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Friday, July 25, 2014

7/25/14 Week Recap: Minutes You Might Have Missed

      Happy Friday!  It’s bright and sunny over in Highland Park this morning, and there are many exciting things happening in the tech. world this week.  We will look into Amazon product reviews, Google’s new science project, Volkswagen’s new clean engine lineup, a preview of Apple’s new software, and to top it off, an analysis of the technology bubble.  How is all this innovation going to lead us in the future?  Are we in a bubble mania similar to the one in the late 90’s?

Spotlight on Amazon
Amazon’s new Fire Phone has failed to impress Yahoo and The New York Times who say that its features are impressive, yet they lack a step forward in efficiency or usefulness.  The phone’s personal assistant “Firefly” is basically a shazam for everything; it recognizes real-world objects through the camera lens, then find the item for sale on Amazon.  In terms of usability, it would be a great first-time smartphone for someone, but for those who have a history with smartphones, may want to hold off for later versions.
To read more about the Fire Phone’s features, click here

Technology for the Living 
Google has just embarked on a major health project where it will collect health data on 175 people to attempt to determine a basic outline of a perfectly healthy human.  It will use the data to then analyze health issues.  This is another Google X Project.  The hope for this project is to enable researchers to detect killers such as heart disease and cancer far earlier, pushing medicine more toward prevention rather than treatment of illness.
Check out all the details on the project here here

VW is Making Eco Moves
Volkswagen has announced it’s 2015 lineup this week that may very well be the future of the company.  While the popular models will remain the same, some of them are getting a new technology package.  The package includes a rear-view camera, a higher-end sound system, and build-in SiriusXM.  Most importantly, the diesel version of the Passat is getting a “clean diesel” engine.  Volkswagen claims that this engine will be able to travel 814 highway miles before needing a fill-up.
Check out all the new model features here

New Software from Apple
Apple’s new operating system for Macs, called OS X Yosemite, is now available for the public to test-drive. Yosemite offers a bold visual redesign, but one that still feels rooted in the familiar simplicity that Mac users have grown to love.  The result is a cleaner, more vibrant operating system that takes a few design cues from Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS.
Take a tour of the new software features here

Mistakes We Have Learned From
Tech activity has been hot in many ways that resemble the internet bubble 15 years ago.  Like a young adolescent who has seen the older sibling make all the mistakes, technology today is careful, practical and deliberate.  One big difference that separates now from then, is that venture capitalists are no longer throwing money at ideas.  Startups now need proof of profitability and a well thought out plan before receiving any investing.  Another major difference is how cloud computing has changed business.  Start-up costs are significantly less expensive.
Check out more details on the then-and-now here here

Keep an eye out for Google’s new health project, this is a technology innovation that will surely increase human quality of life.  And let’s hope that the growth in the tech industry as  whole has learned it’s lessons from past mistakes, and will continue to succeed.  Have a great weekend!

Until next time.

Samantha Hennessy
Digital Content Writer

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Insight on Facebook's News Feed Algorithm

      Many businesses have experienced a decrease in their social reach on Facebook within the past six months, and this is due to Facebook’s new algorithm for news feed.  In an effort to avoid overwhelming individuals with Facebook News Feed content that they believe people might skip anyways, Facebook introduced the News Feed Algorithm to deliver the right content to the right people. (This is why organic reach has declined so much for businesses within the past six months.)
      Facebook recognizes that each user has hundreds of connections to friends, family and businesses on Facebook who are all regularly sharing content, thus in an effort to avoid overwhelming individuals with Facebook News Feed content, they created a new algorithm.

1. How engagement really works:

  • By increasing your engagement on your Facebook Page, Facebook puts your posts out into the news feed more often. Then Facebook will monitor your posts to see if your fans wither:
    • LIKE
    • SHARE
    • CLICK a link 
  • If Facebook users are not doing one of these four actions, Facebook thinks your audience is not at all interested in your content.  If Facebook thinks your fans are not interested in your posts, they won’t push your posts out into the news feed and your reach declines.  Hence, REACH and ENGAGEMENT go hand in hand.  

2. Guarantee your fans will see your promotional posts:

  • By increasing engagement by creating posts that attract more engagement, you increase your chances of success when you promote and sell on Facebook.  
  • The more often you create posts that elicit action – more likes, comments, shares and clicks – you are strengthening your reach and showing up more often in the news feed. 

3. Create action-worthy content:

  • If engagement is dependent on LIKES, COMMENTS, SHARES and CLICKS, then the goal is to craft posts that will ensure these actions are happening.  

4. Post with consistent frequency:

  • Facebook keeps track of the people or pages a fan interacted with, and gives a small boost to visibility of the last fifty people/pages in the news feed.  
  • As a business page, it is ideal to be a part of those last fifty interactions in order to ensure your content gets seen.  

      Many businesses depend on Facebook news feed to get attention.  With the new algorithm, this has had a wide negative affect on a lot of businesses.  Facebook wanted to focus news feed around “high quality” content, and so now many businesses must re-strategize the content they post on Facebook. It’s important to understand how the new algorithm works, and these guidelines will help in crating the right content for the business page.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Brand Proposition

      Competitor advantage is the most highly valued trait in a brand as well as the hardest won.  To distinguish oneself from another entity is an inherent trait that all of humanity has, and when it comes to branding, not only must it tell apart from other brands, it must stand out. 
      A logo is a symbol that identifies.  A business identity is the key ingredient to gain competitor advantage; people see the symbol of a business before anything else.  The honesty of the company is learned through customer interaction, which will build onto competitor advantage.  So in order to take on your competitors, you must create your flag. 

      If your business has been around for some time, and you have been experiencing a ‘lag’ in sales or new clients, it might be time to think about updating your logo, and re-branding your business. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your logo:
  1. Does your logo look outdated?  
    • The most common cause for a logo spruce up, is that it is behind the times.  Some fonts, colors, shapes or color combinations can make your brand look outdated. 
  2. Is your company expanding?  
    • If your company is expanding geographically, or into new categories, then a logo re-design will support the message of evolving. 
  3. Is your logo timeless or iconic?  
    • Companies like Coca-Cola and Nike have changed their logo’s have changed little or not at all, and it’s because they are a very active company, and highly qualified in their market. 

A good logo is distinctive, practical, graphical and simple, and communicates the intended message.  A great logo boils down to two things: concept and execution. 

Here are a few examples of well designed logos.

Best Practices for Logo Design:
  • Design brief: Complete a questionnaire or interview with a designer to get the design brief. 
  •  Research: Conduct research on the industry itself, its history and competitors.  Problem solve first, design later.
  • Reference: Research logo designs that have been successful and take a look at current styles and trends that may relate to the design brief.
  • Sketch and conceptualize:  Develop the logo design around your research.  Sketching will help solidify what you are imagining. 
  • Reflection:  Allow some time for breaks.  This will help your ideas mature and allow you a fresh perspective. 

Logo Design Mistakes:
·         Do not let an amateur do your design
·         Do not use a designer who relies on trends
·         Do not use a designer who uses stock art
·         Do not use an overly complex design
·         Do not use a design that overly relies on color
·         Most importantly, do not use a design that copies others.  Remember, the goal is to stand out!
      A logo re-design is a great way to either create a fresh start for your brand, or to simply update it to
modern trends.  Either way, people will notice a new logo.  New and old customers will appreciate
the effort for a “fresh look” and they will curve their curiosity to check out what else is going on in
your business.  If business has been decreasing for your company, there is no need to lose hope,
your logo is your identity, and a strong identity always prevails.  

Samantha Hennessy
Digital Content Writer 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Twitter's New Organic Analytics

Social media has thrown us into a hurricane of updates whether it is Facebook changing its ads or Twitter getting a whole new layout.   Twitter came out with an update that will allow you to accurately measure your social media experience without paying for ads.

The Dashboard
Earlier this month, users were introduced to a major update on their dashboard that will allow them to fully understand their tweets performance.

New Features:

  • View how many times each of your tweets have been viewed on Android, iOS, or desktop
  • Hour-by-hour impression breakdown for the first day of the tweet
  • A running 28-day total of impressions and other engagement stats for all tweets
  • Export data for up to 3,200 tweets

You will be able to narrow in on what your most popular tweets are, when they are popular, and what you can do to leverage that content.

You can read more about the new Twitter Dashboard features on Marketing Land.

In addition to the newest updates, Twitter released insight research to help businesses leverage Twitter for their brands.

What They Discovered:

  • Brands that tweet 2-3 times a day may reach an audience size that is equal to 30% of their following
    • Consistency is the most important
    • Content is king, again and again! If it is interesting, people will retweet it and you will maximize your reach
  • Twitter users that participated in real-time trending conversations experienced higher engagement and larger reach. 
  • Mentioning influencer usernames with large volumes exposed Tweets to more engagement opportunities
  • Hashtags, especially high-volume, were a necessary for those building their following and reaching out to other users 
This may be the obvious advice that everyone tends to ignore, but it is coming straight from those at Twitter. So research your hashtags and network with your influencers to maximize your reach. You can read more about their research on the Twitter blog

Moving Forward
"Twitter Ads can help you amplify your messages and offerings — and we see that the most successful advertisers are those who first establish a strong organic presence on Twitter." --Buster Benson (@buster)

Now you have access to a slew of information regarding your tweets, but what is next? You can see when your tweets are most successful and what content resonates with your audience. Once that is determined, you can tailor it to the people that support you the most (your followers).

If you have a budget, you may want to look into promoting successful Tweets.

Interested in running a social media campaign for your business? Contact a Blue Archer profession or read about what we offer.

Barbara Cline
Online Content and Support Specialist

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Creating a Business Offer on Facebook


      Word of mouth is almost just as important of a tool for a marketer as is a social media platform.  One thing that people do trust is what other people have to say about a brand.  And one thing that never fails to excite people is a special offer.

      When a business creates a special offer, they are stimulating their customer base.  Customers are incentivized to take advantage of the good deal, and to do so quickly, for special offers are usually for a limited time.  This will often create a buzz around the business, as people are eager to keep their friends in touch with a special opportunity.

One great way to create an offer for your business is to post it through Facebook.  From a business page, the user is capable of creating an “offer” post.  Most common offers are discounts and promotions, and can be redeemed in store or online.  People can then claim it by liking your page, and then there friends will see as a story in their news feed.  Creating offers on Facebook is just as effective as people spreading the word via mouth.  Facebook has its own language that most people speak fluently in these days.

Here are some best practices for posting an offer on your Facebook page: 

Make discounts substantial:
  • Offers with free items (ex: BOGO) or with discounts of at least 20% off will typically reach more people than offers of lesser value.  
Use an engaging image: 
  • Photos of people using a product often perform better than photos of a product by itself, and both of these generally perform better than logos.  
  • Keep in mind that your Page’s profile picture will also show next to your offer in most places on Facebook. 
Set a reasonable expiration date:
  • Give people at least a few days to see and claim an offer, and allow time for your offer to be shared among friends on Facebook. 
Promote your offer: 
  • Create an ad for you offer, and pin pin your offer to the top of your page so people will notice it.  

      Special offers are ultimately meant for your business to expand it's reach.  It's a strategic way to increase viewership while also giving something back.  This is your chance to make your product seem irresistible!  And it's also a great way to hook new customers as well.  The idea of a special offer is to make your consumers feel smart for embarking on a good deal, and by promoting this via social media, your business is bound to experience a substantial increase in viewership volume.   

Samantha Hennessy
Digital Content Writer