Facebook Sucks: Google+ Blows Away Facebook for User Visibility

Awesome post by Jon Cilley

So why does Google+ – in my opinion – work so much better for smaller businesses than Facebook? Why can unknowns become known so much easier on Google+? There are a couple reasons. Let’s start with the most important: Google Search. Of course, like all social media platforms, Google+ has its very own search feature. But what makes this feature fundamentally different from Facebook is how it is utilized.

For instance, I want each of you reading this to go into Facebook’s search engine and type one simple word: “photos.” What you will find are pages that have this keyword within the title of the page, maybe someone named “photo,” and four relevant photos from your friend’s recent posts. You won’t even see every page relating to photos or content, you’ll just see the ones who thought to put it in the main name of the page. One thing you won’t see is a photo from an unknown content provider, the very thing you would want someone to see – if you are looking for exposure. What you will see is the very thing your News Feed should have produced in the first place: content from your friends – which is hidden and tucked below at the very bottom.

What you have here is a very closed system. Putting friends first, not content. This makes it very hard for individuals or brands that are not known commodities to reach new followers. Now I want you to type the same word “photos” into Google+’s search engine. What you will find is exactly what you searched for: photos.

You will see two different options, “most recent” and “best of.” Most, if not all of the search results, are from individuals the current user does not know – if these posts have been posted publicly. Also, right from these search results the user can then add individuals or pages to their circles. They can click “best of” to see which content is getting the most engagement and visibility, and if you agree with the magnitude of engagement a particular post has acquired you can add right from these results as well. This is how the unknown becomes known: putting content first.

This is virtually impossible on Facebook, which relies on a one-to-one friend network to expand word-of-mouth endorsements. Because of this, Facebook provides a virtual speed bump for the rapid expansion of content that might deserve the added visibility.

Google+ is a search-first social network. Facebook is a friend-first social network. Just notice when you first type something into Facebook. Friends popup first, and you have to scroll down with the arrow keys or cursor to get to search results as opposed to friends. On Google+ it’s the opposite, a keyword search appears first before individuals in your circles.

The next reason Google+ increases the ability to rapidly expand your follower base is “Shared Circles.” Getting in a shared circle can be an additional way to gain followers and grow visibility for the content you produce. Because the framework of Google+ makes it much more appealing to add individuals you may not know than Facebook, an individual might not hesitate to add a shared circle containing hundreds of individuals relating to their interests. Getting in one of these is usually a gift that keeps on giving. Also, relating this back to Google+ search, people can find your shared circles without even following you beforehand – again, if it is shared publicly.

So if you want to grow followers and increase engagement on the content you produce: first create great content, second post it publicly, and third do it on Google+. Facebook sucks.

Social Media Marketing: Some facts

Here are some facts about social media marketing and how small businesses are using social media:

The top benefit of social media marketing: The number-one advantage is
generating exposure for the business, indicated 81% of all marketers, followed
by increasing traffic and building new business partnerships.

Business owners were more likely to use
social media marketing (90+%) than
employees working for a business (81%).

About one in two
marketers found social media generated qualified leads

61.62% of marketers
who have been using social media
for years report it has helped them
close business. More than half
who spend 16 or more hours per
week find the same results.

Improved search engine rankings
were most prevalent among those
who’ve been using social media for
years, with nearly 80% reporting a
rise (and most reporting a strong
improvement).

Source: White paper source

Are social media marketing agencies for small businesses?

I know ours is but the other day at an event listening to speaker after speaker on how they create their strategies for their clients I did question that several times.

The speakers were all employed by different social media agencies talking on what they were doing and the audience was composed of small business owners most with less than 10 employees. By the look on their faces, it was easy to see there was some disconnection in place.

One common strategy to attract Facebook people to like a page was to give something like an Ipad a day as a giveaway. Just on this the investment on the devices alone was around $24 thousand a month. Were there anything in place to convert those Ipad winners into buyers? Not really but the number of people liking your page will be really high.

Lots of people seeking free stuff with no intention of buying now or ever, not necessarily a very targeted audience seems to be a good thing. What is the use of having thousands of people like a page if they are not potential buyers? None. Not for a business.

It seems that is not clear to marketers that every action in business needs to have a clear path to profit since that is what business is all about. Even engagement needs to lead to increased level of trust and at some point to sales.

Another popular strategy is the use of infographics. Don’t get me wrong, I think this one can be very useful, but I couldn’t help but laugh when the speaker pointed out that it does bring a lot of traffic to a site while the bounce rate (number of people that visit that page and leave without doing nothing) goes over 90% and conversion rates are below 1/2 percent.

Again, if it is not going to bring targeted prospects, I’ll not build a list, they will go away without looking at anything else and they won’t ever buy, why would this traffic matter?

For big dumb companies that can afford to spend a lot of money just to be more visible and claim they are popular this makes sense. For the small business owner where money spent needs to bring results in the form of hot prospects and profits, these strategies are a waste of time. They may be cool, but they are not money well spent.

Facebook subscribe button: Keep your page or not

This is going to be the next big question: Should small businesses and solopreneurs keep a Facebook page or just rely on the new Facebook subscribe button?

It depends. Companies that need awareness for their brand need a page (even if they are ran by 1 or 2 people like ours)

Facebook pages offer tracking so you can understand your audience better and conversion.

Pages allow multiple admins to update the content.

Facebook pages allow you to customize tabs, create lead capture pages, show products and even sell.

You can use sponsored ads to promote the page and bring more people.

If these factors are not important for you, then the subscribe feature may be better for you. Less work and maybe more interaction.

Here is a comparison chart:

facebook chart

To allow subscribers click on edit profile and then on family and friends.

Below is an article by Mashable showing you how to benefit from the subscription feature:

When Facebook launched its Subscribe button on Wednesday, many were quick to note its implications for journalists, celebrities and other thought leaders. The new feature allows for users to follow public updates, and these are the people most often broadcasting their ideas.

Yet there’s more the average user can get on board with than meets the eye. The release came with a slew of additional features — including a more customizable News Feed and increased privacy — that users have been wanting for years. The trouble is, there are so many moving parts in this product launch. Users are now presented with a number of options, and they’ll need to dig deep to understand which pieces to take and which to leave.

We hope to make that process a little easier for you. Here are some key points you should know based on what type of user you are:

Super Users & Celebrities

If you’re kind of a big deal, you likely already have a Facebook fan page to update your followers on what you’re up to. The launch of the Subscribe button leaves you with two options:

1. Keep the fan page and continue to maintain two separate Facebook presences: profile and page. This strategy’s main pro is that pages are optimized for marketing. Profiles can’t be updated by multiple admins and fans are more acclimated to updates with an on-brand feel. Perhaps more importantly, profiles don’t have Facebook’s analytics tool Insights — and “they probably never will,” says Vadim Lavrusik, journalist program manager at Facebook and former Mashable community manger.
2. Do away with the fan page and merge your page likers into profile subscribers. By deleting your fan page, you will lose all page content. However, your likers will automatically be subscribed to your public updates. The biggest advantages? Profiles are easier to update via mobile than pages and people are prioritized over pages in search.
With either of these methods, you’ll have direct messaging capability (from your profile to your page likers or from your profile to your subscribers) and neither has a limit on the number of people who can follow your content (subscribers or likers — though profiles do have a limit of 5,000 friends).

Journalists & Artists

The Subscribe button is arguably most beneficial for journalists and artists. Though, in a sense, they’re public figures, these types of Facebook users likely aren’t well-known enough to justify a fan page.

If this sounds like you, the first thing you need to do is actively opt-in to allow subscriptions to your profile. You can then choose to allow subscribers to comment on your updates and control your notifications.

Another change to note is that when you unfriend someone, they stay subscribed to your public updates. This is important if you’ve been accepting friend requests from people you don’t know who want to follow your work. It can be uncomfortable to friend someone without knowing them personally. The Subscribe button allows you to unfriend these people and still reach them via public updates.

Finally, when composing updates you want your subscribers to see, be sure to set the privacy to Public. They won’t see it otherwise.

Parents & Teachers

The relationships parents and teachers should have with their kids and students on Facebook has always been a touchy subject. The Subscribe feature can help to make crossing the Facebook connection threshold less awkward.

Users can subscribe to others without enabling others to subscribe to them. This means teachers can allow their students to follow their public updates about school and classes without actually friending them (and accessing more personal information). That way, students can continue to update friends about their lives without worrying what might pop up in their teachers’ News Feeds.

For parents, this feature may work the other way around. Instead of asking your son or daughter what that Jaime So-and-So they used to hang out with is up to, you could subscribe to Jaime, whereas friending her might be uncomfortable. The feature could also be helpful if your kids aren’t OK with you watching their every virtual move. Brace yourself for a sensitive conversation at the dinner table.

Students & Average Users

For the occasional Facebookers who mostly use the service to keep up with friends and post photos, here’s the bottom line: You never have to see your Aunt Suzie’s FarmVille updates ever again. But, you can still see her photos, videos and status updates if you’d like.

Before the Subscribe button launch, it was either all or nothing when it came to blocking a person’s updates from your News Feed. Now you can control what types of updates you see from a person and how often. That means you can skip the virtual sheep without missing out on engagement notifications and puppy albums.

As of now, the feature is only available for tailoring updates from non-friends that you’re subscribed to. The Subscribe button, and this feature, will be rolled out to friend pages in the next few days, Lavrusik says.

Conclusion

As the virtual world grows, relationships and the ways we’re connecting with others are changing. The Subscribe button addresses issues about the depth of connection the term “friend” implies on Facebook.

Some critics say the feature goes against Facebook’s nature — that it was built on “friending,” not “following.” It’s important to note that the News Feed algorithm weights updates from friends as well as private posts more heavily than public ones. In addition, the Close Friends list Facebook rolled out on Tuesday makes the updates from your strongest relationships more prominent in your News Feed, and you can enable notifications specifically from friends in this list.

With the number of new social networks gaining speed, Facebook is and should be making changes to stay competitive. What’s important is that it doesn’t divert too far from its core. In this update, Facebook is only giving its users more options — which the majority may or may not take advantage.

Combine Social Media with E-mail marketing

Here a few tips on how to promote social media in your e-mails. It is one more way to engage and involve your customers.

1. Add social networking logos to the header or footer of your e-mail template. A share icon would do.

2. Send solo e-mails promoting your presence on social media sites. You can also offer coupons for those who like your page or create unique promotions.

3. Capture data.

Women in social media

According to The Guardian Life research institute, female entrepreneurs are three times more likely to engage in social networking than their male counterparts. Female business owners are more customer focused and more likely to incorporate a sense of community into their business plan.

Facebook Age groups

According to Zoomerang Facebook is the most used platform among all age groups. It is number one among the most-used social media among business owners in their 50s. Twitter and Likedin are among the most used social media by business owners of all ages.

So:

Under 30
Facebook 77%

30-39
Facebook 76%

40-49
Facebook 77%

50-59

Facebook 84%

60 and over

Facebook 84%

Keep control over your social media marketing efforts

This social media thing can be crazy and if you don’t know what you are doing can eat your whole time..

Here are some third party social media marketing applications that can make your life a lot easier.

1. Tweetdeck: Easy to manage YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in one view. You can manage people you follow in lists.

2. Ping.fm and Hellotxt; Update your status in several platforms. About 50 of social networks. Post can be made online or mobile.

3. Seesmic: similar to Tweetdeck but allows you to manage multiple profile accounts

4. SocialOimph: Allows you to postdate posts on Twitter and Facebook fan pages. Has many other cool features too.

5. 8hands: This is an aggregator that streams notifications in real time and where you get summaries and statistics on your social networking activities. It covers content from multiple accounts.

6. Chi.mp centralizes content and contacts. Good for people without a website.

See? Small business marketing online just became a lot easier.

Big increase in social media for business

According to a survey by Citibank, social media marketing use has increased over the last year with 36% of entrepreneurs claiming they use networks like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter for marketing purposes. Up 19% in 2009. These results came from a pool of 1,004 small business owners in the US with annual revenue of $100,000 or more and with no more than 100 employees.