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Why Google+ is your new Social Media Best Friend

Google+ - Social Media and Your New Best FriendGoogle+ is your new social media and SEO best friend in 2014. Why? Because if you want to be found on search, you need to be on Google+.

Here’s why Google+ is your new Social Media best friend:

  1. Google+’s user base is growing,
  2. Google’s getting better engagement which leads to conversions and sales,
  3. Google Search is giving greater weight to social signals coming from Google+,
  4. Google+ has improved content identification through author ranking

Google+ Growth

The user base is growing by more than 800,000 users per month. The stats for Google+ also paint the picture for why Google+ is worth your attention in 2014: Carolyn Coats compiled stats worth considering…like Google+ has 6.6 million users are located in the United States and the +1 is clicked more than 5 billion times a day.

Google+ Engagement

Google drives user engagement with its platforms by seamlessly integrating experiences across devices. This came out of Social Media Week (Feb 24, 2014). By automatically signing in users across devices, Google has demonstrated a potential purchase conversion increase of 20% and an average purchase size increase of 14%.

Google+ and Social Media signals

Social activity on Google+ plays an important role in the latest version of Google’s organic ranking algorithm, so reports in one of their latest blogs. They state that Facebook and Twitter have no impact on Google’s SEO rankings.  A big deal!  Why? It’s easier and more self-validating/serving for Google to focus on mining their own Google+ data…it makes sense that Google supports Google platforms and services.

Google’s Improved Content Identification

Indications are that Google rewards those that are actively involved in Google+. This means content writers as well as social participants.

It is a challenge to identify relevant content for people who search. It used to be keywords that informed the search results, but that is changing. Another element Google is elevating is Authorship, which helps identify content and tie it to the correct author.  Over time, Google builds a portfolio for each author, and uses algorithms to score the authors based on publishing history, amount and “expertise”.  The more you publish, and the more “expert” you are in Google’s eyes, the greater the odds that it is relevant and the higher such vetted content should rank in Search.

Ranked, known authorship will help Google better deliver search results – just one more way Google is trying to improve search experience.

Tips on Google Authorship:

  1. To set up the linkage between you and the content you create – Google Authorship - click here.
  2. You can test your content using Google’s Richsnippets tool to make sure that Google has, in fact, tied you to your content.  A word of explanation in the event you don’t see your picture gracing your next blog post in Search – Google will only show your author portrait in search results when they “think it will be useful to the user”.

Take Away

A key business strategy today – if you want to be found on search, you need to be on Google+.


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Posted in Blogging for Business, Google+, Social Media & Small Business, Trends in Social Media

Social Media Helps You Get a Job in 2014

How Social Media can help you get a good jobUsing social media effectively can help make your job search easier, and can help get you a job in 2014.  While most people are already online searching for jobs – think Monster, Indeed and Careerbuilder – there are more reasons you want to go deeper digitally.

3 Reasons Social Media helps you get a job

  1. Recruiters
  2. Identify hidden jobs
  3. Reputation management

People that are hiring look for professional experience, hard and soft skills, indications of industry-related knowledge and presence, education levels and specifics, personal attributes, cultural fit and more.

1.  Recruiters – Recruiters use social media extensively in recruiting.  Anyone not using social channels is behind the curve, according to a recent study by Jobvite.  Much of recruiters efforts center around LinkedIn, the number one business-oriented social network.  It’s a place where recruiters are both proactive and reactive.  They use LinkedIn and other social networks to find candidate leads, to screen queries and submitted resumes, to dig deeper and get more information on all potential job prospects – all with the goal of identifying the best candidate for a job opening.

According to Jobvite, LinkedIn remains the king of searching (96%), contacting (94%), vetting (92%) and keeping track of candidates (93%).  Statistics show 78% of recruiters have made a hire through social media, and almost all recruiters (94%) use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts.

But it’s not all about LinkedIn. Recruiters also check out personal blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, GitHub, Instagram and more as ways to both vet and source talent.

The challenge for you is to make sure that you and your knowledge, skills and experience are showcased in the best possible light.

2.  Identify hidden jobs – here’s where you use social networks to your advantage.

Use LinkedIn proactively yourself! Use LinkedIn to build relationships, uncover needs, and provide you with information so that you don’t have to cold call for jobs.  For example, be proactive in identifying shared connections with potential employers, or discovering patterns within their connections, and develop conversation around a shared person or insight.

You’ll still need to call, but a warm call, based on mutual connections or uncovered shared interests for example, can improve your chances of success.

3.  Reputation management – craft your online brand and nurture it regularly.  Build up your social media presence by creating a solid social media foundation.

Create detailed and full profiles for the social networks you choose to participate in. Make sure your profiles are consistent – this is job #1 for building your personal brand.

Optimize LinkedIn first and foremost, and keep updating your profile with work samples, coursework, video, and more.

Engage on Twitter around your desired industry’s issues, listen to what is being said (search for your industry keywords, go to Social Mention) and comment, follow others, thank people for following you, and become an active presence in the arena of jobs you are interested in.  Being well informed and up on the latest news will make you a much more attractive candidate and can help you get your dream job.

Facebook – much has been said regarding Facebook.  Instead of recreating the wheel, I’ll only offer the suggestion that you check your privacy settings and think carefully about what you post.  There’s a lot that can damage as well as enhance your reputation…look at your Facebook presence from the point of view of a recruiter or HR director.  Make adjustments as necessary.

If visuals are your thing – look at YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook as avenues to showcase you and your talents via pictures or video.  So much of what we absorb today is done visually – the ol’ picture’s worth 1000 words.  Post visuals if it makes sense – they’ll enhance your brand and build your reputation.

Next Step

Get started.  Work on your LinkedIn presence to begin with.  Add in other social networks over time. For all you do-it-yourself-ers, yes, you can do this yourself. There’s a lot of information in my blogs and online that can help you work through these areas.

For those of you who would rather have expert advice tailored to your unique situation, consider one-on-one personalized social media consulting. I live and work in Charlotte, NC and would be happy to help you develop an effective online presence that can help you successfully change careers and/or land the job of your dreams. You can contact me, Liz Horgan, at 704-301-0135 or can email me at


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Posted in Trends in Social Media

Strategies to Increase Your Blogging Success in 2014

Number blog posts written each day 2014Success in blogging today includes creating ways to stand out from the crowd.

There are millions of blog posts written every day.  A LOT of information.  Your challenge, as a small business, nonprofit, or individual, is to have the blog posts that you write wind up in the hands and minds of people important to what you do.

Strategies to help your blogging stand out

1.  Live your brand, live your blogger image – create a visual consistency to go along with the blogging content you offer.

A New York fashion designer began blogging in 2008.  She cultivated a personal look that she never deviates from: she has a massive black beehive hairdo, wears a black mantilla, and wears big black and white clothing.  Her blog and her iconic look work to make her brand stand out.

While that may not speak to you…think about ways that you CAN live your brand, that you can stand out personally – even if it’s wearing a Fun Run Company t-shirt.

2.  Create niche content – use your blog posts to answer extremely specific questions and address narrow concerns.

Google is tweaking its search model to generate ever more personalized, you can read “better’ here, online search results.  Search now considers a variety of things, including context of the search, location, intent, variation of words, natural language and more in order to provide more relevant search results.

So…think about creating content that is very specific.  Because people are looking for very specific things and answers, blog topics should reflect that.  For example, instead of a social media consulting firm writing about how to use Twitter to get more business, to increase the opportunity to have what they write be seen by more people, they could write about how to use Twitter to promote a dog grooming business catering to rescued animals in Charlotte, NC.

3.  Mix up your content – with a variety of ways people look for information (smart phone, tablet, PC), mix up the length and specificity of what you blog about.  Blog about a topic and think about the platform it will be viewed on – short and direct on mobile, visually appealing on a tablet, and in-depth for a PC/laptop – and adjust accordingly.

The challenge is to have your blog information and ideas come up when your target audiences are searching for information.  Here’s a good read on this courtesy of Search Engine Watch.

You can increase your blogging success in 2014 by thinking a bit differently. Social media is social, and first and foremost it has to be done with people in mind.  Talk with people, inform people through blogs, help people, and converse with people.  For some killer content ideas, click here.

Blogging, well done, can help you build relationships with people who matter to you and your organization.


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Posted in "How To" basics, Blogging for Business, Social Media & Small Business, Social Media for Nonprofits, Trends in Social Media

Quick Tips for Upgrading Your Online and Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social Media and Marketing 2014Businesses, individuals and nonprofits are all affected by the changes going on with marketing and the Internet.  Here are some tips for how you can adapt and work towards more effective messaging in 2014.

Tips for upgrading your online and social media marketing

  • Mobilize your websites.  Statistics show that more and more people are accessing information via their smart phones.  Also check to make sure your website loads quickly – the slower it loads, the less people hang around to wait to see what you’re all about.  Click here for a free speed test.
  • Actively monitor social channels.  Read more about this here
  • Rise above the noise – content marketing is getting tougher to do well. Here are some ideas of the challenges and solutions (here, here, and here).
  • Add PR to your digital marketing efforts.  Earned media and paid media can help expand the reach of your messaging.
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Posted in "How To" basics, Blogging for Business, Social Media & Small Business, Social Media for Nonprofits, Social Mobile, Trends in Social Media

3 Social Media Tips for Small Business in 2014

Tips for Small Businesses to use social media marketing in 2014Are you looking to make some changes at your company in 2014? Marketing using digital communications and social media is one way you can set your business up for success this year.

Looking ahead at business and economic trends, technology advancements, and selling opportunities, the following areas are ones to look closely at this year:

Tip #1 –   Think Mobile

Smart phones and tablets are increasingly used by your client base.  Reaching your clients and prospects where THEY are when they need your help takes planning.

  • Make sure that your website is optimized for mobile
  • Improve your emails for mobile viewing – this means making sure you have a captivating subject line and that your first sentence either grabs the viewer and entices them to open it or summarizes your communique.
  • Consider developing an app – it lets you be where they are 24/7.  A word of caution, however, be sure it adds real value – don’t do an app for app’s sake.

Tip #2 –  Keep (or start) Blogging

With a continued challenge to be visible and have your clients and prospects “find” you online, creating quality, interesting, relevant content is more important than ever.  New changes to the Google Search algorithms make it more important than ever to generate your own material – this is a clean and common-sense way to drive people to your website.

While you’re considering your blogging strategy, don’t forget to think visually, in addition to the written word.  Video, Vines, Infographics, photos and other visual elements are great additions to your blogging strategy for 2014.

Tip #3 –  Context

While many say “content is king”, the context of what you say/show/write can trump content.   “To be successful, content must be proximate, relevant and in the right location” – this said by Ty Scheiner in his take on 2014 and social media trends.

This means being where your clients and prospects are online when they need what you offer.  Think about where your people are when they need you first – are they  emoting about your industry on SnapChat, uploading a picture of a product fail on Tumblr, taking to Instagram, Reddit, Twitter or other social networks to address a burning question that your company has the answer to ? ?  If yes to any of these, then consider adding a messaging strategy to capture these leads on the social networks your clients are using.  This combines both context AND content.

Other takes on what’s new and predictions for what’s coming for 2014 can be found by reading:

What do you think will be the most important social media strategy for 2014?  Let’s talk, I’d love to hear from you.

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Posted in Social Media & Small Business, Trends in Social Media