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CONNECTED CULTURE Blog by Jerry Allocca

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3 Tips to Strengthen Your Digital Marketing Success

3 Tips to Strengthen Your Digital Marketing SuccessIt’s a new year with new strategies for successfully growing your brand online. The days of simply putting up a great looking website or managing a Facebook page are coming to a close. Success now means knowing how to be one step ahead of your audience — and your competitors — when it comes to your online presence.

The following three digital marketing tips can help you make this happen!

A Return to Simplicity
While the Internet keeps getting more and more complex, it’s no surprise that online audiences are increasingly searching for simple, easy-to-use sites and apps. No one has the time or patience to navigate through multi-step processes to interact on a social media site or mobile app. Consider Snapchat. While it only is capable of doing very specific things, it’s wildly successful. Why? It’s easy to use and lacks the frustrating number of applications, buttons and tools of many other sites.

If you’re one of the many digital marketers who erroneously believes that Snapchat is a site for teens who want to share photos and videos with friends, think again! Leading organizations are now launching Snapchat accounts because of the growing audience, including the NFL and even the White House. This is helping to increase users by leaps and bounds, with more than 11 percent of Americans now using Snapchat.

Messaging Apps
Even though we’re all relying on technology more than ever to communicate, it doesn’t mean we are losing the desire to actually connect with others. The need for communication and connection is just as strong as ever. In today’s world, we’re more likely than ever to accomplish this via the Internet. Messaging apps, like WhatsApp and Snapchat, are making it very easy to have conversations and share images and videos with friends, loved ones and even with the brands we buy from. For digital marketers, messaging apps are opening up new opportunities to form stronger, more personalized connections with online audiences.

Live Video
According to Cisco, video will account for nearly 75 percent of all consumer internet traffic in 2017. It’s now a reality that online video is becoming a fundamental way for people to access information and entertainment. Video is the future of content marketing, and those that don’t prepare for this shift will soon find themselves falling behind. When you consider that YouTube receives more than one billion unique visitors each month, who wouldn’t want to capture at least a part of this growing audience?

It’s Time to Call in the Experts
Still determining the best strategy to ensure your organization’s success in 2017? Along with leveraging the above tips, it may be time to call in a specialized team of digital marketing experts to help you achieve your goals.

Call Connected Culture today at 212-257-4111 or reply to this email to learn more about how we can help you maximize your efforts.

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How a Digital Marketing Agency Can Save You from Job Burnout

Find out if it’s time to hire a digital marketing agency to achieve your organization’s marketing goals and drive your digital marketing success in 2017If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember how marketing departments operated prior to the digital age. Sure, there were deadlines and goals to meet, but projects typically ran at a manageable pace. In stark contrast, marketing professionals today are dealing with fast-moving business elements that range from content development and branding to public relations, SEO and a growing list of digital channels. Skill sets must now also include knowledge of mobile technology, real-time data analysis and even programming. Both the number of projects and job requirements to complete them have expanded dramatically, and this evolution has been rapid.

The result is overworked and understaffed marketing departments. In a study of more than 500 marketing professionals, from Workfront, a supplier of project management software, 72 percent reported tension in the office due to an increased workload, and 1 out of 4 say they’re either “overly stressed” or “stressed to the max.” With marketing playing a more vital role in the success of a business than ever before, the increasing stress and pressure placed on marketers is a cause for concern that every organization should take seriously.

What Can Be Done?
Are you a marketing director who is struggling to keep up with an overwhelming list of projects and daily tasks? It may be tempting to forego digital marketing altogether. However, today’s customers are online, and staying competitive means, like it or not, embracing digital marketing.

What about new time-saving technology? While solutions that automate processes, such as CRM and project management software can be beneficial, they don’t make up for the dramatic increase in workload due to the expansion of digital marketing.

Some organizations try to fill the lack of staff by hiring temporary workers or interns. This is a quick fix but certainly not a solution. It’s highly unlikely you’ll be lucky enough to find someone who is qualified to independently manage complex projects that require industry and company knowledge, as well as technical skill and expertise.

It’s Time to Call in the Experts
Continuing to struggle with an overload of work is a setup for failure. If you’re burning the candle at both ends and consistently finding that not everything can get done successfully, it’s time to ask for help. And, the best source for help is a digital agency that can partner with you to support your goals and drive your success. With a skilled agency on your side, you don’t just get another pair of hands to help, you get a dedicated team with broad expertise and deep experience to tackle the projects you need tackled and to even provide ideas and guidance on how to achieve even greater levels of success.

Let us help you shine in 2017 by being your digital marketing agency. Contact the experts at Connected Culture today.

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Should You Be Advertising on Snapchat?

SnapchatIt may be difficult to believe that a social media site that eliminates photos and videos in a matter of seconds is all the rage with teens and young adults. It may be even more unfathomable that the same site turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook. However, if you’re familiar with Snapchat, you already know that its rapid adoption has been nothing short of unbelievable.

Today, Snapchat is one of the most popular social sharing sites on the Internet, and its popularity continues to grow. To generate revenue, Snapchat introduced advertising on its site back in 2014. However, unlike Facebook and Google that display ads based on information they’ve gathered from users, Snapchat doesn’t target ads or place them in personal communication. Rather, the company offers multiple options for advertising to enable businesses of all sizes the opportunity to reach new audiences on the site.

Snap Ads
The top-of-the-line advertising opportunity on Snapchat is “Snap Ads.” This is a mobile video ad that enables users to swipe to get more information. Swiping reveals extended content, such as an app or mobile website. The swipe-up rate for Snap Ads is five times higher than the average click-through rate on comparable platforms, according to Snapchat.

Sponsored Geofilters
For those with smaller budgets, Snapchat’s “Sponsored Geofilters” may be an option for reaching the site’s coveted demographic. Geofilters are snippets of art that appear on images in the location(s) of your choice. You can set up a campaign that targets a specific location or a major event and get your name on snaps being sent on a specific day. According to Snapchat, a single Geofilter typically reaches 40 to 60 percent of those who use Snapchat daily.

Sponsored Lenses
With “Sponsored Lenses” you get the opportunity to create interactive ads. When you consider that the average Snapchatter plays with a sponsored lens for 20 seconds, you can begin to see the advantage of these ads and how they can help support a larger digital marketing campaign.

With both advantages and limitations, it’s unlikely that Snapchat will be the sole advertising medium for a typical digital marketer. However, it can be a wise addition to an otherwise strong marketing plan that is focused on attracting a young audience such as college students.

Question:

Have you advertised on Snapchat or are you considering it?

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The Best of the Best Blog Posts of 2015

We’ve posted a wide variety of posts in 2015 to help you increase your digital marketing success. While each post offers valuable takeaways, the following have proven to be the most beneficial according to our readers because of their useful tips, ideas and best practices.

Are you ready to experience significant results in your digital marketing efforts in 2016? We encourage you to read the list below of our top blog posts for 2015. And, why keep this valuable content to yourself? In the spirit of the holidays, go ahead and share this list with a few colleagues, too!

Traditional SEO: Going Old School Pays Off
With all the talk in 2015 about content, many began to wonder if there was still a place for SEO in a successful digital marketing campaign. Yet, the reality is that SEO is still alive and well and being utilized effectively by savvy marketers who want to increase their site’s rankings.
Read more about the benefits of traditional SEO

SEO Cheat Sheet
Did we convince you that SEO is still beneficial? Good! To serve as a basic guide to help you with your SEO efforts, we created a handy cheat sheet for you to hang on to and use as needed. This is a good post to bookmark or print and tuck into your desk drawer for easy access.
Get the Cheat Sheet.

Build Your Online Fingerprint: How to Create a Unique Social Media Presence
With countless businesses building their presence on social media, it can be a challenge to differentiate yourself from the others. This blog post offers some very helpful ideas on how to create a unique online fingerprint that will make you stand out in an increasingly crowded digital environment.
Start Building Your Online Fingerprint.

Content Marketing Hack: How to Repurpose Your Content Effectively
Most likely you upped your content marketing game in 2015. You may even have an amazing stockpile of blog posts, case studies, newsletters, articles and other content that is no longer being used. One of the benefits of producing quality content, is that it can be repurposed to extend its reach and effectiveness.
Learn a few creative hacks to repurpose your content.

5 Facebook Post Ideas to Keep Your Page Fresh
Yes, it can be difficult coming up with new ideas for Facebook posts. We’ve all seen the pages of those companies that bore their online audiences by simply promoting the same products and services over and over. The good news is that there are some simple ways to create posts that will encourage your existing community to engage with your brand and will generate interest from others.
Read these 5 post ideas and attract more people to your Facebook page in 2016.

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How to Sell Digital Marketing to Your Boss

connected-culture-blog-listeningWhile you’re probably already convinced that your organization needs to increase its digital marketing efforts this year to stay relevant and grow, you may find that you have to convince others that the additional investment in time and money to do so will offer sufficient ROI.

How can you best present the benefits of digital marketing to your boss and other decision-makers? We’ve provided five essential tips for getting them enthusiastically on board:

1. Create a Comprehensive Plan

Jumping into digital marketing without a plan is akin to starting a long journey without a map. To best share with others what you’re planning to do, it’s essential to breakdown digital marketing into key components. These include:

  • Website and landing pages
  • Blog
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media
  • SEO
  • Analysis and Reporting

You’ll also want to define your target audience and map out a strategy for how each component can be integrated into the plan. Use visual tools such as charts, spreadsheets, and calendars to help explain the plan and to keep you on track once you get the green light to get started.

2. Have a Realistic Budget

Digital marketing isn’t free advertising. It takes time and money to manage all of the elements of your plan. To prevent unrealistic expectations on the part of others, you’ll want to allocate accurate amounts for everything from website maintenance and Facebook ads to hiring an outside SEO agency and content writers.

Very few organizations can execute a comprehensive digital marketing plan solely in-house. So, it’s important to clearly determine what you can successfully tackle and what needs to be outsourced to create a viable budget.

3. Create Specific Goals

One of the most common objections heard when it comes to digital marketing is that it doesn’t actually offer any “real” value. This is why it’s so important to establish goals for your plan early on. A well-thought out and executed plan will help in business development and support other marketing and sales efforts. Therefore, goals should be aligned with overall company strategic goals. They should also be specific enough to be clearly measured.

4. Detail the Potential ROI

Showing potential ROI is vital in getting others excited about digital marketing. This means explaining its measurable value. Of course, it’s ideal if you can prove a direct financial return. However, it’s more likely that your digital marketing efforts will contribute to more leads that can eventually be converted into more sales. This doesn’t devalue the importance of digital marketing. Rather, it’s simply necessary to connect the dots carefully when trying to get the buy-in from others.

In may be beneficial to compare the ROI of your digital marketing plan to other marketing efforts such as print collateral, advertising, and telemarketing. When you look closely at the costs for each, you may find that digital marketing offers the highest ROI.

5. Give Examples

It’s a good idea to show what your competitors are doing when it comes to digital marketing. Find several good examples of organizations within your industry that are getting it right. Be able to explain what they’re doing and why it’s working for them. These examples may be the most compelling aspect of your pitch.

Getting buy-in for increasing digital marketing efforts requires a detailed plan that can be effectively communicated and executed. With expectations clearly set and a strategy for measuring results, you’ll have the ability to show real ROI that will turn doubters into enthusiastic believers in the value of digital marketing.

Question:

What can you add to this list?

 

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How Should My Organization Use Google+?

Google+Google+ provides a platform for people to get in touch, discuss, and share. Essentially, it’s like any other social network, but — Google+ can be so much more than another network!

Because Google+ is a Google product, it has a lot of SEO power. Google includes Google+ listings/postings in its rankings, since it wants to drive traffic to the network. This means that every business should have at least some sort of Google+ presence. So, for those of you who are new to Google+, here’s a few ways that you can use it within your organization, both internally and externally:

Internal: Increasing Productivity

Many businesses are increasingly using Google+ and other networking sites to increase productivity by facilitating collaboration between employees. Company employees in multiple locations can use Google+ to collaborate on various projects by using Google+ as a hub for discussion. Some companies also create Google+ Hangouts (live streaming video conferences) for their employees so that they can communicate and discuss common issues, brainstorm, or take on other tasks that benefit productivity in their jobs. Hangouts are quite possibly one of the best features of Google+ overall.

External: Targeted Messaging

Google+ provides a platform for companies to distribute information and engage with multiple audiences through Google+’s Circles feature. Many companies use Google+ for businesses to send targeted messages to users within a certain Circle or segment. If your brand works with a lot of different types of influencers or audiences, segmentation can make your Google+ much more effective. For example, if you’re an electronic retailer, you may want to create Circles for gamers, photographers, and early technology adopters. Using these segments, you can potentially create unique messaging and communities that are well-targeted and more engaging than they would be if they were mass-marketed. Outside of interests, you may also use users’ geographic locations, careers, and hobbies to segment – the options are all up to you! You’ll have to do a bit of research into your Circles to find out exactly where they fit, though.

External: Providing Information

Google+ can be a great source of information about a business for consumers. Many businesses are using this social networking platform to connect with potential consumers and provide information about their products and services through sharing photos, videos, links to content marketing pieces, and more. Companies can create Google+ Hangouts where they can interact with clients and clarify issues about their products and services, offer live Q&A with brand stakeholders, or give entertainment in relation to a branding effort. Google+ also has internal blogging tools that allow for you to share exclusive messaging or curate content for interested users.

External: Getting Opinions

Another way businesses can use Google+ is by allowing valuable feedback and exchange of opinions between themselves and the audiences they serve. Google+ Hangouts provide a platform for people to voice their opinions on various topics, and participate in focus groups that provide valuable information. Companies can also use this platform to respond to customer complaints and questions, and position themselves as experts and opinion leaders. Encouraging discussion on a Google+ way is a surefire way to drive traffic to this social network, especially if people recognize that this is the place to interact with your brand one-on-one.

Internal: Recruiting

Another benefit of Google+ for businesses is that it allows companies to recruit personnel. Companies can use Google+ to post messages about vacancies in their departments or network with job seekers to recruit talent for their businesses. Active Google+ users are likely to be an asset to your company because they are familiar with technology and tend to be early adopters. Plus, Google+ can be a platform for you to share video, photos, or other media that demonstrate your corporate culture.

External and Internal: Relationship Building

A significant benefit of Google+ is that it is helps to build relationships. A business with existing customers that it engages on Hangouts increases the chances of those customers being followers, and adding the company to their followers’ lists. Additionally, internal collaborators using Google+ tools may be able to improve communication across teams and create opportunities for more productive meetings.

How does your organization use Google+?

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Digital Marketing Trends That Put You In “The Know”

Development of new businessDigital marketing is evolving at a breakneck speed that’s leaving many marketers behind. Yes, it can be overwhelming, but with an understanding of the latest trends that are driving digital marketing, you can stay on top of how to engage target audiences online and convert them into loyal brand advocates.

We have just released a new research study entitled “5 Digital Trends that Could Make or Break Your Job.” We encourage you to download it for FREE today.

Our study is full of the latest statistics and numbers that will give you real insight into what consumers want and expect from organizations today. You’ll also get tips and ideas that will certainly help you as you navigate through the often murky, ever-changing landscape of digital marketing.

Here’s just a glimpse of what you’ll find when you download the study:

Changing Marketing Trends

The trends are clear. If your company is not yet involved in digital marketing, you’re already behind the competition. The question now is no longer “Will my company utilize digital marketing?” but “What will our digital marketing strategy be?” The trends in this industry change faster than any other thanks to modern advances in technology. It makes a good grasp of digital trends vital for anyone who works in this field.

What Determines Branding?

Take branding as an example. There was a time when a company name, logo, and product design were the primary influencing factors that determined a person’s view of a brand. With a good Super Bowl commercial and some positive PR in the newspaper, a company was on branding easy street. What do consumers expect now? They want high quality content on your website and social media pages, a place to connect with a community of your company’s fans, and a high quality app for their smartphone or tablet.

It used to take a lot to hurt a company’s reputation – some big scandal involving executive corruption or a serious product quality issue. Now, one of your employees can say something ignorant or unpopular on their personal Twitter account, and the public holds the whole corporation accountable.

Innovation has become the keyword in the digital marketing world. Everyone wants something new and they want to be fully engaged. You can’t just provide a video for consumers. They want an interactive video. Even when visiting a store, consumers want to be able to interact on their mobile devices to get more. Last Christmas, one popular store in downtown Manhattan, well known for their fabulous window displays, included a display that allowed passers-by to create their own unique digital snowflakes to add to the scene. Consumers expect to continue to be wowed in ways like this, but they have higher expectation every season, putting additional pressure on digital marketers to understand the current trends.

Market Research That Makes A Difference

We’ve prepared a research study to help you understand the current state of the digital marketing industry: “5 Digital Trends That Could Make or Break Your Job.” If you’re not following these trends within the next 6-8 months, you may start losing serious market share. That’s how quickly things change in this industry. So read up, and be prepared for the rest of the 2014 digital marketing season!

Download the Free CONNECTED CULTURE Research Study

And please share it with your friends!

 

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