Knowledge Graph to Feature Brands’ Social Profiles. What Does this Mean for Search?

Earlier this year, Google started including brands’ social profiles within its Knowledge Graph panel. In the past, this feature only applied to famous people, such as actors, musicians and politicians. What does this mean for brands that Google will now pick up their social handles?

It comes down to two things:
• If your brand is already active in the social space and has a great presence, it will have even a better visibility in search results.
• If you haven’t had the time to build out your brands’ social profiles, this is yet another reason why you absolutely should. ASAP.

More importantly, Google now allows companies to add markup language to their sites to specify their official social profiles for search engine crawlers. Let’s take a look at why this update matters for search and how your plan of attack should look like to leverage it to your best advantage.

Here is a screen shot of the Best Buy Knowledge Graph:

Best Buy Knowledge Graph

 

Just as in the past, you see a snapshot from the brand’s Wikipedia page (as many of us know, this is how most Knowledge Graphs are generated). Right below it, Best Buy’s social handles are displayed. By the way, Google currently picks up profiles from the top social networks (interestingly, MySpace is on the list):

• Facebook
• Twitter
• Google+
• Instagram
• YouTube
• LinkedIn
• Myspace

I do anticipate this list expanding. So, if Pinterest and Tumblr are an integral part of your marketing campaign, this is not by any means the reason to drop them and bring your brand back to the antique MySpace.  Just like anything, take this update with a grain of salt and really think what the best strategy is for your brand.

However, even if you’re a small B2B business, this is a no-brainer to build out your profiles on top networks (at the very least, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn), just so you can own that Web real estate for the branded queries.

Now, Google+ is just as important as ever to your search campaigns. Below the social profiles’ links, Google Knowledge Graph displays your latest Google+ posts, followed by your competitors’ information. If you maintain solid presence in social channels and regularly update your brand’s Google+ page, you’d be able to push competitors’ mentions down the bottom of the Knowledge Graph panel and really dominate that digital real estate.

For example, in the following search results below, two competitive beauty brands, Kiehl’s and L’Occitane, both have solid Knowledge Graphs. However, due to the fact that more L’Occitane’s social profiles are picked up, in addition to the company’s Google+ updates, you have to scroll down the search engine result page to see competitive logos. In the Kiehl’s example, competitors’ presence is way more prominent:

L'Occitane Knowledge Graph

Kiehls Knowledge Graph

So, if you are serious about your brand’s digital marketing, I highly recommend that you add the following to your to do list:

• Invest effort in building out your brand’s presence in top social networks.
• Maintain active Google+ page.
• Implement Google-recommended structured data markup on your site to distinguish your brand’s official social profiles. Conveniently, Google outlines a detailed guide on how to implement this markup in its Developer’s Guide here: https://developers.google.com/structured-data/customize/social-profiles

I hope I convinced you to think about social marketing. Stay tuned on more updates on how to integrate search and social to really benefit your overall marketing efforts!

10 Tips for Effective Content Marketing on Twitter

Co-authored by Nancy Stewart

We reported last month on big developments with Twitter (#RIPTwitter: The Future of Twitter and Your Brand) and how they could change the content marketing landscape.

Our conclusion? There’s a lot of opportunity here for smart marketers – despite the critics who fear any change to the Twitter algorithm. The rules are still the same: Really compelling, targeted, organic content is your best bet for attracting followers, building engagement and achieving conversions.

Where do you start? We’ve compiled our top 10 Twitter tips (with a bonus tip) to help you develop a smart strategy.

How to Use Twitter for Your Brand

If you want Twitter to be a successful tool for your business, you need to have a plan before you start tweeting away.

Even the most eloquently-crafted 140-character posts will not attract followers and achieve real results on their own. Creating and implementing a smart content strategy will go a long way to keep your Twitter account focused on your business objectives and directed at your target audience.

  1. Lay out your goals: You’ll have more success creating effective tweets if you know why you are tweeting. Your posts should support your business goals for using Twitter. Start by answering a basic question: What are you trying to do? The answer may be build brand awareness, promote thought leadership or generate leads. Make sure your content supports those goals.
  2. Target your audience: Before posting any tweet, ask yourself: “What information does my target audience want and do they care about this message?” It’s a good idea to tweet about topics you’ve seen resonate with your followers in the past. These easy tricks can help you acquire a more targeted following.
  3. Find your voice: Central to building a brand presence on any social media platform is having a personality. How do you want followers to perceive your brand? Are you fun, creative, humorous? You convey that personality by picking the best voice and tone and staying consistent.
  4. Get creative with #hashtags: You’ve seen them, but do you know to use them? Hashtags are keywords or phrases that help your posts reach the right people. Research the most popular hashtags related to your industry. Once you’re established on Twitter, you can even create your own hashtags.
  5. Use visuals: Stop thinking about Twitter as a space that only allows text. Uploading images, GIFs and videos help your posts stand out and increase engagement significantly.
  6. Develop an editorial calendar: Feeling overwhelmed with the need to post to Twitter, Facebook, your blog and so on? Editorial calendars help you get organized and post regularly on a schedule, so you don’t fall behind.
  7. Be interactive: By nature, social media isn’t supposed to be a one-way conversation. Make sure you are giving back to your followers by responding to them, re-tweeting them, etc. If you tweet content from other sources (besides your own blog), be sure to mention and tag authors and publications.
  8. Engage with influencers: Identify a list of reputable individuals or businesses with a particular expertise that’s relevant to your brand. When an opportunity arises to reply or retweet, take it! You can also keep an eye on what the industry experts are tweeting and mention them in tweets you feel they’d be interested in.
  9. Include a clear call to action: The best way to achieve a direct response is to be explicit. If you have only 140 characters, don’t be coy or shy. “Read more at our blog” or “Visit our online store” are effective approaches when you pair them with a compelling reason why: “Get ready for summer. We’re offering 20 percent off all sandals today. Visit our online store.”
  10. Be brief: This one goes without saying, since the hallmark of Twitter since its launch was the 140-character-limit. You may feel the squeeze to stay within those boundaries, but know this: Shorter Tweets – 140 characters or less – get more conversions. That’s according to Twitter’s own best practices guide.

And a bonus 11th tip:

Pay to promote your Tweets: Even a small investment in paid social can help drive traffic. Promote tweets with high engagement rates to extend your reach and continue providing your target audience with particularly engaging content.

Interested in learning more about social media and paid search trends? Read more from our blog, View from the Charles:

How To Use Snapchat For Your Brand

Google SERP News: Right Rail Ads Are Gone

Facebook & Twitter Unleash New, Exciting Features

Written by Bethany Critchley and Kathryn Falco 

Over the past couple of weeks, Facebook and Twitter have been hard at work rolling out new features for both their individual users and their advertisers. Below is an overview of some great new tools the platforms have unveiled to individual users and advertisers alike.

Facebook begins testing new Topic-Based Feeds feature

Until recently, users’ feeds have been primarily composed of statuses, pictures, re-posts, promoted posts, etc. all of which were, for the most part, out of their control. Though Facebook did its best to show and suggest posts similar to ones that users “liked” or promoted themselves, it was easy to get lost in all of the information (and irrelevant relationship statuses) that were constantly being displayed. That is, until now.

Last week, Facebook started testing out a new feature – Topic-Based Feeds. Users within the test were given the ability to choose specific topics to be displayed in their newsfeeds by clicking on their particular interests within the Topics toolbar (found on the left side of the menu). The Topics, Animals & Pets, Food, Health & Fitness, and Sports, were then further refined based on users’ preferences after answering questions on the topics they chose.

Facebook Topics Sports

 

Because this feature is still a test, the platform also gave users the ability to “flag” posts that they deemed irrelevant to the chosen topic (a smart move on Facebooks part considering users often feel they do not have much say in what appears in their feeds).

The feature has not been completely rolled out and is only open to random users for now, but it is definitely a step in a new direction for the social giant. Facebook is still the dominant social network, but other platforms are starting to creep up on them.

People predominantly use Facebook to stay tuned-in to what their friends and families are doing on a daily basis, but they are often overwhelmed by the unnecessary information that other people are posting. From a strategic standpoint, it seems this is a positive move on Facebooks part. Users will feel like they have more of a hand in what they see in their feeds instead of feeling lost in a sea of information and emotion. But for those users who prefer to stay up to date on who is newly engaged, who recently broke up, and who is having babies, they can choose to stick with the normal news feed.

For more information on the Facebook Topic-Based Feed check out this article on MarketingLand.

Facebook introduces new “Slideshow” ad unit for emerging markets

What is it?
Slideshow is a new video substitute. Advertisers are able to create video ads from still images. Upload 3 to 7 still images and choose the length of the slideshow which ranges from 5-15 seconds. You are able to use video like motion with no sound to provide a new way to tell brand stories.

Why was it created?
It was designed to play in markets where mobile connections are slow or unreliable. Due to the smaller file size, it allows eye catching ads to people with poor connection.

How does it work?
Advertisers create two campaigns, one being a traditional video and the other a slideshow. Facebook detects the user’s connection speed and then shows the appropriate ad. This feature is at no additional cost.

Useful to You?
Although a very cool feature it may not be completely relevant to our Facebook ad campaigns in North America, since we generally have good connection to service. Facebook released that more than half of its revenue comes from non-North American markets, where the dominant form of internet access is mobile but on a slow connection. So this could be something interesting to test for clients that we are running Facebook campaigns internationally.

On a bigger scale, Coca-Cola ran these types of campaigns in markets such as Kenya and Nigeria and had great results.  You can find out more information on this case study on FaceBook and VentureBeat.

Twitter rolls out Native Polling feature

Nowadays, everyone has an opinion on everything and Twitter just made it that much easier to voice yours.  Regular users of the network are all too aware of the “Retweet for Yes, Favorite for No” Tweets that float around within their feeds. From big Brands to individuals, users understand that these Tweets are a fun way to get followers to engage and interact with a Tweet.

As of last week, Twitter started rolling out a new feature that allows users to quickly share their opinions on social media – Native Polling.  Let’s be honest, it’s pretty cool and don’t even deny that you can’t wait to start using it. Though the feature has been in test mode over the past month, it will now be available to all users.

In the past, these polls were only available to advertisers using custom Twitter Cards who were asking questions and tracking responses. The new poll feature is a simple “query” with two possible answers with results being displayed in real-time. Each poll is active for 24-hours and users can also see how much time is left to “vote.” Once the 24-hour limit has been reached, the results are displayed as a percentage. Not only that, but Twitter sends a notification to all poll participants, prompting them to “check out” the final results.

Nissan Fan Poll

 

The new feature will be rolling out over the next few days on iOS, Android, and Twitter.com.

In our opinion, this is one of the most useful Twitter features we’ve seen in a while. Not only is it fun for the average person, but this is huge for Brands seeking to engage their followers and attract more. Though there is no information yet on whether this will be available within the ads platform, it’s probably safe to assume that that won’t be far behind.

Social Media is an ever-growing, ever-changing way to be noticed by the public. That is even more true when it comes to advertisers. There is no better way to reach a target audience than to market them with products and services in places and outlets that are relevant to their daily lives. Users are on social media because they are looking for better ways to fulfill their lives and they look to other users to influence their choices (whether consciences of it or not). In a society that has grown up and into the social media world, it is essential for advertisers to take advantage of an audience that is, for lack of a better word, begging to be marketed to.

You can find out more information on this new Twitter feature at MarketingLand.