Stumble Upon This!

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Okay, so by now I am sure that you are aware of social media and its major players – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Linked In.  However what alot of people do not know is that there are other social media platforms that are just as effective that has never made it to the big leagues.  One of those platforms is StumbleUpon which is a social media bookmarking site that allows users to “stumble upon” websites, videos, and photos that they otherwise would not have found in other arenas.

As a user it is beneficial because they can receive content specified to their likes and interests.  StumbleUpon has a voting system that allow users to vote on recommendations that are provided to them As a marketer or even as a blogger, this is very important because it helps drive website traffic. Since the platform is a social environment, the more that a marketer contributes, rates, and participate in the communities will determine how often their content is found.  The platform also allows marketers to view who is viewing their content and how they are rating the content as well.

Are you a blogger or a marketer?  Here are some tips to using StumbleUpon for business

  • Self Promotion sucks! – Of course you want to promote your website or blog, however the same rules that apply in any other social media applies here as well.  When distributing or “stumbling” content, make sure you are sharing content from other sources as well.  This not only shows that you are not self-promotional, but it also solidifies you as an expert in your field!
  • Create a Channel –  In order to compete with Youtube channels, Facebook pages, and the like, StumbleUpon offers channels for marketers to have a direct presence.  That way users can go directly to those channels to read content from companies.  Some companies such as SportsCenter, Mashable, and CNN are already taking advantage of the Stumble Upon channels
  • Integrate! Use the major players to advertise your StumbleUpon site.  StumbleUpon easily integrates with platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.  Let the audiences on other social sites know all about your StumbleUpon channel.  They can then share the information with their networks which will generate for  website traffic…and that is the ultimate goal!

Sprout Social mentions that Stumble Upon has doubled its user base over the last 16 month, and now has more than 20 million registered members.  If the number of users continue to rise, it looks like Facebook and Twitter, might have some competition on their hands!

 

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Three Companies That Understand SEO

 

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Some things is life are just hard to understand.  For instance, why is it that companies are still not investing in SEO?  It is so frustrating as a consumer, to search for a company only to discover that they just do not exist…in Google land that is.   Companies seem to fail to recognize that they can have the greatest products and services on the planet, however if people cannot find them, then they might as well not exist at all.  According to a study in Retailing Today, more than 81% of consumers perform research online before making a purchase from a store.  This number is of course growing by the minute.  As a result it is imperative that companies invest in an SEO strategy to let the world know that they exist, and to generate more business.  Here are three top companies that are successfully utilizing SEO for their brands.  Business owners take note.

Image1.  An example of a company that understands the importance of SEO is Johnson & Johnson.  The well known, New Jersey based pharmaceutical company acquired an online parenting magazine named BabyCenter, and used SEO as its method of presenting its newest brand to the world.  Johnson and  Johnson focuses a lot on key phrases as it relates to SEO and as a result  has become the world’s number one pregnancy and parenting site, reaching over 29 million people in 22 markets monthly as reported by Digital Strategy Consulting.

Image2.  Zappos is a powerhouse when it comes to content marketing, from social media to blogs to     SEO, this brand understands the power of new and emerging media and marketing.  According to Evergreen Search, Zappos has approximately 230,565 organic keywords which drive traffic to its site, however key words are not the only contributor to Zappos SEO success.  Zappos uses its creativity and integrates it with SEO to achieve a dynamic solution.  For example, to increase the number of internal index pages to increase search engine traffic, the company created a Product Showdown page,  which changed the products displayed each time the page is loaded.  This creative SEO technique positively impacted the brand’s search traffic.

Image3.  Online Retailer Asos, demonstrates that less is more, and simple is sometimes better.  The company used H1 tags in its landing pages to highlight the most important keywords on its pages.  The company relied on Google to do the rest.  SEO does not have to be complicated, and does not involve rocket science to implement.   It only requires a dedication to generating results.  Thanks Asos!

 

 

 

They’re Talking…Are You Listening?

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In today’s new and emerging media world, there is much talk about about how social media is key to the success of any company.  This is obviously correct, in that marketing has become socially-focused over the years, due to the growing need for customers to have hands on access to their favorite companies and products.  Marketing is now a two-way form of communication instead of the one way form that came with traditional media, and a lot of companies can benefit tremendously from what social media provides.  More and more companies are rushing to social media to establish their presence in a sea full of communities, and they are aligning social media strategies to fit the needs of their business accordingly, but how complete are their strategies? Companies spend so much time implementing their social media marketing yet forget that maintenance is just as important.  Part of maintenance is listening to what customers are saying.  Just think about it…You are a business owner and you just set up your first Facebook and Twitter company account…(congratulations by the way!)  Now how do you manage how effective your efforts are?  Listening or social monitoring is a method that allows businesses to keep track of what customers are saying about their companies.  It allows companies to know what they are doing right, and what they may need to improve upon.  An example of a company that is doing social media monitoring right is Dell, one of the largest technology distributors.  In 2010, Dell built an enormous social media listening command center to monitor conversations surrounding its products and services.  CMO Magazine describes Dell’s social media command center as a sexy cross between an air traffic control tower and a TV production studio.  The company tracked thousands of tweets daily, in 11 different languages and trained over 5,000 employees in social media listening, offering classes which allow employees to become certified to monitor conversations in the social media world.  This allowed all areas of the business to get involved because conversations can be routed to the appropriate department with can best handle the situation at hand.   For example, Search Engine Watch highlights social media monitoring with the following diagram:

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HR, Sales, Product Development, Marketing/PR, and of course Customer Service all are functions of a business that can benefit greatly by utilizing social media.  Each department has its own unique function that contributes to the success of the brand.   A brand not only encompasses the actual product, but overall  components such as the various department, that contributes to the image of the brand.  By listening to what customers are saying, companies are now able to improve all aspects of their business unlike ever before.

So the next question is mostly likely, well how are companies able to listen? There are so many different tools available which allows companies to be able to track and monitor what is being said about their brand.  Dell uses Radian 6, which allows the company to monitor and track comments, complaints and questions in real time, and as a result they are able to respond accordingly.  However there are tons of others that companies can use such as HootSuite and Sprout Social.  Here is a video which features a compilation of different social media monitoring tools that you can use for you business.  Happy Listening! 🙂

It’s All About Location Baby!!

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There is a new form of marketing in town, and it looks like it is here to stay. Marketers are now using location based marketing as a part of their Integrated Marketing and Communications Strategy.  Location based marketing enables marketers to geo-target audiences based on the location and proximity of users’ mobile devices in relation to the business providing the product or service.  In simpler terms, imagine you are riding down a busy street on a sunny day, and there is a Chipotle nearby.  Your mobile device will receive ads with special offers or coupons that will entice you to suddenly want a burrito bowl with your favorite toppings! More and more marketers are catching wind of this new marketing phenomenon and it is working.  Marketing Land reports that 72% of consumers say they will respond to a marketing message they receive while in the proximity of the retailer.  This creates a huge opportunity for marketers in that location-based marketing is a way to drive immediate sales.  Below is a video that describes location based marketing further:

An example of a company that is utilizing location-based marketing is Starbucks  who will send SMS and MMS messages with coupons to users who have 1) opted-in to receive correspondence from Starbucks and 2) are in the area of a local Starbucks.  Such a marketing strategy has produced substantial revenue for the company.   However if location-based marketing is so great, why aren’t more companies utilizing it?  A lot of consumers are reluctant to give marketers access to information in order to target them.  Just think about it…the ability for anyone, whether it is that crazy ex that you have been trying to get rid of, or a marketer can seem…well…a little creepy.  However an article on Mobile Marketer reveals that as long as real value is being delivered in exchange for sharing of the location information, the privacy issues will shrink into the background. Basically if marketers are truly personalizing their messages to fit the wants and needs of the targeted audience with promotions that they actually will use, then tracking by location should not be a problem.  If your favorite store offered you a coupon or freebie on your phone as you drove by how would it make you feel? Let me know below.

 

They’re Watching… So Be Smart!

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Finding a job has always been a challenge.  Just think about it.  You are one out of hundreds sometimes thousands of potential candidates applying for the same job.  Every little detail of your resume counts, from the spelling to the actual details of your job history.  There is no room for any mistakes, if you want to get one step closer to the interview. Sounds familiar?  The process of landing a job has always been difficult enough, but fast-forward to 2014, the difficulty level has risen.  With the growth of new and emerging media in every aspect of our life, many employers are turning to social media as an additional measure for screening candidates.  An article in the Huffington Post mentions that 37% of hiring managers research potential candidates on social media sites as part of the screening process.  Additionally, the following infographic represents a study that was performed by Reppler, which included 300 employers:

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Of course, this brings up the question of whether social media is being mishandled and used inappropriately or if employers have every right to utilize alternative methods of screening candidates. There have even been cases where employers required candidates to provide their social media passwords as a part of the screening process, which has raised a lot of ethical concerns regarding privacy issues.  So the question is, how far is too far?  Some say that on one hand, it is the responsibility of the individual to make sure that they are presenting themselves in an appealing manner in digital space, since it is available for the world to see.  Privacy settings….well there is no such thing on the world wide web, for whatever content is placed on there, remains for good. On the other hand, there are some who believe a person should have the freedom to post as they desire on social media, since it pertains to their personal life which is in no way correlated to their professional career.  Whatever the case, whether it is right or wrong, it is occurring more than people think, and it is only smart to take any precautionary measures to prevent losing out on a great opportunity.  So in the meantime, here are some great steps to follow to avoid being pushed to the reject pile because of your social media posts:

  1. Share posts only that you will want your parents to see…if it is okay  for them to see it, then chances are, it is okay for your employers to see it too
  2. Monitor yourself on Google. Truth be told, there could be anything out there that could possibly jeopardize your chances for a job. Don’t you want to know about it?
  3. Avoid writing negative posts about former employers.  No one wants to hire a Debbie-downer or a complainer.  Positivity only.
  4. Retract your steps and remove any negative posts on your social media.  Yes this includes the drunken or scantily clothed photo that you took over the weekend
  5. Treat yourself as a brand.  If you were a company and wanted people to invest in you, how would you market yourself…Hmmm,  Something to think about.

Social media can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. The power is in your hands.  Be Smart.

Which Team Are You On?

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Let’s face it, we are now living in a mobile world.  Gone are the days when you have to wait until you are at home in front of a computer to gain access to the web.  More and more people are accessing the web from their phones, and as a matter of fact, the number of users accessing the internet using a mobile device has far surpassed the number of users relying on desktop.  Marketers of brands are increasingly revamping their marketing strategies to include Responsive Website Marketing, which simply means that they adapt the design of their websites to have compatibility with a variety of digital platforms.  These include, smartphones, tablets, and other handheld devices.  Mobile websites have been very useful at providing us with the information that we need, anytime, anywhere.  Picture this…you are preparing for a restaurant outing with friends and you want to get a sneak peek at the  menu…your mouth is watering as you prepare to see what you are going to eat tonight.  You pull out your Galaxy S4 or iPhone5 only to discover  *gasp* the website is not compatible with your mobile device! To make matters worst, they do not even have an app available.  How could they?! There is no worst feeling than going on the web to find a brand or company only to discover that the website is mobile incompatible.  Companies that have not quite yet come up to speed with mobile web, can ruin their brand image as they will appear “outdated”.   Mobile sites are desirable among users because:

1) They are compatible across a variety of different devices. Responsive Marketing allows websites to be structured according to the device that it is displayed on.

2) They are easily searchable using search engines, and can be found through websites such as Google, Yahoo and Bing

3) They are much easier to share among networks via email and social media

However, despite the benefits that mobile web provides, there is also a new sheriff in town, and its name is Mobile Apps.  Mobile apps have recently surpassed mobile websites in consumer preferences,  as Smart Insights reports that 89% of audiences desire to use mobile apps over mobile websites.  Mobile apps require users to download before using, however they are highly interactive and are designed with the customer’s needs in mind which is why they are so popular and effective.  Users can get exactly what they need without sifting through all of the “extra stuff” as I like to say.  The apps are normally very specific, targeted and convenient.  Similar to Mobile Web, Mobile Apps also produce benefits:

1)  Easy and Convenient – Mobile Apps are literally just one touch away.  Think of it as having instant access to your favorite brands directly on your device!

2)  Faster – Sometimes those mobile sites can be so slow depending on whether you have 4G or 3G or whether or not the site is content heavy.  Apps are much quicker to pull up on mobile devices

3)  Engagement, Engagement, Engagement! –  Mobile apps are built with the user in mind and are designed to be interactive and engaging

Personally, if I had to choose between the two mobile platforms, I am a mobile  website type of girl.  I perform a lot of online searching for just about everything you can name, and I prefer to interact via mobile websites.  I personally feel like the information is more detailed on mobile websites than on apps.  However when it comes to social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, I am team App all the way!  The customization, speed and convenience is impeccable, and cannot be replaced using the mobile websites.  Overall, both mobile sites and mobile apps offer its unique advantages over the other, it all comes down to a matter of preference.  So based on the information you have read thus far, I pose this question….Which team are you on?  Team Mobile Web or Team Mobile App.  Let me know by taking the Poll below!

 

Evolution of the World Wide Web

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Remember when Websites were…well, the worst websites ever?  In a growing world of websites, where everyone placed an attempt to become noticed over the next, it seemed as if the focus was on the most flamboyant website instead of how visually appealing the website actually was to the viewer.  Scrolling text, blinding colors, flashing images, and animated clip art were the norm for websites both personal and businesses alike, which worked at the time since the world wide web was a new phenomenon, at the very beginning of its long journey.  Speaking of long journey, have you ever wondered how the very first website ever looked upon its initial launch?  Great! me too!  A company by the name of  CERN, a European nuclear research laboratory based out of Switzerland, launched the first ever website in 1991.  They are forever a part of history, as they are considered the inventors of the World Wide Web.  How did they do it, you ask? A Business Insider article mentions that the company was able to create the web by making the software required to run a web server freely available, along with a basic browser and a library code, which allowed the web to flourish.  As a result of this discovery by CERN, others were able to come on board, and you are now able to read this AWESOME blog about New and Emerging Media.  🙂    Here is what the original website looked like almost 25 years ago:

 

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As you can see, the website consisted of text and hyperlinks to more text.  Nothing fancy.  However, since this was a new discovery, the world embraced it as the best technological advancement in history.  It is amazing how the world wide web has evolved over time.  Just about anything and everything is hosted on the web in today’s world.  If you want to know how to get from New Jersey to Asia….the web will tell you.  If you want to know how to play your favorite sport or cook a new meal….the web will tell you.  If you want to find a long lost relative who has been missing all the family reunions for years….the web will find him!     The web has become more efficient over the last several years and will only continue to get better.

Now,  in regards to companies, websites are as important as ever.  Gone are the days of a text based website filled with hyperlinks. In order to build brand awareness, a positive brand image, and credibility as a businesses, it is important for marketers to create a compelling and engaging website that reflects the current demand of the audience.  This means no more of this…

 

or this….

 

Although these images may be attention grabbing,  do they really represent the message that companies need to portray?  Probably not.  Websites have now taken a turn for a more clean, modern, and user-friendly appearance which helps the audience easily interact with and navigate through the website  without clutter, distracting and irrelevant content, and confusing navigation.  An eConsultancy article discusses the trends in website designs as of current.   There are so many directions that a website can go, however some great trends for successful websites include  robust imagery, minimal navigation, rich content, and interactive design.  Additionally websites should tell a story in the most simplified way possible and include responsive design, which I will discuss in my next blog.  Overall, websites have evolved tremendously since its inception back in 1991, and the changes have been so beneficial to both customers and businesses alike.  Before I close, I would like to leave you with a video that visually shows the evolution of some recognizable websites over the years….enjoy!