Google is Taking Over the World, But You Can Claw Back Some Control

Google is a blessing and a curse. You can find most anything with Google, except sometimes the one thing you are looking for, such as, an old news article. In setting up some Google+ accounts for small businesses hoping to show up on the local search 3-pack (more on that later), I noticed something alarming: you must opt out of letting Google use the pictures you post to your business page for Google’s own advertising.

Repeat: if you post images to promote your business on your Google My Business Google+ page, you might just be letting Google own those images for use in its own promotions. Still, you can opt out with the click of a button, if you follow these screen shots below.

The Privacy Checkup and Security Checkup are innocently suggested as “Some new features for your Google Account.” Check that out. It poses the question, “What changes if you turn on these new features?” Well, it gives you an opportunity to “review and control” how you interface within the Google-sphere and what is public, such as what videos you watch in YouTube. Say what? Remember, YouTube is owned by Google and there is a cross-over with those accounts.

Start here to check your Google settings

Start here to check your Google settings

Notice what it is suggesting here highlighted in pink (emphasis added)

Notice what it is suggesting here highlighted in pink (emphasis added)

Don't just gloss over these options

Don’t just gloss over these options

This is offered for your benefit

This is offered for your benefit

Go through each checklist

Go through each checklist and click Yes to make changes!

There are security and privacy settings

There are security and privacy settings

This is important and it is at the bottom of the screen

This is important and it is at the bottom of the screen

Click DON'T!

Click DON’T!

It only takes a few minutes to gain control and peace of mind

It only takes a few minutes to gain control and peace of mind

Google for Work, Google My Business and the former Google Places are connected to Google+

Google for Work, Google My Business and the former Google Places are connected to Google+ and are Google pages for business

Check out this article that notes unmanned Google business pages will disappear, so take control. Verify your business.

Check out this article that notes unmanned Google business pages will disappear, so take control. Verify your business. For more information, Google it!

Note: You may very well want the YouTube videos to show in conjunction with your Google+ business page if they were posted by your business. But, if they are videos of Fido, unclick that setting to keep your videos (what you watch and post) private. It is a lot to consider, but you can always create a periodic security check day. Mark you calendar for a recurring event that prompts you to recheck security settings on key platforms, apps and accounts, including Google everything. I even created a bookmark in a browser called “Google Everything” so I can keep track of all these accounts and logins. Good luck!

Google for Business and Search Results

It is important to pay attention to the Google presence of your business, especially if you aspire to be in the local search “3-pack,” or the top three search results that are boxed together at the top. Among Google’s next big things is a new option in Google Adwords called Extended Text Ads, which create two headlines and 80 characters of text. If you do this now, you may stand out, but in 2017 the old Adwords format is expected to go away and all the ads will be Extended Text.

Chrome, a Love-Hate Relationship

Another area in which I have a love-hate relationship with Google is in Chrome. I love that many social media, blog and design programs work best in the Chrome browser. I have hated the autofill function, which seems to diligently keep working even when I turned it off. I have multiple clients on Pinterest for Business, and ever time I go to log into Pinterest directly rather than from a scheduling platform, Google Chrome starts by autofilling my personal email, which I don’t even use on my personal Pinterest account. This has become maddening because I need to keep highlighting to delete and even when typing, Chrome autofill is racing to refill with the personal email address. I have gone into advance settings in Chrome to manage this to no avail. Although, I did find there a business address from about 10 years ago that I could not edit unless I went to Google Wallet, which I apparently used once in 2010. I deleted that info from Google Wallet, but only by giving my current address. Still, Chrome is autofilling my personal email on Pinterest, but no other websites. If you have the solution to this annoyance, please email me at katharine@adroitnarratives.com.

The moral of these stories is that like everything else in life and business, Google is constantly evolving and unless you are living under a rock, you will have to keep up with growth and changes in the digital ecosystem.

For more information on managing social media and content marketing for business, fill out this client questionnaire.

Words that Give Your Audience a Picture

A picture tells 1,000 words, but we still need words to tell stories. Pictures and words are not mutually exclusive when it comes to effective storytelling, especially when you consider how eye-grabbing images draw in people to read an article or blog.board-1106649__180

Illustrations and images are vital to narratives. Think of any great book you read and you will likely recall the cover illustration or image. Similarly, photojournalism conveys fact in an immediate manner and with memorable impact.

Still, we need words to deliver more complex concepts. We also need words to dispense linear descriptions, such as recipes. Granted, those high-speed video recipes are gaining in popularity for the very same reasons people love to look at still images. They just can’t look away. That being said, imagine making dinner by pressing replay over and over again rather than refer to a written recipe that you can scroll with your eyes.

With descriptive language, you can take your reader on a visual journey. Effective writing makes the audience feel as if they are there in that space from which a narration emanates. On the other hand, excessive use of adjectives creates language clutter. The key is to find the most apt or accurate words for the situation.

Know Your Audience

I’ll never forget an exercise from middle school in which the teacher first had us draw monsters of our own creations. Mine was a horned swamp dweller. Next, the teacher told us we had to write a very short story about our monsters with enough detail for a classmate to draw the creature. I was amazed when this kid Robert drew my swamp monster as almost the same image as I had originally crafted.

This may be when I learned the power of effective writing. The reason the descriptive language worked is because I was thinking about how my audience would receive the information. Every time you write, think of who your audience is or who you want that audience to be. Speak to that audience.

In some circumstances, you may have to draw someone a picture, literally. I once grew frustrated with a group that did not follow my instructions and asked my boss how I could better give directions so that they would be followed. He said to draw a picture. I endeavored to write better directions in an email to the group and cc’d him. He was laughing at me when he then advised he literally meant to draw a picture with screenshots and arrow annotations. I did so and the instructions were used.

Think about all the instances in daily life, including business, when we need to tell an audience a story, give instructions or attract sales. Think about what space limitations you have and whether an image will help you get across the right message. See if you can find images that align with your written message in terms of attitude, tone and style.

Ultimately, it will be your words that give your audience the full picture or rendering of what you are providing. The written word is typically memorialized forever in the digital realm so choose your words for lasting impact.

For more communications consulting, contact Katharine Fraser.