The race to the top of the Google search results has been shaken up a bit since the beginning of 2011 by Panda, Google’s most recent algorithm. Created by Engineer Navneet Panda, this revolutionary search engine filter has birthed another doozie for those search engine optimization (SEO) professionals who thought they had Google all figured out.
With the introduction of Google Panda (which is named after Navneet), the world’s most popular search engine is striving to show its more human side at the peak of the ever-changing communications evolution. Less spam, more user-engaging content is what’s now encouraged.
Formerly based on keyword rich content, Google gave web pages that were at least a few years old coupled with having the appropriate keyword density more priority within search engine results. This approach has allowed content-based websites the ability to rise above more interactive sites. With the introduction of Panda, the key ranking components are design, trustworthiness, speed and viewer loyalty. A website scoring high within these categories is assumed to equate to a high quality website within this new algorithm.
There has been a large influx in the number of websites that have been created between the mid 1990s and now. It is estimated that there are around half a billion registered domains living on the web with millions of new domains getting registered per month. With this increase of websites, search engines have to be more critical in how they assess the quality of a website.
Instead of rating individual pages within a website, Panda rankings are based upon the quality of the entire website. With these new factors in place, many established websites who were normally ranking high within Google have drastically dropped from the top slot, allowing more interactive sites a chance to occupy the top of the page rankings.
Containing the following elements on your website can hurt your ranking with Google Panda: low quality content, excessive advertisements, duplicate content, poor usability, poor inbound links, high bounce rate and poor keyword density. Stagnate web pages, even those with evergreen content (content that is always relevant and never really changes), have to be deleted or elevated to a more engaging level.
Social media platforms have also affected the search engine process and seems to have influenced the way Google Panda works. Social media is all about engaging your reader whether it be through discussing hot topics, images, videos, polls or games. Panda rewards those websites that keep their visitor engaged in quality content and uses diverse traffic sources to draw them to their websites. This will decrease a website’s bounce rate. The promotion of Google+ has also changed the game. Individuals and businesses with Google+ pages seem to receive priority within Google.
There are still many mysteries surrounding this new Google phenomenon. Some consider Panda a filter that is part of the overall algorithm and some consider it an algorithm in itself. The facts are that engaging content is rewarded and snooze worthy sites will fall into obscurity. So, make sure your website has a unique personality that leaves the visitor with an impression that they can share with their social media friends … especially Google+.
Through the inclusion of thought-provoking videos, quality photography and keyword-rich content, B Culture Media’s interactive websites engage your readers and decrease your bounce rate. These digital ingredients are key to creating the perfect bamboo-quality elements that Google Panda will eat up.
While the term Social Media Optimization (SMO) is still inconspicuous, it is exercised by companies daily through Twitter, Facebook and other major social networks via social media commentary (businesses dialoguing with their fans and followers). Coined by Rohit Bhargava, a founding member of the social media strategy team at Ogilvy & Mather, effective social media commentary is normally dressed with a link to the company’s site along with relevant keywords and/or hashtags.
Rohit Bhargava … creating of the term Social Media Optimization
At one time, SMO was forecasted to eventually over shadow the effectiveness of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is still the major component that many companies use to differentiate their business from their competitors within search engines. SEO professionals and their clients consistently create, research and drive unique keyword phrases to set their clients apart from the next business, but what if that isn’t enough? What if your main competitor is planted in the number one spot while you flip flop from keyword to keyword only to remain in the second, third or fourth spot?
B Culture Media recently wrote an article titled, “SEO vs. Social Media – Which is More Important?” Each of these digital marketing tools were analyzed to see which one more effectively brings more traffic to your website and ultimately increase the loyal following of a product or service. The conclusion was that even though SMO is important, it is obviously an extension of SEO and can’t stand without it. However, this doesn’t lessen the significance of using SMO. Millions of people worldwide use smartphones, laptops, tablets and desktop computers to access various social networking platforms (via apps) to get the latest information on products, events and services. People want short, concise information and don’t always have time to go to a business’s website to discover what they offer.
While SMO is the implementation of relevant keyword phrases while social networking, Twitter and Instagram member’s use of hashtags is also a major form of SMO. Twitter and Instagram give their members the ability to search by hashtag which are considered trending topics. Websites like What the Trend let you know what hashtags are being used the most during a particular day and allow the public to determine why the popular hashtags are being used so much.
Many companies are creating hashtags to assist in the branding of their company, product, service or event. Here at B Culture Media, we often close out our tweets with #BCultureMedia or #BCM to increase our visibility within Twitter. When Digital Atlanta hosted their annual conference in 2011, they promoted it with #DigATL and encouraged attendees to use the hashtag when attending the conference’s different forums. Some companies offer special discounts for their customers who tweet the specific hashtag that is tied to whatever the company is promoting. Celebrities like Tyrese have gone as far as wearing a shirt with their Twitter address to a major award ceremony to increase their Twitter fan base.
Tyrese at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards
Social media optimization is not the back bone of online optimization but rather an extension of it. The popularity of social media allows businesses another avenue to engage with their customers while SMO gives their marketing efforts more direction. It also helps a business reach those customers that may not be fans or followers as of yet but shows the potential customers that the company offers what the potential customers are looking for. SMO-less conversation gets lost in the multi-dialogue jungle of this social speed- networking game.
Often a key component in video game designing, Parallax is gaining more popularity in the web design world. Often implemented through a website’s CSS or a jQuery plug-in, Parallax is a scrolling feature that has been an amazing addition to websites that strive to have an interactive environment for its customers. It is composed of various layers of images, and each layer moves at a different speed. This video from YouTube best depicts the surreal abilities of this seemingly 2D/3D feature http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p85hl4wesuQ.
Nike’s Better World
The creator of Parallax scrolling is unknown but the list of innovators contributing is growing. Animator Walt Disney utilized a multi-plane camera platform around the 1930s and 1940s. The progression took a huge leap in color and advanced movement in the 1980s with the introduction of mind-blowing (at the time) video games. But now, Parallax scrolling has evolved into the features found in Nike’s “Better World” website. Nike uses Parallax to show how a certain line of their products “don’t kick Nature’s butt”. Grab & Go’s website uses Parallax scrolling to give their “on the go” food movement on the screen … and also to make your stomach growl. Websites like Tutsplus houses basic tutors on how to implement Parallax scrolling into gaming and websites.
Part of Coca-Cola’s Adobe Flash slide show
Food and beverage companies like Coca-Cola would be an awesome platform for Parallax scrolling. From the pouring of Coke out of one of their classic glass bottles to experiencing their signature polar bears skating across a bed of ice with the stars and mountains moving in the distance, Coca-Cola has always explored various ways of marketing their products in innovative ways. This beverage giant could move from the static Adobe Flash images to a better way of expressing the way Coke products make their customers feel by implementing Parallax scrolling.
As web designers continue to challenge themselves through digital imagery, the viewer becomes equally responsible by diving into the deepest corners of their imagination. Parallax scrolling seems simple when skimming through its definition, but the visual depth of this design technique is not to be taken lightly. This explains why some haven’t caught on to its expressional majesty.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are burning up the internet with controversy and stimulating lench mobs of protests. SOPA and PIPA have been successfully subdued with much help from many tech connoisseurs who have jumped on the bandwagon of opposition against these U.S. bills. With so many people now deciding to oppose these groundbreaking federal laws (even some who were initially heavy supporters) without knowing exactly what they are about, who is being left out or benefiting the most if they take effect. Let’s journey through what birthed these piracy laws as well as how they could positively and negatively affect the tech world.
Definitions of Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA)
Also known as H.R. 3261 and the Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act (E-PARASITE Act), the technical wording for the bill according to Wikipedia:
"SOPA is a United States bill introduced by U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith (R – TX) to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property counterfeit goods (from non-U.S. based websites). Provisions include the requesting of court orders to bar advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with infringing websites, and search engines from linking to the sites, and court orders requiring Internet service providers to block access to the sites. The law would expand existing criminal laws to include unauthorized streaming of copyright material, imposing a maximum penalty of five years in prison.”
Created by Senator Patrick Leahy (D – VT), PIPA is defined as “a bill presented in the U.S. Senate which would enable the U.S. Justice Department to act against websites anywhere in the world if they were thought to be breaking US copyright laws” according to the Macmillan Dictionary.
The Benefits of SOPA and PIPA
Since Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning caused a piracy up-roam with Napster in the early 2000s, all eyes have been on the protection of content on the web. Now the government and dominant media and copyright organizations are attempting to implement SOPA and PIPA which would give copyright holders more protective power over their work especially from foreign-based websites. Limiting foreign copyright opportunists is the main goal of these two piracy acts but the fear of major website information hubs and search engines like Wikipedia and Google is that it won’t stop there. The Internet is now the e-commerce and virtual-information battlefield between alleged good and evil of the World Wide Web.
Supporters of SOPA and PIPA
During Fall 2011, a tremendous number of trade associations, businesses, professional and labor organizations signed a letter urging Congress to begin legislation to stop foreign-based sites from copyright infringement. Most large media companies and copyright/trademark organizations are also for it – Recording Industry Association of America, Copyright Alliance, Disney, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Comcast, Motion Picture Association of America, Universal Music, Viacom, the Screen Actors Guild and Warner Music to name a few.
Above all, SOPA and PIPA’s biggest cheerleaders are U.S. Congressional and Senate seat holders. However, the White House has stated, “any effective legislation should reflect a wide range of stakeholders, including everyone from content creators to the engineers that build and maintain the infrastructure of the Internet.”
Deflectors of SOPA and PIPA
Not all government leaders are supporting SOPA and PIPA. Senator Scott Brown (R – MA) and Senator Ron Wyden (D – OR) have actively expressed how the acts conflict with freedom of speech. Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) is the proposed alternative bill to PIPA which states:
"OPEN Act is a bill introduced in the U.S. Congress by Senator Ron Wyden (D – OR) and Representative Darrell Issa (R – CA) to protect creative ownership in America while securing the open, accessible Internet you deserve.”
The historical Internet blackout enacted by Wikipedia which “prevented kids from doing their homework” reported a website but intended to show their displeasure for the two acts. Google took it a step further and posted a petition that millions of people signed in protest. Sites like Wikipedia and Google fear that the “prevention of foreign-based site piracy” will quickly infiltrate U.S. based sites too that the government may “assume” to violate SOPA and PIPA.
From Protection to Protest
From the inception of SOPA and PIPA to the avid protestors, the sister acts have lost some appeal from a lot of their initial supporters (many of them due to the backlash from the public) and has been halted by the government. The voice of the people has never been louder through the wielding of the Internet. The Madison Tool which is associated with OPEN Act, hopes to help the public govern what should be regulated on the Internet – no the government.
Black Friday and the exclusive Fashion Weeks: Two pinnacle times of the year where retailers and the fashion industry hope to make up for a bad year or put the cherry on top of an awesome upward-driven one. But leading up to (or concluding) these championship fights for retail revenue redemption and leader-crowning, how are retailers and the fashion industry elite getting the word out about the deals or extraordinary collections that they have to sell?
America’s retailers are learning how to chime in on the conversations of their customers through social media. Whether it be Facebook or Twitter, major retailers are learning what their customers like and don’t like based on their Facebook statuses, comments and tweets. Besides using commercials, retailers like Old Navy use their Twitter page to advertise the deals and discounts currently going on in their stores.
Retailers like Cole Haan are using digital media to create aliases for their customers based on the customers’ lifestyles and embed interactive games in their social media pages to compliment these efforts. Cole Haan’s Facebook page mentions “Like us and explore more” to encourage the visitor to dive deeper into how Cole Haan clothing and accessories cater to the “Urban Explorer”.
Zoe Saldana and Mary J. Blige in Giorgio Armani
As B Culture has mentioned before, digital media is a powerful commercialized hammer that some celebrities have wisely wielded to secure the nail in the foundation of a fruitful relationship with their fans. This is the same for high-end fashion designers. Fans of celebrities, the customers of high-end fashion designers, often like for their customers to vote for “who wore it best” and post new looks through their social media fan pages. Celebrities are often the retail industry’s initial guinea pigs and retailers use their customers’ social media comments to know what trends are hitting or missing which is a heads up to the retailer on which ones they should follow or continue to produce.
Digital media also helps high-end fashion designers get the word out about how to access a designer’s full collection, the campaign and allows the fashion industry’s supporting cast – the Press and stylists – to chime in on what they liked or didn’t like, what fashion shows they are excited to see and how the public can mix and match the designer’s pieces. Louis Vutton has their full Spring 2012 fashion show on YouTube. Before YouTube, customers could only dream of seeing a high-end fashion show from beginning to end. The video of the above Louis Vutton fashion show is in HD, which further gives the viewer the experience of being at the actual show.
From New York Fashion Week to a new high-end boutique opening up in L.A., fashion editors and socialites can us Foursquare to let their followers know what fashion shows and store opening they are spiriting to cover or shop next. Retailers can also use Foursquare to reward their frequent visitors with special discounts and recognition. In the image above, Jeremy P. is listed as the major of Kenneth Cole in SoHo. Foursquare makes an individual a celebrity along with the place the individual frequents.
Digital and social media has given the customer more of an immediate say in what works and what doesn’t. This gives the retailer and designer the ability to react more quickly and efficiently within their next collection. It seems social media may have accelerated the transition between fashion trends because of the swift reaction to what’s hot and what’s not. Interactive media is now the digitalized style meteorologist for the fashion industry.
jQuery’s most popular use is to create plug-ins that allow for a higher level of interaction for the end user. Just place “.js” toting script into your HTML and this cross-browser software will allow drop down navigation buttons to move more fluidly, end-users can transition through website photo galleries similarly to flipping through an actual look book, and product information is displayed and condensed with ease.
As a free, open source software, there are many jQuery plug-ins available on the web to fulfill various visual and interactive needs (most are free but some of the more advanced plug-ins costs). With the absence of load time when the end user is transitioning through the different functions of the website, jQuery is definitely on its way to being a web design and developmental standard.
jQuery once found more of a place within websites that involved more of an interactive design feel vs. those websites that were more informative than visually entertaining. But now, many informative websites use jQuery for their navigation menus, biographies or information bubbles. For example, dental websites would normally have minimal detail and would focus more on a basic photo of the dentist and the work he or she has done but now, with jQuery, even dental office websites have an interactive feel that is sponsored by jQuery plug-ins. It can be seen in the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry website’s navigation menu.
Even though B Culture is leading the charge in developing Adobe Flash designed Facebook fanpages, this interactive design agency knows that jQuery is a better fit than Flash for those company sites that will be seen mostly on mobile devices because of jQuery’s “no load time” abilities, SEO friendliness and overall seamless usability. Shown below is an image displayed on a Flash website. Yes, the image is very beautiful and would display on a PC; however, if someone was trying to vie w it on most mobile devices, it would take a while to load or wouldn’t load at all:
B Culture Media is a digital media agency with a web development team brewing some pretty innovative jQuery plug-ins. For example, these plug-ins give the end-user the power to micro-select text to post on Twitter, use 2D mouse controlled auto-shifting image/graphics on your site, and mouse-interactive-animated text to bring your content to life.
As we race towards a time where flat websites appear unprofessional, B Culture Media stays above the curve by wowing the end-user with innovative jQuery plug-in designs that extend the time they will spend on a website.
If you ask a few web designers today about how relevant Adobe Flash is within the current design world, most of them would say Flash is a relic. However, those seeking the expertise of web designers are still asking for Adobe Flash design abilities all the same. With the rise of Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad, which don’t support Flash, and the increasing popularity of HTML5 and jQuery, Adobe’s prized animation software is loosing its grip within the digital design world. But is it rightfully so?
With Flash being the veteran on the block, Adobe has had the ability to work out majority of the kinks within their interactive design software. Flash is most likely more secure than HTML5 and jQuery. Web browsers like Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox 2 don’t support HTML5 but they do support Flash and jQuery. Many web browser users don’t have the latest versions of IE and Firefox (which has an update every 30 days). Once IE supports HTML5, it will have more of a following. With Apple products mostly using Safari, HTML5 sites will have a comfy, supportive home with Apple hardware users.
HTML5 seems to have given web designers the ability to incorporate video and animations without the use of Flash which has limited visibility within Apple products. However, HTML5 hits a wall when it comes to showing up in IE. With most web users still using older forms of IE which supports Flash, HTML5 seems to still be eating Flash’s dust in the relevancy department. jQuery successfully floats between most formats but is still nestled on websites that have more of an interactive design feel vs. strictly informative content. Flash seems to still be the go-to-guy when designing animations and embedding video content.
B Culture Media is one of the few digital media agencies designing interactive Facebook fan pages with the versatility of Adobe Flash. Even though HTML5 is growing by leaps and bounds within the HTML language world, Flash is still the guru of interactive design. Flash adds a “WOW” factor to the otherwise flat visual structure of Facebook. The designers at B Culture Media realize that HTML5 and Flash are two different entities that are unfairly compared. HTML5 is an evolved language with the ability to embed interactive components (some designed in Flash) within it in order to provide a more swift, yet efficient experience for the end user. When faced with the question of what about Apple products not displaying Flash components, most designers are aware that Facebook will default those limited end users to the standard Facebook layout. HTML5 and Flash are both the best … in their respected arenas.
Jack Knight, Platinum-Hit Songwriter, Expands to Website Blazetrak
Nov. 7, 2011 – Grammy-nominated songwriter Jack Knight is now utilizing the website Blazetrak to discover unsigned artists, help out with his knowledge of the business and music industry, and provide live feedback. His purpose: to detail the art of songwriting and the journey it creates, finding new voices along the way.
Jack Knight’s Blazetrak page is open, and Mr. Knight is currently accepting new artist inquiries. Blazetrak works with over 100 A&R individuals, who are all actively seeking new talent. Mr. Knight has previously worked with artists such as The Notorious B.I.G., Diddy, Keyshia Cole, Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera, among many others.
After establishing the Jack Knight Songwriting Academy, Finding Your Way Worldwide, and writing The Art of Writing A Hit Song: The Urban Experience (2006), furthering Mr. Knight’s efforts to uncover creative musicians, songwriters and producers using Blazetrak just made sense.
Now, the ability to connect with artists, songwriters, and/or producers who may have been overlooked, not given a chance, have not been discovered yet or simply did not have the means to get a message out to the public, has been simplified with a proven songwriter who wants to expand the musical career and creativity of others.
When asked if he had any advice for aspiring artists, in a previous interview, Mr. Knight responded, “Persistence plus talent plus desire multiplied by luck equals success in any area…”
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has revolutionized the internet marketing approach of businesses across every market. Vague business and product/service descriptions are extinct in this digital branding jungle. So, if you have avoided SEO tactics at this point when marketing a business and product/service online, than you have denied a company the privilege of online visibility for far too long.
SEO is a technique that helps search engines find and rank a website higher than other similar sites in response to a search query. In its simplest form, SEO involves including keyword phrases (descriptive words that best describe a business) in business and product/service descriptions as well as within the HTML code of a website so popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing will shop a business as an option when a person is looking for something that company specializes in. For example, if someone goes to Google and is looking for “Yoga in Midtown Atlanta” than a Yoga studio in Atlanta would want to have that keyword phrase (and others similar to that) within their website content and code so Google will list them as an option for this person in it’s search engine results.
SEO takes a more complicated form when a business has to leave the comfort of their own website to plant backlinks and become sociable with their potential and current customers. Backlinks are when a business digitally networks on another business’ site by referencing their own site. They will publish information on this site that is within their particular area of expertise. For example, Proctor & Gamble could leave information about how using dryer sheets can make a family’s clothes and bedding smell powder fresh on a popular stay-at-home mom blog and then reference Bounce dryer sheets coupled with a link to where the Bounce dryer sheets can be purchase in the blog post.
Another extensive SEO approach is opening social media accounts specifically for a business. Search engines greatly favor business-owned social media accounts. This primarily gives the business’s customers a chance to “follow” or “like” them and encourage their friends, family members and colleagues to do the same. Posting information about new products/services, events and special discounts that are tactfully loaded with keyword phrases is great for SEO as well.
SEO is an endless process of maintaining fresh, relevant content on a business’s website as well as longevity. So, exceeding a competitor’s knowledge-base, maintaining a consistent message and digitally buddying up with customers via popular social media outlets will eventually make a business a consistent search engine leader in no time.
A company’s participation in search engine optimization (SEO) and social media has grown to be a huge priority in this digital era of marketing. However, is having the ability to be found by potential and current customers on the Internet more important than being social with potential and current customers through such platforms as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Unfortunately, they are both measured on the same scale while one is much heavier than the other. Eventhough it’s lighter, the value of the other’s reach can not be denied.
Millions of people frequent Facebook, Twitter and YouTube but search engines are the gurus of information and Google is the Dalai Lama. SEO is the lifeline of relevancy for everything a company does on the Internet, even social media. Unlike a consumer who just posts what they feel on their Facebook or Twitter account, a company must be very strategic in how they word the “low on sales, more on socializing tone” posts on their social media account. The business has to make sure they include keyword phrases that relate to the search engines and customers. This SEO rich content about the company and its products/services need to be filled with keyword phrases that include the business location (city or community it is available in) and product/service.
It appears that SEO is the egg and social media is the bird. Social media accounts are another attempt by a business at SEO achievement. SEO being this shell that all online content must incubate in with the hope that it will be birthed into a bird that will soar high in the search engine results (unfortunately, there are many social media campaigns with a short lifespan). The eagle-eyed social media campaigns will see their exposure and ROI increase from their not-so obvious inclusion of relevant keyword phrases within their new product/service, discounts and event posts.
SEO vs. social media … it is an unfair fight. You can’t have a strong social media campaign without considering the presence and strength of SEO techniques within it.
Your company’s internet presence is only as strong as the social media tools you use to promote it. To manage your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, there are some social media platforms and tools that can help you track the success of current campaigns as well as level you in the right direction when pursuing other social media destinations.
When you began your business, you had to make sure your company name was unique. Well, Namechecklist.com is a one-stop-shop site that scans the most popular social media outlets to see if your company name is being used and provides the results on one page. Coupled with assisting with helping you identify digital-name-sake copy cats, Namechecklist.com has a “register” button beside each social media icon that your company doesn’t have an account with. Wouldn’t you love to use one website to update all of your social media accounts instead of having to put the same information into each social media account that your business owns? Well … Tweetdeck, a Twitter affiliated site, gives you a single dashboard that helps you manage all your social media accounts. You can post one status update that will echo across your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace (if you still have an account), Google Buzz and Foursquare accounts! Aaaahhhh.
Social media analytic tools are all the craze right now. Social media professionals finally have the ability to have their value on paper which provides them with the opportunity to make more green paper. Twitter has recently announced that they will have an analytics tool available for businesses that use their social media platform. In the meantime, Polly.IM is a tool that scours Twitter on a 24/7 basis searching for what a business’s customers are saying about their product/service. It will also directly respond to a customer for you … for free. Other free to affordable social media analytic tools for businesses are Radian6, recently bought by Saleforce, HootSuite and Timely.is also seek out the positive and not so good comments that have been posted about your company within social media platforms and give you the ability to auto reply. These four websites also track the amount of views to your social media accounts.
You have defined your company’s name, you know how to manage your different social media accounts from one site and track the latest gossip on your company with minimal effort. Now, all your company has to do is keep your ears to the digital streets for the next social media management tools that will help your company’s marketing approach stay fresh.
How Hospitality Businesses Can Use Foursquare for More Visibility
Foursquare is a social networking website that is location-based. Account holders can “check-in” when they are at a certain restaurant, club, movie theater, hotel and other locations.
Foursquare owner, Dennis Crowley, recently reported that his social media website is experiencing tremendous growth. Crowley was named as one of the “40 under 40”: Business’s hottest rising stars in 2010 by Fortune Magazine. As a business owner within the hospitality industry, it is important to monopolized off of Foursquare and this is how you can do it.
Foursquare’s users download a map application to their phones so the user’s can announce (check-in) their current location. Their friends can track where they are at the time. This will either encourage their friends to come meet up with them at these locations or visit the businesses at another time. This will help your hospitality-focused business discover the demographics of your customers.
Users of Foursquare can also leave comments about their experiences at a business. Since Foursquare is tied to Facebook and Twitter, these comments can echo across those social networking websites as well. When a Foursquare user frequents a place, they can reach “Mayor” status. Businesses can monopolized off of this by providing the Mayors with recognition within their business and give them special discounts. Hopefully your current and potential customers will follow the leader and compete to become the next “Mayor”.
Encourage your staff to “check-in” when they begin their work shift. This way they can post the day’s specials and encourage their friends (who will hopefully encourage their friends) to come and enjoy your products/services.
The prediction is that the more offers that businesses make available to Foursquare users, the more popular this social networking website will be. The creators of Foursquare are growing a rewards system so users will qualify for special offers from the businesses they frequent. Tap into this exciting social media platform and don’t fall behind. Foursquare is still young, so be one of the first “Mayors” within your industry to experience a tremendous increase in revenue from using this free social media tool.
A hotel’s goal has always been to get customers into their sheets. Fortunately, social media has been a relatable tool that’s being used to organically achieve this goal. Social media gives you the opportunity to form a one-on-one relationship with your current and potential customers.
Social media has been the leading force in marketing various products and services because it provides up-to-date information that a consumer can use to make instantaneous buying decisions via their desktop computers, laptops, iPads, e-notebooks and smart phones.
People are tweeting and posting throughout the day and the faster you can slide exciting news about your hotel in between those posts and tweets, the better. On Facebook alone, there are 750 million active users and over 50 percent of them log in everyday and host at least 130 friends on their page. Twitter has 100 million active users and around 50 percent of those log in daily. These stats show that social media seems to be the third arm of most people, so with the right social media marketing approach your sheets will be filled in no time.
Some prominent hotels have found clever ways to leverage social media to keep it more “social” and less of a sales pitch. For example, the MGM Grand started a “Confessions Campaign” on Twitter where they asked their followers to tweet their sins which stimulated a livestream of people tweeting their sins. Other people could re-tweet which sins were forgivable or unforgivable. After cruising through the sins, the sin that was judged to be the best won a free night at the MGM Grand. Rewarding your customers for “liking” or “following” you is always a plus.
Social media optimizing is a key way to reaching potential customers outside of the SM bubble. Search engines are attracted to social media pages connected to businesses. Good keyword usage in your social media business profiles can also establish you as an expert in the hotel industry because you will come up higher in the search results.
When hotels find a comfy home in social media, they relate more to the increasingly digital savvy customers they are wanting to fill their sheets.
Yes, social media has made us all rock stars in our own right (some are more Courtney Love than Oprah) but for authentic celebrities – Twitter is considered the information highway for knowing your favorite celebrity’s every move. We can probably go as far as saying social media has launched a lot of socialites and reality show faces into official celebrity status.
We are long gone from the days of wondering what our favorite celebrities are buying, eating, wearing, endorsing, where they are traveling and when they will release their next song. Social media is a powerful commercialized hammer that some celebrities have wisely wielded to secure the nail in the foundation of a fruitful relationship with their fans. Successful social media celebrities have done this by staying relatable to their fans. Whether it is posting information that make their followers and fans burst into uncontrollable laughter after reading, cry with empathy or eager to partake in a product they are endorsing because they genuinely feel the celebrity likes the product. Jason Mraz, singer/song writer, once tweeted, “Tried on some jeans today. Farted in some. Shhhh, don’t tell.” Amanda Bynes, actress, once tweeted about her dog dying, “Sad Day….Little Angel is in Heaven now. RIP I Love You.” Liz Hurley has been known for tweeting about Estee Lauder. She has been a spokesmodel for the cosmetic company for years.
Some celebrities have unconsciously used social media to put their popularity six feet under. As a celebrity, their lives are plastered all over the tabloids coupled with having to bat off swarms of paparazzi. Celebrities are often tangled in stories they can not control while social media is their time of truth and relevance. However, some celebrities choose over endorse products or overly displaying their consistent self-decay over setting the record straight. Of course train-wreck celebrities are always digital eye candy but in the instance of Charlie Sheen, it is obvious that the popularity of wreckless behavior eventually wears thin and will make their followers want to dethrone them. Relevant celebrities reign.
First it was reality television that could make a plain Jane or Joe a super star overnight, now social media has given everyone, from the meek to actual celebrities, a louder voice. Thanks to the following league of extraordinary gentlemen, social media has revolutionized the way we relate to one another.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, is a social media guru who started Facebook in 2004 while attending Harvard University. He then branched Facebook out to other Ivy League schools. Zuckerberg was way too cool for the prestigious Harvard University and dropped out to grow Facebook. Let’s just say it wasn’t a bad move considering his company worth is in the billions. Facebook has over 750 million users world wide with over 50 percent of the users on this popular social media site daily.
Tweeting is defined as your 140 maximum character count statement made on the social media giant – Twitter. Even though it was created by Jack Dorsey in 2006, Dick Costolo is now the CEO. Costolo was once the COO of Twitter and before then, he was a co-founder of Feedburner which was bought out by Google. Another interesting fact about the head of tweeting, he actually dabbled in theater while at the University of Michigan.
Dennis Crowley originally co-founded Dodgeball in 2000. It was bought out in 2005 by Google and shut down in 2009. Crowley’s successful follow up, Foursquare, has over 3.7 million users after being released to the public only a couple of years ago. This location-based social media site has its users “check-in” where they are hanging out at. Creepy? Maybe. Growing popularity? Definitely. Never-the-less, this Syracuse University and New York University graduate was named one of the "40 under 40": Business’s hottest rising stars in 2010 by Fortune Magazine.
YouTube, video-sharing social media website, was founded by Chad Hurley, Jawed Karim and Steve Chen in 2005. These three social media musketeers met while working for Paypal (Hurley designed one of the Paypal logos which landed him a job there). After breaking records with YouTube from 2005 to 2006, they sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion. Hurley was the CEO of YouTube until October 2010. The CEO seat was then filled by Salar Kamangar, who was the 9th employee to join Google, with Hurley currently as an advisor. Before becoming CEO of YouTube, Kamangar was Vice President of Google’s Web Applications.
The new kid on the interactive block is Google+. Even though it is the offspring of the Zeus of search engines (Google), it is still trying to find friends to play with on the social media playground where the cool kids, Facebook, Twitter and now Foursquare, are dominating. Larry Page is the CEO of Google and co-founded the algorithm giant with Sergery Brin in 1998. Page, a graduate of the University of Michigan and Stanford University, has monopolized the world wide web with software that fills most of your personal and business online needs. The creation of Google+ is an attempt to fulfill your social media needs as well.
Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, joined the professionals-to-professionals social media platform in 2008. With 16 years of experience which includes being the former Executive VP at Yahoo!’s Network division, an executive at Residence at Accel Partners and Greylock Partners, Weiner has been leaving a blazing trail of growing revenue at every major company he heads. LinkedIn has recently upgraded to giving account holders the ability to apply for jobs through this social media site (it isn’t widespread as of yet).
These social media moguls continue to make life so convenient for us online. Whether it’s sharing stories, music or videos online, social media has left no stone of digital activity unturned … or so we think.
If your Atlanta business has been a wall flower at the social media party that’s been booming for the past 5 years, it is time to learn the latest social marketing dance moves ASAP. From Facebook, Twitter and YouTube usage, many of Atlanta’s most influential companies are currently having the time of their lives on the social media dance floor and rocking out large profits by building relationships with their potential and current customers. This is all done by hiring a social media professional to tweet and post up-to-date information and videos on their events, products and services. This has improved their customers’ experience tremendously by making the company more relatable.
Customer loyalty is the stepping stone to positive word-of-mouth. Social media has revolutionized this by giving consumers the ability to see who their friends and colleagues are “liking” on Facebook, “following” on Twitter or “subscribing to” on YouTube effortlessly.
Social media is a staple in the lives of most people around the world which makes it highly addictive – the more friends, followers and subscribers you have the better. And of course everyone must know what businesses you like. This makes it really important for businesses to provide up-to-date information on the new products and services being launched as well as pop-up special appearances and events that are happening.
Once you open a business or fan page on Facebook, you can invite your clients to your events by creating an “Event” followed by sending it to your customers’ inboxes. Your customers can then comment before, during and after the event. You can also post articles about your company on your page and leave extensive information on your products or services by using the “Notes” section where your customers can also leave their comments.
For free, individuals and businesses can open an account on these social media websites. It is important for companies to have regularly managed and monitored accounts with various social media outlets because their customers may have a Facebook page but not a Twitter or the opposite.
So let a social media professional help you get your Atlanta business off the wall and work it into the “cool kid” status of social media by Facebooking, tweeting and posting instructional videos or exciting commercials of relevant and fun content that will enhance your end-users’ experience.
With the digital generation yearning for a way to break free from monotony while quieting the noise, B Culture Media emerges at the paramount time with a vision that satisfies everything a sharp professional or fresh business is craving.
Marla Gonzalez, founder and vice president of strategy for B Culture Media, began her business-marketing career by making a splash in the luxury hospitality industry. Working with high-end, strategically branded hotels whet her appetite for marketing unique ideas and taking them someplace new. In an effort to indulge her thirst for new media, she began to read, study and take formal courses on the topic in search for, well, more.
While delving into the curriculums of business and social networks, it became apparent that social media is over-generalized and digital media platforms are underutilized in today’s online marketplace. “Digital media is an online web of various forms.” Marla says, explaining her frustration with the status quo. “You need talent and skill to navigate the right mediums and learn how to use them effectively for your company’s demographics,”
Rigorously devoted to supplementing the deficiency in the market, Gonzalez developed her concept until it took form in B Culture Media..B Culture is a brand-enhancing company that forges an interactive dialogue between a brand and its clientele through the use of social networks and digital media. The name, “Brand Culture,” became the totem for establishing more than a trend, but an impact for the company, as well as all of the brands that B Culture works with.
“Everything about us — and our clients — is different,” she says. “We are a culture of thinking outside the box while having fun and living our brand.”
To maintain the vitality of B Culture, an exclusive team was hand-picked to meet the growing needs of their clients.
Jeremy Williams, Social Media Guru (aka the socialist) for B Culture, defines the environment and team as young, driven, eclectic, cutting edge and spicy — a term he reserves for only the most exciting endeavors. “In the next few years, I see us becoming a major key player in the digital media circuit,” he says. “We redefine the culture of new media.”
B Culture Media builds relationships with clients who plan to stand out. Forget what you thought you knew about trendsetting — B Culture redefines the digital market, reaching a status otherwise unattainable.
When it comes to friends, the saying goes, “Some are silver and others are gold. Make new friends, but keep the old.” Well this isn’t the case when it comes to Twitter. A year after launching its new version, Twitter is finally getting rid of the old version.
Tweeters have had the option to keep the old version on their dashboard in the past, but Twitter sent out several warnings last week letting everyone know that the old version will no longer be available and every user will be switched over to the new one.
"If you’re currently using Old Twitter, we want to let you know that you’ll be upgraded to New Twitter this week. twitter.com/newtwitter," says the company in a tweet last Tuesday night.
In the new design, you will find @mentions, retweets, searches and lists just above your timeline. On the right, you see features you’re already accustomed to: who you follow, who follows you, favorites and Trending Topics. Thanks to partnerships with various photo and video uploading sites, you can now see embedded content directly on Twitter. Something that was only a dream on Old Twitter. With the old version, clicking on a person’s profile meant navigating away from the current page you were on. Now you will be able to see a mini profile that provides you with quick access to account information, the user’s bio and recent Tweets. Another upgrade to the site is the ability to discover related content. Depending on the content of the Tweet, you my see @replies, other Tweets by that user, a map or some other information.
We all know that change can be scary, but unlike other social networking sites, Twitter has had the new version up for “preview” for a year. This allowed you “to switch back and forth, so you [had] time to grow accustomed to the way things work[ed],” twitter.com/newtwitter states.
Skype for iPad launched - legitimately - Aug. 2 around 10 a.m. after an accidental release on iTunes App Store late the night before. @Skype posted apologies for having to remove the app around 1 a.m. that morning on Twitter saying, “We know you’ve been eagerly awaiting Skype for iPad and apologize for the inconvenience.”
The company has been working hard to develop an application for the iPad since the introduction of Skype for iPhone with video calling on New Year’s Eve 2010. The iPad app allows users the portability of video chat anywhere they wish without compromising the larger Skype experience they get from a computer screen.
Rick Osterloh is the Head of Product Management at Skype. He leads the design, strategy and development of Skype’s product range. In a blog post today, he said, “It offers the best of both worlds for users who want a larger Skype experience, on-the-go. Skype video calls can be made at the beach, in a car or even lying on a couch. “
It is available for both the iPad 1 and 2 and offers the traditional features of two-way video calling, instant messaging and SMS texting. Features improved on the iPad version of the application, though, are contact views and navigation. Contacts are now displayed in a grid with large avatar photos. This makes it uber easy to find who you’re looking for. Also, if you’re trying to locate recent conversations or your history, the new Search tool helps you out with the touch of a button. For those of you on the iPad 2, take advantage of your dual-camera device to enhance your experience even more.
The application does require iOS 4.0 or above for video calling. No worries if you’ve accidentally put the application on your Apple device without the correct system requirements, though, because it is free to download.
With the ever-evolving digital world it is easy to forget about the real world. It is important for companies to figure out ways to integrate both digital and traditional forms of advertising into their campaign. Here are some companies that have recently done an excellent job of doing just that (hopefully it will spark some ideas for you).
American Express and Foursquare
American Express wants to reward their costumers with loyalty card-like credit when they check in to locations using Foursquare. This helps advertise and expand both companies, even though Foursquare won’t be receiving any revenue from the partnership.
When customers link their cards to Foursquare and check in to certain locations, they will receive deals on their AmEx accounts. An example: If a user spends $50 at Sports Authority he or she will receive a $20 reward on their credit card account. This boosts store sales as it entices customers to spend and also benefits American Express users with loyalty-based rewards.
MasterCard and Facebook Places
In a similar manner to American Express, MasterCard teams up with Facebook Places to offer consumers a one-of-a-kind experience while simultaneously advertising the company in a non-traditional way.
The program runs all month and involves 20 seats from the original Yankee Stadium, which was demolished in 2010. The seats are placed around the city and contain a QR Code that fans will scan to be checked in to Facebook Places. Once a person checks in, they are entered to win VIP tickets to a 2011 Yankee game in MasterCard’s exclusive Batter’s Eye Cafe. The more seats a person checks in at, the larger his or her chance is to win.
Old Spice and YouTube.com
Old Spice deodorant hosted a “Hunk Off” between Isaiah Mustafa and Fabio through YouTube videos. Mustafa and Fabio posted videos asking fans to vote on who was the better hunk. Mustafa won the contest, but Old Spice is the real winner with its creative advertising campaign. The brand received 22 million views on the video-sharing site. This isn’t the first multimedia campaign it has embarked on either. With Mustafa consistently posting video challenges to celebrities and video responses to Tweets as “The Old Spice Guy,” the brand is maintaining constant exposure.
Happy 20th Birthday World Wide Web. Let’s take a look at some of your milestones.
August 6, 1991 4:37 p.m. - Tim Berners-Lee gives birth to the World Wide Web. He says, “The WWW project merges the techniques of information retrieval and hypertext to make an easy but powerful global information system.
1992 - Jean Armour Polly coins the term “Surfing the Internet”
1993 - Web has grown by 341,000 percent in a single year. In case you missed it the first time: 341,000 percent growth in one year.
1999 - The browser war between Netscape and Microsoft ends and the two companies share almost 100 percent of the browser market.
2000 - The number of domain names has doubled in seven months and there are now 20,000,000 different websites on the Internet. There are 360 million internet users world wide.
January 2003 - One of the worst attacks to WWW’s health: the SQL Slammer worm that caused one of the largest and fastest spreading DDoS attacks ever. Taking only 10 minutes to spread worldwide.
2005 - YouTube.com launches.
2006 - You have grown to house more than 92 million websites.
2007 - 1.1 billion people, mostly women are using the internet according to World Stats.
April 2007 - Google becomes the most visited website on WWW.
2008 - China has the largest online population. Nielson Online says that 79 percent of US consumers have made an online purchase in the last six months.
2009 - more than 1.5 billion users and more than 100 billion live web pages.
2011 - 2.1 billion internet users in the world to make for a 480 percent increase in 10 years.