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Google+ event offers top tips on ‘newer’ social media platform

Finding it hard to keep up with social media? We’re not surprised! With a number of ever-evolving social media platforms, even the most-savvy industry professional can find themselves out of the game from one week to the next, as new platforms are introduced and others updated. Recognising this, we decided to focus our latest strategic social media event on one of the newer social media platforms, Google+.

Like our previous event, the breakfast event was held at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and was attended by a wide range of industry professionals that were eager to learn more about Google+ and how it could benefit their business. g+

With a great turn out of more than 30 guests, our managing director Chris delivered an interesting and engaging seminar covering a number of topics including the basic principles and functions of Google+, tops tips and advice on how to get the most out of the platform, its comparisons to other social media platforms as well as its advantages, and finally how you can use the platform to benefit your brand or business.

A look at Google+ analytics saw audience members learn how they could analyse their activity on Google+, including tracking engagement and gauging the success of their posts. An overview on the unique ‘ripples’ feature showed how Google+ can really have added value through the ability to track who is sharing content and identifying who your business should be engaging with.

The seminar was well-received by a sold out crowd, with many positive comments on the wealth of useful information they had learned throughout the presentation. As always, the bacon and sausage sandwiches went down a treat with not a single sarnie left in the house; overall making for another great Prohibition event.

Due to your fantastic feedback for another event, we can happily announce that we will be holding another strategic social media event and this time the topic will be chosen by YOU. Through asking all event attendees what they would most-like the next seminar to be based on, we can now reveal that the next seminar topic has been chosen; so keep your eyes peeled to find out more!

Finally, a big thank you to everyone that made it along and we hope to see you all again very soon!

Social Media ROI event proves a huge success

Yesterday at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Prohibition team headed up another of our strategic social media seminars for industry professionals, this time focusing on generating an ROI on Social Media. With over 30 guests in attendance, our MD Chris delivered a half hour seminar advising organisations on the best ways to generate and calculate a return on investment.

Chris presenting

The seminar went down a treat, and once the presentation was concluded, Chris spent time fielding multiple questions from what was a clearly engaged audience. With some attendees travelling from as far afield as Nottingham to gain insight into the subject, the topic of Social Media ROI is clearly one of genuine interest within the industry.

Following Chris’ presentation (the slides can be seen in their entirety at the foot of this post) and after guests enjoyed a breakfast of bacon and sausage sandwiches along with multiple mugs of fresh coffee, Colin Docherty, the SEO Account Manager at Search Laboratory delivered a master class on Google Analytics, which was equally well received by the crowd.

Our event had a great turnout, with over 30 industry professionals in attendance.

Following the success of yesterday we can’t wait to get our next event planned, so keep your eyes peeled for information on our next strategic social media seminar, which should be taking place around June time.

Violation of Google’s Guidelines Will Result in Damaged PageRank

Google’s latest announcement has made it official that selling page links and including paid-for placements on your blog can and will damage your PageRank. In the announcement Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Web Spam stated that ‘selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations.’ Such action has been taken out recently on the florist giant Interflora for breaking Search Engine Optimisation guidelines by manipulating links to improve its PageRank. Penalisation of Interflora is the latest proof that even the largest brands are not immune to Google’s rules and regulations. Currently as punishment Interflora doesn’t show up on Google for the majority of it’s search terms, a huge disaster for the brand with Mother’s Day fast approaching. The highest Interflora appeared was on page 2 of a Google search, but mainly Interflora was non-existent. The damages to the brand could value at millions worth of pounds. Matt Cutts has also posted on his own personal blog about PageRank penalties and selling links. Replying to the frequently asked question of ‘Why has my PageRank gone down?’ Matt answered ‘the drop in Toolbar PageRank is an indicator of the decrease in our trust of the site.’ Google isn’t against paid advertisements, it actually supports the practise but they are asking for such links to be disclosed to search engines.  Sites should be judged on their content and influence for SEO not their bank account. What does this mean for PR? Whilst it will upset many people, Google’s announcement will help to ensure that online public relations prioritises quality content over simple and easy paid-for placements and links. Therefore Google is helping to ensure that public relations online is practised ethically. Blogging is a way of using your online freedom to express your opinion and interests, add value and engage in discussions. Blogging on your personal blog, on behalf of a company, just because they are paying you an attractive sum, I believe, totally defeats the object of blogging in the first place. Don’t get me wrong advertorials (which have been around for decades in PR) and articles that clearly show they are being sponsored to review a product are still effective ways to position a brand. It’s the articles that have been paid for that include brand names and links to a website that don’t make it totally clear that are misleading. What do you think? This is a guest post from Lara Busch you can follow her on Twitter.

Are we giving away FREE private information online?

Google services may seem to be free however recent research shows that our personal information is set to be worth up to $5,000 a year!

Screengrab from RT.comAccording to the Colin and Collin report users of sites like Facebook and Google are classified as unpaid labourers. Essentially the report suggests that the amount of time we spend updating our status and uploading personal information, all goes towards the use of free advertising benefiting sites like Google. This ‘free’ service comes at a price, in other words we are exchanging free personal information for a free service.

The new privacy settings allow the integration of Google’s services to control how our personal data is handled and shared without our knowledge. Google proceed to carry on using our information by tracking and collecting cookies and gathering data on online activities of web users. This information assists them to provide more targeted advertising to those individuals. Essentially everyone will have their own customised browsing page of Google’s recommendations according to previous sites visited. This may seem like they are making life easier for us however, this concept has brought with it a fundamental error in the system. The privacy intrusion has resulted in people finding out surprise engagements and secret events. Due to the personal data tracking, individuals can find display ads based on the sites previously visited by their partners or friends. This interference is not only a concern for ruining secret events, but a growing worry as to how much Google will know on each individual. Google persists by saying that no personal data is shared or used, however what is and isn’t personal and who decides this?

All these concerns and questions has led to the latest privacy concerns in the UK after Google have allegedly been secretly tracking users habits and data of IPhone users. The legal action comes just months after Google was fined in the US over a privacy breach. The privacy concerns erupted after at least 10 British IPhone users started to take legal action against Google for personal information tracking on their phones. “An estimated 10 million Britons could have grounds to launch a privacy claim over the way Google circumvented Apple‘s security settings on the iPhone, iPad and desktop versions of its Safari web browser to monitor their behaviour”. The significant consequence of Google’s actions is not yet clear, but the direction they are taking is clear to be costing them more than $5,000.

The only way of opting out of this service and ensuring your information is kept private is to not use the browser. But will that be possible as Google is the largest web browser in the world?

What is Google up to? Let me know what you think in our comments?

Update your status and risk being deemed a criminal…

If we have a Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Bebo or Google plus accounts, are we instantly deemed criminals?

Following a report from the Guardian.co.uk this could now be the case….

The report was recently carried out by the Government’s chief scientist and highlighted that those of the general public, who are expressing their daily lives online in many different platforms, could be deemed as suspicious individuals who could potentially be stirring up rises such as the London riots.

The report also stated that online communities are isolating and alienating the elderly societies of our country. Does this mean that we have become so involved in our online communities that the reality of real life beyond the computer and the social networks have merged to become one? It seems like the Government have deemed this to be the case. It has suggested that over the next decade our personal identities will undergo, “increasingly dynamic and volatile changes.” The revolution of social media has truly began a dictation of our lives, it seems that Governments have taken notice to the control it posses over us as individuals, more than just a marketing technique, social media has become a part of our everyday lives.

I can’t personally argue with this statement either, I can call myself a little bit of an online addict working with the Prohibition PR team. The first thing I do in the morning….. check the tweets, update a status (if I have anything interesting to say), send an email, pin something on a board on Pinterest and check the latest headlines, all from my iPhone and all with a social element.

The report even suggested that those who don’t have much of a social presence in ‘reality’ can for the first time create their individual personality and express it through social media by connecting with not just the people they actually know, but people all around the globe. It is being deemed the rise of “hyper-connectivity” in which we are all becoming more socially connected online via our Smartphones. So why are those with many different online profiles being deemed suspicious?

The report suggested that, “the idea that there is only a single identity is a fallacy now,” with so many different online social platforms, we have the opportunity to be as many different personas as we choose in order to adapt to the people we are ‘talking’ to. With this comes the opportunity to create more social uprisings in reality such as the London Riots of summer 2011. Social media has given individuals a voice to speak to millions of people on a global scale and send messages that can potentially ruin brands, ideas and people. It has also created a generation divide between the old and the young. Those brought up and into the digital age are using the online world as their key source of communication, and those of the older generation who simply don’t have a clue are being left behind.

However, in my opinion that is just how the world evolves, and this time round we are evolving with social media, it will inevitably create divides between generations. It has also become a choice that everyone has made to sign up to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and following these choices we become responsible for the information we choose to put out to the world, it is simply the way we choose to communicate with our fellow peers. The days of letter writing have died and even newspapers are disappearing as we can find all our sources online, but who says the older generation can’t use this method of communication too?

In order to prevent distancing themselves further from the ever changing world they may have to take the leap into the online revolution and adapt as we always must, because simply at the end of the day, the future won’t slow down for people to catch up. What we can’t fail to ignore is that social media has given people the opportunity to explore their identities more fully, the shy and the recluse have found a form of expression and a way to communicate with others, to me, there is something quite remarkable about that. Social media is the future, it won’t stop growing and we must embrace it, not fear it.

The PR benefits of Google Hangouts

We are all aware of the Skype and FaceBook video call, but the latest of social networking platformsGoogle+ has recently released its own version of video calling “Google Hangouts“.

Facebook’s video calling is only one-to-one calling, with limits on the other activity that you can do on the site once on a call, and on Skype you have to be a paying user to use group video chat. However with Google Hangouts the video chats are free, and up to 10 people can take part, with lots of different apps available (free) to have fun with during your calls, from poker to quizzes.

For purely social uses hangouts are great, they are free and simple to use, you just need to have a Google+ account (is it time to really jump on the Google+ bandwagon?). Michael Arrington at TechCrunch has written a great piece, that really gets into the social benefits of Google hangouts, compared to the other options available.

As well as the personal benefits of hangouts the option to stream your session live on YouTube, personal websites and blogs (all at the same time) means that Google Hangouts has got some great possibilities for small businesses. At this stage live hangouts are being tested by large corporations and organisations. From live hangouts with President Obama to live gigs the possibilities with hangouts are endless; and from a PR and social media point of view this could be a really interesting channel to get your message across.

For the world of PR, this could mean live interviews with CEO’s and key spokespeople from your clients, live product reviews from bloggers all around the world, live instruction sessions showing customers how to use clever products, constant streaming of shops, businesses, and events that people all around the world can join in with. Google hangouts could also really help with crisis management, as you will have the ability to reach your public almost immediately and most importantly affordably.

With Google Hangouts in its infancy it will be interesting to see how it is going to be adapted and utilised by business, especially in the PR world.

Has anyone used Google hangouts already? It would be great to hear what you thought of it.


Five PR Tips for Google+ Brand Pages

When Google+ first launched, it was limited to only personal accounts, restricting businesses from creating Google+ profiles. However, Google+ Pages are now available for personal and business use alike. The service is rather similar to Facebook in concept, being a social media site, but it is a bit more restrictive. For example, you cannot contact someone who has not already added you to their circle. That complicates advertising and marketing, but it does not lessen the importance of creating a Google+ Page. Once you get your Google+ up and running, here are some PR tips to make it worth your while.

  1. Create a Redirect or Shortened URL for Your Page
    Right now, Google+ Page web addresses are horribly ugly. With Facebook and Twitter you can create a reasonably shorted URL that people can use to visit your profile; on Google+ it is plus.google.com/ followed by a long string of random numbers and letters. There are a variety of free services that can shorten a URL for you, or you can simply create a redirect link on your domain. Whatever method you chose, be sure to make your Google+ Page URL something that people can easily remember.
  2. Link to Your Google+ Page
    While Google+ Pages limit you to communicating only with people who have added you to your circle, you have no such limitations on your website, Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to add links to your Google+ Page on all of your sites and social networking accounts to help people find your page and be aware that you have one. Google suggests that you put your Google+ badge on all of your sites, which takes visitors directly to your Google+ Page, allowing them to add you to their circle.
  3. Put Content On Your Page
    Driving visitors to your Google+ Page doesn’t accomplish much if you don’t have any information on the page, or if it simply is a link back to your website. Your effort should be to create a page that will cause people to want to add you to their circle. Once you are in someone’s circle, you have officially opened the lines of communication on Google+. This space is also an excellent advertising board, allowing you to put up information about new products and services or any sales or specials that are going on.
  4. Communicate with People Who Have Added You to Their Circle
    Once people begin to add you to their circle, start taking advantage of it. Those circle additions are hard won prizes, so be sure to use them to promote your company. This can involve updating people of additions to your Google+ Page, letting them know when new content is added to your website or even letting people know about contests you are offering. The advantage of having a contact list based on people who have added you to their circle is you know they have some sort of interest in you, or they would not have added you.
  5. Put Someone In Charge of Your Google+ Page
    If you have a social networking department, you’ve probably already done this, but be sure to assign a person or department (or digital PR Agency) to keeping up your Google+ Page. You’ll want to keep it updated and take advantage of marketing options when people add you to their circle, but you also want to be sure to respond to feedback sent to your Google+ account. People are frequently using social media sites to voice concerns or kudos to companies; be sure to read and respond to yours because ignoring social media communications is poor customer service.

Sam is an Internet marketer who is in charge of his company’s social media monitoring and he is always on the lookout for new tools to help him do his job more efficiently.