Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Yelp!

Aside from Google, one of the most important websites for small businesses (and their social media agency or department) is the crowdsourced review site Yelp!. If you’ve eaten out lately, you’ve probably seen the little red “People Love Us On Yelp!” sticker on the door. I know I personally use it quite a bit when trying to find new places to eat, and I review places on it quite frequently, so I thought I’d share some fun facts about Yelp!, because we’re all kind of tired of election news, right?

1. Yelp! is unique in that most of its site traffic is generated on its desktop site and not the mobile site! You wouldn’t think this would be the case in 2012, but 60% of searches are from regular computers, and the company’s mobile apps are used by about 7 million people. Yelp.com gets 78 million visitors per month. However, like other social media agencies, mobile is starting to gain some serious footing.

2. Every star on a review means about a 5-9% jump in revenue. Yelp uses a rating system like movie critics do – using stars. Every “star” a place gains on it’s Yelp rating means a revenue jump, according to a study by Havard professor Michael Luca, who found a correlation between high revenues and high Yelp! ratings.

3. Most places that get reviewed aren’t restaurants. I was especially surprised by this, considering restaurants are primarily what I have used Yelp for, but in 2011, shopping venues reached “parity” with restaurants. The “restaurant review site” perception still exists, though, as restaurants do have the natural advantage because they see far more customers than, say, your doctor’s office would.

The social media agency can definitely take advantage of Yelp!, as it offers the user a direct chance to voice their opinion in a public forum. This gives you feedback in very nearly real time to see if a campaign is doing what it should and engaging an audience. Just don’t encourage people to review – artificially boosting your Yelp! rating does more damage in the long run.

Red Bull Stratos Breaks Records, Including A YouTube One

I don’t know if you watched Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking freefall to Earth this weekend, but I did, and what an incredible achievement. If you really didn’t know what happened, he jumped out of a capsule 24 miles above Roswell, NM, broke the sound barrier, and free-fell for 9 minutes before landing on his feet safely in the New Mexico desert. The jump itself is an incredible achievement that broke three world records, but there’s one record he broke that had almost nothing to do with the flight and fall itself: Most Simultaenous YouTube viewers.

The entire event was live-streamed on YouTube, and notably, did not have a television broadcast in the United States. The livestream broke YouTube records, attracting 8 million viewers and a record number of comments. I know I watched live on YouTube.

The magnitude of this event is huge in the world of social media. With this event, it seems like YouTube has been able to completely unseat television. I know my grandparents were glued to their television during the moon landing just as I was glued to YouTube 43 years later. The implication is huge: Our social media sites are starting to replace traditional pathways of consuming media. For instance, I don’t remember the last time I watched anything on cable, but I’ve been watching Modern Family regularly on Hulu+.

I think this means that in the very near future, the advertising firm you see in a show like Mad Men will be completely replaced by social media marketing companies. Magazine ads and TV commercials are being gradually replaced by Tweets and YouTube commercials. It’s been happening gradually and consistently over the past few years, but the realization that Red Bull eschewed a TV broadcast (at least in the US) to go for YouTube exclusivity was a glimpse at a very-near future, and it was astounding.

Facebook and Twitter Additction OK

In high school and early years of college my Facebook addiction appeared to distract me from what many others thought I “should” be focusing on. As I got older my Facebook addiction led to a fascination with Twitter and other forms of social media. Suddenly I was studying social media and digital public relations strategies in school. Within three years my degree in public relations went from cool to awesome. I was taking innovative journalism classes tailored to social media strategies and search engine optimization and all things digital. Was this too good to be true? Can I really make a career out of this?

Photo: DirJournal.com

It turns out you can. And there is quite the demand for digital agencies and social media strategist as the digital revolution continues to grow according to The Detroit News article, Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs. There is real value in social and digital and more and more people are recognizing that. The job market is fierce and there is good news for college students. According to The Detroit News Article. “By 2018 a million new jobs expected to be created.”  I don’t know if fate or luck or destiny brought me to my current internship in the digital marketing field, but the future is looking nice for me and for the digital agency.

The Detroit News: Aging Nation, Technology Give Rise to Five Hot Jobs

How the Mac App Store Will Advance the Social Media Agenda

I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the app store that Apple has launched for Macs. It allows you to run your favorites iPhone apps right on your desktop. They have managed to take the brilliant “I always have something to entertain me” mentality of the iPhone, and put it where you want it most, on your computer, where most of us spend our days. Now I personally came up with idea months ago while sitting in my room wishing I could play Angry Birds on my Mac, but I guess that’s beside the point. With the new App store for the Mac you can now spend your free time playing Sudoku, or tweeting about this and that, or even planning your week’s outfits using the Dress Assistant App.

Now, apart from the frivolities offered by the numerous apps available, there is also excitement amongst social media enthusiasts everywhere. This new Apple creation offers the next significant advancement of the social media agenda. They now, or soon will, take all your favorite sites and social media pages, and make them stationary on your desktop. Once there they will come alive and turn your computer into a living organism; constantly updating and breathing all of the social media you love. It will become a friend, that tells you everything you want to know when you want to know it. You will not be able to live without it.

This preposition, from a marketing standpoint, offers advertisers an ideal scenario. Consider this:  You are sitting at your computer at work, it has been a long day, and you have settled into the work/surf-the-web part of your day. You have your work computer set up with all of your favorite pages, in app form, scattered across your desktop. Needing a break, you decide to sit back and watch all of these pages deliver to you any and all information you want to know. You relax as you find comfort in the latest funny tweet from Steve Martin , or a reassuring Facebook post from your mother, and you are once again at peace.

Now, as an advertiser, this presents you with an opportunity to create content for these apps and have them delivered to a curious, and captive audience at all times of the day, and at locations, (like at work for example) that you normally couldn’t reach them. Also, the Mac Apps offer another benefit; they offer the customizability, and specificity of iPhone apps without the limitations that the small phone has. I know, for me personally, I hate the ads on my phone for two reasons: first, they always show up at the most inopportune times, and second, they take up half of my screen. It is for these reasons, along with the fact that the screen is too small to do much meaningful web browsing, that I refuse to follow any of the links in the ads. This shouldn’t be nearly as much of a problem with the Mac Apps, just as long as they don’t make me sit through 20 second, full page, ads for a weight loss drug while I’m waiting for Angry Birds to load.

The Mac App store is truly a genius idea that will, like the apps on the iPhone, change the way we interact with the world, and the way the world interacts with us. It’s still in it’s infancy but I know that it will expand rapidly, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.

Facebook and Women’s Privacy

Trending on social bookmarking sites and blogs is the subject of Facebook and women’s privacy. Mashable published an article last week on some shocking statistics found by Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research. A study of over 1600 people was conducted regarding their social media usage. The company found that the majority of young women check Facebook first thing in the morning even before the bathroom and 42% of women feel it’s “okay” to post pictures of themselves drunk. With so much time being spent on the internet and the little effort to protect one’s own privacy, Facebook can ruin careers and reputations.

Last week I went to a networking lunch and met a very nice accounting student. She was friendly, intelligent and seemed like she’d be a great contact. I asked her name and told her I’d be looking her up online to connect later on. My first stop was Facebook. Her profile picture displayed ample cleavage, the page was littered with profanity and her photo albums included multiple pictures of alcohol and drugs… I went no further and decided not to befriend her online.

The Eco-Friendly Internship has put together a checklist to make sure your Facebook is not only clean, but also easily found. These tips are relevant to males too, but are geared especially towards young women.

The Facebook Clean Up Checklist

  1. Get rid of all alcohol and drug related content.
  2. Monitor pictures others are posting of you. Anything remotely questionable, delete.
  3. Defriend anyone you don’t know personally. The use of fake profiles to steal information is growing.
  4. Go through your applications and get rid of any you don’t need or trust.
  5. Edit your interests to things that will promote your talents and strengths instead of hurt you.
  6. Make sure all of your information is complete
  7. Communicate with others effectively and professionally: People, brands, pages.
  8. Keep notes and videos relevant and re-post worthy.
  9. Create a URL tag that matches your other social media profiles (http://facebook.com/yournamehere.)

Photo Credit: Flicker user Marisa beth

Facebook is about marketing yourself and connecting, so do your best to advertise yourself well because all of the information is going to be shared (no matter what Facebook says otherwise.) Employers will be looking at this information so target to them as well. You wouldn’t show up to an interview drunk or in a micro-mini, so don’t let those images be the first thing someone sees. Once you’ve made sure your content is clean, ensure that you are found easily. Facebook pages are no longer just to keep in touch with John Wewenttopromtogetheronce. It’s an effective marketing tool so that you can promote yourself without a single word leaving your lips. Remember: first impressions are crucial and YOUR first impression may happen online without you knowing.

Smallest Banner Ad EVER

We’ve all been pestered by flies. Annoying critters.

I’m sure some of us, amusingly, have thought about tying a string to them and carrying them around as pets.

However, a Germon book company, Eichborn, dediced to think beyond flies merely as annoyances or pets. They looked at them as advertising media.

“Eichborn’s “smallest commercial gimmick in the world” was simple: attach physical banner ads to actual flies.” You’re kidding? See for yourself @Mashable

Going Global

Having studied advertising and marketing for four years now, I’ve learned more theory then you could shake a stick at.  However, there is no substitute for real world experience. Some of you may be already familiar with the Bateman Competition, a national case study competition held by PRSSA every year. Each university has a team who acts as an “agency” to develop a public relations campaign for the selected client of the year. This gives students a chance to rack up real campaign experience for actual clients and receive some feedback on their efforts as well outside of a professional setting. The Spartan International Advertising Association over at Michigan State University is pioneering a brand new program, the first of its kind in the country, very similar to the Bateman Competition.

siaa

Partnering up with internationally renowned media mogul Mark Carassi, the SIAA is forming a “virtual international agency” to work with real clients on a global scale. Using contacts established by Carassi, the SIAA will work with big name players such as LG, Samsung, and Sony providing advertising consulting services in return for educational grants for MSU. Carassi got the idea from a similar program overseas and saw MSU’s student IAA chapter as the perfect fit. The SIAA is the first student chapter of the IAA in the country and for those of you interested in participating in this virtual agency can attend an informational meeting next Thursday, October 15th at 5:30 in room C213 in Wells Hall.

ECO-VERTISING!

More and more corporations are starting to combine their advertising efforts with the trend to go eco-friendly, a relationship known to some as eco-advertising or eco-vertising.  This relationship allows corporations to benefit from advertising about their attitude and interventions in regard to eco-friendly business. 

Despite the message the eco-friendly ads these corporations are sending  many are forgetting that the means through which they are sending them are far from eco-friendly.  Using mass print media such as magazines or newspapers, fliers or billboards all of which require paper, printing, transportation, and numerouse other un-natural and environmentally deterring resources to create.  The big question is, is it the profit margin of this new niche market they are trying to capitalize on or are they really hoping to make a difference? 

Although some corporations unfortunately might be making the choice for the wrong reasons there are many out there that are leading the way in eco-vertising. 

For starters Toyota known today for being one of the leaders in Hybrid cars took their eco-friendly outreach to a whole new level when introducing their 3rd generation Prius at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.  Instead of handing out glossy brochures inside large plastic bags to be carried around the show by as many people as they can get their hands on, they chose to continue to make positive changes by handing out paper cards in the shape of their new car with seeds embedded in them.  When placed in soil and given water and light the seeds in these cards provided beautiful flowers for their audience to remember them by all summer long.  Stepping out of the box and into an eco-friendly mindset Toyota not only lead the way with their eco-friendly car but also stood as one of the eco-vertising leaders at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show!

So how many other ways can a company eco-vertise? 

Curb, a natural media company based in London, UK has answered this question with their unique eco-vertising concepts.  Clean advertising and snow tagging are two out of the many I found interesting in their bag of tricks.

 eco-vertising_clean-ad4eco-vertising_snowtagging2

  • Clean advertising: laser cut stencils are put on surfaces like a pavement and the surface is then cleaned to let the message shine through the dirt and grime.
  • Snow tagging: company logos/messages are branded into the snow for a winter advertising.

Despite the out of the box thinking and unique eco-vertising techniques being developed there are other ways to go green which can start sooner than you think.  One niche that I personally have become a big fan of that is growing exponentially is the use of digital media as a platform for advertising.  It requires nothing but the power of technology that is already on the desktops and palms of your target audience.  Digital media eliminates the need for most (or at least some to start with) print material and provides mass outreach like never before, best of all this method of going green saves you some green at the same time!

Derek Mehraban (CEO, Ingenex Digital Marketing) continues to develop the digital media presence for individuals and businesses so they can eco-vertise to reach their audience.  Mehraban is not only focused on providing an eco-friendly service but like Toyota, he supports this green initiative through other parts of his company.  In Mehraban’s case it is not an eco-friendly pamphlet but a unique eco-friendly internship program that helps interns like myself reduce the carbon footprint on the world.  

Deepti Dewan Chowdhry

Advertisers Must Adapt to CGC

Consumer generated content (also known as user-generated content or consumer generated media) is any material created and uploaded to the Internet by non-media professionals.” [1] The earliest forms of CGC were discussion networks in the 1980s and in the late-1990s, rating sites became popular. Nowadays, CGC is flooding the internet with the popularity of websites like Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia. Consumer generated content consists of review sites, wikis, blogs, forums, social networking sites, content sharing sites, and more. With faster internet connections, people are now able to upload more files, pictures, and videos onto the internet.

This growing popularity of consumer generated content has caused good and bad consequences. Consumer generated content has allowed a larger information base on the web[2]. The consumer can now create content and share information and opinions. Websites like LinkedIn and Facebook make it easier to network with professionals and keep in touch with friends. However, despite the benefits of CGC, there are a few problems that are concerning to media professionals. A problem with CGC is its reliability. CGC can be created by anyone with an internet connection. Sources may not be credible and information may be biased2.

Consumer generated content, whether good or bad, has its effects on advertising. Advertising has become more interactive as opposed to one-way messages1. Advertisers must be careful, because there is less control over CGC. Therefore, ads are incorporated with little clutter, becoming just another opinion in the mix. Advertisers are still unsure how to go about CGC ads, but they will be forced to learn because not adapting to this change may bring on worse consequences1.

[1] “User Generated Content, Social Media, and Advertising—An Overview.” Interactive Advertising Bureau. Apr 2008. <http://www.iab.net/media/file/2008_ugc_platform.pdf>.

[2]Paul Chin. “The Value of User-Generated Content, Part 1.” Intranet Journal. Mar 2006. <http://www.intranetjournal.com/articles/200603/ij_03_07_06a.html>.

Ingenex Interns – Michigan State University’s Best

MSU Spartan Interns Rock!

MSU Spartan Interns Rock!

The digital marketing interns from Michigan State University have been awesome this summer 2008. Our first class for the Digital Marketing Internship at Ingenex Digital Marketing yielded some incredible results.

Since it was our first semester, we all learned together. But I can say that the class of Grant Heitkamp, Kevin Conlon and Lia Homeister has been wonderful.

Kevin Conlon is an excellent people person. His relationship building skills, and his can do attitude will make him a great addition to any team. He has helped us push forward some big projects this summer, and he has learned all about digital marketing on the way. I see Kevin as an account manager or sales executive. And anyone who can sell, and knows digital will go far in this business.

Grant Heitkamp has a wonderful grasp of digital marketing. If you view his blog and see what he’s posted to the eco-friendly internship blog, you know what I’m talking about. Grant came up with the name Social Harbor for our new Social Media Professional Management product we are launching. Grant also took on more work and spent some additional hours at Ingenex headquarters. You headhunters out there, I would grab this guy. He plans to go to Miami Ad School, but we’ll have to see about that.

Lia Homeister has been a quiet and talented addition to our team this summer. She gets things done. She has done a stellar job of completing every assignment, and she is smart. Her wonderful personality, combined with her work ethic will make her an asset to any agency that picks her up. Of course, they will have to wait another couple years. Lia is a Junior at Michigan State this coming year. I am impressed by her maturity. And I hope she sticks with Digital moving forward. She plans to study abroad in Korea in the fall and you can follow her travels on her blog.

The next class of eco-friendly interns has some big shoes to fill. I am sure that MSU will send another wonderful class. As for what I am looking for? People with curiosity. Smart people. Who want to understand and master the digital media. I know this is where the future of our business lies. And I want students who know this too, and want to be the best. I hope to help Grant, Kevin and Lia all land good jobs in the industry. I want to thank them for their hard work. They are stars!