Archive for the ‘left sidebar’ tag
Now, you could argue, and some will, that forcing local business owners on to Google+ is yet another sign that Google is putting way too much emphasis on their desire to become relevant in social media, but the fact is, it’s still very much Google’s world that we playing in.
The most frustrating aspect of this in my opinion is that it took so long. I’m guessing a lot of local business owners jumped in and built brand pages, so now what?
If you’ve created a Google Place page, as I’ve been advising as part of any local search plan, then you may already be aware that Google has moved your page onto Google+.
If you’ve got a Google+ account you can find your page through either local search or through the Local button that now appears on the left sidebar when logged into Google+.
If you don’t have a Google+ account, well, I guess you’ll get one now if you still want to play with Google.
Google has already flipped the switch and is showing these new Google+ Local pages when you conduct local searches in Google and on Google Maps. While you can still gain access to and edit your Places profile pages through the Places login, my guess is that will give way to Google+ profile editing at some point.
Here are some things to note:
Clean up your profile.
When Google moved the pages to Google+ it made a mess. A bit like moving anything does, I suppose. Go jump in and choose and edit your profile image and banner image. Right now Google is either picking from photos you uploaded or simply using a map.
You might want to add some things to your profile as some of the customization you may have done previously could be lost. Add links to your page.
Check out the reviews
Google purchased the restaurant rating service Zagat a while back and it appears they intend to inject the Zagat ratings system into the entire review process.
Visitors now have the opportunity to rate your business using a point scale. Not sure how this will translate over into the services of a plumber or insurance agency, but it’s certainly worth noting.
Reviews that came over from your previous page are very messy now. You, as the page owners, have a period of time to clean this up. When you first sign into Google+ and find your page you’ll be able to tell Google+ if you want all your photos and reviews from your Places page to be moved and be attributed to you or remain private.
So, now any reviews that you had previously will simply show up as anonymous Google user. Seems like if you really didn’t have much going in the way of reviews, this is a bit of a do over.
It will be interesting to see how much more emphasis Google puts on reviews.
Here’s the bottom line in my view. No mater how you feel about this rather forceful move, Google looks poised to make it a significant part of the Local Search landscape and you can’t ignore that. My guess is there will be plenty of tinkering, adding and tweaking in the weeks and months to come. You can bet advertising and offers will move into this somehow.
Now is the time to get in there and claim, prune, decorate and otherwise take control of your Google+ Local offering.
More Google+ In Gmail: Improved Circle Integration, Circle Search and Quick Access To Contact Details
The folks over at Google just love their Google+ social network and more and more Google+ features have been creeping into Gmail lately as well. Today, Google is bringing even more of Google+ to its email client. With this update, Google is especially focusing on adding a deeper integration with Google+ circles. You will now, for example, see profile photos from people in your circles when you select a circle in the left sidebar. You can click on those images to search for email from a specific contact. In addition, if you really take your Google+ circles seriously, you’ll be happy to hear that you can now use circles as search filters in Gmail as well. Say you want to just see emails from your “friends” circle, you can now just type circle:friends to find them.
How useful these features are for you probably depends on how actively you use Google+. We have, however heard from many of our readers that this incessant focus on adding Google+ to just about every aspect of the Google experience is taking a toll on people’s patience. Instead of focusing on the fundamentals of the Gmail experience, for example, it feels as if Google is getting sidetracked left and right by Google+. As Y Combinator’s Paul Graham rightly noted earlier this year, “GMail has become painfully slow.” Adding more Google+ features to it is probably not making it any faster.
At least one new feature today, though, isn’t fully dependent on Google+ and actually quite useful (though it’s also integrated with it). When you search for an email address now, the search results will highlight your contacts details as well, including phone numbers, Google Chat status and email address. If you contact has a Google+ profile, this information will stay up to date automatically.
Before I go into any discussion here I will admit that I use Google for about 99.9% of the searches that I do. I can’t say it’s because Google has better results than any other search engine because I honestly don’t take the time to compare. Instead I am one of millions, or more likely billions, here on the planet that have developed a Google habit. Having quit smoking a long, long time ago I can tell you that Google might be a more powerful addiction.
So the new UI changes by Bing are of interest but it’s not like I can compare my past experience with the engine to the “new” look. Here’s what Bing has to say from its blog post of today.
Bing is getting a new look. Starting today you will notice a fresh, de-cluttered experience designed to help you find the results you want faster. Over the past few months, we’ve run dozens of experiments to determine how you read our pages to deliver the link you’re looking for.
The results themselves are cleaner. Removing the “left rail” and minimizing the header raises the level of consistency and predictability while making it easier to scan the page and quickly find the information you want. Increasing the space between lines improves readability and optimizes the page for touch devices. Putting all our result annotations and social data in one consistent spot makes the page easier to use and understand.
So how does it differ? Take a look at the old
Versus the new
Is it me or does the new Bing look a lot like the old Google? The claim by Bing is that the less clutter (like removing the left sidebar) gives a cleaner experience. I agree. As I look around at posts from TechCrunch and others however, there are plenty of comments asking what’s wrong with the sidebar in Google for instance, especially if what it offers enriches the search experience? Once again I have to agree.
In the end it’s the quality of the results that still matter. You can put a different package on anything and make it look nice on the outside but unless the inside is different there is really no change. Bing claims that there is more here than meets the eye.
The new experience is more than skin-deep. You will also notice faster page-load times and improved relevance under the hood. After all, our goal is to help people spend less time searching and more time doing. And changing how we look is the next big step in doing just that.
Is this going to make me a Bing user? No. Will it make the world take a look in larger numbers thus shifting market share? I doubt it. Why? Because this change will be most noticeable to those who are currently using Bing while those who don’t (we’re talking the masses here that can move market share, not just the tech geek community) will never know this change even happened.
I am not trying to be negative on Bing here. I have had discussions with Bing insiders and their biggest problem is breaking the habit I mentioned at the top of the post. That’s a tough nut to crack no matter who is backing you. They face the reality that people use Google because they use Google. It’s ubiquitous and requires little thought so they do it (guilty as charged). Not many other brands enjoy that kind of “loyalty” and Bing is fighting against this day in and day out.
I hope that this UI “upgrade” makes a difference and there is ultimately greater competition between Bing and Google. I would rather this get fought in the free market than the courts, which is where Microsoft has tried to sully Google’s image thus trying to break the “Google habit” through legislation. That’s a bad move. Getting better and getting more users based on merit is a good move. But will any changes help break the “Google habit” for the masses? I sincerely doubt it.
What do you think? Is this move something that could help Bing in its fight against Google or are they simply spitting in the wind at this point?
Taking a page out of the Twitter playbook, today Facebook revealed its launch of “Interest Lists,” strikingly similar to Twitter Lists, which have been around since October of 2009. According to TechCrunch, Facebook will be rolling out Interest Lists to users over the next few weeks.
What Are Interest Lists?
Interest Lists allow users to organize updates into separate topics from a collection of fan pages and public figures who have the subscribe button enabled on their profile. For example, a user could create a “Recipes” Interest List, adding to it fan pages like Betty Crocker and the Food Network, as well as the profiles of their favorite food bloggers to which they subscribe.
Users can also subscribe to Interest Lists created by other people, as Facebook will suggest popular lists and make it easy for users to discover lists created by their friends.
While content from Interest Lists to which you subscribe will automatically get pulled into your main news feed, individual Interest Lists can also be viewed in a separate news feed of their own, so users who follow an individual list can access a feed dedicated to updates just from pages or people included on that list. To do so, the user clicks on the Interest List in the left sidebar on their Facebook homepage — AKA their news feed.
When a user creates a list, only he/she has the power to edit it. The creator can also choose to make the list private, available to friends, or allow it to be publicly available so it will appear in Facebook’s list recommendations to others and enable them to subscribe.
How to Create an Interest List
If Facebook has rolled out Interest Lists to you, locate ‘Interests‘ in the left sidebar navigation on your news feed (you may need to click “more” at the bottom to see it). Click ‘Interests‘ –> ‘Add Interest,’ and then you can search for other Interest Lists or create your own.
When creating a list, a user can then add pages or people they’re already subscribed to, as well as choose other popular pages/people in specific categories (e.g. Art, Books, Business, etc.) that Facebook recommends, or search for people/pages to add on their own.
Once you’ve created your list, click ‘Next,’ and choose a name for your list as well as who you’d like your list to be available to — just you, your friends, or the public.
How Marketers Can Leverage Interest Lists
Facebook has now made it a whole lot easier for users to curate the content they’re interested in. So how can marketers benefit?
While it doesn’t look like Facebook has added functionality to enable you to create Interest Lists as a brand page, we still see several benefits for marketers that come with Facebook’s new feature.
1) Create Awesome Lists in Your Industry
You may not be able to create Interest Lists ‘by’ your brand page, but that doesn’t mean a prominent, public-facing employee from your company can’t. Ask one of your executives to create a list for your industry, and help him/her curate the best pages and people on it.
For example, if your industry is business services, you could create a list curating educational resources in the business services industry. Just make sure you add your company’s business page to it, and then promote it to the high heavens — on your blog, in social media, etc. If you’re successful in generating a lot of subscribers for it, the updates you post to your Facebook business page will get seen by the subscribers of that Interest List, exposing you to people who may not be following your Facebook page directly.
2) Encourage Thought Leaders to Add the Subscribe Button to Their Personal Profile
While you’re at it, encourage the public-facing executives and thought leaders in your business to add the subscribe button to their personal Facebook profiles and share your business’ content. Individual people can only be added to Interest Lists if they’ve implemented the subscribe button, so doing so will enable users who are creating new Interest Lists to add your business’ thought leaders to their list, increasing the chances of exposing your business’ content to people who subscribe to those lists.
3) Promote the ‘Add to Interest Lists’ Feature on Your New Facebook Page Design
You’re getting up to speed with the new Facebook page design, right? With the new design, visitors to your page can easily add your page to one of their Interest Lists using the drop-down menu at the top of your page. So first, update your business page to the new design (you’ll be forced to do it on March 30th anyway), and then encourage page visitors to add your page to their Interest Lists where appropriate. Using the new ‘pin’ feature of the new Facebook page design, you could even anchor a message that encourages page visitors to do this at the top of your page.
4) Create Content About Industry News
We can’t help but see a connection between Interest Lists and the power of leveraging fresh content about industry news. Think about it: if something newsworthy happens in your industry and you’re the first to cover it on your blog and promote it on your Facebook page, you’ll indirectly also be broadcasting that news (and your brand) to any Interest Lists you’re a part of. And being first means you’ll likely capture the majority of traffic interested in that news to your blog. In today’s online world, timeliness wins. Think about how you can do some newsjacking in your industry to get in front of your audience. As an SEO bonus, you’ll also benefit from Google Panda’s emphasis on fresh and timely content!
5) Create a Must-Subscribe, Content-Rich Facebook Presence
Facebook users are never going to add your business page to one of their Interest Lists if it’s not, well … interesting. So if you want your business page to be on every Interest List pertaining to your particular industry, you need to be regularly updating it with fresh, relevant, and high-quality content. That’s right — content is still king, so if content creation isn’t already a central part of your inbound marketing strategy, this just makes another compelling case for why it should be.
What do you think about Facebook’s new Interest Lists? How else do you think marketers can leverage them?
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A simple option in Windows Explorer’s preferences fixes one of its biggest annoyances, automatically expanding the left sidebar as you navigate through your computer’s folders. More »
Locating Facebook Insights
First things first—where do you find these metrics? They are accessed on the left sidebar underneath your profile picture by clicking on the Insights link.
We aren’t going to cover every term, definition and nuance in this post because that would be a small book. Most of the terms have a “?” nearby that you can click on to get the definition.
You can also read more in this useful Facebook Insights Guide: http://ads.ak.facebook.com/ads/creative/insights/page-insights-guide.pdf (Note that this guide has graphs and charts that aren’t actually shown, or some are shown slightly differently than in the guide. Facebook may have changed the way they are displaying the data but most of it is relevant.)
We will cover how to interpret the best metrics to help you decipher what is going right and wrong on your page.
#1: Main Insights
First click on Main Insights and you see a graph of the activity for the last month.
When you click on the individual columns, you will sort the posts by descending value in the column.
- Reach is the number of unique users who saw your post.
- Engaged Users is the number of unique people who have clicked on your post.
- Talking About This is the number of people who have Liked, commented on or shared your post, or responded to the question or event.
- Virality is the “Talking About This” number divided by the “Reach” number.
The most important of these columns are Engaged Users and Virality.
You will also know what type of post you’re viewing by the icon next to the post.
- Green quotations: Status update
- Film: Video
- Note with a pin: A link or an application that posted on your behalf.
- Square that looks like an outline of a person in a picture: Pictures
In the above graphic, when we sorted by Engaged Users, we can see that the top three posts are all photos. So we know that if we want to focus on getting more engaged users, we should post pictures. See what types of posts are working for you by sorting the columns.
When you dive into the Reach section, you first see a chart of demographics of people who have seen any content about your page within the last week.
Below that are the How You Reach People graphs. The one on the right shows the Unique Users by Frequency in a rolling one-week time frame.
The statistic to watch here is the number of people you are reaching more frequently. This is your core audience.
If you are not reaching people multiple times with your posts, you may have to adjust your strategy. Experiment with posting more often, focusing on getting more engagement so that your post comes up more in your fans’ news feed. You may need to do something more involved like running a contest or Facebook ad to reconnect with your audience.
The next graph shows Page Views and Unique Visitors and below this graph is one of the most interesting areas of Insights, the External Referrers.
Watch where people are coming from. If the only external referrer is Google, you need to get the word out about your page. Guest post on websites and blogs and use your page address in the bio.
In the example below, the Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies fan page was mentioned in a review post on Social Media Examiner. Find ways to work your Facebook page address in multiple areas across the web.
The next area of metrics is the Likes area. This area breaks out your fans by demographics, which can be useful for future ad campaigns. The area to watch in this section is the Where Your Likes Came From graph.
In this particular page’s graph, we can go back and track the posts on the wall to see what happened during the spikes.
On November 18, eight photos were posted within a fairly close time period, which may have caused the Unlikes. On December 2 and December 6, a highly shared recipe (on this food-based page) combined with an open-ended question that resulted in big participation on both days may have been the cause for the spikes in Likes. Pay attention to what’s working.
#4: People Talking About This
The People Talking About This number is publicly displayed on the left sidebar under the number of Likes. This figure is a great measure of actual engagement.
It includes all the following activities that happen on your page over a one-week rolling period:
- Liking a page
- Posting to a page’s wall
- Liking, commenting on or sharing a page post (or other content on a page, like photos, videos or albums)
- Answering a question posted
- RSVPing to an event
- Mentioning a page in a post
- Phototagging a page
- Liking or sharing a check-in deal
- Checking in at a place (if your page has a place merged with it)
The best part of this statistic is that you can see it on any page—meaning it’s public information! Now you can tell if a page is interacting with people. Big fan numbers don’t mean that the page is healthy. The People Talking About This statistic is the one to watch. Watch your competitors’ numbers to monitor what is working for them. For an accurate picture, take the People Talking About This number and divide it by the total number of fans. Healthy pages have percentages between 1% and 5% (or more for great interaction).
The graphs on the actual People Talking About This page within Insights aren’t as interesting as the overview on the main page. Watch trends in your numbers. See in this graph how the People Talking About This number was trending downward.
In the next figure, the admins of the page took some drastic measures by asking people to click Like on a post on December 7 to increase the “People Talking About This” number. You can see the jump in the numbers reflected in the graph. If people aren’t interacting with your page, you will drop out of the news feed.
The new Facebook Insights has improved how you can track the health of your page and you can immediately see when you need to make some adjustments to your strategy. Try new things, monitor what’s working and what isn’t, and take your Facebook page to the next level!
I hope this gives you some great ideas on how to use the new Facebook Insights to monitor and grow your audience.
What do you think? What metrics are you using to help your Facebook strategy? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
Do you check your Gmail religiously, but can’t seem to make your way over to Google+ to see what your friends are up to? With the new Gmail and Google+ integration, you’ll be able to see friends’ status updates from your inbox, organize your Gmail by Google circles, and more.
Google will start rolling out some of its Google+ features for Gmail and Contacts over the next few days. The new Gmail goodies include filtering messages by circles, viewing Google+ updates within an email, and sharing image attachments on Google+, all from within your inbox.
People can filter Gmail messages by their Google+ circles, displaying only emails from friends, family, work colleagues or other custom circles they’ve created. Circles work much like labels: Click on a circle in the left sidebar to view messages from people in that group. Like labels, circle names will be shown in the email subject lines. Haven’t spent time perfecting your Google+ circles? No fear, you can add people directly to your circles from within Gmail.
When you receive an email from someone who is on Google+, you’ll be able to see their latest status update on the right hand side of your email list, along with other information they have shared, such as photo and contact information. In addition, whenever a person updates their contact information in Google+ (such as an address, phone number or email address), it will automatically update in your contact list.
One other convenient and cool feature in the new update allows you to directly share a photo attachment from an email to Google+. You used to have to download an image and re-upload it to Google+, but now you will see a Share link next to an image that sends the image to Google+.
The updates will be pushed out over the next few days according to The Official Google Blog, so be on the look out for a new Circles list in your Gmail and all the other nifty new features.
If you are a heavy Internet user I am sure you land on Wikipedia quite often. I would also bet that the information you find there is most of the time complete and accurate. In this case, have you considered to help them back a little bit?
Here’s why I respect Wikipedia’s efforts: they remained truthful to their original values (i.e., creating a website to democratize access to knowledge), despite becoming one of the most popular websites ever.
The site receives over 400 million uniques per month, and generates over 6 billion page views. If Jimmy Wales decided to insert a small AdSense unit on the left sidebar he would probably make over $100 million per year from that alone. Not too shabby huh?
Instead he decided to keep Wikipedia advertising free and unbiased.
How does Wikipedia survive then? With donations. You can donate all around the year, but the bulk of them come at the end of every year.
If you want to donate here’s the page where you can do it. Even $10 will help (and yeah, I donate every year, else I wouldn’t be preaching here).
Finally, if donating money is not an option for you right now you can contribute in other ways too. You could write about Wikipedia on your website, for example, or you could volunteer to edit specific entries where you have expertise.
Original Post: Have You Donated To Wikipedia Already?
If you want to spruce up your page, there’s an app for that.
For example, Facebook apps can automatically showcase your YouTube channel, but they can also do much more.
You may have seen the post Top 10 Facebook Apps for Building Custom Pages and Tabs, but let’s take a step back and talk about what apps are, where you find them and how you install them on your page.
When you first start your Facebook page, there will be some basic Facebook apps in the left sidebar. These Facebook apps include Photos, Videos, Links, Events and Notes. Any other app you install will be a third-party app, which means that someone other than Facebook made it.
So how do you get more apps than just the basic ones provided by Facebook?
First you find them and then you install them. Even though that might sound simple, both of those steps are not very straightforward. Finding apps on Facebook can be particularly challenging because the Facebook search feature is notoriously bad. Then steps used to install the app can vary.
Some apps can be installed from within Facebook, others are easier to install by starting on the app website first.
Sometimes it’s even difficult to tell an Application page from a regular Facebook fan page.
An Application page will still have a Like button, a wall and sometimes its own apps installed.
There are a few key ways to determine that it is actually an application. The page may have a Go to App button right next to the App button. Underneath the name of the app at the top, you will see the App classification. And then on the left sidebar you will see the Add to My Page link as you see in the figure below.
An indication of how well the app is established is the monthly active users. In the figure above, you see NetworkedBlogs has 990,000 monthly active users, which can indicate that it is a useful and well-established app.
Facebook applications also include games such as CityVille and Mafia Wars and some of the other apps you may have seen such as Give a Hug or the Birthday Calendar.
Since applications are developed by third parties, not all of them work very well and not all of them are reputable. You may have had an issue on Facebook where you click on some post and all of a sudden you start posting strange things on other people’s walls without your permission, maybe telling them to “check out a new diet” or “see who is viewing your profile.”
Finding Facebook Apps
If you know the name of the application you are looking for, finding the app can be easier. You can use the Facebook search bar or go to www.facebook.com/search. Using the search tool is better because you can filter by People, Pages, Groups, Apps and more as shown in the figure below.
You can also find a Facebook app by taking a look at how something is posted within your news feed. Some apps will post into the news feed and you can find out more about the app by looking at the link underneath the post as shown by the HootSuite link in the following figure. If you click on the HootSuite link, you will be taken to the HootSuite app.
If it’s an app that only resides on a page, you can sometimes find out what the app is by looking at the bottom of the page. Many apps have either a link to their external website or a direct link to the app within Facebook as shown in the next figure. Not all apps have this feature and some are custom apps created for a specific page only.
Another tool you can use to find Facebook apps is www.Appbistro.com. They don’t have every app listed but they do list a good cross-section of business apps.
Installing Facebook Apps
Once you have found a Facebook app, installing it can be challenging. Some apps install easier from their external website, and some are very easy to install from within Facebook. Many apps’ external websites will tell you exactly how to install it and make the installation process quite easy.
If you are installing the app from the Facebook App page, the steps will often be different if you click on the Add to My Page link on the left sidebar versus clicking on the blue Go to App button at the top of the page as shown in the NetworkedBlogs figure earlier. Usually you will eventually end up in the same place, but that Facebook “feature” makes writing directions on Facebook apps a challenge.
I usually prefer to click the Add to My Page link on the left sidebar. When you do, you will see a pop-up box where you can select the page where you want the app added.
Now you will navigate to the page where you added the app and find the app listed on your left sidebar.
After you click on the app, there may or may not be added steps to configure the app. Follow the steps as listed and you are all set with your fancy new app to dress up your page!
If you would like to move the app position on your left sidebar, click on the Edit link under your complete list of apps on your left sidebar and then you will be able to drag the app to the position you want. When you have the list organized the way you want, click Done and the new position will be saved.
So now you have the big picture on what Facebook apps are and how to find and install them.
What about you? What are your favorite Facebook apps? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
Know exactly what you’re searching for on Google? It’s now a bit easier to find it.
Google is constantly doing things to automatically tweak your queries — it’ll swap in common synonyms, correct spelling, omitting certain terms that might not be necessary, and so on. Most of the time these tweaks are helpful, but occasionally they can get in the way. It’s long been possible to search with just what you entered with some advanced search operators, and now there’s a streamlined way to do it.
Today, Google is announcing a simpler way to do this: a ‘Verbatim’ option under its search tools in the left sidebar. It does what you’d expect: run a query with Verbatim on, and you’ll get results for whatever you had in the search box.
Google has allowed you to craft these verbatim queries for many years by appending a ‘+’ sign before any specific term you wanted to search for (in other words, it wouldn’t look for any synonyms, spelling corrections, or related terms). But Google killed off the + operator so that it could use it to create a feature for Google+ called Direct Connect (you can read more about that right here).
Google’s decision to axe the old ‘+’ operator angered plenty of long-time Google users, but in its post today Google writes that it was used in less than half a percent of all searches, and even then, it was used wrong two thirds of the time (i.e. less than .167% were actually using them right). The Verbatim feature will likely be used by a lot more people, and it’s harder to mess up.
And if you prefer the old way — which let you specify certain terms to look for verbatim while still leaving others open to Google’s search logic — you can accomplish the same thing by wrapping each verbatim term in quotes, “like this”.