The Social Gnome’s Hoard – 4 New Reasons to Monitor Online Reviews

This week we’re discussing the recently increased importance of monitoring and maintaining your presence on review sites, particularly Yelp and Google Places (now called Google+ Local).

June 13, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Yelp rating system
The slow, painful decline from red to yellow
  • Siri uses Yelp to search locally – When your potential customers hit that button on their iPhone and tell Siri asks what she can help them with, Siri then asks her friend Yelp for the highest rated results in that category in your geographic area. This is applicable whether you’re a restaurant, doctor, lawyer, plumber, auto repair shop, anything. You need to make sure you’re looking as clean as you can on Yelp, or Siri may not recommend you. Yes, you are now catering your hard work on your company’s image to a digital assistant. Get used to it and move forward, because this stuff is only getting more complicated.
Google+ Local Austin recommendation
I agree, Mandola’s is delicious.
  • Google loves Google+ – Google has integrated it’s search even more fully into its social network, last week unveiling Google+ Local. Companies’ reviews on Zagat and Google Places are now merged, using the Zagat scoring system, out of 30 points, and allowing rating of multiple facets of a business. Companies can no longer have an abandoned Google Places page. They will now have to create a Google+ business page, or spruce up their Google Places page now that it has ported over and become a Google+ business page. This gives you some great options, visually, but a more social search for customer equals a more complicated job for businesses.
Screenshot from Apple.com
Apple.com explains iOS6 features
  • Apple just rocked your world – The unveiling of new iOS6 features from Apple announced the dropping of Google Maps and the addition of Apple Maps. Once again, Apple is lending preference to Yelp to assist users in navigating the best spots in the very slick looking, and exceedingly functional, Apple maps. Local restaurants, take note that Apple in also utilizing Open Table to allow users to make reservations with Siri. Let the confusion begin.
Visual.Ly infographic on food critiquing
Visual.Ly shows you how much we’re all critics
  • Everybody’s a criticVisual.Ly makes a great infographic that culminates our innate needs to have our opinions heard. From quick shout outs, epic tales of a dinner gone wrong, or outright rude chastising of a business owner for not caring enough, we love to have our opinions heard. Although there are numerous platforms out there that cater to this desire to be heard, Yelp furthers the addiction even more by rewarding those who share their opinions the most (awarding them a coveted Elite status) and Google just made it super easy for Google+ users to share their experiences very, very publicly.
UPDATE As an addendum, Bing is also pushing the local search functionality. Guess what resource Bing will be utilizing for finding local businesses. Yelp. Bing has been making major strides in order to compete with Google and the social nature of Google+ Local. It seems Bing is bringing Yelp along with it.
The push to make the local experience completely interactive has grown so exponentially in the last couple of years, it’s difficult to imagine where we’ll be in a couple more. Social search has grown by leaps and bounds in a very short amount of time. One thing is clear, the phrase “Evolve or die” could not be written any clearer. Local business owners simply can not ignore the growing need to be involved in the social digital sphere. Word of mouth is still king, but that king sits on the throne made of Yelp and Google+ Local.

I recommend you give at least a moment’s look at Main Street Hub. We handle your online reviews for you. We make sure your customers are heard, acknowledged, appeased and thanked. The time is now. Take your reviews by the horns and lead them in a direction that helps your business grow in this ever changing climate of fickle customers who have been handed megaphones to share their experiences. Tell Main Street Hub that Rob Z sent you. Thanks for reading.

Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents! Go to the app store and download Google Currents for your iPhone or Android and subscribe to Robzie Social HERE!

The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of June 7, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Image courtesy of PushingSocial.com
  • Stanford at Pushing Social offers up some Essential Tools for the Savvy Blogger in a recent post. He even breaks it into three sections: Research, Writing, and Promotion. I’m happy to see that Buffer made his list for the Research and Curation portion. I’m a huge fan of Buffer (if you haven’t been using this amazing curation tool – which integrates seamlessly with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for the web – then be sure to check it out here). I’m surprised to see that Evernote didn’t make his list for Planning, the tools that did are top notch.
Image clipped from Seaquence.org
  • You guys, this has got to be one of the coolest things I’ve found on Stumbleupon.com. Seaquence.org has put together this digital music maker of sorts and, as the site puts it, “Adopting a biological metaphor, you can create and combine musical lifeforms resulting in an organic, dynamic composition.” The interface is really easy to use and you can add multiple “organisms” to add depth and variation. You can also donate to the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts from their homepage. If you search for Seaquence on YouTube, you’ll even find some video clips that people have put together showing off their run at making biological music. It’s cool. Check it out. If you make any videos yourself, let me know and I’ll share them with my readers!
Klout.com
  • I’ll be honest, I use Klout because I love free stuff. Whereas so far I’ve gained early access to a couple up and coming social networks like Learni.st and LoveIt, I actually received my first physical Klout perk in the mail last week. I mean, it wasn’t a new car or a digital device to test drive, but I was still excited about free goodies in the mail. I got my Lipton Tea & Honey samples (Pineapple Mango) in a huge envelope. They gave me quite a few. The stuff is pretty good, but a lot sweeter than I typically go for. Also, 8oz of water is not enough. I filled an entire drinking glass and it was still flavorful. Not bad. It’s good on a hot Austin day, but too sweet to drink tons of it. (Disclaimer: I was given a free product or sample because I’m a Klout influencer. I am under no obligation to received the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.)
Photo by Marcus Kwan
(aperturismo on Flickr)
  • Facebook is throwing around the idea of dropping or removing the minimum age restriction for usage. Currently, the minimum age is 13, according to Facebook’s terms. Of course, some parents have helped their uber-social tween get Facebook accounts anyway, but there are some interesting ideas being tossed out there. One of the big concerns, according to the Washington Post, is the collection of data from and targeted advertising to children. Another idea being considered is having parents’ accounts have an administrator-like control over a child’s account. This, of course, could be a point of contention as a child turns into a teen, but could be a genius move for Facebook. Not only would it allow millions of kids to create accounts, but it would thereby force any parents of those kids to have an account, use it more often to monitor their child’s usage, and interact with Facebook more than they may have previously. We’ll see where the dart finally lands on this issue, but it will be interesting nonetheless.
Promote your blog with Social Media
Image from SocialMediaExaminer.com
  • Some of these tips from Social Media Examiner, if you’re even a slightly experienced blogger, may be common sense. However, this post offers up some really great tips and ideas for using the various outlets at your disposal for promoting your blog. In my case, I share a link to my blog posts on my Google+ profile all the time, but it never occurred to me to paste the entire text into the status update (since Google’s character limit is ridiculously huge0. Not only does this mean people can read your post without leaving Google+, it also is better for SEO!
  •  And finally, this music video by a band called Driver Friendly was shared with me by my friend and coworker Calli. She’s a great local music guru for me and she actually used to listen to these guys when they were first getting their start. I have to credit them for making a great music video, a tribute to Tom Hanks movies is a pretty unique theme. It was even Tweeted by Tom Hanks himself, which is amazing for a small band. Check out their nicely produced video and check them out on Spotify or iTunes if you like their music.

So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know. Did I miss anything great that you came across? Can you name all the Tom Hanks movies in the music video? Let me know with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents! Go to the app store and download Google Currents for your iPhone or Android and subscribe to Robzie Social HERE!

The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of May 23, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Today we’ll start with some great blogging tips that I’ve come across from blogging masterminds across the web.

Christopher S Penn, Awaken Your Superhero
Photo from ChristopherSPenn.com
  • In his blog post “Closing techniques are for content creators, too” Christopher S. Penn discusses methods for closing your blog post and encouraging engagement. Simply stating “Comment below” or “What are your thoughts” are not enough to get real engagement. You will see my slyly changing my tune thanks to this brilliant marketer.
A simple plan for writing one powerful piece of content per week
Photo clipped from Copyblogger.com
  • Another great piece of blogging advice that I cam across this week was courtesy of Pamela Wilson’s article on Copyblogger titled “A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Online Content per Week.” If you’re pressed for time and can’t come up with something brilliant every day like, say, Mitch Joel, then this article offers some insight on how to come up with something worthwhile on a weekly basis. Definitely worth a read if you blog but are short on time.
Six Sinister Blog Time Wasters from Pushing Social
Photo from PushingSocial.com
  • Speaking of those who are pressed for time, Stanford at Pushing Social provides a list of “Six Sinister Blog Time Wasters” to help you in streamlining your blogging process. Some of them are so delightfully simple, you’ll wonder why you weren’t doing them already. Probably because you were too busy worrying about other things on you to-do list. Worthwhile tips for bloggers of any skill level.

Hubspot.com blog post on Google's Knowledge Graph

  •  Hubspot delivers a blog post about the most recent change to Google’s search engine: Incorporating what it calls the Knowledge Graph. This upgrade is meant to make Google search more human-like. It will be looking at your search terms not as a string of characters, but actually in relation to what the words mean and what they are related to. It is concurrently creepy and brilliant, but should provide better results as well as better suggestions.
BuzzFeed Ways to use items
Image from Buzzfeed.com
  • On a non-business note, Buzzfeed had a great post on “35 Lifechanging ways to use everyday objects.” Some of these you’ve likely heard of before, but there were a few in here that even surprised me. Did you know that eating marshmallows can help soothe a sore throat? Could there BE a better remedy? I submit that there can NOT.
Is Google+ engagement equivalent to a ghost town?
Photo from FastCompany.com
  • Ladies and gentlemen, there is a lot of hate out there for Google+. It is tough to be a raving proponent of it when they are articles like this. Fast Company likens Google+ engagement to a ghost town in the article by Austin Carr “New Google+ Study Revelas Minimal Social Activity, Weak User Engagement.” Now, I love Google+. Sure, I’m not as directly connected to it as I am with Facebook and Twitter, but I really don’t understand these statistics. Maybe I just follow really active users, but let me tell you: when I have my Social Media Contacts circle selected for my feed, it’s all I can do to keep up with the stream. Videos and blog posts and articles and funny pictures galore. If there’s no engagement, I’m not seeing it. I’ve been known, on more than one occasion, to mute posts because I get tired of getting updates on all the responses. I simply think that Google+ is where all the cool kids are hanging out, and the others just don’t get it. Yeah, I said it.
Your Favorite Martian song Douchebag
Image from YouTube.com – YourFavoriteMartian
  • Finally, on a little more of a personal note. I would like to dedicate this video, by the hilariously sarcastic and satirical Your Favorite Martian, to some of my neighbors. Those cat-calling tools who shout at every woman that passes by their nasty apartment, begging them to “Come in and party” with them. This song and video, “Douchebag,” goes out to you. You’ve certainly earned it. (Warning, if you watch any of the other videos by Your Favorite Martian, some of them may be offensive to people. You’ve been informed.)
  • Have you seen the Google Doodle for today, May 23? It’s an interactive synthesizer in honor of Robert Moog’s 78th birthday. He is the inventor of the Moog synthesizer and is responsible, inadvertently, for things like techno, dub-step, and Flock of Seagulls (though I don’t think we can thank him for the accompanying hairstyles). Play with it. It’s really cool and allows you to record. Let the synthesizer geniuses go crazy! https://www.google.com/

So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know. Did I miss anything great that you came across? Were you surprised by any of the 35 uses of everyday objects? Let me know with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents! Go to the app store and download Google Currents for your iPhone or Android and subscribe to Robzie Social HERE!

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