Hashtags Coming to Facebook

Starting Wednesday for select users, Facebook will be able to support hashtags. Facebook wants to start using hashtags to make searching and conversing easier. Many other social media sites, such as Instagram and Twitter, have working hashtags that can be clicked on the view more content related that topic. Many Facebook users already use hashtags, so making them work will just be the icing on top of the cake. Facebook users will be able to type in a hashtag into the search bar to see who else is talking about the same topic.

Photo via someecards
How will social media users feel about Facebook #hashtags?

The company hopes adding hashtags on Facebook will help show that a single post is actually part of a grander conversation. So now, when all your friends post the scores to the games and talk about that awesome touchdown, they can add a hashtag and discuss what just happened with others who used the same hashtag. When someone clicks on the hashtag, they will be taken to another page that has all relatable posts in a single news feed. Facebook stated that the hashtag capabilities will include searching for hashtags, clicking on hashtags that come from other services and writing posts directly from the hashtag feed.

Is Facebook becoming too much like Twitter? As of right now, Facebook users can post a status that is up to 63,206 characters, unlike Twitter that limits a post to 140 characters. Facebook will allow users to add more content and opinion to their hashtagged posts. Compared to the brief posts on Twitter, Facebook users will be able to delve into the topic at hand.

Your hashtags don’t work on Facebook? Don’t worry! It will take a few weeks for everyone’s hashtags to go into effect on the social media site.

Do you think useable hashtags on Facebook will go over well with social media users? Comment below and let us know what you think!

Art in the Park, Art in our Lives!

This past weekend, I had the great opportunity to help with the social media coverage of the premiere art fair in Tecumseh, MI called Art in the Park with other volunteers. This event was hosted by the Community Arts of Tecumseh in a two day event. Our team walked around the tents of the twenty-one different artists, took pictures of their work and spoke with them for a few minutes and disseminated the content on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Art_Tecumseh

I was amazed by the variety and the skills of these local artists. As I spoke with them about their art work, you could just sense their genuine love for what they do and how rewarding it was to hear compliments from the guests. Many of the artist drew their inspirations from random objects, the places they have lived and nature; others by organic shapes, simple doodles and everyday objects. Many of them have been putting their talented hands and minds to work for at least 10 years.

This was also an opportunity for children to see art on a very personal level in everyday objects. The art fair welcomed all kinds of art, such as paintings, mosaics, woodworks, jewelry, etc.

The variety of colors and designs were absolutely fantastic. Artists made art seem so simple and showed us that everyone should explore their inner artistic side. The main message of this experience for me is: “Art is about family and community”. It was beautiful to see the support from the community and the visitors appreciating the value and beauty of art.

Artwork

There is a saying: “Earth without art is eh”. – This proves to be awfully true as these artists showed how beautiful and personal the world can be through art. The pure process the artists developed to make their art works was admirable.

Among many of the artists I would like to highlight Anne Flora from Flora Works; she has a learning center in Tecumseh dedicated to fiber arts and tactile designs. Pattyg Designs makes gorgeous fused glass jewelry, I am certain you would find a perfect gift for your loved one here!

Karen Trigaux from KLT mosaics is inspired by the contemporary style. You will quickly fall in love quickly with her work. If you are looking for handbags, totes, paintings and much more check out Meant To Be Art.

Tents If you are into the artistic metal sculptures email Tim Stachlewitz from Metalcraft by Moose and if you enjoy woodworks you must look for River Raisin Woodworks. Kari Hybl Morningstar from Imagine That Originals creates custom art painted on rock, wood & more. You can reach her via email.

Although it is summer is approaching, for next winter, I strongly recommend checking the warm afghans, knit wears, scrubbies and more from Gooseberry Crafts. Looking for quality photography? Visit David Schamberger Photography for some impeccable creativity.

Thomas, 8; Josh 3 and Jake 7

Thomas, 8; Josh 3 and Jake 7

Looking for a new vase or mug? You must consider Mad Pottery Studio by Lindsay Mylek and Brent Douge. Their work is outstanding and extremely professional. Last but not least, meet Lu-c-Lu The Clown. Lucy Fundaro puts more than paint in your child’s face; she puts a smile as well.

What is Augmented Reality?

Is there such a thing as “too much” technology? A piece of technology that is getting stronger in the market is augmented reality. Some people describe this technology as “futuristic” and “mind-blowing”. In the next few years we might see a trend among the new digital marketing services. I am curious to hear what you think of it. Let’s start by defining the meaning of augmented reality.

According to Mashable: “Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data”. This emerging technology has tapped into professional sports and most recently it will be helping us complete tasks that we might be clueless.

by turkletom

by turkletom

Imagine if your sport ticket could provide you with a lot more information besides where you are sitting. In India, cricket fans can activate this technology using their tickets and they are able to receive live traffic updates around the stadium, parking information and much more.

In Italy, a tech firm Inglobe Technologies launched an app using augmented reality, giving you the perfect skills of a mechanic to fix your car. Depending on the seriousness of the issue you might be able to fix the care on your own with the help of this ingenious app. From what we have seen in the news, this emerging technology is embracing the convenience and practical aspects people might be looking for. Augment reality is becoming the new problem solving technology in the next few years.

I do believe that this technology could be the game changer in the digital business and very soon different businesses will be tapping into them to interact and engage their customers on a whole different level.

What about you? Where would you like to see augmented reality being used? Do you think people will welcome this emerging technology positively? Comment on this post below with your opinion.

 

Is Your Facebook Boss Approved?

When applying for jobs and landing interviews, a lot of the focus is put on perfecting a resume, deciding what to say, and dressing the part. What job seekers need to realize is that the interview goes outside of the office doors. Social media sites, like Facebook, are sources bosses can use to learn more about potential employees. Even after landing a job, Facebook profile pages may become a hazard if the boss and employees friend each other.

Getting and keeping a job is important, but expressing oneself freely through social media is important too. By changing Facebook settings, users can post and keep what they want on their Timeline without regretting it later.

About to post a status? Remember to click on the “Friends” bar next to the blue “Post” button and click on “Custom” to change the settings on who can and cannot view the status. Feel free to talk about how much fun the past weekend was, without putting the job on the line. Creating friend lists on Facebook can help organize contacts, and hide posts from them with ease. Instead of typing out each name of who the post needs to be hidden from, it will already be organized onto a list.

How to customize who can view a post

How to customize who can view a post

We cannot stop the inevitable, as friends with no filers post all those embarrassing pictures. Instead of untagging each photo, memories can be kept. There is the option to hide the photo from Timeline by clicking on the pencil in the upper right hand corner of the photo and clicking “Hide from Timeline”. However, using this option means that the photo is still tagged and can be viewed in the photos section.

How to remove a picture from Timeline

How to hide a picture on Timeline

Want to share photos with friends, but not colleagues? After posting an album, click the icon in the bottom right hand corner of that album and click on “Custom” to change who can view the photos in that entire album.

How to customize albums

How to customize albums

Want to change the settings in Timeline? Users have the option to customize Timeline setting by clicking the gear icon in the bottom right hand corner of the cover photo, and clicking “Timeline Settings”. Users can change who can add and view content on the Timeline.

Facebook_timelinesettings

How to customize Timeline settings

Being respected and presentable in the work space is very important, but so is keeping up a social life. Changing Facebook settings can help users customize who can see and view content, without losing the freedom of using social media. So, apply for that dream job…once your Facebook is boss approved!

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

 

Branding in Six Seconds or Less

Recently Twitter introduced us to Vine — a mobile app that allows users to share simple and fun looping videos with a maximum length of six seconds (think of it as the Instagram of short videos). It didn’t take long for brands to become part of the conversation, but will these GIF-like videos stick around or be a quickly fading social media trend.

Photo By Esther Vargas

Photo By Esther Vargas

Many brands have been active on Twitter and have developed successful strategies for effectiveness. Similarly, a strategy must be made for Vine, determining the personality and brand voice to be used. Here are just a few examples of how digital advertisers have been successful on Vine:

Teasers
When promoting a movie or a new product launch, the six second time limit works to its advantage, only capturing a few brief moments. Rolling Stones Magazine does an awesome job engaging with their audience to guess who is featured on the cover. For its April issue, Rolling Stones teased the cover, with cigarettes covering the mystery celebrity. 

Have no idea who it could be? Don’t worry, Rolling Stones released a Vine the following day uncovering none other than Mad Men’s Jon Hamm. 

Highlight Product
Vine’s short time limit means it’s necessary to show the product or brand throughout the video. This short clip from Malibu Rum shows you don’t have to make an elaborate video to tell a story and get the point across.

Special Offers
Flashing a quick coupon in a Vine is a great way to gain attention for the account and increase views, but it also promotes the brand. Peanut Butter & Co. uses this particular Vine to showcase their coupons. The clip stays consistent with the brand personality and is relevant to consumers.

Informing
Lowe’s videos offer useful home improvement tips, in only six seconds! Their current tagline of “Never Stop Improving” is supported with these playful clips that show you how to make tiny adjustments to make your projects that much easier. #LowesFixInSix is a great example of using social media for branding.

Contests/User Generated Content
Brands can gain a lot of positive attention from user generated content, and Vine is a perfect outlet for this. The Cavendish Hotel held the first vine-only contest to see who could make the most romantic #ValentineVine. The winner won a free night in the hotel, complete with drinks and dinner.

 

Brands have to be cautious to not fall into the trap of trying to include too much content in a brief six seconds. Vine is still a relatively new marketing tactic for brands, but there is potential if done correctly. We will have to wait and see if Twitter’s Vine will bear fruit for digital advertisers.
 

— By Rachel Keeton

Social Media: A Love-and-Hate Relationship

You probably have heard this phrase before: “Before you love anyone, you need to love yourself.” Guess what? This applies to social media, too!

Let me explain. Social media can be very chaotic, frustrating and overwhelming for many business that are trying to implement a marketing plan, but let’s be honest here–love or hate it, social media is not going anywhere. On the contrary, it’s growing on a global level. This dynamic segment in the advertising industry is always polishing and innovating existing technology. Changes are constantly happening, and they’re happening fast!

Photo by Dean Meyers

Photo by Dean Meyers

What are you going to do? Give up? Deny it? We most certainly hope not!

The challenge for everyone is to stay on top of everything that is happening in social media. Although changes can be tough, they are inevitable. How we embrace these changes is what matters, but many times you cannot do it alone. You might feel pressured to be present in all social networks and platforms, but the good news is you don’t have to be, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

A digital marketing agency can help your business develop a strategic and effective presence online. Because no two businesses are alike, we want to create a plan that will achieve your unique goals. We will tap into your strengths and fix your weaknesses. The last thing we want you to do is waste your time and resources by investing in a marketing strategy that will not support your objectives.

Our strategic plan is based on four key elements:

  1. Our clients’ goals
  2. Our clients’ needs
  3. Our clients’ culture
  4. Our clients’ values

If we cannot create a balance of these elements, we are not doing it right. Like relationships, we need to listen in order to have a clear understanding about each other. We hope that you will allow us to help you create a love relationship with social media. Let our team of experts guide you through this dynamic industry and help you find the best way to love social media without forgetting who you are as a company.

–João Mattos

Google I/O 2013

This past week, Google wrapped up its annual developers’ conference in San Francisco, Calif., giving us a look into the future of one of the most powerful companies. Google I/O features highly technical, in-depth sessions geared towards developers. Over 6000 developers on-site, 460 I/O Extended sites in 90 countries and millions around the world tuned in to the live-stream  indicating just how popular Google is and the excitement surrounding their big announcements. The Keynote speech offers a look into product and platform innovations Google has planned for the upcoming year.

Here’s a quick summary of what you missed at the 2013 Keynote:

Google+
Google+ is being updated with 41 new features. The most significant being the content feed. The new design was unveiled, and appears to look like a combination of the Facebook timeline and Pinterest. This new interface allows for easy content exploration and places an emphasis on images and links. Each photo flips over to reveal more information about the subject. The new Google+ is hyper-intelligent, with its automated hashtags, letting you find relevant content that much easier. A significant update to Google+ is the new automatic photo enhancement feature and the new highlight view for albums. Based on a variety of factors, Google can stop duplicate images from appearing, emphasize photos with friends or know landmarks, and even filter out blurry pictures. Google+ Hangouts also got an upgrade, streamlining your online conversations to any device or platform.

Android
Google announced 900 million Android activations and 48 billion app downloads to date. They will be releasing a stock Android Galaxy S4, rather than the Samsung interface. The phone will be available for purchase in the Google Play store on June 26, but it won’t come cheap — the price is set at a steep $649.

Google Play
An obvious update to Google Play is the store’s visual appearance, but behind the scenes there have also been improvements. You can now get suggestions based on your personalized preferences, chosen by Google. In addition, Google introduced Google Play for Education, a store specifically for educational institutions. Google Play Games has added the ability for cloud gaming, so if you stop playing on one device, you can seamlessly pick back up on another device. Lastly, Google Play Music is offering a new $9.99 monthly streaming service, similar to Spotify and Rdio. Google Play Music All Access is radio without rules. Google is offering a free monthly trial, and if you sign up before June 8th, you can use the service for only $7.99 a month.

Maps
Google Maps continues to stay one step ahead of the competition, and this big update will ensure they do just that. Maps has been redesigned to be fully interactive and tailored to you. The service gets better the more you use it as it adapts to your preferences and is able to suggest restaurants you may enjoy or even the fastest route home. With the integration between Maps and Google Earth, you will be able to explore cities in 3D and view “3D Photo Tours” for a virtual sightseeing experience. Google added several new types transportation, including a flight search, they improved public transit information significantly and are including live traffic reports. You will also have the ability to compare different modes of transportation to see which one is best for you. To be one of the first to try to new Google Maps, you have to request an invite.

Glass
Glass has the potential to be “the next big thing” in technology. Although not part of the keynote, Google Glass was a big topic for day 2 of the conference and stole the show. During the I/O, Official apps for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Evernote were debuted. Glass sessions focused on product development and building “glassware.” There was also a Q&A period that covered privacy implications and government restrictions. Google Glass is most likely the first step on a long journey of wearable technology. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s received by the general public when it becomes available at the end of the year.

If you would like to view the Keynote in its entirety, it’s available on YouTube (warning: it’s three and half hours long). Google never ceases to impress the world with their advances in technology. We’ll be looking forward to seeing what Google comes up with next.

 —Rachel Keeton

 

Use Pinterest to Market for Your Company

Pinterest is a site that has everything from grandma’s old-fashioned recipes to an array of wedding gowns. People use the Pinterest application to search for products and processes that they wish to use in the future to enhance their life. Companies should use Pinterest to market their products because consumers are already searching for products.

Photo via Pinterest

Companies such as Anthropologie, Etsy, Home Depot, and Target are Pinterest users. They post their product prices and step-by-step ways to use them. These companies chat, connect, visualize, and share their products daily to over 25 million users, many of whom are young females who are well-educated, have disposable income, and are in constant search for new products.

Consumers are coming to the company using Pinterest instead of the typical marketing route where companies seek out consumers. If a company has a product that Pinterest users are looking for they will “repin” (save) the product onto their categorized board, and now all of their followers will see the product too. Products can gain a huge reach when repinned. Companies can even continue to re-pin their original post so frequency can increase.

Pins are very organized. Viewers just click on the pin to increase the image size. If they believe the product is something they would want to use, they can click on the image again which can lead right to the company’s website. This can make it easy for consumers to click, learn, and order products instantly. Even if consumers don’t want to make a purchase at that moment, they can save your product on their boards and go back to them later.

Photo credit: molliesu!

Consumers today thrive on convenience. The ability to learn about and buy something without leaving their home is ideal, and Pinterest provides this conveniency. Consumers are always on the go, so with the Pinterest mobile app they can search for the products they need while they are already out, and stop by the establishment to buy it.

Companies can also use Pinterest to discover who their target audience actually is. By following people who re-pin their products, companies can view that users Pinterest boards. Deeper views onto boards allow companies to see what goals and needs their target audience has and what products they are seeking to accomplish this. Companies also have the ability to interact with their consumers. They can pin information about contests, sweepstakes, giveaways, coupons, sales information, and answer questions so they can be more connected with their target audiences.

Have a product or idea you want to share? Use Pinterest to market your product. This easy to use, easy to share, convenient website can help a company gain the reach and frequency to their target audience easily and efficiently.

Get Your Commute On Ann Arbor

May in Ann Arbor means, the Commuter Challenge, and the Interns at Ingenex, a Michigan Social Media Agency, say, Game On!  May is National Bike Month, to celebrate this, GetDownTown.org organizes the Commuter Challenge every year where local businesses compete to see which business can engage the most commuters. You can commute by bus, carpool, bike, walking, or even motorcycle.  Commuters  only have to pledge to commute one day in the month of May to be eligible to sign up.

WP_20130418 5

Photo Credit: Elena Nadtochiy

Studies show that the healthiest people are those that commute to work; they are healthier than even those that commit themselves to the gym 3 times a week.  Commuting is also better for the environment, and cost effective because you don’t have to pay for gas (or as much if you are a motorcycle) or worry about parking with all modes except motorcycle.

Are you a local business in Ann Arbor? If so, ask your employer to get involved, even if you don’t have 100% participation, you will still inspire colleagues and maybe they will sign up next year.