (Example: “Hooray! You setup your website! … Now what?”)

For more email marketing subject line starters, just start your own swipe file. Create an email account and signup for as many email newsletters as you can. Learn to write great subject lines and you’ll turn your newsletter into a virtual money machine.

How to Set Up Your Google+ Account

google-plus 1Once you’re signed up on Google+, how do you actually setup your account? In this guide, you’ll learn how to add information to your profile, how to choose who can see what, how to set your notification preferences and how to link up other social networks to your Google+ account.

Step 1: Accessing Your Settings

 

To get to your settings page, click on the “Settings” dropdown button in the top right.

 


Click on “Google+ Settings.”


Step 2: Add a Phone Number to your Google+ Account

 

Adding a phone number allows Google to send you a text whenever you get a notification. To add a phone number, type in your mobile number, then click “Send Verification Code.”

You’ll need to get the code from your phone and enter it into Google+ before you can receive notifications.


Step 3: Choosing Your Notifications

 

When do you want to receive an email or text from Google+? Use the checkboxes to select when you do and don’t want to get notifications.


Step 4: Set Your Image Preferences

 

There are two main settings you can set with images.

The first is whether or not you want geographical location information to be tagged onto your photos. Most modern cameras, including the iPhone and Android cameras now tag geographical information onto photos.

If you check the “Show photo geo location information” box, Google+ will automatically add the geo location tag to your photos.


Your other choice is who gets to automatically have their photos approved. Approved photos show up on your profile. Use the blue drop-down box and the “Add more people” button to choose who can post photos of you and have them approved automatically.

Step 5: Access the Profile Edit Page

 

To edit your profile, click on “Profile and privacy.”


Then click on your profile.


Click on “Edit Profile.”


Step 6: Editing Your Personal Information

Fill out your introduction, things you’re proud of, occupation, employment, education and places lived information.


Then fill out your contact information, relationship status, gender and alternate names.


Step 7: Safeguarding Your Personal Information

 

Google+ makes it very easy to choose who can see what personal information. When you click on a field to enter your information, below it is a privacy setting button.

Just click on the button to choose exactly who can see the information you type in.


Step 8: Connect Other Social Networks

 

If you want to link other social networks to your Google+ profile, start by going back to the settings page and clicking “Connected accounts.”


You’ll immediately see a list of accounts that Google+ thinks belongs to you, based on Google+ searching the various social networks.

If you see any accounts that do indeed belong to you, just click the “Yes this is my” button to link the account.


If you need to add the account manually, just click “Connect an account” then select the specific type of account you want to add.


Then enter your username on that site or a direct link to your profile on that site.


Click “Add” and the account will be linked to Google+.

Congratulations! You’ve just setup your Google+ account. You’ve learned how to add a phone number, how to set notifications, how to setup your profile, how to adjust your privacy settings and how to link other social networks.

Adding a Pinterest Widget

Social-Media-Ideas-GirlOne of the best ways to add some spice to your website is to add in a social media feed. Your social media feed will help feed the content and updates that you’re posting through social media into your main blog.

The feed will appear as a widget that displays on the side of your screen. You can generally choose how big or small you want the feed to be, so you can customize how much attention to direct to the feed.

Here’s how to add social media updates to your blog.

Twitter Widget

To get started, go to the Twitter widget section.

https://twitter.com/about/resources/widgets
Click on “Widgets for My Website.”


Then choose the “Profile Widget.”


Enter the username that you want to generate a feed for. This can be your own username or someone else’s.


A preview of the feed will appear on the right. Once the feed looks right to you, just click “Finish and Grab Code” to copy and paste the code onto your website.

Facebook Widget

To access Facebook’s activity feed, go to:

http://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/
Then click on “Activity Feed.”


Type in the domain of the site whose feed you want to display. The feed on the right will show you what your feed will look like.


Click “Get Code” on the bottom once you’re ready to post it to your website.


Google+

Google+ doesn’t have a built-in widget creator. However, there are several outside tools you can use to add this functionality.

These options include:

GGLPls

Widgetplus.com

Widgplus.com

WordPress Plugin

Here’s hot GGLls’s widget looks. You can access it here:

http://www.gglpls.com/google-plus-feed-widget/
Start by entering your Google ID. This is the string of numbers you see in your URL when you access your own profile.


Then specify the settings you want to use to generate the Widget’s feed.


The embed code will be displayed below the options box. Copy and paste it onto your server.


Adding a Pinterest Widget

Pinterest doesn’t have a built-in widget system. However, there are a number of different WordPress plugins you can use to create a Pinterest widget on your WordPress blog.
To get started, go to your plugins search field and type in “Pinterest widget.”



The most popular and highly rated one at the time of writing is the “Pinterest Pinboard Widget.” Choose one plugin and install then activate it.


Then go into your WordPress widgets (under “Appearance”) and drag and drop the widget. Then configure the widget to look exactly as you want it to.


Your Pinterest widget will now appear in your sidebar!

Adding a social media widget to your site can really help add interactivity and help cultivate a sense of consistency within your brand. It’ll help join your social media site and your website together into one community. If you’re going to take the time to build up content in social media, why not link it up to your main site?

WordPress App

wp logo blueWordPress has a powerful iPhone and iPad application that allows you to moderate comments, edit posts and create new posts from on the go.

Here’s how to use the WordPress app.

Step 1 – Sign In to Your WordPress Account

Choose whether you want to edit a blog hosted on WordPress, start a new blog or edit a self-hosted WordPress blog.

For this tutorial, we’ll assume that you’re editing a self hosted blog.


Once you make your selection, you’ll be prompted for your login information.


Step 2 – Select Which Blog to Edit

The WordPress application can store a number of logins for different blogs. Choose which blog you want to edit.


 

Step 3: Moderate Comments

The first screen you’ll see upon logging in is the comments moderation screen.


Select the comment you want to edit.


Clicking the trash can in the lower left will delete the comment. Clicking the arrow on the right will let you reply to the comment.

Clicking on the center button will bring up additional options.


 

Step 4: Create or Edit a Post

To create or edit a post, first select “Posts” along the bottom navigation.

To edit a post, click on one of the posts you want to edit.


 

You’ll be taken to the edit screen for that post.


 

If you want to create a new post, just click the pencil button in the upper right corner.


 

You’ll be taken to the new post screen.


 

Tap on any area to edit. You can edit the title, the tags, the category and the body text from this screen.

To change the status of the post, click on the mechanic-wheel button on the bottom.


 

This enables you to change the privacy settings and the publishing time of the post.

To preview how your post will look when published, click the eye button.


To add a video or an image to your post, click the film reel or the picture frame in the lower right.


If you want to save the draft without publishing, just click cancel in the upper left and click “Save Draft.”


Finally, when you’re ready to publish a post, click on “Publish” in the upper right corner.


That’s how to use the WordPress iPhone or iPad app to moderate comments, edit an existing post or create a new one.

FTP on the Go

FTP on the Go IconFTP on the Go is a full fledged FTP program that works from your iPhone or iPad. It allows you to download files, upload files, edit files and do almost anything you could do from a desktop FTP program.

Here’s how to use FTP on the Go.

Step 1: Enter Your Login Information

When you open FTP on the Go, the first screen you see is the login screen. Type in your login information.


 

Once logged in, you’ll see a screen with all your files and folders on it.


Step 2: Downloading Files

Once downloaded, you can then edit the files, or upload them to different directories or websites on your server(s). To download a file, navigate to the exact folder you want to download from by clicking on the folder.

Once you’re in the specific folder, click on the file you want to download. A checkmark will appear next to that file. Then click the down arrow in a circle to download the file.


Step 3: Editing Files

To edit a file, first navigate to your “Saved Files” folder.


Select the file you want to edit, then click “Edit” in the upper right.


The HTML edit screen will appear. Here you can edit the HTML of the page, just as you would in any other HTML editor.


 

When you’re finished, click “Save” in the upper right.

Step 4: Editing Files

After editing a file, you’ll need to upload it for changes to take effect. You also may just want to upload photos or videos from your iPhone to your server. Here’s how.

To upload a file that’s in your “Saved Files,” such as the file we just edit, first highlight the file, then click the up arrow.

 


 

To upload a video or picture, first navigate to the folder you want to upload it to in your “FTP” view. Then click the “FTP Folder Commands” button in the lower right.


Then select “Upload Picture / Video.”


Select whether to upload from your camera or from your library.


Select your picture either in the library or by taking a new picture. Then name your file and resize it before uploading.


It’s that easy! You now know how to download files from your server to your iPhone, how to edit those files and how to upload your saved changes. You’ve also learned how to upload your own videos or pictures from your iPhone to your FTP server.