Order Connected Culture NowConnected Culture

CONNECTED CULTURE Blog by Jerry Allocca

Now, more than ever, we’re all connected. What does it mean to be part of the Connected Culture? Share your thoughts and ideas here!
TOP

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.

Read More
TOP

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.

Read More
TOP

Facebook IQ + Facebook Insights: Powerful Digital Marketing Tools

Better Facebook Marketing Through InsightsSuccessfully generating a return on investment from Facebook marketing has become more difficult than ever. With more than 1.7 billion users and a growing number of advertisers all vying to capture market share, creating a successful campaign is no easy task.

Facebook IQ
An often-overlooked source of insights that can help you better understand what makes Facebook users tick is Facebook IQ. This blog-like site from Facebook publishes regular content that uses Facebook insights and data analysis and opinions from top researchers, sociologists, anthropologists, scientists and others to enable marketers to better understand their target audiences. Categorized by topic, articles offer valuable information for those who are planning Facebook campaigns. As well, the Industry Research section of the site provides beneficial articles specifically about Facebook marketing on topics such as media planning, testing campaigns, optimizing audience buying and reaching full campaign potential.

Facebook Insights
Facebook Insights is also a fundamental resource for anyone who is considering ad spend on Facebook. This has long been used by those who understand the importance of data when making marketing decisions. And, the tools have become easier to use over the years, offering clear data sets with easy-to-navigate, customizable graphs.

What’s New in Facebook
If there’s one constant in Facebook, it’s that it’s always evolving and being updated. In fact, there have been some recent changes that marketers should be aware of. These include:

  1. Updated Layout – Facebook recently announced an official update to its business page layout. The changes include different positioning of images, more prominent call-to-action buttons and improved navigation.
  2. The End to the 20% Text Rule – Facebook recently eliminated this rule that rejected ads with more than 20% text. Now, marketers can have as much text as they want in their Facebook ads.
  3. New Video Metrics – Those that publish videos on Facebook will appreciate new metrics that can offer greater insights into their visibility. These include audience demographics by age, gender and geographic locations.
  4. Custom Audiences – Marketers can now create audiences of people who are most active on their websites. This is available to Facebook advertisers creating audiences from the Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor.

Want guidance in your Facebook marketing campaigns? Contact the experts at Connected Culture.

Read More
TOP

Social Media Signals and Search Engines: How Much Really Counts?

If you’ve ever wondered about search engines and their ranking factors, you’re not alone. An entire industry full of SEOs ask themselves the same questions every day, but thankfully, because of that questioning, we’ve been able to learn a little bit more about how search engines consider websites for ranking. We know that quality content matters. We also know that a site’s backlink profile matters. But what about social media? How can a website’s social media presence tie into ranking?

When you think about it, it’s really no surprise that social plays into SEO. Google’s own webmaster guide to optimization puts an emphasis on offering value to users and social media is just another touch point for adding value. If you can create meaningful relationships online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+, why shouldn’t you be able to do the same on your own website?

As far as most SEOs can tell, there is in fact a direct correlation between a solid social media presence and better search engine visibility. As for how much visibility, that really all depends on what networks you’re participating in and how actively and effectively you’re doing so. For example, Google+ tends to rank very well within Google, so having a presence there is good for owning more SERP real estate. Plus, if you’re establishing Authorship, that can lead to higher clickthrough rates (up to 150% more, in fact, according to Catalyst). Another example is that of Facebook, which some SEOs suggest sends signals to search engines based on the number of shares and likes (i.e. the more popular you are on Facebook, the more visible in the SERPs). It’s all common sense, really. Being social and going viral are inherently connected and the more opportunities you have to connect with more people and motivate them to share, the more backlinks you earn, the more mentions you gain, the stronger your site looks, etc.

For your organization, the best thing you can do is to not worry so much about how social media signals play into ranking and instead, focus on building up a meaningful social presence. The SEO benefit will go along with a strong social presence – that’s a given, but by looking only at the SEO impact means that you’re missing out on the opportunity to offer value to customers, stakeholders, and audience members who can contribute positively to your online visibility, reputation, and level of trust within your industry.

Social signals and their weight algorithmically will always be in flux. We’ve seen this happen with certain types of links, content, and keyword usage – one can expect for social media to be affected by the constant change of user behavior and the search experience eventually. The number of Twitter followers, Facebook shares, or Pinterest repins are all important for measuring campaign success – but don’t put all of your eggs in that basket when trying to evaluate your search engine visibility. Just expect that being more social can mean more space in the SERPs.

Focus on creating valuable and unique social hubs for your advocates to connect and converse with you in the social sphere. The search engine visibility will come with time and continued effort.

Read More
TOP

Consistency: The Secret to Successful SEO, Social Media, & Email Marketing

Social Media, SEO, and Email: Consistency is Key!

Social Media, SEO, and Email: Consistency is Key!

If you were to ask your marketing team what the most important part of a successful SEO, email marketing, or social media strategy was, what do you think their responses would be?

  • Is it solid design?
  • Compelling copy?
  • Engagement, engagement, engagement?

What would surprise you is that while all of these responses contribute to a successful campaign, they’re not the actual foundation. So what is it? The answer lies in your calendar.

Take a look at your marketing calendar. Are there a rhythm and a pattern for communication? Do you plan out your messaging in advance? Is there a finite task list to have work completed at regular intervals? Scheduled promotions? An overarching strategy to guide it all? If you answered “yes”, then you’re already on the right path. If not, you’re lacking the secret ingredient to a successful online marketing campaign: consistency.

Consistency, while not as flashy or exciting as the design elements that usually bring a campaign to life is critical to any communications effort. When you’re consistent, your audience can not only become accustomed to receiving communication from you, but it also invites trust and even an expectation of receiving your message. Just think about that – your customers EXPECT to hear from you. This is huge.

Much like the relationship you have with your marketing team, your customers – once they opt in to receive your messaging – come to depend on regular communication to motivate them to action. They actively seek deals or coupons, they check their inbox before shopping, or they do a quick search of your site, social media channels, and Google to see if there’s a new item or a new deal to be taken advantage of. When you establish a regular rhythm of communication, a comfortable relationship can form, which is the ultimate goal for any marketer – a long-standing, trusting, and mutually beneficial relationship.

But let’s look a little bit deeper. What other value does consistency bring to the table?

On Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, or whatever flavor of social media your organization prefers, consistency allows for conversations to occur. If users can expect your updates at certain times, that opens the door for engagement. They’ll know that they can ask a question, tweet a response, or give feedback and there’ll be someone there to respond. That engagement is what makes or breaks a brand’s reputation, not to mention, enhances the overall communication and customer service process. If you give your audience a chance to get your message and respond, you can build that relationship you’re looking for. (Plus, having an active social media presence often correlates with higher search rankings and improved online visibility). You should also note that consistent messaging in tone and type can help you build a brand persona, which can further facilitate trust and authority.

Consistency also means producing regular, fresh content for indexation and for search engines, the freshness factor matters. In fact, it’s baked right into the algorithm so that content that is new, timely, and valuable tends to get preference in rankings – even if it’s only for a short period of time. That short period of higher ranking may be just enough to get the notice you’re looking for. Additionally, consistency in optimization approach (meaning that you have a consistent format for UX, navigation, meta tags, content structure, code, etc.) can make your SEO process more organized and even more impactful.

Tracking results is also easier when you have a consistent calendar to go from. Utilizing data from your social media management tools, Google Analytics, URL tracking systems, or other sources can help you evaluate what works and what doesn’t in your timing, approach, or audience segment. It’s easier to report success when you have a consistent pattern to work from. The more sporadic your messaging, the more difficult it can become to assess what’s working and what isn’t. Track EVERYTHING. The time something is sent, the duration of the conversation, the day of the week, the time of the month or year, the channel, the audience segment targeted. The more data you have on these key metrics, the easier it’ll be to make decisions on your overall online marketing strategy.  Plus, this gives you the edge of being able to make soft predictions of what will happen in future marketing efforts.

Read More
TOP

What Role does Google PageRank Play in Your Site’s Reputation?

Google PageRank is a number system from 0 to 10 that Google assigns to each page on the internet that is based on how powerful the site is in relation to the number of quality links it has. However, the number Google displays may not be an accurate measure of a site’s ability to rank highly in search engine results.

In the beginning, PageRank was used as a way to increase profit for people selling links, the higher the rank, the more money was made. Google was unsatisfied with this practice and began to delay updated data in the toolbar, giving a PageRank a 6 month or longer delay of your actual public PageRank. When Google first started using PageRank, it was an important variable in their algorithm to order web pages.  Google has removed PageRank from their webmaster tools and issued an explanation of why PageRank might not actually matter at all. Read an official Google statement Here.

Does PageRank Really Matter?

PageRank does play a small role in where a site ranks in search engine results, but in the grand scheme of SEO there are more important variables at play. PageRank is a metric that can’t accurately be tracked, as the actual results are delayed. Your ranking may not be updated for up to 9 months making your rank a useless metric, as it isn’t entirely accurate. Many websites with a PageRank of 0 are still gaining organic rankings and search traffic. It’s more important to focus on other metrics such as analytics, conversion rates, returns on investment, relevancy and other metrics that benefit meaningful gains for your website or business.

Another reason why PageRank may be a useless metric is that it has no relevancy toward social media results. Social media engagement, status updates and other social content are making their way into search results. However, a tweet or status update that is ranked 0, still shows up in search results. Google has also made it clear that sites with strong social networking profiles are gaining increased preferences. Ideally, the most important way to gain SEO benefits is to keep creating strong content, and optimizing the content for search. The utilization of SEO in social media is a great way to promote your content and turn visitors into potential customers.

Low PageRank? Don’t Worry

Google PageRank is a great way to “show off” your site if it has a high ranking, but it is entirely useless in SERPS. Having a PageRank of 0 doesn’t reflect your sites reputation. Newer websites may be ranked extremely low because they are new. Newer websites may also receive a low PageRank because of their lack of backlinks, however these sites still have the potential to rank incredibly high in search engine results. When all is said and done, the best way to get your site ranked is to concentrate on the content you are writing. Content is still king, regardless of your PageRank number. Stop worrying about PageRank and start focusing on actionable metrics. A low PageRank is in no way the be-all and end-all of your site’s ranking potential.

Question:

What do you think about PageRank? Do you think it has any significance in your sites reputation?

Read More
TOP

2012 Facebook Ad Changes – How To Keep Up With The Joneses

When Facebook produced numbers for its 2011 ad revenue as part of regulatory filing on Feb 1st of this year (2012), they showed $3.15 billion in ad revenue.  According to an article in MediaPost, Pivotal Research Analyst Brian Wieser predicts that ad revenue for Facebook will continue to surge forward in 2012, will grow by 32% this year, and should hit $12.6 billion by 2017.

Impressive numbers that say a lot about social media marketing efforts, but that was before General Motors did an about-face in May that resulted in the company pulling their $10 million ad campaign right before Facebook’s IPO.  This caused a massive stir in the ad industry and left a lot of businesses wondering if they should follow suit – and just what was the actual cause of GM’s departure.

Despite that withdrawal, Facebook continues to show rising ad spending from users’ social media marketing efforts and a continued demand in Facebook advertising models.  Driving those increases is an aggressive string of ad opportunities to help Facebook capture more revenue and put new social media marketing tools in the hands of business owners.

Mashable recently posted a timeline for Ad Changes in this article. Here’s the lowdown on that timeline:

The 2012 Timeline for Ad Changes

  • Feb 29 – Facebook starts selling large-format log-out ads.  Users log-out of Facebook and land smack on the full-page ad of a brand.  Like Subway pushing delicious Avocados.
  • May 23 – Facebook creates a self-service platform allowing business owners to purchase new premium ads.  No more Facebook sales-reps.
  • June 5 – Facebook reveals its mobile-only sponsored-story ad placement so that every single advertiser (not just the major brands) can get some play on mobile Sponsored Stories
  • June 13 – Facebook now allows real-time ad exchange that applies targeting to ads based on the browser data of Facebook users.
  • June 19 – Facebook and e-commerce platform Payvment integrates transaction-based data to provide ad targeting based on how people interconnect around products.  Dubs it “taste graph”
  • July 6Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook plans to integrate ad targeting based on the apps use on their mobile devices, which is tracked based on the “Facebook Connect” feature.  Facebook and Yahoo also announce integration of their networks to distribute ads to other digital platforms.
  • July 13 – Facebook announces automation of purchases for news feed ads (right side of the news feed), where these ads can now be purchased directly through Facebook.

With all of these changes, and ad revenue growing steadily for Facebook, you want to get your business into the game now before your competitors start benefiting from the growth and functionality of the ad network.  But how?

Social Fresh’s new 2012 Facebook Ad Report provides some helpful insights from their polls with analysis and tips from a variety of industry experts.  Here are some of the most relevant to adapt to the new changes and grow your social media marketing.

1. Take advantage of Gender Targeting – just 34 percent of marketers target by gender “always” or “often”, making it the ninth most used criteria.  That seems like an opportunity for your business to move in and zero in on your target audience.

2. Improve Click Through Rates with Sponsored Stories – Content enjoys a higher response than ads any day of the week, and when you sponsor stories through Facebook you’ll see a lot more user engagement and attention from your social media marketing.

3. Don’t Forget the Analytics – With all the extra activity, you need to use some third-party analytics to measure what happens after the user clicks.  A lot of businesses struggle with the ROI of social marketing and paid ads on Facebook.  Make sure you’re not one of them by using additional metrics and analytics tools to stay on top of your campaign performance.

4. Try CPM Pricing for Smaller Audiences – There’s no reason a small business or corporation needs to pay out a lot from their budget just to compete in social media marketing.  CPM is a smart model if you’re segregating a portion of your audience and it’s likely to be under 1000 – as CPM is a cost-per-thousand-view.

5. Direct users within Facebook to save – On average, those who directed users outside of the Facebook domain to their own site saw an average cost-per-click of 50% higher.

Respondents were, on average, 34 years old, with over 8 years marketing experience. They had been managing Facebook ads for an average of two years, with 42 percent working in-house for brands and 58 percent coming from agencies or vendors.

Question:

What changes are you making in your Facebook Advertising or did you about-face like General Motors?

 

Read More
TOP

The Future of Social Marketing on Twitter

Twitter Launches Geotargeting for Promoted Tweets

Late in July, Twitter formally announced theywere promoting a new tool that would allow marketers to target tweets to specifics users of the social network, allowing them to fine-tune their social marketing efforts.

The new feature allows advertisers to tweet at a user based on their geographic location -or- whether they access the service via mobile or desktop solutions.

“Today we’re introducing targeted Tweets, an enhancement that enables brands to reach specific audiences on Twitter without first sending a Tweet to all followers,” Twitter product manager Kevin Weil stated in a blog post. “Until today, it’s been impractical to send these kinds of highly tailored Tweets, since there was no way to reach people in New York without also reaching followers in Norway, Nebraska and Nigeria who can’t take advantage of your offer.”

This offers a major bonus for brands that do segmented product launches among their audiences – particularly global brands.  Imagine being able to set a launch date for several countries with tailored tweets going out at set times for users in each country?

Thus far Twitter has tested the new service with major brands including Coca-Cola and British Airways.  Now that testing has completed, advertisers around the world can use the newly enhanced tweet box at ads.twitter.com

Twitter Goes for the Gold

If you think there’s still apprehension around Twitter for many big brands due to its financial viability, think again.  One only has to turn to the flood of tweets around the Olympics and major brands in recent days to measure the popular appeal of Twitter.  Twitter has become a major player in social and big brand advertising.

“We can service the very biggest brands in the marketplace,” Adam Bain, the company’s president of revenue and key advertising strategist, said in a recent interview. “The conversation that’s happening on TV, or happening live is also happening on Twitter. That’s very valuable.”

Social Media – Where The Giants Roam

Ad giants have said their early experiments with Twitter have proven invaluable.  For example, Pepsi partnered closely with Twitter for a rebranding campaign.  Once launched, the promoted tweets of Pepsi garnered 68 million impressions in a single day.  24% of users who saw those paid tweets clicked, replied or helped broadcast through retweets.

“We saw some phenomenal results with those ad products,” said Shiv Singh, the global head of digital marketing for Pepsi Beverages. Singh said it was “extremely likely” that Pepsi will ramp up its spending on Twitter.

With the new geotargeting, we can expect to see a lot more brands – especially local main street business owners – getting into the social marketing game.

Question:

What has been your experience with Twitter Advertising?

 

 

Read More
TOP

You thought you knew what was happening online. Think again.

[iframe_loader src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/5O1po8aoqsY” width=”560″ height=”450″]

Discover the driving force behind today’s CONNECTED CULTURE

The first email was sent in 1971.  Since then we have experienced a digital revolution that connects us like we’ve never been connected before.

A single email has transformed into more than 2.5 million text messages per day, trillions of web searches on Google alone and more than 40 billion collective hours spent in digital media each month.

This video reveals staggering numbers about today’s CONNECTED CULTURE, showing us how the use of digital media impacts our everyday lives.  How much are you contributing to these mind blowing numbers?

Question:

In your opinion, what is the most impressive stat in the video? Leave a comment below.

 

Read More
TOP

Google+: The Impact on Organic Search ( SEO )

[iframe_loader src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/cx3-idYfY_o” width=”560″ height=”450″]

 

Social Search and SEO

One of the most important things to consider is that Google+ is designed to be integrated into search, where social signals will have a significant impact on search engine optimization (SEO) and overall rank for brands.  Whether you’re posting about your own brand or your customers are talking about you and sharing a variety of media types, the real-time cloud based communication can impact your visibility in two ways:

Better Rank Among Networks

The content and rankings associated with a brand will appear more relevant to those followers who search for related terms in Google.  While this only occurs when someone is actively logged into Google, it still offers businesses an opportunity to get a great deal of content – particularly news and recently updated material – right in front of the eyes of a target audience (and ahead of the competition).

Real Time Data

For a period of time, Google fed off of Twitter to get real time data and updates on trending topics as it fed those microblog posts into search results.  When Twitter pulled their data feed, Google had little to fear; they can now actively use Google+ to feed real time data from personal networks and more into the results.  This reinforces the known fact that regardless of the platform, social proof and the authority of the individual still have a major impact on brand visibility.

Fleshing out Google’s Business Suite

Google already makes it easy for a business to run online with their suite of software and apps including Gmail, calendar, docs, cloud connect, groups, video and the app marketplace.  With the addition of Google plus these tools will allow for a seamless integrated solution perfect for just about any size business.  Essentially, by adding a social network into the mix, a business owner will have one central place to manage business, promote their products, communicate with customers and ultimately foster growth and engagement without spreading resources across multiple networks.

With Google+ in its infancy, it’s too new to clearly state what kind of results or ROI a business would get from utilizing the new tool.  However, it’s obvious by the growing user base that Google+ is not just another failed social experiment.  It’s on its way to becoming the next powerhouse in social networking and business owners would be wise to start thinking about how their own business could benefit from using Google+, and what the impact will be on SEO.

Question:

What has been your experience with Google+ and has it affected your SEO rankings?

 

Read More