• 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?
  • According to the new 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer Study posted just six days ago, we are more jaded than ever about news – trusting what we hear about on social media far more than from media sources. But I feel this survey is extremely misleading, even detrimental to the importance of media.

    Is a declining trust in media real?

    According to the new 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer Study posted just six days ago, we are more jaded than ever about news – trusting what we hear about on social media far more than from media sources.

    What led to this happening? Social media is stealing their value away as the first source of breaking news and content marketing has exploded into a rich source of fresh perspectives, opinions and expertise in an unprecedented volume.

    But I feel this survey is extremely misleading, even detrimental to the importance of media.


    One of my favorite parts of this SlideShare is the sharing of annual milestones discovered by the survey:

    • Fall of the celebrity CEO
    • Trust shifting from “authorities” to peers
    • A “person like me” emerges as a credible spokesperson
    • Businesses more trusted than government and media
    • Young influencers have more trust in business
    • Trust as an essential line of business
    • Rise of [influencers as?] authority figures
    • Trust is essential to innovation

    I would debate several of these, however, as the questions are a bit leading. It is very prone to misinterpretation. As with any survey-style of research, answers are also skewed based on who was interviewed and their personal perspective, even timing when they took the survey based on what influenced them that specific day.

    If the question is “do you trust news more from your peers or from media” – that perspective is everything. Most people might answer it thinking of where they hear it first, and how often. For example, if I see posts all over Facebook about the Leaning Tower of Pisa having fallen over due to a massive earthquake in Italy, then of course I might believe it. First, due to volume (it’s all over my Facebook stream), second due to credibility of links where the story originated. (Is it shared by the NYT? Yup, believed. Shared by The Onion or a small blogger? Nah.)

    Where did those links originate? MEDIA.

    But depending on questions before and after the survey, and a recent situation that might pop into my head as I read the question, I might answer peers, focusing on how the volume of posts influenced its believability.

    In the survey, one of the actual questions is, “When looking for general news and information, how much would you trust each type of source for general news and information.” The choices included online search engines, traditional media, hybrid media, social media and owned media” in order of most trusted to least.

    Duh… but wait.

    Who doesn’t use a search engine first to find information? Everyone. It’s the obvious choice. But what does it pull up? Credible news sources – media – first, along with editorial by influencers and relevant ezines and blog post aggregators.

    Without that media content, search engines would not be used – especially for breaking news and confirming or validating news.

    Reading the survey, I might then think news sources are losing credibility when the real fact is that social media volume might bring the breaking news to my attention for how important or urgent it might be – but the credible sources behind that volume actually drove the trust.

    This study belittles the value of media, which ruffles my feathers a bit. And isn’t it interesting that it’s a PR agency doing the belittling, when the value of media drives their business? Hmm.

    Why does this matter?

    Of course Edelman is viewed as a leading PR agency in the US – the world, even – but it interested me because the Trust Barometer drives stories such as “News Media No Longer Trusted!” and “News Media is Dead” – stories that encourage misunderstandings and opinions based on the wrong detail.

    If someone reports a finding from the study without looking a little deeper or thinking it through, it has the potential to spur TONS of incorrect information. I’d be very interested in hearing what media publishers have to say about the survey.

    It ruffles my feathers a little bit, but I do believe the study includes some valuable information worth acting on.

    What is the most important takeaway?

    It is MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER to focus a large part of PR around building trust.  and credibility around the company, it’s products and services. From enterprise Fortune 500 companies to digital agencies and entrepreneurs, producing content that shares expertise has never been more important.

    8 Ways to Build Trust

    Understanding the importance of building trust isn’t the same thing as actually DOING IT. So what are a few ways to get started?

    1. Build out your LinkedIn company page and regularly post news to it. Why is this important? It’s a second newsroom, and one that invites social sharing and dialog. It also becomes a timeline archive of your company’s milestones that is very search-friendly. If you are one of those companies that doesn’t invest in SEO (big mistake!), it might even rank better than your own website, making it a critical touchpoint for those looking for information on you.

    2. Take a fresh look at your blog. Are you only sharing news, or are you including an abundance of blog posts that showcase your culture, your expertise, your influential employees, and other things that establish you as a leader in your industry? Blogging is the #1 content marketing platform you should focus on doing well before you concern yourself about other content opportunities. it’s also the #1 thing that will improve traffic and SEO ranking for your website. It’s worth a heavy focus.

    3. If you don’t have a blog, start one now and post AT LEAST twice a week. Otherwise, it will take years to build up a meaningful volume. Teach yourself or hire someone to train you how to leverage search engine optimization within each blog post, and make sure each post is high quality and targeted to your specific audience. It’s a long-term commitment, so prepare yourself to not see results for quite a while but once you do, they will be strong. Do a great job or don’t bother. (Now re-read #2 for tips on what to blog about.)

    Remember that “blog” refers to your entire compilation of posts – and “post” refers to a single blog post within your overall blog. Calling a post “blog” is incorrect and akin to calling

    4. Look at your Klout score. If you promote yourself as a digital agency or an online company of ANY KIND, it’s a signal post for how real that claim actually is. Your prospective customers notice. If you are a digital agency or a social media app provider with a low Klout score, for example, then it clearly indicates your lack of a presence on social media. Ouch. 

    Klout scores in themselves are not important – but it is one of many tools used to form an opinion by those active on social media. And who isn’t active on social media, right?

    How do you build a decent Klout score? It measures and indicates activity, not influence. Building your score requires being active on at least one social media platform, consistently and regularly curating and creating original content relevant to your industry or claim of expertise.

    I personally feel Twitter is indispensable to building a Klout score because it allows (and encourages) a higher volume of sharing that you can’t do successfully with other social platforms. The stream moves so fast that constant activity is required to be visible, and Klout likes that level of activity.

    5. If you are on a social media platform – respond to customers when they post on your page. Ignoring them creates unnecessary animosity and ill will. It also fosters a lack of trust and customer service issues. When done correctly, social media can be your most powerful resource for making customers happy and loyal, but you’ll never get there by ignoring them. It amazes me how high the percentage is of companies that don’t bother. (Shame on them; it’s way past time for them to figure it out! The larger the company, the more their customers expect from social media.)

    6. Think of ways to let your employees shine. People buy from people and trust people – branding is built layer by layer of customer interactions with those employees. Building trust is very difficult if you don’t have a company culture of empowering your employees and letting them shine individually. It can be as simple as inviting them to write blog posts for the company blog, and empowering the right people to take ownership of customer service issues on social media. If you don’t focus on these kinds of transparency and authenticity, your company remains a nameless, faceless “entity” that is disengaged from its audience. That hampers or completely blocks trust.

    7. Trust begins and ends with customer service. If you are completely focused on using content marketing alone to build trust, you are missing a significant component: branding. Branding is all about customer perception –  which fuels social media engagement (especially on Facebook pages). How big of a priority is customer service for your organization? Invest in it. Pay attention to it. GROW it. Let it help fuel your social media and publicity.

    8. Launch a program that encourages customer reviews online. Not only does this help you rank well for SEO, it has a significant impact on the customer purchase process. If you don’t look at it annually and have a program that ASKS for referrals and recommendations online, you are missing out on a very, very high-impact marketing tactic.

    These are just a few tactics to begin building trust – care to add to my list? Leave a comment!

    trust / shutterstock

    Every successful company has a unique path that was followed from conception to reality. But there are some things that are universal to successful companies.

    The path to a successful business is never straight. There are forks in the road along the way that are often identified as challenges or problems. Every successful company has a unique path that was followed from conception to reality. Another company in the same industry trying to follow that exact path would most likely fail because the combination of corporate culture and customer dynamics is specific to an individual business.

    There are some things that are universal to successful companies. They include a solid foundation, systems, processes, tools, and best practices.

    Prior to the Internet, business success was often achieved by being the first to market. Sometimes, first to market was accomplished with the introduction of the new product or service. Others, it was finding new markets to serve with established products or services. The Internet changed everything.

    Today, every product or service is a commodity that can be found in a similar form usually at a better price. Successfully competing in a global economy with hundreds (maybe thousands) of channels or platforms requires laser focus and top-notch customer service. Any lackluster performance opens the door for competitors to grab market share.

    The companies succeeding today are using systems, processes, and tools to maximize productivity and deliver consistent quality service. For these companies, marketing and service unite to create specialized customer experiences. The one objective that takes precedent over all others is continuous improvement for the benefit of the customer.

    Logistics, systems, processes, and tools are rarely exciting (except for industrial systems engineers like me) but they are very effective in creating a solid business success foundation. People tend to postpone doing things that are less fun and don’t have immediate results. This gives the companies that invest in the foundation a competitive edge. Over time, the foundation lowers costs, improves service, and gives team members more time to focus on growth strategies and individualized customer care.

    Now is a good time to start building that foundation. Here are a few items to get you going:

    Improve your transactional emails – People open transactional emails because they want to know the status of their order. This is an excellent opportunity to provide additional information about your company, products, and services that will help build a relationship with your customer.

    Invest in education – The more your employees know, the better they can serve your company and customers. The Internet is filled with opportunities to learn at little or no cost. Provide opportunities for your team to listen to webinars, read articles, and when appropriate, go to conferences.

    Streamline processes – Review every process in your organization to ensure that it provides benefits. This requires validating every step along the way. Eliminating steps reduces time and cost for completion.

    Reevaluate social media participation – Monitoring and responding to mentions is mandatory across all platforms. Participation is optional. Limit activity to the best platforms for connecting with your customers and prospects.

    Provide more information on your website – People like self-service. Use your website to provide the information customers and prospects are seeking. It is inexpensive and effective.

    Create a fun place to work – Employee turnover is expensive. Ask team members for input on how to make their work environment better. Develop and implement a plan of action to improve morale and keep employees happy.

    Dig deep into your customer acquisition and retention numbers – High acquisition rates can hide a mass exodus of established customers. This has a long-term effect because the new customers tend to be less profitable than established ones. Left unchecked, costs will rise while sales drop.

    Improve productivity – Look for opportunities to use systems, processes, and tools to reduce manual labor. The right solutions save money, improve service, and reduce boredom.

    Once you get started building the foundation, it becomes easier. You’ll find that team members have more time to focus on important functions because they are spending less time fighting fires. Adapting a continuous improvement mentality encourages everyone in your organization to contribute to making it better. The things you do now will have a positive effect on your future.

    For more information on building a strong foundation for success. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

    Do you know that 3 in every 4 of online users admit they decide on a company's credibility based on its website design. And that, 17—50 milliseconds is the time it takes for a person to decide whether he or she finds your website appealing.
    Do you know that 3 in every 4 of online users admit they decide on a company's credibility based on its website design. And that, 17—50 milliseconds is the time it takes for a person to decide whether he or she finds your website appealing.

    With over a billion websites and over two billion active internet users out there, it can be astonishingly difficult to design an attention-grabbing website what keeps a visitor long enough. For those who plan to either jump-start or redesign a website, here's several useful stats that they should take into consideration before starting the whole process.

    Infographic courtesy of: Crucial.
    How People See Your Website - #Infographic


    Standing out in a crowd and being perceived as an industry leader is very important to marketers working within various social media outlets. Here are five ways to strengthen your influence and cultivate a stronger online network.

    Are you interested in becoming a top influencer in social media? This goal can be a lofty one, like creating content that becomes an overnight viral sensation as well as placing a lot of time and effort into your own personal branding. For some, it seems to happen without effort, while others appear to have worked hard to reach the top tier of social media influencers and stand out in the overwhelming crowd of their online peers. So where does one begin? Here are five ways you can work towards your goal of becoming a top influencer in social media today:

    Stay Focused

    If you are spreading your social media influence everywhere you can, you might be successful and eventually reach the top of the ladder in the social media sphere. To achieve your goal of becoming a top influencer in social media more quickly and easily, however, you should make sure that all your activities are geared towards productive and results-oriented actions. Contacts you make should be influential, and your online presence should be prolific and widespread in an actionable way.

    Knowledge is Power

    While you can do plenty of research to learn more about social media, online marketing, and other forms of online communication, the best way to educate yourself most efficiently on trends and practices are on the job training as well as by enrolling in an online communications degree program. Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you have, the more powerful you'll be in your ability to influence your peers.

    Be Active and Proactive

    You can't influence anyone in social media if you aren't an active presence on the social media networks, blogs, and other sites or platforms that are being used and visited most frequently. Your online presence should be a commanding one, with regular updates and other activities that let people know you're active in social media and you aren't going anywhere any time soon.

    To be proactive in becoming a social media influencer, you should pursue those avenues that will best help you achieve that goal. This means reaching out to contacts that can provide you with valuable insights, making connections with people who are already influential, and pursuing your followers and cultivating a fan base or network of readers rather than sitting back and waiting for them to come to you.

    Identify the Most Applicable Platforms

    Content that works well on one social media platform may fail miserably on another, so it is important to identify the platforms that are most applicable to the content you are creating and sharing. While you do want your reach to be as widespread as possible, you don't want your content to appear inappropriate for the platform's audience, nor do you want it to look like a half-hearted effort to gain attention. Determine what you are sharing or creating most and what audience it primarily appeals to, and then choose your platforms and networks based on what you're sharing and who would want to see it.

    Stand Out in the Crowd

    Above all else, your content should be creative, original, informative, and valuable if you want to be a top social media influencer. Mediocre content abounds on the Internet like a plague, and one of the easiest ways to increase your popularity and following on social media platforms is by providing unique content that meets needs, answers questions, provokes thought, or provides value in some other way. When you are providing content that stands out because of its originality, people will take notice and positive actions will follow, like shares, likes, links, plus-ones, and other referrals. And don’t forget, content comes in many different forms (text, pictures, videos, etc.) so be sure to post a variety to keep your followers interested.

    By putting these five tips together, as well as others that can help you create a more dominant online presence, and using them to raise your social media popularity, you will also increase your influence. With a little patience and effort, you'll soon see your goal of becoming a top influencer in social media become a reality.

    The introduction of smartphones and other smart devices have shifted the internet usage from the desktop PCs to the hand-held devices. It is predicted by experts that the year 2015 will witness internet usage on smart devices to match the usage on the desktops. It means all the businesses should ensure that their company websites are compatible with these smart devices.

    The introduction of smartphones and other smart devices have shifted the internet usage from the desktop PCs to the hand-held devices. It is predicted by experts that the year 2015 will witness internet usage on smart devices to match the usage on the desktops. It means all the businesses should ensure that their company websites are compatible with these smart devices.

    Recently the Google Webmaster team on Google+ asked their followers which mobile configuration strategy they use. 81% out of the 774 votes (at the time of this writing) responded with responsive web design. 4% said dynamic serving, 7% said separate mobile URLs, and only 8% said their site is not mobile friendly.


    In a research post of Guy Podjarny, web performance researcher and evangelist at Akamai’s Web Experience business unit, some figures are presented. The chart shown below demonstrates the percentage of responsive websites amongst the top 100; 1,000 and 10,000 sites. The figure showed that just 18.7% of a list of 10,000 top-tier websites is responsive. When top 100 sites are analyzed, only 11.8% use responsive web design.


    This study suggests the move to responsive websites is happening slowly on the top 100 websites as compared to the top 1,000 or top 10,000 websites, perhaps because big companies are more likely to have multiple stakeholders and more complex websites.

    Although adoption in practice is not nearly as high as the unscientific survey of Google would suggest, responsive websites are growing quite quickly to the point where they are now catching up with the separate URLs as the dominant mobile website configuration method.

    One question might be popping in your mind is why responsive websites are gaining popularity. There are various reasons that explain why incorporating the responsive website design is necessary. Some of these reasons are listed below:

    • Better search engine optimization- the search engine giant, Google has clearly indicated that it prefers responsive web designs to the mobile templates. Further, using single URL with the responsive design makes it easy for the search engines to crawl and index the website.
    • Reduced bounce rate due to better user experience- A responsive web design offers users various features when accessed on the mobile device that results in reduced bounce rate.
    • A single SEO campaign for companies’ website- If any businesses don’t opt for the responsive web designs, they have two websites to manage. However, with the responsive website, the business needs to focus solely on the main site functioning.
    • Easier long term maintenance- A responsive site much easier to maintain than the mobile versions of the main sites because the smart devices are updated at instant speed.

    The Responsive Web Design adoption is growing rapidly. If you want to take your company to the way of success, you should also keep encouraging the use of RWD, but at the same time you have to double your efforts in building knowledge and tooling for making responsive websites fast.