Archive for the 'Web sites' Category

25
Sep
13

Social Media Marketing: What Brands Can Learn From “Mother Monster”

What could your brand do with 40 million followers on Twitter?  What about 45 million?  Celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber send out tweets daily to this amount of followers, while their fans continuously respond with compliments, love, and devotion.  So, what can brands learn from these enormous celebrities about how to create an engaging and interesting social media presence?lady-gaga-social-media-tactics

 1—Create A Culture

“Little Monsters” may be a little to eccentric for a company to call their customers, but the united culture is something to strive toward.  Lady Gaga has managed to turn her fans into a loving, supporting culture.  “Mother Monster,” as she’s called, has given her fans a home, and a sense of belonging.  Customers, consumers, and users are all terms that are too disconnected.  A brand should show their customers that they have a subculture that their buyers belong to; a family they didn’t even know existed until they started using your product and service.  Make your customers be proud to be your “little monster.”

 2—Believe In Your Message, But Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Sarcasm is now a language within itself.  Sarcasm and humor demonstrate personality, which is crucial to a company’s social media presence.  You want to offer a human aspect to your accounts so fans and followers know they aren’t just engaging with a robot.  Lady Gaga is never afraid to poke fun at herself, her songs, her crazy sense of fashion, and the world around her.  Showing personality helps followers relate to your brand’s voice and feel like they know you.

LittleMonsters-Private-Beta 3—Encourage Collaboration

Shockingly, the people that know your customer base the best are your customers!  Lady Gaga took notice that her fans were just as artistically inclined as her, and opened up her own social network, LittleMonsters.com.  This site has provided a community for her monsters to share their art, while also creating relationships based on acceptance and their love for Gaga.  Opening up an opportunity for customers to use their creativity with your brand can help build loyalty towards your brand.

What are other celebrities that companies should learn lessons from?  Or what are other lessons that can be learned from the big names in music, movies, and TV?  Share with us in the comment section below, and also on our Facebook and Twitter!  Also, check out how we create brand cultures on social media at WeiseIdeas.com.

27
Feb
12

Move over Facebook, there is a new social media channel in town

Pinterest has turned the act of “pinning” into a downright obsession among its 10 million users, providing never-ending pages of images that suck you in and leave you scrolling for more.  Needless to say, this site has taken procrastination to the next level.

Maybe it is the ease of pinning a variety of interests to your own boards that other people can “like” as well, or maybe it is just simply enticing because of the wealth of diverse images at your fingertips.  In any case, the female fan base has found reason to take up pinning as their new hobby.

Not only is Pinterest surpassing Facebook, Tumblr and the like in driving traffic to top websites such as marthastewartweddings.com, cookinglight.com, and self.com but according to The Week, it is doing so at an exponential rate unseen in other social media channels.

Once an image is repined, it is exposed to an entire new circle of people.  A cycle of advertising exposure that is essentially never-ending.

It makes sense, then, that businesses should jump on board this speed train.   And that, my friends, is exactly what is happening.  Because when it comes down to it, this is target marketing at its finest.

Businesses considering Pinterest can:

  1. Create their own pin boards that represent their company and their values. Think past and future designs, products, interesting product uses, ect.
  2. Smaller companies can even go as far as pinning interests that its employees have, making their company more personally relatable.
  3.  Add pin buttons (similar to the Facebook “like” button) to their website so people surfing their site can follow their boards on Pinterest.
  4. Feature new and upcoming products on these boards so the company can get a feel for the popularity based on the number of repins.  In short, it is test marketing without the legwork.

Obviously Pinterest is a great social media channel for any company who is advertising products that can be represented visually (food, magazines, fashion, automobiles, home improvement, art, etc.).   But it doesn’t have to stop there.  For instance, travel agencies can use visually enticing beaches or monuments to capture attention and fitness centers can use images of fit models to make people stop, think and click for more.

When it comes down to it, the basic psychology is this: people want to share their interests, but more importantly they want what everyone else has.  The higher the repin number, the more appealing that product becomes and the more attention it gets.

What do you think about Pinterest and how is your company including it in your social media efforts?  Have you pinned today?

26
May
11

Google Panda: Newly released SEO algorithm changes act more like a grizzly

The panda has been released! The good news: it is a much better web search experience for Google users. The more challenging news: companies are going to have to react to these changes and implement new web practices.  The new Google algorithm, called Panda, was created to lower rankings for low-quality sites.

One of the very visible changes with Panda is the ability for USERS to block content delivered to them with one click.  Google has promised that they will not use blocking data to change the algorithm, instead they will watch blocking data to authenticate the algorithm. “Authenticate not change,” sounds a little like “Trust but verify;” – potential slippery slope if concerted efforts are launched to artificially suppress content by users…or rival companies.

Here’s an example of how users can block content:

In this search, I am using Mozilla Firefox to search “Twister.”  I get a mix of the children’s game, the movie starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton, and tornadoes. I also come across a random restaurant called Twister, seen below.

If you click a link, then hit the back button return to the Google search, you will see an opportunity to block that result from the search.

In this second picture, if you look at the area highlighted in the yellow circle, you’ll see “Block all http://www.twistersgrill.com results”

In early testing using the Google Chrome browser, they found an 84 percent overlap in sites that were negatively impacted by Panda and sites that users had blocked during the Chrome testing.

Winners in a world after Panda will be companies focusing on high-quality original content. Marketers should consider blogs, infographics, webinars, whitepapers, etc. to attract links with authority. Copify Director Martin Harrison describing the increase in copywriting jobs “SEOs are realizing that quality content really will make the difference as Google continues to refine its algorithm.” Google Engineer, Matt Cutts described Panda impact, “The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site’s content.”

Backlinks are legitimate traffic drivers to high quality content. Marketers should strive to secure quality backlinks to increase authority to your website. Backlinks from content farms like answers.com, ezine.com, eHow.com and Suite101.com are detrimental to your organic web search.

Keyword bloat is a slow death sentence for any website. You have to choose relevant keywords that will work together on the page. Keyword bloat happens when companies use keyword density as a measure of optimization and they constantly add keywords in an attempt to improve page rankings.  One of the ways Panda can discern keyword bloat is the length of time it takes for the website to load.

Tell us if you’ve used the new block content option from Google and if you have seen an improvement in searching. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us for free on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.

22
Jun
10

Searching for answers: Quora and the boom in the web search industry

The web search business is booming for engineers hoping to fill the gaps they see left open by Google. One of the new hopefuls who publically launched Monday is Quora.

Developed by two engineers who previously worked for Facebook, the site is a “continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited and organized by everyone who uses it.” Sounds a little like Wikipedia, but rather the site is a search engine for knowledge that people posses that might not be on the web. Things like how to get a reservation at an exclusive club or the inner workings of a specific company would be searchable Quora items. Users must enter their real names and connect the Quora account with a Facebook or Twitter profile. This link helps Quora route questions posed by other users to those who can potentially answer the questions.

To give you a little more insight, here’s the results from searching: How much of a threat is Google Buzz to Facebook and Twitter? on several search sites.

Quora:

Yahoo! Answers:


Google:

and finally, Bing:

As you can see, Yahoo, Bing and Google come up with similar articles written about the topic, where as Quora brings up a long answer direct to the question from a supposed expert on the topic. Quora, which employs a staff of nine, joins the likes of Yahoo and LinkedIn in trying to build a search-like question and answering service that relies on real people, not machines to do the answering. The key with Quora will be in the user being able to identify the validity of the expert’s knowledge on the question as well as someone answering the question posed.

These efforts of industry leaders and start-ups illustrate the continual evolving web search industry, which must constantly adapt to new information and technology. However, the legitimacy and longevity of these startups seems tenuous. Even the more established Yahoo! Answers has received questionable reviews. When asked about the company’s business model, Quora co-founder (and previous chief technology officer at Facebook) said, “if I had to guess, it would probably involve some kind of advertising,” in a Wall Street Journal article.

Nevertheless, others are taking notice. Facebook, Google and others are testing technology for question and answer-based search services and Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are trying to capture more content uploaded directly by individuals including results from Twitter and Facebook.

Definitely something to keep our eyes on because as the search industry changes, so does the effort to appear in the results. If Quora becomes successful, the way marketers create SEO strategy would need a total overhaul, or at least a facelift.

What are you thoughts on this new industry? Does Quora stand a chance?

21
May
10

Top Six Secrets to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Revealed

I participated in a webinar conducted by HubSpot, the Cambridge-based Internet marketing company, focused on tips and tricks to organically optimize a company search engine rankings.

The biggest takeaway was the creating of a ranking algorithm as a combination of context, authority and social graph.  HubSpot identified six SEO tips for companies.
1.    Optimize Your Content – The content you create must be a combination of what ‘searchers’ are looking to find and the keywords that search engines require.
2.    Attract Links to Your Content – Links are on-line recommendations from trusted websites. The most often shared items are new data and insightful blog posts. On the other hand, discount offers and product information are the least shared items.
3.    Publish Relevant Content Frequently – Internal HubSpot research showed that 61 percent of blogs are updated once a week or less.  Also, if you commit to a daily blog, you’ll be in the Top 10 percent of businesses.
4.    Be Active in Social Media – With the explosion of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, del.icio.us and Digg, interesting content is shared by trusted sources. Sharing content you find interesting will also help others consider sharing your content.
5.    Build Large Social Media Networks – Lisa Barone of SocialNetDaily gives 8 Ways To Find Relevant Followers On Twitter – see how easy it is to share relevant content.
6.    Use Call to Action on Landing Pages to Convert Leads – Once you have increased traffic to your website, you need to capitalize on the increased interest in what your company is saying. In the same HubSpot research, 41 percent of businesses acquired a customer through Twitter and LinkedIn, 46 percent through their company blog.
Tell us if you have any success implementing these tips, if your search engine ranking increases and if you are able to convert a lead generated by your social media efforts.
Follow Weise on Twitter and check out Weise Communications on Facebook and “Like” it for future updates.

26
Apr
10

Facebook: It’s getting ‘Like’ confusing

Facebook has recently made two changes to the social networking website. One is a new ‘Like’ button that can be embedded on other websites and enables sharing of content. The other change removes the traditional Fan Page and changes ‘Become a Fan’ to ‘Like’.  Using the same term for distinctly different applications could lead to confusion with users.

According to the New York Times, Facebook has created a universal ‘Like’ button that Web publishers will be able to add to their websites.  It has significantly more functionality than previous content sharing buttons.

For example, not only will the new ‘Like’ button allow Facebook to keep a record of the links liked by each Facebook user, it could also allow non-editorial sites such as Yelp to show users how many of their friends enjoyed a particular restaurant or business. Clicking the new ‘Like’ button on a website outside of Facebook will default to a Facebook user’s public profile and act as an implied recommendation.

There are significant implications for advertisers. Today, Facebook targets ads based on what information users fill out in their profile, including location, age, gender, favorites and fan pages.  With the new ‘Like’ button, Facebook may make targeting available based on self-selected preferences. Facebook members recommending things they “like,” will make it easy for Facebook to target advertising toward users “most liked” items filtered by their Facebook friends.

“Facebook potentially could power an all-knowing behavioral-targeting platform the likes of which we’ve never seen before,” said Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, a New York-based strategic marketing agency.

The other change is a language change. For businesses with a fan page, users will connect with them by clicking ‘Like’ rather than ‘Become a Fan.’

Facebook claims this is a part of a larger effort to improve user experience, increase engagement and promote consistency. Facebook did some research and found out the users are more likely to “Like” something instead of becoming a fan.

Detractors say that if there is any increase in ‘Liking’ a Page versus ‘Becoming a Fan’, it is due to confusion users are experiencing over the language change. ‘Liking’ a page from a company isn’t the same as ‘Liking’ a friend’s status update. Instead you are connecting to that page and it will appear in your profile.  There is not an associated ‘Unlike’ button so removing the connection to a company’s Facebook page may prove to be challenging.

Asking people to ‘Become a Fan’ sounded more professional to me. If you have an idea on how to sound more professional than ‘Like Our Fan Page’, let us know. Until then, I know this sounds weird but…Please like us on Facebook.

14
Apr
10

Franchising idea exchange highlights sales, franchisee relations

Contributed by Heather Hutchinson, Public Relations Account Manager, Weise Communications

Last night Weise Communications hosted an event for the local chapter of the International Franchise Association’s Women’s Franchise Committee. FranchisingProfessional women in franchising from the Denver-metro area gathered to exchange ideas on relationship challenges, compliance, and thinking outside the box for franchise sales.

One great idea that came from the “group scoop” brainstorming session was hosting a boot camp for your franchise each year. By gathering franchisees, franchisors and the franchise sales team, the group can reconnect on the core mottos, systems, and metrics of the franchise. Basic training reminds everyone why he or she became a part of the franchise in the first place. It also shows were deviation had occurred and provides a path back to success for struggling franchises. The idea is sure to help franchises and other businesses stay on track for long-term success.

Another great idea, which has been previously written about on The Side Note, is about online sales for franchises creating a microsite. Microsites, a separately promoted part of a larger website, are perfect for the franchise sales application. When optimized, the microsite directs the sales messaging to those interested in starting a franchise. Thus, hot leads are sent straight to the sales team.  Keeping customers and potential franchisees separate by using your website and microsite in tandem ensures that each audience gets the messages and content that matters to them.

Thanks to all who attended the event. The idea exchange and brainstorming session brought to light some encouraging franchise relationship tactics, sales ideas, and created strong women in franchising connections.




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