How to Shorten URL’s for Google Plus Pages

As a Google+ user, you can now create a custom URL that links directly to your Google+ page. A URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is a specific number spring used to define a resource location on the Internet. A custom URL is a shorter and much easier to remember web address. With a shorter URL, you can easily share your Google+ page and avoid the difficult-to-remember long numerical string.

An example of a typical Google+ URL: Lowell Brown, CEO of Going Social https://plus.google.com/113380608144434661819/posts

Now, if we took this Google+ profile and claimed a custom URL, we might end up with something like: https://plus.google.com/+GoingSocial

Before claiming your custom URL for your Google+ page, you must ensure that your business page is either a verified local business or has a linked website. As a side note, when you link to your webpage, you can use Google+ Direct Connect to increase your search visibility in Google. To demonstrate, users can type into Google search the “+” symbol before a brand name and be linked directly to that brand’s Google+ page.

As soon as you meet the eligibility requirements you can get started creating your custom URL with these four easy steps:

Step 1: Sign into your Google+ profile and click on “Profile” in the main menu.

Step 2: 2.Click the About tab, and under Links > Google+ URL, click Get URL.

Step 3: Google+ will assign you a custom URL which you cannot change. You can however add letters or numbers as you wish.

Step 4: When you are happy with your new URL, you must agree to the Terms of Service and click “Change URL”. If prompted for mobile verification, follow the instructions and you’ll be given a code to verify. Note that once you “Confirm Your Choice” you will be unable to request a new URL.

Remember that you cannot change the URL itself, but you can edit the punctuation and diacritics of the custom URL. To edit the URL:

  • Go to the “Links” section of your Google+ page
  • Make your desired edits in the editing box

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Simple enough isn’t it? Let us know if you’ve created a custom URL for your Google+ page and feel free to share it in the comments!

 

Using The @Mention Function on Twitter

Twitter speaks its own language, one that can be baffling to new users. However, I would argue that Twitter is one of the most powerful marketing tools in the social media sphere. With that being said, if you’re on Twitter or considering joining for that matter, it’s absolutely crucial that you understand the basics of Twitter.

One commonly used function on Twitter that is poorly used is the @mention function. Learning what this function is used for, when to use it, and how to use it is important to get the most out of your Twitter marketing efforts.

What is the @mention function used for?

The @mention function is used to ‘tag’ users in your status updates, typically at the beginning of a tweet.

Mentioning a user on Twitter is an effective way to grab a user’s attention, quickly.

When to use the @mention function?

Generally, you’ll want to ‘mention’ someone in a tweet if you’re referencing their content and/or replying to their message.

How do you @mention a user?

If you’re referencing a user in your tweet for example, you’ll want to use their Twitter handle somewhere within your tweet, typically placed at the beginning your tweet. If you want to reply to a user’s message, you can also press the ‘reply’ button that appears under the tweet.

It’s important to note that you do not have to ‘follow’ a user (or that user does not have to ‘follow’ you) to mention them on Twitter. Each time you mention a user on Twitter it will show up in their ‘@mentions tab’ on their profile page, so they’ll be able to see that you’re tweeting about them.

For example, I found a great quote by Jay Baer, a NY Times bestselling author, marketing consultant, and keynote speaker. When I share this quote with my followers, I will want to include Jay Baer’s Twitter handle (@jaybaer) to maximize my reach. A tweet that begins with a @mention is seen by you, the person you mentioned, and users who follow both of you.

For example, @jaybaer “Social media creates kinship between companies and customers, and kinship equals purchase intent.”

To find a user’s Twitter handle, simply type in Twitter search the user’s first and last name (or the company name) and the handle will show below their page name within their profile.

What if I want to reach out to a user privately?

If you’d like to tweet someone a message and do not want others to see it, you can send a direct message to that person. This message will only show up in their message page and the only people that will see it are you and that person. It will not be shared on your profile or show up within their newsfeed.

It should be noted that you can only direct message your followers. I cannot send a direct message to Jay Baer, for example because he does not follow me on Twitter.

To send a direct message to a user, go to the ‘Messages’ tab at the top of your Twitter page, create a ‘New Message’ and type in the handle of the person you’re privately messaging.

How do you share tweets with ALL of your followers?

Now the @mention function will only show your tweet to mutual followers – meaning the users who follow both you and the recipient you are mentioning.

If you want ALL of your followers to see your tweet that includes this function, simply add a period in front of the @ symbol.

For example, .@jaybaer “Social media creates kinship between companies and customers, and kinship equals purchase intent.”

It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t abuse this function as it can begin to annoy some people.

Were you aware of this @ function trick? Have you used it before?

5 Tips to Grow Engagement on Facebook

Having a Facebook page for your business is an absolute necessity for social media marketing success. With over 1 billion active Facebook users to date,  you’ll be able to effectively reach your target audience with the click of a button.

Facebook allows you to effectively send out your brand message to your target audience through their advanced targeting options. Once you have reached your target audience, you will need to build a solid fan base for your brand. Attracting Facebook fans relies heavily on engagement. The general rule of thumb for engagement levels are as follows:

Engagement rate > 6.5% for pages with less than 10K fans.

Engagement rate > 4.5% for pages with more than 100K fans.

Now that you know how frequently you should be engaging with your audience,  you must ask yourself: how do I engage with my fans?  We’ve provided you with a few starter tips below:

1. Ask questions – Every Facebook user wants to be heard, so give them that opportunity. Make sure you ask open-ended questions and give them the opportunity to tell others their  opinion on various topics. Not only will this give you a higher rate of engagement, it will also give you more insight about your products. When you learn about your audience’s likes and dislikes, you can begin to cater your content to their interests.

2. Use sharp and bright images – If there is anything that catches the eye of a Facebook user, it is the quality of images being used. Uploading creative and attractive images for each post will likely increase user engagement. You must also tap into your creative side when creating a Facebook cover photo for your page. As users visit your profile, the cover photo will be one of the first things a user will notice. You can use your cover photo to showcase products/services or upcoming promotions, for example.

3. Post quality content – You should be catering your content to your target audience’s interests. Take your time planning out quality content to post and ensure that each post is “share” worthy.  You should be replying to comments and questions in a timely and polite manner.  Don’ t forget to thank users for positive feedback.

4. Contests – Facebook now allows users to directly run contests on their pages. Depending on your social media goals, the type of contest you run can range from sweepstakes, instant-win contests, photography or video contests, “Like” to win contests,  and voting contests. Hosting a contest is bound to attract new fans and in turn increase your level of engagement.

5. Insights – Use the Facebook “Insights” tool to view your page statistics. This tool will inform you on the number of “Likes” you have received, the average amount of time people spend on your page, and the time of day the majority of your fans are online, for example. It is important to measure your promotional efforts as adjustments to your content (such as type of content and when your content is  being posted may be needed to grow fan engagement.

Increasing your engagement levels on Facebook will certainly not happen overnight. However, if you commit to the tips outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to improving your engagement levels.

The Instagram Cheat Sheet for Image Sizing & Dimensions

Instagram, one of the most popular photo and video sharing platforms today is yet another social media site that is regularly changing their image dimensions. Optimizing your Instagram page with eye-catching visual content is essential to achieving maximum brand exposure and building your fan base.

Let us help you create a stellar Instagram page by following our Instagram sizing & dimension guide below:

*Note: our infographic is mobile-based and does not take web into account.

Instagram-Cheat-Sheet--1

Profile:

Your profile picture will display as 110 x 110 pixels in the mobile app. However, the profile picture will appear slightly larger on web so it is suggested you upload an image that is 180 x 180 pixels to maintain a high quality image in both settings.

Located adjacent to your profile picture are your username, page name, and biography.

Your username should be your brand name, consistent across all other social platforms. If your brand name is taken, then consider adding a tagline to your username such as “Going Social –Effective Social Media Marketing.” Your username will become your URL address so make sure that it’s short and easy to remember.

Note: You have a maximum of 30 characters for your username.

Tip: Try to coordinate your Instagram username with your Twitter handle.

Your page name will display below your username. If your username is already your brand name I suggest putting your tagline here: “Effective Social Media Marketing.”

You have 150 characters to describe who you are and what you do. This is your chance to create a great first impression so take your time with writing a memorable biography.

Your cover photo is a collage of your uploaded Instagram photos. This is a live photo stream of your shared photos, randomly selected by Instagram. It includes one large thumbnail measuring 410 x 410 pixels and six small thumbnails measuring 205 x 205 pixels.

The images and videos you upload to Instagram are displayed on your profile page as 161 x 161 pixels. When you click on these thumbnails (viewed with Lightbox photo-viewing app), the image will expand to 612 x 612 pixels. The maximum resolution you can upload on Instagram is 2,048 x 2,048 pixels, although it varies by device. For example, if a photo is taken with the Instagram Camera, it can reach up to the maximum resolution (2,048 x 2,048 pixels) on most Apple devices. However, if a photo is taken with a regular phone camera, they will be uploaded at a lower resolution of 612 x 612 pixels.

Photo Feed:

The dimensions of your profile picture will be scaled down to 40 x 40 pixels within your photo feed.

Your shared images will display at 512 x 512 pixels on your photo feed.

Again, the maximum file upload size is 2,048 x 2,048 pixels (varies by device used.)

When viewed in Lightbox, the maximum size is 612 x 612 pixels.

If you’re uploading a video to Instagram, it can be 3-15 seconds long. Instagram allows a clip size of 640 x 640 pixels.

All of your photos and videos you share will appear on your profile and within your feed. If you set your visibility to private, only your current approved followers will be able to see your content.

Now that your Instagram page is optimized to look its best, it’s time to start engaging with users and attract new followers. You can spend as little at 20 – 30 minutes a day on Instagram – liking, sharing, commenting, and uploading your own content (don’t forget to include hashtags!) and you’ll will begin to see results.

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