When in doubt, Google This

GoogleThis

Looking to understand more about social media marketing, search engine optimization, blogging, digital public relations, Google and more? We’ve got the inside scoop on Google This, the latest release from Derek Mehraban (our boss!) and Richard T. Cole. The book highlights all you need to know to create a successful digital marketing campaign on all social media platforms. Regardless of your job title, this book supplies the information and needed resources to help you reach your goals in the world of digital media.

Google This gives readers the information they need to navigate and create profitable results on the unclear paths of social media. Topics covered range from creating new content for blogs that already exist, or starting and developing your own to building communities of interest with consumers from other audiences. Google This is written in easy-to-understand language to help master the main social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

Google This helps you understand how social media is continuously changing and affecting marketing for your business–proven by the explained Google and Yahoo! search rankings in Google Analytics. Bottom line, Google This is a great resource for anyone looking to expand their efforts in digital marketing with positive and profitable results. We’ve got a copy on our desks for any quick digital marketing questions, get yours now too!

For great resources from the book, check out the Google This blog here: http://googlethisbook.tumblr.com/

A Refresher Course: Digital Marketing Basics

strategyAfter reading an article by Mashable “Does Your Business Need a Full-Time Social Media Team?”, I was once again reminded how complex and time consuming creating a digital marketing strategy can be. After all, there is an entire industry dedicated to the social media marketing of businesses and corporations. And as part of a digital marketing team, I thought it would be a good idea to reiterate the basics of developing a successful digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing strategies rely on incorporating traditional public relations principles with current social media trends. But to be successful, it’s important to find the right strategy. Specifically, this means researching your audience, choosing the appropriate social media, and creating measurable goals all in an effort to engage and build with your audience.

So when developing a digital marketing strategy for a class project, internship, or at a job, here are some key things to keep in mind:

Know your audience.

It’s simple, the more you know about your target audience, the better your strategy will be. However, knowing your audience means you must do a significant amount of research to fully understand your audience and their expectations.

Identify where your audience goes on the web for information, paying special attention to “pain points.” Pain points are problems or weaknesses apparent in the current marketing strategy. These pain points aren’t currently adequately (or perhaps not even at all) the audience’s needs and expectations. Think like your audience. Pain points can help you identify opportunities that allow you to better connect with the audience. Understanding how your audience currently interacts with the product or company will help you market to them more effectively.

Choose social media platforms based on audience and audience research.

It’s easy to become over zealous when adding social media into your strategy. At first, you might feel pressured to incorporate Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Vine, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and every other social media platforms into your strategy, but take a step back and really look at your research and audience. Ask yourself, “Is my audience active on Twitter?” “Do they really use Instagram?” Questions like these will help you focus on where your audience is actively participating on the web. From there, you can peruse and take notes on the types of content your audience most frequently interacts with.

The key to successfully using social media as part of your strategy is not to stretch your brand. It is always better to be sincerely engaged with your audience on one or two platforms than just to have a presence on seven or eight platforms. Successful social media management requires a fresh supply of relevant content and daily maintenance. Actively participate in your chosen social media outlets and don’t worry about the rest.

Set realistic, measurable goals.

It’s easy to become overly ambitious when setting your marketing strategy goals. It is extremely important to set goals that are attainable and measurable. So, how do you do that?

Firstly, understand that marketing strategies take time. Strategies do not work overnight, and receiving substantial feedback on your strategy often takes weeks and months. Develop an overarching goal to your strategy, but make sure to create smaller goals throughout your timeline in order to track your progress. Smaller, more refined goals will allow you to make adjustments to your strategy along the way.

Secondly, a marketing goal should be measurable. Measuring your strategy means being able to compare metrics according to a set timeframe.

Not an analyst? Don’t worry. There are hundreds of free online analytics tools available on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Facebook even has their own analytics tool, called Facebook Insights, and they’re getting better all the time. Facebook’s Insight tool now helps you benchmark your marketing strategy, see when your audience is online, and better visualize Page Likes growth through new graphs.

Like every company, every strategy is different. At the most basic level, digital marketing strategies strive for research-rich audience data, relevant and appropriate use of social media, and measurable and attainable goals to be successful.

Hope this is a helpful resource for your digital marketing endeavors!

Building Your Customer Network

Business action and conduct are purposive: to solve problems (customer problems) and provide services, of course in a profitable way.  The sense of mystery regarding the future has always been a bother and slight annoyance for everyone, especially businesses.  Nobody knows if customers will suddenly drop in the near future or if the economy will suddenly go into recession.  Now with the existence of digital communications (content, media, behavior, and expectations), digital marketing has been created.  People now use multiple devices (all digital) such as smartphones, PCs, tablets, mp3, etc. to communicate contents such as apps, files, photos, music, and videos.  People are pursuing a digital lifestyle these days, thus businesses can tap into the psychology of their clients through digital marketing.  The future can be predicted due to the ability of tracking consumer-making decisions.  Due to this growth of a digital lifestyle, people leave behind their digital footprint that businesses follow to track and predict their behavior.  In order to track statistics related to consumer behavior, there must be a relationship between customers and businesses.  Through digital marketing, not only does a relationship form, but so does an interdependency between enterprise and consumer develop.  Marketers must study the customer decision journey, which has become increasingly digital.  Once businesses can see how consumers include certain brands and ditch others, they can adjust their company’s image to the liking of their customers.

Photo by thetaxhaven: thetaxhaven.posterous.com

The relationship between a business and its customer is no longer solely about the transaction; now customers become attached to their favorite brands and they try to advocate for them because they know there will be something in it for them ultimately.  When customers develop emotional and rational attachments to a brand, they become bonded and advocate, support, and protect that brand.  They know that they can score special deals, free offers, and even money for promoting their favorite brand.  They are also aware that if they keep their brands going then prices will be kept low.  Companies are obviously dependent on their clients, so they try very hard to keep their customers and to constantly attract more people who are similar to their steadfast clients.  There is most definitely a correlation between customer behavior and digital marketing efforts such as fantastic websites, personalized email campaigns, visually appealing graphics, social networking, photos/videos that give outsiders an inside look on what goes on behind the scenes.  The more energy businesses put into digital marketing, the more consumers will get excited and respond to the attention.

You should interview, say, at least 30 of your clients and find out how they feel about your company and it’s services.  Customers want to help you improve so that the products they receive from you are better.  Discover the fallacies about your company from your clients and others and then try to correct them.

Accumulate publicly attainable data on search activity of your company’s field and traffic patterns.  Use standard Google Analytics, Universal Analytics, Crazy Egg, Lyris HQ Agency Edition, WebTrends, SiteCatalyst.  You should track the number of people who use your site, comparing the number of visitors on each page, the number of visits by different users to see whether the same people keep returning to your site or if lots of people only visit once or twice.  It is also important to track your visitors with factors such as the country, state, city they’re from and what pages they look at while visiting your site.  Discover the keywords or phrases people typed into search engines like Google or Mozilla Firefox.  If that doesn’t give you enough information, buy additional data.

Ultimately, brands must find where their customers have discussions in order to learn what they think of the brand’s products.  Answer your customers’ questions and help them get what they need.  Listen to their suggestions and adjust accordingly in order to gain more advocates of your brand.

-Ariana Sauber

 

Twitter vs. Instagram: A War on Pictures

By now most of you have heard of the ongoing feud between Instagram and Twitter, but incase you haven’t been keeping up I’ll break it down for you. It all started this spring:

April 
Facebook makes offer to purchase Instagram for $1 billion.

August
On the 14th the Office of Fair Trading approves the deal, while the Federal Trade Commission closes their investigation concerning the deal on the 22nd.

September
The deal between Instagram and Facebook officially closes on the 6th and Instagram surpasses Twitter in daily active mobile users.

November
Twitter, who attempted to purchase Instagram, announces they will be releasing their own range of photo filters in the coming months.

Now, just last week Instagram photos on Twitter were appearing oddly cropped and yesterday Instagram photos have completely disappeared, though, they can still be viewed through the URL of the original tweet. Obviously many social media users are starting to express their frustration, but it will be interesting to see how users respond in the coming months after Twitter releases their photo filters. Will people begin to choose one network over the other and how will the digital agency respond to the change?

What Does X Equal?

TEDxDetroit, a local variation of the popular TED conference and talks, took place this past October at the GEM Theatre in downtown Detroit. The day was full of great ideas and great presentations about the great things people are doing to make a difference in their community.

Take Tom Nardone, for example – he’s a pumpkin carving artist, (which is cool in and of itself), but he organized something called the “Mower Gang“, a group of people who get together to mow the grass at Detroit’s abandoned parks and repair some of the equipment, or Andy Diordosi. who saw a huge gap in Detroit’s public transit service. He wanted to fix it, so he founded the Detroit Bus Company to fill in where the SMART system and the People Mover might not reach.

The day was filled with a positive spirit, an overwhelming energy, and optimism for the future of Detroit and Michigan, and this video was made to capture that for you:

Ingenex Digital Marketing was on hand at the event volunteering to do all of the social media agency-type work, but this video was a sort-of collaborative effort. The music was courtesy of one of the day’s performing bands, I Love Lighting Bugs. Photos were courtesy of some fantastic event attendees – Erin O’Neill,  Brandon Ross, Carter Sherline, Derek Mehraban, Jay Singleton, and Robin Maghielse, and the event itself was possible thanks to a major part by Charlie Wolborg, the organizer of TEDxDetroit.

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.

Facebook and your job search.

Would you ever use a Facebook job search platform? For a while now its been rumored that Facebook is considering starting their own job search platform, but I doubt many people would use it. Especially when a professional networking site already exists, LinkedIn, and you can already search for jobs on there. Most people should keep their Facebook profile completely separated from their job search; unless, of course, you’re applying for a job at social media agency or digital marketing firm. If this is the case, keep it appropriate because many employers use Facebook to look up job candidates for reasons why they shouldn’t hire them.

If you think your Facebook profile is hurting your chances of being hired for a job you have two options. First option, you can censor what pictures you allow yourself to be tagged in and what friends can post on your wall through your privacy settings. On top of that, make sure you’re not posting anything inappropriate or too political; if you’re friends with your grandma on Facebook then you’re probably good. Second option, you can leave your profile the same and make it completely private. In your privacy settings profiles can be made searchable and unable to view by anyone who is not a “friend”.

LinkedIn is your best bet for professional networking, but take the precautions stated above. If a potential employer decides to search you online you don’t want them to see or read anything that could hinder your chances of being hired.

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.

We’re Eco Friendly and Going Green

Two years ago, I thought recycling was for scrubs and hippies. Then I moved to Ann Arbor and started school.  Between them both, I had no chance. Ann Arbor recently implemented sustainability framework containing sixteen goals to make the city more eco friendly, while the University of Michigan has an extremely active campaign to become an eco friendly and sustainable campus.

The university’s PlanetBlue campaign includes new solar powered, hybrid buses and vehicles and a recycling program in The Big House, which is the largest of any stadium in the country. President Mary Sue Coleman approved a $14 million dollar budget in 2011, to make the University of Michigan campus more sustainable and eco friendly by 2025.

A new academic minor in sustainability has been approved in the Program in the Environment Department. New ways to help the environment are being developed daily and more and more campus groups are banding together to make our campus and city more sustainable and eco friendly.

Although I’ve learned a lot of eco friendly habits from my peers, my short time as an Ingenex intern has really emphasized the importance of being diligent in changing some of my continuing ‘bad’ habits. I’ve learned multiple eco friendly tips, the importance of green roofing and how the continuing transition to digital marketing saves paper and resources. So next time you get ready to throw away a plastic water bottle or print a seventeen page article that you won’t read for class anyway, think about what you are doing to the environment. After all, Earth is the only home we have. Why not save it?

Chirpify to Expand Twitter

As Twitter quickly grows everyday, more and more opportunities slowly arise for Twitter to expand its domain. That is exactly what the latest startup, Chirpify, is doing by teaming up with PayPal. Chirpify will allow users to purchase anything from companies that also use Chirpify from their Twitter-enabled smartphones. In addition to shopping, users can transfer money to other users in a peer-to-peer transaction as long as both are using Chirpify. Beyond what is already done, Chirpify and future applications will only expand and demand more from social media marketing agencies as a necessity, not just an afterthought.

There are high hopes for Chirpify given the combination of a majority of cell phone sales being smartphones and people becoming more comfortable shopping through the internet. If Chirpify takes off, it would become the first major add-on to Twitter to expand it’s reaches as a social networking tool. With social networking sites quickly trying to expand their reaches by diversifying, it’s plausible they will eventually morph into near-identical entities. Seeing as how for example Facebook has its marketplace, which seems on par with Chirpify. If that were to happen, what would happen to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook? Would they possibly merge into one giant site? All we can do is wait and see.