Tag Archives: Google+

Website Traffic Boost using Google Maps and Local Guides

We’re all looking for ways to increase our website traffic or bring more eyes to our social pages. Let me tell you about a free, authentic and effective way of doing just that.

I received a really cool e-mail from Google this week, that told me that my photos had helped over 250K people on Google Maps (255,361 to be precise!).

Local Guides 250K Views for Free Website Traffic

How?

If you’re anything like me, you use Google for everything.  I regularly use: Search; Maps; YouTube; Gmail; Drive; G+; and, Translate. I actually just surprised myself at how much I rely on Google services.

Well…about a year ago I signed up as a Google Local Guide.

Google Local Guides are basically people who share their discoveries on Google Maps. This allows people to get more value from Google Maps by benefiting from the experience of others.  This could be a review of a local restaurant or a picture of your local beach.

So that’s good for Google, but what’s in it for you?

Well there are actually 5 different levels of guide (I’m a level 3).  A level 5 becomes a “Google Insider”, and gets to test new products before public release.  This Local Guides benefits page gives you a complete run down.

But personally, I’m not doing it for the Google benefits. I’m doing it because every picture I share carries my watermark and gives me free website traffic.  This image of The Shore in Edinburgh, Scotland has received 21, 445 views alone.

The Shore, Leith - More than 21,000 views providing Free Website Traffic

 

This image of Carson’s Pioneer Lookout in NSW, Australia has received 9,761 views.

Carsons Lookout Thunderbolts Way - More than 9,000 views providing Free Website Traffic

 

And this image of Murcia Cathedral in Spain has been viewed a whopping 39,363 times!

Murcia Cathedral - More than 39,000 views providing Free Website Traffic

It’s very important to keep your images relevant to the exact place on Google Maps that they are of (otherwise, I’m sure Google will remove them and you from Local Guides). However, it’s worth bearing in mind that as a landscape, cityscape, seascape photographer I’m much more interested in uploading those kinds of images. However, you’ll find that the local McDonalds is searched for on Google Maps much more than the places I like to photograph.  Food for thought?!

More importantly, the more accurate you are, the more relevant your image is to the person making the search on Google Maps. They are then far more likely to read your watermark (free advert) and visit your website.

Something that I haven’t done (yet), and also strongly advise, is that you also use your watermark to drive traffic to your various social media profiles.

I hope that boosts your website traffic or increases your followers on your social profiles.

Please click my social links, follow my page and say hi. You’ll then be first to know about my next blog.

 

Fraser 😉

DJI Mavic Pro – WOW!

You’ve probably heard the saying

the best camera is the one you have with you

which I totally agree with, or at least I did, until they invented the DJI Mavic Pro.  And I haven’t even got mine yet!

DJI launched the Mavic at the end of September 2016, and I was blown away.  The Mavic is a portable camera drone, which – at AUD $1699 – offers incredible quality and portability.

When launched, I was choosing between the DJI Phantom 4 or the (also new) Go Pro Karma. Let’s just say I’m glad I was indecisive, because the Mavic made my decision easy.

Personally, I’m a stills guy, and that’s what I’ll be using the Mavic for initially, but I do have ambitions to get involved in motion too (as well as, not instead of).

Now the downside! I don’t think that DJI were quite ready to release the Mavic, but once Go Pro launched the Karma they brought it forward (to make sure Go Pro didn’t capture some of ‘their’ market share).  As a result – and due to the popularity of the drone – deliveries have been delayed. I’m expecting mine pre-Christmas, and hopefully early December.

I actually bought the Fly More Combo, which at AUD $2199 includes a shoulder bag, additional propellers, an extra battery, a charging hub and a car charger. With hindsight, this probably means I’ll have to wait a little longer than those who just bought the Mavic by itself.

What do other people say?

So…I appreciate I sound like a fan-boy, which admittedly I am, so here’s a bit more information if you want to judge for yourself.

Here’s the guys at Flite Test reviewing the Mavic Pro:

I’d also recommend the reviews from Drone Valley, who tell it like they see it.  If you want both the good and the bad, you’ll get it here:

If you’re considering buying or have just bought the DJI Mavic Pro, and want to compare notes, or if you’ve been flying for a while and want to give me advice, please say hello via your preferred social platform.

Happy flying,

Fraser

What Happened to TSU?

If you’re anything like me, your daily routine at some point involved going to your PC, laptop, desktop or mobile and logging in to TSU. It looks like I’ve done this for the last time, because today as I logged on – as I’ve done since October 2014 – I got the dreaded “we have taken tsu dark” message.

So what happened to TSU?

TSU burst on to the social media scene back in 2014, with a promise to pass 90% of the revenue generated by the platform back to the users of the platform.  The idea was simple, it’s your content, we’ll monetize it, keep a little and pass back a lot.

It was (and still is) a wonderful idea.  But, unfortunately the execution of the business model didn’t live up to the idea. Why? Because they failed to recognize their biggest asset…the community.

Yes, there were many who tried to scam the system, and make a few extra cents here and there, but there were also many who didn’t, who wanted the network to succeed. I personally tried to engage with the company many times with ideas to help them succeed (because by helping them, I was also helping myself and others).  Unfortunately, this help was neither acknowledged nor accepted.

I – with hindsight foolishly – believed that the problems were those of a new company, with a small budget and that they would learn as they went. However, today’s announcement shows that time got the better of them.

Was it all a scam?

I believe not. I along with others look likely to lose the balance of our accounts (if they are under $100), and I would love to know where all that money is going to go (remember there were 5.2 million registered accounts).  However, I was paid several times. I also made nearly 200 donations to verified charities (some a few cents, some a few dollars). I will forever feel good about that, and so should the staff at TSU that tried to make a difference.

I also made a few genuine connections and friendships, which is a very difficult thing to do online. I hope that these connections will persist long after TSU is gone.

So what does this teach us?

The main lesson is to not put all our eggs in one basket.  If you’re trying to build an online presence or profile, you have to use the multiple channels that are available to you, and they should all point towards each other (and preferably back to a website of your own that you control).

Where to now?

A lot of people will now be looking for a new TSU, and I’ve even spoken to some who are interested in creating one (I wish them all the best with this). But, in the meantime, where are the substitutes and where should you focus your efforts?

Facebook

The grand-daddy of them all. The one where everyone is. The one where you’ve likely tried to convince people to leave. But yet…here we all are! Personally, I believe that Facebook is a necessary evil for now. Whilst they have the critical mass of people, you should still pay attention to it. It has however got progressively worse since it began, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s feed has got clogged up with junk more and more. So where else?

Instagram

For those of us who’s skills are visual (it’s photography for me), then Instagram is a good choice. It’s owned by Facebook, therefore Facebook don’t penalise the content when you share it.  i.e. I get 10 times the reach from a post I share to Facebook from Instagram than I do from my own WordPress website (that is not a coincidence).

Snapchat

Snapchat

The young upstart. The place made famous for nude selfies is now playing in the big league. With in excess of 100 million downloads from the android Play store, it is no longer a joke. MTV, National Geographic and Cosmopolitan are unlikely to all be wrong.

If you can work out a way to make Snapchat work for you, you may well be on to a winner.

G+

I love G+, but it might only be me and a couple of others that do! Possibly the best network, look, feel, functionality etc but it’s just not used by the masses. Unless you’re there already, I don’t think I’d recommend starting.

YouTube

Geek to mainstream in 10 years. A true success story, that keeps getting better. I’ve personally only ever made 2 videos (and one of those was for TSU) but I intend to make YouTube a big part of my future efforts…and remember they also share the revenue.

If you still think that YouTube is just about cats falling over, I’d recommend that the first 2 channels you follow are Casey Neistat and Gary Vaynerchuk.  These guys have literally changed my entire outlook on life, and I can’t thank them enough.

I also believe Music.ly is going to be great (it won’t be for me…but it will be for many) and that Twitter, Pinterest etc are on the decline.

I hope that helps give some of you some direction. I wish all the great, genuine and original TSUvians the very best, and that ours paths cross again in the future.

If you’d like to make the connection elsewhere, please do so via the links in the text above, or via the social icons on my website. Any shares of this post via your own social networks are of course much appreciated.

Peace and love,

Fraser

 

Is My Content Good?

If you’re trying to grow a presence online, then you’ll be aware that social media is where it’s at.  Personally, I use: TSU; Instagram; G+; Facebook; YouTube; Pinterest; and recently even, Snapchat (username Goofy Surfer) (the order is my personal level of importance).

But is my content good?

This is the question that I (and you) should keep coming back to, and this is why you should always refer back to the data.

On TSU, there is a great Analytics tool that allows you to evaluate every post that you make. You should be using it! And the best thing…it doesn’t matter how many Friends or Followers you have.

I use a 10% rule. It’s simple. For every 10 people that see my post does 1 person like it?

Here’s a few examples:

This image has received 327 views and 51 likes (15.6%…good)

Contrasting Fortunes - Is my content good?
Contrasting Fortunes

This image however, has only had 29 views and 2 likes (6.9%…poor)

Flag of the UAE - Is my content good?
Flag of the UAE

This post, has had 2270 views and 199 likes (8.8%…ok, but great reach)

As your audience grows, you will notice 2 things.  First, some people will share your content regardless of whether or not they like it, just because you have a big audience (in the hope that you will do the same back).  DON’T! Or rather, only do if you genuinely do like their content. Otherwise, your agenda is clear and people see through it in seconds.

Second. The 10% target you’re aiming for is likely to become a little ambitious. As your content reaches a bigger audience, it is natural that not everyone it reaches will like it (although some will).

ALWAYS focus on the people with whom you’ve got a GENUINE relationship with. They are your biggest fans and your biggest supporters. They will help you because they want to, and you will help them because you want to.

You will also notice that something that gains good momentum on 1 social platform, will not necessarily gain it on another. When you see this, start varying what you do on that platform and see what works.

But keep analysing… IS MY CONTENT GOOD?

Is Google finding your TSU posts?

Q. Does it matter if Google finds your TSU posts?

A. Of course it does, and here’s why.

Let’s say that your hobby or profession is photography, and that macro photography is what interests you most. Let’s also say that you’ve joined TSU, and that the majority of your content is close-ups of insects. But…you really only post your images and a couple of hashtags, if you remember. It’s highly unlikely that Google is going to find your post.

Q. So what should I do differently?

  1. Always give your post a title. This should be relevant and not an attempt to spam (Google doesn’t like this, neither does TSU and neither should you).
  2. Always give your post a short description. This could be where you were, what camera you used, what the subject is, how long it took you to get the shot you wanted etc. etc.
  3. Always use at lease 2 or 3 (relevant) hashtags. i.e #caterpillar #insect

This will make it much more likely that your post will be ‘discovered’ on TSU and be indexed and found on Google.

Q. So what?

A. Well, if someone – who has possibly never heard of TSU – finds your post on Google (TSU posts are now Open Web and can be seen by non-members) and joins TSU as a result, they join under your shortcode.  They are then a child in your family tree network forever, and remember, TSU rewards both original content and those who grow the network.

Here’s something to try:

Open a new tab or web page. Go to TSU, but log out of your account. Go to Google and search for ‘YourUsername on TSU’.  Click on the link to your account.

You’ll be able to see all of your account but not interact without signing up.  So click on the link that says ‘Join’.

Have a look in the Referrer Shortcode field.  It is you!

Q. Can you summarise this?

A. Sure. Take a little more care and attention when you make your posts and gain TSU children without having to do anything!  Cool eh.

Please share to your favourite social network (buttons below).

Thanks 🙂

 

Read more tips at:

Tip 1: How do you find the right people
Tip 2: Don’t be a Eucalyptus Head
Tip 3: Account Restrictions
Tip 4: How to invite Friends
Tip 5: Use Hashtags
Tip 6: Mention other TSU Users
Tip 7: Meaningful Engagement
Tip 8: Connect your Social Profiles
Tip 9: Spammers and Copyright Infringement
Tip 10: Who YOU should invite to TSU

 

 

TSU – Why you are getting it wrong

Ok…let’s start with the obvious and the honest. None of us need to join another social media platform.

I personally use: Facebook; Google+; Twitter; YouTube and Pinterest. I also use Fine Art America, Dreamstime and my own website (no need for a link…you’re on it!)

So why do you need TSU.  Short answer…you don’t need it, but you might want it, and here’s why.

The nearest comparison is Facebook.  The format and structure is similar and if you can use Facebook you can use TSU.  But why move? Well, Facebook keeps 100% of the revenue it generates from advertising alongside your content.  You know…your comments, shares, pictures, videos etc.  TSU is only going to keep 10% and is passing the other 90% back to it’s users.

 

Why I was Getting it Wrong

I was quite excited by the model and immediately set about trying to get as many friends and followers as I could.  Much like you do with the other social networks.

Let’s face it, if we are just trying to be social with our friends and family you don’t go looking for strangers to talk to, but if you have a business, a product, a service, a skill etc. that you are trying to tell people about then you need to tell as many people as possible until you find the one(s) who need or want it.

I’m a photographer, and I have managed to build a network of great people across the various social sites.  I spend a lot of time speaking to people who like, comment or share my posts.  Some of them even buy my work! They are helping me promote myself and I’m happy to do the same in return for them.

But ultimately, the GET MORE FOLLOWERS attitude is selfish.

 

How to Get it Right

Here’s the kicker…the TSU model encourages you to think of others first, and it incentivises you to do so!  Clever eh.

Anyone you invite to TSU becomes your ‘Child’.  Anyone they invite to TSU becomes your ‘Grandchild’ and so on.

10% of the ad revenue goes to TSU

45% of the ad revenue goes to the content creator

The remaining 45% (in decreasing percentages) goes to the rest of the ‘family tree’

 

So…Who Can You Help?

Do you know an aspiring writer, painter, singer, blogger, speaker etc? Then use your personal invite to invite them to TSU. They get a new platform to promote themselves and you share in their success.

Do you participate in online forums where your opinion is respected? Introduce others whose opinion you respect and the chances are they will be successful too.

Do you have friends and family on Facebook that you would like to see being paid for doing what they are already doing for free?  Invite them to TSU.  Use your invite link and that helps you too.

 

It’s All About the Quality

Right now there is plenty of “Follow Me, Follow Me” noise.  I was guilty of it too.  But…the frenzy will calm down, and the people who will do well will be the ones with a big ‘family’ who post, share and like quality content. Spammers beware!

If you decide that TSU is for you, then please say hello when you join up.

 

Fraser

1500 followers and 250,000 views on G+

Sounds pretty good, right?

I signed up to G+ in May of this year, having never used it before. As of right now I have 1462 followers and 232,461 views of my photographs. If you’re a G+ expert you might not be impressed, if you’re just starting you want to know how.  (yes ok…I rounded up…it was a catchier title!)

Here’s the steps I’ve used (bear in mind I have a day job…as I’m guessing you do to):

Join Communities and Engage

I have joined 40 communities, most of which understandably have a focus (pun intended) on photography. They range from 27 members to 380,000 members.  Here are just a few:

Amazing Photos from Around the World

Scotland Photography

Beach Photographers

Now…it would be wrong of me to say that I get the same number of +1’s, comments and shares from the community of 27 as I do the community of 380,000 but it is not proportional.  The more niche a community, the more likely you are to get engagement (assuming you’re sticking to the subject).

To find communities of interest to you in G+, hover over the dropdown, click Communities and type your topic of interest in the search bar. It’s that easy.

DO:

  • +1, share and comment on posts that are of interest to you.
  • Read the community rules and abide by them.  Noone likes a spammer.
  • Upload or post your own original content (pictures, thoughts etc.) that suit the community.

DON’T:

  • +1, share and comment on posts just because you’re looking for followers. If you’re selective, you’ll find that those that do follow you back will be much more engaged as a result.
  • Just upload all of your content to all of your communities…that just makes you a spammer…and it is ultimately counter-productive.

Shared Circles

Probably G+‘s biggest strength and also it’s biggest weakness. Personally, I don’t like shared circles, or more accurately, I don’t like the way they are used.  At their worst, they are a pyramid scheme to gather followers, where the guy at the top gets all the benefit and everyone else does all the work.

However, circles that are actually curated (i.e. someone has spent months finding photographers that they liked and then shares that with you)…that’s fantastic.

I use shared circles (sparingly) and the best place I found for curated circles is Circle Count.  Go to Specials – Circles – Curated in the menu. Even then, you’ll need to ‘curate’ that circle so that it is interesting to you.

Creating your own Circles

This…is great.  Currently I have about 10 circles:  Photographers; Photography Businesses; Social Media Advice etc.

However I have also recently created 3 more:  +1ers; Commenters; and Sharers.

I try my best to add people into the appropriate circle(s) whenever they +1, comment or share.  Ultimately I’m on G+ to engage, as I’m sure everyone else is.  If someone has taken the time out of their day to +1, comment or share on something I’ve done, I follow them.  I’m happy to help promote those that are helping me promote myself.

Also, if someone likes one thing you did, there’s a greater chance they’ll like the next thing you do too!

Complete your Profile (properly)

It takes 10 minutes of your time…do it.  I often find myself looking at other people’s ‘About’ page to see if they are of interest to me. Usually they post one thing of interest, and then as if by magic I find myself there.  Sometimes I immediately follow, sometimes I immediately don’t based on that page, but I’m much more likely to follow if someone has given their About page a bit of thought.

Make Links Easy

Are you using G+ to try and drive traffic to your own website?  Me too.  Highlight the relevant text click Link, add the link.

Make it easy for people!

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a break.  Grab a coffee and I’ll see you on the blog again soon.

All comments are appreciated…so feel free to have your say.

Fraser