Posts Tagged ‘google’

Does Social Media Belong in the Classroom?

social_media_classroomSince 2010, digital technology has been implemented and featured in many classrooms across North America. Sometimes in small ways but more so in grand ways evolving how students learn.

Now is the time for social media to take a seat at he front of the class.

We live in innovative times with social media at the forefront, and the potential advantages to our education system is remarkable.

Blogging, Google+, Twitter and Facebook have become essential learning tools and it seems like they are not going away anytime soon.

Not only is the knowledge of how to use these social networks key, but ensuring that young people understand how to use them safely needs to be taught.

Social networks are great tools to learn and connect. Google+ and Twitter can allow you to bring different perspectives into your classroom from all over the world. It fits the budget of every school since it is essentially free.

If you are discussing certain current events, why not bring in an expert or someone experiencing it without having to fly them in. 

Allowing students access to the world and different viewpoints that they just can’t get from textbooks is a game changer. Consider the authors, CEOs or historians who would be willing to join in for an hour or do a Twitter Ask session.

The same can be said for having students learn about different industries and companies. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Social media can be powerful tools for collaboration, opening doors for students and teachers to work with peers to share and learn. Social media expands the classroom in so many ways.

Herein lies a great opportunity for brands to connect with young users, but the opportunity isn’t to sell. It’s to brand and communicate and also to learn. Incredibly valuable as you can imagine. It doesn’t just have to be on career day either.

No one is hindered by time and geography anymore because. Learning should not the last stone left unturned by social media or the digital world, and all indications are that it will not be.

Is Pinterest Gunning for Google?

Given the amount of money being thrown at fast-growing startups and social media services, it should come as no surprise that Pinterest raised $200-million last week. The deal gives Pinterest a valuation of $5-billion.

Putting aside the $200-million, the most interesting aspect is how Pinterest appears to be positioning itself as a rival to Google.

PinterestOn Read Write Web, Lauren Orsini argues Pinterest is going head to head with Google by evolving from a social media network into a powerful visual search engine.

“Pinterest’s last few technological developments have had the site shifting from social sharing to a more explicit focus on search and discovery. It’s clear that the company no longer sees itself as an image-driven social network. Instead, it’s a database of billions of images, selected and categorized by consumers and brands, ripe for discovery. 

Many of those images are of objects one can buy—home decor, clothing, food, and the like—making Pinterest a powerful driver of traffic to e-commerce sites and a way for new brands to get discovered by consumers. Today, those businesses might spend money on Google search ads. Tomorrow, they might turn to Pinterest.”

This is one of the most interesting things about Pinterest, which emerged as a user-friendly place to share images and videos. Keep in mind, Pinterest was not an overnight success story. It has been kicking around for a couple of years before it moved into the spotlight, driven by women who gravitated to the service as a way to share their enthusiasm for products such as furniture, clothing and shoes.

Armed with an enthusiastic group of users, Pinterest has methodically improved and updated itself to become a friendlier place for advertisers and e-commerce players. At the same time, it has managed to maintain the essence that made it so popular, which is difficult to achieve.

By becoming a search engine as opposed to a place to “pin” things people like and recommend, Pinterest appears to have achieved something many online services fail to do: transform itself into something with good business prospects, rather than simply a popular service.

With $200-million in its war chest, it will be interesting to see how Pinterest’s next act unfolds.




Google+’s Biggest Problem? Few People Love It

What now for Google+?

It’s a question back in the spotlight following the departure last week of Vic Gundotra, who had headed up Google+ since 2011.

Is Google+ a success? Is Google+ a failure? Will Google move on from Google+?

These are difficult questions to answer because it’s a challenge getting a grasp on Google+’s success, or lack thereof.

google+On one hand, Google claimed last October that Google+ had more than 540 million users.

But insiders suggest those numbers aren’t accurate because they include people who click on the red notification icon in Gmail.

At the same time, brands seem to be confused or ambivalent about Google+. While many have yet to find tremendous value from Google+, they believe having a presence is necessary to reap the search engine benefits.

If you take a pragmatic step back, Google+’s biggest problem is this: it isn’t seen as having a lot of value for individuals or businesses.

As well, it’s not loved, which is probably more important.

When you look at other social media networks, people love them for a variety of reasons.

For Facebook, it’s the love of being connected and engaged.

For Twitter, it’s love of having real-time conversations and a non-stop fire hose of news.

For YouTube, it’s the love of watching funny cats or a young child talking back to his mother (aka Linda).

For LinkedIn, it’s how recruiters love using it to hunt down prospects.

What do people love about Google+? You could make a case that photographers love how it displays their work, but that’s about it.

The lack of love makes it difficult for Google+ to become a top-tier social network, no matter how many users it attracts.

As a result, Google+ isn’t top of mind for individuals or brands. It isn’t seen as a place to be given there are other more attractive places to spend time and budgets.

This is not to suggest that Google+ is doomed or it will disappear.

But it does make you think that Google needs to revamp or refocus Google+ into something different. This is going to be a huge challenge due to the competitive landscape and Google+’s reputation. And there’s a good chance that Google+ is unable to become anything more than vehicle for better SEO.

The only thing certain about Google+ is that the status quo is a non-starter.

What do you think? Where does Google+ go from here?




Social Job Searching: Gumtree Breaks It Down [Infographic]

As the old saying goes; it’s not what you know it’s who you know.

That’s why using social media has become one of the best tools for people on the hunt for a job. Social media allows you to interact and network with large groups of people all at the same time. It also gives job seekers the ability to access people that previously would have been nearly impossible to meet.

I can  attest to this, because if I wasn’t able to use social media as an avenue to help me find a job, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this blog post for you all today.

But social media isn’t just for job seekers. People who are looking to hire are also scouring social media for the right people to join their teams. In fact, according to our friends at Gumtree, an online classifieds market in the UK, more recruiters are using social media to find people than job seekers are.

For that reason, the folks at Gumtree put together a great infographic to help job seekers make a better appearance in the social space for these potential job recruiters. The stats listed in the infographic are based on numbers from the UK, but a lot of the advice is universal.

Check out Gumtree’s tips below on what can help you get a job through social media, what will hinder you, and some great tips on how to use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to improve your social job searching.

Use Social Media To Improve Your Job Search
Use Social Media To Improve Your Job Search is an infographic that was produced by Gumtree

Have you used social media to help you land a job in the past? If so, we’d love to hear your story in the comments.

Oh, and if you know someone currently searching for a job, you may want to be a good friend and share this with them.

Why Can’t Google+ Fill its Dance Card?

It’s difficult to believe Google+ is still kicking around without having picked up much steam over the past year or so.

It offers many benefits for users and brands, but people are, frankly, ambivalent about Google+.

For brands, Google + can be a smart strategic option, so why hasn’t it taken off if it can increase awareness, leads and sales?

Even with Google’s digital muscle, it can’t seem to compete with Facebook and Twitter when it comes to social media dominance. Google+ has a solid and global user base but maybe it has failed to capture our imagination.

It is abundantly clear that Google hasn’t been shy about making you feel like you need Google+.

Many of its tactics are built around integrating other services with Google+. The recent Gmail connection to Google+ didn’t set the digital world on fire.

Has the strategy of integration backfired on Google?

No one likes to be forced to do something. When it comes to social networks, making someone feel like the party is mandatory doesn’t enhance its appeal.

Making Google+ something you opt out of as opposed to join also creates a large user base that doesn’t realize they are part of the network.

Most important, brands have yet to embrace Google+ as a key digital asset.

The benefits are focused on connecting and ranking, but the allure doesn’t seem to be there. Google might need to change its approach and focus more on engagement than just the numbers.

For Google+ to take off with digital marketers and users, it needs to be the place to be, much like Facebook – fun, engaging and where everyone is sharing and posting.

Right now, it’s just not that place.

Are you on active on Google+? If so, what are the biggest benefits.

For some other thoughts on Google+, check out Social Samosa on five reasons Google+ can’t be ignored, as well as this infographic on five ways it can grow your business.


Frustrated with Facebook? One Word: Don’t

For Facebook users, change is not only inevitable but constant – sort of like having to pay taxes.

The most recent change made by the world’s largest social network makes it more more difficult for a story to appear in a user’s news feed.

Until a month ago, a story could appear in a news feed for a variety of reasons. Now, they they need to to be more relevant and targeted.

Digital marketers who were dependent or, at least, happy with their Facebook traffic last November are probably less pleased now. With anything in social media, there is always success to be found.

Truthfully, the change wasn’t as drastic as some are making it out to be. What most likely happened was it highlighted gaps in one’s digital strategy.

While it is becoming a common occurrence. digital marketers often themselves trying to figure out how to use Facebook to drive traffic to support the business.

For starters, you need to review your strategy and audit it to make sure that you are doing the following:

  • Ensuring your posts ask questions and create conversation
  • Monitor the activity on a weekly not monthly basis
  • Connect with users, other groups and businesses
  • Post often without annoying your network

If you are following the best practices above, you should continue to see solid traffic and be able to convert that into something positive.

Even when Facebook throws brands a curveball, the fundamentals are the same.

The same goes for many other social networks and popular services.

Consider all of the changes Google made in the last half of the year. When you break it down, Google simply put more of the spotlight on content.

Google, along with Facebook, is still focusing on content and its relevancy. If you never lose sight of this reality, the updates and changes will only have a small affect.

What to Expect from Social Media in 2014

Every year, social media delivers so many surprises and disappointments. It’s completely unreliable and unpredictable terrain.

In 2013, good examples were the rise of Instagram and Vine, Twitter going public and the continued dominance of Facebook.

By the sheer nature of social media and the competitive landscape, a social media network that rose to prominence in 2013 could experience a decline the following year.

The playing field is too tough and crowded for everyone to enjoy success.

The likelihood that Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or Snapchat goes the way of MySpace is highly unlikely.

Let’s make a bold prediction and declare that these  social media networks will buck the trend and continue to see growth in 2014.

Another question that will continue to be asked is whether Google+ will finally become the place to be for brands and users.

I’m going out on a limp and say “yes”, and it’s not because of Google’s dominance in most other digital categories. (Check out this Business2Business post on seven marketing tips for 2014, which includes not ignoring Google+)

With the updates made to Google’s algorithm this past year, it’s fair to say many businesses will start to see the value of a Google+ presence.

This will help grow its fan base, as well as give Twitter and Facebook more of a run for their money. Of course, it’s dependent on businesses doing it right.

This is an important development for digital marketers. If you agree with Google+’s potential, you need to put a plan into action immediately.

Finally, the last bold prediction is  a brand new social network  will come out of nowhere in 2014. (Any suggestions on who it might be?)

Given the volatility of social media and emergence of new services, 2014 is bound to be an exciting year filled with lots of successes, and of course, some resounding failures.

You heard it here first but, more important, what are you expecting from social media this coming year?

To Google+ or Not Google+, That is the Question

google+Google+ is a strange beast.

On one hand, it’s compelling because it is one of the largest social media networks and, as important, owned, of course, by Google.

On the other hand, it is hard for many brands to  understand what Google+ offers compared with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Yes, it is important to have a presence on Google+, but what should brands be doing other than posting content so it can be quickly indexed by Google?

For many brands, SEO is the biggest and perhaps the only reason to be on Google+.

Even though there may not seem to be many compelling reasons to  embrace Google+, it can’t be ignored or dismissed.

For now, Google+ may be the “ugly duckling” of the social media world, but who’s to say it won’t  become a beautiful swan?

For one, there are a lot of Google+ users – 360 million to be exact, although anyone who registers for a Google account is counted a Google+ user.

For brands, there are a few reasons to like and leverage Google+.

In addition to sharing content and having its indexed, Hangouts are a user-friendly ay to have digital discussions. You could argue  Hangouts are Google+’s killer app.

Google+ is also business-friendly. While Facebook and Twitter are popular with consumers, Google+ is, in many ways, a professional social network.

This could create a big opportunity for Google+ to carve out a distinct identify.

By catering to businesses, Google+ could stand out itself from Twitter and Facebook. It could be the place where brands do business, as well as connect and engage with consumers.

Let Twitter and Facebook be the hybrid business/personal social networks; Google+ will embrace the same approach as LinkedIn.

In many ways, Google+ is  work in progress. It has some good features but Google+ has to become more interesting if it wants to be a place where brands invest time and effort.

More: Check out this Search Engine Land post by Trond Lyngbø  that explains how Google+ fits into Google’s search strategy. Here is how he explains the connection:

“Google+ is an identity platform, with potential to deeply impact how we will experience social, local and mobile influences on search marketing.

People debating the importance of social media on search miss the critical point that Google+ is a source of social signals that Google can actually trust! It’s already hard to cheat, manipulate or spam Google+ with low-quality content, and as location data and check-in spam protection kick in, it’ll become almost impossible to game the network.

That’s how Google+1′s will affect rankings. A few years from now, a G+ presence will be indispensable to winning the search game.”


Will Hummingbird Affect Social Media?

Google HummingbirdBig news recently hit the digital world and it could have a major impact on how businesses operate online.

The news is focused on Hummingbird, the newest Google algorithm that will have a profound change how search works and what it takes to be ranked.

While it is important to understand from the perspective of the user, it’s just as important to grasp how this will affect social media.

Given its clout and dominance of the search market, Google has a huge influence on the digital ecosystem. Hummingbird is not just an update; it is an entirely new way of searching and returning results.

Why does this matter to social media?

Hummingbird understands and analyzes longtail searches (a search with more detail, usually, a question), and rewards fresh content more than ever before.

Social media is highly regarded by Google, so a strong social media presence can potentially help a brand rise up the organic search result rankings.

Here’s a good tip for digital marketers:

Use social media to answer questions that you think people will ask in a search where you want to appear.

This tactic will take a lot of thinking and strategy from digital marketers, and it will need the support of all departments. A blog or FAQ is a good place to house this information.

The important thing with social media is to make sure you are on top of the trends and changes, and with Google you always have to be on top of your game in order to be found.




The Mystery of Google+

How is Google+ doing?

It’s difficult to tell whether Google+ is oozing with untapped potential or whether it’s a social bust.

Many digital marketers are grappling with what to do with Google+.

On one hand, it would be easy to dismiss Google+ from the mix because it doesn’t appear to have much real momentum (and we’re talking about people and companies leveraging Google+ on a regular basis.)

But on the other hand, digital marketers also know it would be a mistake to ignore Google+ because it is, after all, owned by Google, the world’s leading search engine. To not use Google+ potentially means not have being part of the Google search empire.

Given the uncertainty about Google+, what’s a digital marketer to do?

The simple is answer is to establish a brand presence. It doesn’t have to be the most engaged or active presence but a brand should be on Google+.

When you think about it, it’s important to have social ground cover to be part of the Google empire, maintain a competitive edge, and have a head-start just in case Google+ takes off.

The challenge for many brands is trying to determine how much time to devote to Google+ when other social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn offer better results and engagement.

At the same time, there are also questions about how much a profile that a brand needs to give Google+ when it might not be popular with its customers.

For now, I would recommend brands allocate some attention to Google+ but not enough to take away from other social networks.

If and when Google+ starts to emerge as a way for brands to engage with consumers, then more time and investment can happen.

But, for now, Google+ is interesting but not compelling.

For insight into how marketers can take advantage of Google+, check out Kissmetrics’ 2013 marketing guide.