The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

This is a guest post by Anna Crowe of iiWorks.

Hey Girl“Hey girl, you check-in here often?”

“Do you use LinkedIn? Because I think we just connected.”

Not gonna lie: these sort of pick up lines aren’t effective – or even acceptable – to say without an awkward moment of humiliation in the real world. So why do brands think they can jump from the attraction stage to the engagement stage?

Let’s cut the small talk. In a competitive marketplace, brands are in an ongoing search for the perfect mate and are looking to develop long-lasting, meaningful relationships. We all know that we need to be on Google+ to feed the beast of SEO, but how do we develop a relationship in this rapid-fire, overwhelming space of Google+?

Here are 7 ways to slow your roll and show some good, sweet lovin’ to your Google+ community that just may be the game changer.

1. The First Date

Part of being in a relationship is having that anything-is-possible-when-I’m-with-you feeling. Meet your new BFF: Google+ Chrome Extension. When this buddy system is installed, this extension allows you to share Google+ content on Twitter and Facebook (which we all know the Google+ algorithm loves!), bookmark Google+ posts to read later, and receive desktop notifications.

CircleCount is like online dating, it allows you to view Google+ data behind the scenes of any article that you’ve read without being creepy. With CircleCount, you can see a list of all the influencers who have shown your article some love on Google+. So how do you make this work for your brand?

There’s nothing wrong with responding with a +1, but would you take your first date to the mall to shop at Hot Topic? No, we’re not fourteen. Do something that will make the experience memorable and unexpected, go beyond the +1. Try thanking each of those users for sharing your content or strike up a casual conversation. Better yet? Share a piece of their content. All you need is a little human interaction, and you’ll have your audience (and Google) falling in love with you all over again.

2. The Butterflies

Writing a Google+ post is like writing a love letter. We aim for the “awww” or LOL moments, but when there is a lot more competition in the feed it can be difficult to be extraordinary. Your brand message isn’t being heard. So here are our favorite tricks to tailor your copy:

  1. Treat the first line of your post like the meta title tag and pop in a keyword (ONLY if it’s relevant).
  2. Take advantage of Google+ short codes to change your font size.
  3. To bold, try using asterisks “*insert word*”
  4. To italicize, add an underscore with a plus sign “_insert word+”
  5. To underline, add a dash before and after the word “-insert word-“

3. The Ripple Effect

You’re attracted to each other and went for it – and you actually ending up caring about each other. Your original relationship with an influencer is what can cause one action to lead to many actions. This is the ripple effect.
With Google Ripples, size does matter. The visually dynamic, interactive map displays how a Google+ post is shared, and how followers spread that content.

Once you’ve established who your top influencers are, you can now find out who their influencers are and start building long-term relationships. No more walks of shame, no more friend-zone, you’ve finally met your match.

4. Meet In Person

A great +1’er doesn’t necessarily equal a Circle follower till death do us part. Commenting, sharing, and +1s require less effort, which means the stakes are lower. Hosting a Hangout allows for a more intimate face-to-face setting for up to 10 people. By showing your facial expressions, you can communicate so much deeper than what words can convey. With your eyes, your body language, you can inspire trust, positive emotions, and build relationships that give you that competitive edge.

If you want to go public with your relationship, you can broadcast with Hangouts On Air to a larger audience.

5. Let’s Go Back To My Place

Yup, we’ve all heard this same excuse “I like you but not in a “let’s hang out offline” kind of way.” For local businesses, you’ve got to literally put yourself on the map. With Google Maps, you can target your audience where they already exist, increase your reach to potential consumers, and boost your rankings. It’s like picking of a woman at a painting class, you have to understand where they are and how to connect with them.

6. Meeting Her Friends For The First Time

Searching for the perfect brand advocate? Start looking in the Google+ Communities.

When you join a Google+ Community, it’s like meeting your girlfriend’s friends for the first time…awkward and desperate to be cool. With your first post in the Community, you’re starting a conversation. Make it matter. Use an image, comment back, and don’t get in the habit of link dropping. Showing gratitude and paying attention will only make your relationship stronger.

7. Judgment Day

It’s not you. It’s your profile. No relationship is perfect. With a few tweaks to the “About” section and maybe even a new content strategy, your Google+ page can begin to see improvements in its relationship with Google search. Using a free tool such as Steady Demand to conduct a brand page audit, you can enter your Google Plus page’s URL and receive an overview of your page’s strengths and weaknesses.

We use human behavior (e.g. conversations, +1s) to determine how to make brands more relatable and closer to consumers. Browsing an average of three minutes more than Facebook users, Google+ fans can, and will, be wooed by high quality, relevant content and engaging experiences. By nurturing your relationships on Google+, you can cultivate a community of followers to influencers.

With over 4 years of social media experience, Anna Crowe has honed her digital marketing expertise to help develop stellar campaigns at iiWorks in Sydney, Australia. With a wealth of client experience, working on big brands like McDonalds, staySky Hotels & Resorts, ibis World Square Sydney, and Hearst Magazine, Anna’s passion for social continues to grow with every new grumpy cat picture. When we’re not talking social, Anna is a mom to Norman, the Basset Hound, and enjoys dancing to 80’s music (yes, she wants to dance with somebody!). Chat with her on Google+.

Twitter Appealing CompaniesWhy would a business use Twitter? What’s so appealing about Twitter to companies?

Rather than tell you what we think (we’re biased – this is a social media blog, after all), we’ve put together a collection of facts and figures to show you just what’s so special about Twitter.

Once you’ve finished, you’ll know exactly why Twitter is appealing to companies.

Ready for the ride? Then let’s get started!

1. Tweets Mean Sales

When people follow your business on Twitter, the chances of them buying from you immediately increases. Research shows that two thirds (67%) of Twitter users are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on the network.

On the other side of the coin, 34% of marketers say they’ve generated leads from Twitter, and 50% of technology companies have acquired at least one customer through Twitter.

2. Your Customers Are Waiting to Follow You

Almost a third (30%) of Twitter’s half-a-billion users follow a brand on the network. That’s a lot of people your business could be talking to.

3. People Go on Twitter for Help Making Purchases

Over the past two years, the number of Twitter users asking for product recommendations has increased 663%. If you have a Twitter account, it makes it easier for people to recommend you – they can just link to your Twitter profile in a Tweet.

4. Your Competitors Are Already on Twitter

Seven in ten small businesses are already using Twitter. And 77% of the Fortune 100 have at least one representative on Twitter. If that’s not enough for you, consider that 93% of marketers use social media in their businesses. Stay away from Twitter for much longer, and you’ll fall behind.

5. You Don’t Need to Be Young to Be Social

Feel like you’re too old to learn? The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is 55-64-year-olds. The number of users in this age bracket has increased by 79% since 2012. If they can do it, you can, too.

6. Twitter Is Still Growing Fast

Want to go where things are hot? Head to Twitter. As of January 2014, over half (53%) of Twitter uses have been members for less than a year. On Facebook, this figure is just 19%.

7. Most Twitter Users Are Active

Want to talk to your customers and find out what they think? Then Twitter is the place to go. Three quarters (76%) of Twitter users actually send out tweets. This is up from 47% in 2010.

8. Twitter Is the Most Popular B2B Platform

Some 85% of marketers say they use Twitter to make B2B connections. There’s a good reason for that. Twitter is the networker’s social network. If you want to meet new people online, especially people with influence, there’s no better place to go than Twitter.

9. Twitter Means Customer Service

Consumers are increasingly turning to social media when they need help with a purchase they’ve made. And they expect to hear back quickly. Eight in ten (81%) of Twitter users expect companies to respond the same day to questions and complaints. You can’t respond if you’re not using Twitter.

10. You’ll Create Glowing Feelings Around Your Brand

Research shows that 85% of your Twitter followers will feel more connected to your brand after following you.

So what’s not to love? Head over to Twitter and sign up today. Don’t forget to follow Social Caffeine!

* Social Media Stats You Need to Know for 2014
* Twitter for Small Business: Facts, Stats & Tips (INFOGRAPHIC)
* 103 Crazy Social Media Statistics to Kick off 2014
* 116 Amazing Twitter Statistics

Business Facebook PageWhy have a Facebook page? Does your business really need to be on Facebook? Isn’t it just a passing craze?

Passing craze or not, it’s time your business embraced the Facebook revolution. Things change. Personal computers have been around for less than half a century. iPhones first appeared less than ten years ago.

Technology is developing faster and faster. So maybe it’s time you caught up.

Having a personal Facebook account isn’t enough. And if you can create a personal account, you can set up a business page. All you need to do is go here and follow the step-by-step guide.

Still need some convincing? We’ve put together the 12 best reasons your business should launch a Facebook page.

Having a Facebook Page gives your business the opportunity to:

1. Talk to Half the Internet

Worldwide 2.4 billion people are connected to the Internet. Half of these – 1.2 billion – have Facebook accounts.

Let’s bring these stats closer to home. More than 40% of Americans use Facebook everyday, and nearly a quarter of US residents (22%) check their Facebook acounts more than once a day.

Facebook is bringing the world together. Don’t you think your business should be part of it?

2. Be Where the People Go

Want to find customers for your product? Don’t expect them to turn up at your door. You’ll be waiting a long time. Instead, head to where they’re already hanging out.

The average Facebook users spends 8.3 hours per month on the network. After Google and YouTube, it’s the most popular website in the world.

3. Be Relatable

The old world of marketing is crumbling. Back in the day, marketing was a one-way street. You put out advertisements for your product; customers bought your product.

With social media, that’s all changed. Your customers want a relationship with your brand. They expect to be able to talk to you. Marketing is about conversation.

A Facebook page humanizes your business. It allows customers and fans to talk to you like a human being. What’s more, your Facebook page allows you to develop a personality and a voice for your brand.

4. Build Trust

Establishing a relationship with your customers helps build trust. When your customers enjoy talking to you, they’ll want to be part of your business story by buying your products.

On top of that, the more Facebook fans you have, the greater your level of social proof. When potential customers see you’ve got a thriving fan-base, they’re more likely to trust you because they see that others trust you, too.

5. Makes Content Marketing Simple

Wonder why your company blog is a ghost town? You’ve heard content marketing is the next big thing, but you’ve yet to see any results from it.

That’s probably because you’re not sharing the content you’ve created.

Don’t keep it to yourself! Get it out there. Facebook is the perfect place to share your content with people who’ll appreciate it. And your Facebook page is the ideal platform from which to do that.

6. Learn About Your Customers

Want to know which new products your customers would like to see in your store? Or maybe you want insight into your customers’ likes and dislikes, so you can better serve them with your products or services.

A Facebook page is a bit like a virtual focus group. Every interaction with your fans is tracked and recorded through Facebook Insights. Over time, you’ll see patterns emerge of what your fans like best. You’ll discover what’s hot and what’s not.

You can also talk to your fans to get their opinions. Ask questions. They’ll be happy to let you know what they think.

All this provides valuable insights you can use when developing your business strategy.

7. Build a Community

Word-of-mouth is the most powerful marketing tool. It always has been, and it’s one of the few things that hasn’t changed in the social media revolution.

By interacting with your customers on Facebook, you’ll build a community of loyal fans who will act as brand advocates. They’ll share your updates with their Facebook friends, spreading the word about your brand.

8. Boost Your SEO

One excuse for avoiding social media is the idea that SEO is what really matters.

We agree, SEO is essential. But if you really care about SEO, then you need to be on Facebook.

Google crawls your Facebook page and indexes links you’ve shared. Google also notices how many fans are interacting with your content.

The more your fans are engaging with your brand, the bigger the boost to your SEO.

9. Stay Top-of-Mind for Your Customers

When customers like your Facebook page, they’ll receive updates from your business when you post to Facebook.

This is a subtle way of growing your brand awareness. Fans who see your brand name every week on Facebook will choose you over a competitor when they need your products or services, simply because you’re the brand they’ve seen on Facebook over and over again.

This is especially important for customers who have purchased from you in the past. Remember, it’s easier to win repeat custom than to get a first time customer to make a purchase.

10. Stick to Facebook’s Rules

I know a few people who use their personal Facebook profile for conducting business. If you’ve got a Facebook profile, you probably do, too.

The trouble is, these people are playing with fire. Using personal accounts for business purposes is against Facebook’s terms of use. If you do it, you risk getting kicked off the network.

Having a Facebook page is the way to go. Our final two reasons for having a Page will show you why.

11. Be Easier to Connect With

It’s much easier for fans to “like” your Facebook page than to add you as a Facebook friend. That’s because:

  • Liking a page is low-risk. They can always unlike you in the future. Adding someone as a friend is a bigger commitment.
  • If they add you as a friend, you can see all their personal photos and updates. Most people don’t want businesses prying into their personal life.
  • People expect to interact with businesses through pages, not through profiles.

12. Leave Comments as Your Brand

When you have a Facebook page, you can visit other pages on Facebook and leave comments as your brand. This is an excellent tool for business networking.

If you already have a Facebook page for your business, what are your reasons for having it? What have you found are the biggest advantages?