Thursday, January 31, 2013

Using Vine for Business

Brand new video-sharing app Vine is making a buzz on the internet. What is Vine? It's the Instagram of video - just press and release the screen to take clips for a 6 second video that is then socially shared with followers and via hashtags. With some quick thinking, your business can be one of the earliest adapters to this fun new social channel. Here's how:

  • Take videos showing off new products. Moving toys and quick videos of models showing off clothing are good examples.
  • Run a contest on your own personal hashtag. Pick a topic and offer a prize to the winning video.
  • Take behind-the-scenes videos of your business. Funny or entertaining videos will be best at attracting attention.
  • Get creative and make a 6-second introduction to your brand.
  • If your business runs events, take quick clips during each event and show it off on Vine.
  • If your business depends on tourism and travel, take videos of the landmarks in your area.
  • Be sure to share all of your Vine videos on other social media, like Twitter and Facebook.
Connect with Leah on Google+

    Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    Today's webinar - 7 Tips for Increasing Blog Traffic

    Due to technical difficulties last week, we were unable to present the webinar "7 Tips for Increasing Blog Traffic." We've ironed out all the kinks and assure you that today's webinar will really help you increase traffic for your blog!

    We all know how important blogs are to a business' online marketing strategies. You're reading a blog right now, and hopefully it's giving you some much-needed information. Sometimes blog traffic just isn't what it should be, but there's no need to fear! With the right techniques and tips, your blog can start gaining a faithful reader base sooner than later. Matt Wooddy, host of the IMC Wednesday Webinar series, presents this effective webinar on increasing your blog traffic. This webinar will teach you to: 

    - Target the right audience
    - Generate real interest in your products
    - Increase web traffic and engagement across all social platforms

    Click here to register for FREE (1-23-13 at 12:30pm EST)

    About Matt Wooddy:

    For the last five years, Matt Wooddy has used his social wizardry to completely turn around the online presence of over 200 brands. Understanding that social media is more than just a place to promote your business, he uses personal interaction and entertaining messages to improve the branding and interest of any given company. He is also a lead editor and writer for alternative lifestyle print magazines.Click here to register for FREE (1-23-13 at 12:30pm EST)

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

    TV Not Going Away, but Viewers Multi-Tasking

    TV Not Going Away, but Viewers Multi-Tasking
    Don’t be fooled by rosy stock market and economic indicators  

    Sixty percent of U.S. consumers still want to watch their shows on TV, but these same consumers also want their smartphones and tablets by their side, according to a new report from KPMG International. Sunday’s Super Bowl telecast/advertising fest will likely bear that out.

    Researchers said that 42 percent of U.S. consumers say they watch TV and access the Internet via a laptop or PC, while one in six (17%) watch TV and access the Web via a smartphone. The study also found that more than one in five (22%) watch TV and use a social networking site at the same time.

    In a prepared statement, Paul Wissmann, national leader of KPMG's U.S. Media & Telecommunications practice, said: "The introduction of smart TVs is an indication of how the digital transition is accelerating to coincide with the demand of today's consumers to access anything, anywhere and at any time. The smart TV is beginning to reveal itself as the next disruptor."

    The study said that one in seven (14%) U.S. consumers polled prefer to watch TV via their mobile or tablet for greater flexibility--mostly coming from what the report called "mobile-centric consumers" 25-34 years old.

    Our Take: What may surprise many B2B marketers is that urban consumers in China, Brazil and Singapore are proving to be bigger consumers of digital/mobile media than in the U.S. and they also tend to have higher rates of smartphone/mobile device ownership.

    Whether you use conventional TV, mobile or video as part of your marketing arsenal there is no one-size fits all solution. Just like consumers, your clients and prospects have more choices than ever for consuming, engaging and sharing their information. Whether they’re 25-34 or 55-64, you need to take a holistic approach to reaching them.

    As our good friend John Graham, president of the American Society of Association Executivesis fond of saying, “They want it when they want it in the format they want.”

    And if you don’t give it to them “how they want it” they’ll go somewhere else who can.

    Macro View

    The major stock indices are at or near their highest levels since 2007 and coming off their longest consecutive daily winning streaks since 2004. Initial jobless claims hit a 5-year low last week and spending on residential construction is growing at a faster rate than at any time since 1994.

    Today’s meeting of the Fed policy-making committee indicated that the Fed will likely continue buying bonds to hold down borrowing costs since the economy remains weak.
    So we’re all good right?

    Sorry to make your champagne go flat, but recent surveys of investor sentiment have shown a big uptick. Come again? The American Association of Individual Investors reported that half (46%) of its members felt bullish, up nearly eight percentage points from a week earlier—and well above the long-term average of 39 percent. By contrast, only one in four (27%) felt bearish as of Jan. 9, a nine-point improvement from the previous week. As the Wall Street Journal reported
    recently, that ain’t good for investors who are historically poor readers of peer sentiment.

    Here’s why. In the past, increasing ebullience has portended poor future returns. For example, in the 12 months leading up to October 2007, when the market hit its peak, investors put $207 billion into U.S. stock mutual funds and ETFs, according to investment-research firm Morningstar. On the other hand, in the year before the market bottom in March 2009, they took out $44 billion.

    So despite the firm economic indicators we pointed out above—which should be good news for your clients’ and prospects’ businesses—they’re most likely investors in the financial markets. If we have the correction that many pundits expect, they’ll be feeling less likely to spend on their businesses when they’re feeling less flush about their portfolios, retirement accounts and college savings plans.
    In other words, things are looking promising, but no one’s ready to exhale.


    The stars are never going to be in perfect alignment to make completely worry free decisions about investments, capital expenditures, advertising and hiring. If you’re a marketer, you’ve got to keep the lead pipeline full at all times.

    Rob Ingraham, EVP of Global Exchange Events told us today he started his company in 2010 when the trade association business was in the depths of the recession. His firm, which facilitates meetings between vendors and suppliers has been doubling every year, and is on pace to do so again. “A downturn not when you take and hide; it’s when you have a great opportunity to go after market share.”

    You don’t need to spend recklessly, but you do need to spend. Trying to time the demand cycle is about as easy as timing the financial markets—or buying gas for your car one gallon at a time when you feel the price is right. Sooner or later you’ll run dry—usually at a very bad time in a very bad place.


    Thursday, January 24, 2013

    Quick Tip for Organizing Your Homepage Google+ Circles

    If you are trying to play in the world of Google+, you are most likely still learning the ropes and trying to figure out the most effective way to manage your presence. Although a quick and simple tip, you will find this to be extremely useful.

    Lately, I have been focusing on optimizing my stream experience to manage the noise. But, I have found it difficult to do so as my homepage favorites bar wasn’t in the exact order I needed it to be. Thankfully, there is a way to remedy this predicament.

    While signed into your Google+ account (not from your mobile), go to your circles page and reorder your circles so that your favorites are first in the specific order you desire. As a result, the first four circles will appear in your favorites bar, respectively.

    Do you have any tips to share with the community? Or, are you experiencing a situation with Google+ that you need an answer to? Go ahead and leave your comments and questions below.

    Like this post? Connect with Erika Barbosa on Google+.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    You’ll Never Do Your Best Work Chained to Your Desk

    You’ll Never Do Your Best Work Chained to Your Desk
    Mobile ad revenue to surge; housing officially rebounding

    While the benefits of today’s technology are many, there are some serious health risks for desk-bound professionals, even those of us who exercise diligently every day. Here’s the deal. We spend way too much time sitting and staring at our screens. We’ve got to do a better job of keeping ourselves moving throughout the day, not just during our lunch breaks or time spent jogging or at the gym.

    Jack Dennerlein, a professor at Northeastern’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences in Boston suggested in a short New York Times itemtoday that you should do a variation of the 20-20-20 rule used to reduce eyestrain. Take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away (instead of at your computer), and repeat this exercise every 20 minutes. Dr. Dennerlein, who specializes in ergonomics and safety, says this eye rule can be applied to movement as well. Every 20 minutes, walk 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more. Stop by a co-worker’s desk. Get a cup of coffee. Pace. Just don’t sit.

    Management by walking around

    While some of my colleagues think I’m pretty wired or suffering from ADD or a tiny bladder, Management by Walking Around (MBWA)is one of the key tenets we preach to our clients. It not only gives you a badly needed break from the information overload on your screen(s), but it can help you calm down long enough to avoid sending an email or voicemail you’ll later regret. This tactic can also prevent you from turning in an important piece of work before you’ve REALLY checked it over carefully to ensure it’s your best effort. The stretching and blood flow doesn’t hurt either. Best of all, it increases your opportunities for “chance” meetings in the hallway, kitchen, elevator or restroom with hard to schedule superiors or non-confrontational colleagues who’ll do anything to avoid a “face to face” discussion with you.

    Can’t I just save time by standing up once in a while? Dr. Dennerlein points out that standing for long periods of time is not good for you either. The key is to vary your work posture throughout the day. “Just keep moving and changing things around,” he said. “I think people should be empowered to make adjustments to see what feels right for them. And one thing that might feel comfortable in the morning might not feel comfortable in the afternoon.”

    Here at HB, we’ve found that many professionals do their best work via the “interval” approach. Rather than grinding it out for 8, 10 or 12 hours at a time, some knowledge workers are much more effective with a series of relatively short, but intense bursts of work (say one to two hours at a times), followed short 15 to 30 minute breaks. More on that next week.

    Mobile ad revenue surges

    A new Gartner report projects worldwide mobile ad revenue will increase 16 percent to $11 billion this year and more than double by 2016. Gartner says its estimates include mobile Web display, in-app display, search and maps, video/mobile TV and messaging.

    Macro View

    Strong reports on housing starts and jobless claims lifted markets last week. Both the Dow and S&P 500 finished the week at or near their highest levels since December 2007.Jobless claims also fell to a five year low and builders started work on homes in December at the fastest rate since December 2008 according to the Commerce Department Thursday. Economists say housing may no longer be a drag on the economy and residential construction probably contributed to economic growth for THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2005.


    While hashing out your plans to leverage your expertise in mobile, don’t forget to take a break from your screen. Walk down the hall rather than firing off a text message to a colleague and you never know who else you’ll run into on your way. It could be just the “chance” meeting that changes your entire week, month or career.


    TAGS: Gartner, mobile ad revenue, housing market, management by walking around, Jack Dennerlein, Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Sciences

    Monday, January 21, 2013 Presents: 7 Tips to Increase Blog Traffic

    We all know how important blogs are to a business' online marketing strategies. You're reading a blog right now, and hopefully it's giving you some much-needed information. Sometimes blog traffic just isn't what it should be, but there's no need to fear! With the right techniques and tips, your blog can start gaining a faithful reader base sooner than later. Matt Wooddy, host of the IMC Wednesday Webinar series, presents this effective webinar on increasing your blog traffic. This webinar will teach you to: 

    - Target the right audience
    - Generate real interest in your products
    - Increase web traffic and engagement across all social platforms

    Click here to register for FREE (1-23-13 at 12:30pm EST)

    About Matt Wooddy:

    For the last five years, Matt Wooddy has used his social wizardry to completely turn around the online presence of over 200 brands. Understanding that social media is more than just a place to promote your business, he uses personal interaction and entertaining messages to improve the branding and interest of any given company. He is also a lead editor and writer for alternative lifestyle print magazines.
    Click here to register for FREE (1-23-13 at 12:30pm EST)

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    What Do Catfish and Football Have to Do With Online Security? Plenty…

    This week, the country was swept up in the story that college football sensation Manti Te’o was “catfished” when it was revealed that his girlfriend, who supposedly died of leukemia, didn’t actually die and was not even a real person. College football fans and sympathizers routed Te’o on during the BCS National Championship in January after learning that he had lost his grandmother and his girlfriend within the span of one day.
    Beware the Catfish!
    Now, it seems that the whole thing was a hoax and that this girlfriend never actually existed. Te’o had an online relationship with this woman and it is not yet clear if he was part of the elaborate scheme or just a victim of someone’s sick games. Either way, the term “catfish” is now certain to become a mainstream word for someone who engages another in a fake relationship online.
    The word comes from a documentary called Catfish in which a man thinks he is falling for a woman he met online, but it turns out to be someone else. At the end of the film, it is explained how catfish were used to keep cod active in their tanks while being shipped overseas. This was compared to some people in our lives who might not seem beneficial, but are the ones who challenge us. Catfish is now also a TV show on MTV in which the filmmakers help young people in online relationships discover the true identity of their virtual crushes.
    There are questions as to whether or not Catfish the documentary and TV show are real or fake. But one thing is certain either way – Catfish and the Manti Te’o story are wake-up calls for people to take online security more seriously. With the abundance of social networking and photo sharing sites, you never know who you’re really talking to. It’s not difficult to do some research online and discover if things add up or just warrant more questions. As we see in Catfish: The TV Show, it’s pretty easy to reach out to mutual friends and ask about the person, do a Google search or even use free facial recognition software to match photos with social media profiles and accounts.
    In this day and age, people need to be savvier about the online world if they’re going to use social media as a way to connect with people who are not part of their inner circles. Some are even calling for universities to educate their athletes on social media so they know how to protect themselves better online, especially as public figures. Assuming that Manti Te’o was “catfished” by this fictional girlfriend, I’m sure he’s embarrassed and extremely hurt. And he’s never going to take someone’s word for it online again. 

    Image credit: BFS Man

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Facebook Introduces Graph Search

    A new search engine is coming to town, and it's Facebook. The company has recently announced graph search, a social search engine that allows you to search on any topic that has been shared with you. What does this mean? Now, if you want to know which of your Facebook friends might be interested in watching Breaking Bad with you, you can search to find out just who and how many of those friends have it listed as one of their favorite TV shows. This offers a lot of new possibilities for the direction of this social media giant - will Facebook create a new PPC ad system based around its search capabilities? Will this feature draw new user activity to Facebook? Facebook's search engine is currently on preview for English audiences only, so definitive answers for many questions are still in the future.

    However, Facebook has provided new advice on SEO for Facebook pages - all the better to get your business found through the search engine. Here are the top tips as explained by The Next Web:
    • The name, category, vanity URL, and information you share in the “About” section all help people find your business and should be shared on Facebook.
    • If you have a location or a local place Page, update your address to make sure you can appear as a result when someone is searching for a specific location.
    • Focus on attracting the right fans to your Page and on giving your fans a reason to interact with your content on an ongoing basis.

    What do you think is the future of Graph Search? Let us know in the comments.

    Connect with Leah on Google+

    Do Google+ Communities Influence Your Organic Rankings?

    As Google+ continues to roll out features, Google+ Communities is the latest to be premiered. Google+ Communities are places for people to gather together, have rich conversations, and explore the interests they share. Perhaps you can even think of them as modern-day forums. Resembling LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Groups, Google+ Communities appear to be a valuable element to your overall Google+ presence.

    How can Google+ communities help your organic visibility? The content within Communities is public by default (although there is an option for private). This affords you with the opportunity to give Google fresh, relevant, and valuable content for indexing. If you can create and fuel a Community that its members are active in, you can exhibit your authority on the topic and can potentially impact your Google rankings.

    Google+ isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Google has plenty of capital and resources to dedicate to the platform and has clearly demonstrated just how invested they are. Now is the time to evaluate your overall Google+ strategy while it isn't saturated with your competitors.

    What opportunities do you envision for your business with Google+ Communities? Please leave a comment below.

    Like this post? Connect with Erika Barbosa on Google+.

    Image credit: egorick

    Tablets to Outsell Notebooks in 2013

    Tablets to Outsell Notebooks in 2013
    Online advertising now 25% of U.S. ad budgets; mobile key to growth

    Two important milestones were reached for B2B marketers this week. First, tablets are expected to outship notebooks this year, according to separate report this week from NPD DisplaySearch and Gartner. Second, U.S. marketers will devote at least 25 percent of their budgets to online advertising in 2013.

    For the first time ever, researchers predict that tablets will grab more than 50 percent of market share in 2013, up from around 38 percent last year and 26 percent in 2011. Growth in tablet shipments are predicted to rise 64 percent this year from 2012, the report said. Global demand for tablets has opened up the market for a variety of players, both large and small. But, what caught our attention was that growth will not necessarily be driven by the iPad, but by a variety of devices, particularly those with smaller screens. Apple recently curtailed order for iPad parts, although we think the company’s recent stock slide is a correction more than a long-term trend and might signal a buying opportunity for those looking for bargains in the tech sector.

    “Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by cannibalizing PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs,” according to Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa, in the report. “This transformation was triggered by the availability of low-cost tablets in 2012,” he added.

    According to the NPD folks, tablets with screen size between 7.0 and 7.9 inches will garner 45 percent of the market this year--that’s about 108 million units. In contrast, larger 9.7-inch tablets such as the traditional iPad are estimate to get only a 17 percent share of market. The other 38 percent is made up of the wide variety of sizes, ranging from 5.6 inches to 13.3 inches.

    "The tablet PC market saw increasing investments in North America in the second half of 2012, from major brands that tested not only new screen sizes and price points, but also unconventional business models to support their efforts," NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim said in a news release. "In 2013, further investments are expected worldwide, stoking demand to the point that tablet PC shipments will exceed those of notebook PCs."

    Online poised for 25 percent share of ad dollars; mobile fueling half the growth

    Meanwhile, online advertising will pass a symbolic milestone this year, becoming one out of every four dollars spent by U.S. advertisers, according to new projections from the equity research team at J.P. Morgan. The growth, writes Internet sector analyst Doug Anmuth, is being fueled by advertisers shifting budgets from analog media to follow consumer time spent with digital media, especially Internet connected mobile devices, as well as continuing momentum of social media platforms like Facebook which announced a powerful search feature today to compete with Google, Yelp and LinkedIn.

    “As consumer behavior and time spent online rapidly shifts towards mobile, we expect advertising dollars to follow,” Anmuth wrote in a report released to investors late last week, adding: “We are projecting Internet advertising in the U.S. to grow to $43.5 billion in 2013.”

    The J.P. Morgan estimate represents a 17.4 percent gain over 2012 online ad spending levels. As a result, online media will be receiving one out of every four dollarsin 2013 U.S. ad budgets. That being said, Anmuth estimates about half of that growth will be coming from mobile Web ad spending, and without the mobile component, the uptick in online ad spending would be only about 10 percent from 2012.


    Two key tipping points have finally tipped. Do you think the surge in tablet adoption and online/mobile advertising is merely a coincidence? C’mon. You’re too smart for that. Do we really need to tell you where to focus your energies in 2013?


    TAGS: Android, Tablets , iPad, notebooks, Apple, Doug Anmuth, J.P. Morgan, Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa, NPD DisplaySearch, Richard Shim, Facebook, Facebook, Google, Yelp, LinkedIn

    Monday, January 14, 2013 Presents: How to Manage Your Online Reputation

    Online reputation has become somewhat of a taboo topic among marketers and the general public alike. Despite not being a central topic of discussion, it does affect how customers and connected individuals view your brand. Whether you know it or not, you already have an online reputation for both your personal brand and your company or product brands. You can leave it up to the search engines and your customers to create and maintain your reputation online, but why would you?
    Join Jamie Maloney for a webinar about online reputation management, including:

    · How to track your current online reputation
    · Strategies for managing and maintaining your online reputation
    · Tactics for combating a negative online reputation

    Click here to register for FREE (1-16-13 at 12:30pm EST)

    bout Jamie Maloney: 

    Jamie Maloney has an MBA and over 12 years of experience in marketing and branding. Her love of agency work derives from her interest in learning the intricacies of different industries. Internet marketing is her passion with a strong focus on social media strategy and online reputation management. Other areas of expertise include: client relations, project management, web and print copywriting, website development and brand activation. Offline, you can find her playing with her tennis ball-obsessed Boston Terrier, Bruce Lee, and going to live music shows with her rockstar husband.

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    Think Blog, Not Slog

    Think Blog, Not Slog
    Still not sold on blogging? Think it’s too difficult, too old school or too “consumer-y” for your organization? Think again.

    New research from marketing firm Hubspot found businesses and professional organizations that blog just once or twice a month garner 70 PERCENT more leads than those who don’t. If you can post more frequently—say several times per week—researchers found you’ll generate on average 5 TIMES more web traffic than competitors who don’t have blogs.

    But wait, there’s more! Unlike many other online marketing tactics, blogging is scalable. For instance, researchers found that doubling you posting schedule to 21-plus times per month from 11 to 20 times per month resulted in a 45 percent boost in traffic.

    As we mentioned last week, a new survey by the
    Custom Content Council and ContentWise, found that brand content (aka brand journalism, sponsored editorial or thought leadership content) is getting a bigger slice of the marketing pie: a 13 percent increase in spending for the last two years.

    But, you have to be relevant

    What’s hard for many organizations to understand is that blogging isn’t the same as email blasting. It’s not the same as aggregating, scraping, tweeting, pinning or Facebook posting, either. You don’t have to be a seasoned journalist. But, you do have to commit to your own point of view and you have to be relevant. Why else would your time-pressed clients and prospects take time out of their busy days to read/watch/view what you have to say?

    Be a thought leader

    Blogging is about being a thought leader. You don’t have to be first with the news. You just have to put an authoritative spin on it so you can showcase your expertise. You want to be arrogant. You do want to give readers short nuggets of intelligence that can help them solve a problem, unlock a new opportunity or make their jobs easier.

    There’s no ideal post length and no ideal frequency. Just commit to a schedule and volume that you and your colleagues can consistently maintain. But, if you take shortcuts and put out stale, over-used content your numbers will suffer and your reputation as well.

    First impressions

    According to the good folks at Gadzoog you have about 10 seconds to capture a potential customer’s attention before they click “back” and move on to your competitor. There has to be something of value offered to keep them not only interested, but coming back. Whether it’s an informational video, blog post, or a free consultation, there should be some element that helps you stand out from the crowd.
    They want to find as much out about you as they can, before the commit to a phone call, demo or in person meeting.

    Remember, your prospects go through a due diligence process before making a final decision about you. This time should be seen as an opportunity to inform, engage, and most importantly, offer value to your prospective audience. This poses a major advantage over the competition when considering that most businesses with a website usually lack a blog and the ones that do have a blog, rarely maintain it.


    Blogging is not a magic silver bullet. But if done even reasonably well and consistently, it will elevate you above the clutter. It’s pretty simple to do, but just hard enough to separate the thought leaders from the pretenders. Just remember to be relevant and make sure you integrate blogging with your other marketing initiatives. You’ll be glad you did even if you don’t get the same boost in traffic (or leads) that researchers claim above.

    Time after time, clients tell us the process of blogging gave them a great new idea for a presentation, video, brochure or new product that wouldn’t have occurred to them otherwise.


    TAGS: Gadzoog, blogging, Hubspot, Custom Content Council