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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Social Media is keeping active

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

The world of Social Media is forever fast moving and growing. It may feel impossible to keep up with who is where and what is what when it comes to things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and everything in between. Luckily we’ve put together an awesome info-graphic letting you know how social media is keeping active.


Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing

Thursday, April 16th, 2015


Sixty years ago, Peter Drucker said, “Marketing is the unique, distinguishing function of the business.”

We’re moving into a new era of marketing, one that is distinguishing the successful and memorable businesses from the rest. An era where customer service is part of marketing, a time where we want to live life to the fullest and share our knowledge. We’re living in an era of experiences.

This was Robert Rose’s message (& latest book) at the latest Desert AdFed luncheon at the Classic Club.

According to experts, we recently moved out of the “Relationship Era”, having started with one to one marketing in the mid-90s and moving into engagement and becoming “friends” with potential customers, online.  But let’s face it. It’s been complicated.

So, how does a company go from merely creating content to creating value and stellar customer experiences?

Instead of asking “Should I lower my prices?” or “Should we offer another product?”  ask “how high can I set the bar to deliver an experience that connects with my customers?

Marketing can – nay, must – lead this new era to create powerful customer experiences.

As a long-time beer blogger and marketer, I found myself nodding enthusiastically. Offering interesting content and showing off the latest beers and trends at beer festivals (aka “experiences”) and dinner pairings (more experiences) & in brewer interviews (valuable & relevant content) has been my blog’s main driver for almost a decade.

Today’s consumer is information driven, insightful and eager to find the best service and product experience. They want to buy from businesses that acknowledge their pain points, their needs, desires and hell, just make finding a product or service easy and dare I say, enjoyable.Marketing Experiences: Infographic

Here are a couple great examples:

  1. Kraft: Want more of your message consumed? Offer useful and relevant content to your consumers. Kraft has been delivering delicious recipes online to beef up their content marketing since the early 90s.  Okay, I’m done with the puns. About 1/3 of KraftRecipes.com are created by their culinary team and the rest is curated from their member community. The ROI on the content marketing work is among the highest of all of their marketing efforts. They’ve been so successful (100m annual visitors to its web properties) not just by giving away recipes, but by understanding customers based on their interactions with the content. Kraft has proven that its content marketing yields 4x better ROI than its traditional advertising.
  2. Saks Fifth Avenue: The nearly century old department store has successfully tapped the potential of mobile. Knowing that in-store customers use their devices to shop, the luxury retailer aimed to optimize their marketing, sales and branding. They brought in guest editors to their catalogs, giving a more magazine-like feel, presenting Saks as a fashion authority and making it more of an experience.

Content, after all, is still king.

Starting in 2013, Sakes also started offering a mobile-optimized website and an iPad app. This allows shoppers to enjoy a seamless experience that combines the efficiency of online interactivity with the immediacy of in-store shopping.  And get this, Saks Fifth Avenue even embraced the selfie. Last year, they launched a user-generated section of its site, called #SaksStyle, that aggregates shoppers’ selfies shared on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.

And the images are shoppable. Giving consumers a standard hashtag to use and featuring their images on the site rewards them.

Now, that’s an awesome experience.

Spark interest by making your brand larger than the sum of your products. And coming on the heels of the next big Google algorithm update (Search “Google Mobile algorithm update”) on April 21st, be mobile! Google searches about location are growing rapidly, and so are consumer expectations.

Use Content Creation Management (CCM) to create experiences that delight, inspire and engage your audiences.

In today’s constantly connected world, people crave sensory experiences. Just look at IfOnly.com, the “world’s first emporium for experiences.” They offer exclusive options with semi-finalists of this year’s James Beard Awards and even a private dinner inside the Venetian Gothic Palace for some tantalizing and memorable experiences.

What do you as a brand have to offer that matters to consumers? What are you going to provide to make them want to come back to you again and again?

If we provide value and a great experience to our clients and consumers, marketing still, indeed, can be the unique, distinguishing function of the business.

Twitter & Google Reach Deal To Put Tweets in Search Results

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

If you didn’t think it was important to be on Twitter for your business, then this should change your mind. The constantly moving social network will start to roll out tweets in the place we search for everything: Google.Twitter Google Search Results

According to Bloomberg, Twitter reached a deal with Google that will make your tweets searchable.  Twitter is expanding its already massive reach and your tweets will have a larger audience.

Real-time tweets from Twitter will appear in the largest search engine “in the first half of this year.” Google currently displays tweets in its search results but it crawls the site for content.

Twitter and Google struck a similar agreement back in 2009, but it was not renewed in 2011. Terms of this apparent new deal will make tweets visible inside Google’s search results immediately after they are tweeted out.

Tweets coming from Twitter’s 284 million users could very well be more prominently featured by Google.  Twitter’s hope? To serve those beyond its registered users, drive more traffic and ultimately increase new users.

Twitter has indeed been busy. Twitter also recently announced plans to sell ads outside of its own platform for the first time, striking deals with news-reading app Flipboard and Internet portal Yahoo Japan to show promoted tweets.


Say Hello to Ello

Friday, January 9th, 2015

ello-banner---698x400Any social network that is able to gain global interest and popularity by some Californian drag queens will spark my curiosity.

The animated artists fled Facebook after the giant social network began to impose a “real names” requirement on users. But these smoky eye experts haven’t been the only social-ites that are fed up with Facebook.

Ello was created by a group of artists and designers from the Berger & Föhr Studios who were tired of social networks that rely on users to sell advertising and selling their users’ data to other advertisers.

Users are rushing to join Ello and – at one point – the network was seeing 35,000 sign-ups hourly.

These design-minded owners fueled more interest with their invitation-only membership. A fellow web-minded cohort and I requested account invitations at the same time. When I received mine and he didn’t, we both had to wonder what their selection process was, if any.

Perhaps it’s part of the allure, rolling out the network like a Hollywood club, pulling back the red rope to the “VIP section”.  And admittedly, I did feel a little cool.

It reminded me of using a Mac for the first time as a longtime PC user.

It’s simple, hipstery and so-minimalist-it-hurts. It was almost daunting at first.

When I started poking around and following fellow Ello users, I realized that most of the users were photographers, artists, designers, architects, filmmakers and the like.

It’s like Burning Man digitally exploded on my desktop.



Did Ello somehow find out that photography was my first love? Either way, I was intrigued.

Soon they’ll be offering “special features” that people can pay for if they’d like to add them to their account. Will it out-social Facebook?  I doubt it.  Not after Facebook has spent billions and have snatched up other services like Instagram and WhatsApp. And I don’t think people will abandon Facebook so quickly after spending years building their moments and connections.

Some can even argue that well targeted ads are welcome (new craft brewery in L.A. you say? Okay, I’ll “like”.). Despite this, Ello is a breath of fresh air.

Here are 15 things you should know about the new social network:

  1. No advertising: the owners pledge that your account data will never be made available to third parties for advertising or commercial purposes.
  2. The site is a platform built for posting and sharing content publicly. Search engines will be able to see the content you post.
  3. Ello is more similar to Twitter and Google+ than Facebook. You can follow any user without having to be followed back, and anyone can follow you.
  4. It’s currently only available on desktop, for another two months. They will release the mobile app in Q1 2015.
  5. You place accounts that you follow into one of two groups: Friends or Noise.
  6. Like Tumblr, you can post photos and written thoughts, long or short.
  7. There is no “like” button. They may roll out their own version, in order to save posts for reading later.
  8. Your username is also your URL, which you can change at any time.
  9. You can view your “NOISE” stream as the same layout as your “FRIENDS” stream. Just toggle your NOISE layout back and forth from expanded to compressed view by pressing Shift—5.
  10. Find the Ello logo, to place on your website here.
  11. The company plans to offer more advanced features in an a la carte fashion. And these features will not likely be free.
  12. Brands can request invitations to Ello just as anyone else can.
  13. Ello now has more than 1 million members.
  14. To create a post, click the black box and start typing. Upload photos by clicking the double window icon just below the gray text box.
  15. Ello’s founders and investors have signed a new charter that prohibits the company from selling user data or ads, and should the company be sold, it would also force the new owners to comply with these terms.

Here’s how to get started:Ello Social Network Infographic

  • Request an invitation:  You can be invited by others. Those who don’t know anyone offering invites can be put on a waiting list for Ello-extended invites by entering their email addresses in the form on the home page.
  • Once you have an invite code, go to https://ello.co/join to create your account.
  • Signing up:  Ello asks you to choose a username, which is also your URL.
  • Click the large circle to upload a photo – recommended size is 340×340.
  • Create a post. Go ahead, upload an unusually large image and write a paragraph or three.
  • Discover: Click on the Discover icon to find interesting users to follow & friend.

Above your friends list, you see a button for adding/discovering friends, one for sending invites and another for settings.

Ello Social Network Friends ListAs of January 7th, the programmers listed some updates (quoted from “Dev Update” in Ello):

  1. Ello should be way faster. We updated some stuff that makes stuff post and update like lightening.
  2. The REPLY ALL button in comments is now only available on your own posts. We did this to prevent Spam as we found a few people overusing this button a bit (shame on you!).
  3. The comment bar no longer has the poster’s username pre-populated. When you comment on someone’s post, they’re automatically notified. If you want someone else to be notified, mention them!
  4. Users can now follow & unfollow the @ello user, which is a running stream of some of our favorite posts from Ello.


“We are not trying to compete with Facebook,” Budnitz says. “We see Facebook as an advertising platform. We see Ello as a social network.”

Whether Ello is the next big thing remains to be seen.

Right now, Ello is an escape for people wanting to express themselves on a clean canvas. Social behavior continues to evolve, signaling the need for marketers to grow, blossom and connect in new, different and beautiful ways.

But don’t be fickle. Don’t say goodbye to the other social networks just because the younger, sexier one has come along.  More importantly, understand social behavior by using your interactions to build trust, loyalty and advocacy.

Google Search, Then & Now

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Google.  For many, it’s the big abyss: a sea of nearly an endless amount of information, products and ways to improve our lives.thumb---googleSearch-infographic

Have you ever wondered how the websites, blogs or news stories appear after typing in a few words?

While it may seem magical at times, it’s actually carefully crafted algorithms that help Google deliver the best results for what you’re looking for.

When you’re searching Google, you’re searching Google’s index of the web – you’re not actually searching the web. The company that has become a verb – when searching for anything your heart desires – is the most effective search engine and a part of our daily lives.

So, how does it work?

A couple years ago, Google put together a helpful 8 minute video. While there have been some updates between then and now, the majority of it holds true.

Step 1: Searching the web.

Google navigates the web by crawling. The building blocks of their search functionality is known as “Googlebot”.  Google keeps track of it all in the Index.

Step 2: Organizing the informationGoogle Search - Then & Now

Google has written intelligent and complex programs and formulas to deliver the best results possible.  As you search, algorithms go to work to better understand what you’re looking for. Relevant data is then pulled from The Index.

While their algorithms are constantly changing, the heart of their software is PageRank ™, a system for ranking web pages developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But it also analyzes the page that casts the vote and the popularity and importance of that page. It basically tell you how important a page is, compared to other pages.

If you’ve installed the Google Toolbar, you may have the PageRank meter installed.

Step 3: Delivering the results

Your search results can take a variety of forms, from the knowledge graph and snippets to the news and images.

The knowledge graph provides results based on a database of real world people, places, things, and the connections between them.  The news results include results from online newspapers and blogs from around the world. Google loves this because of their relevance, link value and because they are constantly getting updated.

Google takes the following into account when delivering pages in a particular order:

  • Content relevance
  • Content quality
  • Content freshness & updates
  • Users geographic region
  • Site legitimacy
  • Popularity of the site (how many links are pointing to the site)
  • Value of the inbound links
  • Social media popularity & promotions

Links remain the most important external signal for search rankings.  But with this, link quality is also important in determining the search results. An inbound link from a large and reputable website is going to count more than a link from a smaller and less respectable site.

At this point, Google search has become more fresh and current, and crawls very frequently, catching updates and new content. It’s with the amazing amount of content and Google’s “secret sauce” utilizing over 200 different ranking factors that it delivers the best pages that match the search query acroos the entire index.

What’s next?

Google is looking more into artificial intelligence and machine learning, to help computers think like humans. Google purchased DeepMind Technologies and seven other robotics companies to aid in this next breakthrough in technology.

According to Larry Page, many of these breakthroughs are crossing computer science and neuroscience to understand what it takes to make something smart.

Check out the year in search, 2014:

Search on.

Hashtags: Keeping Up with the Conversation

Friday, February 21st, 2014

In 1988 hashtags were firstly used on a platform named Internet Relay Chat. It was one of the first protocols on the Internet that was used to send messages in real time. For most, it was an afterthought on our telephone keypads and then a way to ensure your voicemail was delivered. Now, the pound sign is a typographical symbol with lofty ambitions.thumb---hashtag

Six years ago, Twitter’s users invented what’s now known as the hashtag and has found its way into commercials, football games and even spoken language. In 2007, developer Chris Messina proposed, in a tweet, that Twitter begin grouping topics using the hash symbol.  The pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link.

So, why are hashtags now a big part of our society?

The role of business in society is all encompassing and social media has forever changed the way we communicate.  Hashtags are the little links that brings it all together.

The social scene is massive and often overwhelming. The hashtag adds clarity and direction and allows for wordplay, humor and sometimes, even poetry. Their flexible and versatile and it improves the chance that other Twitter users will find your tweet in targeted Twitter searches.

Those who can adapt to society around them tend to be the ones who evolve and create new ideas. Will hashtags soon become an official piece of #punctuation in formal writing?

We’re taught at an early age, with cognitive development, in preschool and beyond, that social interaction is crucial. Social networks and hashtags particularly, create influence and an opportunity to learn and find information. #RealTimeLearning.infographic---hashtag-200px

The hashtag gives the writer the opportunity to sarcastically undermine their own tweet. Can I answer my own questions with hashtags? #Yes. Be thoughtful and choose relevant hashtags.

Here are a couple of examples:

Shoulder pads make me look awesome. #kidding

Need to go to #NYC for a wedding. Advice on #CheapTravel?

So why should your business care about hashtags?

Hashtags imply categorization, classification and commentary. Deliver metaphors in just a word or two.

Hashtags like #SMB or #smallbiz are great to seek information, resources and current news of the small business variety. The #marketing and #sales hashtag contains a lot of business-related content. Use a branded hashtag if you have a very specific message to convey.

Curious which hashtags are trending across social media? Hashtags.org tells you which tags are hot in real time. Third parties like Webstagram provide helpful breakdowns of the trendiest hashtags.

Language has evolved before and will inevitably evolve again.  Will your business keep up with the conversation?

Confessions of a Digital Marketing Executive

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

I still struggle with the idea of social networks. There, I said it. I am a CEO of a digital marketing company and I struggle with social media. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Pinterest… But before you go off and say to yourself, I knew it, it’s all bunch of hooey. Let me add, I also struggle with traditional old fashioned networking.

Put me at a chamber mixer, and I am the guy having a beer with an old friend. Over the years, I have read half dozen books on the power of traditional networking. It’s hard to ignore the math. It costs little, it can have geometric reach and according to the books, it’s easy. Well maybe for the authors.Baron Christian

So the truth is that it’s not the digital networking, it’s networking in general that presents the challenge. Being both a geek and a creative has me genetically predisposed to be an introvert.  You see, for me being spontaneously interesting, clever or funny just doesn’t happen. I could never get past the question “so what do you do?“ By the time I could muster up the next question, the conversation already reached that painful chasm of silence.  So quickly the exit line… “it was nice to meet you”, which puts an end to the networking effort. But what I did not realize until recently is that, digital networking is also tailor made for the introverted and socially awkward.

In the digital world, you have time. You get to consider you responses, you get to post something interesting when the thought occurs and you get to share your knowledge to an audience that inclined to be interested. Oh, and the best part, like Baron Christian de Neuvillette, you can have someone else help you with the words.

As our firm grew from web developers and traditional marketers, to digital marketers, I have experienced the power of social networking dozens of times. We have used it to effectively position our firm as a thought leader in our local market. Our president is asked at least once a week to speak on digital marketing. When we were looking for a new bookkeeper, we posted on social media and had a half dozen recommendations with-in hours, most of them from the more valuable employee pool, those currently working but looking to make a change. We get at least two to three opportunity leads a week.
Bottom line is bottom line results. Just as in the case with traditional marketing, reach and frequency is the key. But in this space it is not about buying more ad space. It’s about sharing knowledge.   It’s about telling the story of your brand. It’s about connecting. It’s about earning the right to do business with someone. The adage that we choose to do business with people we like and just as in that chamber mixer, if someone finds you interesting, knowledgeable and likeable; they are more likely to be a prospect or customer.

As in any endeavor, you can’t go to one mixer and say networking is part of your marketing. Networking requires consistency, participation and frequency. So get started or if you are started –do more.  Oh and if words or the lack thereof are your excuse, find your own Cyrano.

Why Should Your Business Invest in Facebook Ads?

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

There are over one billion people on Facebook. According to HubSpot, 93% of adults on the Internet are on Facebook. Facebook like thumb

Facebook’s three ad formats have been combined into one:

• Page Post Like Sponsored Story
• Page Post Comment Sponsored Story
• Page Post Ad

A “Like Ad” is simply an ad on Facebook that shows one of your friends has Liked a certain page.

Now, when you promote a post from your Facebook Page, the ad will automatically include likes and comments. According to research from Nielsen and comScore, this social context leads to better performance and ROI.

“Like Ads” work for a few reasons:

– They’re easy to set up
– There’s no commitment, try a week test
– They instantly get your page exposed to new fans
– They have social proof, which encourages others to also like the page.

Facebook ads of course, have great targeting options.

Facebook ad infographic

6 reasons why Facebook ads work

1. Location – Are you a local business? Try targeting a city or zip code within 50 miles of your business.
2. Age – If you’re product is more suitable for certain ages, specify this in the set up. It’s a good idea to also create a couple-several ads, testing age ranges, to see what performs best.
3. Gender – Promoting a make-up seminar or women’s clothing? Well, don’t waste your ad on 60 year old men.
4. Precise Interests – This can be powerful and Facebook ads ace in the hole. If you’re in the business of organic pet food, you might want to target those who have “liked” animal related pages, fitness, Whole Foods, etc.
5. Broad Categories – Use this category to target people that share similar interests as well.
6. Connections – Here you can choose to show the ad to “anyone”, “Only people not connected to your page” or “Advanced connection”.
7. Friends of Connections – We all consider friend recommendations when thinking about a purchase. That’s why this feature is great. From here, you can choose to only show the ad to people whose friends have already “liked” your page. Birds of a feather flock together.

Facebook ads hold an overall premise that recommendations from friends and companies alike are going to be more effective than traditional display advertising. Andrew Lipsman, VP of Industry Analysis at comScore, and co-author of the recent study, “The Power of Like[2]: How Social Marketing Works performed a collaborative study between comScore and Facebook.

According to Lipsman, “Facebook ads can absolutely drive advertising effectiveness,” he says, “but there aren’t enough data points to generalize yet.” In other words, there are many variables at play, including the type of ad, demographics, image used, location, product and creative elements.

The study found that “fans” of retailers, on average, spent significantly more at those stores than did the general population — more than twice as much at Amazon, Best Buy and Target, and almost that much more at Walmart.

What differentiates Facebook ads from traditional online advertising is their effectiveness is better judged on the basis of the “behavioral lift” from the message a user has received after they’ve already liked the brand.

So, why do Facebook ads work?

1. They are well targeted. Advertisers can tell Facebook who exactly should see the ad.
2. The second reason lies within the creator of the ad and their ability to create good copy, striking imagery and targeting that makes sense for the product or service.

“One of the biggest benefits for Facebook advertising is that you are reaching your target demographic in their comfort zone. When a person is logged into their Facebook page, they are comfortable. When they see your ad on their Facebook page there is a certain amount of trust that is inherent and that you don’t get when seeing a random link on a Google search.” ~ Tyler Barnett, founder and president of Tyler Barnett PR.

And to make things more interesting, Facebook is now in the remarketing game. Remarketing is not a new concept for advertisers; Google has been doing it through their display network for years. For example, a shopper has been checking out a blender on Target or Macy’s. When they come back to Facebook, they can show the user that exact high-tech blender they were considering on the brands website. Because chances are, those prospects will head to Facebook later, at some point.
Studies show that there is a significant increase in the click through rates on advertisements that are integrated with remarketing. It’s a friendly little nudge at the end of the marketing buying cycle.

It’s still relatively new to Facebook as they only released this functionality in 2012 and marketers were limited to targeting based on demographics and educated guesses. Second, according to Facebook, more than 950 million people spend over 6 hours per month on Facebook’s site. That’s huge.
Facebook began opening up news feed ad inventory to Facebook Exchange at the end of March and expanded the inventory offering to all its FBX partners in May. Triggit, a Facebook Exchange (FBX) partner, says that the FBX news feed click through rates now rival those they see from AdWords.

And on October 8th 2013, Facebook just announced an overhaul of both its basic ad-buying platform, Ads Manager, and its Power Editor, both now boasting a more streamlined interface. Now, advertisers are first asked to identify their objectives. This could be a sales conversion on a website or increasing total page Likes.

Once an objective has been identified, Facebook guides advertisers to the most appropriate ad. The advertiser then chooses where the ad appears, in the News Feed or the right column. Users can also now upload multiple images for a single campaign, allowing five different ads to run at once. In the analytics dashboard, you can now quickly assess which images are performing best.

Have you tried advertising in Facebook?

Instagram & Vine – The Mobile Video Showdown

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

blog-image-mobile-videoIf the Buggles had only known how forward thinking their lyrics were back in 1979, they may have danced to “Longer bite sized video with custom photo filters & editing features slowed down the other video app Star,” in their hit song. But it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The app best known for photo-sharing added video last month. Now, when any company with a large user base announces a major change to its app or site, the reaction can be both positive and negative. In this case, most of the negative reviews are due to amateur videos clogging up the users’ feeds or slowing down their ability to view photos.

Similar to Twitter’s Vine app, holding down the video icon will capture video. Releasing it will allow you to pause the video.

“It’s everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves,” Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom said.