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    Search Gets Social: Google Using Social Data in Ranking

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Social media remains a great way to connect with consumers online. But, it’s becoming a very important part of your overall web presence as well. In fact, social activity is increasingly playing a role in the way search engines organize and display information.

    According to a recent video from Matt Cutts on the Google Webmaster channel, Google is now using data from social sites as a signal in search ranking. Right now, you see this most in real-time search, but it is also factoring into web search.

    Google is also looking at the reputation of Facebook and Twitter accounts, including factors like number and quality of followers, placing an emphasis on the need to develop a dynamic presence within social media.

    What does this mean for the future of search? Google is talking about how to use social more widely within web search rankings, signaling that social will play a growing part of the search equation.

    Online Marketing Takeaways from Top Viral Videos of 2010

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Viral videos can do more than just provide minutes (or even hours) of entertainment. They are now an important part of pop culture and online marketing, and brands – both big and small – are constantly trying to create a sensation that will catch on. Some of this year’s top online videos were ads produced by companies, while others were tributes posted by fans. And, of course, there were the videos that grew to sensational proportions just from the sheer entertainment value. Here’s a rundown of some of the top viral videos of the year, along with key online marketing takeaways for your small business.

    Old Spice Videos – According to Ad Age, the videos produced for Old Spice this year received over 168 million views. From their cleverly-shot “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” to their social sensation response videos – over a hundred of which were produced and shared in two days, in near real-time – Old Spice created a clever campaign that included traditional advertising tactics along with social and interactive online marketing components that helped boost the brand that helped increase sales for the company.

    Takeaways: While you probably don’t have the advertising budget Old Spice did, take a page from their book and think about how you can integrate your online and offline marketing and advertising strategies. Another key learning from Old Spice this year: their response videos campaign reinforced the value of getting your fans involved in your content to add relevance and help your message spread.

    Toyota Sienna Swagger Wagon Videos: Toyota’s Sienna campaign stepped away from the traditional advertising script of many auto commercials and instead focused on creating compelling videos on a product-specific YouTube channel. One clever music video of parents bragging about their minivan got nearly 8 million views and was one of the cornerstones of the campaign, which was touted for rapidly raising the visibility of the vehicle online.

    Takeaways: One thing people want most in online video is to be entertained. By creating compelling content that’s valuable to viewers as part of an online marketing strategy, companies can increase brand awareness that compels interested consumers to come to them to learn more.

    Greyson Chance Sings Paparazzi: With over 35 million YouTube plays, the number of views for this homemade video of a middle school student singing Lady Gaga’s hit song at a school talent show rivals the original music video’s 46 million YouTube views. The sheer talent displayed in the video made it a viral sensation, and Chance went on to gain national attention with an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

    Takeaways: Video production doesn’t have to be mega-budget to create a viral video hit. A unique, interesting video that showcases talent can garner a lot of views. Another key lesson from this video: influential fans of your brand can have a big impact on increasing awareness about you online.

    Whip My Hair Bird: Another fan-tribute video that went viral this year featured a bird dancing to Willow Smith’s debut single, “Whip My Hair.” The video has received millions of views and was even featured on Willow Smith’s website for a time.

    Takeaways: Brand advocates don’t have to be limited to people! People love watching videos of animals doing interesting and entertaining things. The “awww” factor is truly a powerful thing in online marketing.

    Double Rainbow: Of course, one of the year’s most talked about viral videos is the hit sensation “Double Rainbow.” If you aren’t one of the 22 million people who have viewed this video, you might be surprised to learn that it is simply three minutes of footage of an awestruck man witnessing a double rainbow in Yosemite National Park. The video itself was a hit, and it also inspired YouTube sensations The Gregory Brothers to produce a song remixing the video footage – which has received almost 19 million views.

    Takeaways: Awe itself can be awe-inspiring. And a great viral video can inspire others to remix, spoof, or comment on it. And all that activity can build a lot of attention for your brand.

    What were your favorite viral videos of 2010? Share them with us in the comments!

    Enjoy this article? Subscribe today to stay in the loop on creative content marketing tips and ideas, or get updates straight to your inbox. And, share it with your network on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn!
     
    About the Author: Tiffany Monhollon writes about social, marketing, and small business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.

    We Wish You a Happy Castmas!

    Last updated 3 years ago

    With the excitement and enthusiasm of the official ReachCast™ launch coinciding with the holiday season this year, a group of creative and enthusiastic  ReachLocal employees chose to decorate for the season with a unique twist: they decked the halls with ReachCast!

    The spirit of “Castmas” caught on, so we wanted to share it with you!

    We’d like to take a moment to wish you a very happy holiday season. We hope you find time to reflect and relax as this year comes to a close.

    We hope you have enjoyed many successes in 2010 and that the coming year will be full of many things to celebrate!  

    On behalf of the ReachCast team and our Web Presence Professionals, have a Very Merry Castmas!

    Top 10 ReachCast Blog Posts of 2010

    Last updated 3 years ago

    As we celebrate the holiday season and begin to count down to 2011, we want to take a moment to look back on 2010. It’s been a great year here at ReachLocal, and we’re excited about the recent official launch of ReachCast and  looking forward to everything the new year has in store. In the last few months, 2010 also saw the launch of this blog. What’s been big on the blog this year? Here’s a rundown of our most popular posts:

    1. Keeping Up With Google Part 1: The Rapidly Changing World Of Search Discovery For Small Businesses
    This year has brought a lot of change to the search landscape, and these changes will have a huge impact on online marketing for local businesses. ReachCast GM Alex Hawkinson explores in depth a slew of changes that search giant Google has put in place as well as what these changes may mean for search discovery.

    2. 10 Ways Small Business Owners Can Use Facebook Groups
    When Facebook launched a new feature that allows users to create small groups of friends, we put together a list of 10 unique ideas for how small businesses could use the feature for everything from marketing to communicating with employees. 

    3. Keeping Up With Google Part Two: 4 Critical Things Small Businesses Should Do To Keep Up With The Changes
    In part two of this series, Alex Hawkinson discusses what Google’s latest changes mean for the world of online marketing and shares how ReachLocal is helping small businesses build and optimize their Web Presence to address these emerging needs.

    4. Does Quality Content Really Drive Sales?
    Every marketing tactic needs to provide return on investment. In this post, we explore the case of a small business who, using the ReachCast service, experienced an increase in sales as a result of content marketing.

    5. #Fail: 10 Online Reputation Management Mistakes From 2010
    Online reputation management has grown in importance this year. So, we put together a list of top mistakes from both big and small businesses, along with pointers on how you can avoid them yourself.

    6. 5 Things Small Business Owners Should Never Blog Tweet, Or Facebook
    Getting started using social media is exciting – but it can be overwhelming for small businesses. This post outlines five big things no SMB should ever share via social media.

    7. Do You Make These Newbie Twitter Mistakes?
    New to Twitter? Make sure you aren’t making any of these common Twitter mistakes, like not adding a photo or talking only about yourself.

    8. 7 Deadly Sins Of Customer Service For Small Business
    In today’s digital age, online reputation management is important for any business. But it’s important to remember that your small business reputation online can be a reflection of your business in person. So, this post outlines seven big customer service mistakes small businesses make that can end up hurting their reputation online.

    9. 4 Compelling Reasons Every SMB Should Claim Their Local Listings
    A variety of free tools can help your small business get discovered more easily online. This post talks about why you should claim your local business listings on sites like Google and Bing.

    10. Are Your Customers Being Lured Away From Your Business?
    Another reason you should claim local listings: if you don’t, crafty competitors could benefit. This post shares the case of one ReachCast client whose Google Places listing had been claimed by a competitor, and how our Web Presence Professionals team helped address the problem.

    Have you had a favorite post from this year? Let us know by sharing in the comments section!

    Enjoy this article? Subscribe today to stay in the loop on managing social media marketing, or get updates straight to your inbox. And, share it with your network on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn!
     
    About the Author: Tiffany Monhollon writes about social, marketing, and small business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.

    LinkedIn Company Pages for Small Businesses

    Last updated 3 years ago

    If you’re using social media to market your small business, you’ve probably invested in building a Facebook page and a Twitter account. But LinkedIn is another big social media site that has gotten a lot of attention as a platform for professional networking and now offers features that can also help you market your business.

    LinkedIn has grown a user base of over 85 million, largely based on their core model of helping people showcase their work experience and professionally network with others. That model offers great ways for business owners to build their personal brand and develop a network online – tactics that can be used to market a local business, especially in the business services fields. In the past, companies were able to have a limited presence on LinkedIn, sharing information about the business as an employer.

    But now, the site has launched Company Pages (currently in beta) feature new offers a way for businesses to share information more information, like products and services, expanding the service’s potential to be used as a marketing platform.

    Setting up a LinkedIn Company Page

    Setting up a Company Page is free and relatively simple to do. First, you have to see if your company is already listed on the site. You can search here for your company name. If your business is listed in LinkedIn, it should show up in this search. If it doesn’t show up in the list, this means that no employees (including yourself!) have listed the business as an employer, so there is no LinkedIn page on the site. If that’s the case, you can click on “Add a company,” which will direct you to a page where you can create a company profile. You just need to verify an e-mail address for the company.  Then, you’ll need to make sure you are confirmed as a page administrator so you can edit the profile.

    Once you’ve found or created the company, you can visit your company page and create and add information like a business description, RSS feed, or Twitter profile. Different tabs allow you to add different types of content. For example, the tab for Products & Services will let you feature products and services your business offers. You can view LinkedIn’s Company Page FAQs to learn more about these updates.

    Why It Matters

    These changes are pretty new, so it’s worth staying informed on how LinkedIn enhances the ability and functionality of these pages for companies. Setting up and configuring your company page will offer you the ability to:

    • Share business information with business people. Since the audience on the site is mostly professionals, any business that wants to market to this audience should be using every feature LinkedIn offers to generate business. There are already many ways you can do this with personal profiles, and adding company profiles to the mix offers a new marketing platform for your small business.
    • Get visible, credible product and service recommendations. The recommendations people leave for your company’s products and services will be posted publicly – to that person’s network of professional contacts. Not only does this mean more visibility for your brand, it also means that these reviews will be tied to authentic user profiles rather than the often anonymous profiles on other review sites, adding more credibility and letting you know exactly which customers are giving feedback.

    These updates are just the beginning of LinkedIn's efforts to grow its presence in the social media space. Keep your eye out for more news on tools and opportunities businesses will have to use this platform to connect with consumers online.

    Are you using LinkedIn to market your small business? Have you checked out the new company pages? Let us know your thoughts in a comment!

    Enjoy this article? Subscribe today to stay in the loop on managing social media marketing, or get updates straight to your inbox. And, share it with your network on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn!
     
    About the Author:
    Tiffany Monhollon writes about social, marketing, and small business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.

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