Google+ Business Spew

by Mike McGrath on November 10, 2011

The impact of brand pages has degraded my user experience of Google+. While brands are clamoring for engagement, consumers are not as keen. Markters had better think their engagement strategy through before spewing their crap in my stream.

I opened Google+ today to find the WWE had multiple posts about their form of violent entertainment. I’m not a fan. BLOCK. Then Pepsi started popping up, I prefer Coke but I’d BLOCK them both. When Fox News and Anderson Cooper showed up they were promptly BLOCKED. Same with the X Games and Phoenix Suns. BLOCKED them both.Can someone call Google and tell them about opt-in? Once upon a time, there was a gentleman’s agreement that marketers wouldn’t conduct opt-out campaigns. The whole idea of social marketing was nurturing communities of brand fans that opted in to a stream of blather.Then brands started leveraging social graphs. Your friend that loved the blather came to share it with you. If you and you’re friend have similar tastes, no harm no foul. But when unsolicited junk from brands I don’t like pollute my stream it makes me want to say enough is enough! It’s bad enough that there’s commercial noise in my signal but now I have the extra work of clicking BLOCK repeatedly. No thanks, GOOG.

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I made a couple of business pages today on Google+. The process is simple, maybe a little too simple. The resulting page fell short in a few ways. But I’m not here to badmouth a new, new thing. Businesses will love this because the pages will be indexed by the Google crawlers and show up in Google search results. Add sensitivity to location and context to the search result and this could knock any other local-social SMB marketing solution right out of the box.

Let me temper that statement with a few things that are missing:

1. The Manage Pages stuff doesn’t let me add admins. Did I miss this or isn’t this possible?

2. No vanity URL. I was expecting a land rush for URLs today but it’s not in the cards. At least for now.

3. No canvas or frame that I can embed things in. Come on, folks.

It’s going to be page rank and search results that determine how fast businesses adopt Google+ business pages. If they address the shortcomings and deliver more visible search results for a business, it’s a no brainer.

And don’t forget Hangouts. A nice addition to SMB marketing venues but it will have to prove its value.

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Working with WordPress

by Mike McGrath on April 7, 2011

I love WordPress. The combination of an evolving platform and third party plugins and themes makes WP more than just a blog platform. It’s becoming a content management system as well. Some businesses are using it to replace some or all of their traditional website’s function. Recently, I had the chance to push the boundaries of WordPress when a client asked me to use it to redesign their blogs and replace some pages on their  website.

My client, LikeList.com is a startup that shows you your friends’ trusted recommendations for local businesses. Their site is complex and manages a vast amount of data. A recent site redesign kept their development team busy for months on end. Rather than burden the engineering team with marketing requests, the marketing team decided to use WordPress to replace pages on LikeList.com. That way, the marketing team could update their pages independent of the engineering workflow.

The marketing team decided to use WordPress for their blogs and for Jobs, FAQ and the Media Center pages on their site.  In the course of building the pages, I learned much about Wordpress’ capabilities and limitations. I used a few new tools that made the job easier and evaluated a bunch of plugins that let me do things that WordPress doesn’t do on it’s own.

I’ll share these experiences with you in a series of posts over the next two weeks. The posts I’ll be writing are:

  • Design requirements (how am I going to get WordPress to do that?)
  • WordPress toolkit (where is that scrap of code?)
  • Setting up Thesis (where did you get that widget?)
  • Jumping through hoops (plugins, the agony and ecstacy!)
  • Moving to a new server(what happened to those links?!?)
  • It’s showtime (feeding the beast with content)

By revealing my editorial schedule I’ve committed myself to writing it up. In the meantime… Take a look at LikeList Cafe. It’s the starting point for this tale.

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