If you have fumbled around image after image trying to conclude if they are copyright-restricted to highlight your latest blog, or if you are a small business that doesn’t have the marketing budget to hire a photographer or pay downloads just to keep you Facebook page afloat, Google images now has a search option for searching for images for reuse.
To find unrestricted photos for reuse on social media, go to Google Advanced Image Search and type in a key word. Then, under the option “usage rights,” change the filter from “not filtered by license” to one of the following: free to use or share, free to use or share even commercially, free to use share or modify, or free to use share modify even commercially.
Another way to use this search is to Google the keyword or phrase and select “images” in the results page.
Once you are in the screen with the Google image results, click on “Search Tools” and “Usage Rights” and select the best option depending on how you will be using the image. This filters your search results according to usage permissions.
While this search tool is amazingly easy and convenient (and free!) to search for images for reuse, Google warns:
Before reusing content that you’ve found, you should verify that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse stated in the license. Read More
So, for fun, let’s see how our predictions fared:
Social Media Prediction 1: Technologies will integrate and collaborate.
This prediction could not only mean more integration between social media channels such as WordPress, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, but it could also mean integrated analytics that include everything from blog views to repins on Pinterest. This could also mean integration between Google+ and other social media platforms, which could ultimately help marketers with SEO when using social media platforms other than Google+.
How our prediction fared: Well, 2013 has brought us easier ways to collaborate between social media platforms. For one, Facebook connect continues to be a popular plugin, new services allow for publishing to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+ at one time, analytics reports are more accurate and available than ever thanks to new tools…and most exciting, Facebook now has a scheduling feature. One thing remains the same however: Google Search and Facebook Search are still two different worlds, and considering the fact that are both competing for your traffic, we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
Social Media Prediction #2: In With Real-Time Marketing, Out With “Optimized” Newsfeeds.
Our prediction is that services such as Facebook will have to revert back to some of their old ways, allowing users to control which posts they see and how often, rather than “optimizing” the newsfeed so fans only see one in every seven business page posts. This will also mean that optimization will focus on timeliness and relevancy rather than profitability, which will make scheduled posts obsolete, and posts that key in on trending topics, priority. While Facebook may not be thrilled to face this reality, fans need to get the updates they signed up for and businesses need to know their efforts have a ROI. If Facebook doesn’t jump on board, our prediction is users will find somewhere else to go…like Google+.
How our prediction fared: Facebook has initiated Graph Search which uses a variety of relational search items such as locality to help users connect with local businesses, groups, and people. We have also noticed that reach among active users has been creeping up…as long as you have the ads to consistently grow your audience. So, in a way, some of the old ways are coming back, but what has changed is that Facebook needs to make a profit, and so ads are increasingly important. It will never be the free platform of Facebook past.
Social Media Prediction #3: Social Media Marketing Budgets Will Grow.
We have noticed an uptick in business, and we don’t expect this uptick to turn around any time soon. Profits and the GDP are at record-setting highs, businesses are still stretching their staff, and social media–once considered “for the birds”–is now more relevant than traditional media. This all adds up to larger marketing budgets and more work for social media consultants like us. No longer considered a luxury, businesses are starting to put more emphasis on how social media can improve SEO, create customer loyalty, and build brand awareness.
How our prediction fared: Just look at the number of social media-related jobs on LinkedIn and I think you will have your answer. Budgets are growing to adopt more social media help–in house and as consultants–as well as to pay for those costly Facebook ads
Social Media Prediction #4: Relevance is SEO, and SEO is Social Media.
SEO is becoming the new focus of social media. Marketers will soon post for one purpose: to gain web credibility and SEO. As more social media platforms collaborate, and as Google’s internet empire grows, expect more emphasis to be put on originality, content, and link building as opposed to the early-2000′s tactics of shock and awe for hits. He who creates custom content and shares it with the world (and that means on Google+ too), will reign as champion of the social media SEO game. There are some smart cookies down there at Google, and they are always finding new ways to give credibility to sites with original, human content, while also filtering out cheaters and spammers in the SEO game. They aren’t there yet, but we predict they will be soon. And wouldn’t that be a beautiful world? When you Google a term and get the most relevant results, rather than the most optimized (via clunky, non-human writing and techniques)?
How our prediction fared: Yes, SEO is still king, and that may just make Google the SEO God. Google has even implemented Google Authorship to help further detect spam and plagiarism so authors and bloggers with Google cred and original content will outrank keyword-stuffed spam. So, while Google+ still struggles along to meet the user numbers of it’s social media counterpart, Facebook, there is still a lot of reason to consider using Google+, and optimize your blog content for it.
What is Google Authorship?
Google Authorship creates brands out of authors, giving them an author rank. By linking your online work to your Google+ profile, Google verifies you as an author, and therefore you get a higher click rate.
What affect does Google Authorship have on rankings?
In the past, plagiarized articles can sometimes end up higher in the Google ranks than an original piece. When you are established as an author, Google ranks you higher than a one-off, link bait website that plagiarized your work. So, your work will rank higher because Google has verified you as an author and given you an author rank that will rank you higher.
How does Google Authorship help bloggers?
Articles that feature an author have a higher click rate. In addition, because all your blogger profiles are linked, a reader of one of your blogs can more easily find, and read, another one of your blogs. All the pieces you author are easily found using your Google+ profile.
In addition, authors that use the Google Authorship function will have their articles verified, and therefore indexed, faster than traditional publishing methods.
Blogger pretenders beware: if you think SEO is just about a jumble of keywords and a good domain name, then you are sure to be disappointed. In Google’s never-ending attempt to put original, quality articles in front of users, they are verifying and validating not just the text, but the author too!
If you are interested in working with a handful of verified, quality authors to bring your blog and website SEO to the next level, consider a social media consulting firm such as The Social Business. Our services provide original, informative content from Google-verified authors.
A recent article in the Search Engine Journal was brought to our attention by a client who wanted to know if we were doing enough on the Google platform. The article, entitled “How Google Will Destroy Facebook in 2013” made a pretty bleak argument against Facebook, stating:
“By taking an in-depth look at the interaction between these two powerhouse players [Facebook and Google], as we will in this article, it becomes clear that Google will prevail, and quite decidedly at that. Facebook’s death will be slow and painful, causing the majority of grief to its nearly 1 billion users along the way.
…Search marketers simply don’t have enough evidence from Google that clearly defines Facebook signals as ranking factors for websites. Instead, the community relies heavily on correlations found through data analysis…
..All of that correlative data is great for making some decent speculative deductions, but does not represent definitive evidence regarding Google’s infusion of Facebook signals into a website’s ranking factors.”
We mentioned in an earlier post that 2013 will be the year that SEO and social will collide, and Google’s ever-growing presence and search engine strength will put pressure on other social media media platforms to up their game. Last week, Facebook announced its latest set of improvements, which did just that: a comprehensive search tool, Graph Search, which enables users to search for friends that “like” certain things. For example, a user can find out who of their friends participates in certain hobbies, frequents certain restaurants, have visited certain places, or like certain brands or pages.
As the line between Facebook search, social, and SEO become ever more blurred, it is important for businesses to understand how Graph Search will affect their social media operations, and how they can use it to their advantage.
Here’s how Graph Search works:
2013 is bringing forth an entirely new chapter to social media, and now is the time to prepare! Social media, now being taught at universities everywhere, has become more than the receptionist at the front desk tweeting “Good Morning” to followers. It has become an integrated, thoughtful, and creative marketing approach to the World Wide Web. And with that comes the responsibility of social media marketers and consultants everywhere to step up their game and vow to never again make the same rookie mistakes of past.
The Social Business is here to help, with our Five Social Media Resolutions for the New Year. We took what we thought were trends in social media, sharing, engagement, and platforms, and came up with five commandments not to be broken in 2013.
Resolution No. 1: Thou Shall Post Only What’s Timely, Interesting, and Relevant.
We reported earlier that Facebook’s algorithms have changed, making it more difficult to reach user’s newsfeeds. The less the engagement obtained on a post, the less likely another post is to show up on on a user’s newsfeed later. Therefore, vow that you WON’T post anything that you don’t expect to get some level of engagement (comments, likes, or shares). Avoid posting too frequently, and create a call to action by asking your fans to “like”or read the post, answer a question, or give feedback.
Resolution No. 2: Thou Shall Respect SEO.
We reported that SEO is becoming the new focus of social media. Social Media Marketers will soon post for one main purpose: to gain web credibility and SEO. As more social media platforms collaborate, and as Google’s internet empire grows, expect more emphasis to be put on originality, content, and link building as opposed to shock-and-awe, link bait, and strictly engagement techniques.
This means more credibility and growth will come from original posts with more content. There are some new tools available to help bloggers obtain credibility using original, human content, and in 2013, this optimized content will be SEO gold.
Resolution No. 3: Thou Shall Not Disregard Google+.
He who creates content and shares it with the world (and that means on Google+ too), will reign as champion of the social media game. Don’t put all your eggs into the Facebook basket. That’s because platforms such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ are gaining ground (coincidentally, while Facebook is losing ground), and adding incentives for sharing on their sites. Google+, for example, has sweetened the deal by giving SEO credibility to stories that are “+1″ (shared) while also beginning to add much anticipated features such as sharing, analytics, and integration with certain third-party services.
Resolution No. 4: Thou Shall Update Social Media Accounts.
The beginning of the year is a great time to review and update your social media accounts. Give your Facebook page a”Face-lift” with new pictures, milestones, profile pictures, and albums. Or, check out our Ten Ways to Make a Facebook Page More Engaging in Less than Ten Minutes.
In addition, don’t forget to update your Google+, You Tube, Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, and other social media accounts. Take a few moments to view each on different browsers, and check for broken links, inaccurate infomation, alt tags, 401 errors, or anything else that might be affecting your conversion rate.
Resolution No. 5: Thou Shall Create, and Share. And Share Again. And Share Again.
Not only is it important to create unique, engaging, and SEO-packed content, but it’s important to make sure your message gets out there as well. Integrating your content so it can be easily shared on services such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, You Tube, LinkedIn, Google+, and WordPress, will broaden your audience and advance your credibility. One word of warning, however. Be sure to share with your audience, but also be sure to cater to the platform you are sharing on. The message, tone, and formatting of your message will determine whether your audience engages with your post or not. For example, the post for this article would look very different depending on the media being posted to. For example:
“New Year’s Resolution: Give your Facebook page a Facelift. This, and four more resolutions for your social media this year. [LINK]”
“Five New Year’s Resolutions for Social Media Marketers.
We reported earlier our predictions for the face of social media in 2013. Now we’ve compliled a list of resoltions to keep you on track for those changes.
What are your Social Media New Year’s Resolutions?
“What you are doing wrong in social media, and how to resolve it in the new year: [LINK]”
“Five resolutions every social media marketer should make to their social media practices in 2013. [LINK]“
Recently, HubSpot published an article with their predictions for marketing in 2013. Among their predictions, they believe:
1. Prediction: Social & Content Influence SEO
2. Prediction: Email Lives On
3. Prediction: Marketing Becomes More Accountable for Revenue Generation
4. Prediction: Inbound, Not Automation, Becomes Priority
5. Prediction: Marketers Will Know Thy Customer
6. Prediction: “Campaigns” Fade Out, Real-Time Marketing Is In
7. Prediction: Context Is Content’s New Best Friend
8. Prediction: Marketing Technology Evolves
As many marketers are finding out, companies with limited budgets and resources may be able to obtain comparable results using Facebook advertising instead of Google because of the following:
Google Ads are very difficult, and costly, to set up for maximum optimization. Though Google has a mass amount of videos and tutorials on AdWords, it takes the equivalent of an eight hour course to get the basics down. In addition, a lot of keyword research is necessary for initial set up, and you may need a graphic designer and web developer to help set up ads and landing pages. The final disadvantage to Google Ads is the cost. Generally, accounts with an ad spend of less than $500/month are dramatically less successful. So if you are working with a small budget and limited resources, Facebook advertising is a better option for you.
Disadvantages to using Facebook versus Google include:
If the recession has taught us anything, it has taught us to do more with less, be more efficient, and find cost-effective ways to do the same thing. Here are five services that can help you further your business’s customer interaction online without ever reaching into your pockets.
1. Google Voice:
What you can do with it: Establish a business number, choose your phone number (using a local prefix and maybe even a clever number/letter arrangement such as 541-BUS-NESS), and subscribe multiple numbers to ring a single phone.
Why it rocks: Cuts down on the cost of enlisting a business landline and mobile phone number. Your virtual “business number” will ring your cell phone or home phone. You can even set times for your business number to ring/not ring, and set up a custom voicemail for that line. All voicemails can be sent to your Gmail account and transcribed to a text message.
What you can do with it: Design and create Facebook Welcome Pages, contests, sweepstakes, videos, and forms.
Why it rocks: Customizable templates let you make pages for just about anything you can think of. You can add features such as a portfolio of pictures, or a form to capture leads. Easy integration with Facebook pages and accounts makes “going live” simple and seamless.
What you can do with it: Design and email company newsletters, share them on social networks, and track campaign results.
Why it rocks: Customizable templates help you maintain the look and feel of your company. You can create lists to target or segment your messages, add Autoresponders, and sync your customer database to Mail Chimp’s contact list.
What you can do with it: Design, create, and download a QR Code.
Why it rocks: QR Codes from YouScan.me allow you to add multiple social networks to one QR code. So one scan and your customers can find you on Facebook, Twitter, and the web.
What you can do with it: Create screencasts to share on social networks. Perfect for sharing instructions and how-to’s because your customers see what you see.
Why it rocks: You can choose to upload videos to screencast.com and share the URL, or share directly to Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.
Share with us! What are your favorite free tools for small business?