• 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?
  • Let’s take a look at getting your brand and your social media to team up and create an amazingly powerful duo that is sure to take over the world.

    Godzilla vs. Mothra – who wins? Do you have a favorite? Or do you think that if these two worked together, they could achieve world domination and have us all running for our lives? I think that they should definitely team up. But what do Godzilla and Mothra have to do with this blog? Let me explain.

    You have your brand (Godzilla) and it is super awesome. It is kicking butt and making your look like the strongest company ever. However, social media (Mothra) comes on the scene and it is all out war between the two. How can you get them to work together in perfect harmony? How can you get a perfect personalized social media campaign that matches your brand?

    9 Ways to Team ‘Em Up & Watch ‘Em Go...Your Brand and Social Media, That Is

    Let’s take a look at getting Godzilla (your brand) and Mothra (social media) to team up and create an amazingly powerful duo that is sure to take over the world.

    1. Choose the Right Roar (or Voice) for Your Brand. When you are writing social media content, you need to make sure you choose the best voice for your brand. If you’ve written up your website content already, you know which voice you want to use and which one is best for your business. This means you should use a similar voice on social media.

    Let’s look at an example! If you own a pet store, your social media and website voice is going to be more fun, laid back, and silly because that is what pet owners love to see from stores. However, if you are a tax accountant, cutesy, fun talk might not work the best for your client base. The best way to know which voice to use is to research your client base first. In addition, don’t fret about using humor in your content if you’re a serious company – humor might just be the best thing for you!

    2. Choose a Maximum of 3 Areas of Expertise. According to Buffer, a great way to help personalized your brand and social media is to choose up to 3 areas of expertise. This will help you focus on a select few areas, keeping you from spreading yourself too thin trying to cover multiple bases. That is practically impossible and you might end up with a “Who is on first” experience.

    Look for the things that set you apart from your competitors and focus on those to help convince people to use your company over your competitor. This isn’t something you have to come up with overnight. Take some time to think through your company and consider having a few brainstorming meetings to discuss this with others in your business. This will be a great way to find out some perfect areas to focus on!

    3. Keep Things Consistent Across Social Media and Your Website. According to the Buffer article in point 2, another perfect way to help match your brand to your social media and personalize it is to keep it consistent across all channels. This is often a major mistake many businesses make when crafting social channels. You’ll find various businesses that have social sites that don’t match each other, and none will match their website. This is a major no-no and if you’re guilty of this, now is the time to make things consistent.

    While it might seem like consistency doesn’t add a personal touch, it does in the fact that it makes people feel like your business is trustworthy. People are unlikely to follow a social channel if it looks different from a different channel or your website. Keep the same header image, use your logo as your profile picture, and use the same voice on each channel.

    4. Which Social Channel is the Most Valuable to Your Business? If you want to have a successful experience with your brand and social media, you need to learn which channel is the most valuable to you. A great example is the marketing minds behind GoPro, who all know which channel is perfect for their brand. The company sells an awesome camera for people to shoot incredible videos, which means that YouTube is the best social media channel for their brand. They use other channels, but primarily focus on YouTube because that is where their clients are and will visit to see videos. They are more likely to make camera sales by people watching YouTube videos than just publishing written content on Twitter and Facebook.

    Learn which channel will be the best for you. Will Twitter work the best? Or is Facebook your best bet for social media content? What about LinkedIn or Pinterest? Do some research and look at analytics to see which gives you the most engagement and which fits your brand and products the best!

    5. Get to Know Mothra and Personalize Social Channels for Your Followers. The best way to match your brand to your social media is to know the specific channel and what the followers there like. If you are using Pinterest, you need to share images or infographics because that is the content people like to consume there. If you are using Facebook, post a link to your blog but include an image to boost engagement. Simply take some time to research each social channel you use and tweak your social media campaign to meet each.

    6. Respond to Your Client Base to Add that Personalized Touch. One major way a lot of companies fail when making social media personalized is by never responding to their client base. If you want to add that personal touch and adequately match your brand and social media, you should always comment or mention someone in response.

    It can be a simple thank you to a tweet that says how awesome your service is, or offering more information to people who want more help of various products. Just play it by ear to see the type of comments you get and how you will respond. This will help add that personal touch to social media that people simply love from businesses.

    7. Godzilla and Mothra Can be Best Friends if they Share Content from Other Monsters. Sure, you want people to use your products or services, but if you always push your company, you can quickly go from being a trusted source to a company only focused on sales. When you are using social media, you should share information from others in your industry. This will help you become a trusted resource because it shows that you can find great resources to back up what products and services you provide.

    This can even help you create great connections within your industry and might get your blogs and social content shared on another business’s social media sites. Make sure that the content you share is useful to your followers and matches what you provide. However, you can post a few silly things that people will enjoy and break up the monotony of business-related posts.

    8. Engage in Fun, Trendy Things Like “Follow Friday.” Another amazing way to add that personal touch is to follow trends like “Follow Friday” on Twitter or do a “Throwback Thursday” post. This adds such a fun element to social media and helps you engage with your followers. You can do a follow Friday for industry leaders or the sites you use for resources. You can highlight various things with fun, little trends and end up getting a huge response. Never underestimate the power of a trend! In addition, you should always be prepared to learn new trends in social media so that you can stay on top of things and not be stuck doing “old,” outdated things.

    9. Give Your Clients Something in Return for Following or Mentioning You. You can also add a personal touch by giving more than you receive, or at least seeming like you’re giving a lot! Let’s look at an example to properly explain this. Adagio Teas is a great place to get loose-leaf tea and blends based off of popular fandoms like Doctor Who or Sherlock. In order to keep a strong, dedicated fan base, Adagio regularly gives out discounts and points. When you make an order, you can get 5% off of the order by simply sharing a gift card on Facebook or Twitter. You can get points for sharing gift cards and having people use them, and can even get points by simply mentioning the company on Twitter. Want more points? Write a review and post it to their Facebook!

    Anything you do gets you points, which can then be used to create a gift card to give you the chance to purchase your favorite teas with a decent discount. More people are willing to spend $50 at Adagio when they get that $10 or $20 gift card and Adagio doesn’t end up losing that much money, in the end. Think of something similar that can help you out while also helping your customers out! Notice, Adagio Teas utilizes social media majorly in their points program.

    Let’s Work Together!

    Matching your brand to social media can help create a very powerful combination that can skyrocket your business into success. Take a few of these personalization techniques to get Godzilla and Mothra to join forces and watch how quickly you start to see change (for the better!). Which of these techniques do you think will work the best for you? Let me know in the comments!

    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.