Tag You’re It! Instagram’s New Feature

Yesterday, Instagram introduced “Photos of You” – a feature where users can tag other users (and brands) in their photos. Read about it here:

There will now be a Photos of You section on your profile. When someone adds you to a photo, you’ll receive a notification and the photo will appear in your Photos of You. Want to make sure you like the photo first? No problem: you can easily adjust your settings so nothing appears on your profile until you approve it. Before your Photos of You section is visible to other people, you’ll have until May 16th to play around and get used to the feature. You can find more information about how Photos of You works and how to control your visibility at help.instagram.com.

Worried about spam, your privacy or unflattering pictures in general? Selecting the option above allows you to review your tags before they appear in your profile. You can also block users to prevent them from tagging or following your account and also report inappropriate pictures.

While “Photos of You” is new to Instagram, it works much like the photo tagging feature on Facebook.

Here are some ways that it can be beneficial for businesses:

Hashtags: Tags can be used in conjunction with hashtags, which will give your business more exposure to other customers who are mentioning/tagging your brand.

Location: Tagging is also helpful when users add your business location to their photo. Talk about a brand booster!

Advertisements via endorsements in the future? This isn’t just a possibility for big brands or celebrities. For example, if your business runs a contest where Followers are tagged, they can allow that picture to be posted directly into their photostream where it can be seen by their followers.

- Encourage more fan engagement by curating the content. Brand engagement on Pinterest was recently considered to be a “fail” because 70% of brand engagement is found to be user-generated. Take that as a lesson to grow your brand by communicating and reciprocating.

Let us know what you think about Instagram’s new tagging feature on Facebook.

Showing Twitter Love this Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day. While you’re off being romantic today, don’t forget about showing some Twitter love! Here’s some inspiration for all you lovers out there:

Photo apps: Instagram is all the rage, but it’s not exactly Twitter-friendly… seeing that they’re owned by Facebook! Take a look at some alternatives including: Snapseed and Hipster.

Get visual: Looking to add some spice to your header image? Take a look at this gallery of creative photos to get some inspiration for your own profile.

Mind your manners: It’s not polite to spam your followers, constantly ask for new followers or ignore others who communicate with you. Apply the “Golden Rule and Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

Take it off Twitter: Have you ever thought of embedded Tweets? This is a great way to continue the conversation, cultivate relationships and build credibility. The best part is that you’re directing followers to your website and developing relevant content.

See the bigger picture: Twitter isn’t just for fun and you should think of it as another element in your overall marketing plan. This also means not just relying on Twitter (or social media for that matter) to grow your business but to use it for its strengths.

Are Your Business Blogs Too Boring? (Part 2)

Are you afraid that your business blogs are boring your customers? Here’s our companion post to help you find ways to keep your content fresh and interesting:

Engaging Content – Pictures, free downloads, and video content are excellent ways to break up content in your blog posts. These are all assets in your content arsenal that will help capture reader attention as well as showcase your company’s versatility. Different types of content in blog posts will help create highlights and give readers something new to look forward to.

Make the Most of Social – Integrating your social networking profiles is a great way to cross-promote and bring something new to your posts. Encourage readers to get social on Twitter by using certain hashtags or create excitement by inviting them to enter in a contest or giveaway. And it doesn’t have to be a big prize to capture someone’s attention. Free downloads are great but even a free hat or t shirt will get more attention than just a normal blog post. Remember that the point isn’t just to give away free stuff but to bring the relevancy back to your company and how to be useful to customers.

Connect With Your Readers – Asking for comments and feedback promotes engagement. Blogs are a platform for open communication and you want a place where readers can feel comfortable leaving feedback or asking questions. Connecting also means showing your personality – meaning solving problems, responding to reviews and expressing real, human emotions. Who knew that blogging can be such a freeing opportunity?

There are many different ways to spice up your blog posts and these are just a few ways to get started. This especially holds true for businesses like e-commerce or other industries that aren’t considered reader-friendly. Do you have any other tried and true tips for your business blog?

Yelp Can Help Your Small Business

YelpAre you feeling the Yelp love? As of January 2011, Yelp has received over 12 million unique visitors and that number is growing steadily every month. As a small business owner, it’s important to take charge of your Yelp profile and use it to your advantage.

Google Places is another prominent tool for local listings but many business owners feel that Yelp is more useful in helping them understand customers and find new clients. Because let’s face it, if you’re looking for a new hairdresser or reviews on an unfamiliar restaurant, you’re going to jump on Yelp way before Google Places.

Staking your claim: If your business is already on Yelp, it only takes a few minutes to officially claim it as your own. You’ll need to fill out some information and your profile will be verified by a call to your business phone number.
If you’re new to Yelp, creating a profile is just as easy and you’ll go through the same verification process.

Your information, please: Remember to check the accuracy of your business information and to fill as many information fields as possible. Your description and categories are also a great place to throw in those desired keywords that you want linked for your business. This is helpful for customers as well as SEO.

Don’t be afraid: So many businesses are afraid of Yelp because they fear bad reviews and “losing” customers. If you have products and services you can stand behind, there’s no need to worry. You can only GAIN customers and new business through another form of online exposure. Beauty Utopia in Eagle Rock is a great example of a business that thrives solely through word of mouth and Yelp reviews.
Sure, negative reviews are inevitable but it also gives you another perspective and way to understand your customers – where you wouldn’t even know that something is wrong if you’re not on Yelp. Take a look at our previous post on reputation management.

People talk about Facebook and Twitter as an extension of your online site but Yelp is another site that can’t be missed. Whereas other social media sites help with conveying your brand personality, Yelp boils down to the information and reviews that will really help you get more business.

Tools for Measuring Facebook Engagement and Growth

Measuring engagement and ROI can be tricky topics… but even more so when it comes to your Facebook Page. As of now, there is no definitive answer or “right” way to do it. Luckily, there are many tools and strategies that will help give you a better understanding of the social activity on your Facebook Page.

  1. Facebook Insights – I’m not a very big fan but it does the job. Facebook Insights give you an overview of’ ‘Like’ growth since your Page’s creation, fan demographics, and analytics per post. As Mari Smith puts it, impressions are based on the number of times your post is loaded on someone’s Facebook stream. This isn’t very helpful and also doesn’t take into account unique views.
  2. Google Analytics – If you prefer using Analytics, you can embed a tracking code onto a custom tab on your Facebook Page. Again, it might not be too helpful because it can’t be used to track activity on the Wall.
  3. Manually - Depending on how much time you have dedicated to a campaign, tracking engagement manually can be a cost-effective method.

In the end, Facebook measurements can fall short, so it’s important to avoid getting too caught up in numbers. How do you keep track of your Facebook Page growth?

And before I forget, here are some great (free) tools that you can use to track your social media marketing campaigns:

What Makes Good Causes Successful on Facebook

Two weeks ago, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes revealed his new project, Jumo. By the end of the year, Hughes hopes to unveil this social network for non-profits. This is in part of an effort to create a forum where people and non-profits can develop a long-term relationship. We’ve talked about how well the Salvation Army takes on social media so let’s take a look at how other good causes are doing on Facebook:

Animal Lovers for The Gentle Barn
I first learned about The Gentle Barn through Facebook. It is a local sanctuary in Santa Clarita, CA which houses and rehabilitates abused and abandoned animals. Even though it is a relatively small cause (compared to the Salvation Army or the Red Cross), the Barn has nearly over 25,000 fans from all over the country

Their Page has a prominent donate tab which encourages a direct action to donate. The Wall is used to post frequent updates about the Barn’s inhabitants and upcoming events. How interesting can animals really be? A post about new fluffy chickens got over 160 likes! The Gentle Barn fans really care about animals and like to stay engaged by learning about the animals’ conditions. I got the chance to pet an emu and feed horses on my visit. It is a worthy cause and Facebook fans  definitely help contribute to it.

TOMS Shoes Gives Back
Even though TOMS Shoes is a commercial product, they stand behind a commendable cause. As a consumer, you know that for every pair of TOMS shoes you buy, the company will give another pair to a child in need. This message is clearly displayed on their welcome tab on their Facebook Page. Their Page is well-organized and robust for fan engagement.Over 5000 fans have submitted pictures of their favorite TOMS shoes.

Sharing Your Good Causes
Remember to do research on the non-profits and causes that you donate to. Bono’s ONE foundation recently angered many as it was revealed that it only donated only 1% of funds raised! Like any other Page, good causes are successful on Facebook if they:

1) Have a clear message
2) Provide customers/fans with resources and content
3) Make it easy for fans to participate

What are some of your favorite causes?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1314543/Bonos-ONE-foundation-giving-tiny-percentage-funds-charity.html#ixzz10TNqfRuo

Improve Everwhere’s Mp3 Experiment # 7

Tomorrow night, Improv Everywhere is set to carryout their 7th Mp3 experiment!

It will all take place in Manhattan, NY and you can read more about it here. The goal is to have as many people as possible download an Mp3 file that contains instructions – everyone will listen to that file for the first time tomorrow night at 6PM. As the crowd gathers, hilarity will ensure! Last year, the crowd imitated popcorn, followed strangers, and participated in a friendly game of Bats vs. Hammers.

Take a look for yourself in the clip above. Does it remind you of one of your favorite online viral campaigns?

I think they should bring it to Los Angeles!

Webinar: How to Harness Internet Video Marketing

Emarketed video marketingIt’s Tuesday and we attended a webinar with Firm Media this morning about “how to harness internet video marketing to promote your business online”.

Video Marketing is Useful
The most important thing about video marketing is that it can help create conversions. How exactly does that work? It depends on the planning and execution you put into your videos. The goal is to create quality videos that stand out from the crowd and your competitors. On the webinar, we found out that 75% of customers would rather see a video in place of lengthy text on your website. Search engines also prefer videos if you optimize and use keywords in title tags and descriptions. If you think pictures add a personal touch, think of the impression that videos will make on your customers!

Different Types of Videos
There are a variety of videos that you can incorporate onto your website. Here are some common ones that were discussed:

  1. Testimonials
  2. Introducing your team
  3. Showcasing the user experience of your service/product.

Whether you own a restaurant or an online marketing firm, the benefits of video is that it helps you accomplish something that you CAN’T with copy. If you own a restaurant, a video can really show the ambiance and food that your business has to offer. If you own an online marketing firm, it can add a human touch to what some consider a “sterile and cold” business.

What are you waiting for?

There are times for informative videos and experimental viral videos. Today, the point is not to give your best “elevator pitch”. Don’t you think customers are tired of this? It’s a chance for you to convey emotion and show your human side. Your customers can get a chance to meet you before they actually make a connection. This could even be the deciding factor in their decision. People like to actually see and hear WHO it is that will be helping them.

The 5 P’s that Power Twitter

Emarketed Twitter social media marketing

Looking for some powerful ways to amp up your Twitter or social media campaign? There are many things to consider, so let’s focus on some P words that can help you on your way:

1) Participation – If you’re on Twitter (or any social site for that matter) you can’t expect success without participation. Communication consists of listening and responding, so don’t expect it just to be a one way street.

2) Packed – There’s nothing more inefficient than an inactive Twitter account. You can’t just sit back and expect things to happen. Your Tweets need to be packed with information, resources and tools. Sounds boring? Not really, this translates to: articles, blogs, infographics, etc. People are always looking and sharing helpful things.

3) Persistence
– Depending on your industry/business and the time you put into your Twitter account, it could be taking off slower than you expected. In the end, don’t give up. It pays off to be persistent and it can start with something as small as researching your competitors’ tactics.

4) Pleasant
– Real life is depressing as it is. No one likes a sad sack or creep on Twitter! Be personable and show that you’re a real person. Share something interesting you did over the weekend or a short anecdote.

5) Promotion
– This could be the most difficult P to tackle because it could backfire easily. What’s easier: promoting a new TV show or asking people to vote for a certain candidate? It all depends, so use this P sparingly. But then again, promoting doesn’t just have to relate to yourself. You can tweet about your favorite blogger or share a service that you’re happy about. Who knows, they might even reply or reciprocate. For example, the Salvation Army tweeted us some thanks after this post, which is pretty cool!

Hopefully, these tips will help for more than just your Twitter strategy. What about your blog or email campaigns? Feel free to share other P words!

What Bothers You About Facebook?

emarketed Facebook advertising
Whether you think that change is good or bad, it’s one thing for sure: inevitable. Facebook faces harsh criticisms as they are always changing features and updating their looks. Let’s take a look the pain points of Facebook:

Constant changes – People don’t always like change, especially when it comes to something that they’re familiar with. Facebook is always changing how Pages look and have recently put a size constraint on Facebook Page tabs and eliminated Boxes. They claim that the purpose of this is to enhance the user experience but how is it helpful for Pages to take things away?

Facebook Places also made its debut and people are up in arms over privacy issues, so learn how to disable it if you’re interested.

Lack of focus – Should I focus on gaining more Fans? Constantly updating my status? Adding new content? What’s the point of all this?! Many people find themselves asking these questions. It’s hard to find a balance in all this but you’ll eventually find the spot. To me, the most important aspect of a Facebook Page is to show your personality. An updated Page shows that you’re active and “social” so yes, it’s important to show your customers and fans that there is a real person behind your Page.

Irrelevancy and distractions – This article shows how Facebook Pages are becoming irrelevant in some ways. It claims that less people are visiting Pages. I think that well-maintained Pages will still get hits.
So, what are people doing on Facebook? I just noticed that I got a complimentary 25 credits for Facebook Games such as Resort World (nearly 2.5 million players) or Happy Island (nearly 9 million players). Time to spend that virtual money!

What are some other things that bother you about Facebook?