Doing the rounds on social media at the moment – a fitting tribute.
Doing the rounds on social media at the moment – a fitting tribute.
This article was originally posted on Inapub’s Trade News website on Tuesday 11th February 2014.
Last month, I wrote about the value of using Google+ to improve your business’s presence online. Google’s approach is to prioritise results based on your data within their Google+ and Places products.
Setting up is easy, but if you’ve already done it you may find you’ve got to go through the process again very soon in order to keep your place.
According to several reports on the web, Google are making changes to their Places for Business pages and, in some cases, e-mailing businesses to get them to confirm their information. E-mails are being sent to businesses to warn them that if they don’t log in to their Places for Business page on Google and confirm or update their information, they could lose access to this data after 21st February, resulting in these businesses having to reapply for their Place pages from scratch.
Searching around the web I’ve noted two things: first, the e-mails from Google are genuine; second, it looks like this is predominately affecting Google pages in Australia only at the moment, but this could be the start of a wider roll out.
On Google’s Product Forum pages, Jade Wang, Google Business Community Manager, confirms that they “are making some changes to Google Places for Business and Google Maps so we can continue providing people with the best experience when they’re looking for local businesses. As part of this process, we’re asking business owners to review and confirm some of the information in their Google Places accounts so we can keep showing it to Google users. We know this will be a few extra steps for merchants, and we apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your time.”
Although, as I say, this appears to not be affecting UK businesses yet, it’s worth having a quick look at your Place page(s) and checking the data is correct. If you haven’t yet claimed the Place page, now is a good time to get your pub’s information on there and make sure the information is correct – again, it can only help with improving your business’s presence online and improve your search engine results.
To access Google’s Places for Business, go to http://www.google.co.uk/business/placesforbusiness/ and either login with your account details or click the Get Started For Free button.
If you have never gone through this process then you will need to claim the venue, which will result in Google wanting to verify you are the owner. They will do this through one of two options – either by calling your business immediately to verify you are the owner, or sending a postcard with a PIN number on it to your venue’s address. This is a lengthier process and can take up to two weeks to complete.
Once you’re logged in, your pub’s data will show up. If you are affected by the changes above, a warning will appear asking you to review your data; if not, you can still click on Edit to make any changes you want to make, or View Dashboard to see what information is already in place and view Google’s statistics as to how many times your venue has shown up in search results on Google Maps.
If you haven’t set your Google+ page for your business up yet, this is the perfect time to do so and the Places for Business dashboard will guide you through the process of setting this page up while you’re logged in.
While I support, in principle, the idea of banning people from smoking in cars when children are also passengers, I can’t help think that this new legislation will be yet another tool to bludgeon Britain’s already-beleaguered motorist with.
First question: how will it be policed? I can suddenly see every car with a smoker behind the wheel being stopped so officers can safely inspect the vehicle for little people. “Oh, and while we’ve got you did you realise…”
Second question: what will the penalty be for this offence? Will this be a fine? Or an excuse to add more points to a driver’s license…?
Third question: how thin is the line between smoking with a kid in the car and the offence of driving without due care and attention? How often have we seen horror stories of a driver being prosecuted because he dared to take a bite of a Kit Kat while stationary at a red traffic light…?
The list of what ifs is endless.
For the record, I’m not pro-smoking. I’ve never even taken a drag on a cigarette. But I’m nearly forty two years old, reasonably healthy, and both my parents smoked while I was growing up.
And back then drivers didn’t even have the courtesy to open a window while smoking and driving with children in the back…
This article was originally posted on Inapub’s Trade News website on Thursday 24th January 2014:
There’s a general rule of thumb that says images in social media posts get more engagement from viewers of your content than just text updates.
Hence, Twitter cards were launched last year to help give a more visual engagement when sharing links from websites, and each and every social media sharing app for your phone now allows you to play with images to try and make you look more like a professional Instagrammer with every post.
This week, Facebook have upped the ante even further, announcing in their blog[MJD1] that they’ve changed the algorithm for business pages to put more emphasis on posts with pictures in them. In simple terms: post a status to your business page with just words in it and it’s less likely to get shown to your Likers than if you put an image in it.
According to Facebook, they saw that when standard users posted updates with just text in them it generated an average of 9 million more status updates written every day from their friends. This wasn’t reflected in engagement with business pages, however, and Facebook have learned that users reacted more to visual content from pages they Liked than just text based ones.
I am a little surprised that it’s taken Facebook this long to react to this – I always saw greater engagement from customers at my pub if I posted a picture of the glasswasher flooding the servery than I would have done if I’d just written “glasswasher has flooded the bar floor again”, and that was almost three years ago…
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words, to paraphrase Frederick R Bernard, and it seems that now Facebook are going to ‘encourage’ you to post more pictures than words by altering their algorithm to ensure images get seen more by your page fans than wordy updates do.
The latest update to their ranking algorithm will now treat text updates from business pages differently to text updates from personal profiles. “Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates,” Facebook warns in this week’s blog post, “but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.”
In other words, when sharing a link use a proper link-share button rather than simply pasting the website address in to the post, and when sharing events and updates always try to ensure there is an image included with the post. It will stand more chance of being seen by your followers than without.
Your Facebook News Feed, it’s a busy old place isn’t it? Narcissistic status updates from friends, promotions from businesses, videos from pages you follow… it’s a clutter of noise that makes it difficult to trawl through to find what you’re actually looking for.
Of course, you could unlike pages you’ve been following or unfriend those distant acquaintances who post inane photographs of their previous night’s meal, and this may be a prudent move, but sometimes it’s not right, or politcally correct, to remove a person from your Friends list.
As a rule of thumb, I try to keep my Facebook contacts to family and friends only; there are a couple of work colleagues on there but I don’t accept friend requests from people who I don’t know or who I wouldn’t want to share certain information with. I then make sure that I don’t make certain statuses public (although, this is by no means a guarantee of privacy, remember).
By contrast, I have a much larger audience on Twitter, and LinkedIn is for people I don’t want to be friends with on Facebook… (or work, as it is more commonly known.)
So how do you stay friends with somebody on Facebook, or remain a fan of a business, but stop seeing their posts in your News Feed? It’s quite simple: “unfollow” them.
There are two ways to do this. First, you could visit that person’s/business’s page. At the top of the page, just at the bottom of their main cover photograph, you will see a set of buttons. If it’s a business page, it’ll say Liked, Following, Message (for friends’ pages Liked is replaced with Friends):
Click on the button ticked Following and it’ll switch to say Follow:
This person or business’s posts will now not show up in your News Feed. However, you will remain as friends or fans of them, so you can still visit their page to see how they are getting on.
Another way to stop following somebody on Facebook is from within the News Feed itself. When a status pops up it’s often a reminder to you that you’ve forgotten to remove them already; to the top right of each status is a little drop down arrow that will produce a menu:
Simply select the line that says “unfollow <insert name>” and the same function will occur; you will continue to be a fan of the page or ‘friends’ with that individual, but their posts will stop appearing in your News Feed.
(Please note – I haven’t stopped following Autosport International Show, it’s just an example!)
Remember, just because you stop following them doesn’t mean your posts won’t continue to show up in their News Feed. As long as they are still following you, everything you post will continue to appear in their feed. (This doesn’t apply to business pages; they cannot see your personal posts.)
Got the mid-week, January blues? This video will cheer you up.
During their five year mission, exploring new worlds, seeking out new life and civilisation, Captain Kirk and his crew finally go boldly where no man should ever have gone before, and discover Miley Cyrus.
After ten hours, it proves too much for the Enterprise…
Google is the megacorp that sci-fi writers have been warning us about for decades now, and nobody has ever asked me about their search results on Bing… that’s the crux of my Technically Speaking column on Inapub today.
I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions. This year’s no different, really, although I do need to go on a diet and I should try and make a bit more of my Google+ page. And I’m going to write more to this blog.
I know, I’ve said I’m going to do that before, but life has developed a nice little routine since leaving the pub and now I have a bit more time for my own indulgences. So I’ve already dabbled with the look’n’feel of this blog, and tried to tally up the look’n’feel of my Twitter page to match, as well.
There are other places I write: a monthly column on technology, Technically Speaking, for the pub trade in the Inapub magazine, plus my opinion/technology blog on the magazine’s website, and my bi-monthly Web Wisdom column in the BIIBUSINESS magazine for members of the British Institute of Innkeeping. But I like writing, and I need a place to vomit out the stuff that doesn’t always fit in with my workday.
So hopefully, whenever the need to splurge out my opinion on something not related to what I do for a living, this is where it’ll happen. I can’t guarantee how regularly I’ll do it, but I’ll try and keep it humorous (where I can).
I’ll write about stuff like:
Why The French Can’t Park
Honestly, we’ve just been away on a family holiday for Christmas and New Year; a friend from the pub we sold last year offered us their holiday home near Cognac so we could have a proper family getaway over the holidays for the first time in nine years, and it was fantastic. Tainted only by two things
as a pending transaction for up to seven days. This wiped out over £200.00 of available credit on my card until the transactions were dropped;
Or how about
Homework at Christmas Time
So my eldest finished school for the holidays, only to announce that he had four, count them, four major pieces of homework assignments to complete over the Christmas break. Now, I’m not a big fan of homework at the best of times (never was when I was at school, either) and I know that, for primary school children at least, TV Estate Agent Kirstie Allsop also has a bee in her bonnet about it, but there are definitely times when homework shouldn’t be issued at all.
Christmas holidays is one of them. I know, there are certain items we should encourage kids to do at home and they have to learn to be responsible enough to do their work during the week; but if school assignments can’t be completed during school hours, then surely the school day is not long enough?
If I take a holiday from work, I’m not expected to do work during that time of paid leave, so why should we expect children to have to do so? Especially at Christmas Time.
Or the big news this past week
To me, he is the greatest Formula One driver who ever lived; I loved watching him race, I loved his Dick Dastardly approach to the sport, but he was simply a genius of his time. He has had his flaws and some of his tactics have been questionable but his talent, in his prime, was unbeatable.
He holds almost all the records the sport has to offer and yes, I know, Sebastian Vettel is probably on his way to usurping some, if not many or all, of them, but that will never stop me believing Schumacher is the greatest champion of them all.
So it was really saddening to hear of his tragic accident last Sunday while skiing, and the fact that, at the time of writing, he remains in an induced coma with serious injuries to his brain, and doctors refuse to offer a prognosis at this time.
We all hope that he makes a full recovery, and yes we all want to know how he is getting on, but a lot of the press intrusion this week has been horrible to watch. Stories of a journalist dressing up as a priest to try and get access to the ex-Ferrari driver’s room, photographers eagerly snapping images of distressed family leaving or arriving at the hospital.
And journalists asking particularly daft questions during press conferences, all wanting the goriest details they can get.
The satirical motorsport blog, Sniff Petrol, did write this wonderful piece on the press intrusion: http://sniffpetrol.com/2014/01/02/schumacher-news-latest/
I hope that Michael Schumacher makes a full recovery, and soon, and that his family are left in peace to help him on that journey.
Welcome to my new [sic] blog. Welcome to 2014.
On the 17th September I wrote an off-topic piece for Inapub magazine about losing my mobile phone, and the freedom it gave me.
You can read the piece by clicking the title above or the link below: