Which Social Media Should I Put My Efforts into for My Business?

Due to issues with privacy and security, Google+ is shutting down in April of 2019.

On November 6, 2018, Google+ users were faced with the exposure of their private profile content. Alphabet Inc, Google’s mother company, revealed that a bug allowed 52 million users’ private information to be compromised and given to outside app developers without the users’ consent.

“Protecting the privacy and security of our users has long been an essential part of our mission,” says Google, Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai. Yet, in October of 2018, there was a similar breach of privacy which also provided outside app developers with Google+ users’ private information, including full names, email addresses, genders, birthdays, photos, places lived, relationship statuses, and occupations. It was after this glitch that Google initially announced the demise of Google+, which was to be terminated in August of 2019. Considering the second privacy violation, the date of termination was moved up four months to April 2019.

So, with all these major changes from Google, which platform(s) are most practical and provide the most security for your company?

Google My Business (GMB) is presumed to be the platform of choice for business owners. GMB is a free tool for businesses to supervise their online presence throughout Google, including Google Search and Google Maps. This platform allows customers to find your business’ location as well as inform them about your business, its hours, and contact information.

Within your GMB account, there is a section called Insights which offers new analytic features. Among these are queries used to find your business, customer actions like visiting your website, making phone calls, and direction requests. The platform also allows business owners to place ads, write posts, upload pictures, and update company information. Another aspect beneficial to business owners is that GMB allows for customers to leave a review of the company and compiles them in an easy-to-read list. These reviews can be responded to by the business owners.

Other Social Media You Should Use for Your Business

Social media is the basis of which most customers are going to learn more about your business. Many companies use various social media platforms to not only connect with their customers but to gain visibility throughout the internet as well. It is most beneficial to your company if you utilize multiple social media outlets to market your business. But which ones are worth it?

LinkedIn is the most professional social media platform and allows businesses to network with other people or companies and draw potential customers or clients to your business. On your company profile, you can share any awards bestowed, your accomplishments, and post in detail about current and past projects. In addition to these features, you can post and share articles, videos, and photos on your newsfeed with your network of connections and followers. You can even develop your own articles using LinkedIn Publishing. Another great aspect of LinkedIn that is ideal for business owners is the ability to list job openings and review applications from potential employees. LinkedIn is a one-stop-shop for all your social media, marketing, and business development needs.

Facebook has specific pages and profiles for companies and business professionals. These provide the business with analytics, ad opportunities, and the ability to post events and updates along with photos and videos. Keeping your clients and customers up to date on all that’s happening with your business has never been easier or more condensed into one outlet. Facebook Messenger also provides more interaction with customers. Messenger allows customers to directly message a business and discuss any questions or concerns they may have.

Instagram is perfect for sharing photos and videos from company events and posting promotional graphics to market your products or services. There is a business profile option which will allow you to connect your email address, phone number and website at the top of your Instagram page. Interaction with customers and clients is extremely simple with Instagram’s comments which, depending on your privacy settings, give anyone the ability to write a comment on a post.

Twitter is another great social media platform for businesses to post last minute updates to their followers about promotions, events, or cancelations due to weather. In addition to these updates, Twitter is also a great source to repost from Facebook and Instagram.

Not sure which social media platform is best for your business? Focus on what your company is providing to the public. If you have a lot of photographs to share with your customers, Instagram is a great option to allow your pictures to highlight your business. If your business hosts a lot of events, consider utilizing Facebook to create ads and invite customers to these events. Additionally, Twitter is great for making quick updates to schedules and keeping in contact with clients. If you still aren’t positive about what platform to use, start with one you are personally using. This way, you already have some experience with the platform and can utilize your prior knowledge to increase your business’ exposure.

You may find that you want to have presence on more than one social media network. Being present in multiple areas will increase your company’s visibility and help you reach more potential customers.

Managing Multiple Social Media Accounts

It may seem as if managing multiple social media accounts can become overwhelming. However, there is no need to fret. There are terrific software programs that help consolidate all your social media accounts in one space. Among these are Hootsuite and Buffer.

Hootsuite integrates multiple types of social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter into one interface. Other sites such as YouTube, LinkedIn, and WordPress blogs can be incorporated. If you have multiple businesses or organizations you manage, you may add these organizations along with all their respective social media accounts. Buffer is very similar. You can include multiple organizations as well, and each may have multiple social media accounts. Among those covered are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

These integrations are wonderful because they provide you with the ability to create a singular post and share it on all your social media platforms with just a few clicks. You can also schedule your posts to go out at a later date or time, even months in advance! Both Hootsuite and Buffer provide analytics and the ability to respond to all your comments within the same window.

When it comes to choosing which social media management software is best for your business, it is best to research each software to find one that fits your needs and budget. For further information please contact us at 1-855-PRMG-123 or email us at info@theprmg.com.

5 Quick Tips to Grow Your Followers on Social Media

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Growing your presence on social media can be tricky, especially if you are just starting out. Here are some tips on how you can make minimal changes to your social media platform, and quickly receive an increased number of followers. Continue reading “5 Quick Tips to Grow Your Followers on Social Media”

Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing

Sale Tag WreathThe most prosperous time of year is approaching: the fourth financial quarter and the holiday season. How can your business capitalize from the holiday rush? Start planning your holiday marketing efforts now! Use your business’ social media sites, online marketing, and public relations efforts to build a comprehensive holiday marketing plan. Continue reading “Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing”

Top Five Reasons to Sign Up for Hootsuite

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For businesses and agencies that need to keep track of multiple social media accounts, Hootsuite is the ultimate dashboard for social media management. Rather than remembering multiple passwords and going to each site to make posts, Hootsuite allows users to manage all of their social media accounts from a central location with either a free or Pro account (paid).  Here are our top five benefits of managing social media accounts with Hootsuite. Continue reading “Top Five Reasons to Sign Up for Hootsuite”

Where Should a Small Business Spend its Marketing Money

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Marketing is essential for the growth of any business. Even if you offer a top-notch product or service, without sufficient exposure, potential customers may never be aware of what your business has to offer. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not have a large budget to spend on comprehensive marketing campaigns. Costly forms of marketing can be very effective in attracting new customers, but if the budget isn’t there, businesses can take advantage of alternative methods. Fortunately, there are many ways to attract new customers without breaking the bank. Here are some tips on where you should be spending your money when dealing with a tight marketing budget. Continue reading “Where Should a Small Business Spend its Marketing Money”

Twitter Ads

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As the world’s most popular micro-blogging website, Twitter has become an increasingly important tool for businesses to promote their products and services through word-of-mouth marketing and generate buzz about their brand. While businesses have used tweets, links, and hashtags since Twitter’s inception to engage with existing and potential customers, Twitter recently expanded businesses’ ability to advertise through Twitter Ads.  Previously, Twitter Ads was limited to a select group of large companies and those who were invited to participate, but with a new self-service system, any business or individual can use this feature to promote tweets or accounts and increase followers.

For those not familiar with Twitter, here’s a brief overview. Twitter is a micro-blogging site that allows its users to communicate by posting short updates known as “tweets” to their profiles and “following” each other’s tweets on their newsfeeds. Every Twitter user has a unique username, known as a Twitter Handle, which is prominently displayed on the user’s profile page and next to every tweet the user posts. Tweets are limited to 140 characters and often include links to other websites, articles, blog posts, or hashtags. Hashtags (symbolized by the # sign) allow users to search for tweets with specific subjects or phrases, such as #JobInterview or #SmallBiz. You can learn more about Twitter from PRMG’s previous post.

Before Twitter Ads, businesses focused on engaging with consumers by tweeting frequently, using popular hashtags, and sharing blogs and other links about their products, services, or industry. With these tools, businesses could build rapport with their followers, strengthen their online presence, and connect their websites and blogs to a social media forum. However, it was often harder to attract new customers, as businesses could not specifically target those they wanted to reach. Twitter updates could also be very time-consuming, and full engagement with followers could distract from other social media and marketing strategies. In addition, including too many links on a Twitter profile would seem like spam and deter Twitter users from following the business. Twitter Ads solves many of these problems and can improve the effectiveness of social media marketing.

Twitter Ads comes in two forms: Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts.  With both Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts, businesses target a specific audience in order to drive traffic to their profile. Businesses choose a location—city, state, or country—to focus on, and then narrow to their target audience by filtering through specific genders, interests, and other criteria. For example, a music store can target people who like to play instruments and a golf club can target men who live in a suburban area. As a result, a business’s Twitter activity will reach those who are most likely to engage with the product or service.

After finding a target audience, the two Promoted approaches start to differ. Promoted Tweets work the same way as regular tweets, and they allow businesses to broaden their reach and inform the intended audience about special offers, press releases, and other information relevant to the business or industry. The Promoted Tweet targets the chosen audience and stays at the top of the Twitter users’ newsfeeds when they log in, whether or not the users are currently following the company. A Promoted Tweet is often better for a short-term approach, such as attracting business immediately for a one-day sale or special event, though it can also increase followers. Promoted Tweets can also be used to generate traffic to a blog post or article on another website. On the other hand, Promoted Accounts can be more beneficial for a long-term approach that focuses on building a stronger customer base or increasing brand awareness. Promoted Accounts use an algorithm to track potential followers with similar characteristics of current followers and appear on a side bar of a Twitter user’s profile in the “Who to Follow” recommendation section. Overall, Promoted Accounts are better for building and maintaining relationships. Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts can be used separately or in conjunction.

Because Twitter Ads is now self-service, businesses set a daily spending limit and can stop, start, or resume advertising at any time. This new system that Twitter uses is very similar to the Pay-Per-Click system used by Facebook Advertising and Google AdWords. Twitter only charges when a Twitter user clicks the link to follow the Promoted Account or engages with the Promoted Tweet through a retweet, follow, favorite, reply, or link. As a result, the business remains in complete control of its advertising budget and strategy.

Furthermore, with both Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts, businesses can track the success of their advertising with Analytics that show the increase in the number of followers or clicks-per-link, as well as how their budget has been spent. The Analytics feature separates increased traffic and activity that occur organically from traffic and activity that result from concentrated marketing efforts, demonstrating the effectiveness of the campaign.

As Twitter continues to gain in prominence, consider your goals for social media marketing. Do you want to expand your customer base by targeting a specific market? Do you want to further engage already-existing customers or spread the word about a new product or service? Twitter Ads may be worth the time and investment.

If you are interested in Twitter Ads or have any questions about your social media strategy, contact 1-855-PRMG-123 or info@theprmg.com .

5 Free Tools to Support Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

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With the amount of social media programs available on the Web, businesses must be able to efficiently leverage time spent on social media marketing. This article will provide readers with a brief introduction to the social media services Eventbrite, Tweriod, WiseStamp, Disqus and Mr. Unfollowr. These five tools are quick to use, helpful and conveniently free of charge.

1. Eventbrite — Eventbrite’s mission is to make events as easy to create, find and attend as possible. With this online service, businesses can create and promote events online. This tool allows users to customize event pages, integrate with email marketing services, connect with Facebook and offers the ability to scan QR-coded tickets for attendees with smartphones at the door. If your event is free, this service is free to use. For paid events, there is a small fee to sell tickets online.

2. Tweriod — This tool analyzes both your company’s tweets and your followers’ tweets to provide you with the best times and days to send tweets. By tweeting during time periods where you’ll receive the most exposure, you will make the most out of your efforts. Businesses should run a free monthly Tweriod analysis and use the provided data to schedule posts in programs such as HootSuite or TweetDeck. For more information on scheduling social media posts at the right times, please read our article, “Timing is Everything: When to Blog, Tweet and More.”

3. WiseStampWiseStamp allows users to create unique, branded email signatures through customized apps. For example, you can link your email signature to any social network, share your latest WordPress blog articles, include QR codes and much more. The free version of WiseStamp allows users to create one personal and one corporate email signature.

4. Disqus — For those who receive an excessive amount of spam in the comment section of their blog, Disqus can be very helpful. This free tool can get rid of spammers by upgrading your comment system so that users must create an account before they can comment. This program is compatible with WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Drupal, HTML and JavaScript. Also, Disqus has been approved by the Google Search Quality team to be organically crawled unlike any other comment platform.

5. Mr. Unfollowr — If you need to clean up your “following” list on Twitter, this free program will help you keep track of people who have stopped following your account. To join, just follow @unfollowr on Twitter and you will receive digests to your email or direct messages with a list of unfollowers. This is a great tool to remove inactive or unfruitful accounts and ensure that you aren’t losing any important business contacts or personal connections.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

How to Engage Journalists Using Social Media

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A recent survey conducted last month by Text 100 Global Public Relations discovered that a significant number of journalists use social media and blogs on a regular basis when researching a business, brand or organization for an article. A total of 72 full-time journalists working in print, online and broadcast media were surveyed and the results found that, on average, journalists look at 2.6 social media channels for every story they research. Given these statistics, and the rapid rate at which social networking is growing, public relations professionals can use social media channels to engage with journalists and reach out to them in an outlet where they’re known to be active.

This article will explain the best methods public relations professionals can use to engage journalists through social media.

Maintain Social Media Profiles — Since reporters may look at several social media channels when conducting research, it’s important that your organization has a positive presence on all of them. By creating professional, thorough and favorable profiles for your business online, journalists will be able to discover the information that you want to be highlighted. For example, use social media channels to display media coverage, upcoming events, company news and anything else that you would like the public to be aware of.

For information on how to get your business active on social media, please see our article, “Getting Started with Social Media.”

Focus on Twitter — An important finding in this study was that Twitter is the best social media channel for public relations pitches and media relations. The survey found that journalists are far more likely to welcome contact on Twitter rather than LinkedInGoogle+or even Facebook. Public relations professionals can use Twitter to connect with reporters by seeking out their profiles and “following” them. Twitter is a great way to stay in touch with journalists and pitch stories, business news and upcoming events. Of the journalists surveyed in this study, 53% found that a company’s Twitter profile was instrumental in their research when writing an article.

For an overview of how businesses can use Twitter, please see our articles, “Secrets to Twitter Marketing” and “Twitter Unveils Brand-New Design and Special Features for Businesses.”

Create a Blog — Blogs are also an increasingly important venue to attract media attention. According to this survey, 63% of journalists found a company’s blog to be extremely useful in their research. By creating and maintaining an active blog, your business can establish itself as an industry leader and nourish an interactive hub of information about your organization. Businesses should provide useful information and quality content that relates to your organization and industry as a whole. For more information on how important blogging is for brands and businesses, read our article, “Should My Business Have a Blog?

It is also important to keep in mind that while social media is becoming increasingly important, journalists still value press releases and phone conversations. While the media is increasingly turning to social media and online outlets for information, they still rely heavily on these more traditional methods of contact when covering a story. These social media techniques should be used to supplement press releases, media advisories and other traditional communications outlets.

For more information about engaging with journalists using social media, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

Social Media Publishing 101

Social Media Publishing

An Overview of HootSuite, Tweetdeck and Social Oomph

Social publishing programs are essential for managing a business’ social media presence, especially for those who maintain multiple accounts. The primary function of these programs is to allow users to organize and schedule posts in advance on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. By using these programs to schedule posts and space out your content, businesses can ensure that they have a consistent presence on social media. This article will provide an overview of the three major social media publishing platforms: HootSuite,TweetDeck and Social Oomph.

While all of these programs are free to join, provide helpful URL shorteners and allow for multiple social networking accounts, each of the three has certain benefits, disadvantages and unique capabilities. Depending on your organization and personal preferences, one of these platforms may be better suited for your needs than the others.

HootSuite

HootSuite, which many consider to be the leading social media dashboard, allows users to manage multiple networks, schedule updates and create custom analytics reports to monitor your success. Using HootSuite’s unique social networking dashboard, users can connect multiple social networks, such as TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and WordPress, in one place.

  • Advantages — HootSuite’s greatest strength is that it provides users with excellent custom analytics reports to share with clients or colleagues. Through these reports, users can track brand sentiment, follower growth and also incorporate Facebook Insights and Google Analytics right in their dashboard. Also, while Google+ is currently unavailable on these publishing tools, HootSuite will be given first access to Google+ business and brand pages. This is so important because, when this update is unveiled, users can update all of their social media pages, including Google+, in one place. Also, like Social Oomph, HootSuite users can schedule messages in bulk to save time by uploading a CSV file. HootSuite also has a mobile app so users can access their dashboard for free on iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys or Android mobile devices.
  • Disadvantages — The most notable disadvantage of HootSuite is that the free version only allows users to manage up to five accounts and there is a limit of 10 columns on your dashboard. This can be a major setback, especially for users who need to maintain multiple accounts on each social networking platform. To avoid this problem, users can upgrade to the premium version for $5 per month.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck also allows users to manage multiple social media accounts, schedule posts and organize social networking feeds. This real-time browser can connect you with contacts and information across TwitterFacebookLinkedInMySpaceFourSquare and more.

  • Advantages — One advantage is that all of the features on TweetDeck are free – there is no premium, paid membership like HootSuite and Social Oomph require for certain features. With a free membership, TweetDeck users can manage and post to an unlimited number of social media accounts, unlike HootSuite, where basic users are limited to only five. Also, many users agree that TweetDeck’s dashboard is the cleanest and most user-friendly of the three, although this depends on personal preference.
  • Disadvantages — On May 25, 2011, TweetDeck was bought by Twitter and since this acquisition, many users have complained about missing features, bugs and certain tools not working properly. Apart from these technical problems, there are two major setbacks with TweetDeck. Unlike HootSuite and Social Oomph, there are no analytics reports or bulk scheduling capabilities available. This is a huge disadvantage, especially for businesses, since they cannot monitor the effectiveness of their social media marketing strategies.

Social Oomph

Social Oomph performs the same functions as the previous two programs but unlike HootSuite or TweetDeck, users have the ability to “Auto-Follow” and “Auto-Direct Message” users. Depending on one’s personal preference, this feature could either be seen as an advantage or disadvantage, as further discussed below.

  • Advantages — The benefit of using Social Oomph is that this service has the most detailed and informative analytics reports, especially for those who are managing several social media accounts. Like HootSuite, you can also schedule posts in bulk but only Social Oomph makes this process simpler by allowing users to upload posts from a Word document. Social Oomph’s “Replies Digest” is another unique and useful feature, especially for businesses. This tool will send you a daily email with any @Mentions of Re-tweets your business has received. This email is extremely helpful for businesses to easily monitor interactions on Twitter and respond accordingly.
  • Disadvantages — Unlike TweetDeck and HootSuite, there is currently no smart phone app available for Social Oomph. As mentioned previously, Social Oomph is the only service that allows users to set up “Auto-Follows,” “Auto-Direct Messages” and “Auto-Responders,” but this tool is only unlocked when users upgrade to premium accounts. There is a biweekly cost of $3.97 for Social Oomph Premium. “Auto-follow” refers to being able to follow someone on Twitter automatically if they have followed you. “Auto-Direct Messages” and “Auto-Responding” refer to sending Twitter users automatic, prewritten responses. While some users may see this as an advantage, since this practice is only available on Social Oomph, it has its flaws and most social media users look down on auto-responses. It’s far more powerful to interact with users on a more personal level rather than just send them computer-generated responses.

For more information about social media publishing, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

Twitter Unveils Brand-New Design and Special Features for Businesses

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On December 8, 2011, Twitter unleashed a brand-new design and several new features. Twitter is continuing to roll out these major updates for both Twitter.com and its mobile-friendly website. These huge changes are meant to make the social media giant more organized, user-friendly and able to provide more opportunities for businesses and brands to interact with their audiences. If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, please read our article, “Secrets to Twitter Marketing.”

This article will provide you with an overview of the recent changes made to Twitter’s homepage, embedded tweets, the emergence of enhanced profile pages and how you can get the newest version of Twitter.

New Homepage — When you first log in to the new Twitter on your desktop or mobile phone, you’ll notice that the homepage has been completely revamped. Twitter condensed everything to fit neatly into four organized columns. These four tabs are called “Home,” “Connect,” “Discover” and “Me.”

  • Home — On their homepage, users are now able to see more detailed information about reply tweets (@replies) and retweets for a certain tweet by clicking on the “Open” option. The “Open” feature makes it easier to keep track of conversations and interactions revolving around a tweet. This was never possible on the previous version of Twitter. Also, unlike the old Twitter newsfeed, users can now view media elements, such as photos and videos, inside the tweet, rather than only on the side.

  • Connect — The “Connect” tab includes information such as who has followed you, which users mentioned you and who has replied to, “favorited” or “retweeted” one of your tweets.

  • Discover — The “Discover” tab is where users can search for different forms of content on Twitter. This new tool customizes information for each user since it can identify stories and trends that the individual would be most interested in, based on their connections, location and language.

  • Me — The “Me” column is your new and enhanced Twitter profile. The new design includes a much larger space for your personal photo, short biography and location. Information such as who you are following and who your followers are will now appear on the left-hand side of the screen, with your conversations on the right.

Embedded Tweets — The Embedded Tweet feature allows users to render a tweet on any third-party website. Readers are then able to retweet, reply to, favorite and follow the user right from the website, without leaving the page to go into Twitter. To get the embed code for a tweet, simply click on the tweet you wish to embed and click “Embed this Tweet.” This can be a great way for businesses to share tweets on their website, such as positive reviews or testimonials.

Enhanced Profiles Pages — The hope for enhanced profile pages is that businesses will be able to create a stronger and more interactive presence on Twitter. These pages will include a larger header image for displaying your business’ logo, tagline and any other visuals that you may want to include on your page. You can also promote one of your tweets at the top of your page’s timeline, if you want readers to see this message first. Businesses should take advantage of this promoted tweet and include only their strongest, most engaging and relevant content. Enhanced profile pages are free of charge, but they are not available to everyone just yet. So far, Twitter has launched these pages exclusively with 21 advertising partners and select brands. According to an official statement from Twitter, they will slowly roll out enhanced profile pages to a wider audience of brands in the coming months.

How Can I Get the New Twitter? — If you’re still using the old version of Twitter, there is a way to switch over. Simply delete your current Twitter app from your smartphone and download the latest version. After you download the new app, you’ll be given access to the redesigned Twitter on your computer as well. If you use Tweetdeck, this program was also updated to be consistent with the new version of Twitter. You can click here to use or download the latest version of Tweetdeck.

To keep up-to-date on Twitter’s rapidly evolving changes, visit fly.twitter.com. For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.