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Social Media as a Marketing Vehicle

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It’s 2015 and everyone knows we need to be online in order to make the most of our marketing efforts. But many companies struggle to find ways to organically engage with their audience in a meaningful way. Here are a few methods you could use to generate buzz about your brand:

  • Influencers Drive Actions: Companies are seeking out influencers, or individuals with great knowledge and clout on a specific topic within a particular demographic, to adopt their products and let others know that they’re using this product and like it. Using influencers not only improves awareness, it also drives sales.
  • Connect With Your Audience: Take this case study, for example: “On November 15, 2013, Make-A-Wish created one of the largest and most elaborate staged event ever, which included participation from President Barack Obama and other government officials and law enforcement … As a result of its extraordinary word-of-mouth campaign, Make-A-Wish received 1.89 million social impressions, 555,697 #batkid hashtags, significant press coverage including a Buzzfeed article that generated 2.5 million hits within three days, more than 21,683 Instagram and Twitter photos posted by the end of the day, and, of course, increased donations.”
  • Interact With the Community: Engage with local schools by giving their journalism students a chance to write about your product, distribute samples to people that are likely to enjoy it, and host events to give your demographic an opportunity to interact with your brand.

It is always a challenge reaching your demographic, but the true magic of social media lies in its tendency to organically retain the attention of your customers. Ultimately, it is up to you to employ the proper strategies to engage your target audience and have them interact with your product.

Read the full article here in Entrepreneur

A Celebrity’s Guide to Rockstar Social Media

LE-AA429_SOCIAL_P_20151012122858When it comes to social media, nobody gets it like celebrities. They consistently put out content that caters to their fans, and reinforcing their brand and strengthening their relationship with their fans. Your business could benefit greatly from social media by learning from the stars and how they keep their followings engaged. Here are a few common practices you could employ to boost your company’s social media:

  • Acknowledge Your Customers: Taylor Swift is well known for getting back to her fans, so much so that several sites have appeared to compile her replies to her audience. Get your customers excited to interact with you by demonstrating that you care about their concerns online and replying to both positive and negative feedback.
  • Don’t Be Too Commercial: Though it may seem contradictory, promoting your brand through social media isn’t about telling them to buy your product, it’s about making a narrative as to why they should buy your product. Your Instagram followers prefer to see a “behind the scenes” sneak peak over a “buy now” banner.
  • Create a Narrative: When Beyonce was in the tabloids in regards to troubles in her marriage, she did not try to dispel the rumors by confronting the publications. Instead, she posted happy pictures with her husband Jay Z, and in time the rumors went away. Instead of arguing with bogus reviews, show your customers the quality of your food by showing quality photos of your food to demonstrate that the rumors are false.

All in all, good social media takes time and strategy. Developing quality content to engage your audience can be a challenge on its own, but ultimately will provide a rewarding opportunity to build an authentic connection that will foster lifelong relationships with your customers.

Read the full article here in The Wall Street Journal.

Social Skills: Valued Over Technical Ability?

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As technology and automation replace workers, new jobs are created in order to support the machines and adapt to the shift in the economy. But as robots begin to perform surgeries, do your accounting, and manufacture your goods, there will be a shift in skills demanded of workers. Here are a few key changes that can be expected in the coming years:

  • Education: While social skills are not emphasized in today’s curriculum, emphasizing team work can help improve the social skills necessary to survive in today’s job economy.
  • The Current State of Jobs: “Despite the emphasis on teaching computer science, learning math and science is not enough. Jobs that involve those skills but not social skills, like those held by bookkeepers, bank tellers and certain types of engineers, have performed worst in employment growth in recent years for all but the highest-paying jobs.”
  • Women Thriving in the Workplace: “Women seem to have taken particular advantage of the demand for social skills. The decline in routine jobs has hit women harder than men. Yet women have more successfully transitioned into collaborative jobs like managers, doctors and professors.”

At your own workplace, ensure that cooperation and teamwork is emphasized and nurtured. Though your job isn’t likely to be immediately threatened by incoming technology in the immediate future, it may be important to have a backup plan in case it is. This excerpt from the article best summarizes what jobs are under pressure, and which will come to thrive in the coming years: “Jobs that require both socializing and thinking, especially mathematically, have fared best in employment and pay, Mr. Deming found. They include those held by doctors and engineers. The jobs that require social skills but not math skills have also grown; lawyers and child-care workers are an example. The jobs that have been rapidly disappearing are those that require neither social nor math skills, like manual labor.”

Click here to read the full article in The New York Times.

Using the Latest Technology to Increase Productivity

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Part of maintaining a competitive edge in business is making sure you are keeping up to do with the latest technology. The right network and infrastructure can dramatically increase the efficiency of your employees and your company. That said, here are some infrastructure-enhancing technologies that can revolutionize the way your company does business:

  • High Performance Mobile Networks:With over half of all workers using their phones to access work-related content, it is important to have a solid phone and network that will be there when you need it.
  • Social Networking: Interact and target your audience using social media to drive sales and raise awareness for your brand.
  • Cloud Computing: Access your data anywhere with cloud computing technology. Increasing your productivity, data security, and efficiency, you should look into adopting software like Google Drive or Dropbox for your company.

Technology is core to keeping a business up to date. Adopting the technologies above will make for happier employees who are able to effectively do their job by empowering them to effectively manage their data and target your appropriate audience.

Here is the full article on Tech.co

Communicating With GIFs

04gif-web1-articleLargeGIF’s are quickly becoming a popular way for young people to communicate on mobile. .gif files, pronounced “jif,” are animated, soundless images that endlessly loop and allow users to communicate specific emotions that would otherwise go unexpressed. Seen as an edgy and witty way to express yourself, GIFs are quickly becoming the new native language of the digital world. Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to keep up with the next big thing in digital media:

  • Origin: They were created in 1987 by a programmer at Compusoft. Though omnipresent on desktops, their use has only recently invaded mobile devices.
  • Why They’re Used: GIFs are step up from emojis. They’re used to express feelings that a simple emoticon can’t, and millennials are loving it.
  • Who’s Making Money From It? Nobody is really making money from them quite yet, but companies are quickly seeing the value in this format. Companies like Buzzfeed uses them as a storytelling method, and Google recently responded to a question using a GIF in a press interview.
  • Where do I find Them? Tumblr has long been home to a huge number of GIFs, but plenty of other sites host them.

Knowing new forms of popular media is key to staying relevant in digital media. Learning to use these new formats paves the way for innovation, and helps you capture the interest of your customers. After all, if you aren’t connecting with your customers, your competition is.

3 Misconceptions About the Internet That Are Costing You Money

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There is no way your business can avoid using the internet, and understanding its users is key to gearing your product towards your audience. Many business owners tend to keep with tradition and will disregard all the business they’re missing online as they don’t see their customers as online shoppers. But the truth is that there is much to be gained from being online, and there are plenty of shoppers who can’t wait to have your product conveniently delivered to them.  Here are a few misconceptions that many companies have while they’re on the internet:

  • I Can Only Reach Young People: Though it’s often tech savvy millennials who are credited for owning the internet, people of all ages are using the internet now more than ever. While young people were quicker to adopt the internet, this simply isn’t the case anymore. Over 58% of seniors are online today!
  • It’s a Boys Club: Internet usage has reached gender parity, with 85% of men and 84% of women using the internet.
  • My Product is Too High End to be Sold Online: People who are online are much more likely to have attended college. Also, though the gap may have narrowed, there are still far more people on the internet who earn over $75,000 than people who earn below $30,000. This means any product will have plenty of potential customers online!

If you ignore the vast amount of customers waiting for you online, they will simply go to your competitors instead. Don’t let preconceived notions of what you think about the Internet hinder your business. Take advantage of what’s offered online by having a Search Engine Optimized (SEO) website, engaging your customers on social media, and generating sales via an e commerce suite on your website.

See the full article with graphs here.

The Price on Your Privacy

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What lengths would you go to in order to avoid having your information sold to a company? You consent to having your information used by Facebook, Hulu, and other web sites in order for them to optimize your experience. But what if a web site gets sold? Well your information now belongs to that new company and guess what: they can use it however they’d like! Many sites state that they will not sell your information to anyone. For example, Nest, an internet-connected thermostat company purchased by Google for $3.2 Billion currently states that your information is not for sale and does not sell its customer list to third person parties. However, how much can you trust the service once it gets bought?

The information being sold can be extremely valuable in targeting you as it is extremely personal. For example, a Texas-based dating company by the name of Truth.com had information on 42 million of its customers’ names, birth dates, sexual orientation, race, religion, criminal convictions, photos, videos, contact information and more. When the company was sold, the state of Texas had to intervene and stop it from using the data gathered from all of its customers as it had promised to protect customer privacy in the user agreement. Because of cases like this, companies are rushing to weaken the language protecting your privacy, and making it easier to be sold. Does a company selling your information bother you? If so, you should consider reading the Terms and agreements before you decide to give your information away.

Read the full story in The New York Times here.

The Key to Entrepreneurship: Patience and Discipline

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The New York Times’ Adam Bryant sat down with Jim Dolce, CEO of mobile security firm Lookout, to ask him about his experience in leadership, and what has led him to his success. As a seasoned entrepreneur, Dolce attributes his patience and company’s structure to his success. Here are a few key points from the interview:

  • On being patient in a fast paced environment: “It takes discipline … When you’re impatient, you attempt to get something done so that you can then, in serial fashion, go to the next thing. Instead, you have to go wide and work multiple issues at the same time and be patient on each of them.”
  • Accountability in Corporate Culture: “If we’re pushing down responsibility into the organization and empowering people to make decisions, then there has to be accountability. Otherwise, you’re just delivering the empowerment into a black hole.”
  • What He’s Learned From Being a Serial Entrepreneur: “When you’re working in a venture-funded start-up, time is of the essence. Investors get impatient. So the lesson there is that real breakthrough innovation is best achieved a step at a time. Technology is something that can be consumed in small bites. You don’t have to take a big bite all at once. “
  • What Advice Would You Give to Would-Be Entrepreneurs? “Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into and know that this is going to be hard and there’s going to be a lot of heavy lifting and there’s going to be a lot of disappointment.”

Becoming an entrepreneur involves a lot of hard work, stress, and uncertainty. However, there are fewer things more rewarding in life than having your own business succeed. Through patience and realistic expectations, discipline and accountability, you too can find success with your firm.

For the full article on The New York Times click here.

Properly Engaging Your Customers with Mobile Apps

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With apps being at the core of a consumer’s mobile experience, more companies are optimizing their apps for their consumers. Your company’s app experience is the difference between maintaining an active, happy userbase and an entire demographic labeling your firm as out of date and irrelevant. Ensure your app promotes your business with these simple tips:

  • Keep it Simple: A minimal interface is best, as is an interface that lets customers tailor their app experience to their needs.
  • Make it Fast: Ensure that your app’s code is clean and functional to increase load speeds. Just an extra second added to the load time can lose you 16% of your users.
  • Keep Content Useful: Don’t have an app for just the app’s sake. Whether it is a price comparison tool or a reference book for your product, ensure that your app provides utility for your consumer so they’ll have a reason to download it.

Having an app is a great way to maintain contact with your customers. It will also help you reach a demographic of tech savvy people that otherwise would have never interacted with your brand. By following these tips, you’ll ensure your app maintains a healthy relationship with its users, resulting in an increased number of engaged and loyal customers.

Read the full article here.

Apple’s 5 Big Announcements That Are Important For Your Business

Apple’s WWDC 2015 took place yesterday announcing all of its upcoming releases. How will their upcoming developments affect your business? Here are a few of their new developments which we believe will be important for you:
  1. El Capitan:This is the name of the newest version of Mac OSX. It will be a free upgrade for current Mac machines and boasts increased speeds and a more refined version of Spotlight.
  2. iOS9: Your iPhone’s new operating system will feature improvements to Siri and multitasking. It also introduces a new battery conservation mode. This should make buying a new iPhone 6 or 6+ more compelling.
  3. Apple Pay: Apple Pay has being introduced in the UK, expanding payment options for you and your business abroad.
  4. News: This is the name of the new app that features content based on your history and current context to bring you up to the minute  news that is relevant to you. News will be launching with free articles from The New York Times.
  5. Swift: Swift is Apple’s new open source programming language which will have a huge impact in the programming community.
Having your company adapt to these upcoming technologies shouldn’t be a hassle but it’s important to know what they are and how to utilize them. When it comes to adapting to the latest technology, the goal is to make it an invaluable tool, not an expensive hurdle to overcome.
Don’t fall behind, be in the know.

Apple WWDC 2015 Recap from Mashable