Category Archives: Social Media

Google+ Hangout Tips 2013


Say what you will about Google+ but the hangout feature brings something different to the table. From my perspective they are a great tool to increase engagement levels to your followers on Google+ and provide an alternative way of presenting new content. Recently the company I work for (Farfetch) celebrated it’s 5th Birthday and while we had an array of social promotions and content ideas one new route we decided to use was to host 5 Google+ hangouts.

I can’t say I came up with the ideas for the videos, that was someone in my team but the concept was to create 5 short hangouts in a  ”how to” style. The goals of running this campaign were to increase the number of followers and the engagement levels (in the form of +1′s, commenting and shares).

Here’s some tips from our experience of running these over the course of a week:

  • Make sure you test your desired format beforehand, not every Google+ hangout is the same. You can host a discussion with your followers and public which is similar to an open forum. This format promotes good interaction by each participant, the drawback being it’s harder to moderate – there’s nothing stopping a member of the public going off the rails and spoiling the video
  • We used Google+ Hangouts On Air, which allows you to invite a set number of people or specific circles. One person usually presents (on video or through screen sharing) and leads the hangout and others can watch – but can interact if you want them to
  • It’s a good idea to use Google+ events as a way to help organise - this acts in the same way as a meeting invite in outlook but looks much more fancy. You can invite all those who you wish to attend and specify the times, dates and locations, from that each person will recieve an email invite as well as a Google+ alert, if they accept the invitation they will also receive reminders closer to the date. Once the day of your hangout arrives just post details on how people can view/join the hangout on the event page, you could even post the video directly in the event area and people can watch directly
  • Buy a decent HD web cam, we bought the Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD - it makes all the difference. It turns grainy video into quite crisp visuals which makes the recording look much more professional afterwards
  • Ensure you have good wireless or internet connection, this is actually very important as if you have a bad connection it won’t matter what kind of webcam you have and the quality will suffer
  • Lighting is also important, hosting a hangout in a well lit room will help improve the quality of the broadcast
  • Before you start “Broadcasting” you can see all participants in a staging area beforehand – this gives you a good opportunity to set the ground rules i.e. mics off or questions at the end of the presentation etc
  • You have around a 30-60 seconds delay from the moment you broadcast to when followers/the public can start watching the video
  • Make sure your YouTube channel is linked to your Google+ account – once you’re connected and you’ve recorded your broadcast a version is automatically added to your YouTube channel – this can of course be shared on other social platforms if required
  • Choose the title of your hangout carefully as Google ranks the content immediately i.e. out of the 5 videos we created 4 of them rank #1 for their titles in normal organic search

My only negative point on the experience is that once you’ve recorded your videos there doesn’t seem to be a way to track how many people watch the content, like normal YouTube videos. If anyone knows of a way I’d love to hear how?

We recorded the hangouts and you can view them here:

How to Make Pinata 

How to Make a Chanel Cake Pop

How to Make the Perfect Cocktail

Top 5 Party Tracks with G FrSH

Top 5 Party Dressing Picks with Never Underdressed


Analysis of Top 10 Brands on Google+ (Part 2)

Back in August this year I conducted an analysis looking at 10 of the top brands on Google+. I carried out the study for a number of reasons but primarily to help answer a question that had been grating on me – why do some brands appear to do so well on Google+ when others seem to struggle?

Some of my findings included:

  • 50% of the top 10 brands had a daily follower increase of over 5,000 people

  • The other 50% of the top brands had less than 1000 new followers each day

  • About 75% of the brands posted more than 5 times a day with decent quality content

  • The top performing brand, Cadbury, had an average of 68 comments per post, with the rest averaging at 20, so quite engaging

  • Only 50% of the top brands actually promoted Google+ on their websites

  • H&M and Burberry were the only 2 brands which had over 5,000 new followers each day but had no on-site promotion

  • Out of the top 3 brands the number of comments that appeared to be fake looked like this: Cadbury = 1%, Pepsi = 20%, ASOS = 60%

Afterwards my general feeling was that some brands were doing things properly and some were cheating, it’s as simple as that. The results were certainly nothing new if you look at some of the fans and followers of big brands on Twitter and facebook, it’s just part of the way some companies operate.

So, what’s changed 3 months on?

Looking at the number of  Google+ followers in August and the number of new followers over the 3 month period, it shows some interesting insights. While the likes of Cadbury, H&M and Burberry have appeared to remain quite consistent – Glamour Magazine and Samsung USA have slowed right down. In fact, over the last 3 months Samsung USA has only had 552 new followers and Glamour Magazine with just over 22,000. The most new followers come from Burberry and H&M with over 500k new followers in just 3 months.

I’ve looked at both sites (Samsung USA and Glamour Magazine) and nothing has changed since my last analysis in terms of promoting G+, so looking on you can see that there was a sudden drop in followers for Samsung USA, this has been steadily happening since mid-September.

For Glamour Magazine it’s quite similar; up to August 2012 they were averaging around 5,000 new followers a day and then all of a sudden this too dropped to a much lower number. As well as this, in the start of October they began to follow other people/pages, which they had not done before:

Make of it what you will, but something looks out of place for these two brands.

Next on the comparison was the post frequency – essentially I’ve graded each brand a score out of 10 based on the number of times they each post content, those that post content regularly get a higher score:

Sony was the only brand that has improved the amount of content they’re posting (although it’s still fairly infrequent). I found it quite surprising that most brands had actually slowed the number of posts down.

The last metric I revisited was looking at the post quality of each brand – this again was just a personal scoring out of ten. The maximum point generated would mean that a brand has been posting high quality content such as images, videos, competitions and unique content specifically for Google+.

What’s good to see here is that the majority of the brands in this analysis have upped their game when it comes to Google+ content. Glamour Magazine and Burberry were the only two brands which seem to have dropped the quality ball slightly. I believe more brands are realizing that you cannot just post web content on Google+ and expect to proposer – more brands are creating unique content specifically designed for Google+ (with logos often appearing in imagery and videos). It makes sense to me as most people will have Twitter and facebook already, so why would they want a third location of the same style?

I will keep an eye on these brands and revisit in another 3 months.


Google Authorship Disappeared?

There has been an increase in discussion regarding the Google authorship markup as of late, partly due to a belated welcome email  by Google to the authorship program but also because of some of the extra benefits they are starting to bring to authors. There’s no denying that authorship and author rank are going to be the next big thing in SEO.

A few days ago, having returned from a very nice holiday in Greece I noticed that all my authorship thumbnails had been removed from Google – not exactly the welcome home I had anticipated, so I checked Google Webmaster Tools and could clearly see that my impression count and clicks had dropped off the face of the earth:

I thought it strange so I checked the rich snippets testing tool on all my blogs just in case Google was either testing something, all worked fine:

Worth noting here is that all my blogs, not just one or two, that previously had authorship tags triggering the thumbnails suddenly stopped:

I looked online to see if anyone else had experienced anything like this but couldn’t find any information – but what I found interesting after a day or two was that I could see that for most of my blogs the impression count and number of clicks had actually peaked at the highest number in many months – without authorship thumbnails.

Also in Google Webmaster Tools the impressions and clicks of the site increased to the highest point in 2 months

Another strange point to mention is that for all my blogs the “about us” pages still did trigger the image so this is again evidence that technically everything is working correctly.

So 4 days later, the authorship images have begun to return to my blogs but rather oddly one by one and not for all blog posts. It’s almost like the tags are being reviewed section by section and then set live – very odd, will give everyone an update when I learn more.