• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on January 22, 2015

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • MCohen
    Marcy Cohen on January 21, 2015

    Could a Pair of Bedazzled Bowling Shoes Lead to Social Good?

    What if 2015 became the year when the collaborative model didn’t just make it easier to buy groceries but helped emerging economies on their path to inclusive growth? What if it could be a force for social good?
  • This is a 10-step process to start your blog, and write your first post in 5 minutes.

    Do you have a message that you want to spread to the world? 
    Are you an avid writer that loves sharing stories with others?

    Sounds to me like you’re a natural blogger.

    Whether you’re an entrepreneur, author, consultant, creative, or simply a dreamer looking to connect with like-minded thinkers, blogging is an excellent avenue to consider.

    Here are some of the benefits of blogging:

    • accelerates your personal brand and awareness
    • positions yourself as a thoughtleader in your industry
    • helps you connect with like-minded individuals
    • clarifies your thinking through the process of writing
    • ability to increase your rate, salary, and win more clients
    • increase leads/sales of your business

    Lucky for you, setting up a blog and writing your first post has never been easier, cheaper, faster to do.

    If any of the above benefits have convinced you to start a blog, follow the instructions below to get started in less than 5 minutes.

    Step 1: Come up with a Domain Name

    The first step you need to take is to finalize on a domain name. Luckily the hosting company that I will recommend in Step 2 comes included with a free domain.

    Unless you’re using your name for a personal website, keep your domain name short, industry relevant, and easy to remember. My process for coming up with domain names is writing everything that comes to my mind on a piece of paper, and narrowing it down one by one after.

    Simple, but it works.

    Tip: Before you decide on your domain name, I would make sure the name is available on all the social media channels, in order to keep your branding consistent. I use this tool to do my research.

    Step 2: Sign up for Bluehost

    After doing my research, the #1 hosting service that I found is Bluehost.
    It’s what I use to host this blog.

    Benefits of Bluehost:
    1. Includes free domain upon signing up
    2. Extremely easy to use (I’ve tried others)
    3. Excellent customer service (in case you get stuck)
    4. Comes with $50 marketing offers (Free Facebook Ad credits, Twitter Ad credits, Google Adword credits)
    5. Very affordable
    → instead of paying the regular $5.99/month, you can lock-down a price for only $3.49/month using this link. You won’t need anything more premium when starting out.

    Next Step: Sign up for a Bluehost by clicking here, and receive your free domain and discounted price of $3.49/month.

    Click “Get Started” → Sign up for a Plan. → Choose your free domain.

     

    wordpress blog

    Step 3: Place your order

    Fill in your personal information and pay for your order.
    You will receive your login information, which you will need for the next step.

    wordpress blog

    Step 4: Click on “Install WordPress”

    This is the screen you will see once you have logged into Bluehost. Next we will need to install our wordpress blog. From there, click on “Install WordPress” under the Website section.

     

    wordpress blog


    Step 5: Click the green “Install” button

     

    wordpress blog


    Step 6: Select the domain you purchased in Step 2

     

    wordpress blog


    Step 7: Select “Advanced Options” and customize your login and password for your WordPress Blog

    This is an important step because you will choose the Username and Password that you use to log-in to WordPress.

    Once you’ve set up your username & password: click “Install now”.

    Tip: Keep this information secure so you don’t forget it, as you’ll need to use it often to log-in.

     


    Step 8: Click “View Credentials” 

    Once your WordPress Install is complete, click the “View Credentials” button above.

     

    Click on your “Admin URL” or you can head over to:
    http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin (if you signed up for a .co, .net, .me, etc then use that instead of .com)

    For example: I can access my wordpress at http://thegrowthlist.com/wp-admin

     

    Reminder: Your username and password shown below is the information that you will use to log-in to your WordPress.

     

    Step 9: Login to WordPress

    Enter the username and password from Step 8 here, and access your WordPress Blog Dashboard.

    Your Login Page

     


    Your WordPress Blog Dashboard

     

    wordpress blog

    Note: Don’t worry when your dashboard does not look exactly like the one above. This is the dashboard for this blog, not one I installed recently. 


    Step 10: Write Your First Post!

    Head over to “Posts” → Add New

     

    Write your first post → Publish

     

    wordpress blog

    There you have it! Your first post published on your brand new WordPress blog in less than 5 minutes and in exactly 10 simple steps.

    *BONUS STEP: Invest in a blog theme

    Now that you have your blog website set up, you should browse invest in a theme that will make your blog look professional and clean. A professional theme will run you around $30–50, but it is well worth the while.

    Think of it as a long-term investment.

    There are two places I would recommend looking for a theme:

    1. Mojo-Themes: Mojo Themes is partnered with WordPress, and has an abundance of beautiful designs to choose from.
     


    2. Themeforest: Themeforest is another great source, and I have personally bought several themes from Themeforest.

     

    Note: I have no preference on either theme marketplaces. Both are very popular and credible locations to buy your service. What’s more important is to read the customer reviews of each of the post, and make sure the publisher is active in servicing his/her purchaser’s with questions. 

    There you have it!

    5 minutes to install your WordPress blog and write your first post, and setting up your blog theme.

    If you haven’t already CLICK HERE to get started on installing your WordPress blog, and receive your free domain & discounted plan.

    It’s now time to begin your blogging journey and share your story with the world.

    Let me know in the comments below if you guys have any questions, I’ll answer them as soon as possible.

    Balancing a marketing budget can be a meticulous task — figuring out how to spend and how to save. Luckily, when it comes to Facebook, we’ve got a few tips that can make the process of saving some serious coin a little less complicated.

    Balancing a marketing budget can be a meticulous task — figuring out how to spend and how to save. Luckily, when it comes to Facebook, we’ve got a few tips that can make the process of saving some serious coin a little less complicated.

    1 | Bigger Is Definitely Better

    Targeting — the strategy du jour on every marketer’s menu. What you may not realize is that complex targeting comes with a heftier price tag, mainly due to the fact that it makes it much harder to find your end user, and there may also be a lot of other companies bidding on the same criteria. Expanding your audience decreases competition, and increases the likelihood that they will login during your campaign flight. And, since there are no maximum inventories on social like there are in display, feel free to go all out.

    2 | Let Your Ads Take Flight

    This may be the one case where time isn’t money. In fact, the longer you extend the flight of your campaign, chances are your budget spreadsheets will be a lot happier. This is due to the same reasons that increasing audience size decreases spend in that a longer time span boosts the likelihood that users will login and see your ad. Extra Credit: Make sure your social marketing tools have their own optimization technology that can take advantage of longer flights.

    3 | Size Matters

    In this case, budgets that are too big and too small just won’t do — it’s about finding the right balance. If your budget is too small you can’t optimize or drive cost efficiencies. And alternatively, if your budget is too big for your flight and target audience size, you run the risk of driving up the bids without increasing your reach. In this Facebook fairytale, you are Goldilocks and your budget size are bowls of porridge. Find the one that is “just right”.

    Are you sensing a theme here? Overall, casting a wider net (as long as it’s not too extreme) for campaigns drives down pricing bids, increases reach and makes you shine as the money savin’ social superstar you are.

    Geo-fencing is used by companies to reach users in real-time based on their location. However, the concept of geo-fencing is broken. Location information alone isn’t enough for effective targeting. User consent along with knowledge of users’ interests makes targeting a much more effective and can result in high level of user engagement and positive ROI for companies and app developers alike.

    The rise of smartphone usage has led to a whole new era of communication. There are staggering amounts of data being shared by people on a daily basis through social media, location check-ins, online shopping using smartphones, hotel bookings, buying tickets for travel etc. Companies leverage this data for various marketing and monetization purposes Today our GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled smartphones are capable of aggregating and sharing huge amounts of data. GPS enabled devices have enabled geo-fencing. Geo-fencing is the concept of creating an invisible fence around a physical area. Geo-fencing has many advantages and is utilized by companies to reach users in real-time based on the location they are in.

    However, the concept of geo-fencing, as it is being used today, is broken.

    Geo-fencing is based on the premise that solely targeting users based on their location should somehow result in the users buying into the value proposition being sold to them. While, geo-fencing does provide a lot of advantages, like serving real-time contextually relevant ads as opposed to blanket targeting, just location alone isn’t enough to get users to buy something.

    Let’s look at some examples:

    1) Safeway has set up a geo-fence to trigger and send coupons to users when they are within the geo-fenced area. Now, pushing a coupon for coffee to a non-coffee drinker or a meat coupon to a vegetarian would be completely irrelevant even though the user is in the right location.

    2) Big 5 Goods has set up a geo-fence and wants to target users when they are in the vicinity of the store. If the store sends a coupon for sports equipment to a person who doesn’t like sports but is in the specified location, it would not result in a purchase.

    3) Fry’s has a geo-fence set up and sends a discount for a television to a user who is nearby. This does not mean that the user will walk into the store right away and buy the television as he might not need a new TV. He still has to decide if he can afford to buy one. Big dollar items are rarely purchased on an impulse.

    What are the other challenges in using location-based advertising?

    Location-based targeting, if used as the only targeting strategy, has many challenges such as:

    1. Privacy Concerns: Most users are wary about the fact that companies can track their exact location. Privacy continues to be the biggest issue for location-based targeting and it has become important for companies to be transparent and educate their users about the value of getting targeted advertisements.
       
    2. Impulse Buying is not the norm: Studies show that most users will spend some time thinking before making a purchase. This is especially true for high dollar goods like cars/electronics. While geo-fencing might work for coffee stores, restaurants and some retail stores, it won’t work everywhere.
       
    3. Personalization of the advertisements: What if the user enters a mall where several stores have set up geo-fences? Should the user now be bombarded by advertisements from all stores/restaurants in the mall? It is very hard to prioritize and personalize location-based advertisements so as to ensure that the users only get the most relevant ads. Personalizing location-based advertisements and making them relevant is challenging.

    How can you solve these problems?

    It is evident that targeting solely based on location isn’t going to cut it. If companies expect to engage and retain users effectively, there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way they approach targeting.

    Companies like Personagraph have developed a sophisticated algorithm, based on machine learning and cutting edge data science insights, which generates rich profiles of mobile users. The Personagraph SDK has several sensors which help collect data from various device sources such as apps, context, social media and location. The data is collected and then passed through an inference engine that generates a robust user profile.

    Personagraph


    This rich user profile data helps make location based targeting richer because:

    1. Users control their own data:

    Personagraph gives users total control of their own data. We believe that true targeting happens when users have given consent to be targeted. Users can choose to turn off any of the sensors if they wish to do so. In addition, users are also able to curate their own profile to get more relevant advertisements. This allows users to choose whether they want to be targeted or not.

    2.Transparency in data collection:

    One of the biggest concerns with location based targeting is privacy. Mobile users are very apprehensive about the fact that companies have the technology to track their every move and target them accordingly. The majority of the time this happens without user consent. Personagraph gives users complete control of their data and the data collection process is open and transparent. Users have access to their own user profiles and can see what inferences are being made about them. They can curate the information that they don’t think is completely accurate.

    3. Robust user profiles:

    With Personagraph, companies, app developers and marketers will have access to a 360° view of mobile users. Having access to rich user profiles in addition to location information helps make targeting more efficient and effective. If a user enters a mall, based on the interests in his user profile, only the most relevant advertisement or push notifications can be sent to him instead of being bombarded by multiple sources.

    Location information alone isn’t enough for effective targeting. User consent along with knowledge of users’ interests makes targeting a much more effective and can result in high level of user engagement and positive ROI for companies and app developers alike. Learn more about how you can enhance your location-based strategy and help you better engage your mobile users.

    Every year it seems like contenders wade into the pool of social networks, only to be bought up or dispatched. But, is 2015 any different? Can David take down Goliath?

    Remember the mighty David that was (technically still "is") Ello, the “we’re not your typical social network” social network?

    Yeah, I don’t really remember them either. They never accepted my request to join, which may have made me a little bitter. Ok. It made me bitter.

    Anyway, Ello was our proverbial David standing strong against the mighty Goliath…Facebook in this case.

    In case you aren’t familiar with Ello, it is a social networking site that doesn’t distribute, disseminate or otherwise share your user information with anyone. Ever.

    Now, the platform had a huge initial surge in October, but was quiet in the waning months of 2014. And with this silence, other Davids have appeared to take on the mighty behemoth.

    Dropon, a new privacy-champion for the people, is more like a Twitter-meets-Tumblr sort of thing? You follow “drops” (keywords) to view relevant content within those dripping areas.

    Likewise, you get the chance to add drops (again, keywords) to your content. I mean, I don’t see how any marketers could ever use words targeted to specific audiences to gain their interest in products, services or content…right?

    But, Dropon, just like Ello, won’t distribute your information to anyone! #AMIRITEGUYZ!?

    And here is the thing; these outlets probably won’t do this. After all, there are no guarantees with anything.

    Two monumental hurdles exist for Dropon, Ello and any other “David” network popping up in 2015.

    1. Provide Something the Giants Don’t

    Right now, Dropon and Ello don’t offer enough for people to migrate from Facebook. They just don’t.

    The “smaller is better” is a good start, as a hyper localized community seems to work for networks like Yik Yak, Secret, Snapchat and others.

    And these outlets offer something Facebook doesn’t currently offer. So, they stand out and are successful for other reasons.

    But you don’t hear Yik Yak kicking in the door saying they can kill the giant with a slingshot.

    So, right now, Dropon and Ello don’t have what it takes from a functionally stand point to be the next big thing.

    But for the sake of the argument, let’s say each offered a piece of functionality that truly differentiated them from Facebook. Could they then win? The answer is still, "No".

    2. Make Money in Ways Giants Don’t

    The biggest issue, for any social network, is how do they make money?

    Since they aren’t issuing a physical or even digital product users can purchase, they turn to running ads on their sites, as their user base is the prodcut to be sold. 

    Snapchat has been doing it (and it appears to be successful). Instagram (owned by Facebook) has been doing it.

    The problem is, outside of gaining investor money, Facebook, Twitter and others haven’t found other ways to make money. And these outlets are massive, been around longer and have much more experience operating in this space than Ello or Dropon.

    Ello and Dropon need to ask this question. If David can't make the slingshot, how will he buy it?

    In summary, these two tasks stand in the way of any smaller social network.

    Some have conquered one area, but only a few have conquered both. And you can be sure that any social network to do both of these effectively will be offered a few hundred million by Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter or any of the other looming leviathans in this space, to simply be absorbed into the fold. 

    So, is this the year Goliath falls? Not likely. 

    But you never know, after all, there are no guarantees.

    If you aren't using captivating images, your conversion rates will be low and your content won't take off. Right now any image is an advantage on Twitter - but that won't last forever. Not just any image will do when everyone uses images. Find out more about where to put images and how to choose them here. Plus: Ways to acquire free images that monetize your site.

    Until 2009, the phrase "social media images" had no searches at all. Ever since, interest in using images has been consistently climbing. They are what makes your content pop. Anyone still using text or a canned logo will be left in the dust - and that includes some major sites like Forbes. Pin something from their site and you get a giant black box with the word "Forbes" on it. Don't expect to get any attention or repins on those. But at least they have an image.

    The best place to see images evolving is Twitter. Visit the stream of any Twitter power user or click the "Discover" link. Scroll down and notice what catches your eye. How many text only tweets do you read as you scroll? A couple? Now try it on a mobile device. None? Where does your eye go? What has all the favorites and retweets on it? Beautiful photos and images that make you wonder.

    Now is the optimum time to be using images on Twitter because not everyone has them figured out yet. Only a small fraction of sites are using Twitter cards. Major publishers are typically still using summary cards. (See Twitter Cards Create Your Own Rich Media Tweets for types of Twitter cards.) Do they not realize those little images next to text are nowhere near as compelling as a full size image is - especially on a smart phone!

    Not Just Any Image Will Do

    Right now, any full size image will get more attention than anything else you can share. But as more people start sharing full size images, there will not be the advantage there is now. Jump in now and get experience figuring out what images attract the most attention. Benefit now, and hone your skills. It will be much more difficult as time goes on.

    When you see images on Twitter that are open by default, those are most likely the images getting interaction. If they include a link, copy and paste it into the Twitter search box and add up how many favorites and retweets that image received. You can also use ShareTally.co to see how popular a post is. Notice how many pins they record on ShareTally or go to Pinterest and use this search: http://pinterest.com/source/domain.com to count them manually.

    Use research done on what images are most popular on Pinterest as a guide to what kind of images to use. What works there is likely to work on other social networks with one exception. On Facebook, images that include people's faces are said to work best while on Pinterest some research indicates that images that do not have people in them get repinned more often.

    Also consider the psychology of color. Colors generate emotions. Marketers have done substantial research on which colors generate trust and confidence. Choose the colors in your images carefully to match your goals and target audience. The colors that attract women are different than those most attractive to men. Read this Color Psychology Marketing Guide for everything you need to know about colors - including how they affect conversions.

    Benefits of Using Images on Social Media

    Not convinced yet? Ryan Ernst, Connor Group Director of Communications, pointed out these benefits of compelling imagery to boost social interaction:

    • More organic interaction on Facebook
    • Higher click-through-rates (CTRs) for advertisements
    • More clicks on Twitter posts

    Images are critical to all we do on social media and that starts with the content we create. Don't expect your content to do well on social media if it does not contain exceptional visual media. Images are what will get people to click on your social shares and consume your content. They are why visitors will share what you produce.

    Use Images as Ads

    Solutions that suggest more content to your visitors rely on images. Visit Forbes and you'll see images at the bottom of each post which are Gravity ads enticing readers to click on another story. Entrepreneur places images in the left sidebar, making sure readers see something else that may attract them if their interest wavers while reading the page they're on. Mashable puts images to drive visitors to another post at the bottom of posts and in the right sidebar. The most fascinating image gets the click.

    Are the images on your site fascinating? If you only saw the image would that be enough to get you to click? Even small blogs and websites can take advantage of this strategy. Solutions like TrenDemon analyze your content and offer the most popular posts to your visitors. Make sure those pages have exciting images. If they don't, change them! You can use it to push visitors to the pages that generate income for you.

    Why pay for images or worry about copyrights when Imonomy will read your content, choose relevant images, and monetize them for you? Free for publishers to use, Imonomy operates similarly to Google AdSense, but displays images in unique ways guaranteed to increase interactions with your users. Some images flip over when users mouse-over or scroll across them to display offers on the reverse side. Instead of losing space to ad displays, the images in your content can be both featured images and ads that only appear when readers mouse-over them. It works with the images you already have or you can let their system provide high quality royalty-free images for you.

    Use Images in eMail

    Even eMail is more persuasive with images. Just be sure your images display correctly in smartphones. Read these tips on optimizing email for mobile devices. Remember to keep your images low-res and small. This is important on websites and in blog posts; it is even more important on cell phones because they have bandwidth limitations. Don't be eating up all their bandwidth with large, high res images. (Ideally keep images under 120kb; most can be reduced to under 60kb.)

    Don't forget your email signature. Even these often have images today. An easy way to have your logo and signature automatically added is to use WiseStamp. Don't forget to include a link to your site to increase traffic. Make it easy for your email recipients to share your emails on social networks, too. More advanced email solutions now have the ability to drag and drop the icons into your template so they'll always be there as you create new emails.

    Images Go Viral

    If you want your content to get attention, images are not optional. If you want it to go viral, you need captivating images so irresistible anyone who sees them will be compelled to click, favorite and share. Don't be left behind - especially when you can get images that monetize your site absolutely free for the asking.