We Want Video!

One of the things we love most about this business is that things are always changing.  Recently we’ve seen a shift toward online marketing trends that focus on videos.  Videos are an amazing way to connect with people online, because, oftentimes, people would rather watch a video than read something online.  Additionally, it’s easier to effectively share a video online than it is a website.  When you share a video on Facebook, for example, you post it, and people can watch it right in Facebook.  If you post a link to a website, people actually have to go to the site and then figure out what to read.  Even though visiting a website isn’t that hard, in terms of what folks are willing to put effort into online, it’s a world away from just pressing play. 

So how can you take advantage of these increasing video trends?  Get yourself a web cam, then try one of these ideas.

  • Create a YouTube account for yourself or your business.  This will allow you to check out what other people are doing in the world of video, as well as give you a place to post your videos where people will be able to find them.
  • Start a Vlog.  You’ve heard of a blog, right?  Well, a vlog is simply a video-based blog.  Rather than writing posts, you use your web cam to record videos of yourself talking about things.  While this can be a personal vlog, it can also just as effectively be about and for your business.  You can then post your vlog on YouTube, your website, or both.  As with any text-based blog, remember to post regularly to maintain and increase your readership.
  • Teach people.  You’re an expert at something — everyone is.  Figure out what you do really well, then teach people how to do it.  You can record your “how to” videos with your web cam, or, if you’re teaching something computer-based, you can use a service like Screenr to record your screen while you talk (that’s called a screencast).  Post your videos on YouTube.  For examples, check out our video feed or Howcast.
  • Entertain people.  Sing, dance, be funny.  Record your pets singing, dancing or being funny.  If you’re looking to go viral, the zanier the video, the better chance you’ll have of getting people to watch and then share, share, share.  And remember, always post these kinds of videos on YouTube, because that’s where your audience is!

This Is Your Social Media Resolution For 2011

This time of year, the internet is rife with predictions and resolutions for the new year. There are so many out there, and so many good ones, that we haven’t felt compelled to repeat much of the information, choosing instead to share them with you via our Facebook and Twitter accounts. There is one resolution, however, that is so incredibly important, we wanted to not only repeat it, but highlight it for you, so you’ll implement it into your online marketing strategies this year. What could possibly be that important, you may wonder? Well, here it is:

Tell people about your social media sites.

When we are new to the social media game, it’s tempting to setup our social media sites, then sit back and wait for people to flock to them naturally, as we inevitably expect. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where myth wins over education for folks who are new to social media. While you will, of course, get a few followers naturally, you have to actively work to build the rest. If you’re one of our clients, we do much of this for you. But, just as social media is an addition to your marketing strategy and not the whole enchilada, building social media followers must be done offline, as well as on.

Think about it this way: when you built or commissioned your business’s first website, did you just put it up and wait for people to find it? No way! You told people about it. You put it on your invoices, letterhead, business cards, vehicle magnets, t-shirts, and absolutely any other place that came to mind. You have to treat social media the same way. To build your social media followers with quality and quantity, you absolutely must tell people about it in real life, every chance you get. That means, you put your Facebook and Twitter addresses on your invoices, letterhead, business cards, vehicle magnets, t-shirts, print newsletters and anywhere else that comes to mind. There’s no such thing as overdoing it, because the more people that see it, the more likely they are to follow you.

This resolution has an added bonus, too. When you tell people about your social media sites offline, or in real life, you will, for the most part, be telling people who are already customers and clients — people who already love you. There’s no need to sell to them; they will follow you because they already utilize your products or services. These same people will be a huge asset to you online, because they will be the ones with brand loyalty. They will be the ones most likely to share your posts and suggest you to their friends. And that, in the end, is really what the social media game is all about.

Thank You.

You know, we’re really kind of lucky.  We get to come to work every day and be elbows deep in a field that’s always changing and always exciting.  There’s always something new and ingenious right around the corner, and so we spend every day learning and growing and doing things better than the day before.  We are sort of like explorers of old, venturing into new places every single day.  We absolutely love our work, and everything that goes with it, and recognize how totally lucky we are to be doing what we do, right here and right now.

As you probably know, we opened our doors earlier this year.  We absolutely could not have asked for a better 2010.  We’ve got an awesome workspace, rockstar employees we’ve picked up along the way, and really amazing clients.  So, as we make our way through this last week of 2010 and into what is sure to be an incredible 2011, we won’t use this last blog of the year to make predictions or resolutions.  Instead, we will use this time to pause and say — thank you.

Thank you for everything:  for supporting us, for reading our posts, for checking out our screencasts.  You are awesome.  Here’s to you, and here’s to exploring the online and social media marketing world together in 2011.
Happy New Year!

What Cloud Computing Means For Your Online Marketing Campaign

Last week, Google unveiled a revolutionary new way to use the computer – cloud computing.  In case you missed the awesome video we posted on Facebook and Twitter last week where a precocious group of 10 year olds explained the cloud, the cloud is basically the most expansive idea of the internet. It’s not only websites and email, it is also internet-based file storage, applications and much more. 

Google’s revolutionary idea is a new operating system that makes computing entirely cloud-based. That means all your files are stored online and all your programs are web applications (“apps”) used within your browser. Google has released their new cloud-based operating system on a notebook known as the Cr-48 in a pilot program, allowing users to test functionality and report back to Google.  Similar notebooks are expected to be released for sale to the general public in about 6 months, and they are projected to be more affordable than desktop-based computers.

So what does this mean for your online marketing campaign?  A move toward cloud-based computing means more people will be online all the time. It means even more people will join social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. It also means the general public will gain a better understanding of the idea of social networks and other things happening online. And that all boils down to more exposure for you and better results from your online marketing campaigns!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments!

The Wrong Way To Do Customer Service — Or Is It?

DecorMyEyes uses negative publicity to build brandI read an article in The New York Times online recently (you can read it here) about a company called DecorMyEyes.  This company basically takes orders for high end, brand name glasses on their website, then finds them on EBay and buys them to fill their customers’ orders.  While this company has very few SEO efforts in place to promote their site online, you’ll find it very near the top of the organic search results when you go hunting high end eyeglasses.  Go ahead, try it.  Type “Christian Audigier” and “glasses” into Google and see what you come up with.  DecorMyEyes.com is the #5 result.

So, with very little SEO in place, what marketing strategy gives the company such fantastic results?  Apparently, the answer is negative marketing.  Vitaly Borker, owner of DecorMyEyes, offers exceptionally poor customer service, often involving threats of litigation and bodily harm.  Often, his customers seek resolution in online forums, such as GetSatisfaction.com.  And because there are so many irate people talking about his company online, his search results improve.  Yes — to the point of being on the top of the first page in Google’s organic search results.

It’s a really unbelievable story, and absolutely worth reading the NYT article — all eight pages of it — but it also raises some questions.  Is this a viable marketing strategy?  Is it sustainable?  In what ways can Google, Ebay, credit card companies, and others involved in this situation improve their services to better safeguard their customers?

UPDATE:  As of Wednesday afternoon (December 1st), Google has announced changes to its search algorithm, such that it will now take into account negative online merchant reviews in its ranking system.  What do you think of that?

I want to know what you think — sound off in the comments!

Change The Way You Think About Marketing

Social media marketing is not about selling your product or service — it’s about building relationships.  In a world where consumers are constantly bombarded with advertisements, and we’ve all been warned about how many ads online are scams, people tend to look right past obvious social media marketing attempts.  Think about it — if you were to stumble upon a Twitter account where the user tweeted advertisements 20 times a day, would you go out of your way to get those tweets?  Probably not.

Social media users are looking for connection.  After all, that’s the whole point of social media.  Social media users want you to talk to them.  They want you to listen to them.  They want you to tell them interesting things and entertain them.  They want to tell you who they are and offer you their expertise.  They want honest, authentic interaction — and then they want to buy your product or use your service because they know you, they trust you, and they like you.  This leads to an extremely loyal customer base.

Are your social media marketing efforts aligned to this way of thinking?  Is this a new way of thinking about marketing for you?  What are you doing now?  What’s working and what isn’t?  We want to know — sound off in the comments!


Why do people follow companies or brands on Twitter?

A recent study suggests the foremost reason is to get updates on future products.  People also want to stay informed about the company’s activities, or save money through discounts or promotions the companies run.  Others follow simply to be entertained, to interact or share ideas.  Many simply follow because they believe it shows support to a company or product they like.

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