Is Google+ Finally Showing Signs of Life? And Other Hot Topics

We’re less than a week into the New Year and things are already heating up in the marketing world.

After being outshined by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest in 2012, Google+ may finally be showing signs of life. (This is good news for them, considering that the average person was spending about as much time as it takes to microwave a potato as they were on Google+ this time last year.)

Also, Constant Contact released its list of the top 5 marketing trends that will impact small businesses in 2013.

Find out which trends could have the biggest influence on your business in the New Year and check out a new study on which posts are getting the most shares on social in this week’s marketing news roundup.

1. Report: Google+ breaks 100 million unique monthly visitors

According to recent data from ComScore, Google+ has officially joined Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as the social media sites that attract more than 100 million visitors each month.

According to the data, Google+ attracted 105 million monthly users in October 2012 compared to 65.3 million in October 2011. That equates to a 60.9% increase in monthly traffic compared to a 4.3% increase for Facebook over the last year.

Bottom Line: Comparing the year-over-year growth of Google+ to that of Facebook isn’t exactly fair. After all, Facebook has been around for nearly nine years now, while Google+ only recently celebrated its first birthday. But the fact remains that Google+ may finally be starting to show signs it can be a serious competitor in the social media marketplace.

Over the next year, Google+ will have plenty more to prove. Increasing its number of monthly visitors is a great first step but the fact remains that Google+ users are currently spending an average of 12 minutes a month using the site, compared to 7.5 hours being spent on Facebook.

It will also need to establish its presence on mobile. According to this week’s statistics, Google+ is still being outperformed by all of its social competitors—including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and even Tumblr.

Neither of these challenges will be easy for the search giant’s social offspring but will be necessary for the site to be seriously considered as a marketing tool for brands and organizations.

2. Which types of posts are most likely to be shared on social?

This week, a survey from SocialToaster, provided some revealing details into which type of posts are getting the most shares on social. The survey—which asked a collection of social media experts about which type of posts they had seen get the most shares—found that pictures, links, and quotes are currently the top performing posts.

Here’s a look at which type of posts performed best:

  • Pictures (90%)
  • Links (68%)
  • Quotes (51%)
  • Videos (43%)
  • Studies and statistics (20%)

Bottom Line: After reading this study, I decided to reach out to Danielle Cormier, Corporate Community Manager for Constant Contact to see how these findings compared to what she had seen on our social networks.

When it comes to photos, Danielle said her experience on the Constant Contact Facebook Page was consistent with these findings:

Photos are the best post type for shares. On average, they generate 40% more shares than other post types. They also generate 29% more likes than other post types.

For the month of December, photos by far received the most shares. In fact, photos generated about 90% more shares than any other post types.

But it’s also noteworthy to mention that although, photos are great for getting more shares, they also receive the most negative feedback. In the last 2 months, Facebook has altered the EdgeRank formula so that the more negative feedback a post/Page receives the less of a reach that post/Page gets.

Photos on Facebook that highlight the passion small business owners have for their businesses such as this; http://ow.ly/gxIRR or http://ow.ly/gxKyQ always get shared a ton.  I recommend tuning in on what your business says about your customer and highlight it on your page.

Remember people use Facebook to build an online profile that reflects who they are – why would someone be proud to say they use your product or service? Make your content reflect that passion and you’ll be sure to see an increase in shares!

But when it came to links, she says on Facebook and Twitter, links are not seeing the same type of engagement:

SocialToaster reported to finding that links had the second highest amount of shares (68%), but for the Constant Contact Page we have actually found the opposite true. We typically find that although links receive a lot of clicks they are rarely shared.

When it comes to Twitter, tweets without links – quotes, statistics, tips – have by far the most retweets. Typically, more than half of our top 10 retweets are quotes, statistics or tips.

3. Five marketing trends that will impact small business in 2013

This week, Constant Contact released its list of top 5 marketing trends that will impact small businesses in 2013.

As a company, we’re always looking to identify the type of developments in the marketing world that will have the biggest influence on small businesses and organizations. With the New Year already underway, we thought we’d give you a look at 5 things you’ll want to keep an eye on in 2013:

1. Successful email marketing = socially-integrated, permission-based campaigns

Combining the power of social media and permission-based email marketing will be a winning formula for small businesses in 2013.

2. Mobile search on aggressive upward trajectory

Mobile search continues to aggressively trend upward, with millions of Americans shopping by browsing hundreds of directories, web sites and mobile apps that provide local business info. In fact, for the first time, mobile storefront views surpassed web views, according to a recent study of more than ten million storefront views from SinglePlatform from Constant Contact in the fall of 2012.

Small businesses have no choice but to embrace mobile search, distributing their information across the most popular apps, and featuring mobile-optimized websites so potential customers can view their information easily.

3. Events as gateway to engagement marketing

In-person and online events will play a more prominent role in driving customer engagement, with their full impact no longer limited to what happens on-site. Small businesses and nonprofits are increasingly looking at their events with a wide lens, bringing into focus the role they play in their overall marketing efforts.

4. 2013: year of the local merchant deal done right

2012 saw all too many small businesses get “had” by deals that just aren’t designed for their success. Fortunately, we’ve learned from those mistakes and rather than run screaming from the category altogether, small businesses have learned how to make deals work. Chief among the learnings: the power of controlling the deal.

Find out how 12 small businesses got local deals right in 2012.

5. Social media marketing as a business-critical activity

Over the past five years, we have witnessed small business attitudes towards social media evolve from dismissive passivity to cautious curiosity. Despite larger brands’ exuberant embrace of social engagement, most small businesses have been slow to implement social as a primary channel in their marketing mix.

In 2013, there will be a significant transition as small businesses approach social media marketing as a business-critical daily activity. Small businesses will begin to see the value these channels bring to their businesses, and learn how to measure it.

(Also, check out our top 5 social media predictions for 2013.)

Bottom Line: Whether its email, search, events, or social—small businesses have a lot to keep up with in 2013. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. In the New Year, we’ll be working hard to providing you with the answers you need to stay ahead of the marketing curve and overcome all of your marketing challenges in the New Year.

In the meantime, make sure to check out our top small business marketing posts from 2012 and make sure to sign up for our free Hints & Tips newsletter (at the top right corner of the page)  to get advice and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

What do you think? Does Google+ have a chance to make an impact in 2013? Which type of posts are you seeing get the most engagement? What trends are you watching out for in the New Year?

Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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