Last month, Facebook announced their latest feature, “Graph Search.” Upon this announcement, many people were left scratching their heads, thinking, “But what exactly is it? What does it mean?” For those who have not yet mastered Facebook’s latest addition, here’s the scoop.
Other social media sites like Pinterest and Twitter allow you to easily find users with common interests, which has not been the case for Facebook. Enter the Graph Search, which will allow you conduct searches based on friend recommendations and “likes.” Let’s say you want to try out a new restaurant in Westchester but don’t know where to go. You can type a term in the search bar such as “restaurants in Westchester my friends like” and instantly get a list of restaurants your friends have recommended. Graph Search results will also contain photos of friends, places, and people, based on what you are searching for.
The search will allow you to find other people on Facebook who share your interests as well as find recommendations from friends on everything from food to fitness to dentists. In addition, you will also be able to search for photos you or your friends are tagged in or that you have posted. For example, perhaps you want to find photos of you and your coworkers at last year’s business expo. You can type “Photos of me from the 2012 business expo” and be given exactly that.
But it doesn’t end there. Let’s say you really love knitting, but don’t have any friends who share your passion. You can enter a term such as “People who like knitting and live in Westchester” and get a list of other like-minded enthusiasts to reach out to.
Sounds pretty cool, right?! One major concern Graph Search has sparked among Facebook users is privacy. There are many people who do not want to be found in a search based on their personal information. The bottom line is that Graph Search is like any other Facebook search in the sense that the results that are found are based on your own privacy settings. You control who can see what in terms of the information on your Facebook profile. All you have to do is visit the “Privacy Settings” on your Facebook account and adjust them as you wish.
Facebook Graph Search is not yet available, but you can join the waiting list here to try out the limited beta program.
The team here at Gibbons Digital can’t wait to try it out! What are your thoughts on the new Graph Search? Let us know, we want to hear from you!
Building on last week’s 4th of July celebrations, we’ll stay in the summer mode for this week’s blog post. The big news last week was the break-up of Twitter and LinkedIn – and rumor has that Twitter did the dumping!
However, while you may have been on vacation, other news occurred in the world of Internet marketing that may be of interest to your small or medium sized business’ social media strategy.
To help you catch up with bloggers, Google, Twitter and more – here is a link to the Latest Google Updates and Other Marketing Stories of the Week.
When Betsy Kase (photo left) founded Yoga Haven in Tuckahoe, Westchester County, NY in 1998 she placed flyers on windshields and in health food stores and libraries to advertise. Fast forward to 2012, and Yoga Haven has grown to two studios – a new location opened in Scarsdale in 2012 – and a following of fans on Facebook. And, on June 13th, Yoga Haven launched a new website that includes social network links to their Facebook page and to YouTube.
Yoga studios are a place to “get away from it all” and that includes turning off all cell phones before classes begin and no texting, Facebook updates or loud conversations. Yet the Studios themselves have joined the social media realm to support existing students and welcome new ones, and Yoga Haven is a case in point with its social media initiatives.
Voted Best Yoga Studio by Westchester Magazine in 2012, the fifth time the studio has received this recognition, Yoga Haven entered the social media realm as a way for Kase’s students to stay connected to her. After the flyers’ phase, she created a website to provide up-to-date information on classes, courses and workshops. The new website offers that information along with features, frequently added by Kase and the team, to enhance one’s yoga practice and experience at Yoga Haven. Yoga Haven’s Facebook page, now easily accessible from the website, includes studio updates along with student recommendations, and photo albums showcasing the studio. In addition, Kase uses email blasts to update students on snow closings, class changes, and special offers and to send Birthday greetings with a special discount. Earlier this year, Kase ran a promotion on livingsocial.com, a site that offers daily discounts on restaurants, spas, shops, travel, and more – and sold 360 class cards – up from 175 the last time the special was offered!
Yoga Haven’s philosophy is to essentially make yoga accessible to anyone who walks through the doors. That is what Yoga Haven’s social media is doing: bringing information to students and others who wish to practice yoga but have not yet walked through the door. Yoga Haven’s Facebook page and website are places for them to get started and to feel comfortable about practicing yoga.
Has Yoga Haven’s journey from Flyers to Facebook – i.e., to social media – been effective? According to Kase, the answer is yes – because it keeps her connected to her students, which helps them stay centered, and staying centered is a key component of practicing yoga. Take a look at Yoga Haven.
Have you ever wondered if there was anyone else in your neighborhood who shared the same interest in small dogs as you? Have you ever wished you could find a friend with the same passion for cooking Himalayan cuisine or a group of empty-nesters whose kids are also away at college? Sometimes, finding people who share even the same interests can seem as hopeless as finding a needle in a haystack. Enter Meetup.com, the world’s largest social network of local groups.
Founder and CEO Scott Heiferman was inspired to begin Meetup.com after witnessing millions of Americans reach out to one another and band together after the 9/11 attacks. Heiferman decided that he wanted to help “bridge the gap between strangers,” and help people become more connected to one another. Now with 10.8 million users and 105,000 groups, it is safe to say Heiferman’s goal has been more than accomplished.
Utilizing Meetup.com’s services for both business and personal use has opened our doors to more friendships, partnerships, and opportunities than we would have ever expected. Who knew there were so many social media enthusiasts in Westchester County alone?!
Those curious about Meetup.com can venture to the website, search for their interests and City/ZIP code, and be presented with pages of a colorful array of groups. Everything from “First-Time Moms” to “Outdoor Enthusiasts” can be found here, which goes to show Meetup.com has something to offer for everyone.
We first looked at Pinterest in November 2011 when its popularity exploded reaching nearly 5 million U.S. unique visitors. According to HubSpot, as of Q1 of 2012, Pinterest had generated 11.7 million unique visitors. So, if your company is not “pinning” and being “pinned,” it may be time to take another look at Pinterest, the “virtual pin board” that lets people share anything and any topic on the web that they find interesting – e.g., pictures, quotes, recipes and other web content.
A few reasons why your small or medium size business should be on Pinterest:
Creative Research – You can do research on other businesses and brands and take note of their creativity including communications, blog posts and graphics when you’re creating your Pinterest marketing plan.
Competitive Research – You get competitive research by seeing who is popular, growing followers and getting repinned.
Product Development/New Topics – Stay in the know by watching for trends and trend-setters on Pinterest.
Getting in on the Conversation – If your clients and competitors are on Pinterest, your business should be part of the conversation too.
Branding – Pinterest is place where you can make your brand more visual and, therefore, more pinnable. For example, if you are a real estate office or restaurant in Westchester, you can post photos of your location to show what your business has to offer.
Not in a business that is very visual? Here are some tips on Ways to Make Your Service Business More Pinnable.
So, whether you’re a brand, blogger, small or medium size business or non-profit, it may be time to pin and get pinned!
Bridget Gibbons, CEO of Gibbons Digital, shared insights on how social media has given more power to the consumer in a recent article on westfair Online, which provides up-to-date news to the business marketplace in Westchester, Fairfield and the Hudson Valley. In the article, which also ran in the Westchester County Business Journal, experts comment on the role social media played in the recent controversy between the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Bridget Gibbons was one of the experts, commenting on the rise in demand for social media over the past year and the importance of small- and medium-sized businesses’ having a social media plan in place. Get the whole scoop in Social media acumen helps Planned Parenthood garner $3 million in three days.
What a great thing to make news with the topic of social media!
It’s not a typo; “Pinterest” is a social network. It’s a “virtual pin board” that lets people share anything and any topic on the web that they find interesting. Expanding on our last blog about the ever-growing use of social media marketing and social networks, Pinterest is a case in point.
Pinterest has been around since March 2010, but its popularity has recently exploded reaching nearly 5 million U.S. unique visitors in November 2011, according to metrics firm ComScore. Pinterest’s mission is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting – e.g., pictures, quotes, recipes and other web content – to reveal a common link between two people. You must request an invitation to get started with Pinterest. Once you’re signed up, you can “pin” an image to your “board” by simply snagging it via a plugin and adding it to your online profile. Your followers can browse and comment on your pin boards and add to them if they have permission.
Although there is specific “Pin Etiquette” for using Pinterest, small businesses can use it to create communities around the ideas or lifestyle of their brand. For example, a design company specializing in home properties in Westchester County could create a series of boards showcasing a portfolio of stunning home renovations to pique people’s interest.
Does your small business have an interest in Pinterest?
Now that the Holidays are in full swing and Yule logs abound, it may be the perfect time for your business to start blogging. You may be thinking – how is this the “perfect time” when you have shopping, baking, parties…and work! But all the festivities can prove a great way for small and medium sized business owners in Westchester County to find out what family, friends, clients and colleagues are talking about and then find a way to tie that information back to their businesses via a relevant blog topic.
Not convinced? Did you know that according to a recent survey by HubSpot, the inbound Internet Marketing blog that covers all of inbound marketing – SEO, Blogging, Social Media, Landing Pages, Lead Generation and Analytics – businesses that blog increase their site visits by as much as 55%?
A blog is way to build your online audience and offer your expertise to clients and website visitors. In addition, you can benefit from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) benefits that come with regularly adding new content to your site via your blog. Consistent, fresh content and quality links may do well with search rankings.
Time and thought of new topics maybe be overwhelming when thinking about blogging. Why not start looking for inspiration now when Holiday gatherings are in high gear and conversations are everywhere – parties, stores, bakeries, workplaces, and ski slopes – just to name a few? It may be the best time to start or refresh your blog.
Happy New Year to all!
Stating the obvious, budget is no small issue when you run a small business…. According to this quarterly study by Merchant Circle among 4,942 SMBs nationwide, most have $2,500 or less to spend on marketing and don’t plan to increase these expenditures next year.
Most small businesses have now realized exactly that. According to this article from Mashable, everybody’s doing it.
* About half of marketers these days spend at least 6 hours each week using social media. And according to this author, that’s not even nearly enough.
* Specifically among SMBs, almost 2 in 3 post 8+ times per week on social networking sites; and about 1 in 4 post 1-7 times per week. That means only 14% post less than once per week.
As you might suspect, Twitter and Facebook are the most common sites used. But there’s also LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr, and many more. Click here for some success stories on how a few small businesses used social media in lieu of traditional advertising to get their personality and message out and propel loyalty and sales.
Each week, I spend 10 – 15 hours accessing social networking sites for my business. How about you?
Last week’s Wall Street Journal had an interesting article about e-commerce on social networking sites. Still in its infancy, it’s hard to know if we have hit on something real yet but some very established firms are trying it like GNC, Westin hotels, and J.C. Penney.
Some of the facts that struck me from the article are that:
- · “Online purchases grew 28% in the first quarter, while in-store purchases grew only 4% during the same time period” intimating that capitalizing on e-commerce in some capacity is imperative!
- · “Americans spent 22 minutes and 10 seconds on Facebook in April, more than twice the amount of time they spent on the Web’s top 500 retail sites combined” intimating that social networking sites may be your best route.
I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot in a mall (except to go to the Apple Store), so to my mind this seems like the natural next wave for shopping but some open questions still remain like:
- · How purposeful and specific are consumers with their activities on the Web? Will consumers be comfortable shopping where they socialize and in some sense live?
The right answer to both questions about comfort and practicality is probably “it depends” on your audience, on your products, on your long-term strategic plan.
But given the amount of demographic information included on these social networking sites, it may make sense as a great research tool if nothing else. What’s your take?