Google +1 and the Social Graph

First there was Google Wave. Then there was Google Buzz. Now we have Google +1. Google’s attempts to break into the social space have been less than extraordinary. But, out of the 3 I believe this one has the best chance to make it.

Many people are comparing Google’s +1 to the Facebook Like Button.  This is probably a valid comparison, but +1 still needs some work to challenge the Like Button.

google +1One of the biggest advantages the Like Button has is quite simply the Facebook network. When you “like” something, it posts it to your profile. That way all your friends know that you “like” it, which gives them a chance to click-through to the page and maybe “like” it as well. Google’s +1 is more of a passive solution. You only see that people +1’ed something for a site/page when you use search.

Part of the reason that both Wave and Buzz failed was because you had to create a new profile on a new network to be able to use them. Currently it’s planned that you can only use +1 if you are logged into your Google account. This may prove again to be a barrier for people to start using it. Coming late to the party and trying to be a closed system is a recipe for disaster.

Social search already incorporates some of the social graph when you use Google search. For example when you do a search and one of the results was shared by a Twitter connection, you will see this under the result. But, again it is relying on another network.

So, how can Google make +1 socially proactive?

  1. Promote Google profiles More:Currently the only way to use +1 is to be logged into your Google account, but only a small percentage of people that have Google profiles really maintain them.

    One way to lower the pain of switching to a new platform would be to allow people to login with credentials from other platforms.  Although, I know this can be slippery slope.

  2. Get a +1 button on websites:The only way people will really use it, is if they have it right in front of them when they decide they want to share something. Clicking back to the search results to +1 a result just isn’t going to happen. Create an easy way for webmasters to add the tool to their sites. Offer an API for third party plugins like SexyBookmarks for WordPress.
  3. Find a way for people share their +1 with connections:This sort of goes back to the first point. Let’s face it, unless more people start using Google Profiles the effect will be similar to Buzz: Sharing in a vacuum. So, allow people to Tweet, post to Facebook, Stumble, or post to any other network, that they just Google +1’ed a page. Then figure out a way to drive people back to Google Profiles. Maybe with more functionality for +1 if they are logged in, but only allowing people to use/see it when they are logged in is dangerous.

Google’s strength is search, so they need to leverage that to drive their platform to be more social. +1 is a step in the right direction.

-1 Connections on LinkedIn

So what does it say about you if you have -1 connections on @LinkedIn ???
It can’t be good.

minus 1 connection on LinkedIn

What do you think about reciprocal “likes” on Facebook pages. Good practice or spam?

Facebook Logo

So, I recently came across a discussion on LinkedIn where people were sharing their Facebook Pages with the hopes that people would like them. Now, in theory this is a good thing, and a good way to get more exposure to your Facebook Page.

This question that I have though is with reciprocal likes. Does this bring any value to have some like your page just so you’ll like them back? If that is the only reason that they like your page then there is a very high probability that they don’t plan any other interaction with the page after you exchange likes.

This reminds me of all the requests I get to add a link to our site from people promoting websites that I’ve never heard of and really have no interest in linking to. If I accepted all these exchanges we would have a lot of low quality links that wouldn’t help with SEO. In fact they might even hurt. Yes link building is important for search placement and likes are important to social networking, but I tend to think that gaining 1 true fan that will actually interact it with your page and share with their friends is worth far more than a bunch of “like exchanges”

What do you think. Are “reciprocal likes” a good practice? Do you do it?

Update July 21, 2011:

So, I made the mistake of sharing my company’s Facebook Page in a LinkedIn group. Let me explain why I say “mistake.”

I am getting new ‘likes’ from the group, but what is the value? People are liking my page and then posting links to their page on my wall saying things like, “I liked you, now like me back”,  “Please return the like” or “We just liked your page! Please like us too!.”  The best one was “Based on your request.” The thing is I never requested them to ‘like’ it, I simply put it out there for people to see. Plus, to make it worse they started going to my client pages and doing the same!

Obviously some people disagree, but this is spam. A Facebook page is intended to be used by customers or potential customers to interact with the company. Most of us receive tons of emails requesting links or telling me about a service for which I never requested information. Where do those emails end up? In spam box.

If you have a real interested in my business, then please engage me. If you just want a like for the sake of having more likes, don’t bother. Many of you may find this harsh, but social media is not a popularity contest it is about engagement.

Opinions? Comments?

Facebook Updates Fan Pages

You may have noticed that there have been some changes to the fan pages. The layout now looks very much like personal profiles. Right now page owners can choose to upgrade to the new design, but on March 10th all pages will automatically be upgraded.

Blackbird e-Solutions Fan Page

Here are some of the new features:

  • Receive notifications when fans interact with your page or posts.
  • A place to showcase photos along the top of your page. Unfortunately though, the ability to set the order that the images appear like you can with personal profiles is not available.
  • A news feed for your page.
  • The ability to surf Facebook and Like and post on other pages as your page.

5 Ways Social Media Marketing Can Help Your Business

Social media marketing is a newcomer to the marketing scene and continues to be a hot topic. Many companies fail when they attempt to leverage it as a marketing tool. Often they just don’t understand what the potential of social media marketing really is. This list will help you see what it can do for your company.

    social media marketing

  1. Bring links to your website.
    Link building is a key component of search engine optimization and social media is a great way to get inexpensive links. Although many social media platforms use what’s called nofollow links (nofollow links tell the search engine bots not to follow the links) there are plenty of ways to get follow links as well. Don’t forget that blogs are also a form of social media. By posting relevant content and then promoting it through social media platforms you create many more chances to be found by bloggers, who in turn may post a link to your content in their blog. Plus, even if people link to you content via social media platforms with nofollow links, guess what, people follow those links.
  2. Bring traffic to your website.
    This ties into the links as well. As you create good content and link to it through relevant posts on social media platforms, this alone can drive traffic to your site. But when it really gets interesting is when an influencer gets a hold of your content and shares it with their connections and those connections share it with their connections this can quickly turn into a stream of traffic being driven to your site. This is what I like to call word of mouth on steroids.
  3. Create consumer brand awareness
    It’s definitely true that brand awareness is good for your business, social media can help you create a good first impression as well as keep your products in the minds of consumers. If you are engaged with social media marketing and continue to post relevant thoughtful information, when consumers are in need of your product they will remember they saw your posts online and come to you. Recommendations are also a big part of social media marketing, and not just review site. Every time someone includes a link, or shares your content they are essentially giving a recommendation.
  4. Drive conversions
    A conversion can be many things depending on your objectives. It could be downloading a whitepaper, purchasing a product online, filling out a contact form, etc. Whatever you consider to be a conversion. A well thought out social media marketing plan can drive people to convert.
  5. Start conversations
    Today’s consumers don’t want to be spoken to they want to converse and they are looking for input from their peers. If you are getting links and traffic from your social media marketing, that’s because people are talking about you. On the flip side if you can get conversations started then there’s a good chance you will also see more traffic and links to you site.

LinkedIn Adds Open Groups

linkedin tilesLinkedIn has recently shifted their philosophy with groups. They have added the option to groups so that the group owners can set the group to a public group or “open group”. The move will allow conversations and posts in open groups to be easily shared throughout the internet. So, if you post something in an open group people will no longer need to log in to read it.

The have made an assurance that anything that was private before will stay that way:

All existing groups will remain members-only unless the group owner proactively chooses to enable public discussions. If that happens, all group members will be informed when they visit the group.

Discussions created in a group before it switches to open will go into the group’s members-only, read-only Archive. They cannot be seen by anyone who is not a member of the group.

Plus, Members only groups will be indicated by this badge Privacy lock whenever you see the group name.

It seems this is an attempt to drive more traffic to the LinkedIn website. What do you think? Is it a good move? A bad move?

Do You Need the Damn it My Mom is on Facebook Filter?

Is your mom getting too involved in your social life? Check out this new app Damn it my mom is on Facebook filter. Watch the video below. Brought you by the folks at Saturday Night Live.

Microsoft & Facebook Team up to Make Search More Social – 4 Things You Should Know

Recently Microsoft has been creating relationships that will give their search engine Bing more market share. The deal with Yahoo and Bing that was announced earlier this year, went into effect recently and is a major consolidation of the search industry. Next up Facebook.

The idea is to bring what your friends “like” on Facebook and sites using Facebook’s open graph to search results. So, when you use Bing to search for a topic in news, articles that your friends “like” through Facebook might show up with their names and profile picture. This will also include movies, cafes, restaurants, etc. Microsoft has also added Facebook profiles to their people search. All of this should help Bing gain more ground in the search engine world. Even though Microsoft is providing search technology for Yahoo the two companies are still making their own decisions about how to display the results.

With this partnership the web is becoming more and more connected. Here a four things you should know.

1. Search is evolving. Google become the powerhouse it is today by creating new technology that did a much better job at deciphering what the most relevant results for users. Using their algorithms and spiders they are able to evaluate large amounts of websites and data to do this. Now with the Facebook Microsoft partnership, Bing will be able to show results that your trusted friends believe are good. When it comes to social, Google is playing catch up.

2. Customer experience will be king. Google’s mantra has always been “content is king”. Well, it is still important, but companies will not be able to stop there they will need to make sure that customer have a good experience with their brand. Now you won’t even have to ask your friends their opinions will simply show up in Bing search results.

3. Search and Social will continue to merge. We are seeing this already, but it will become more apparent that you can no longer think of search/SEO and Social Media as two separate things.

4. We will all need to be master of our domain. Facebook has continues to be under scrutiny with their privacy and individuals ability to set their own Facebook privacy settings. Both Microsoft and Facebook have assured that users will still have control over what Facebook shares with Bing, but they have to actually know how to an make the effort to manage these settings.

The New Information Age and the Rise of the Marketing Technologist

In the last few years technology and the internet has changed the face of marketing from blogs, to videos, to social media platforms. You now have to understand a host of different types of technology to be able to market effectively. Check out this presentation it gives a good overview of the new type of marketer.

Why Do You Follow People/Businesses on Twitter?

People use Twitter for many different reasons. It could be just for fun, for business, for information or something else. We’re interested in why you use Twitter, and more specifically: Why do you choose to follow people/businesses on Twitter?

Why do you follow people on Twitter?customer surveys