http://www.business2community.com Top Trends, News & Expert Analysis Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:42:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 http://www.business2community.com/social-buzz/larry-ellison-steps-oracle-ceo-01012596 http://www.business2community.com/social-buzz/larry-ellison-steps-oracle-ceo-01012596#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:38:11 +0000
In 1977 Larry Ellison founded Oracle. In September 2014 the company’s CEO has announced plans to step down from his position.
Last year Ellison was the world’s top paid CEO, earning $ 78.4 million. While Ellison only took a $ 1 payment, he earned a fortune in stock options, and increased his personal wealth to $ 41 billion. Oracle currently has a market cap of $ 187.27 billion.
Taking over for Larry Ellison as co-CEOs are Safra Catz and Mark Hurd. Catz has served as Oracle’s president since 2004, and Hurd joined Oracle after being fired as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 2010. Operating with two CEOs is not uncommon for a transitioning company, software giant SAP operated under two-CEOs until Bill McDermott assumed the sole-role in May 2014.
The 70-year-old software visionary will remain with Oracle, taking over the company’s executive chairman seat on the board of directors. He will also carry the title of Chief Technology Officer. Ellison owns 1.1 billion shares or Oracle, which accounts for 25% of the shares outstanding. The next closest shareholder is BlackRock, with just a 4.2% stake of shares outstanding.
In revealing his plans to take a reduced role with the company, Ellison said of his replacement CEOs: “The three of us have been working well together for the last several years, and we plan to continue working together for the foreseeable future. Keeping this management team in place has always been a top priority of mine.”
While he will no longer serve as the company’s CEO, he will remain as a “full time” employee, with a new focus on product engineering.
With Larry Ellison stepping down as Oracle’s CEO, we may soon discover him playing around more on his Yacht. Ellison’s Oracle Team USA took the top prize as last year’s America’s Cup yachting race in San Francisco
The move by Oracle’s CEO is not all that surprising, many top CEOs take reduced roles in the company’s they found. Bill Gates stepped down as CEO of Microsoft in order to make way for younger visionaries and to focus on the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and other philanthropic endeavors.
Larry Ellison has not yet revealed if he will focus on certain products within his company’s software or hardware divisions.
Shares of Oracle were down 2.3% in after-hours trading.
http://www.business2community.com/social-buzz/larry-ellison-steps-oracle-ceo-01012596/feed 0 http://www.business2community.com/social-data/information-value-4-ways-make-customers-happy-share-personal-info-01012310 http://www.business2community.com/social-data/information-value-4-ways-make-customers-happy-share-personal-info-01012310#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:34:55 +0000
Consumers care about privacy, but they’re also willing to share personal information with brands – as long as they get something in return. A recent Accenture survey found that 49 percent of consumers said they would not object to having their buying behavior tracked if it would result in relevant offers from brands and suppliers.
However, “relevant offers” does not mean having the pair of shoes you looked at and rejected following you all over the internet. Providing truly relevant offers requires a careful blending and parsing of data from multiple sources.
One of the best sources for information about an individual’s interests is social media. As consumers share what they like and what they don’t, whether by clicking Facebook’s like button, retweeting or repining, that information enriches the profiles – and it’s all accessible to brands that incentivize consumers to use social login.
Incentives can range from discounts, coupons and special offers to more intangible things such as convenience. Amazon’s famous one-click shopping experience lets shoppers who log in complete a purchase with just that one click, instead of having to enter the shipping address, credit card number, etc.
Loyalty programs, where members can earn bonus points to spend, are another great way to generate site registrations.
When we surveyed thousands of businesses that implemented social login, we found that including a clear message describing the benefits of logging in socially more than doubled the number of customers who did so: 45% used social login following a benefits message, compared to 21.6% of customers who didn’t explain its benefits.
Here are some best practices for communicating to your customers what they’ll get in return for registering or logging in via a social network:
1. Demonstrate how social login is more convenient
Retailer PacSun provides a simple, straightforward incentive for customers to choose social login — the ease of not having to remember another username and password.
2. Offer incentives
In a push to get its users registered socially to play its March Madness Bracket Challenge, NCAA displays a simple, clear message: “Because Brackets are more fun with friends.”
Participating on the site is another kind of incentive. ModCloth’s Be the Buyer program lets shoppers select which designs should go into production, as well as comment and share their comments – but only after they register.
Providing social status within a community is another tactic for encouraging registrations; it’s one that has long been used by video game companies. Leaderboards let everyone see who the highest-ranked player is. Yelp, for instance, rewards its top reviewers in each area by making them part of the Yelp Elite, featuring their photos and reviews, while describing them as its “exclusive, in-the-know crew.”
3. Place incentives close to the point of purchase
There’s a natural pathway as customers move through an e-commerce site, from browsing to searching to comparing products to making a purchase decision. While it’s good to mention incentives or rewards programs on the home page of your site, including them at the point of purchase can help your customer decide to hit the checkout button. This is especially important for loyalty/rewards programs. After all, how can someone know if he wants to join your club before he’s seen what you have to offer? Take a look at how Sephora waits until someone is ready to check out and then offers the opportunity to sign up for its rewards program.
4. Lay out the value proposition
You may think it’s obvious why customers should register with you and create an account — but why not make it clear? Do customers who register get a first look at new products? The ability to show off their smarts by writing reviews? Discounts on shipping? Remind them. A little copywriting love never hurts. Sephora says it plainly. but with style: “The more you shop, the better the rewards.”
Keep your customers close
Consumers want their relationship with you to be easy and rewarding. Encourage deeper brand engagement by making it easy for them to log in socially and offering incentives at just the right time. To learn more about how social login benefits your entire user engagement strategy, download the free Social Login 101 ebook here.
http://www.business2community.com/social-data/information-value-4-ways-make-customers-happy-share-personal-info-01012310/feed 0 http://www.business2community.com/social-media/hire-digital-media-company-house-social-media-strategist-01012356 http://www.business2community.com/social-media/hire-digital-media-company-house-social-media-strategist-01012356#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:29:37 +0000
As a business owner your time is valuable. Not only does your day-to-day involve the operations side of running the business; you’re also managing a team to ensure things run smoothly and sales targets are reached. On top of this, you are tasked with crafting creative ways to market your business. To stay relevant in your industry and get your business found online, you’re also considering social media in-house. Phew! That’s a lot to take in.
We recently received this question from a prospect:“What if we hired our own on staff social media person who can obtain additional marketing details directly from our group?”
We’re excited to answer this question by providing you with the many benefits to hiring a digital media company vs. an in-house social media strategist:
- You get the benefit of a team of experts: When you hire a digital media company you are not just hiring one social media expert. Yes one person will be the point of contact, but the social team meets every week to brainstorm ideas, talk about new trends and advancements in both social and technology. They are in essence constantly going to school, sharpening their skills and sharing within the team to better serve you.
- Diverse skills and backgrounds: Each member of the team brings with them a very unique skill set and past experiences that we can draw from. We try to pair clients with the experts who have a very strong interest or background that best suits the business. We pair the golfers with the golf courses. The foodies with the restaurants etc.
- Professionalism guaranteed: No chance of disgruntled employees that can sabotage pages. I know this sounds dramatic but we see this all the time. Outsourcing ensures professionalism and security. I can’t tell you how many pages we have seen lost or tampered with from people who left the organization for greener pastures.
- Cost to hire full-time employees: Although it may seem like it’s a better “deal” to hire a person in house – it’s not. When you hire a digital media company you are hiring many jobs in one. The cost is set and you know what you are getting up front instead of trusting in someone who might also be busy with other tasks. We take the headache of an employee away. We do the training. We take the liability.
What you get with a digital media company:
- A social media expert.
- A team of marketing strategists.
- Full technical support.
- Weekly posting.
- Content creation.
- Monthly reporting.
We become an extension of your business; we then treat it with the same passion and care as if we are the owners of the business. We think of ourselves as partners, not employees.
http://www.business2community.com/social-media/hire-digital-media-company-house-social-media-strategist-01012356/feed 0 http://www.business2community.com/social-buzz/strike-debt-wants-buy-eliminate-student-loans-01012578 http://www.business2community.com/social-buzz/strike-debt-wants-buy-eliminate-student-loans-01012578#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:59:20 +0000
Strike Debt, formed out of the Occupy Wall Street movement, has bought and eliminated about $ 4 million in private student loan debts for 2,761 students of the for-profit Everest College.
The purpose of the economic activists is to free people from “the debt that ties the 99 percent.” The group calls its project Rolling Jubilee, as the Bible refers to ‘jubilee’ as a time when all debts were forgiven and slaves and prisoners were freed.
Rolling Jubilee buys debts that have become delinquent. When this happens, the owner sells the debts at discounted prices, which allowed the project to purchase student loan debts at three cents to the dollar. By raising donations online, the group can strike out the debts instead of collecting what is owed.
Simply put, Rolling Jubilee only had to raise $ 100,000 to eliminate the $ 4 million of debt accumulated by the students of Everest College.
Student loan debt totals about $ 1 trillion in this country, and Strike Debt knows its project won’t eradicate the problem. However, it raises awareness in a unique and positive way for how crippling these debts are because of the excessive price for higher education, especially from for-profit colleges like Everest. In fact, these colleges account for half of student debt but only enroll about 13 percent of students.
Strike Debt specifically targets for-profit colleges right now, but the group’s website laments, “they are just the extreme version of our increasingly bottom-line-driven and debt-dependent higher education system.” The ultimate goal for the activists is to make public higher education completely free.
Before that can happen, the group is trying to relieve all student debtors from their burdens. According to NPR, Strike Debt’s Thomas Gokey says the next step is to organize people to press for policy changes so debtors can be released from loans they can’t pay.
To encourage advocacy, Strike Debt recently created its online platform Debt Collective. Their website espouses, “Over time, the Debt Collective will become a political force, with a voice that can challenge and dismantle the debt-money system of the creditocracy.
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So you read my last blog post on How to Set Up a LinkedIn Group, you followed the steps, you added a great Hero image, you have some followers…..
Now you have to moderate the group. What exactly does that mean?
Having a group is much like having a bunch of children. I have 3, and some days it feels like 10. Everyone wants your attention at the same time. They all have something they want you to look at right now, and they are all moving 50 mph in different directions. Sounds like fun, right?
The first thing you need to do is make some rules. You want an active group, and you want people to post things, but you need to make sure that what they are posting is appropriate.
What are your goals for the Group? I help manage several Groups for a client and her main goals are helping her team build business, and wellness education. Once you have some clear goals it’s easier to make the rules around what people can post.
What I have found is trying to post something on the same day of each week is helpful. People begin to understand the pattern of when you are posting and look forward to it. Ask a question to your group. Many people ask us how to keep their Groups active, and this is a great way to do that.
Before you post something, figure out where it should go. Is it a Discussion? Is it an event that needs promoting? Or is it a job posting that you are sharing with everyone? Making sure that your content is in the right spot is a good first step.
What if you are allowing other people to post content- How will you manage that? There are some rules that you can set up to allow Group members to post with or without your approval first.
Remember- you don’t want to stop the free flow of content, so make sure you can manage all the content submitted to you so you can approve it in a timely fashion. The one that cries the loudest gets all the attention in my house!
One option to help manage content is to give certain people rights to load content ahead of time. For example, if Erin is always approved to load content, that is one less person for me to approve. There are blocks you can place on people if there is a problem with the content they loaded or a comment they made in the Group.
Group Rules is a great place to state some basics about the expectations of the Group. You want to be clear so that anyone who views them is aware of how they are expected to behave in the Group. It’s kind of like posting the rules of the house on the refrigerator.
One of my favorite features in Groups is the messaging area. There are 4 templates for messages that can be saved in the Manage Message Templates page.
It’s a great way to solve several challenges. It’s a time saver, it’s a very quick touch base with the person, and best of all it sends a consistent, clear message to everyone.
We want our Groups to be active in order to keep everything interesting, but it’s important to keep it under control as well.
Once you have familiarized yourself with the management sections on your Group page you can focus your time on keeping your Group energized. Posting key information that your Group wants, while listening to the comments made by its members. There is a lot to be learned by listening, and not to just the ones that scream the loudest.
People ask me what the difference is between a Group and a Company page- it’s the back and forth conversation- that’s what is really important. You are not just putting information out there- you are putting something out there that should initiate a response.
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Over the years Twitter has evolved and tweaked it’s offering to advertisers as much as the landscape it sits in has; going from an ever-popular micro-blogging network to a valuable multi-national business. But Twitter is not without it’s issues. Despite the company being valued in it’s billions, it still struggles to turn a profit… so what are they doing about it?
Earlier this year Twitter introduced their Twitter cards format, creating a uniform way in which brands can deliver information to their audiences. Whether this is product information, a video or an image, Twitter cards give brands the ability to link pages of their site directly to a tweet (through a smart bit of code), pull relevant metadata and measure the “success” of each post. For advertisers specifically, this means that Twitter can be used to effectively drive traffic to a site, generate leads and even drive sales whilst providing measurable ROI on any activity through the use of these cards.
We’re all familiar with the various ad formats that sit within Twitter. The likes of promoted tweets, accounts and trends have graced our twitter feeds for years now, but a month ago Twitter made a play to make these formats, in particular the promoted tweet, a more cost-effective platform for advertisers. Their previous cost-per-engagement (CPE) model for promoted tweets, where any interaction with an ad (re-tweet, image expand, favourite etc.) incurred a cost has now been replaced with individual campaign objectives. For example, you can now create a “website click” optimised campaign which an advertiser only pays for when a user clicks through to their site. Or a campaign optimised for “followers”, where an advertiser only pays when a user follows their brand. This means that any other engagement is essentially free, and there is minimal wastage on budget because you only pay for whatever you’re optimising for.
In an attempt to entice new advertisers, Twitter have taken all this one step further by introducing a “buy now” option to promoted tweets. The idea is that users can connect their Twitter profile to a payment method and purchase goods from a promoted tweet within the Twitter framework. All their information is housed within the social platform to create a seamless shopping experience, and brands / musicians such as Burberry, Home Depot and Eminem have jumped on board to trial this in the US. With this in mind however, do twitter really want to be an eCommerce platform (particularly with the growth of mobile eCommerce) or is this just a smart way in getting advertisers to part with their cash? Only time and the success of this new feature will tell!
Finally, just this week Twitter have rolled out new tools for advertisers to “create, manage and activate” tailored audiences. Their new audience manager tool allows advertisers to build new lists of people to advertise to from not only e-mail addresses but also mobile phone numbers and website visitors. Custom audiences from Apple iOS and Google Android mobile advertising IDs can also be created targeting users with a brands app installed or those that have viewed a particular product etc.
One step further from this is that Twitter have now included look-alike-only targeting. So instead of broad targeting / targeting your custom audience, you can now target users who are most like your custom audience, expanding an advertisers reach across relevant audiences.
Ultimately, Twitter is evolving to not only cater for advertisers, but cater for the ever changing landscape around it. What Twitter has done, and is still doing, is create a more cost-effective and measurable way for brands to reach out to their audiences. They are slowly-but-surely positioning themselves as a platform for eCommerce, tangible ROI’s and accountability, all whilst keeping the same core values as when it first started… well, trying to anyway!
http://www.business2community.com/twitter/twitter-evolving-advertisers-01012408/feed 0 http://www.business2community.com/social-media/38-tips-social-media-etiquette-business-01012554 http://www.business2community.com/social-media/38-tips-social-media-etiquette-business-01012554#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:27:06 +0000
The problem with common sense is that it isn’t very common.
When you add the global reach of social media the reality is that bad manners, poor behaviour and forgotten etiquette become amplified. So as a business you need to think before hitting publish. If you are new to social media marketing for your business then it all can be a bit daunting.
So what do you do when you have finally finished creating all the social media accounts you didn’t think were necessary to make in the first place? Why Instagram when you have Facebook?. But you’ve made the accounts anyway, and the cross-pollinating posts have begun: a post on Facebook gets shared on all the rest, multiple times a day. Job done.
Turns out, there’s a lot more that goes into making the most use out of your social media platforms. Just because you’ve created the accounts doesn’t necessarily mean the followers will come flocking to you. There’s a lot more work to do, whether your business is trying to target clientele or business travelers stuck in airports or college students lounging around campus, you want to be very cautious about what gets shared on which accounts.
In fact, every social media platform has its own personality. Some may require more casual posts while others a more formal approach. Some social networks can be updated often every day while others need only one or two.
Here’s an infographic explaining social media etiquette on 6 social media networks.
What about you?
Did you wonder what was the right thing to do when you started on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? Did you make some mistakes?
Look forward to hearing your experiences and stories in the comments below.
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The Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will begin arriving on Friday and in preparation of that release, real people were asked to review each of the new models.
The iPhone 6 features a 4.7-inch display, while the iPhone 6 Plus offers a much larger 5.5-inch screen.
The team at Re/code took to the streets and placed each smartphone in the hands of the very men and women who are likely to purchase the Apple devices. Each random stranger was asked to hold the device and give a first impression.
As some reviewers noted over the last several days, the iPhone 6 Plus is not a hit among women. The device when held by female users is routinely called too big. Several female tech reviewers have pointed out already that the device doesn’t fit in their back pockets, which causes the device to fall out when seated. Those same reviewers also said the bigger device is uncomfortable to hold because of its size. One female reviewer in this video even proclaims “it looks like an iPad,” remarking on its size.
On the other hand, the iPhone 6 features a slightly larger display than the iPhone 5S, but both male and female reviewers seem to like the size. There were no remarks about the slightly bigger size being a problem, and it seems to be favored over the larger option.
While Apple has often complained that Samsung rips off their designs, one surprised reviewer quickly pointed out of the iPhone 6 Plus, “it looks like a Samsung.” Another user, who still choosing Blackberry devices because of the keyboard, said they might make the switch if the tactile option is a strong choice versus his current smartphone.
Watch the full video as real people review the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus:
The iPhone 6 Plus set a pre-order sales record for Apple, but even guys with larger hands seem to agree that the iPhone 6 is more comfortable to hold and carry around than the iPhone 6 Plus.
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Waka Flocka Flame found his personal blunt roller, he just hired actor Seth Rogen.
Flocka posted his job ad on Instagram.
He made his specifications for the position clear.
— Waka Flocka Flame (@WakaFlockabsm) September 17, 2014
And Rogen applied on Twitter.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) September 16, 2014
And Flocka announced the comedian is hired.
Rogen is well known for views and stances on marijuana in his films. Pineapple Express was a film all about the subject, where he also demonstrated his rolling origami skills with James Franco. He has an upcoming comedy, again with Franco, called The Interview.
Seth Rogen just added $ 50,000 to his annual pay, officially becoming Waka Flocka Flame’s blunt roller.
http://www.business2community.com/social-buzz/seth-rogen-hired-waka-flocka-flames-blunt-roller-01012523/feed 0 http://www.business2community.com/social-business/prioritizing-social-responsibility-will-strengthen-startup-01009022 http://www.business2community.com/social-business/prioritizing-social-responsibility-will-strengthen-startup-01009022#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:00:29 +0000
At first glance, “doing good” might seem impossible for today’s tech startup. When you’re staying up into the wee hours of the morning to ship features and investors are your main source of revenue, thinking about your social impact strategy might seem impractical.
But visionary founders know that doing good is the right thing to do. The business of it makes sense: we know talented people want to work and stay at companies that include some way to make a difference.* And customers care too. 50 percent of global consumers are willing to pay more to socially responsible companies.** But what’s the time and cash-crunched startup to do?
Don a company shirt to pick up garbage in a nearby park and then pose for pictures that went up on a website? I’ve done something like that. It felt contrived.
Today’s standard approaches to making a difference as employees, typically called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) models, have been criticized for being self-serving, with a focus on team building and positive press rather than on delivering lasting value to any causes. How uninspiring!
Moving away from garbage pick-up
Thankfully, we’re seeing more and more companies ditch the t-shirt clad garbage picking in favor of experimental, integrated approaches to social impact. Instead of saving do-good projects for the future when they “hit 50 employees” “get that Series B”, [fill in the blank with company milestone], more and more organizations are building it into the DNA of their business early on. In other words, making a difference in the world and creating an organization where people want to work is no longer something to aspire to, but something to build from.
You might be two people, or you might be two thousand, but regardless, getting started developing your social impact strategy is easier than you think. In starting our own social impact projects and paying attention to many others out there, I can point to four guidelines startups can follow to set a social impact strategy and maximize success from the earliest stages of its inception.
4 Ways Your Startup Can Prioritize Social Responsibility
1. Scale impact by leveraging your team’s unique skills
Most generally, we’ve learned that programs that stick closest to what the company is best at are both easiest to execute and also the most impactful. For example, Twitter organizes communities through communication, and Box focuses on empowering nonprofits to do more by collaborating via the cloud.
On the old CSR model, a team of 20 engineers volunteering for a full 8 hour work day could pick up a lot of trash in the park with those 160 hours of labor. But what could 160 hours of engineering time time accomplish if asked to harness the power of their unique skills?
- Airbnb developed Disaster Response, a portal allowing 1,400 hosts to open their doors to people who had been flooded out of their homes by Superstorm Sandy. The portal is still being utilized today during other natural disasters.
- Zendesk designed Link-SF, a site for people in need of food and shelter in San Francisco, which could help thousands of people for years to come.
- Optimizely employees volunteer conversion optimization consulting hours to run experiments for nonprofits. In just a few hours of work, were able to raise an additional million dollars for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.
Not only does sticking closest to one’s expertise with skills-based volunteering deliver more impact per hour, it’s also more satisfying for those involved. There’s something special about contributing the unique parts of oneself towards a greater good.
2. Amplify impact via your product
Product discounts or donations can empower nonprofits and foundations to do their great work even better, and in turn drive more results than had you just donated the equivalent dollar amount of your product donation. Let’s look at the amplification when companies stick close to their wheelhouses.
- Salesforce has thousands of nonprofit and higher-ed customers on their steeply discounted plans, including the American Red Cross, whose critical fundraising efforts were vastly improved after adopting the CRM.
- Zynga allows users to elect to play games for good, with the revenues generated donated to the cause of the game.
- A small Google Adwords grant resulted in GreaterGood.org to raise $ 90k more in donations, a 1,000% increase from the year before.
- Optimizely also offers a nonprofit discount, through which 12 million more students were introduced to computer science, just one story from our hundreds of partners.
Foregoing a small amount of revenue by donating or discounting your product can multiply your impact, from day one of your business. Your nonprofit partner can patiently provide critical feedback in your product’s early stages. Our work on the Clinton Bush Haiti fund was undertaken when Optimizely was only a few people large and still in YCombinator.
3. Commit financial resources, especially when they’re “free”
Even with great donated products and skillful volunteers, change-makers still need cash to run. Committing relatively cheap equity in the early stages of a company is far easier than trying to move stocks or cash after an IPO or other major company milestones.
Salesforce committed 1% of equity the first day they convened. The Salesforce Foundation 1/1/1 (1% of equity, 1% of product, 1% of time) model has resulted in more than $ 68M in grants to the community, 23,000 nonprofit and higher ed customers and 680,000 volunteer hours.
We too have committed 1% of our company’s equity and are donating it to our own 501(c)3 foundation, committing us to using those resources for our community. Some say for early-stage startups this is akin to donating “1% of nothing” — and there are great organizations to help you with the process. So why not?
“The best decision we ever made at salesforce.com was adopting an integrated corporate philanthropy model when we started the company. As we’ve grown the company, so has our ability to give back to the community. Just imagine the impact our industry could make if every entrepreneur took the Founders’ Pledge.”
– Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO
4. Partner for success
Luckily, you don’t have to go at this alone. There are organizations dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes scale their impact and funnel talented employee time to the right causes, including our own partner, Full Circle Fund. Optimizely is premiering in the first cohort of their Founder’s Pledge. Our hope is that in doing so, our example will encourage other startups to follow suit and integrate social impact into their business models. These initiatives go beyond community lip service and put our talents and our resources to work.
Social impact: A competitive advantage
Personally, I believe these sorts of programs are a step in the right direction towards creating a healthier, more equitable world. But you don’t have to agree on any moral grounds — having a clear social impact strategy is actually a competitive business advantage. Legendary Harvard Professor Michael Porter argues that serving the world serves your people and serves your brand, creating what he calls “shared value.” YC founder Paul Graham is even on board, arguing being good is just good business.
“Full Circle Fund is the embodiment of how entrepreneurial efforts can systematically build ongoing mechanisms through a network of support, creativity, and people working together to address key issues in the local community.”
— Reid Hoffman, Founder at LinkedIn
*A survey in a recent study (PDF) of recent college graduates found 77% of respondents indicated that that “a company’s commitment to social issues is important when I decide where to work.” (accessed via Harvard Business Review)
**From this Nielsen report
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At Constant Contact, we are big believers in the power of using email marketing to help build a successful blog.
This is something we talk about a lot when educating our small business customers, and is also something we’ve experienced firsthand.
We re-launched the Constant Contact Blog in 2012.
At that time, we brought the blog onto a new platform, introduced a new URL, and really redefined our strategy for content marketing.
Knowing that we wanted to build an audience for the blog, we decided to start with the people who knew us best — our existing email subscribers.
We were fortunate to already have an engaged email audience that was familiar with our content, so after re-launching the blog, we began using our Hints & Tips newsletter to drive traffic to posts on the new site.
Email quickly became our biggest driver of new traffic to the blog.
By focusing on our existing contacts first, we were able to make smarter decisions about the content we were creating and also started to see better engagement from people visiting the blog.
As more people began sharing our posts with their own network, we were able to extend our reach. This became a driving force in helping us establish credibility with search engines, which opened up yet another channel of new visitors.
Today, we are focused on growing each of these channels, but email continues to play a critical role in our content planning, creation, and promotion efforts.
To help you introduce the power of email marketing to your business’s blog, I thought I would share four important lessons we’ve learned along the way.
1. Make it easy for people to sign up
Remember that your blog isn’t just a place to host your content. It should also serve as a valuable entry point for people to discover your business.
As your blog grows, and people begin to discover it through different channels like social and search, you’ll need to make sure you‘re encouraging and incentivizing them to come back.
This will allow you to generate valuable return visits to your blog, and build trust by providing more education about your business and the products and services you provide.
If you’re using an email marketing service like Constant Contact, you can easily add an email sign-up form to your blog and have new contacts automatically added to your email list.
2. Choose the type of emails you want to send
Here at Constant Contact, we use an email newsletter to help build an audience for our blog.
Our Hints & Tips newsletter typically includes snippets of three blog posts with links to read more on the blog. We also include other education assets like guides, webinars, and videos that can be hosted on our blog, website, or YouTube channel.
The newsletter format works for us because we are able to choose assets based on a particular topic, and control the education we are delivering to our audience each month.
Many blogging platforms also give people the ability to subscribe to receive emails automatically each time you publish a post. While these emails can be helpful for driving traffic to your site, there are also some limitations when controlling or editing those emails before they go out.
3. Decide on a frequency and stick with it
Next Wednesday around 1 pm ET, subscribers to our Hints & Tips newsletter will receive a newsletter with helpful posts about marketing their business. This month, we are focused on promoting an upcoming webinar about getting your small business found online, so our newsletter will include a number of helpful assets related to the event.
I know this because we have planned ahead. We decided on the right frequency for sending out emails, and built our promotional strategy with our mailing dates in mind.
Sticking to a set frequency — for us it’s twice a month — is important for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is that you start to build trust and familiarity with the people receiving your updates. They will have a better sense of when to expect your emails, and won’t be surprised to see your name pop up in the inbox.
Finding the right frequency can take some time. The best way to do it is to listen to your readers. You can use email metrics like opens and clicks to see how your audience responds to different frequencies, or you could send a survey to let readers tell you how often they’d like to hear from you.
4. Listen to feedback
As your blog grows, your email subscribers will be the best audience to tell you what’s working, what’s not, and what you can be doing differently to improve your results.
You can track your results by looking at traffic to your blog, and use your email reports to see which links are generating the most engagement.
Comments can also offer valuable insights into which type of content is making the biggest impact, and what other questions people need answered.
You can use these insights to come up with ideas for future content, and also use the feedback you receive to tweak your strategy over time.
Focusing on creating content that’s interesting, relevant, and helpful to your most engaged contacts will be your best route to expanding the size of your audience and building a successful blog.
- When using email marketing to promote your blog, it’s important to make it easy for people to sign up. This will help bring people back to your blog and keep your audience growing.
- There are different types of emails you can use to promote your blog. You can use an email newsletter to curate certain posts and deliver them to your audience, or you can use “announcement” emails to drive traffic to a single post.
- Consistency is key. Choose a mailing frequency that’s right for you, and your audience, so that you can plan ahead and build familiarity with your readers.
- Use the different forms of feedback you receive from readers to improve your results, and deliver a better experience to your audience.
Have questions about getting started? Let me know in the comments below.
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I like the iPhone 6 Plus, I like the size, I like the design, and I love the new features. The device, a larger alternative to prior Apple smartphones, is a move in the right direction. With that being said, I’m also a fan of the Samsung Galaxy S5. I love Samsung’s display, 16MP camera, and it’s awesome connectivity options. As a dual smartphone user, there is good reason for why I choose to carry both Galaxy and iPhone devices.
Below I explore both devices and why I like both of them, but first take a look at this comparison chart for the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy S5. The chart was created by the team at ETrade:
The Apple iPhone 6 Plus wins in the screen size category. The display features 5.5 inches of readable space, compared to 5.1 inches on the Samsung Galaxy S5. However, the Samsung device is slightly more crisp with .432 ppi, compared to an iPhone 6 Plus output of .401. Both devices feature 1080 x 1920 pixels and 16 million colors. I personally find that my iPhone devices tend to have deeper blacks which tends to lead to a better viewing experience, but that might be my own personal vision.
Verdict: The displays are both awesome. Samsung has spent years creating the technology that has been placed inside of Apple and Samsung displays, and that sometimes volatile relationship has created capable output for both smartphone manufacturers. .
This is really a toss up depending on your needs. iOS 8 features a new developer SDK, but that developers kits still needs integration at the hands of developers. Sure you can more easily share your photos, and Maps have been improved, but for the most part iOS 8 is not a major upgrade from the company’s previous iOS. Android KitKat is definitely a capable OS and Samsung has added in enough of its own camera, social sharing, and other technologies, to create a capable system that runs smoothly and with plenty of oomph. If you don’t mind the Google Android Store and you are focused on full control of your device, Android is the way to go. If you want a fluid system that allows for easy app discovery and offers better security protocols out of the box, Apple clearly wins.
Verdict: This is all about personal preferences. It is a lot easier to hack a Google Android smartphone to meet your own wants and needs, but if plug and play capabilities and security are on top of your priority list, I would stick with the Apple iPhone 6 Plus. I hear Apple and Samsung Fan Boys fight over their OS choices all the time, and in the end they both do what they promise and millions of users love both options.
Both devices feature two cameras. The iPhone 6 Plus offers a front-facing camera with 1.2MP, while Samsung features a 2MP front-facing camera. On the rear end Apple provides an 8MP camera, compared to Samsung’s 16MP shooter. Samsung has dominated the camera sector against Apple, but Apple shoots back with a video camera that can capture slow-motion clips at an amazing 240fps, compared to the Galaxy S5 which captures the same footage at 120fps. Apple also offers 1080p filming at 60fps, while Samsung increases its capabilities to 2060p but at a slower 30fps. Personally I love Samsung cameras because of their multi-point focusing capabilities which in the past have allowed for better subject focusing for my photos.
Verdict: If you need slow motion recording the iPhone 6 Plus takes that option to a whole new level, but for overall picture quality, camera features, and seamless device integration, the Galaxy S5 is an amazing shooter. Pictures are crisp on both, at least in terms of a smartphone cameras, but it all comes down to how you use your smartphone for video and photo shooting.
The Apple iPhone 6 Plus features the A8 Chipset while the Samsung Galaxy S5 offers the blazing fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 801. The A8 offers a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, while Samsung’s Qualcomm chipset offers a quad-core CPU that clocks in at 2.5GHz. On the surface this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not that simple. The Apple A8 chipset gives the company full control over both its 64-bit software and 64-bit silicon. That means Apple can optimize it’s hardware more than Samsung and its other Android competitors. In fact, when Anandtech benchmarked the Galaxy S5 against the slower iPhone 5S, the older model actually gave Samsung a run for its money. Apple’s new iOS 8 API is said to give more kick for maximum performance, while rending objects up to ten times more quickly. Apple is claiming an 85% increase in graphics performance.
Verdict: Given that the Apple A7 beat the Snapdragon 801 in numerous categories, we have to believe that similar benchmarks will name the Apple A8 processor as the dominant CPU.
Memory (Hard Drive and Ram)
The Apple iPhone 6 Plus is available in 16GB/64GB/128GB models, while the Samsung Galaxy S5 features 16GB and 32GB models. However, the Galaxy S5 also offers MicroSDHC support which allows for extra storage that can be easily removed and used in other devices. The iPhone 6 Plus also offers 1GB of RAM, while Samsung provides 2GB. It should be noted that early Apple A8 benchmarks showed faster RAM in Apple devices, which removes some of Samsung’s bigger RAM advantage. Extra RAM is only as good as its performance.
Verdict: This is all about your personal preference. Do you need to store all of your files on your device or do you want to move files with ease and even store them offline? Are you a power user or a casual smartphone operator? And do you spend time gaming and browsing the web, or is your device mostly for calls?
The Apple iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S5 both feature 801.11 AC wireless connectivity, a nice fast standard that makes transferring files over WiFi easy and fast. Both devices also offer the low-power and high performance of Bluetooth 4.0. Both devices also offer 4G LTE with HSPA+ mobile data connectivity. Personally I have had more luck connecting my Samsung devices to my home WiFi then my Apple smartphones, but I haven’t tried out the Apple iPhone 6 Plus’ WiFi connectivity. Both devices also feature NFC (Near Field Communications) for file transfers and mobile payments. Apple now offers the Apple Payments platform which Apple fans will likely love, while Samsung works wtih various providers to serve NFC payments and short-range data transfers.
Verdict: Connectivity is pretty standardized across new devices these days. With both devices you will receive fast connections and sustainable connectivity. Only time will tell if WiFi or mobile data issues exit on the iPhone 6 Plus, but for now this is a toss up for all users. I’ll call it a tie.
iPhone 6 Plus Health Vs. Samsung S5 Health
Typically I wouldn’t include this type of software feature in a comparison, but in the case of Apple and Samsung, both companies have put a ton of stock into their health features. Both smartphones offer internal and external features for monitoring a users movement, their environments humidity, temperature, and barometic pressure. Apple also offers the M8 motion coprocessor for tracking physical activity, including distance and elevation.
Apple has forbid user sharing of health stats from third-party developers, but otherwise both platforms are fairly similar and work with their own software and a wide range of third-party developer created applications.
Verdict: Both health platforms are very capable and worth regular use. Apple and Samsung are taking user health seriously and we will likely see software upgrades that keep both health platforms competitive. Those upgrades should arrive more swiftly when wearable tech becomes more commonplace among smartphone users.
The iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S5 are both very capable devices. If you are familiar with, and love the iOS operating system, you are probably best off sticking with Apple. If you are a long-time Google Android OS buyer, there is likely no major reason for a switch to Apple. Both devices offer connectivity to smart watches, both offer excellent processors and camera capabilities, and both devices can playback video and record motion in high-definition.
There will always be arguments over how much better one company’s devices are over the others, but in the end, it all comes down to personal preferences. I tried Apple and then moved to Samsung, only to ping pong back and forth. Eventually I found it easier to just carry both devices to meet my personal needs.
Which device do you prefer, the Apple iPhone 6 Plus or the Samsung Galaxy S5?
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Jack White is no stranger on telling everyone his feelings about music and media. Performing at Fenway Park, White went on a Kanye West-esque rant aimed at the The Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, and Rolling Stone’s website.
“Most performers don’t use microphones anymore. 90 percent of proper singers don’t use microphones that have cords on them,” the former White Stripes guitar player said criticizing Katy Perry.
Dave Grohl and crew were celebrating their official day in Richmond, Virginia, playing a crowd funded show. While that happened, White proceeded to bash them onstage at his Boston concert.
“A second guitar player playing the same parts I play so in case I make a mistake, he’s still playing it for you,” the media critic said about The Foo Fighters.
The final victim was Rolling Stone, where he disses their site and web content.
“Something for Rollingstone.com for tomorrow. I like to feed them something every day for their clickbait. If everyone could, in this whole stadium, please go to Rollingstone.com tomorrow. They’ve paid me zero dollars to plug them so make sure they get at least a million mouse clicks tomorrow.”
He went on to say their content is ridiculous, bashing news stories about what fifteen outfits Taylor Swift wore this month, and saying the website is brought to you by the Kardashian family.
His self-proclaimed rant ended with, “I’m officially supposed to stop now because this is becoming a Kanye West-esque rant for Rollingstone.com. Because apparently nowadays you’re not allowed to speak to your own fans about anything lest it be a rant. So forget ISIS. Forget the war in the Middle East. Forget any problems at home. Forget gay marriage. This is not a rant. This is just me saying, “Hello Cleveland! Brought to you by Rollingstone.com.”
Jack White’s full rant can be heard here:
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Building a small business from the ground up is a bit more complicated today than it was a decade ago. Then, it was mostly a matter of good placement in the Yellow Pages, maybe a larger sized ad as well as a listing, and if you were really motivated some direct marketing through flyers or fax blasts. Now, though, we have social media. And while social media may seem like a one-stop-shop, it is vastly more complex when you consider all the separate outlets that are not automatically linked together.
There is, of course, your website – you must have a landing place for all the traffic that the other outlets can generate and send your way. You need to make sure your website is appealing and filled with excellent content, information, tips, and links. All of this is geared toward increasing your ranking for online search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
It would be hard to find someone these days that hasn’t said “Google it” at one point or another. A Google search has become synonymous with looking up just about anything you can think of on the Internet. Finding someone under 20 years of age who’s even held a Yellow Pages phone book in their hands would be harder still. The Internet has become the epicenter of information dissemination and will likely hold that place for the foreseeable future.
So making it to the top of a search listing should be at the top of any small owner’s to-do list. It is the number one guaranteed way to generate more traffic to your website and therefore more traffic through your door. One of the best ways to rise in the rankings of a Google search is to utilize local Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Local SEO takes keywords and other types of information the search engine pools for from your website to know when to display your site as a result of a search query performed by the Internet user. The more interrelated key words, informative content, links, etc., that the search engine hits from your site, the higher up the list you will go when results are displayed from the user’s search query.
Another way to help make sure you are available for new business traffic from Google searches is by using Google Adwords. These remarkable small gems are those little ads that show up on the top and side of the page when you’ve gotten your search query results. Adwords use keywords or phrases related to your business that you specify when you create the ad. When search queries include those keywords or phrases, your ad is displayed on the results page. Again, there are rankings with Adwords, so the better your keywords and phrases are, the higher up your ad will appear. Potential customers who click on your ad are already interested in what you have to offer, so it is a more concentrated and focused result.
The sum total of your efforts in keeping up-to-date with local SEO and things like Google Adwords will generate business for you and keep you heading up the ladder of growth.
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Yet another receipt image is going viral on social media, but this one isn’t bearing a shockingly large or small tip, nor boasting a judgmental message from the payer. Instead, this one is being shared far and wide due to the message attached by the bartender who posted it.
Laura Ramadei is an actress, working as a bartender between roles. She says,
So far, bartending allows me the most flexibility to pursue my artistic career, while comfortably covering my basic living expenses, including my outrageously high student loan payments. I have a good job that I’m grateful for. The environment is low key, I have incredibly supportive coworkers and managers, and – in general – the clientele is nice.
But I still hate being a bartender. Over the years my knowledge and skill set have expanded, but I seem to be getting worse at tolerating the “service” part. I deal with incredible amounts of entitlement, condescension, and drunk nonsense. And at a bar, it is impossible to ignore the fact that misogyny is alive and well.
On Monday, however, she said that one customer finally went too far. According to Ramadei, he groped her and asked if he could get her ‘to go.’ This, she says, was the final straw, and she posted a scan of his credit card slip, with his name printed on it and a $ 2 tip, on Facebook, calling it a public shaming and inviting people to share.
A portion of her call-out is below, with names and companies partially redacted.
You came into the restaurant where I work and ordered a Stoli on the rocks. When I asked you and your companion if you’d be eating, or needing anything else from me, you put your hand – ever so gently – ON MY ASS and asked if you could take me “to go”. When I immediately stepped away and said “Sorry, what?” you probably gathered that I was and am not receptive of such advances from customers. We were in a family-friendly restaurant, around 6:30pm, and I was wearing a loose-fitting, long sleeve shirt, jeans, and no makeup…so I’m not sure where the confusion arose as to what kind of service you were being provided. You left soon after, leaving a signed credit card slip and a two dollar tip (see picture included!). Your name is B**** L******n. I found you, instantly, via a quick Google search online. I looked at your face on Linked In, the World’s Largest Professional Network. You work at [redacted], in Investment Management. Of course you do.
Don’t worry about Laura losing her job over this though: she says this incident cuts it and she’s quitting. On the Facebook post, she invited job leads or suggestions.
In a final postscript to other bar and restaurant patrons, she warns:
p.s. Everyone else – please be kind to your server. If your drink took a while, it might just be because your bartender was rage crying about misogyny in the bathroom. Also because if you’re not nice to her, she just might memorize the name from your credit card, find you online, hunt you down, and pee in your bed while you’re sleeping.
Is posting the full name and company of an (alleged) sexual assault perpetrator and misogynist going too far, or do you support Laura Ramadei’s choice to share the receipt publicly?
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You’ve finally acquired the right marketing software in order to gather first party data. In other words, you officially have, at your fingertips, detailed and accurate consumer insights. Now what?
While implementing a social login dialog that allows users to substantiate their social identities is definitely the first step in capturing more customers, it’s only the first step to success.
After you gather this key information, it’s vital to have a strategy in place to use this data wisely in order to more effectively cater to your customers. This may seem like an obvious statement, but statistics show us that marketers have difficulty using this rich data strategically. In fact, a study from Teradata tells us that 78% of marketers feel the pressure to become more data-driven; however, only 33% are consistently and strategically leveraging consumer data in their marketing efforts (Teradata).
In order to help you join the ranks of the 33% of marketers who are getting it right, here are 3 suggestions to help you effectively leverage your first party insights.
1. Invest in a platform that lets you segment your data
The first way to effectively leveraging your first party insights is to make sure you can successfully organize the information you are receiving. You do this by investing in an intuitive consumer insight platform.
With a consumer insight platform, you can glean insight about your consumers by segmenting their details into the following categorizes:
• Social actions
• Revenue activity
• Top influencers
Then, instead of a jumbled mess of data, you have instant and organized access to top consumer trends, key actions, revenue insights, and more.
When you take measures to thoroughly organize data and understand your target market, you are able to market to them more efficiently. This puts you on the path to increasing your conversion rate. Without a way of segmenting data, it’s difficult to make sense of any information you may acquire, let alone use the information to create a new informed marketing plan.
2. Use the first party data to make sound marketing choices
As soon as you are familiar with your consumer insight platform, it’s important to spend the time sorting through your custom reports in order to really understand what motivates your target audience to read, click, and ultimately, convert.
Once you have sorted through all the necessary consumer data, it’s officially time to start a more relevant marketing campaign by:
• Reaching customers with optimized e-mail content
• Offering customized product recommendations to your primary, secondary, and tertiary demographics, all based on user data
• Setting up targeted advertising campaigns that are likely to boost key performance indicators
While the details of these marketing efforts will look different for each company, it’s important to understand that the best way to create a focused marketing campaign is to collect and comprehend first party data.
3. Serve relevant advertisements
The last suggestion for leveraging first party data extends beyond the realms of solidifying your marketing strategy.
Consider this: Advertisers are traditionally used to advertising on platforms that gather information using browser cookies. As a consumer yourself, you know what this means. It means that even though you are a 32-year-old man, who is not interested in beauty products, you may see advertisements for makeup, nail polish, and anti-aging cream. Why? You see these ads, because your wife used the family computer earlier in the day.
When you collect first party data, on the other hand, you not only collect valuable information for yourself, you collect and segment data rich groups for your advertisers.
Instead of relying on cookies, which 68% of consumers delete anyway (MediaPost), with the consistently updated data insights that advertisers receive from you, your advertisers have a much higher chance at conversion. And, advertisers are willing to pay big bucks for those kinds of chances.
As you sell advertising space based on your first party insights, you increase your credibility, and provide more value to your consumers. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Knowing and Reaching Customers with Data
In a nutshell, first party data provides the insight and context into your customers that you need to nurture loyal, engaged users. To learn more about how to responsibly collect and put your consumer data to use, download the free guide, Making Sense of Consumer Data.
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Social media is often called “relationship” marketing: instead of throwing messages at your audience, you’re actually developing a connection with them. You get to know what they like, share jokes and your latest specials, and you eventually earn their trust.
How do your customers feel when they haven’t heard from you in a while? Disappointed and wondering where you’ve been.
They miss you. Eventually, they’ll forget about you.
The simplest way to growing your business using social media? Be consistent:
“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen
Do you “show up” on your social networks daily?
Consistency is the key
What happens when you don’t show up in your social networks for awhile?
You get rusty. You forget how to do the basics: navigate your way around the network, search, post an update or a photo.
You get frustrated and it takes longer than you’d like to post your message.
Your audience, however, has still been engaging — just not with you. Other small businesses have been consistent, and they’re reaping the benefits.
Go for the base hit, not the home run
Showing up and being consistent with your social media marketing is far more important than having a huge viral contest. That baseball adage, “go for the base hit, not the home run” applies to your marketing also.
Develop relationships with your audience in small steps. Keep in touch with them, the way you would a good friend. Nurture and help those connections.
The more you show up, the more successful you’ll be
Why do people eventually purchase from you?
Rarely is it any single reason; instead, it’s often for lots of small ones.
They saw a link to an interesting article you posted. They’ve benefited from your helpful advice. They see you more often, in more ways than your competition.
You earn your client’s trust by showing up consistently, providing value, and earning their trust. Those relationships take time to build.
One day at a time.
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A couple of weeks ago, we covered the most successful brands using Hyperlapse, Instagram’s app for flawless time-lapse photography.
As you probably know by now, Instagram is currently testing its ads platform with a few select brands. These brands are the tastemakers of the Instagram marketing landscape. As such, they are often warm to Instagram’s updates, and become a source of inspiration for other brands. The latest big hit by Instagram is Hyperlapse, so we’re taking a peek at how brand partners have used it so far.
Burberry: Best in class
If you were looking for a textbook best use-case of Hyperlapse by a brand, Burberry gives you two.
In both videos, the british luxury brand grabs our fickle attention and keeps it to the end. In the age of social media, cellphones, and distractions, we all know how hard it is to achieve.
We believe that Burberry masters the few key factors that make us interested: first of all, the cover image makes us want to see more and play the video. “Sure I’ll sail on the Thames”, “I’m offered a glimpse of the new fashion to come? Sure, I’ll see that.” Once we play the video, we’re shown content that not only is “in the moment”, but that is also well executed.
The visit of London’s Thames seamlessly cutting to a stroll in Hyde Park feels like a music video from creative genius Michel Gondry. Technically, it’s also a success as this Hyperlapse displays the image-stabilization feature in action. Last, but not least, this video is right on message for Burberry, even though none of its products are to be seen here. Instead, it’s a reminder of the designer brand’s roots, stemming from the heart of London. The caption, appropriately hashtagged, comes as a reminder of it:
London – home of the #Burberry S/S15 Womenswear show #LFW #hyperlapse
The second video is a long take of Burberry’s show for London Fashion Week. The clothes displayed here mesh in a rainbow-like parade. We’re invited to an exclusive event with a selective entry, and allowed to peek into the future of Burberry. Once again, the caption integrates hashtags in the simple description of what we’re seeing:
A rainbow finale – the #Burberry Prorsum S/S15 show #LFW #Hyperlapse
Aside from the action in the catwalk, we cannot help but to be intrigued by the other ballet going in the foreground, where mobile phones are lifted up by spectators hoping to capture the perfect photo for their Instagram followers to see…
Chobani: High-speed unboxing
Chobani has recently shared the first results about its ads on Instagram. The main takeaway from Chobani’s experience on Instagram is to resist the temptation of including your brand logo on every shot, as you probably would on other platforms. On Instagram, it’s best to share unbranded but good-looking posts here and there.
With Hyperlapse, you can sometimes overlook that guideline, as a video will look genuine in and of itself. Chobani’s is a good example of it, as it features the brand’s logo on 3 occasions without seeming salesy.
Taco Bell: Stacking the sauce
Taco Bell shared its Instagram ads results along with Chobani this week. The report also gives a glimpse at the brand’s creative process on Instagram:
“We let the concept drive creative production and paired that with what we knew about how people engage on Instagram.”
– Chris Brandt, Chief Marketing Officer at Taco Bell
This time, the team brought the “Insta” back on Instagram, and just went with stacking its new sauce packets. After all, why not brag a little about good design?
Since its first few ads – photos showing wealthy young adults having a fun time around its cars – Lexus has come to embrace the authenticity expected on Instagram photos and videos. It feels particularly appropriate for us to see its cars in action on Instagram. This Hyperlapse by Lexus follows the same idea.
Despite its simplicity, this video prompted 128 comments, most of them containing mentions.
Macy’s had an impromptu catwalk show for National Bowtie Day. Like Lexus’, this video prompted discussions in the comments, many of them including user mentions.
“@etwarhol why aren’t you in this?!”
“@cgnewe Are you wearing a bowtie!”
Ben and Jerry’s, the creative genius
Differentiating itself from the other brands we talked about, Ben and Jerry’s shared an Earth-friendly time-lapse video. This one is the most refined from this article’s selection. It’s reason enough to be excited: maybe it will inspire other brands to daze us with magic. To mention only one, General Electric is often a great contender for creating gold branded content, no matter the platform.
A few partners are not Hyperlapsing yet
A handful of brand partners have yet to try their luck with Hyperlapse. Levi’s, Paypal and W Hotels stand out as they rarely, or never share videos. On the other hand, Michael Kors and Adidas Originals are prolific video sharers. But both favor professionally edited spots over the less refined Hyperlapse-made videos. Maybe that’s the right way to win an Instagram audience? Maybe the Ben and Jerry’s example will inspire them to follow suit? Only time will tell.
What other brands got you excited about Hyperlapse? Are you using it for your own company? Let us know in the comments!
http://www.business2community.com/instagram/instagram-brand-partners-hyperlapse-01012404/feed 0 http://www.business2community.com/linkedin/reach-target-audience-linkedin-advertising-analytics-call-tracking-01008821 http://www.business2community.com/linkedin/reach-target-audience-linkedin-advertising-analytics-call-tracking-01008821#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:30:38 +0000
What is it that sets LinkedIn advertising apart from Facebook, Twitter, and other paid social network advertising? In my opinion, it is the ability to directly target the decision-makers you are trying to reach, with ads and sponsored content that are relevant to the product or service you are trying to sell.
How is this any different from Google? With Google you are targeting anyone and everyone on the web searching for keywords related to your offering. This often includes people who are unable to make a decision to purchase from your business and many other random outliers. In other words, with LinkedIn the ability to target your niche audience is much greater than with Google. Google = extended reach, LinkedIn = specificity.
The same theory that goes for Google also applies to Bing (millions of searches, less targeted audience) and Facebook (millions of users, more social/consumer focused than LinkedIn). Now don’t get me wrong, I love advertising on Google, Bing, and Facebook (well, sort of). These networks give me the ability to get my brand and content in front of thousands of relevant Internet searches every single day. I generate a lot of quality leads from these networks. These leads often convert into customers. But what is missing from these networks is the ability to target specific people: decision-makers at companies and in industries that I am trying to tap into, and reach out to them directly. Why?
Ads vs. Sponsored Content on LinkedIn
There are two different ways to reach your target audience on LinkedIn: ads and sponsored content. Creating an ad on LinkedIn is very similar to Google or Bing. Name your campaign, enter your landing page URL, and create a short text headline and ad. If you choose to sponsor content you’ll be given the option to select from a list of recent posts you’ve made on your company LinkedIn page, or you can create a new one.
Whether you choose to create an ad or sponsor an update, LinkedIn offers advanced targeting capabilities. LinkedIn offers you the ability to target a company specifically by name. You can also choose to target your ads by category such as industry or company size. Once you’ve selected the company and/or industry you want to target, you can select specific job titles to target (the tool recommends similar job titles as well), job functions, or seniority level. Once you’ve selected the criteria you want to target, you can add exclusions to ensure your ad or content is only shown to relevant LinkedIn users.
You can see through this example how easy it is to target a specific audience with your ad or content on LinkedIn. Unlike with Google and Bing, you can use LinkedIn to target specific people such as decision makers, Directors, VPs, CEOs, etc. in the B2B industry to make your message more effective.
In a recent call I had with my LinkedIn account rep, he recommended sponsored content as a better option than ads. He mentioned that sponsored updates tend to see a 0.3% higher CTR compared to ads. He also mentioned that the sponsored updates often receive better inventory as far as the auction is concerned, meaning it’s easier to get your sponsored content in front of your target audience rather than your ad.
Once you are up and running with your highly targeted, highly relevant advertising or content campaign, LinkedIn offers intelligent reporting within the campaign manager interface. You can see similar metrics to those you have in Google and Bing such as clicks, impressions, CTR, average CPC, and total spend.
While the above metrics are helpful in determining whether or not a campaign is performing well, one glaring metric that is missing from their interface is phone calls. Since the audience you are reaching on LinkedIn is highly targeted and specific, the people viewing your ads probably already know about your company and/or offering. The ad or content you are showing them is probably not the first they’ve seen of you: they may have already visited your website, they may have already interacted with someone on your sales team. They are probably further along in the sales cycle than someone who may see your ad on Facebook or Bing. They don’t need to learn more, they are ready to talk to someone and make their purchase.
To help increase the chance of converting this lead or prospect into a customer as quickly as possible, you can make it easy for the user to reach out to your business by including a call tracking phone number in your ad and/or landing page. In Q2 2014, mobile accounted for 45% of unique visiting members to LinkedIn, so calling is often the fastest and most convenient way for them to reach you when they see your brand. Once the user calls, the call (and everything that happens after they pick up the phone) can be tracked online so you can track the true ROI of your LinkedIn advertising campaigns.
To learn more about generating and tracking phone leads from LinkedIn and other social networks, download the free guide, “B2B Lead Generation for Social Media: Tips for Generating and Tracking Phone Leads.”
http://www.business2community.com/linkedin/reach-target-audience-linkedin-advertising-analytics-call-tracking-01008821/feed 0 http://www.business2community.com/pinterest/discover-pinterest-behind-scenes-01008793 http://www.business2community.com/pinterest/discover-pinterest-behind-scenes-01008793#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:00:00 +0000
Recently, I had the chance to attend Pinterest’s first tech meetup launch and talk hosted at Pinterest HQ, Discover Pinterest. While I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, I was excited to peer inside their headquarters and to possibly hear about upcoming features.
At Headquarters, I was surprised to see how many of the participants were men. There were hardly any women in the crowd. I met one of Pinterest’s technical recruiters, and asked him about the men:women ratio. He shook his head and said they’re “working on it,” and that many of the interns were women, which didn’t sound that equitable to me.
Unsurprisingly, everything at Pinterest is branded with the red-and-white Pinterest logo, from the sidewalk signboard welcoming people to the pillows on the sofas, with a homemade, DIY feel that is part cozy homespun and part nerdy SOMA. This article from Fast Company says “the handmade feel to Pinterest’s offices is actually the expression of something deeper…a core value that is likely key to the company’s success.” At any rate, I love that their HQ decor echoes what you see on many Pinterest boards.
On to the presentations. Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon.com explained how old-world constraints no longer apply. And how a system like Netflix must be able to withstand a single failure without the entire system going down. Several nerdy guys whispered to me that they were here to hear Vogels, and that he’s “kind of a superstar.”
Michael Lopp, Pinterest’s Head of Engineering, explained how pinners (Pinterest users) repin and add context to a pin through their own experiences. Each pinner’s experience creates a unique context.
Lopp asked how many pinners were in the room; only about three hands went up–mine included. If there had been more pinners, would he need to explain about context? I don’t think so! Helloooo, Pinterest–how about hiring some more women? (Ahem. I am available.)
This Pinterest logo is made entirely out of Rubik’s cubes. Cool.
Besides the awesome DIY decor, the food was great (including the wine and beer bar–thank you, Pinterest), the people super friendly, and we got to know a little more about the people behind the brand.
By the way, if you’d like to hear some the top ten Pinterest tips (for both newbies and more advanced pinners), here they are.
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If you have ever hailed a cab in New York City you know the routine. You stand on the sidewalk or nearly in the middle of the street, raise your arm, and wait.
What you probably don’t expect to happen is that some random guy will run by your location and give you an unexpected high-five. But that’s exactly what recently happened courtesy of the team at YouTube channel AMK Productions.
Some taxi cab waiting residents give a little smile, while others don’t look pleased that they were just given an unexpected and unwanted high-five.
I have to admit, the guy giving the high-fives was brave. New Yorkers can be ornery and skittish, and he was definitely taking a chance by surprising them out of nowhere.
The video was uploaded to Youtube on September 14 and it has already received 428,000 views.
How you would react to a random high-five from a bearded New York City resident?
http://www.business2community.com/social-buzz/this-guy-high-fives-new-yorkers-as-they-hail-cabs-01012317/feed 0 http://www.business2community.com/social-buzz/red-band-society-show-watch-season-01012303 http://www.business2community.com/social-buzz/red-band-society-show-watch-season-01012303#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:20:13 +0000
Red Band Society is the newest show to start up a season on FOX, and it has already sparked a controversy. If you take a look at Twitter, on #RedBandSociety, you will automatically see people disagreeing with the way the show is handling the touchy subject of chronic illness and the inner workings of hospitals.
— Leah Goldstein (@lmg728) September 18, 2014
As seen, people are outraged that shows are now glorifying diseases, making patients out to be miracles and strong, when sometimes they really aren’t all that strong on the inside and they are just trying to survive. An example of another show about disease, that premiered on ABC Family, is Chasing Life, which is a story about a young woman’s struggle with Leukemia just as her life is starting to pick up the pace and drop all her dreams on her doorstep.
The major difference that is being portrayed between the two dramas are that Chasing Life is all about making the most of the time you have left and leaving your mark on the world, where as Red Band Society is already being labeled as a Tween Drama.
— Miranda Nazario (@mirandanazarioo) September 16, 2014
Red Band Society definitely deserves a few more episodes before people completely pass judgment and write them off the list of shows to binge watch over a long weekend, or well into the night before that super important test they should be cramming for instead.
Being one of many human beings who have witnessed friends, and family members, pass from chronic disease (and even dealing with a chronic disease myself), I can relate more with the plot to Chasing Life, than I can to the plot of Red Band Society… but, maybe that is because people haven’t really given the plot time to thicken.
http://www.business2community.com/social-buzz/red-band-society-show-watch-season-01012303/feed 0 http://www.business2community.com/linkedin/7-features-help-build-authority-linkedin-01010950 http://www.business2community.com/linkedin/7-features-help-build-authority-linkedin-01010950#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:19:53 +0000
Admittedly, LinkedIn might not be the most fun of all the social platforms out there.
It is, however, one of the most useful.
I learned to love LinkedIn while I was working at a startup and put in charge of researching leads before sending them to our sales team.
Since then, I made it my mission to attain that coveted 500+ connections status, and to learn all there is to know about what LinkedIn has to offer.
As it turns out, LinkedIn encompasses a lot of different features that can help you build professional authority in your field. The problem is, LinkedIn can be a little intimidating.
Lucky for you, I’ve tested the waters and figured out how to make the most off all the good stuff LinkedIn has to offer.
Now you can reap the benefits of my research by reading this one, condensed list of LinkedIn features that help you build authority:
1. Who has viewed your profile
This is one of my favorite features. Not only does it have the potential to provide reassurance that people are interested in what you do, but it also has the ability to help you optimize your profile for the right audience.
LinkedIn provides you with basic data about the people perusing your profile — such as name, headline, location, and industry, as well as how these people found you, what keywords they were using, their title, and more. It even supplies you with a nice little line graph to see how many views you have by date, and how they change over time (LinkedIn will give you data for the past 90 days).
These stats can help you decide what to highlight on your profile, and help determine who your audience is.
2. How You Rank/Professionals Like You
Now that you have a handle on who is looking at your profile, you might want to know how you stack up among your connections, colleagues, and other people in your industry.
“How You Rank” shows you how many profile views you’re getting relative to your 1st degree connections and other people at your company.
“Professionals Like You,” does pretty much the same thing, except with people in your industry. You don’t have to be connected with them to see how you compare. This can help you get a better idea of what the standard is and what to aim for.
3. Your Headline
This is the little blurb that goes right under your name on your profile and in searches. Your headline is also a great way to connect you with your business and industry.
This space allows you to be a little creative and highlight what’s unique about you. Do what feels right, whether that means calling out your expertise or vocalizing your passions.
It’s the first thing people will see next to your name and photo, so take this chance to really own your first impression.
4. Recent activity of your connections
LinkedIn makes it easy to see what your connections are up to right on their profile. You can see what they’ve written, what they’ve shared, and their recent engagement.
This tool can help you find the perfect conversation starter, or give you insight into the ideas and needs of a client. Going into meetings or calls, you can have a better sense of people’s personalities, interests, needs, and concerns.
This can help you focus a conversation around topics that are interesting and relevant to whomever you’re talking to.
LinkedIn Groups can open the door to new people, ideas, and resources for your business. They give you a platform to discuss industry trends and news, post jobs openings, ask other opinions, and share expertise.
With Groups, you can easily communicate with people you aren’t connected to. Regardless of what your message is, Groups allow you to share that message with a special subset of relevant LinkedIn users.
This feature used to be exclusive, but has opened up to all members.
Publisher lets you share your thoughts and expertise with your connections and followers in a long-form format, rather than a short post on your profile that can be looked at and forgotten very quickly.
Publisher provides you with a venue to get more in-depth with your “professional” thoughts, and because it is searchable, on and off LinkedIn, it can help you expand your network. People who aren’t connected with you can choose to follow you and be updated whenever you publish again.
On top of all of that, Publisher offers the ability to manage comments, edit and delete posts, view stats, and tag. There are lots of features to take advantage of here.
7. LinkedIn Connected App
We’re living in a world where there is an app for everything, so why not make use of LinkedIn’s app? LinkedIn says you are more likely to get 6 times more profile views, and 7 times more endorsements if you use the app. What’s not to love about that?
The Connected App is a good way to take LinkedIn on the go — you can look at news, jobs, information about colleagues and clients, and even work anniversaries… you never know when that might be useful!
For more information on LinkedIn, check out our new LinkedIn 101 page. And tell us about your favorite features in the comments!
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Is your blog generating the results you want?
Results as in subscriptions, leads or sales, not just traffic, social shares and mentions on the web.
Let me take a guess: you are here because you want to monetize your content, not to manage a blog just for fun. But be warned: blogging has become a serious business and, very few really know how to make it profitable.
Those few smart people who manage to monetize their content understand that it’s not the content that is generating revenue, but their marketing efforts focused on raising personal brand awareness, gaining prospects and converting them to revenue is.
Although business blogging takes time, energy and a long-term strategy, there are solutions that could drive to success. List building is one of them.
Here are 6 blogging mistakes you will need to fix that will not boost the number of subscribers overnight but if you commit and persist you will achieve success.
1. You don’t use surveys
Unless you haven’t noticed, you have already defined the problem: your website has traffic, but the number of subscribers doesn’t grow. Now it’s time to find out the cause of this unfortunate situation by asking your readers a few questions about their interaction with your blog or website.
Don’t guess!…find out who are the visitors to your website. Here are some tips to find out who they are and what they want.
Segmentation and targeting questions
What describes you the best?
- I have a blog
- I’m a freelancer who offers content marketing services
- I’m writing content for a company’s blog
How often do you visit “my blog”?
- every day you publish a post
- two to three times a week
- once a week
- a few times per month
- less than once a month
About how long have you been reading “my blog”?
- a month or less
- 2 to 5 months
- 6 months or more
Satisfaction & attitude questions
How do you feel about the frequency of the posts?
- It’s good as it is
- I’d like to see more posts
- I’d like to see fewer posts
Which of the following topics are the most appealing to you?
- Social Media
- Content Marketing
- Email marketing
- Landing Page Optimization
Once you have gathered enough responses to make an idea about your readers profile, their behavior and interest with your website, export the data into an Excel sheet and start analyzing the answers.
What’s the exact information that you need to know?
- The most voted topic that will stand as the topic of your first e-book.
- The blog’s PERSONAS that represent different user types, imaginary characters that act in a similar way on a website. Usually, every online business can define 2 to 5 personas.
2. You did not create a free e-book
Digital papers stand as hooks to persuade readers to subscribe to an e-mail list without telling them directly: “Subscribe to my list ‘because I’m so awesome.” Cialdini’s reciprocity principle states that people are more willing to do you a favor if you gave them something for free. So the e-book is the perfect gift for your blog’s readers, given the fact that you provide with a solution to their problem, according to what they’ve answered in the survey.
Once you have established which is the most popular topic within your audience, start working on the structure of an e-book.
For example, if the majority of the website’s visitors voted for “Landing Page Optimization,” grab this topic and start writing the structure of an e-book called “The 10 Secrets of Landing Page Optimization.”
As Clement Vouillon mentions in this article, writing a digital paper should be about 30% of the work while the rest of 70% of your efforts should focus on creating a landing page and promoting it. The landing page is the “Holy Grail” of all your campaign’s efforts. The place where people will decide either to subscribe to your email list or to abandon you.
Therefore, if you haven’t considered landing page optimization until now, you should start learning the basics right away. Here are the most common practices when creating landing pages:
- Emphasize the benefits for the user, not the product’s characteristics. Persuasive and smart copywriting is the key to making people press the “call-to-action” button. For example, you could say “Learn how to become a master in the kitchen by doing this and that” instead of “This paper contains: recipes, tools, etc.”
- Place the benefits above the fold
- Use testimonials to increase trust
- Test different versions of the original page with A/B testing. The key elements to test: headline, copy, images, forms, call-to-action buttons.
3. You don’t promote your freebies
Freebies are valuable to blogging business if one knows how to get the most out of them.
The promotional efforts should focus across all the relevant marketing channels for your blog.
- Social media: Start spreading the word across the social networks, post into groups
- PR: contact your partners such as related businesses or organizations, other bloggers and let them give away your e-book or convince them to send an e-mail blast, ask for recommendations, testimonials
Also, use your blog as a promotional channel to convince people to subscribe by:
- Placing a subscription box at the end of each post
- Using exit pop-ups when the readers intend to leave the website.
Use the power of copywriting to write a compelling message by emphasizing the problem that you’re giving a solution to. These pop-ups are useful because they work on the principle of “under promise, over deliver”. People don’t expect to receive something for free, but when they do receive it, they’re more willing to return the favor by giving you their email address.
4. You don’t follow up your leads
E-mail is so powerful and cheap that it should get a prize for “The marketer’s best friend category.”
Once your new subscribers received the e-book, you need to put them in your sales funnel. This should be an automated follow-up process. Compose an email in which you encourage them to visit 2 or 3 blog posts related to the e-book’s content. Then, schedule to send it after a few days from the subscription date. By automating this process, you will save time for other activities such as writing a new e-book. I’ll cover this in more detail later.
People who will return to your website by clicking on one of the links provided in the email represent good, healthy, useful and relevant traffic for your blogging business. They’re returning visitors. They then start to interact more with your website, thus showing a higher interest in what you have to say. Use the leverage effect and start on working at increasing the time on site and the number of pages viewed during a session.
Engaging with your audience is the key to allocating your resources more effectively. You won’t have to focus on traffic generation anymore, because the loyal readers will keep on returning to your website. In the end, they will eventually pay to read your content…but that depends on the value provided on your blog. Be consistent and committed to the reader’s interests and behavior.
5. You didn’t write a masterpiece, nor did you manage to sell it
Once you have convinced your subscribers of the value of your content, you now have to have a product that will pay for all of your efforts up to now.
Start creating a complete guide, something that stands out from the crowd.
Until now, you’ve only managed to place the desire to read more about a topic in the subscribers minds. Now it’s the time to offer the complete solution by writing a paper that reveals everything one has to know to become an expert in his expertise area.
Convincing subscribers to pay for this paper takes a few sales tricks such as offering only a free sample or a chapter for free or keeping you offer at a promotional price for only a few hours.
This applies the principle of scarcity, as things become more valuable if they are perceived as rare.
6. You were not consistent
When something gives results, don’t try to change it. You’ll ruin it.
The most essential step is to remain committed to what you have started. Make sure to keep the posting frequency constant, to automate your e-mail system, to keep in touch with the industry’s influencers, to deliver value to the identified “personas”, which now are your customers. And now you can declare yourself an online business owner!
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Cincy Shirts has partnered with Devon Still, defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, by creating a T-shirt to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. The cause hits home for Still, as his 4-year-old daughter Leah was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma in June.
After the diagnosis was given, the Bengals gave Still permission to leave organized team activities and minicamp so he could be there for his daughter. When he came back to play later in the summer, Still was so focused on his daughter that the team had to cut him after the final preseason game.
The Bengals re-signed Still to the practice squad so he could receive a paycheck and health insurance to take care of Leah. This didn’t last long, and Still was recently added back to the roster. Head coach Marvin Lewis told him that regardless of his active status, he can go home to visit Leah whenever he wants.
With how much negative press the NFL has been receiving with the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson abuse scandals, the support given to Still reminds fans of the good in the organization and how unifying sports can be in the face of tragedy.
To further support, the “Still Strong” shirts cost $ 25, and Cincy Shirts is giving $ 15 directly to Still’s PLDGIT campaign. PLDGIT benefits Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where Leah is currently receiving treatment.
The Bengals are also still selling Still’s jersey for $ 100, donating all proceeds to pediatric cancer. After a few days, sales raised $ 400,000 for the cause. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has bought 100 jerseys, which Still could only describe as amazing.
Still struggles with the fight his daughter has to go through, who has a 50 percent chance of living, but wholeheartedly thanks those who have supported him and Leah. According to MMQB, he admitted, “At times I’ve felt like I couldn’t go on…But the Bengals have been so good to me. People I don’t know have been so good to me. Fans have been so good.”
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