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Say What? Google+ is Going Away?

googleplusgoneIt’s no secret that Google might have bitten off more than it could chew when it tried to stake a claim in the social networking monopoly a few years ago. So when Bradley Horowitz announced at the beginning of the month that he is now running Google’s Photos and Streams products, the internet went abuzz with rumors about the so-called phasing out of Google+.  Fortunately the speculation was laid to rest by Google executive Yonatan Zunger, who explained that the “Photos and Streams” is the internal team working under Horowitz, and that the Streams refers to Google+, Blogger and News. Let’s hope that as the Chief Architect for Social at Google, he knows what he’s talking about.

In the meantime, while the social networking component of Google+ is still undergoing some internal refinement, Google My Business (previously Google+ Local, and not the same thing as “Google+”) took off magnificently and is impacting search engine results and Google Map listings in a big way. The new Google My Business Dashboard, launched last summer, integrates your ability to communicate with customers through reviews and Google+, while also allowing you to accurately list your business on Google Maps so consumers can easily locate you on their computer or mobile phone. Those who have taken the steps to optimize their local presence through Google My Business should rest assured that they are strengthening their chances to rank higher on search engine results. Those who have not optimized their presences either live under a rock or enjoy living dangerously, as harsh as that may seem

As customer reviews clamor for attention and mobile searches take the lead, are you being left behind in the cyberdust? If you’re worried about your brand’s online presence or want to strengthen your marketing initiatives for your franchisees, don’t be a stranger!  We’re here to help.

In the meantime, we can all eagerly await a new photo-sharing functionality to be integrated into Google drive.

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Process Peak joins FranConnect and Serent Capital

FranConnect-and-Process-Peak-300x169

We are excited to announce that Process Peak will be joining with FranConnect and Serent Capital to create a partnership that will enable us to continue to expand and strengthen the value we are delivering to customers through industry-leading innovative software and services. Serent Capital invests in growing, profitable service businesses with distinct business models and strong existing management teams. Their desire to invest in both FranConnect and Process Peak stems from their conviction that our companies together will deliver a very compelling value to our clients.  We would like to thank all of our clients for their continuous support as we enter this exciting chapter.

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Did Your Google Rank Tank?

pigeonAs I’m sure most up-to-date marketers are aware, Google’s pigeon flew the coop recently. (To those of you living under a rock and blissfully ignorant about Pigeon, here you go: http://bit.ly/1shFfeb) Long story short, Google picks and chooses which listings show up at the top based on a complex algorithm that takes into consideration a variety of elements. What caused a business to rank higher in a search in the past, however, is no longer the case.  “Pigeon” (dubbed by Search Engine Land) completely changed the game.  In the aftermath, several things have become clear:

  • It’s all about location, location, location: Hyper-local search results (within a much smaller target radius) are prioritized, sometimes regardless of how big or popular the brand is.
  • Local businesses are favored over local brands. This goes for Google searches and Google maps.

Google pigeon search rank

  • On the heels of complaints that Google was shutting out Yelp, this update allows Yelp a larger presence in search results.  Other review and rating sites like Opentable, TripAdvisor and Urbanspoon are also given more weight.
  • Because of this, directories play an even bigger role now more than ever.  The more accurate and consistent your listing is across all directories, the more likely your brand is going to show up.

If you were affected by Pigeon, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you optimized your Google+ page?
  • Are you optimizing your content for your local area?
  • Are you slowly and steadily building your review base?
  • Is your brand accurately and consistently listed across important directory sites?
  • Have you been engaging with your fans on social media?

If you’re not doing the above then it’s time you started!  Not sure where to start? We can help!  Don’t think that this is the last time Google will shake things up. Be prepared for the next challenge that the internet throws at your brand or else.  If Pigeon didn’t get you this time, the next update might… Stay tuned for more and send your questions to the brandvine@processpeak.com!

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Is Facebook Developing a Phobia for Human Curiosity?

click-baitIt’s no secret that internet users are gullible and easily distracted by catchy headlines – also known as click-baiting.  This human curiosity is the reason that websites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy are so successful, regardless of the quality of their content.  More clicks means more reach.  This appears to be why Facebook recently announced that their latest effort to keep your news feed less “spammy” will be to discourage the practice of click-baiting.  This piggy-backs off of their April announcement to ban “like-baiting” (asking directly for fans to like an image or post) in order to start providing more relevant content to users. While Buzzfeed might not be thrilled about this latest announcement, the reality is that this decision could positively impact your brand, provided that you follow their rules of engagement!

What does Facebook consider click-bait? Any link published with a “headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see” is considered click-bait. Facebook will determine what is click-bait and what is valuable content in two ways:

  1. How long they spent away from Facebook reading the article.  If they spend a decent amount of time reading it before they come back, then you’re posting relevant content.
  2. The ratio of engagement (likes, comments, shares) to clicks.  Lots of clicks, but no likes? You’re probably posting click-bait.

If you’re not following these rules, then your content distribution will start to drop, according to Facebook.

How else are they going to impact my posting strategy?clickbaiting
Formatting is part two of their announcement. Are you embedding your links when you create content or are you just posting a bitly url? Because if you’re doing the latter, prepare to be penalized when it comes to organic content reach.  Facebook is going to start “prioritizing” links that are embedded over links that aren’t as a caveat to discourage click-baiting.

So…what should I be doing to increase my brand’s content reach on Facebook?

First of all, if you’re not embedding your links on Facebook, that’s the first thing you should be doing. Keep an eye on your Facebook Insights to see what topics are a hit with your fans and which ones are a dud.  There’s a difference between inspiring your fans with content that is relevant and playing on human gullibility to increase clicks on your links. Second, don’t just publish links without any context around why they matter. Fans won’t read anything you suggest without compelling motivation.  Offer a taste of what the article is about and how it is impactful instead.  This will help increase your clicks-to-engagement conversion, which will increase the overall visibility of your content. If you have concerns about how your brand could be impacted by this change, shoot me an email at brandvine@processpeak.com. Happy posting!

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Facebook Is Taking Your Fans Away

megaphone-kidThe social media giant just recently updated their terms and conditions, and quietly announced that they are no longer allowing fan-gating apps to be created, and any existing fan-gating apps will cease working, starting November 5th.  So what does that mean? Unless you’re a developer (or on your game in marketing) chances are that you might think this isn’t news you should care about.

But beware! If your brand is running (or are thinking about running) a Facebook campaign or promotion where fans are required to like your page to enter a contest – otherwise known as “Fan-gating” –   you’d better read on.  If this isn’t something that matters to you, you can return to your newsfeed, which I’m sure is still blowing up with celebrities dumping ice water over their heads.

To those ready to scream “Extortion!” once more at Facebook’s unending Scrooge-ish behavior, here’s the lowdown.  In their latest move to “benefit people and advertisers alike” Facebook will no longer allow requiring people to “like” your page in exchange for a contest entry through apps.  As the masses of marketers cry out foul play over this particular gimmick to restrict opportunities to garner fans, it would be prudent to take a step back and remember that Facebook isn’t required to uphold any allegiance to people trying to make money off of them.  Obviously, those hit the hardest by this stunt won’t be major pages with millions of likes, but it will hurt those trying to build up a sizeable fan-base within a specific community: small businesses.  It’s like taking a plastic megaphone away from a toddler trying to find his mommy in a crowd of Wall Street junkies who get to keep their electronic bullhorns.

“So what does this mean for my current apps?” you ask? The good news is that the app will still function, just in a different way.  Before, if you didn’t like the page and you tried to enter a contest, you would be forced to like the page first. Now, anyone can enter the contest, even if they don’t like the page.  Use it to build up your email base!  If building up your fan base is a concern, then step up your game and start asking your customers in person if they’ve liked your page yet.  Let them know they can find special deals and discounts in the future on your page.  Encourage them to leave feedback about their experience for other users to see.  There are still many creative ways to boost your fan count.

Give that plastic megaphone back to Facebook and relax.  While Facebook’s attempts to persuade businesses to pay for ads aren’t anything new, this particular change does make an important point about who should be liking your page on Facebook.  Yes, it’s great to have the staggering amount of fans that top pages have, but if you’re a small business owner you probably won’t want to have that many fans anyways.  The fans that you do want are local to your business location or service area.  If they aren’t, then they’re not going to make much of a difference since they won’t be contributing to your conversion rates.

Above all, you should be engaging with the fans you do have.  Encourage them to like or comment on a post, and respond, respond, respond! Don’t leave those who are engaging, hanging!

If you’re still confused about the fan-gating ban or how it will affect your brand, or have not taken advantage of Facebook locations tool (shame on you) give me a shout at brandvine@processpeak.com.

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