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About Peter Becci

About Peter Becci

Peter Becci is the Digital Marketing Manager for Colloquy Inc. a subsidiary of Kaplan Inc. where he helps universities marketing online educational degrees. He has been in the internet space since 1996 and specializes in strategic marketing, SEM, SEO, link building and Social Media. Peter contributes to the Inbound Effect marketing blog on all Digital Marketing topics.

Google+: How to Maximize Your Account

If you use Google for just about anything, and we all do, you’ve probably been offered a Google+ account. If you’re already using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites, you might have wondered whether it’s worth it to take on another one. In fact it is! A few reasons include:

1. Google+ is second in social media popularity only to Facebook. Although it only launched in 2011, it boasted 343 million active users at the end of 2012, says Forbes, and is only expected to grow over time.

2. Google+ is closely tied to Google Authorship. If you run a search for just about anything, you’ll see articles and content come up with headshots next to them. With Google Authorship, the headshot next to the content that you’ve written will be yours, and a photo in search engine results can increase your chances of having your article opened by users.

3. Google+ is another excellent social media marketing tool that you can use to increase your brand recognition and online reputation.

Once you decide that Google+ will be beneficial to your social media presence, it’s important to fill out your profile as completely as possible. Upload a professional and friendly-looking headshot. Don’t forget to smile, and choose colors that complement your natural features. Remember, this will be the photo that is shown in Google search results once you get your Authorship account set up. While you’re at it, pick an image that you like for your header. Choose one from those available, or upload your own. Create a tagline that tells visitors what you stand for, in a nutshell.

Add people to your Circles by searching for them by name or through your Google account. You can designate them as Acquaintances, Friends, Family or simply those who you are Following. This is important later as you begin to share items with those in your Circles, because you can choose which groups to allow or not allow to see your posts on various topics.

Once you have some Google+ members linked to your account, it’s time to start sharing! Be sure to use all of the features offered, such as the capability to upload videos, photos and links. Feel free to include more complex articles and posts than you might on other social media sites; remember that you can filter them to avoid annoying your family members and acquaintances if need be.

Add a Google+ badge to your other websites to allow your readers to find your profile easily. Also, add links to your work to your profile in order to create a readership on other sites to which you add content. Remember to always link out to your very best efforts, and to use those same efforts in creating content for your Google+ account; this will help you keep your profile, as well as your Google Authorship account, to the very highest caliber.

Remember that the goal of having a Google+ account is to build your Internet reputation, increase your brand recognition and establish yourself as an authority in your field. By working carefully to utilize all of the features of Google+, you can see a marked improvement in your social media marketing results.

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Has Content Been De-Throned?

You have heard it said, time and time again: When it comes to attracting a good readership and achieving a higher search engine ranking, content is king. And for the most part, that’s true: If you don’t have high-quality content, not only will Google turn up its nose at you, but your readers won’t be your readers for long. Your content needs to be engaging, accurate and well-written in order to satisfy the 21st-century information-seeker. Still, the king can’t do it alone: If you’re relying only on content to boost your readership (and your bottom line), then you might find yourself lacking in overall success. So, what else matters at least as much as content? Here are some elements to consider including on your site in order to make it the best — and most profitable — that it can be:

  • Tools – Consider sites like Facebook, Amazon and Google. Ranking among the top ten English websites on the World Wide Web, they don’t contain any real content to speak of. What do they consist of? Tools. While your website might not exist solely for the purpose of providing visitors with tools, they can definitely help make your site more user-friendly and valuable. Some to consider include a search bar, a way for clients or customers to add their own reviews (of your products or other products on the market), a way to interact with other users, email or text message capabilities, private messaging, and instant chat.

  • Community –  Related to some of these tools is a sense of community. Being able to interact with others through the use of tools isn’t going to provide a lot of value without a community of people ready and able to put them to use. A forum is an excellent way to bring interested people together. You will need to come up with forum rules and a focus, as well as moderators to ensure that both the rules and the focus are adhered to. You don’t want to run into the problem of having a community that has gotten out of control with spammers, members who want to pick arguments and a lack of moderation, so proceed with caution. A successful community, however, guarantees you a readership, can boost your sales and can improve your brand’s recognition.

  • Appeal – You’ve undoubtedly visited websites that, while providing good content, usable tools and a sense of community, were unappealing for some reason. It might have been the theme colors. Perhaps there was music that started automatically which annoyed you (and those in the room with you). The font might have been too small, or the photos too grainy. Maybe the site map was missing, or you couldn’t find the “contact us” link anywhere on the page. All of these are factors that you need to keep in mind when designing your site; if users find it hard on the eyes, annoying to the ears or frustrating to find what they’re looking for, then they won’t use your tools, they won’t join your community, and they won’t read your content.

While content may never be de-throned as king, it’s important to realize that there other members of the royalty that are just as important to your site’s continued success. Work on improving the facets that tend to draw people in and keep them coming back, and you should see your sales, clicks, readership and bottom line go up!

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Viral Content…. Good Luck!

What do Grumpy Cat, Gangnam Style, and laptop-shooting dad Tommy Jordan have in common? You know about them. And the reason that you know about them is that they were featured in memes or videos that went viral.

Unlike computer viruses and viral pneumonia, viral content is something that you actually want to catch! Your blog or website might be humming along, attracting a fairly steady number of readers each day, until, bam! You post some type of original content that “goes viral.” Within a day or two, you’re getting record-high numbers of hits, and from then on, if you’re lucky, your daily traffic will be higher than it was before you were discovered, so to speak.

So, if creating viral content were as easy as it looks, everyone would be doing it. The fact is that no one can really predict ahead of time what will be forwarded, shared, posted to social media sites and talked about to the extent that they go viral. You can, however, stack the odds in your favor by understanding what factors make content so appealing that readers feel absolutely compelled to pass it along to others:

  • Viral content should be easy to read, understand and digest. Your readers have short attention spans. Even if an individual reader wants to take the time to focus on a masterpiece, it’s likely that his friends won’t, and the content will fail to go viral. You need to create content that is easy on the eyes. Infographics, charts, engaging videos and memes with bold fonts are good bets for creating viral content. If the content is comprised of text, be sure to break it up with plenty of white space, bullets and other formatting that makes it visually appealing.

  • Viral content should elicit an emotional response. Try to think positive: Positive emotional responses are more likely to be shared with friends, colleagues, family members and acquaintances than negative emotional responses. Why is Grumpy Cat so famous? Because people think she’s cute, because people like cats, because people like identifying with others who know that cats can have grumbly demeanors. If something tugs at your heartstrings or makes you laugh out loud (literally!), you might feel inclined to click the “share” button. Of course, you can create viral content that elicits a negative response, as well: Do you remember the video, Kony, 2012? Controversy aside, people felt angered by Ugandan warlord, Joseph Kony, and wanted to make a difference by sharing their indignation along with the video.

  • Viral content should make people feel good about sharing it. Why do you share items with your friends? To increase their knowledge, to make them laugh, maybe to make sure that they know that you’re on the same side of a social issue? Put yourself in your readers’ place: Is the content that you’re sharing practically begging them to share it with others, without asking it in words or text? If so, you just might have a virus on your hands!

The main point to remember is that creating viral content is not only incredibly difficult, but also a shot in the dark. You need to create a piece that is one-of-a-kind, but mainstream enough that people will want to forward it to their friends. If you can hit the nail on the head, then you just might find yourself with a greater readership than you had ever imagined.

 

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