Fast Five in Search – Week 35, 2014

fast-five

 

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in search and social. Some new features have been announced and some old ones switched off, with backlash in tow.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Search Marketers Tear Into Google Over AdWords Exact Match Change by Matt McGee. Google have isolated the search marketing community this month, with their announcement that Exact Match keywords will be phased out of AdWords, forcing all advertisers to use close variants. I’ve blogged about this before, when Google first introduced close variants as the default option for match types, but at least then you could opt-out of close variants. Not anymore. I’m not happy and judging by the backlash on social media, neither is the rest of the search community.

2) Google at Work on Kid-Friendly Versions of Its Products by Chris Crum. While we’re talking about Google, some more positive news. The company is apparently working on a new system that would let parents set up accounts for kids under 13 and control how they use services and what information is collected about them.

3) Buying Stuff Within a Tweet is Reportedly Coming to Twitter via Stripe by Mike Butcher. It seems there are businesses that want to sell products from inside tweets. Twitter is reportedly planning to add *Buy Now* buttons within tweets that will make this a reality, by allowing users to enter payment information without leaving Twitter.

4) The Beginners Guide to Establishing Personality and Engagement on a Facebook Page by Jesse Aaron. I really like case studies for how to use social media effectively and this article on Social Fresh contains some goodies. In this post, Jesse Aaron shares 7 neat tactics to use on a business Facebook page to drive engagement and inject some personality into your brand.

and finally…

5) 30+ Advanced Google Search Functions You May Not Have Known About by Craig Smith. This Infographic caught my attention because I like to think I know a lot about Google Advanced Search and I wanted to see how many of the 30 functions I already use. Turns out I knew most of these already, but not *location:* and some of the short-code searches like < tracking number >, < flight number > and so on. Neat!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

Need to learn SEO but not sure where to start? Download your Free SEO Lesson. No catch!

 

Share this post with others

Fast Five in Search – Week 34, 2014

fast-five

 

I travel around New Zealand regularly, giving in-person training workshops for the Institute of IT Professionals in various online marketing subjects. My most popular workshop by far has been Social Media for Business, likely because many businesses and organizations struggle to understand how best to integrate social into their existing marketing strategies.

During the workshop, I like to show attendees a range of case studies where businesses of all sizes have successfully used social media marketing to promote their products and services and grow their customer base. Some of the biggest success stories I share come from Facebook.

Today’s Fast Five features five of my favourite Facebook business success stories:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Pigtails and Ponys – Remember the The Work Song Nanocluster episode of Big Bang Theory when the gang pitch in to help Penny with her hair clip crafting business *Penny Blossoms* and end up briefly turning it into a successful online business? Well, that’s what Pigtails and Ponys have done, but their success is ongoing. Founded in 2011, Pigtails and Ponys sold handmade headbands in local flea markets. The Indian hair accessories start-up then used Facebook Ads to grow what was once just a flea market booth into a thriving online business, with 70% of its customer base acquired on the platform.

2) Griffins Biscuits – This one is close to home for me. New Zealand based biscuit (cookie) manufacturer Griffins were surprised to find a Facebook page set up by a customer requesting that they re-instate a childhood favorite biscuit that hadn’t been produced for many years. Griffins implemented a Facebook survey to gauge reaction and re-introduced Choco-ade biscuits in response to demand. People bought over NZ $1.5 million worth in the first month, making it the number 1 selling product in the country.

3) Scoot Airlines – Singapore Airlines owned low-cost, long haul flight brand Scoot flies to 10 destinations around Asia Pacific. Scoot achieved impressive brand awareness and a 14x return-on-investment using Facebook to drive ticket sales for its Japan flight launch.

4) Michael Kors - Fashion retailer Michael Kors (of Project Runway fame) recently celebrated 5 million *likes* by launching a limited edition shoe – a zebra print sneaker, no less – for Facebook fans only. To buy the shoe in-store, fans had to quote the secret password. The launch drove a 16-point increase in awareness of Michael Kors sneakers and led to sellouts of some styles online and in stores.

and finally…

5) Visit Florida – Florida’s official tourism marketing corporation Visit Florida wanted to promote family travel to Florida during the Summer months. Through its *Sunshine Moments* sweepstakes campaign on Facebook, Visit Florida saw a 10-point increase in people’s likelihood to consider Florida as their next vacation destination, with 18,481 people submitting photos in the sweepstakes and 279 million Facebook Ad impressions during the campaign.

Are you achieving this type of success on Facebook? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

Happy Facebooking!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

Need to learn Search Engine Marketing but not sure where to start? Subscribe to all our courses for just USD99!

 

Share this post with others

Fast Five in Search – Week 27, 2014

fast-five

 

Greetings and salutations! It’s been a pretty cruisy week in the office, which has given me more time to research some juicy Fast Five links for you. It’s another mixed bag, a couple of Google stories, a couple of Facebook stories and a curve ball article about Infographics.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Why Google Places is Now Google My Business by Warren Knight. This month, Google has quietly re-branded Google Places, by combining it with Google Local and calling it the very uninspired Google My Business. In this article, Warren looks at the upgrade in more detail and gives a big thumbs up to the new streamlined version.

2) Google+ At 3 Years Old: Not a Ghost Town, But a Social Referral Graveyard by Martin Beck. There’s an old joke amongst us online marketers that goes:“Google Plus has millions of users! They all just happen to be Google employees”. But all jokes aside, despite having millions of users, Google’s own social platform is suffering from a chasm of referral traffic. Martin Beck takes a look at the depressing stats and possible reasons for the lack-lustre performance.

3) The Best Infographics of 2014 by Lindsay Kolowich. Bit of a sucker for a good infographic? Yeah, me too. Lucky for us, one of the clever crew over at HubSpot has compiled a list of this year’s most interesting and useful infographics. I feel some serious yak shaving coming on via that link.

4) Facebook and the Ethics of User Manipulation by Alex Wilhelm. So my reader has been lighting up for the past week with stories about *that* Facebook experiment, where staff at the social mammoth supposedly manipulated our newsfeeds to test our psychological reactions. With the true nature of the testing exposed, industry reaction has been overwhelmingly negative, with Huffington Post hysterically comparing the experiment to lab rat testing. This TechCrunch article from Alex Wilhelm is one of the more measured and thoughtful pieces about the entire incident.

and finally…

5) Facebook Responds to Negative Reactions to Its Experiment on Users by Adario Strange. And because it is such a hot topic, here’s another article on the whole Facebook Experiment debacle. This one by Adario Strange of Mashable includes feedback from Facebook both about the experiment and the vitriolic reaction it received from the public.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

Need to learn SEO but not sure where to start? Download your Free SEO Lesson. No catch!

 

Share this post with others

Fast Five in Search – Week 20, 2014

fast-five

 

I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you this week. We have articles about Google Analytics, link building, Facebook, SEO and Twitter. Let’s get stuck in…

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Integrate Your SEO Data into Universal Analytics – by Bhoomika Joshi. This post talks you through how to create Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics that will help you gain more insights into your SEO data.

2) 10 SEO Myths Reviewed - by Duane Forrester. In this post, Bing’s Senior Product Manager debunks some of the most common SEO myths and legends, including my all time paranoid favorite: “Buying ads helps my rankings”.

3) Facebook Audience Insights Tool Gives You More Info About Those You’re Trying to Reach – by Chris Crum. A good introduction to Facebook’s new Audience Insights tool, which lets marketers learn more about their target audiences, such as aggregate information about geography, demographics and purchase behavior.

4) Link Building Does Not Equal Content Marketing, But Here’s How They Fit Together – by Erin Everhart. At last, somebody said it. Link building and content marketing are not the same thing. This article explains why and how you can focus on both.

and finally…

5) Twitter for Small Businesses: Five Universal Tips to Get the Right Perspective – by Andrew Smith. In this post, Andrew gives small businesses some tips for how to use Twitter for their social media marketing purposes.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

Share this post with others

Embeddable Facebook Content Now a Reality

eye-see-facebookEver tried to embed content from Facebook into your web site or blog? Frustrating isn’t it? Usually you have to use a 3rd party plugin or use a messy code hack and it’s almost impossible to get it to display properly on all browsers.

Well, it seems Facebook have been listening to the sighs of Webmasters everywhere and the company is finally introducing Facebook Embeddable Posts.

What Are They?

Embedded Posts are a way to publish public posts (by a Page or person) on Facebook into your web page or blog.

The embedded post will show media attached to it, as well as the number of likes, shares, and comments that the post has. Embedding posts will let people visiting your web site see the same information that is shown on Facebook.com. Embedded posts will even enable people to follow or like content authors or Pages directly from the embedded location.

It’s important to note that only public posts from Facebook Pages and profiles can be embedded.

How to Embed Facebook Posts

To embed a post, follow these steps:

1) Go to the post you want to embed.

2) Check if the post is public by hovering over the audience selector (you’ll see a globe icon if it is).

fb-embed1

3) Click the down arrow icon in the top right corner of the post and select Embed Post. You will see a dialog appear with the code to embed your post in it.

fb-embed24) Copy the code that appears and paste it to your own blog post or web page

How Does it Work?

The code in the Embedded Post dialog box includes a Facebook SDK for JavaScript snippet which gets saved into your web page code. If you already include this snippet elsewhere on your page, you can remove it if you wish, although it will not cause any issues if included twice.

Currently, you can’t customize how Embedded Posts are displayed on your page because the size of the post is fixed to the same dimensions as it appears on Facebook.

If you embed a very long post, it will get truncated with a “see more” option. Clicking “see more” will display the full post on your web page.

If you embed a post and the author later deletes it or changes the post audience selector from public to private, a message will display in place of the embedded post: “The page you requested is no longer available. The post may have expired or the privacy settings may have changed”.

What Does it Mean?

This new feature provides huge advantages to businesses with a Facebook page. The Embed Post functionality will enable companies to quickly publish and syndicate their social content from Facebook on their web sites and – more importantly – allow their customers to interact with their Facebook channel directly from their main business site.

The result should be a more streamlined social media process and greater potential for more social interactivity on company web sites rather than on 3rd party social sites. The Facebook water cooler will be moving to the company office! For businesses that haven’t yet seen the value in creating a Facebook presence, this feature might just be the tipping point.

When Can I Use it?

The feature is being rolled out this week to just a handful of large media sites, including CNN, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Mashable and People. It will be rolled out to the general public over the next few weeks.

Share this post with others