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.

Get Your Business on Twitter!

its-twitter-time-free-icon-setEvery business should be on Twitter — maybe you’ve come to realize that, but you don’t know how to get started. Well, the first step is simply to create an account for your business, and it’s pretty easy; here’s a step-by-step guide. Small and local businesses owners in particular are often not given the tools and instruction they need to keep up with the way their customers are using technology.

1. Sign Up

 

Twitter 1

Twitter 2Visit twitter.com and click on click the big “Sign Up” button — you can’t miss it. You’ll be taken to a page where you’ll be asked to choose a username.
This is critical, because it’s how almost everyone who encounters your business on Twitter will first see you. Generally, the best practice is to use the shortest form of the name of your business or brand. Twitter messages can only be 140 characters long, and each time a would-be customer writes to you, he or she will have to include your entire username.
You can actually change your username later, but there are disadvantages to this; for example, it can confuse search engines that index your account. It’s best to get it right the first time.
You’ll also be asked to provide a full name (keep it simple) and a password. There are Twitter hackers out there, so make sure your password is secure by using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. When you’re satisfied with your choices, click “Create my account.”

2. Confirm Your Account

 

Twitter 3After you enter a CAPTCHA (an unusual word you have to type to ensure that you’re a human and not a computer trying to create scam accounts), your account will be created, but you’ll still have to confirm it — also a measure to prevent scam accounts from being set up by computers programmed to do so.
Twitter will send you an e-mail at the e-mail address you provide it, and that e-mail will include a link that verifies your account. You have to click on that link to activate the account.
Done? Congratulations, you’re now on Twitter. The next step is to customize your profile.

3. Add Profile Details

Twitter 4
Now that you’re set up, you can visit your profile by going to twitter.com/yourusernamehere. Of course, if you do that you’ll see that there’s hardly anything there. Before you start building relationships and composing tweets, you should a profile image and some basic information.
Click on your username in the top-right corner of the Twitter home page and a drop-down menu should appear. Click the option labeled “Settings.” You’ll end up at a basic account info page, where you can choose your time zone, customize the way tweets appear to you, and change your username or the e-mail address associated with your account.
Make any tweaks you need to here, but the real meat is in the “Profile” tab. Click the word “Profile” above all the options and you’ll end up there.
First, upload an image. Pick something that’s clear and distinguishable even as a tiny icon. It doesn’t hurt to upload a larger image, though; Twitter will shrink it down wherever needed. You can also use this screen to add your location and a 140-character bio. Try to convey what your business or brand is about as succinctly as possible; we’d advise against going overboard with buzz words. Just make it clean and accessible.

4. Choose a Design

 

Twitter 5Now you need to choose a theme for your profile. The theme you choose will affect how the Twitter home page looks for you, but it also defines the appearance of your own profile to other users.
In Settings, click the “Design” tab near where you clicked “Profile” before. Twitter offers 19 default design patterns for your profile, but you can upload your own background image and choose your own color palette.
You can just click one of the pre-made designs if you want to use one, but the option to add your own image is at the bottom, labeled “Change background image.” Click it and you’ll see a place where you can upload an image from your computer. Make sure it’s simple, elegant, and very high-resolution — otherwise it will make a poor presentation for your business or brand.
Click on the button to the right of that (“Change design colors”) to change the colors of individual elements like the sidebar so they match your chosen background. When you’re done, click “Save changes.”

5. Make Your First Connections

Twitter 6Twitter is about social connections, of course. And the best way to get people interested in your business or brand on Twitter is to engage in a discussion with people you’d love to have following you. Twitter isn’t just a publishing or an advertising platform; it’s primarily a conversation.
Find some Twitter accounts you like — whether they’re would-be customers, or other businesses who are rocking this social media thing in a way you appreciate — and follow them using the interface on the right side of your Twitter home page.
You can also browse popular accounts by interest, as the label says. This can be useful when you’re first getting started. Reply with helpful comments and the followers will come.
Of course, you should promote your Twitter account to your customers directly through other media, too. Try putting your Twitter username on flyers, business cards, and other materials that represent you.

6. Send Your First Tweet

Twitter 7

You’re all set up. It’s time to publish your first tweet! Each tweet can only be 140 characters long (or less), so you’ll have to be smart about how you word things. Try to be conservative with words, not just characters though; it doesn’t look very professional when you use shorthand like a teenager sending a cell phone text messages.
To send a tweet, go to the Twitter home page and type a message in the blank field beneath the words “What’s happening?” Hitting enter or clicking the “Tweet” button will publish the tweet. There’s also a number by that button; it tells you how many characters you have left.
To address a tweet to someone, type “@” followed by their username, then the message. For example: “@JWestwood Interesting dilemma. Let me know if I can help.”
If you see a tweet you think would be helpful to your followers, move your mouse over it and find the tiny link beneath it that says “Retweet.” This will publish that exact tweet to your followers, but it will add your username so they know it’s been re-published by you.

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.

Splashtop

Splashtop is an iPhone and iPad application that allows you to access your computer from anywhere and do just about anything you could do on the computer, remotely.

If you’re downloading programs, you can manage your downloads remotely. If you need a file on your computer, you can use your iPhone to start an upload. You can even use it to turn off your computer, if you accidentally left it on. The applications are endless.

Here’s how to use Splashtop to access your computer from anywhere.

Step 1: Download and Install Splashtop

Download the Splashtop desktop application at: http://www.splashtop.com/streamer

Download the iPhone application from the iTunes store.

Start by installing the desktop application.


 

Step 2: Choose a Password

The password you choose should be extremely difficult to guess, with a combination of letters and numbers. For extra security, have uppercase and lowercase letters.

Remember that anyone who guesses this password could potentially access your whole computer. Pick a unique, non-word difficult to guess password.


Click “Next,” then “Continue.” When setup is complete, you’ll see this screen:


 

Step 3: Enable Internet Discovery

Once the setup is complete, you’ll be able to access your computer from your iPhone if you’re on the same wifi network.

But if you want to access your computer from anywhere on the internet, which will usually be the case, you’ll need to enable internet discovery.

Click on “Settings” along the top of the Splashtop application.


 

Then check “Enable Internet Discovery.”


 

Once checked, click the “Google” button to enter your login information. Splashtop uses Google for its internet discovery, so you’ll need a Google account to use it properly.


 

If the login information worked, you’ll see this confirmation:


 

That’s all the setup you need to do on the desktop application.

Step 4: Find Your PC on Your iPhone

Now that your PC is setup to be controlled by another device, here’s how to connect the two.

Upon launching your iPhone application, you’ll see a primarily blank screen. Click the “Settings” button in the upper right corner.


 

Then click “Internet Discovery.”


 

Enter your login information.


 

Step 5: Accessing Your PC

After connecting to your Google account, the Splashtop app will use the login information to find your PC. Go back to the main screen and access your PC by clicking on its name.


 

Enter your password.


You’ll now be in control of your computer from your iPhone.

 

Step 6: Navigating the Interface

Splashtop will present you with a list of finger / mouse commands and operations the first time you log in.


 

This is an example of what your computer screen might look like on your iPhone.


 

To access your keyboard, click the little black button in the lower right.


 

The keyboard will then pop up.


 

Congratulations! You’ve now learned how to setup Splashtop on both your desktop and your iPhone. You’ll be able to do just about anything you can do on your computer from your iPhone interface, including processing-heavy tasks, because it’s processed by your computer rather than your iPhone.

8 Pinterest Marketing Ideas

Social-Media-Ideas-GirlWhether you’re promoting awareness of a certain cause, want more traffic to your blog or are promoting your business, Pinterest offers a unique opportunity to get your message out there through the use of images.

Another great thing about Pinterest is that you don’t need have to have a lot of followers to be seen. Pinterest is a very open website and people are always searching for images and topics of interest, so it’s easy to get started right away.

Here are 8 ideas for marketing on Pinterest. Feel free to use them, adapt them and expand on them. There are so many possibilities.

#1 URL / Logo on Your Photos

Consider adding a little logo or URL to the images you place on your website. That way, when people pin your content or you pin your own, the source is immediately visible. Just make sure to keep it rather subtle. You don’t want to take away from the quality of your image as that may reduce the numbers of shares.

Here’s an example of pin someone made from retrojunk.com


#2 Suggest Gifts

One of the things you may have noticed searching around Pinterest is that they have a gifts category. You can pin a gift idea simply by putting a $ amount in the description of your pin. When you enter the dollar amount, it is automatically added to the image and it will be listed in the gift ideas too.


Then when you search for gifts in the price range, yours will appear at the top.


 

#3 Photo Contests

Have fun with Pinterest and try running a photo contest. For example, if you sell craft kits or some type of DIY project kits, invite your customers to post their results photos for entry into your contest. Display the photos in a special photo contest board.


Or if you’re promoting a cause, have people submit photos on what the cause means for them and display the photos.

 

#4 Sweepstakes

Many companies are creating “Pin it to Win It” sweepstakes giveaways.  In some cases, they, get people to repin an image with a specific description. In many of these contests, the winner receives the prize in the picture or you can come up with another prize if you’d like.

In others, companies are asking their customers to create a board of their favorite products and enter it for consideration in the contest. Here’s a pin board created by a LandsEnd.com contest winner:


If you’d like to learn more about how Lands’ End’s contest worked, here is a press release with the information: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lands-end-canvas-launches-pin-it-to-win-it-contest-on-pinterest-135591673.html

 

#5 Coupons

Create some attractive and hard-to-resist coupons that can be repinned and shared on Pinterest. You can create your own coupon and add a “Pin It” button to your coupon page. You can also look at sites like CouponNetwork.com who encourage the social sharing of coupons.

Here’s an example of a coupon available through Coupon Network:


Again, you can post your own coupons directly and encourage repinning. Have fun with your coupons by adding humor and more. Just make sure the images are relevant to your offer.

 

#6 QR Codes

If you have a collection or QR codes, create a board for them and add new ones when you have them. Just make sure to include a good description and categorize your board, so they’ll be easily found.


 

Or if you’re a blogger, who connects your followers with great information, collect QR codes from around the web that would interest them.

#7 Collaboration

Pinterest provides amazing opportunities for collaborating. You can invite people to contribute to your boards for a specific event or project. You can add contributors whenever you set up a new board or you can add them by editing your existing boards.

Why not showcase the development of your next product or slowly leak details about an important upcoming function? You’ll build buzz and hopefully get better results in the process.


 

#8 Holiday and Seasonal Marketing

Pinterest offers unique marketing opportunities throughout the year. As users prepare for Easter or Independence Day, they’re searching for recipes, crafts, entertaining ideas and more. Or if summer’s coming, they’re getting ready to go boating, camping and they start grilling more. Always keep seasonal needs in mind and create special boards for holidays, activities and more.

Here’s a Game Day Food Ideas example:


How can you incorporate something like this into your niche? What is your target market looking for?

Start Marketing…But Proceed with Care!

Now that you have a few ideas ready to run with, go for it. But before you run off, remember that just like with other social networks, your success will depend on your being a valuable contributor to the community. Focus on providing images that are useful, funny, inspiring, thought-provoking or aesthetically pleasing…rather than worrying about simply selling your products directly.

Finding People to Follow on Pinterest

Social-Media-Ideas-GirlPart of the fun of Pinterest, is inviting and finding the friends you already know and finding new people with similar interests as well. This tutorial will show you how to find all those people and more

 

Searching for People

To find people with similar interests, you can look under “Everything” and choose a category that interests you.


 

You can also look at the list of people who are following you to see if you might be interested in following them back. You can see their names, profile pictures and some of their recent pins. Just click “Follow” if you want to follow someone. You can click “Unfollow” if you later change your mind.


 

Search for Someone by Name

Pinterest has the ability to search for pins, but its ability to search for people is not always reliable. However, what you can do is enter a name in the search box:


 

On the results page, choose “People” to get your people results. In this case, we can easily find the person we’re looking for.


In the case where you can’t find what you’re looking for, one easy way to find specific people you’re looking for is by conducting a Google search of “[NAME] Pinterest.” For example:


 

If the person has a Pinterest account, you’re likely to see it near the top of the search results. In this case we see two results at the top and I’ll explain the difference between the two.


The first result shows a URL that has “source” in it. This link shows images that any Pinterest users have shared from Martha Stewart’s website. The second one that doesn’t say “source” and reads as pinterest.com/marthastewart is her actual Pinterest profile, so if you want to follow her specifically, use that link.

Follow People or Boards

You might find that you’re particularly interest in specific boards, rather than users in general. You can actually choose exactly what or who you follow.

To Follow a Person:

Go the person’s profile and select “Follow All” and you will follow all their boards and updates.


To Follow Board:

Go to a specific board and select “Follow Board” and you’ll get updates from the board only.


The nice thing about Pinterest is that it’s very open and you don’t have to worry about following a bunch of people to start with, just to start enjoying the site. There is a lot of interaction between people, even if they’re not following each other. So my advice is to find a few people to follow, start pinning and have fun.