Is following clients on Instagram a good idea?

image via flickr

image via flickr

We’ve managed accounts for several fashion and beauty businesses and often encounter the question of whether or not it makes sense to follow clients. Most of you in the fashion and beauty industry make it a practice to only follow those on social media who are in the industry. This helps you to network with colleagues, keep abreast of the goings-on and trends within the industry, and get inspiration. These are all great reasons to do so and you should definitely continue to follow those in the industry, but our thought is this: Yes. You should also follow your clients. We’ve heard several reasons for not following clients from: “I don’t want clients’ posts to distract from what I would like to see: i.e. posts within my silo” to “What’s the point in following clients period?” or a variant of a KPI question.

Here’s our point:

By not following clients and potential clients, you’re missing the whole point of social media. This goes back to understanding why you’re on social media in the first place. If you are on social media to reinforce a relationship with current clients and expand your client base, then you absolutely need to have a two-way relationship with your followers. If not, then it’s useful for other things (we’ll talk about specifics later), but not necessary.

The entire purpose of social media is to break the fourth wall and open communication that previously was non-existent between businesses and their customers. How are you going to have a conversation with your clients if they can only visit you on your terms i.e, your page.

The benefits of having a two-way relationship extend to both intangible and tangible forms.

The intangible benefits:

  • Building a relationship.

you get to know your followers on their turf, as well as yours, and gain an insight into their lives. You also are now have more of an opportunity to listen and converse. For example, if a client posts a picture of the hairstyle you just did for her, you then have the opportunity to gain permission to repost and image. More content that you don’t have to create. Potential clients who see this can now see your work in a relatable setting.

  • Humanizing the brand.

By engaging with your clients and showing them that you are not a robot, and that you care about the welfare of your clients, you bring a human face to the brand. This means don’t just follow and lurk, engage! Like a photo, talk about something relevant, reply to comments.

Too many businesses ignore comments. If your page is getting swamped with comments, you’re obviously not going to have time to reply to each one individually, but keep an eye out for questions and potential clients seeking information. This can be the deciding factor between whether you gain a new client or lose a potential client. If you don’t have time during business hours, delegate someone to take shifts or set aside an hour or two each day where you make a point to browse through your notifications and answer questions. If you’re just starting out and get very few comments, you absolutely need to make it your duty to respond to everyone, question or not. Show that you care that they took the time to leave a comment.

  • Building trust.

Going back to the example of re-posting a client’s image of your handy work, this is also an opportunity to build trust. How many of us have gone to a hair or nail salon and left less than pleased and now do detailed research before trying any new place?   By posting your handy work from your client’s perspective, you’re developing a rapport and showcasing verifiable reviews from clients that love you i.e., building trust.

The tangible benefits:

Higher potential for new clientele.

New clients are important to growth; a business can’t survive solely on repeat customers. In order to significantly increase revenue, the fact is that you need new customers. You need more people buying your products and your services in order for significantly increase growth and, as a result, revenue. This means that some time should be spent focusing on how to bring in new clientele. This is not to say that you should take any focus off of current repeat clients, you definitely should not, as repeat clients are fundamental to sustaining business. On the other hand, if growth is your goal, new clients are how you get it. Social media gives you the opportunity to reach clients in a way that no other marketing platform does. It essentially puts clients right at your doorstep and opens the door to their lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen posts of people moving to a new area and looking for a new stylist, nail salon, and or boutique. It happens on a regular basis, why not benefit from it.

Where do you start?

  1. Pay attention to who likes your content and do a little bit of research. Check out their page, see where they’re located. If they’re in your area, follow them.
  2. Check out who likes the content of those in your industry. Some instafamous people in the industry have followers from all over the world. If you check the comments, you’ll see from time to time people comment “I wish you were in *insert town here*.” If they mention your town or surrounding areas, this is your cue to step up and promote yourself. Don’t get ahead of yourself, no sales pitch necessary. Simply “Our salon/ boutique is right here in ______, check out our content” will suffice.
  3. See if there are any Instagram pages dedicated to your city and see who follows them. Do a little bit of sleuthing and see if you can find target client. If so, follow them.
  4. Take a look at your discovery tab, as you like and follow more content that’s relevant to you, the Discovery tab will pull more useful content. Instagram has nearly perfected this algorithm. Take full advantage of it.
  5. If your feed is too clogged, create a separate page just for yourself as the owner so you can see only what you want to see. Click here for a few apps that can help you manage multiple Instagram accounts.

5 ways to remain relevant on social media in the fashion/beauty industry

  ODD MOLLY SS2011 NEW YORK 09/15/2010

As a fashion/beauty professional, you are uniquely positioned to be able to pull from a wide variety of sources to ensure that you remain on trend. The fashion beauty is one that will always be relevant because it is always changing and evolving to meet society’s needs. The question here is: How do you remain relevant in social media during all of these changes?

  1. Keep up with your resources.

    You probably already follow tons of magazines and blogs relevant to your trade. If you aren’t, you definitely should be. Use these resources to your advantage. Dedicate a day to posting an inspiration from your favorite magazine or blog on a regular basis. If there was a makeup look, outfit, or tip in Nylon magazine, for example that caught your eye or fit your aesthetic, it may be a good idea to shout them out. This lets your client base know that you keep up with current trends.

  1. Recreate a look.

    Going back to that look in Nylon magazine, take it a step further. Why not try to duplicate it. If you are a clothing boutique with similar piece, try to recreate the look. When you do that, be sure to include key hashtags. See below for example:

This is a look from the Spring 2015 Ralph Lauren Runway show.

Figure 1: Getty Images

This is a duplicated look from things the average consumer can find in their local boutique.

Figure 2: Created by Purely Social media via Polyvore

A social media post may include Figure 1 in one post, discussing points about the image that your customers may find interesting and how monochromatic looks may be in style. This post could include hashtags like: #SS15 #NYFW #monochromatic #springfashion #spring2015 and things of that nature. Figure 2 would come shortly after (at peak times) with a fun caption like “buy the look from us” with a staff member wearing a similar look using items from your store. As a result, you are making your business relevant by placing yourself at the top of customer’s minds with current fashion events.

This trick can be done with any of the businesses that fall within the fashion and beauty umbrella. We’ve even had one of our clients create nail looks to match fashion trends from Fashion Week. An army green ombre nail would go great with this look!

  1. Capitalize on Award Season and Fashion weeks.

    During award season and fashion week, regardless of your geographical location, timelines are filled with fashion week looks and award show and after show looks. This is the perfect opportunity to hashtag stalk observe and steal bandwagon to showcase your business. Whether you sell clothing, style hair, or specialize in nails, you can make these peak times relevant to you. The legwork is already done for you in making the hashtag relevant, now you just have to find a way to customize it to your business. A makeup artist, for example, may want to pay key attention to Red Carpet makeup trends or Award show looks that can be done at home. Women are always looking for key ways to look great quickly and low cost. One idea is to take a high quality look and show women step-by-step how to do it at home with an Instagram 15 second video. Another option is to just do a side-by-side with a popular look from an event and your rendition of that look. This way you can display your skill set and draw in business.

  1. Do research on seasonal trends.

    This is especially true if you live in an area where there is more than 1 season. Keep in mind that fashion weeks usually occur before the respective season does, so you’ll have plenty of time to pull research. Once you have your research put together, you can use your posts to remind your client base of what the trends to watch were. Trends in fashion and beauty are relevant all year round. If you are able to use your business as the go-to for women who are interested in keeping up with the trends, you’re sure to generate quite a bit of traffic for yourself. If you’re a nail salon, why not show your followers which colors are currently trending for spring. If you’re a shoe store, show your customers what shoes they need. Today’s society is easily influenced by social media platforms and often look to social media platforms for advice on what to wear, how to execute a makeup look, or what nail color to get next. You can easily position yourself as a resource on upcoming trends by just doing your own research, which you’re probably already doing anyway.

  1. Pay attention to fashion and beauty trending pop culture.

    What shows are popular right now? What celebrities are current fashion icons and how can you capitalize on that? Like it or not, Kim Kardashian has been a fashion icon for several years and she has found a way to make her look relevant consistently throughout. What can you pull from that and give to your client base? If you can tell your client base how to look like someone they admire, you can gain a competitive advantage on social media against your direct competitors.

Basically, the way you stay on trend is by telling your client base what they want to know, sometimes, even before they know that they want to know it. Keep an eye on what’s happening in your industry and find ways to make it relevant to your client base. Understand who your target market is and give them news that’s relevant to them. If you’re targeting teenagers, they may be interested in more casual fashion and beauty, whereas women in their 20s may be more interested in date night looks, work looks, and things of that nature. New moms may want to know how to look good for a night out somewhere between setting the baby down for a nap. You need to anticipate your client’s needs and provide them with the content they crave. That’s how you stay on trend on a consistent basis. Questions? Need help? Feel free to comment below, send us an email, or tweet @ us!

5 tips on boosting your fashion/beauty social media page

2014-04-05 14.35.15-4As a business owner in the fashion/beauty industry, you have great potential to attract tons of attention to your social media platforms with all of the visual energy you can provide. In fact, you probably have already organically developed a great following on your own, but since then your followers have slowed down and you aren’t getting as much engagement as you had been once before. Well… we’ve had quite a bit of experience helping some of our fashion and beauty clients build they’re social media and we have some tips for you.

1. Give your followers something to look forward to. Develop a social media schedule/ regimen for each day of the week. Letting your followers know that on Mondays they can expect to see manicures, for example, sets that expectation and gives them something to look forward to. Not only that, but it makes it easier for you to create a content calendar and be post more consistently. Check out our Content Calendar Series for tips!

To create a weekly schedule think about what topics are trending in your industry. Think about things your followers or clients may have been asking for or things you think they may be interested in seeing. Your clients are the core of your business, you need to make sure that you are providing content that they want to see. Once you have a solid list together, you need to categorize the topics into postable content. For example, if you are a nail salon who gets a lot of requests for new and trending nail colors, you may want to make “Metallic Monday” a thing where you post pictures of new metallic colors and designs that are popular.

VALUE: By giving your followers content to look forward to, you give them a reason to keep coming back to your page. By posting consistently, you stay at the top of your followers’ minds.

2. Capitalize on your visual potential. Social media marketing is ruled by imagery at this point in time. As a business in the fashion/beauty industry, you are surrounded with glamorous visuals to share. Content is basically sitting on your lap. In order to be noticed in such a visual environment, creating strong high quality content is key.

Invest in a high quality camera and capture the images yourself. Most consumers check out a business online before going there. This is especially true when it comes to fashion and beauty. If a woman is looking for a new nail salon or hair stylist, they most likely will be interested in looking at the quality of work before booking an appointment. It will be well worth the time and effort to create a virtual portfolio of your work to show potential clients. This will benefit you across all of the platforms, especially Pinterest. Only 20% of content on Pinterest is new; everything else consists of repinned images.

VALUE: By creating high quality images that are visually appealing, you have the opportunity to tap into the Pinterest market and get your work noticed!

3. Give customers what they want. When you decide to establish a presence on social media, you are breaking the fourth wall opening the door to be social with your target market. As a result, you are expected to be just that, social, and engage with your audience. This means that when followers comment on your picture, you are expected to acknowledge the comment. Once you have a larger following, it will obviously be difficult to respond to everyone in your comments individually; however, when a follower asks a direct question regarding your services and/or products, it is important to respond. Not responding sheds a poor light on your business ethics and is bad for business.

To assist in helping customers better understand your business practices, it may be a good idea to provide answers to commonly asked questions upfront. For example, if you are posting a picture of a complicated hairstyle, answering commonly asked questions in the caption of the photo will help followers get questions answered immediately. If there is a question that you didn’t answer that seems to be a popular question, it may be wise to create another post to delve into more detail regarding that question.

VALUE: By focusing on the needs of your customers, you establish yourself as an expert on the topic and gain an opportunity to earn your customers’ trust.

4. Give customers a closer look. It is important to maximize any opportunity for content. As a creative, you know firsthand that there are many facets to any given finished product. A finished makeup look, for example is much more than what it appears to be. There are many layers on a finished look that contribute to the overall concept. You can break up a finished product into a variety of photo opportunities for content that has the potential to last for several days. One photo could focus on the eyeshadow and lashes, another on the full eye look, another on the lips, another on the side profile, and another on the full face. That’s 5 variations on one photo: enough for a week if you really want to stretch it.

Value: By giving customers a closer look into the product or service you offer, you can show off your skill set and give them a full picture of the value that they can reap from choosing to do business with you.

5. Shout out colleagues. Last, but not least. Don’t be afraid to shout out colleagues whose work you admire. If someone is doing something you admire, let your followers know. Fellowship is very important in any industry. It is important to build each other up and learn from whomever you can. If you put your brains together, collaboration may even be possible. While healthy competition is important to growth, it is also important to acknowledge when you see a colleague making great moves in the business. It shows that you have good sportsmanship and nothing to hide!

Marketing Content to Millennials  

Influencing

When thinking about social media marketing, it is important to think about who your audience is and how to ensure that they are aware that you exist. Content marketing is crucial to this i.e. making sure that the content you produce is relatable to your target market. Today’s topic is Millennials. The term “Millennials” refers to the group of people who started to reach adulthood around the year 2000 (currently ages 18-37), aka Generation Y: the Tech Generation. Millennials make up 25 percent of the population, which presents them with the power to have a serious impact on the GDP. Much like Baby Boomers in the 1990s, Millennials have the power to lift the GDP at least a percentage point higher than current levels. By the year 2020, Millennials will make up nearly 50% of the workforce and account for 30% of retail sales. If Millennials are even a portion of your target market, you need to make sure that you know how to reach them.

Studies show that the Age of Technology is having more than just a technological impact on Millennials. It is actually changing the biological make-up of Millennial consumers, as they are now rebuilt to multitask and seek reward for committing their time to consuming brand content. This is why generic sales pitches on social media doesn’t work for this group. Millennials require interaction in order to engage with a brand.

According to a study by Yahoo, Millennials desire:

  • To immerse in content
  • To satisfy fandom
  • To be “in the know”
  • To have the necessary resources to succeed

Knowing these 4 things about Millenials, it can be deducted that successful content needs:

  • To have depth
  • Be current on pop culture
  • Include facts on specific, relevant topics
  • Include tips for success

The difficult part of creating content that fits these specifications is molding it to fit into the restrictions of the social media platforms you’re using. How do you provide depth in an image on Instagram or give a tip for success in under 140 characters? How do you create content as a brand that consumers will want to engage with? A Yahoo study gives 7 helpful tips that we’ve elaborated on for relevance.

  • BE BriefKeep It Simple and Sweet.
    • DON’T over complicate a simple idea to make it more appealing, it will only deter audiences. Creativity is always a good skill to use in creating content, but you need to make sure that your ideas remain clear and concise throughout.
    • DO remember what your initial point is and make sure that it is still apparent even after all the primping and fluffing is over.
  • BE Entertaining & Humorous – Have fun with your content.
    • DON’T keep it cut and dry and strictly business.
    • DO find a cool way to integrate humor into your content to make it entertaining. Put your own twist on a current meme to make it relevant to your industry. Find a trending hashtag that you can make relevant to your industry and jump in on the conversation.
  • BE Fresh & Unique – Dare to be different.
    • DON’T do the same thing you’re competitor is doing. You’ll only blend in with the noise.
    • DO Keep an eye on what you’re competitor is doing and see how you can execute it better or differently. While it’s important to be aware of your competitor’s actions, copying is frowned upon and you could risk getting called out and tarnishing your brand.
  • BE Informative/educational – Sharing is caring!
    • DON’T be secretive and unapproachable. Gone are the days when brands were thought of as this unknown superior that could do no wrong. Brands are now expected to loosen up and communicate with their consumers.
    • DO provide your target market with helpful information that they can apply to their lives. Tell them something they don’t know. Tell them something that they would like to know about you, about your industry, something applicable to their future business… with you.
  • BE Relevant to the individual – Customer is key
    • DON’T group your customer into one large faceless, nameless, passionless lump.
    • DO practice targeted marketing efforts. As a business professional, your bottom line is obviously first in your mind, but do not forget about your customer’s wants and needs. To ensure that your content is relevant to the individual, you must get to know the individual demographics in which your customers lie and strategize on how to meet their needs.

Your Guide to an Action Plan

SaleBased on experience we would say that the number 1 mistake that many businesses make when it comes to social media is not taking the time to develop a plan of action and then giving it an opportunity to work. Social media success does not happen over night, it takes time to develop a presence, to gain followers and to learn what those followers are most interested in. Having a plan in place, makes daily posting easier as you will have to spend your time wondering what to post next and when.

Here, at Purely Social, we always suggest action plans to our clients in order to assist them in visualizing their social media strategy. Action plans are a great guide to help you put your thoughts in order and reach your social media goals. You can actually create them yourself, if you have time to. It’s quite simple. Here are some easy simple steps to how we create our action plan.

  1. Analyze your current status. Before you move forward in creating a strategy for change, you need to analyze the current status of your social media presence. Take a look at any of the social media accounts you have already established and ask yourself these questions:
    • Are you using vivid, high definition, images?
    • Are you posting as frequently as recommended for that platform?
    • Are you captivating your audience and gaining engagement?
    • Where are your other shortcomings?
  1. Identify your reasons for being on social media. What are your goals? Are you trying to strengthen your brand, gain more business, humanize your brand? Before you jump on social media, you need to know why you’re there otherwise it’s pointless. It is important to set your goals as a team and in writing to ensure that you know where you’re headed and can easily analyze whether or not you meet these established goals.
  1. Ask yourselves the following key questions:
  • “Only We…?” What makes you stand out from the competition?
  • Can your company culture nurture and sustain a social media transformation?
  • Are you a conversational brand? Or could you be?
  • Where are your customers & competitors?
  • What is your source of rich content
  • What does social media success look like for Access West?

This will assist you in deciding which direction to take your social media marketing in, what type of content to post, what platforms to choose, and how to reach your target audience.

  1. Next, take a look at your competition both locally and globally. See if you can identify what they are doing well and what they are doing wrong. Analyze them based on the questions illustrated in step 1. This will also help you to see where you can gain a competitive advantage and show you where you stand in comparison.
  1. Now it’s time to decide which platforms you want to use. Take a look at where your target audience is and go there! It’s as simple as that. If you’re just starting out, you don’t want to jump on too many platforms at once. It’s better to start on one or two and execute them expertly than to hop on all of them and execute them poorly. For example, if your business is a nail salon, Instagram is a great option to utilize, but if your business is an insurance firm, Instagram may not be your primary choice of platforms. This step is where you really take the time to browse through the platforms and do your research. Google Plus is an up and coming platform that is perfect for most business owners, Facebook, on the other hand, may only be suitable for those businesses targeting the 55+ audience, and Instagram is where you can reach the younger demographic. It is important to know all of this information prior to selecting which platforms to use for your firm.
  1. Identify which member(s) of your team will be leading the posting and create a schedule. Scheduling is the way we get things done in business, so a great way to ensure that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do on social media. In order to create a schedule, you need to know the best times to post for each social media platforms. This is determined by when YOUR audience is on social media. There are default times for each network, but this doesn’t always mean that t will work for your industry, so it is important to research your audience and learn their social media habits. When you’re getting started, post several times a day at different times throughout the day and take a look at your analytics. That’s how you will know what is working and what isn’t working.

 

How to Recover from a Social Media Campaign Blunder

How to Recover (1)

We’ve already written an article on How NOT to Fail at Social Media Campaigns, but recent social media news have inspired an article on what to do if you do happen to fail. As with everything in life, there are situations in which no matter what amount of planning goes into something, things still go awry.

You may or may not have heard about the Sleepy Hollow marketing blunder with their “Happy Headless Day” campaign. To welcome the new season of the FOX network show, Sleepy Hollow , based on the stories of the Headless Horseman from European folklore, FOX launched a “Happy Headless Day” campaign with witty puns from the show about the headless character. Unfortunately, this campaign launched the same day as the devastating news came out about Steven Sotloff’s death. Needless to say, the media took this campaign and ran with it warping the intentions of the “Happy Headless Day” campaign and putting Sleepy Hollow in a bad position.

The way FOX network handled the situation was perfect. This is their statement: “We apologize for the unfortunate timing of our Sleepy Hollow Headless Day announcement…The tragic news of Steven Sotloff’s death hit the web as the email was being sent. Our deepest sympathies are with him and his family, and we don’t take the news lightly. Had we have known this information prior, we would have never released the alert and realize it’s in poor taste.”

This is a perfect example of how a well-intended campaign can go awry purely due to unforeseen events. Had this campaign been launched 6 months prior, no one would have looked twice at it. However, due to the timing and the hungry media looking for a scandal, FOX network was put in a bad position.

So now, the question is this: What do you do if something like this happens to you? You’ve read our article on How NOT to Fail at Social Media Campaigns, did your research and are confident that your new campaign will be a success. Out of nowhere at the very last minute, something happens that sets your plans off track and puts your brand in a bad light.

1Immediate damage control. First things first, you have to immediately initiate damage control. This is one of the main reasons why you have to be ever-present in your social media accounts. If you or someone you delegate is there to catch an issue as soon as it occurs, you have a better chance of minimizing the amount of damage to your brand. If you set a campaign up and forget it, you’re bound to miss any feedback or backlash from your campaign. This will only cause negativity to fester and spread across your entire brand.

2Sincere apology. Emphasis on the word “sincere.” Whether or not you think you did something wrong, you need to understand this: once you publish something, it no longer belongs to you. If your public portrays something as offensive or insensitive, it is your job to understand their point of view and empathize with them. Try to understand why your campaign would make them upset, apologize and mean it, and if necessary, retract your campaign. This doesn’t mean that you need to take down your campaign every time you upset one person, but use your discretion. If the campaign makes a turn for the worst, you have to take it down.

3Plan for future action. If the reason for the blunder was an oversight, it may be necessary to add an additional step in your ad campaign clearance. For example, FOX network may now require someone to check through the news before launching a campaign to ensure that a campaign they are about to launch will not be offensive to anyone. If the reason was out of your control, have a team dedicated to monitoring the campaign from beginning to end prepared to institute any damage control immediately.

Unfortunately, no matter how much researching you do, there could be unforeseen events that throw your campaign off. The media will almost always find a way to warp information to fit their purposes, and trolls will do their best to make you look bad. There is hope, however, in your recovery. The worst thing you could do is ignore the problem and hope it goes away; that will only fuel the fire and allow people who are already mad at you to get even more upset and talk amongst themselves. Your presence is 100% necessary to help mediate the issue and smooth everything over the best you can. The problem will most likely not go away on its own in most cases. So, engage and speak up!

Don’t forget to come talk to us, too! We’re ever-present on Twitter and you can reach us in the comments below, as well. Also, we just launched our new site: http://purelysocialmedia.com, so check it out and let us know what you think. If you need any tips or advice on your specific social media situations, feel free to send us and email! We love to chat!

 

 

Google+ for Business

G+ (1)

Google Plus is quickly rising to the top of the social media platforms. With the SEO benefits that it offers along with the community building aspect, it’s really a smart choice when it comes to leveraging your brand’s social presence.

If you’re not quite familiar with G+, as yet, Google+ is a social network created by Google that offers blogging capabilities, community building, and virtual meetings (hangouts) all in one package. As a result of this social media platform being hosted by the number one search engine, any business that uses Google+ becomes more searchable i.e, more present online. See, Google knows what they’re doing: they started off slow with the search engine then, like the Blob, oozed out to explore different aspects of the internet it could master, as well. We’re not mad at them for that. Anyway, lets look at the bigger question:

Why should you use Google+ ?

Google+ offers a little bit of the best aspects from a variety of the different platforms, and then some! Take a look at these:

Blogging Capabilities

It enables you to blog, like WordPress, giving you another outlet to share your expertise. Not to mention the fact that most of us have Gmail accounts. Google+ enables you to pull the connections that you have on Gmail and reconnect with them here. So, that business partner you were emailing before, or your old colleague from a previous job can all reconnect with you on Google+ and be privy to your blogs. What does that mean for you? Well, a larger reach for one. Instead of being limited to the people who subscribe to your blog, you can share your blog with people with whom you’ve already built a rapport, as well. In addition to that, there are communities on Google+ dedicated to certain topics, and Google+ allows you to share the articles you write specifically within the communities of your choice. If you were writing something targeted to small business owners, for example, you can join a few communities dedicated to small business owners and share your article within those communities. This way, you know that your work is hitting people who are actually interested in the topic you’re writing about. What better way to build a following than that?!

On top of all that, are the hashtags. When you post an article, Google+ does a quick scan of your article and includes relevant hashtags for you to help sort the article into relevant categories. You also have the capability to include your own hashtags to your articles. If you include hashtags that you know are popular and relevant, your article gets even more reach enabling you to build an even larger following.

Networking

Let’s discuss these communities in greater detail. Google+ communities allow you to gain access to groups of members interested in the same topic(s) that you’re interested in. There are 21 categories to choose from initially ranging from Beauty and fitness to sports to auto and tech. Within those categories are specific communities created by members that you are able to join in on and network. This feature is unique to Google+ and a goldmine for business professionals like yourself. If you are an interior designer, for example, and would like to connect with other interior designers, there’s a community that lends to that. If you own a business catered towards animal rescue and would like to connect with other people who are interested in animal rescue, BAM! There’s a community for that. If you share your blogs within these communities and engage with the people within these communities, the options to build your network are endless.

Visual Appeal

If you’ve been listening to us, you’ve heard us say more than once that the visual aspect of marketing is just as important as the text: sometimes, even more so. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in marketing, images are an important aspect of getting people to pay attention to you. Google Plus embraces that by giving the images that you upload prime real estate on your page, and in a lot of cases, more real estate than the text. Sharing a link that includes images will generate a square thumbnail measuring 150×150 pixels, but sharing an image by itself will result in a much larger display of 497×373 pixels. Here’s a Google+ Cheat Sheet for Image Size Dimensions that might prove helpful.

Hangouts

Google Hangouts are a feature unique to Google+ that enable you to connect with people in a way that no other social media platform does. Google hangouts enable you to video chat with a group of people or one on one. This opens the door for a much more personable connection with your target market or within your industry. Google Hangouts are a great avenue to humanize your brand and let your followers know that you’re not a robot. It enables you to engage in a way unseen by other social media platforms. If you are a lawyer, for example, who specializes in tax law, maybe around March/April, you do a hangout to field questions from laymen who are missing out on refunds they could be capitalizing on. Or maybe you’re a nail technician with your own store. A Google Hangout could be used to run a quick tutorial on a popular nail design or nail painting technique. The possibilities are endless, and if leveraged the right way, can enable your business to grow immensely.

Moral of the story: Don’t sleep on Google Plus. Just get out there, create an account and explore the possibilities. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love to chat! Feel free to leave comments below or mention us on Twitter!