There’s a fine line between making social media useless by posting things that aren’t relevant for business and making it ineffective by having posts that are too promotional, thus killing the posts through “death by algorithm”. Done right, businesses have the ability to be interesting enough to make the algorithms like them while being relevant enough to get a benefit out of the networks.
If you are breaking into the online marketing world—whether you are a business owner, a freelancer, or entrepreneur trying to establish your brand—you’ve undoubtedly discovered (or are starting to discover) the world of Social Media and its importance in reaching your intended audience. You’ve set up your Facebook and Twitter, you may have a LinkedIn or Instagram account, and you’re feeling pretty confident that your customers and clients will start rolling in once they see you posting about your amazing service, your awesome promotional products, and your exclusive offers.
Experts can offer whatever reasoning they want about why sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest became successful, but at the end of the day it’s a no-brainer that they turned pictures into the ultimate addictive hook to their sites and apps. We are visualizing creatures. We love to see things more than we love to read about them.
It doesn’t get much bigger than that.
If you ever want a crash course on the latest social media studies but don’t want to spend the money to do them yourself, just watch the Super Bowl. You have to assume that if companies are spending millions to produce and distribute 30 second spots for the big game, they’re going to research what’s working today.
From a marketing and advertising perspective, Facebook is a game. It may not be very fun for businesses, but just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean that you don’t have to play along to be successful. On the other hand, some businesses have plenty of fun on Facebook. Whether you do or not makes absolutely no difference, though some will say that if you’re having fun with it that you’ll be more successful. I contend that fun or no fun, you still play the same way if you’re doing it right.
Google+ is making moves. Many are saying that it’s not the ghost town that it was believed to be less than a year ago. It’s technically bigger than Twitter. Communities were a nice addition (if you turn the notifications off) that seem to be taking off. The future looks brighter than ever for Google’s 547th attempt at getting into social media.
Late last year, Google+ added its Communities, which are much like its name, a circle that is dedicated to a topic that other like-minded people can be a part of, allowing you to grow your network while socializing on subjects that you enjoy. It seems like everyone is making their own community and invites are a constant which means that this is bound to annoy some more than others.
Google has stuck with its story that the various components of Google+ and the +1 button don’t have an effect on search rankings. They have to. Once they admit that it does (as countless studies and tests have indicated), the flood of spam and blackhat SEO techniques will grow larger than it already has. This is important to understand for anyone doing research on the topic. Google isn’t trying to deceive people for the sake of being deceptive. They’re trying to protect the sanctity of what will become their greatest advantage in the ongoing search engine wars. They will not sit back and do what Yahoo did a decade ago, relying on mass adoption to carry them through. Just because Google is on top today doesn’t mean that they have no fears for the future.
Many may agree that the reason Google+ hasn’t quite taken off as many may had thought it would is due to lacking in the ease of socializing. Although circles are a great way to place people and choose who we want to directly share with, we have become accustomed to finding and interacting with people a little more openly and simpler.
This is not to say Google hasn’t tried to make their social networking site more social, with Hangouts and Communities, they are surely putting great effort into adding features that are innovative and some that we are already familiar with elsewhere. Yet, it must be difficult to try and create a social network these days, especially with the competition and to try to succeed without mimicking them, even though you know from their lessons as to what works and what hasn’t.