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Google+ Pages for Local Businesses

Google+ Pages are brand new, so should Local Businesses create a Google+ Page now or wait? Considering Google.com has over 1 billion unique visitors per month and they are the undisputed “king of search” the answer is YES!Google+ Logo

Google+ has finally launched Google+ Pages, an extension of the Google+ Social Platform Google is hoping will beat Facebook at it’s own game. “So far Google+ has focused on connecting people with other people,” Google Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra wrote in a blog post today. “But we want to make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about–from local businesses to global brands–so today we’re rolling out Google+ Pages worldwide.”

On Google+ Pages, businesses can start sharing information about themselves, and invite customers to chat with them over the service’s and products they provide or sell, create “hangouts” that incorporate videoconferencing technology or begin conversations by simply asking questions seeking feedback. There are already many internet “heavyweights” that have deployed Google+ Pages such as Macy’s, Pepsi, Toyota, CNET and H&M. What’s more, Google is integrating Google+ Pages into its search results and if you are logged into your Google account those results will display across the top of the Google Search under “Google Personal Search”.

The first is step Google is taking is simply displaying Google+ Pages in search queries. Google is also adding a feature it calls Direct Connect that lets searchers quickly call up a Google+ page by adding a “+” before their query. So if car shoppers are interested in learning more about Toyota models from the company’s Google+ page, they can search “+Toyota” and be directed to the car maker’s Google+ page.

Can you customize your Google+ Business Pages as extensively as you can a Facebook Page? The answer is not yet. In the “coming days,” Google said it will introduce a Google+ badge that will let people add a company’s Google+ page to their circles, without having to leave the company’s site. Rumors and rumblings from around the internet have been mixed, some saying that Google+ and the Google Personal Search is eventually going to replaces Google Places! Do I see that coming? Not anytime in the very near future but why not start building your Google+ Page now?

Check out the Google+ Page for MacWin Local Mobile Marketing and you will see that there is a lot you can currently do with your Google+ Page like adding photos, links, videos and general information about your business. If the Google is the “king of search” and Local Small Businesses depend on Google for Local Marketing, don’t you think it would be a good idea to have a page on the Social Media Platform that Google owns and will more than likely index first?

If you are a local small business owner in the Litchfield Park, Goodyear, Avondale or Buckeye area and want to get started with a Google+ Page for your Business, gives MacWin Local Mobile Marketing a call and let us help you set it up the right way from the start!

MacWin Local Mobile Marketing specializes in using Local Mobile Marketing to help small businesses in the cities of Litchfield Park, Goodyear, Avondale and Buckeye gain more customers and keep them coming back! To find out more about how MacWin Local Mobile Marketing can help you and your small business, please fill out the form below and someone will contact you as soon as possible!

New Facebook Places Features Could Give Local Business Pages a Viral Boost, Help Complete Listings

Today Laura Betterly from Mobile Local Fusion passed on some interesting news for Small Business owners. Facebook is trying to promote local business as well as complete the data of their listings with two new features on Places Pages: Recommend This Place and Community Edits.

The Recommend This Place sidebar module on the Pages of local businesses lets users write a short recommendations which are published to the news feed and shown on the Page to friends. Meanwhile, Cities now display a native tab called Community Edits that asks users to fill information such as address and category of popular Places in that city. These new features open an important new viral channel for local businesses and franchises, and allow Facebook to crowd source improvements to its Places database.

For background, Facebook introduced Places and check-ins in August 2010, originally sourcing its local business database from Localeze. Changes to Localeze profiles are not necessarily synced with Places, though, leaving listings of new and evolving business out of date. After some scrapped attempts at allowing merges of Places and Pages for the same location, Facebook appears to have settled on adding Places functionality in the form of check-ins and maps to Pages listing a street address.

Recommend This Place

The site recently changed the Suggest to Friends feature for Pages so that only a Page’s admins could use it, and so the recommendations would appear in a sidebar module instead of the more prominent Requests channel. While fighting Page spam, it may have reduced the virality of Pages. But now with the launch of Recommend This Place, Pages with Places functionality have been given powerful new viral channel.

Appearing in the top right corner of Pages with a street address to users who live nearby, the module reads “Help your friends discover great places to visit by recommending [Page Name]” above a text field. Users can write a short recommendation, set its new feed visibility privacy setting, and submit it. The recommendation is then published to the news feed and displayed to friends browsing that Page in a “Recommendations From Friends” module in the right sidebar.

Recommend This Place will draw users to the Pages their friends prefer, and give users a social recommendation to Like the Page once they’re there. If Pages push their fans to complete the recommendations via Page updates and their info section, they could get viral exposure and grow their Like count for free.

Community Edits

In March Facebook began showing a small link on Places allowing users to “Suggest Edits”, or fill out missing data fields and submit them for approval. Now Facebook is looking to ensure that the most frequently checked in to locations provide useful information and are properly categorized. To do this, it has added a Community Edits tab the the left navigation menu of Pages for cities.

When clicked, the tab displays incomplete listing for five Places that receive a lot of check-ins in that city, and a header explains that “The Community Edits tab lets you share your knowledge about places in [city] and makes Facebook Places more useful. Add details about places, report duplicates, and more”. Users can then complete empty data fields such as ‘website’ and choose the proper category from a typeahead.

If users need help finding the data, a “Find on Bing” link beneath each entry brings up a Bing Maps search for the location, which sometimes includes the missing zip code or street address. It appears that Facebook’s maps deal with Bing does not cover automatically importing this data, so the social network is using this tab to task users with the chore. Unceremoniously, users are simply presented a new set of Places listings to complete when they finish a first, with no ‘thank you’ or ‘edits received’ message to inspire further assistance.

Users who explore the Community Edits tab and feel a deep loyalty to their city or to Facebook may be willing to perform data entry on their behalf. However, the feature doesn’t offer a clear reward such as authorship for a user’s contribution, nor does it properly applaud them. Facebook could improve the design and messaging of the feature to increase the potential volume of user generated edits the tab could drive.

Free Virality For Now

Recommend This Place and Community Edits may be a sign that Facebook knows helping small businesses get their Pages off the ground is in its own interest. As it did with games developers, offering early free viral exposure for Places could make return on investment cheap enough to lure businesses to market on the social network. Then by weening them off free virality, it could earn money switching them onto Facebook Ads to grow their fan base.

Do QR Codes really work and how can I tell if they do?

You’ve seen them, maybe you know what they are and maybe you have no idea. In a recent poll, 58% of users said they weren’t Infographic QR Codes Statistics familiar with them, so why should we care about using them? In the same way that websites, then MySpace URLs, and more recently Facebook pages started appearing in TV, magazine and newspapers ads, we’re starting to see more QR codes appear in traditional advertisements. Start now and get ahead of your competition!

What is a QR code?

A QR code is a 2-D barcode that can be scanned by a smart phone’s camera and transfer information. Based on the type of code it is, it might direct the viewer to a website, make a phone call, deliver a vCard or more.

Tracking QR Code Responses Using Google Analytics

If you have Google Analytics tracking set up on your website, using Google Analytics for tracking your QR Code visits will keep all of your data in one location, and allow you to track the online behaviors and conversion rates of your QR Code visitors.

Here’s how to set up QR Code tracking using Google Analytics:

  • The first step is to add tracking code to the URL of your target response page. The target response page is simply the website or page on your website you are trying to get users to visit.
    • Go to Google’s URL-Builder tool and load the target URL for your QR Code, your campaign Source, Medium, and Name. For example, let’s create a code with tracking for this post. I’ll use “facebook” as the Source, “status update” as the Medium and “trackable-qrcodes-post” as the Name.
    • Click “Generate URL” and you’ll get a url with tracking code.
    • With your new link in hand (or in your clipboard), it’s time to create your QR Code. Kaywa’s QR code generator is the simplest way to generate a QR code for a URL, text, phone number or SMS. Simply select your preference, enter the content, specify size and click “Generate.” Then, save the code to use elsewhere or grab the HTML to embed it online.

  • You now have a QR Code; download it and apply it to your direct mail piece, business card, billboard, t-shirt, or whatever else. When someone scans the code and visits your site, Google Analytics will track the visit and the associated source, medium and name.
  • After you’ve tested the QR Code,  go into Google Analytics and navigate to Traffic Sources > Campaigns. You can sort by “Medium” and search for “qrcode” to see your test visit (see below).

Tracking QR Codes using Google Analytics

Using Bit.ly for Creating and Tracking QR Code

If you aren’t using Google Analytics, don’t know how to use Google Analytics or just need a simpler process, the url shortening application Bit.ly is another great tool for tracking web traffic it redirects to your QR Code landing pages.

Here’s how to create a trackable QR Code using Bit.ly:

bitly qrcode

Bit.ly QR Code

  • Create an account at http://bit.ly/.
  • Insert the target url into their url shortener. You’ll get a shortened url that looks something like: http://bit.ly/8AjVUt
  • In your list of shortened urls, you’ll see the target url, with a link beside it for the “Info Page” for the url. Click on it, and you’ll see tracking information and a QR Code for the shortened url.
  • Right click on the QR Code image to save it; you’re now ready to use it on whatever marketing piece you’d like.
  • Now, whenever someone scans the generated QR Code, they’ll be directed to bit.ly, which will count the visit and automatically redirect the visitor to the target url. This will happen fast enough that users won’t even notice the redirect.
  • You can then use the reporting tool on your Bit.ly account to track scans/visits via your QR Code
Bit.ly QR Code

Bit.ly QR Code

  • Here are a few ways that you can use QR codes to spruce up your small business marketing strategies.
  • On business cards: A fast and simple way to use QR codes for your own professional purposes is to place them on business cards. Generate a barcode that directs scanners to your online resume, small business Facebook Page or your website to help new contacts find you or your business faster.
  • On marketing materials: You’ve got fliers, brochures, programs, handouts, white papers and a myriad of other materials in your media kit. Add QR codes to direct viewers to a particular how-to video, send them to a Flickr photo set, get them to follow you on Twitter, or point them to a mobile-friendly landing page that promotes a new campaign. For inspiration, check out what the Detroid Red Wings did with QR codes in their arena programs.
  • In storefront windows: Google is sending out QR code window decals to top local businesses with Google Place Pages. If they don’t send you one, steal the idea and generate your own QR code to place in your window. You can use this code to encourage Fousquare checkins, point scanners to your Yelp profile, or simply invite customers to share memories in photo, video or text form via Stickybits.
  • For freebies: If you really want people to pay attention to your QR codes, make them good for something fun. Say you’ve placed a QR code decal in your storefront window, why not reward those who scan it with 10% off their purchase or a free pastry? Give them something small to thank them for their patronage. Simply create a custom QR code for the freebie you want to offer. You could even get creative and hide the QR code offers online, like on your Facebook page or website, or somewhere inside your store.

Things to Remember

  • If you’re going to use QR codes for small business marketing, you’ll want to keep in mind that QR codes — and the apps that scan them — are still foreign to most people.
  • Yes, more and more people are starting to associate the codes with action, but never assume your customers will know what to do. Make it a point to spell out how to scan the QR code, and help instruct customers on where they can grab scanner apps.
  • Also, remember that QR codes should provide some kind of value to the scanner. It may be easiest to direct QR code scanners to your website, but that’s likely not the most engaging place to send people. Instead of having the QR Code directed to just http://macwin.wpengine.com, try focusing the QR Code to one specific page within your site, one promotion/coupon or one service you offer.

Does your business or have you ever used QR Codes? Please take a moment to fill out the survey below and let us know:

Click here to take survey

Does your business have a Facbeook Page? If not see what you’re missing!

Mashable.com

Americans Spend 23% of Internet Time on Social Networks [STUDY]

Americans spend almost a quarter of their time online on social networking sites, says a Nielsen report released Monday.

According to the report — which combines data from Nielsen mobile and online meters, buzz data and a survey — Internet users spend more than twice as much time on social networks (including blogs) as they do on online games, the next top web destination by time.

The most popular social network as measured by Nielsen online meters is Facebook, followed by Blogger,Tumblr, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

 
 

 

Nine of the 10 most popular social networks were dominated by women. Only LinkedIn had a percentage of men visiting the site that exceeds the percentage of men who are active Internet users. Women also watch more video content than men, although men watch longer videos.

Both genders are increasingly accessing social networks using mobile apps. Social networking app usage is up 30% from the same time last year. Social networking apps are the third most downloaded type of smartphone apps behind only games and weather apps. App growth has not affected the percentage of people who access social networks using mobile browsers. Mobile Internet users account for 47% more unique visits to social networks than they did last year.

 

Mobile is just one of the many ways Nielsen found social media use becoming universal.

“It’s the first time we looked at the data comprehensively,” says Nielsen’s SVP of Media & Advertising Insights and Analytics Radha Subramanyam. “[What is most surprising to us] is the rapid adoption, the measurable reach of social media. Four out of five Internet users. One of five minutes spent online. When you have those numbers and see their scale, it’s staggering.”

Facebook Allows More Descriptive Page Tab App Names by Extending Character Limit to 100

MacWin Local Mobile Marketing on FacebookFacebook has greatly extended the length of names permitted for Page tab applications. While before names could only be 16 characters or less, they can now be up to 100 characters, though long names will cause fewer different tabs to be displayed above the fold.

The change will allow admins to more accurately and descriptively name their tabs, and use long names to draw attention to certain tabs. For instance, rather than naming a sweepstakes tab “Enter Contest”, it could be named “Enter to Win a 10-Day Vacation in Hawaii”.

When Facebook released the February 2011 Page redesign, Page tab apps moved from atop the wall to the navigation menu beneath the profile picture. While no longer front and center, this extended the permitted character length for tab app names to 16 and allowed more app to be displayed before a fold. Later Facebook increased the number of tabs visible above the fold and allowed reordering of apps.

However, even 16 characters wasn’t always enough to accurately describe a tab. Short, confusing names may have prevented users from knowing what they were missing by not clicking through to the tab app. For instance, MTV had to call one of its tabs “JS Game” instead of the more compelling “Jersey Shore Game” because of the character limit.

Now, with a maximum length of 100 characters, Page admins have much more flexibility with how they can use the navigation menu. They can list prizes or entry mechanism within the names of contest apps, for example “Subscribe to Emails to Win $10,000″. They can explain the function of utility apps for coupons or discounts, such as “Coupon Codes For Our Online Store”.

Admins could also get more creative, adding urgency to a tab name by listing an expiration date, such as “Only 10 More Hours To Enter Our Contest”. Or they could fill most of their navigation menu with a single tab name rather than try to drive clicks to several different tabs.

To edit Page tab app names, admins can click the Edit Page button on their own Page, then visit the Apps tab, then click “Edit Settings” on the tab they want to rename. To reorder tabs, visit the Page, and click the “Edit” link beneath the tab app navigation menu, or click “More” and then “Edit” button to drag-and-drop the tab apps.

Short, easy to read names are usually best, but when those don’t properly convey an app’s function, Page admins can rewrite them. We’ll watch and see what creative and effective uses are made of this newfound freedom, so check back for more ideas.

Social media helps restaurant get off ground – from AZCentral.com

by Georgann Yara – Apr. 30, 2011 06:02 AM

Social Media



When Dean Slover and his business partners were preparing to open RnR Restaurant and Bar, they debated over whether to hire someone to manage the business’ social-media aspect.

Nearly 14 months after the doors opened last March, the continued buzz and steady stream of patrons let Slover know the investment is paying off for his Scottsdale restaurant.

RnR has more than 600 Twitter followers and more than 3,700 fans on its Facebook page. Slover uses the page to post passwords that inform followers of specials, which has helped increase the restaurant’s visibility as customers share these deals with friends.

The restaurant’s social-media presence also helped create a buzz before RnR actually opened. In this struggling lagging economy, it proved to be a bonus.

The password element was a direct response to customers who suggested RnR come up with some kind of reward system for regulars. Social media also keeps the lines of communication open and allows Slover and his partners to track the level of service a patron received, how diners liked a new menu item or how any other strategy is going.

“With social media, it’s immediate and trackable. It serves as another venue to determine the level of satisfaction. People can give (feedback) online because they are comfortable doing that,” Slover said. “It’s such an integral part of what goes on here.”

Establishing a social-media presence has become just as or, in some cases, more important to drumming up business as print ads. The immediacy of the medium keeps users engaged and gets people talking about a restaurant or bar before day one.

Word about RnR spread about two months before opening day, social-media manager Uzra Vo-Cortazar said. She implemented Facebook ads, conducted polls about what prospective patrons wanted to experience and offered short teases about what was to come. Before March 2010, RnR’s Facebook page had more than 1,000 fans.

“I feel like it’s one of the best promotional and marketing techniques we use because it’s so direct with our clientele,” Vo-Cortazar said. “It’s like a close group of friends or extended family.”

Vo-Cortazar said the immediate feedback is most helpful in determining what, if any, changes should be made. Scottsdale resident Barbara Garganta has been a regular at RnR since it opened.

She and her friends keep up with the promotions and specials via Facebook, even following the restaurant’s community involvement with various charities.

“It’s one of the best and most reasonable,” she said. “The atmosphere has really great energy. It’s just a fun place.”

Slover calls the restaurant he owns with Les and Diane Coleri a “gastrobar,” which reflects the themes each of the owners originally envisioned: a comfort-food restaurant, a sports bar and a wine bar.

The kitchen serves up three meals and every snack in the between from 7:30 to 2 a.m. daily. The more than 30 items that comprise the breakfast menu reflects Slover’s personal passion for the first meal of the day. There are also dishes that give the menu a cosmopolitan flair, like the Dirty Chips inspired by a recipe Slover encountered in Boston and the Chicken Schnitzel, which is a nod to Austria.

The two-story, 4,000-square-foot building was built in 2009 and made to look like it had been there for decades.

Slover said he gets many comments from out-of-towners who think the structure is much older or resembles restaurants in older cities such as Chicago.

Slover said opening a restaurant in a lagging economy did not worry him.

“I should’ve been more concerned, but I had a huge amount of faith in the Old Town Scottsdale area,” he said. “With the location we had, it was the right time to do something like this.”

Get Found. Get More Customers. Keep them coming back. Grow Your Business. Call Me @ 623-252-9355 or visit www.areyouonthemap.com

 

Mashable's Facebook Guide

Mashable.com has a Facebook Guidebook online. Facebook is the world’s leading social network, with over 300 million users and more than 900 employees. But how do you get the most out of it? To answer this question and more, Mashable has created The Facebook Guide Book, a complete collection of resources to help you master Facebook. Check it out at http://mashable.com/guidebook/facebook/

Mashable - Social Media Guide

You can't ignore Facebook in your Social Media Advertising

Facebook

According to the new Nielsen ratings released today, users spend and average of 7 hours per month on the social media and social networking site Facebook! Back in June 2009, Nielsen estimated that the average U.S. user spent 4 hours and 39 minutes on Facebook per month. That’s about 9.3 minutes per day in a 30 day month. In August, that number rose to 5 hours and 46 minutes, or 11.5 minutes per day. In January 2010 though, the amount of time the average person spent on Facebook jumped to over 7 hours. Each American Facebook user spent an average of 421 minutes on Facebook per month, which amounts to over 14 minutes per day.

Five Social Media Marketing Stats That Will Blow Your Mind

The December 2009 data from comScore (SCOR) were released Tuesday, and the results for the social media sector are nothing short of staggering. Fifty-four percent (112 million) of the 205 million-strong U.S. internet-user population are on Facebook, with 27% (57 million) still using News Corp.’s MySpace. But according to data from both comScore and Experian Hitwise (EXPN), the most active users were on Tagged, MyYearbook and Orkut. And Facebook users were more active than those on MySpace.

There’s no doubt that plenty is happening in the social media space, but there are some facts that just might surprise you, either because of the speed of change or the discovery of players that may not have occurred to you.

1. Growing impact of social networking on surfing habit: In the U.S., 25% of all page views came from the top social networking sites and that is up 83% from the 13.8% posted in December 2008.
2. Social media is still growing: one in 10 went to a social networking site in December 2009, up almost 100% from December 2008’s 5.8%. Compare this to the page view data and you get a sense of how sticky the social media sites are.
3. Social media sites are more vulnerable to trends: From December 2008 to December 20009, MySpace and Facebook switched spots. A year ago, 64% of visits to the top 10 social networks belonged to MySpace, with 29% going to Facebook. By December 2009, 28% went to MySpace, with 68% at Facebook.
4. Facebook’s prowess: Facebook’s market share surged 286% year-over-year, but it wound up being good for everyone, since it grew the market at the same time.
5. Market share growth was a bit rare:
Aside from Facebook, only Tagged gained market share, as an increasingly crowded market required players to fight a little harder for eyeballs. Tagged amped up its share by 35%.