Why is Google+ Important?

There is no shortage of social media platforms. Facebook has the most users and Twitter is not far behind, so the question becomes, “why Google+?” The answer is rather simple—because Google owns it. Google has completely revamped their search algorithm—from penalizing sites with bad links and duplicate content, to rewarding sites that are adequately engaging via social media. Google is incorporating a layer of social media into virtually everything, so now is the time to get involved and begin engaging on the Google-owned platform.

Here are some useful tips in creating and managing your Google+ campaign:

  • In the About tab, the introduction needs to be a keyword rich description of the services you provide and the company itself. Also, the introduction is a great area to include links.
  • In the About tab, you should include your office hours, website URL, contact information, and links to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blog.
  • Google+ business pages, like personal profiles, feature a Photos tab. In this area, you should be uploading images that establish your company as an active member of community—fundraisers you attend and support, promotional images, office activities.
  • Instead of Facebook “friends,” Google+ features Circles. When someone adds you to his or her Circle, you will receive a notification and the appropriate response is to add them into one of your Circles. We would encourage you to keep your Circles well organized.
  • A company page should make special efforts to engage with their followers. When a user posts something interesting, click the +1 on the post (the equivalent to a Facebook “like”). By doing so, you begin to build a rapport with your followers. Ideally, they will +1 your posts and links.
  • Like Facebook, Google+ gives users the ability to post/share stories, links, and media. This is a great channel to post recall notices, new videos, photos, blog URLs, news stories, and community-related links. The rule of thumb is to not post more than 1 update a day that directs the user to the website—to prevent appearing too self-promoting. You should aim for 2 updates/day, and reply to those attempting to engage with you. Pay attention to stories receiving the most engagement and model your future posts with that in consideration.
  • We would also strongly recommend the addition of a Google +1 button to your website. A Google +1 button allows visitors to recommend a website to their contacts.


  1. Login to your Gmail account associated with your company
  2. Click on the upside down triangle on the right side of the screen to switch to your company business page.
    You should see your personal Google profile (if you have one linked) and then the company in the drop down. Click on the page link.
  3.  A new window will open with the Company Page. On the top will be a notification: “You are now using Google+ as Company X”. Click “Ok”
  4. You are ready to use the page.



Similar to most other social networks (Facebook/Twitter) it is wise to practice the 80/20 rule: Twenty percent of the content you share on Google+ should be about you – your blog posts, your events, your newsletters, your videos, your images – and 80 percent should be about someone else. The simplest way to do this is to post similar links and content on Google+ as you do Facebook or Twitter.

Also similar to Facebook, Google+ encourages images and videos and will index them higher. Emphasis should be on posting company branded visual content.

A good rule of thumb, regarding social media posting, is to share links back to your website around 3 pm. Mid-day on Wednesdays is said to be the time of week when most social media users are active.

Along the left hand side, you will see icons that will let you quickly link to what type of content you want to post.


  • Pages can’t add people to circles until the page is added first or mentioned.
  • The default privacy setting for elements on your page profile is public.
  • Pages have the +1 button.
  • Pages can’t +1 other pages, nor can they +1 stuff on the Web. (But like profiles, they can +1 inside Google+.)
  • Local pages (like your company’s) have special fields that help people find the business’ physical location.

Google has merged Google Places with Google+, so now there is more need to maintain Google+ activity.




The CEO Sound Off: Fuse Pilates, a Lifestyle Brand for the 21st Century

Sparxoo founder, David Capece’s take on Pilates start-up client, Fuse Pilates.

1)  When and why did Fuse Pilates first start working with Sparxoo?
Fuse Pilates hired Sparxoo shortly after they launched their first pilates studio in Washington, DC in the summer of 2011.  Their goal was to build a presence as a premiere pilates studio in Washington DC in the short-run, and as a lifestyle brand for the long-run.

2)  What were your initial reactions to the brand and their current outreach efforts?
Upon kickoff with Fuse Pilates, we were immediately impressed by the passion and expertise of the founders:  Mariska Breland and Roxanna Hakimi.  They shared their vision of building much more than a studio.  They had ambitions to build Fuse Pilates into a lifestyle brand and a community.  They had a desire to build Fuse Pilates into a differentiated brand with a cutting edge personality.

3)  What are some of the challenges that Fuse Pilates faces in getting their message heard?
As with any startup, there is so much to do and limited budget. Like most startups, the advertising budget was limited, so the focus at Fuse Pilates was primarily on building a digital footprint, winning at earned media and encouraging word of mouth.  In terms of economics, it would be financially beneficial to apply marketing across multiple locations; however, at startup, Fuse Pilates had just their initial location.

4)  What are some of the lessons that other brands can take away from how Sparxoo and Fuse Pilates have worked to overcome these challenges?
Over time, Fuse Pilates has built a loyal and engaged following through high customer satisfaction and by creating an experience.  Other startups must recognize that it takes significant marketing resources and time to build customer relationships and create buzz.  For example, our pr initiative took several months to gain traction.  Since then, Fuse Pilates has been featured in a number of publications including Pilates Style, the Washingtonian, Washington Post, and DC Metro Mom.  Likewise, Fuse Pilates is now optimized on several key words which took months to achieve.  It is important to prioritize marketing initiatives ahead of time and account for the time and effort that is necessary to achieve the desired goals.

5)  Fuse uses a fun and very distinct brand ‘voice’ in their social platforms (especially Facebook), how has that helped defined them?
At Sparxoo, we believe it is critical to present brands in a creative way that breaks through the clutter.  From our perspective, Fuse Pilates has done a great job at breaking through the clutter.  In particular, their photos are unique and different.  They convey the hard core message in a way that connects with their target audience.  Likewise, Fuse Pilates brings its attitude and inspiration to Facebook with light hearted humor that is surprisingly edgy yet sophisticated.

6)  How does Fuse Pilates ‘connect’ with their target demographic?
Fuse Pilates uses every touch point to effectively communicate with their target audience.  On digital, Fuse Pilates makes a great first impression through its web site and continues to impress through its newsletter, facebook, social marketing, and even its mobile app.  In person, Fuse Pilates has great signage, collateral, and art work throughout its studio.  Finally, the Fuse Pilates team and instructors bring the brand to life.

7)  What has been the number one most significant factor that has improved and increased their reach since Sparxoo started working with them?
Fuse Pilates has tremendous customer satisfaction.  As branding and marketing experts, we always say that you need to have a great product to be successful in the long-run.  Fuse Pilates really does have a great product and they care deeply about being the best. They are also able to reach their target audience through a variety of channels, even posting workout videos digitally.

Closing Notes: One thing that’s very important is remaining relevant and fresh with Fuse’s demographic. Check out this New Year’s infographic we recently created for them.


Ease… Efficiency… Ecommerce

We might as well have that purchase key on the key board. It’s as easy as that… see, like, click – and it’s yours. Ecommerce has become a norm, and the keenness for online shopping just continues to climb. To see how the every increasing ease of buying your cookware, clothing, and furniture online came to be – let’s appreciate the growth of commerce into this electronic version. In the old days,  it was the markets – bazaars – that first revolutionized commerce. When the idea emerged – the idea that, instead of neighbors trading goods, everyone could come together to maximize their benefits and minimize their hassle – commerce was born. Since then, it has evolved to continue bringing people and goods together in an exchange where participants trade until they obtain what adds the most value to their lives. Then came currencies to replace bartering. Then WalMart to aggregate products… then came the internet… and then… Amazon.

And it gets better everyday. There is a tendency for easing our daily desires and tasks, and certainly electronic commerce saves the day. It’s genius – just when we thought that it was optimal to bring everyone together to exchange goods and services for payment – ecommerce realized that we could do that without actually… bringing… anyone (physically) together.

So accessible and frequented… but actually, really mind-blowing. I could purchase my ideal baby car seat, new refrigerator, a fresh fruit basket, garden plant, or an obscure keychain from a high-end boutique across the country… right now. And it could be here tomorrow morning if I wanted it to be. Short of magic or superpowers to make anything appear right before my eyes, I’d call ecommerce the next best thing. All it takes to make ecommerce robust is buyers and sellers, WiFi, a credit card, and usually the mailman.

Studies show that ecommerce has sky rocketed in recent years, and growth rates in the most booming industry hotspots – the US, Europe and Japan – are expected to continue growing 10-15% per year. And deservingly so. Ecommerce offers endless options – of customers, places to shop, items to buy, and spread of the business. Not only is it convenient, but also, oftentimes, a cheaper offer of more variety. So we sacrifice… umm… nothing. Nothing at all… Well, except for the gas and time that we would have spent to fight the crowds to maybe find that one “eh, this will do” item that the store is out of in every color except for that maroon color that reminds you of your grandma.

According to a report by comscore, the total US retail e-commerce spending for the first 44 days of the November-December 2012 holiday season reached $33.8 billion, which is up 13% over the corresponding days in 2011. In fact, the report shows that 11 individual days of the 2012 holiday season to date have surpassed $1 billion in online retail sales – which already surpasses the record of 10 shopping days in 2011.

Of course in-store shopping is not obsolete; it has plenty of conveniences, too. What is astonishing, though, is the wildfire spread of ecommerce – and the valid reasons why it highly utilized. Shopping online not only cuts down on time and hassle, but also increasing access to the best choices for the best prices. Plain and simple – you can shop smarter. Ecommerce is a seamless blend of everything the the e-consumer  and e-company  could need to maximize at the shopping experience. Everything is integrated – from social media to advertising, consumer engagement and price setting. All digital touch points and business objectives are beautifully connected by ecommerce.

Shopping online is a functional way to compare prices, items, and learn the most-recent deals. With so many resources, and large-scale, quality-focused ecommerce companies, there should hardly be a trace of worry about what you’ll receive. But even so, the rise of ecommerce has brought the rise of websites like Slickdeals.org, Bizrate.com, and PriceGrabber.com to provide commentary. Can’t see, touch, feel, or try-on? That’s ok – websites provide pristine imagery, detailed descriptions, and consumer reviews or product videos are just a click away. Regardless, many businesses even allow returns! Ecommerce proves viable, though, when stats show that 62% of people say that they rarely return items that they bought online (lab42.com). But what if I have a question about a minute detail? No more “paging John to Customer Service.” Instead, you can just send an email, call the business, or live chat. In fact, 93% of people say that they have engaged in the hassle-free medium before they commit to a purchase (lab42.com).

The undeniable benefits of Ecommerce are certainly not unknown or underutilized. According to lab42 Market Research, statistics show that 73% of people do at least half of their shopping online, and 66% actually prefer to shop online as opposed to in the store. When asked why, they point to the convenience, and 4 out of 5 love the broader selection.

Now, we usually pay a premium for a service that makes life easier, right? Not with this unique industry. By nature, ecommerce can provide lower prices; they have less overhead costs than a company that maintains stores, meanwhile reaching the global market. So what does that mean for you? You pay less to shop in your pajamas, and get it delivered! Not only are there lower prices, but an abundance of deals – on items and on shipping (because you are an email subscriber, spent more than $50, referred a friend, or just because). The ability to provide deals is helpful for ecommerce companies to entice people. According to lab42 Market Research, 7 out of 10 people shop online for better sales, and 2 out of 3 shop online for cheaper prices.

From the business perspective, pursuing ecommerce is an attractive avenue. With internet as the company locus – there’s intense innovation and creativity to be incorporated into business plans. Even amongst the challenge of launching a brand online (mentioned by many an ecommerce businessperson), there is Internet optimization to be had. As an ecommerce company with less need for mark-up, the business can give better deals, and focus on maximizing whatever fulfills consumer needs. It’s also cheap to change online prices based on market signals, and easy to disseminate your brand. Through social media, advertisements, emailing, brand videos, and consumer referrals – everything is interconnected for the perfect composition of an ecommerce company. The potential is clear when even companies with multiple physical locations, like BestBuy and IKEA, have maximized the gains from complementing their stores with electronic shopping.