Writer, Christian, SEO/Social Media Marketer, Book Reviewer, Deaf and Loud.

Tag Archives: advertising

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Image Credits: Slice Communications 

Hey guys! Happy Independence Day weekend! For those of you who are not from the US, well, happy weekend. :).

Today I am going to take a short break from the 30 day writing challenge to write about Social Media Day Philadelphia. I attended this convention held at the Franklin Institute on Thursday, June 30th with 3 of my co-workers from Penn Medicine. All of them work as web content coordinators while I work as as a Web./Social Media Monitoring Specialist. Together, we work on creating engaging and informative content for the Penn Medicine website, newsletters, social media pages, and more.

This is actually the first social media convention I’ve ever been to, so it’s safe to say I was pretty pumped about having the opportunity to attend. I made a few rookie mistakes including being one of the most over-dressed people there (at least I was dressed to impress, right?), not bringing my laptop (it wouldn’t have helped much as it needs a new battery though), and not having an extra power bank or means of charging my phone on-hand (I live tweeted a majority of the convention, so it didn’t take long for my battery to shoot down to 0%. Despite these rookie mistakes, I still had a really good time and learned a lot. I think my first social media convention was definitely a success.

Here’s a breakdown of my day:

9:00am: Slice Communications gave a welcoming speech. This was a great way to kick things off. I always loved Slice Communications ever since my former coworker and friend introduced me to them about a year ago. They are doing so many great things in the world of digital marketing. They were great hosts for the event. Cassandra Bailey, President and CEO, has so much energy and is so well organized for the event. I really love her bright yellow dress, too. I don’t even like the color yellow, but it fits her bright personality and shows that she is from Slice (Slice’s logo is yellow) which I think is great.

9:10am: Erin Dress, Brand Marketing Specialist and CPG at Twitter delivers opening keynote. I was so excited to hear Erin Dress speak, mainly because she is from Twitter. I definitely agreed with her points on how Twitter is where people go to gain information and that it’s one of the most trustworthy social networks (I think LinkedIn is more so though, but Twitter is broader).The facts about Twitter’s advertising vs. Facebook’s intrigued me. I never realized that Facebook targets users based on demographics while Twitter targets more specific interests. In general, Twitter’s advertising options are more focused. Perhaps this is why the CPC is generally much higher for Twitter ads than they are for Facebook ads. I also agreed that your brand’s message needs to be personalized. The example of using emojis and how Dove created one with curly hair was amazing. I always liked emojis,but I realize they can be tricky to incorporate into marketing. The idea of creating a whole new emoji strictly for your brand is brilliant.

10:00am: Break. During this first break I spotted Nick Walz! Nick and I worked together for a few years at WebiMax. He left in March of 2015 while I left in April of 2016. We talk to each other on a semi-frequent basis, but we haven’t actually seen each other since his last day at WebiMax. It was so nice to see him and catch up on everything. Nick is pretty awesome and a bit of a social media guru. He taught me pretty much everything I know about social media. I really enjoyed working with him in the past and being mentored by him and I’m sure he’s doing great things as a media strategist for Harmelin Media now. Remember his name, Philly.

10:10am: My co-workers and I decided to attend the Healthcare Digital Darwinism panel since we all work in Healthcare (obvious choice). This panel made me feel really good about myself and the business I represent because I felt we were doing many things right. Many of the speakers stressed the importance of responding to messages on Facebook and other platforms, especially if they were negative, within 20 minutes or less and to have a social media emergency response plan in effect. We do have an emergency response ready to go when needed and always answer ASAP. I liked how some of the speakers mentioned using Facebook messenger to talk directly with users/patients. I know a lot of brands shy away from that direct interaction, but I think in the healthcare industry, it’s really important. I enjoyed this panel overall. My only criticisms are that a lot of the points made were things I already knew and not all of the speakers worked much with social media, which considering it’s social media day, was weird to me.

10:50AM: Break. My co-workers knew some of the speakers and wanted to catch up with them after the panel.I think it was Daniel Moise, Social Media Strategist at Virtua Health, that we spoke to. He seemed very smart and friendly.

10:55am: CMO Roundtable. Choosing to attend this panel was not an easy decision. We were torn between this and the other option, Social is the New Digital Currency, but in the end my coworkers and I decided to go with the CMO Roundtable since we don’t have a CMO (it became a little bit of an inside joke for us). Plus, we were already in the room that this chat was being held at and after spending our whole break talking with the speakers from the healthcare panel, we were cutting it close on time. The CMO Roundtable was actually pretty good. The CMOs expressed the importance of using Facebook to show a fun side of their brand and the importance of being authentic on social media. I loved how they said that if something isn’t working in your social strategy, you need to change it quickly. I spent nearly 3 years working for an agency and sometimes this could be a tough decision to make when trying something new. Do you keep waiting it out, or do you change it before it’s too late? Hearing their advice to change it before it’s too late was a bit of a game changer for me and will certainly affect how I view future campaign when experimenting with new strategies. Of all of the CMO’s speaking for this panel, Carolina Lobo was by far my favorite. She was very polished and professional, but completely real and hilarious when you least expected her to be so. “Authenticity” was one of the words of the day for Social Media Day Philadelphia 2016, 2nd only to “influencer”, but Carolina was one of the few who not only spoke about the importance of being authentic, but she actually WAS authentic. Quote Of The Day: “No one gives a crap about the awards the CMOs win.” – Carolina Lobo. CMO’s, take note.

11:35am: Break. My coworkers knew the speaker Drew Diskin, CMO of WizeHive, so they wanted to speak with him for a few minutes. I never met Drew, let alone worked with him in the past, but I was vaguely familiar with WizeHive so I was curious to see what he had to say. Drew is a very bold and confident man. He didn’t talk much about how work with WizeHive, but gave us a little bit of leadership advice from the perspective of a CMO.

11:40am: Building a Data-Driven Company: Lessons From The Front Line. My coworkers and I chose to attend this talk over hearing the guy from Comcast talk about his work because we wanted to hear things that could benefit or effect us, not just hear others success stories. This talk was given by Robert J. Moore from RJ Metrics. I have been following them online for awhile and was familiar with the brand. I knew that the people behind the brand were very smart and always produced great content. The downside? I work as a content creator. I’m more for the writing and creative side of things. Data and numbers and statistics make my head spin. I didn’t really process or understand anything Robert said during the first half of his presentation. However, during part 2 I was extremely engaged. In part 2 he explained the great RJ Metrics logo fail story. I love how he saw this as an opportunity to further explore his own company, his audience, and do what RJ Metrics does best: use data to analyze and pull it all together. They did a great job of honing up to their mistake and more than that, they took pride in it. They wrote blog posts and talked with the media about their logo fail. They never once tried to run away or hide from it. They embraced it. They became masters at turning a negative into a positive. The results? RJ Metrics gained trust and authenticity within their audience. I think everyone in some shape or form can kind of relate to this honest mistake. It is a funny story that made RJ Metrics more memorable. In the end, this mistake worked wonders for them.

12:20pm: (The Most Philadelphian) Lunch Time! The organizers of the event were nice enough to provide lunch for everyone. It was a grab and go boxed lunch with plenty of varieties of sandwiches for everyone to choose from. I grabbed a turkey one and my coworkers and I headed to the cafeteria to eat. When we opened our boxes we were surprised by how much food they gave us. We all had a hoagie/sandwich/or wrap, a bag of Herr’s (Philadelphia company) chips, a small container of fruit salad, a Tastykake (another Philadelphia company), and a soft pretzel (Philadelphian snack). We joked that it felt like being back in elementary school. Once we were all finished eating we headed to the giant heart and the brain exhibits to get a few pictures for the Heart and Vascular and Neuroscience service lines and to just kind of play around with some things.

1:30 Flash Talk With Cecily Kellogg of Double Good Media. The flash talk with Cecily Kellogg of Double Good Media was probably my most favorite talk of the day. Cecily may not have been a keynote speaker and she may have only had 15 minutes, but those 15 minutes were powerful. Even though she is a hardcore liberal and I’m a hardcore conservative and personally, we probably don’t have all that much in common, I still felt deeply connected to her and could relate. She talked about the mistakes she made in the past as a mommy blogger and her regrets over sharing her every thought and how she branded herself in all of the wrong ways. This had some very dire consequences on herself, her family, and her reputation. In the end, Cecily decided her best option was to quit being a mommy blogger and start over from scratch. Cecily is the pure definition of what it means to be authentic. She is more careful about how she presents herself online now, but she still has the same attitude and personality. When she speaks, you know she’s the real deal. I’ve always been pretty open online and had an “everything goes” mindset like Cecily. Her talk inspired me to be a little more careful about what I post online and to think before posting.

1:45pm: Flash  Talk With Jen Leary of Red Paw Emergency Relief Team. The flash talk with Jen Leary from the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team was another one of my favorite talks. Jen isn’t known as being a social media guru and she doesn’t claim to be one — she is a firefighter to the core and I really appreciated her honesty. There are many people that will brag about being a social media guru especially at these kinds of events, so it’s refreshing to hear stories like this coming from people who flat out admit “I had no idea what I was doing and I’m still working to figure things out.” Jen seems to be doing a great job figuring it all out! It was inspiring to hear about how much money she and her team were able to raise through Facebook. I’m looking into doing some fundraising on my own in the near future to support Aid the Silent, so this gave me a lot of hope. I also totally agree with her points on the power of a good image and working a little to play on people’s sympathy especially when it comes time to ask for donations. Images can and often are more effective than text alone.

2:00pm:Flash Talk With Teresa Lopez from Seer Interactive: My phone was completely dead by this point so I couldn’t live tweet and that made me inherently sad because there was SO MUCH good information here. I have become OBSESSED with Pinterest marketing over the last 6 months because I know that it holds many SEO benefits and I love the advertising options. I was excited about this one too because I have heard so much about Seer Interactive and know quite a few very talented individuals who have or currently do work for Seer and do an amazing job. I already knew about the importance of performing keyword research and adding keywords into Pinterest board titles and descriptions. I didn’t realize how little weight the actual pins have on SEO though. I’ll definitely spend less time on the individual pins and more time on the boards and the actual account optimizations moving forward.

2:15pm: Flash Talk With Susan Poulton from The Franklin Institute. Susan Poulton has a bit of sass that comes with her, which representing the Franklin Institute, was a little unexpected. In her words, she’s “definitely shaking things up at The Franklin Institute”, and with her language and word choice, it’s easy to see why. I liked her though. I liked hearing about how her mission goes beyond just getting people to buy tickets to the museum. One thing that really stood out as being interesting to me was how she is working with her team to market The Franklin Institute globally. I always saw it as being a “Philadelphia” thing and if I were in her position I would probably market it locally, but now that I’m thinking about it, her strategy makes perfect sense. There are many tourists that visit Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute from all over the country that she needs to target and reach, not to mention the general science nerds interested in the science content. Susan made me realize the importance of marketing in a way that can reach everyone, not just those local to your business.

2:45pm: Feature Talk with Pam Didner: How to Maximize The Synergy of Your Social Media & Content Marketing Efforts. My coworkers and I chose this talk with Pam Didner over the one given by/about Curalate, because once again, we wanted to hear about general social media topics, not people’s personal success stories or what they do at their jobs. I had a bit of trouble hearing Pam due to her accent, but when I did hear her, I enjoyed her presentation. She doesn’t look like it at first glance, but she is actually really funny which made her talk even better. I especially enjoyed the templates she provided on how to identify your audience vs. your target user persona and what the difference is. Your audience is general but the persona is more specific, and while the audience may help you to spread your message, the persona is really the one who will follow your brand, use your services, or buy your products. This is why it’s so important not only to identify your audience, but the persona you want to target as well.

3:30pm: What’s Next in Social Media Panel. I got nothing from this panel. It went off topic a lot and was really hard to follow. The moderator asked a question at one point about ROI and someone’s answer was “What’s the ROI of your mom?” My jaw almost hit the floor. I know the tone of the convention was all lighthearted and funny, but that seemed like a little much to me. Judging by the rest of the audience’s reactions, no one else was feeling this panel too much, either. I found an electrical outlet in the floor I was using to charge my phone with, so I began to play around with that and look at all of the other #SMDayPHL tweets. No one was really tweeting much about this panel. Everyone else was just on their phones and laptops and looked like they were waiting for this panel to end.

After that last panel, my co-workers and I decided to call it a day. We still had to travel back home and preferred to do it before it got dark and before it got too late/crowded. Many other attendees followed suit. I do have a few small regrets for skipping the closing keynote given by Kristina Neher though. I read the highlights of it and saw the live tweets come in and it sounds like it was a great presentation on the power of visuals in marketing. I was surprised to hear from the highlights how much higher Instagram engagement is than Facebook. I feel like Facebook is the most powerful social platform that can work for pretty much any business whereas Instagram requires more work and I feel like Instagram is for a younger audience and geared more towards personal use. It looks like it’s time for me to change my attitude towards Instagram! I was also surprised to learn than emails with the word “video” in the subject have a 19% higher open rate…that is definitely something I’m looking to experiment more with in the near future. I liked the idea of using your audience and having them do your marketing for you. If someone from your audience takes a picture of your product for instance, sharing that image can be more powerful and credible than posting your own professional image. I wish this talk would’ve been the opening keynote…it sounds like they really did save the best for last and I’m sorry I missed out on it. :-/

Overall, my first social media convention was a success. I had a really great time and I learned a lot. I look forward to attending it again next year. Who knows, maybe one of these years I’ll even have the opportunity to speak!

Did you attend Social Media Day Philadelphia? If so, what was your favorite part?

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Image Credits: Amazon

Evan Bailyn’s Outsmarting Google is one of those books that have been on my “To Be Read” list for forever (which isn’t at all surprising if you look at that mile long list…). I actually got this book from a former co-worker when I worked for a digital marketing agency 2 or 3 years ago. After accepting an offer to work as an SEO Marketing Strategist for Becker’s School Supplies, I knew it was time to pick up the book and take it out of the “To Be Read” pile and move it along to the “Currently reading” pile.

I expected that much of this book would be things I already knew, and I was right. I worked for a digital marketing agency for nearly 3 years. I started as an inbound marketer working my way up to a social media marketer, assistant project manager, and later a digital marketing manager with an emphasis in social media. Since my main focus has always been social media, I’ve always just had working knowledge rather than expert level seo knowledge, but have always kept informed by reading blogs, news, and in the case of Outsmarting Google, books. I’d say I do have a lot of experience with SEO, but not as much as I do with writing or social media and I’m not sure I’d refer to myself as a “expert”, which is why I need more help from books like Bailyn’s.

I already knew that Title Tags and Meta Tags were important along with linkbuilding, so some of these chapter simply repeated what I already knew. There are some parts of the book I questioned and wasn’t sure how much of it I agreed with though. I felt like Bailyn’s really discredited the importance of having strong content on your website. He seems to operate more on the idea that on-site content doesn’t really matter at all for SEO. He does emphasize the importance of having a well-designed website which I agree with — but I don’t think that’s enough. If your website is beautiful but has little to no content or poorly written or outdated content, why would anyone want to go to it? Maybe you’ll see obtain website traffic and great rankings in Google, but your conversions may suffer and your bounce rate may be high, neither of which will do your website or business any justice.

In contrast, I feel like Bailyn over-emphasizes the importance of linkbuilding. Yes, it is important. I know that this is one of the most important ranking factors for Google. However, I question Bailyn’s methods. I wonder how strong his linkbuilding is and whether or not much of it is just spam. I also really don’t agree with the way he thinks and advises readers to simply ask webmasters, bloggers, etc. for a link. He makes it sound like the easiest thing in the world to do. Go ahead and try it, I guarantee you’ll receive one of these responses:

  1. Who are you and why should I link to you?
  2. That will be (insert price here, often more than $100)
  3. Google considers that spam and will issue my website a penalty if I do that, so no.
  4. No.

Or simply no response at all. Approaching bloggers and other quality website owners/media members for a link is definitely a much more difficult and more thought out process than simply shooting a completely transparent email asking for it. I learned that the hard way from my agency days, trust me.

Also, some of the links just didn’t seem that good. Bailyn seems to think if a website is anywhere somewhat (but not really) close to being in your industry, a link on that site is good enough. He also recommends linking all of your websites together. So, say you have a website about pizza, a website about leather, and a third website about pets. Bailyn thinks you could link them all together. I suppose it could work. Maybe you want to write on your pizza website an article on leather pizza fashions or a pizza shirt or a piece of pizza your pet is wearing/eating. It’s hard, but not impossible. But I don’t think this is always going to work and I’m not sure I would push for it as much as Bailyn seems to.

Another thing that bothers me with this book is the way the author, Evan Bailyn is constantly bragging about his success and referencing his business, First Page Sage, and yet when you try to look it up and even Google it, there’s nothing too spectacular about it. For example, on page 28 of this book, Bailyn uses First Page Sage as an example to show how his website is ranking #1 on Google for the term “expert Google optimization”. I just typed that in to Google and he’s not on page 1. He’s actually all the way on page 5…the very bottom of page 5, almost page 6.

first page sage page 5

 

Looking at Bailyn’s website, it’s not hard to see why he isn’t ranking better. Some pages such as the homepage and the “About Us” page are great. But other pages, well it’s obvious Bailyn is putting into practice his belief that on-site content isn’t important. The pages for “Our Culture”, “Careers”, “Blog” and “Contact” pages are all without meta descriptions. The blog also isn’t updated as much as you’d expect. On average, it only gets updated around once a month. Maybe this is what’s hurting his rankings?

Of course, it might not have anything to do with Bailyn’s on site content. This book was published in 2011, maybe he just changed his keywords, or even his whole focus of his business, which seems to be exactly what he did. I did some keyword research and analzyzed his website and it looks like “thought leadership” and “thought leadership marketing” is more of what he’s focusing on now, so I googled that as well. He’s number 8 for “thought leadership”:

thought leadership #8

And he’s #2 for “thought leadership marketing”:

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I’m not sure how I feel about this information. “Thought leadership” is a whole different concept and completely different keyword to target. Why the sudden change? Is it because he failed at SEO marketing so he decided to become a thought leader instead? #2 for thought leadership marketing is more reassuring, but it’s still not #1 and it’s for a whole new concept. I’m just not sure how much I trust his word as an “SEO expert”.

Bailyn’s social media presence was also disappointing to me. He has over 100,000 followers on Facebook, but he hasn’t updated his page since January — that I know is not good practice. He only has 243 followers on LinkedIn and I believe no posts. His Twitter also hasn’t been updated in over 2 months. It just make it hard to trust this guy and any of the advice he gives on digital marketing…

There are still some points that Bailyn made that I liked and learned from though. I especially enjoyed the sections on PPC and Google Adwords. I don’t have much hands-on experience with PPC advertising at all, so I’m always trying to learn more about it. I like how he explained what makes it different from SEO and the advantages/disadvantages of both. The information on display URL, negative match, and negative  keywords were all things I didn’t know about previously. Having this knowledge now I think will be very beneficial for me if I work with PPC advertising in the future.

The highlight of Bailyn’s book for me was the last part where he wrote about his predictions for Google in the future. This book was published back in 2011…5 years ago, but he was on the right track for most of these predictions. I thought it was interesting how much of a threat he thought Facebook was to Google. I have to say I do agree with this ideology. He’s right in saying that Facebook is much more of a threat than say Bing or Yahoo. The social search was an interesting concept because of how unexpected that prediction was for me. I don’t think it will ever actually happen though because I think that would make it like Facebook 2.0. It seems pointless. Facebook and Google may want to compete, but they should still exist as separate properties with their own unique features, not mere copies of each other.

Bailyn also predicted that Google would launch a social network and that it wouldn’t be well received. Spot on. Google tried with Google+, but it definitely isn’t a huge threat to Facebook by any means and many have predicted over the years that Google will kill it off. Bailyn’s book was published in March of 2011. Google+ was launched in June.

I think that he’s also right with how much he stressed how important localized search will become. Google has been releasing more and more options and features for local  businesses to help them with their SEO especially lately. There’s never been a better time to be a local business interested in SEO marketing. I think he’s also right on Google trying to encourage people to use their phone’s more and releasing features that lets people know where they are or when they visit a certain place. It sounds slightly creepy to read about it in Bailyn’s book, but we’re already pretty much there with apps like FourSquare and the ability to check in places on Facebook and Instagram. Will this really be any different from that? I can see that being a success. However, the reviews probably won’t be as big of a deal as Bailyn thinks. Let’s face it: people are lazy. Most people don’t want to take the time to leave a review unless their service is really bad and they need to vent. Overall,  think that Google reviews will pretty much stay the same over the next few years.

Evan Bailyn’s Outsmarting Google wasn’t a terrible book; I still learned a few things from it. However, it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be; it was just okay. It’s worth just 3 our of 5 stars from me.


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Image Credits: Careers Galaxy

Hi everyone and Happy May Day! It’s the start of a fresh new month filled with new writing possibilities! May has always been one of my favorite months because there are so many exciting things happening. My birthday is in exactly one week (yes, it’s Mother’s Day), the second draft of my novel, God Granted Me Hearing is almost complete, and there are several other projects in the works for me right now, some of which I currently have to stay mum on but I’ll discuss when the time is right.

For now, I’d like to kick off the month by doing a 30-day writing challenge I found posted on Facebook. Here’s the challenge for anyone else who is interested:

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Image Credits: The Writer’s Circle

As you can see, the first prompt is to write about 5 problems with social media. This is a little bit of a challenge for me since I make a living off of social media. However, while I love working with social media, even I am not immune to the fact that social media comes with several problems and drawbacks, too. Here are 5 problems with social media.

  1. It’s making us anti-social. It’s so easy to “like” things on Facebook and to comment on someone’s post or send them a message. When we have a screen separating us from people, we feel like we have protection and that makes us fearless. But what happens when we take away the screen? We lose our communication skills. Communicating online isn’t the same as communicating in real life. We as a society have gotten so good at communicating on social media that we forgot how to talk to each other in person. When we are alone with a group of our “friends” we often don’t know what to say, so we pull out our cell phones and talk to each other on Facebook or Twitter or send photos on SnapChat or Instagram instead. It’s pretty sad and well, depressing, which brings me to my next point…
  2. It depresses us. Thanks to social media, we are constantly made aware of what is going on in everyone else’s lives. We don’t really know these people or what their story really is. We probably don’t even ever talk to them. But we see the things that they post. We see the picture of their new expensive designer handbag. We hear about their new home, job promotion, new car. We see their engagement announcements and baby announcements. These are such happy, exciting times for those people, so why aren’t we happy for them? We are depressed instead of happy because rather than being happy for these people, we are forced to compare ourselves with them. We look at their lives and see how they compare to our own. Are we happy in love? Are we engaged or married and/or expecting a baby? Are we making the same amount of money? Are we as happy and successful as they are? While these people are often not on the same level as us (often times they are actually below us), we aren’t capable of seeing it that way. We only focus on what they have that we don’t have and then we devalue our own feelings of self worth and become depressed. Before social media, we didn’t have the ability to know so much about the people in our lives. We were happier before social media.

    3. It distorts the truth. On social media it is so easy to connect with anyone from any place in the world. This also means it is easy to become anyone in the world. How would anyone know? That random person you met online could actually be a terrorist. That 25 year old might be 55. The 18 year old could be 12. You don’t always know what’s true and what’s not.

    I learned this lesson the hard way. When I was in my early 20s, I met a man online through my work with Bit Rebels. He was in his early 30s. He was everything I ever wanted in a man and I loved him very much. He lived in Florida and I lived in NJ, which naturally posed some challenges for our relationship, but I did end up getting to meet him in person once when he came to NJ for a few days. We had a great time together. He really was the 32 year old Puerto Rican man from Florida that he said he was. However, personality and personal life wise, there were many things he hid from me. He was a con artist. He met many different women over the years just like me and he made himself the person that woman wanted. Then he would come home and break up with them and go on to the next one. He was also a failed businessman that has gone bankrupt multiple times and been fired from many jobs over the years. I never quite found out the truth about him, but I did learn a very important lesson; you can’t trust anyone online. No one is what they appear to be.

    4. It is being taken over by businesses.When is the last time you used social media without seeing a post or advertisement from a business? I can’t remember the last time I did. Even back in the last days of MySpace, businesses were starting to realize that if they wanted to reach people, they needed to be active on social media.

    I must admit I feel kind of guilty writing about this because I am part of the problem. I work in marketing and I market to people online such as through social media. I am fortunate and blessed that social media has had such a huge role in marketing because without it, I may not have a job. But at the same time, sometimes all of that marketing and all of those ads from businesses on social media gets really annoying and I yearn for the days when social media didn’t exist and I couldn’t be as easily marketed to.

    5. It’s highly addictive.I will be the first one to admit that I am highly addicted to social media. It’s so easy to become addicted because it’s always there. I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest LinkedIn, and SnapChat all installed on my smart phone. My phone is constantly going off with notifications about someone on social media. I can and have on multiple occasions wasted an entire day doing nothing more than posting on Facebook. That’s no way of living life.

    I am getting much better with my social media addiction though. I realized there is more to life than social media and so much more that I want to do. I always say I don’t do things I enjoy because I don’t have time for them. Actually, that’s not always true. The truth is that I don’t do things I enjoy because I waste all of my time on social media.

    For the past couple of weeks I have been really limiting myself to how much time I spend on social media (with the exception of work related usage). Instead of constantly being on social media, when I’m not at work I try to abide by the following schedule: Read a chapter or two of a book, read the latest industry-relevant news posted on LinkedIn or Twitter (in this case social media is different, I’m not using it recreationally but for my career), color a picture (I love to color in adult coloring books – it relaxes me), read your bible, pray, clean the house, go for a walk or go to the gym, edit your book, write a blog post, watch TV.By the time I get all of these things done (It’s very rare that I have time in the day to do ALL of them), I don’t have time to waste on social media, and I’m more than okay with that. I have been much more productive as of late and I’ve also been much happier.


Is the internet still free?

cost of internet

It seems like ever since the internet was invented, there’s been a belief that using it comes at a high cost. Sure, you may have to pay a monthly fee of around $70 a month, but considering the high frequency that we use the internet and our extreme dependency on it, $70 a month is a price that most don’t mind spending. It sure beats being charged for every search query and website visit, right? For these reasons many individuals still see the internet as being relatively “free.”

But is it really free? It seems like users are paying more and more to use the internet, especially marketers. Gone are the days where $70 a month for hosting was all a marketer would have to pay to be present on the web.  Now it’s becoming more costly to stand out online.

Paying to be social

No digital marketer would refute the importance of having a presence on social media in 2016. But that is no longer enough. Now marketers must invest in a variety of Facebook Ads if they want to be seen on the network. Just when we started to accept that we’ll have to pay if we want to see any website clicks or conversions or gain any new followers, Facebook dropped yet another bomb on us. They began to show organic content less and less in news feeds. The way around this? Boosting posts. Simply put, if you want to be seen, you better pay up.

Facebook isn’t stupid. It knows that it has become a powerhouse for marketers looking to advertise their businesses, and that they will jump through all kinds of hoops to get results for their business even if it means coughing up some dough. Now, after seeing Facebook make billions of dollars (last quarter alone Facebook reportedly made over $5 billion thanks in a large part to ads) off of its paid advertising platform, other social networks are jumping on the bandwagon.

Twitter and LinkedIn have been offering sponsored posts and other ads for years. While their organic reach isn’t nearly as terrible as Facebook’s, many marketers and users are catching on to the fact that paid advertising will allow them to reach a larger audience at a quicker pace. For many, it has been a worthwhile investment. And it doesn’t stop there.

Pinterest launched its Promoted Pins platform a few years ago. While still in limited release (you have to apply and be approved for them first), they have quickly grown on users looking to receive maximum engagements. I have personally observed that my organic Pinterest pins typically go unnoticed and receive little to no engagements, but when I invest even just $20 in a promoted pin, I’m guaranteed to get hit with a number of repins, comments, and likes. With over 50 million pins cluttering Pinterest, Promoted Pins seem one of the most effective ways for growing your Pinterest presence and increasing engagement.”

Instagram also jumped on the advertising bandwagon this past summer by allowing users to invest in paid ads in the form of website clicks, video ads, engagement ads, app install ads, and more recently, promoted posts. This is not at all surprising being that Instagram is owned by the champ of social media paid advertising: Facebook. In fact, many of the Instagram ads are only available if used in correlation with a Facebook ad. This just further drills in the point that effective social media marketing is no longer free.

Going beyond social media

If you think the answer to avoid paying to use the internet is to simply cut all ties with social media, think again. Social media may be the front-runner in internet marketing expenses, but they aren’t alone. SEO marketing comes with a slew of hard costs now, too.

Simple tasks that used to be free like guest blogging or creating business listings for SEO purposes are beginning to come at a high cost. Many blogs refuse to publish guest contributions (especially if it contains an affiliate link) unless you’re willing to pay. The average cost is usually around $100-$150, with some of the more popular and well-known bloggers charging as much as $500 or more for a single guest post. As for local directories, while some are still free, the most effective ones seem to be a part of Yext, and a subscription will cost you a minimum of $500 a year.

Some marketers are choosing to abandon SEO marketing altogether now since it takes a lot of time and effort and doesn’t always guarantee results. Why bother wasting time and effort on something that is essentially a gamble when marketers can simply pay Google for pay-per-click advertising and have their ads displayed at the top of search results? This seems like a much more efficient means of marketing, and naturally, Google agrees.

In fact, Google is now making pay per click advertising even more expensive. More recently, Google decided to remove pay per click listings from the right side of search results, meaning that they now only display at the top of the results. This means that pay per click advertising is more competitive than ever before. If you want your PPC campaign to be successful, you may need to reconsider your keywords and ad bids, which could mean paying more.

Where do we go from here?

Why are we paying such a high cost to use the internet these days? The answer is simple: because we want to be found. We invest a lot of time and effort into our businesses, blog posts, and social media pages. If nobody sees it, it all goes to waste. The only way to guarantee that our content is easily visible to our target audience is to pay to have it promoted and made visible. And because we keep paying for it, people keep charging for it.

If we want to make the internet free and eliminate all of the hard costs that are now associated with using it, then we need to stop paying into the ideology that the only way to advertise a  business is to pay for social media advertising, pay-per-click, and other paid promotions.

We need to get back to the way things once were – back to engaging with users organically on social media by responding to their content and making a genuine effort to connect with them. We need to stop advertising and marketing to people, and instead build relationships with them. There is no price that can be put on the foundation of relationships. It is the most time-consuming form of marketing, but also the most effective and rewarding.

The internet is no longer the “free” service we always thought it was. It’s getting more expensive by the day and we have no one to blame but ourselves. However, we do have more power to stop it than we think. It is up to us to determine the fate (or the expense) of using the internet in the future.


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Image Credits: Landor.com 

Coca Cola is known for their successful and brilliant marketing campaigns. They are one of the most powerful, well-known companies in the world. In fact, you can purchase a Coca Cola nearly anywhere in the world — the exception being just Cuba and North Korea. Needless to say, Coca Cola’s marketing efforts have also been fairly profitable for them since it was created in 1886. While your business may not have quite the same marketing budget as Coca Cola, that doesn’t mean you can’t still learn a few things from them to add to your own marketing strategy. Here are 3 things we can learn from Coca Cola’s marketing campaign.

Keep it simple. Sure, Coca Cola most certainly has the money to spend for a big and elaborate marketing campaign, but that doesn’t mean they HAVE TO. Sometimes the best marketing campaigns are the most simple ones. Take for instance Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign which has been going strong for two years. All they had to do for this campaign was research popular names and edit the text on the labels they were already using anyway.
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Image Credits: Coca Cola United

There was little to no additional costs for this campaign, but it was highly profitable. Everyone loves seeing their names on a product, and Coca Cola made a point to use many untraditional names not frequently seen on personalized products. Even people who don’t like to drink Coke or can’t because of health issues have been purchasing it simply because it has their name on it.

 

  1. …But don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. While the “Share A Coke” campaign may be one of Coke’s most successful campaigns of all time, it doesn’t mean they haven’t had success with more elaborate marketing schemes in the past. One of the best examples of this is their “Happiness Machine”. The happiness machine was a specially created Coke vending machine that was placed through the US, mainly on college campuses. When students went to purchase a coke they were given multiple cans for free to share with their friends. Sometimes they even received other special gifts and surprises to make them smile.

    What made this campaign so successful is that it was unique. No one else ever attempted to do something quite like this before. Also, it was much more than about giving away free products — it was about making people smile. Coke made sure to capture these smiles on video, which in turn made its way on YouTube, ultimately going viral and helping Coke to gain even more exposure than normal.

  1. Always give back whenever you can. Both the “Share a Coke” and “Happiness Machine” campaigns are both great examples of Coke’s commitment to giving back to their customers. The “Share a Coke” adds a personal touch to their marketing and allows everyone the chance to connect with their product. They even made a point to put unusual names on their products for those who can normally never find their name on anything. The Happiness Machine also gave back by giving unsuspecting individuals free products, and of course, free smiles as well.

    Coke also has their own rewards program where points are given out to anyone who buys a bottle of coke or case of cans. These points can be used to buy products on their website or donated towards charity organizations. These organizations include the Special Olympics, Schools, and many more. Coke also donates to many charities on their own to help fight poverty, improve education, improve world health, and more. They also created their own charity, The Coca-Cola Foundation to help enhance sustainability in various local communities nation-wide. Simply put, Coca Cola is always quick to give back to their customers and the community whenever possible.

What things have you learned from watching Coca Cola’s marketing strategies over the years? What was your favorite campaign that they did?

 


I had an interview for an Inbound Marketing Position at an SEO firm called Webimax today. It took me a long time to figure out what to wear for it. I’ve recently lost a lot of weight so a lot of my old professional/business clothes didn’t fit anymore. I had to go to the mall and find something new.

While at the mall I found a couple different outfits that I liked. The first thing that caught my eye was a hot pink blazer. I tried it with some grey slacks initially, but despite the positive opinions from others, I didn’t really like the combo.

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I needed something different. Perhaps white pants? I tried them but no luck — they were all either see-through or just plain ugly! As I was continuing to search for matching pants another blazer caught my eye. It was a bit fancier and more traditional looking in navy blue. What’s more is that there were a pair of navy blue slacks hanging right next to it. Perfect! I had to try it on!

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I really liked the navy blue combination. It was very traditional and professional looking. Many of my friends encouraged me to wear this to my interview as it was a solid, safe choice. But I just couldn’t forget about that pink blazer.

I decided to try the pink blazer on with the navy blue slacks just to see how it looked. I was pleasantly surprised!

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This was possibly my favorite combination! But I couldn’t decide whether to wear this or play it safer with the blue ensemble. I decided to buy both blazers and the pants and decide later.

So what did I decide? I decided on the pink blazer in the end. Less traditional and more bold/daring. Sure the navy blue ensemble was “safer”, but sometimes it’s good to take chances. I thought that the pink blazer showed more of my personality. I was confident, creative, bold, and maybe a little bit loud. I wanted to be seen — to stand out. I didn’t think I could achieve these things as well with the plain old navy blue suit. For the position I was applying for I think it was important to stand out and show more of my personality and creative side for this interview.

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Would I suggest a hot pink blazer for everyone’s next interview? No, it wouldn’t work for just anyone. If you’re going for a teaching job for example it might be best to stick to the basics like the navy blue suit. But if you’re applying somewhere that really values creativity, and risk taking you may want something that helps you to stand out more. The key is to do research! Find out what the atmosphere is like where you work and  possibly the dress code. From viewing some photographs/videos on Webimax’s website I was able to see that the dress code was a bit less formal which helped to aid me in my decision to ditch the fancier/more traditional blue blazer. Webimax is also very innovative, bold, and daring, like my outfit.

My interview seemed to go over very well. Only time will tell if I got the job,  but I can say my outfit helped me to feel a lot more confident during my interview which I think is very important. I think it helped me to stand out too, I mean, who can really forget a girl that shows up in a hot pink blazer? 😉



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