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

Google+

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+.

This is a guest post by Matt Schexnayder of SpareFoot.

2013 was a big year for social media, although what year hasn’t been since Facebook and Twitter burst on the scene? Despite the constant growth, 2013 was certainly the most active in terms of what changed and the amount of use each network received.

To take a closer look at all the data, SpareFoot gathered information from numerous different sources to find the most interesting stats from each of the most widely used social platforms.

The biggest headline came from the picture-sharing app Snapchat, who declined offers of up to $4 billion (yes, billion with a “b”) from both Google and Facebook, which is especially interesting because by the end of last year 15% of all minutes spent online are spent on Facebook. We don’t have the numbers on how many minutes total were spent online, but we can assume it was in the billions, if not trillions, so 15% of that is a lot of time on one site.

Some other mind-blowing facts we came across were:

  • Last year there were 35 million #selfies posted on Instagram
  • Google+ is now averaging 25,000 new users everyday
  • Vine videos are 4x more likely to be seen than regular branded videos (sorry YouTube)

These, among other interesting stats can be found in the following infographic. If your company has not started using these outlets in your marketing efforts, it may be time to start changing your strategy.

Social Media Statistics 2013

Matt Schexnayder is SEO specialist for SpareFoot.

Social Media Power User

We’ve been on an incredible journey, delving into the minds of the world’s most influential social media power users. We wanted to share what we found – so here are the top 25 tips we discovered.

Take notes – this is some of the most useful and powerful information out there. And let us know which tip you like best in the comments.

Sean Gardner

Sean GardnerWith close to 600,000 followers, Sean Gardner is rated Forbes’s #1 Social Media Influencer. He’s an all-around lovely guy (as you’ll see from the tips below) and does a lot of work for good causes. You can follow Sean on Twitter here.

1. Awesome Content Is Often Hidden Treasure

“Great, high-performing content can also be found everywhere – even on the accounts of a social network’s majority: typically folks with 2500 followers or less.”

Sean Gardner, 5 Things It’s OK to Do in Social Media in 2014 (or any year). More here

2. Remember to Say Thank You

“A life of gratitude is a great foundation for personal enrichment, and a social media strategy anchored by gratitude is a recipe for digital success. So I never forget how speaking appearances, invites to events, or opportunities to blog for major platforms have come my way. A simple expression of thanks can definitely connect you with the right people. The ripple effect is undeniable. Yes, from personal experience, I can tell you that gratitude can also be a powerful networking tool.”

Sean Gardner, Is Gratitude One of Your Social Media Best Practices?.

3. Blaze Your Own Trail

“There is no one set of principles, or magic formula that fits everyone. So test, test, and keep testing the approaches and methods that you’re comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to adopt what helps and empowers you, and discard what doesn’t. It’s your path… so blaze a trail!”

Sean Gardner, 5 Things It’s OK to Do in Social Media in 2014 (or any year).

4. Share (BIG) Pictures

“Tweets with images are getting considerably more clicks, which is what any article needs. Social media studies confirm that bigger images get shared more than smaller ones. And since these big pictures will stick out on your timeline, the adjoined blogposts will likely get great residual traffic from any new followers/visitors.”

Sean Gardner, 3 Smart Ways To Use Twitter’s New Visual Change.

5. Be Happy for the Success of Others

“Whenever I speak at conferences, I get asked about what it takes to do well in the social space. My answer is the same: generosity. But it’s not enough to simply be a giver; you have to surround yourself with them. Seriously. Always look forward to making their acquaintance. Those who are genuinely happy for others’ success, and those who believe (and demonstrate) that character and integrity are what you do one hundred percent of the time.”

Sean Gardner, Want Success in Social Media? Give What You Want to Receive.

Ann Tran

Ann TranTravel writer and social media consultant Ann Tran has over 350,000 followers. She’s #1 in Forbes list of the Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers, and the Huffington Post has named her one of the 16 people on Twitter who inspire the world. You can follow Ann on Twitter here.

1. Make Everything You Share Count

“When posting a quote, a link, or a photo, be a little judicious and make each tweet, post and re-sharing count. There is so much out there, how will you make your voice stand out? What is your view?”

Ann Tran, Social Media Sharing: When Is It Too Much?.

2. Use Twitter’s Favorite Button (for bookmarking)

“I favorited ‘congratulations’ Tweets when I saw them on my reply page—mainly because I couldn’t keep up with sending thank-you Tweets.

“But when I did have a chance, the favorite feature allowed me to find the person’s Twitter page so I could view their Tweets. That way I could share something from their account as a way to acknowledge gratitude or say hello.”

Ann Tran, Why I Use Twitter’s Favorite Button And Twitpic.

3. When Re-Tweeting, Go Traditional (Copy-and-Paste)

“If the individual had re-tweeted me ten times by copy-and-pasting, I certainly would have not missed their re-tweets. I don’t believe it would have been buried in the re-tweet and mention stream.”

Ann Tran, The Re-Tweet: Don’t Take The Easy Road.

4. Re-Tweet Someone New Everyday

“Find someone new to re-tweet each day and introduce them to your Twitter world.”

Ann Tran, Why I Use Twitter’s Favorite Button And Twitpic.

5. Take Time to Unplug

“I unplug through connecting with nature. My love of nature gets me outdoors quite a bit. My daily nature walks help me clear my head and renew myself, so I can give my very best during work.”

Ann Tran, Unplug To Renew Your Social Media Spirit.

Jessica Northey

Jessica NortheyJessica Northey is the social media darling in the world of country music. She’s ranked #3 in the Forbes Top 50 List of Social Media Influencers, which is why Tech News has named her one of Twitter’s most badass women. You can follow Jessica on Twitter here.

1. Have Fun!

“I use Twitter for fun and to discover new and interesting people, places, and things… When it comes to following back, I don’t have a lot of rules of engagement. I honestly follow people I think are interesting and that I am genuinely interested in.”

Jessica Northey, Social Media Insights.

2. Don’t Be Too Professional

“The more homemade your video looks, the better it works.”

Jessica Northey, Social Media Insights.

3. Lay Down Your Ego (and Talk to People!)

“YOU are NOT that important. It is very important in the beginning when you are new to follow people back and respond to them when they talk to you. Not communicating with fans/followers is a spoiled chance to take someone from being engaged to being invested in your brand.”

Jessica Northey, Building a Social Media Army.

4. Getting Attention Needn’t Be Hard

“Positive attention is a great reward. I enjoy the simple things online, like when someone retweets, reposts or shares something I wrote, or comments are left on my blog posts, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”

Jessica Northey, What Your Dog Can Teach YOU About Social Media.

5. Create Good Habits

“Habits, good or bad, make you who you are. The key is controlling them. If you know how to change your habits, then even a small effort CAN create big changes.”

Jessica Northey, You Are What You Repeatedly Do.

Mari Smith

Mari SmithScottish-Canadian Mari Smith is widely regarded as the world’s leading expert on Facebook marketing. She’s also #4 in the world on the Forbes list of the Top 50 Social Media Influencers. Mari has over 120,000 Facebook fans, and you can join their ranks here.

1. Take Control of Your News Feed with Interest Lists

“Once you create — or subscribe to — your favorite Interest Lists, you can add them to your Favorites at the top left side of your home page. And, voila! These become your own personal bookmarks, visible on both desktop and mobile, through which you can now browse the EXACT content you wish.”

Mari Smith, How To Take Back Control Of Your Facebook News Feed.

2. Eat (and Share) Facebook Candy

“You might be familiar with the expression “Facebook candy.” This is the type of content that Facebook users get very excited about and immediately want to share with all of their friends. This is almost always an image, which tends to get a higher EdgeRank (more news feed visibility). And often, the images contain inspirational or motivational quotes along with an eye-catching photo.”

Mari Smith, 5 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Engagement.

3. Monitor Your Unsubscribes

“By monitoring your Unsubscribes (Hides) and Unlikes against what content you are posting each day and how much engagement (post comments and Likes) you’re creating, you’ll be better equipped to fine-tune variables such as the topics you post about, the type of content you post (photo, video, link, status update) and the time of day you post. Over time, you’ll identify your own sweet spot for maximum engagement.”

Mari Smith, How to Measure Your Facebook Engagement.

4. Use Facebook for Professional Networking

“For professional networking purposes, proactively seek new friends who may be influential people in your industry and related industries, prospects, media contacts, people you admire, potential collaborators, and so forth. Just be mindful to not overdo the outgoing friend requests in any one session. Facebook views this as potentially spam behavior and you run the risk of your account being deactivated. Twenty requests at a time is a safe number.”

Mari Smith, Facebook 101 for Business: Your Complete Guide.

5. Don’t Rely on Your Friends to Promote Your Business

“There’s a great myth that once you create a Facebook fan page for your business, the first thing you should do to get fans is invite ALL your friends from your personal profile using the “Suggest to Friends” feature. Unfortunately, this strategy may not be that effective and can, in fact, often backfire. I have seen many industry gurus complain that when they decline a fan page request, it’s frustrating to continue to be asked again and again.”

Mari Smith, 21 Creative Ways To Increase Your Facebook Fanbase.

Aaron Lee

Aaron LeeWith over half-a-million Twitter followers, Malaysian Aaron Lee is a social media force to be reckoned with. Forbes ranks him the fifth most influential social media expert in the world. You can find Aaron on Twitter here.

1. Add a Personal Touch

“It’s the simple personal touches and little things that makes a big difference. Sure technology has made it easier for us to do business online, but never let it forget we’re after all… human.”

Aaron Lee, It’s Not Just Business, It’s Personal.

2. Schedule Your Updates

“One question I get a lot from business owners is, ‘How do you find the time to manage Twitter?’ Although I would say that it has to do with my passion for connecting, sharing and engaging with others, I would not be able to manage Twitter without optimizing my time. Buffer helps me do just that.”

Aaron Lee, How Aaron Lee Got 400k Followers on Twitter.

3. Use Twitter Lists

“Twitter lists help me to keep track with what is happening around the world, connect with bloggers and thought leaders in my industry, help me to monitor competitors and many more.”

Aaron Lee, How to: Build a Twitter Following with Twitter Lists.

4. Have Daily Targets

” Start by joining twitter chats, guest posting, engaging with people, networking with at least five new people a day, commenting on blogs (comment on mine too), share other people’s post, compliment someone and really mean it.”

Aaron Lee, You’re not Seth Godin, so get working.

5. Be Patient

“It doesn’t take a day to grow an apple tree, it takes a few years with care and patience to grow it before you can reap its rewards. That’s the way business works too.”

Aaron Lee, What a dog rescue taught me about business.