Facebook Takes on Google with Graph Search

Introducing Graph SearchEver since I started using Facebook, I’ve never found their search function very useful.  Results were never exactly what I was looking for, and my attempts at locating useful information left me empty-handed.  I always looked to Google to find exactly what I was looking for.  Despite the recent article outlining a great Facebook search “trick” earlier this week (see Facebook Introduces ‘Graph Search’, but this Search Secret Already Helps Marketers), Facebook really had no handle on search.

Now, that all changes.

What is Graph Search?

Graph Search allows users to search for anything connected with them through their “social graph”.  This new search tool basically searches through everything you have ever done on Facebook, and everything your friends have done and shared publicly, and answers your search requests with that information.  Facebook is going to give you the exact information that it thinks you want, based upon your connections within the site.

For example, if you search Google for restaurants, you will get many pages of restaurants that may or may not fit what you are looking for.  Search Facebook for “restaurants my friends like” and you will get very specific results, based upon your friends “likes” and comments.  Based upon the theory that we “trust” our friends on Facebook, these results will more likely result in a purchase, or a visit.

This is great for business.

If you are a small business with an optimized Facebook page, and lots of connections, Graph Search will customize results to the individuals that are searching based upon their connections, and not any SEO tricks and not based upon the popularity of your site.

More importantly, as research has shown, consumers are 71% more likely to choose a product or service when a friend recommends it to them within social media (see Consumers 71 percent more likely to buy based on social media referrals).  Word of mouth marketing is alive and well!  Remember, people do business with people that they know, like, and trust.  And, if a Facebook friend has used, recommended, or “liked” a business, there is an inherent level of trust in that recommendation.  And, that is the information that will be served through Graph Search.

In addition, businesses with a physical location may benefit most from Graph Search.  Especially if they encourage people to “check in” to the location.  This will provide Facebook more information to provide your friends searching for similar businesses.

In order for graph search to meet its full potential Facebook business page users will need to make sure that their information is complete, including the address, and make sure that the category your page is in is the correct one for your business.  You don’t want your jewelry company being listed as a non-profit, now do you?  The more information you provide on your business page, the more accurate the search results will be.  In addition, the more people that check-in or “like” your page, the more likely it will show up when searched for.

How do I get Graph Search?

Right now, it is only in beta, but you can apply for Graph Search by signing up for an invite.  I signed up two days ago, and received my Graph Search today!

So, are you impressed?  Does this fill a need you had?  Will you use it?  Let’s discuss it in the comments!

 

Resources:

Introducting Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search: The Experts Speak

Is This The Facebook Search We’ve Been Waiting For?

Facebook Graph Search: 10 Things You Need To Know About The Social Network’s Big Announcement

How Graph Search can help users see the world through different lenses

How Facebook’s Graph Search Impacts Small Businesses

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Top 10 Stories on Digital Ethos for 2012

Top 10 ListThis is it.  The last Saturday of 2012.  I’m not really sure where the year has gone, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way.  As I sit here and reflect on the year gone by, I realize there have been some great moments, as well as some real major disasters within the social media world.  And, there are plenty of lists categorizing these throughout the “interwebs”.  For those interested, I’ve included links to those lists in the resources, below.

But what about this site?  With a large day-to-day increase in visitors and subscribers to Digital Ethos, there may be things that have appeared throughout the year that you have missed, so I thought we would be remiss in not offering you a list of our top stories from the previous year.  So, without further ado, here are our top 10:

1.  Nine Steps to Becoming a Twitter Chat Pro – Have you heard of twitter chats?  Have you been “bitten” by them?  Then check out these 9 steps to becoming a pro.

2.  Beneficial Twitter Strategies — There are actually a few different strategies that seem to be working for businesses using Twitter as a marketing tool. A perfect running strategy can also be custom tailored to your own small business needs by combining a bit of knowledge on social media engagement with a handy tool or two.

3.  A Day at Google New York & Seth Godin – This is a great recap of a day spent at Google through their Google Engage for Agencies program, and a great opportunity to learn from Seth Godin.

4.  Social Media and Hurricane Sandy —  Everyone on the east coast will remember Hurricane Sandy, and the way it changed many of our lives.  Here is a great article on how social media played a part.

5.  More on Logo Design & Branding – This comment to blog post regarding company logos is a great history and discussion on logos and branding.

6.  Consistency is Key in Your Integrated Marketing Strategy —  So, you are “on” social media, but now what?  How do you succeed?  Consistency is the key.

7.  What Digital & Social Media Marketers Can Learn from Business Consultants —  Before even engaging in marketing and social media, you need to know your goals, and you need to find a consultant who believes your goals are important.

8.  Why You Should Be Using Twitter and 7 Random Benefits —  Twitter seems to be a hot topic this year, and this article is no different.  Why should you be on Twitter and what benefits will it bring?

9.  How Important is Response Time to Your Customers on Twitter and Facebook? – Businesses that claim to be active on social media also need to be responsive to posts by clients and potential clients.  But how important is that, and how quickly must you respond?

10.  Top 10 On-Line Social Media Resources (plus one more) – What list is complete without another top 10 list.  Check out these other great resources for social medial know-how.  You won’t be sorry!

So, there you have it.  The top 10 articles that have appeared on Digital Ethos throughout 2012.  Did you have a favorite that isn’t on the list?  Was there one article that really changed your thinking, tactics or plan?  Make sure to let us know!

And my wish for all of you, in 2013, is health, happiness, prosperity, and a very social new year!

Thank you for visiting in 2012!

 

Resources:

Top 10 Media Stories of 2012

Top 12 Social Media Stories of 2012

Top 12 Social Media Stories of 2012 – CIO

The Top 10 Social Media Stories that Shaped 2012

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

You’ve Got Comments. Now What?

Blog CommentsA client of mine asked a question the other day that got me thinking – “What should I do with all the comments on my blog and Facebook page?”  It was a question that required deeper understanding of their meaning, and when I inquired, she told me quite clearly, “We get so many comments that we don’t reply to them all.”

WOW.  That is a very important statement.  You have so many comments that you just don’t reply to them all???  After you give a presentation, do you answer questions?  If someone calls, do you not answer?

Most people are blogging to encourage participation.  I know this particular client certainly is.  She wants to be seen as an expert within her field, and often ends blog posts with questions encouraging responses.

So why, then, wouldn’t they answer each comment?  The easy answer is that they should, and for three main reasons:  comments build community, comments shows that you appreciate the readers time and effort in responding, and they encourage discussion among your readers.

But, there are more subtle ways that comments and your replies will help your blog.  Your answers may encourage more people to comment and weigh in on the discussion.  After all, people aren’t commenting just to hear themselves type.   Comments will also help with search engine optimization (SEO) since it is likely that comments will be re-iterating keywords used within your blog post making you more likely to rank for those keywords.  In addition, comments may use additional keywords that you hadn’t used, thereby helping you rank for those, as well.

In addition, your responses to blog comments help you build credibility and authority, which is most likely one of the reasons that you are blogging in the first place.  By responding to comments, you will be seen as the go-to expert in your specific topic.  It also shows a willingness to debate and learn from your readers.

There are some reasons why replying to all comments is not feasible or necessary, however.  There are some comments that just don’t require a response.  They are those comments like, “I agree!”, “Thanks.”, “Great Job!”  However, I believe any other comments, including ones that are discussing the merits of the blogs, should be addressed.  If you’ve asked for a response, don’t ignore them.

What do you think?  Should all comments be addressed?  What do you do with your own blogs?  How do you handle comments?  Let’s discuss it in the comments, and I’ll make sure to answer!

 

Resources:

To Reply or Not to Reply to Blog Comments – That is the Question

Responding (Or Not) to Blog Comments

Should I reply to every blog comment?

5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Justin Handley on Digital Business Hour

Justin Handley

Justin Handley founded the Narasopa Media in 2000, and has steadily built it over the last 12 years. The first five years were spent experimenting and learning, doing everything from web design to ghost writing books on marketing. Working behind the scenes for some of the world’s top marketers Justin gained a solid foundation in the essentials of online marketing and project management, and was a project manager on things as varied as Virtual Family Kingdom, a virtual world that went to 200,000 users in 30 days, Cisco’s AS3 reseller management application, the online multi-player version of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

In the last five years just has completely built four online businesses from the ground up.  Every one has hit 1 million dollars in less than 12 months.

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

E-Mail Marketing – The First Social Network

Email -- The First Social NetworkE-mail has been around since before the dawn of the internet.  That’s right, in the early 1970’s, the Federal Government was sending messages through the United States Department of Defense network, which handled over 30 million messages per month.

As we began to move more onto the information super-highway, services like Compuserve, Prodigy, and America On-Line began to proliferate, making it incredibly easy for everyone to have an e-mail address.  In fact, at the height of AOL’s dominance, they had over 30 million members worldwide (they only serve about 2.9 million subscribers, as of October 2012).  In contrast, Facebook has over 1 billion members, as of September 2012.

What made e-mail so “social” was the ease at which your messages could be forwarded to your entire address book.  If you wanted to share with friends and family, all you had to do was hit the “forward” button, and they were all able to participate in the discussion.

Fast forward to today, and most businesses are marketing through e-mail, but that doesn’t mean that they are “doing it right.”  Just using this “social network” isn’t enough.  We need to ensure that our e-mail marketing is accomplishing its goals of increased business, increased lead generation, and increased market share.  The big question, then, is what are some best practices in e-mail marketing?

Best Practices

1. Write compelling Subject Lines

  • Keep it short and simple and incorporate the benefit of opening the e-mail.

2. Set your objective and then choose the appropriate frequency

  • Are you trying to promote, inform, or relate to your audience?

3. Call your audience to action

  • You are sending the e-mail for a reason.  Make sure they know it.

4. Make sure they recognize the “From” address

  • They may know your company name, but not yours.  Make sure the email comes from someone they “know.”

5. Keep your main message and call to action “above the fold”

  • This is “news speak” for making sure that the important information is seen without scrolling the message.

6. Be mindful of mobile devices

  • Statistics say that 38% of email is opened on a mobile device and only 33% is opened on a desktop, so make sure the fonts and images will look good on your recipients mobile devices.

7.  Make sure to use alt-text for your logo and pictures

  • This is text that describes the pictures and logos should images be turned-off on your web browser, smart phone or e-mail client.  That way your recipient knows what should be in the image’s place.

In addition to the tips above, always make sure that you are abiding by the “Can-Spam Act”, which requires the following:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information;
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines;
  3. Tell recipients where you are located;
  4. Honor opt-out requests;
  5. There needs to be a relationship between the sender and receiver.

If you follow these best practices and requirements, then your e-mail marketing is on the right track to continuing the social nature of e-mail marketing.

What subject lines to you find work the best? The worst?  Do you feel that you get too much e-mail?  Sound off in the comments below.

 

Resources:

Wikipedia – Email

Wikipedia – AOL

Constant Contact – The Value of E-Mail Marketing Video

9 Email Marketing Best Practices to generate More Leads

CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business

Constant Contact

AWeber

MailChimp

Mobile email usage statistics

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Beth Katz on Digital Business Hour


Beth Katz -- The Interfaith NetworkBeth Katz is Founder and Executive Director of Project Interfaith. Beth gotbitten by the interfaith bug in college, where she first got involved in interfaithwork as the co-founder of a student interfaith group. Her passion for creating aworld where people of all faiths, beliefs, and cultures are valued and includedled her to come back to her hometown of Omaha after graduate school to startProject Interfaith. Beth frequently presents on Project Interfaith’s mission andwork at local, national, and international events including at the Istanbul Forumof the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, the Annual Meeting of theAmerican Academy of Religion, and at the 2009 Parliament of the World’sReligions. She is a 2011 fellow of the Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship for SocialEntrepeneurship.

About Project Interfaith:

Project Interfaith, a non-profit based in Omaha, Nebraska, growsunderstanding, respect and relationships among people of all faiths, beliefs andcultures through a diverse array of face-to-face and multimedia programmingand products. We strive to create a community and world where people of allfaiths, beliefs and cultures are valued, included and protected. As such, we seekto serve as a leader and resource on interfaith relations and religious andcultural diversity. Our work has been recognized by a variety of institutions atlocal, national and international levels. These include the White House, the U.S.State Department, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, and Harvard University’sPluralism Project, which has called our work “among the most innovative in thecountry.” Project Interfaith also was noted for our groundbreaking use of socialmedia to foster understanding and dialogue by Georgetown University’s BerkleyCenter for Religion, Peace and World Affairs in its May 2010 report BridgingBabel: New Social Media and Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding.

Pay With a Tweet – Buying with Influence

Pay with a tweetHappy Thanksgiving and Black Friday.  What if we could pay for our Black Friday purchases with a simple tweet (or a like)?

Although we can’t pay for our fancy new DVD player simply by tweeting, a new company aptly called “Pay with a Tweet” has started a new service where anyone who is trying to grow their reach can offer their products for the simple price of a tweet.  They call themselves the “first social payment system” where “people pay with the value of their social network.”

Their premise is very simple.  Simply create a “Pay Button” on their site, where you enter the name of the file to be downloaded, the location (they don’t host files), the tweet you want, and the shortened link to include with the tweet.  They provide the code for your new download button.  That’s it.  Then when someone tries to download your item, they first need to send the tweet you have prepared.  Nothing more.

And big brands are getting on board.  Kellogg’s used this service in a “Tweet Shop” Kellogg's Tweet Shop Menuto launch its latest Special K range of cracker crisps in Soho, London.  All you had to do is visit the store for your “free” package of chips, and tweet out that you were doing so.  They even displayed the tweets on their “tweet wall”.  Kellogg’s gets your influence, and you get products.  It seems like a “win-win” for everyone.

But, is it ethical?  This isn’t a question I could answer, but in my opinion, it is.  All you are asking people to do is tell their network that you received the item.  Although many people may feel that this is an implicit endorsement, it is no different than people following brands on Twitter or liking them on Facebook.  After all, by liking a brand on Facebook, we are telling our network (we have an average of 229 friends, according to Pew Research Center) that we trust that brand.  Is paying with a tweet any different?  And this may just be the perfect way for local musicians to get their new music to the ears of more people, or a great way for a new author to get his books into the hands of people he may never have been able to reach.

In the end, all we are doing is asking people to leverage their network to help.  And isn’t that what social media is all about?

What do you think of this new marketing tactic?  Will you give it a try?

 

Resources:

Pay with a Tweet

Brilliant. Kellogg’s Opens Pay-with-a-Tweet Pop-up Shop in Soho

Pay With a Tweet – Inc. Magazine

Is “Pay With a Tweet” an Ethical Marketing Practice?

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Pinterest Makes the Business Leap

Pinterest PinboardThree years after their humble beginnings, Pinterest has made the leap to the big time.  That’s right, on November 14, nearly 3 years since launching the site as a closed beta Pinterest has opened themselves up to the business world.  No longer do we have to “pretend” to be a person within the photo sharing site.

For those of you unfamiliar with Pinterest, it is a pinboard photo-sharing website that allows users to create individual “pin boards” based upon their interests, and share specific photos from around the internet to their followers.  And for the past year, businesses have begun to use Pinterest to increase their global reach through this visual medium.  Brands like Macy’s have been using Pinterest to showcase products found within their stores organized by category and holiday.  But, they have been doing it without direct sanctioning from Pinterest themselves.  Brands had no more abilities within Pinterest than individuals.

Now, things are different.  These new business pages now allow users to specify their company names, as opposed to using a “First Name Last Name” system.  In addition, companies can now verify their accounts and add new widgets to their websites (these widgets will offer the opportunity to display Pinterest content directly on your website), to help increase engagement among their followers.

Pinterest has made it fairly simple to convert your personal page to a business profile, simply by visiting www.business.pinterest.com and clicking the “Convert your existing account” button, and then answering a few questions about your business.  Nothing could be simpler.

In addition, Pinterest has created a “Best Practices” section of their website to help users best use this site to promote their business goals.  This section covers:

  • telling your brand story,
  • building a community on Pinterest,
  • how to send traffic to your site, and
  • how to analyze your Pinterest presence to improve.

Pinterest also offers businesses a full set of case studies about how different organizations are effectively using this platform.

It is my belief that Pinterest will slowly move towards a monetization scheme which would allow users to create advertising within the site.  In addition, I anticipate Pinterest will begin to offer an analytics platform similar to Facebook Insights, so that users can gauge the interactions within their accounts.

Are you looking forward to an easy way to use Pinterest for your business?  Will you be converting your personal page to a business page?  Where do you see Pinterest going in the future?  Feel free to join the discussion below!

 

Resources:

Pinterest Introduces Business Accounts and Tools

Pinterest Finally Rolls Out Business Accounts:  How to Set Yours Up Today

New Tools for Businesses in the Pinterest Community

Pinterest Makes a Brand Play with New Business Toolkit

Wikipedia — Pinterest

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Devon Edwards and Phil Sharp on Digital Business Hour

 

Devon Edwards

Served more than 15 years in the Armed Forces and upon retiring from Military went to Film school. Attended and graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Film. Worked as an Assistant Editor on 2 Independent Feature films: “Blessed and Cursed” ( DVD at Wal-Mart, Red Box, On Demand, and Netflix), “Dreams” (currently in market with Major Production Companies). Worked on several Chicagoland Chevy Commercials, Concerts, DVD recordings of artists such as Phil Tarver, Chris Searcy, Vicky Yohe, Mali Music, etc. Currently pursuing MFA at DePaul University in Cinema Productions. Lastly, but certainly not least is that I am launching own Film Company “Inspire-Films” Coming Soon.

Phil Sharp

A recent study from researchers at Wharton, Yale and Harvard suggests that when you’re pressed for time, a great way to be more productive is to help others. Yet, when you’re busy, lending a helping hand is often low on your priority list.
That’s why Good Deed Time was created.
Every week our members are emailed one specific good deed to accomplish. With all of us focused on accomplishing the same good deed, we’re bound to make people smile, make a difference in the world, and make ourselves more productive.

Quick facts:

-We have spent absolutely no money promoting the site. All sign ups have come through social media channels, community powered sites, and word of mouth.

-So far we’ve send letters and packages to a young girl with leukemia, sent supplies to the Atlanta Humane Society, and wrote letters of thanks to military families.

Marc Ensign on Digital Business Hour


Marc EnsignMarc is an Internet Marketing geek specializing in search engine optimization, social media and digital design. His approach to success in search engine optimization and social media is based on embracing the rules as opposed to finding the temporary holes. While everyone else is looking for the easy way out, his methodology is based on putting in the work up front and building sustainable success. Matt Cutts from Google publicly called his strategy “solid” while those that he has worked with have actually benefited from the recent Google algorhythm updates. Marc has a blog where he writes a lot of nifty stuff around Internet Marketing, although he has been known to sneak something in there about his previous time spent as a professional musician. He used to be a fairly successful musician a few years ago…He performed on Broadway, recorded an album with R. Kelly and wrote a bunch of books. In everything Marc does, he tries to keep the language pretty geek-free to make sure that everyone can benefit from what he is speaking about.

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