13 Social media & marketing blogs to add to your feed right now

There’s a lot of content out there on the Internet about any subject that you could possibly ever want to know about (turns out that woman you recognized on White Collar is actually the girl who played Kelly on Saved By the Bell – thank you, Wikipedia!).  This is particularly true in the social media world, which churns out a constant stream of information through a network of tech-loving writers who are borderline obsessed with posting and reposting the news of the day.  If you don’t have your own in-house social media editor to sift through the mess, let our Florida advertising agency guide you to the best social media and marketing blogs.
Mashable: Tried and true, Mashable offers a constant stream of updates about all things social media.  Pete Cashmore placed his bets on the social media industry early on, taking it seriously as a field that would continue to grow.  Today, Mashable is the most comprehensive listing of social media news and updates on the web.

Seth Godin’s Blog: As an internationally known marketing expert, Seth Godin is straightforward, honest and to the point.  And it’s not just our Florida advertising agency that sees the value in Seth’s words – his blog is also typically ranked as one on Ad Age’s top 10 of the top 150 blogs tracked.

VentureBeat: VentureBeat has Silicon Valley on lock.  With constant updates about the newest trends in social media and tech, this is a website that any tech savvy individual should bookmark and visit frequently.  It’s a great place to find out about the newest and emerging trends – the ones that will affect the future of social media marketing.

TechCrunch: With such an overlap between tech trends and social media, it’s great to find a blog that gives superior coverage to both.  TechCrunch, part of AOL’s digial empire, offers interesting and insightful content that’s useful for anyone in any emerging industry.  And, the writing itself is some of the best in the business.

Social Media Today: For anyone interested in social media marketing, this blog is a terrific starting point.  This community-driven blog site is driven by experts such as yourself.  The result is numerous differing views as to trends in social media, all moderated for quality to offer the best composition of blog posts in any one site.

CopyBlogger: CopyBlogger offers excellent information about all fronts of content marketing.  Content marketing as an industry itself has taken on all types of new directions in recent years, and since you can’t talk about content marketing without talking about SEO and social media, the blog offers a great resource for covering that area on all fronts.

All Things D: The D stands for digital, and the website that purports to cover all things digital stands up to its name.  While it’s more of a tech blog and sometimes just even a fun news and current event blog, the social media coverage side offers some of the best coverage in the game.  Plus, the easy-to-navigate site spins circles around competitors with fancy but not necessarily effective designs.

Marketing Tech Blog: Like a true marketing company, the Marketing Tech Blog emphasizes social media content, and innovations in the digital space – using lots of sharable information and infographics to sell the story.

ClickZ: With a constant stream of updates about innovations in social media and digital marketing, ClickZ ultimately focuses on one thing: teaching you how to get ClickZ for your company and your business’s social media.

Digital Buzz: While it’s more of a marketing site than a straight social media blog, Digital Buzz features content that our Orlando marketing agency loves.  With fresh perspectives and information about new trends in digital media, true marketing professionals shouldn’t miss this site.

A few more blogs to add to your feed, these three cover analytics, platform strategy and management tools.

Buffer Social: This social media marketing blog covers the latest in tools, analytics and strategies, and an has an incredibly intuitive design. The blog features a wide variety of authors which keeps the content and tone fresh.

Jenn’s Trends: Jenn Herman is a social media management strategist and her blog focuses heavily on strategies for businesses to use on Instagram. If you’re looking to move your brand onto Instagram, or up your InstaGame, Jenn’s Trends a must-follow blog for your brand.

RazorSocial: Written by Ian Cleary, RazorSocial provides information on the latest social media tools and technology. He publishes a lot of how-to, cheat sheet, step by step and tips and tricks post that are easy to digest and apply to your business.

Honorable Mention – BuzzFeed: While BuzzFeed isn’t really a social media blog per se, it’s really a blog that’s all about posting content that people can share.  If you’re a marketing expert and you’re looking for inspiration, check out BuzzFeed to see what the world is talking about right now.

In search of a few additional social media and marketing blog suggestions with the potential to make a big impact on your bottom line? Contact us today for more helpful tips and tricks to benefit your brand!

Pinterest: Helps companies drive innovation & revenue

A year ago, Pinterest blew up into popularity so fast that even the founders themselves were astounded.  However, a leading question on everyone’s mind revolved around a single question: how could the Internet’s pin board help drive revenue?
Pinterest continues to grow in popularity because it offers a visual approach to daily inspiration.  Particularly popular among adult women, a coveted demographic in the digital marketing space, Pinterest is almost an unexpected success in the tech world.

As people are predominantly visual beings, it makes sense that these images offer daily inspiration.  Many brands seek to use Pinterest to capitalize on this, pinning photos of visually-interesting items and offering track back features that allow people to purchase those items directly from the website.  Even here at our Florida marketing agency, we use Pinterest to help showcase inspirational design.

Recently, the company introduced Pinterest for Business, a profile model that stands apart from a personal Pinterest profile.  Typically, when companies develop pages specifically for brands, they enable brands to engage with followers in ways that are not available to personal accounts.  For example, Twitter brand pages allow customized skins and prominent graphic placement, and Facebook offers brands broader opportunities for sponsored posts and features like multiple page administrators and weekly data roundups.  [quote]With Pinterest’s launch of new business pages, it is essentially offering evidence that it is taking the first steps toward creating a possible revenue-generating platform for its company.[/quote]

Pinterest launched its business pages alongside several case studies of how some companies have successfully used Pinterest to help lead to customer acquisition, retention and conversion.  For instance, Etsy, an eBay-like service for people who sell crafts and other artistic goods, uses Pinterest to help showcase members’ products.  This helps members generate sales and thereby helps to keep the Etsy marketplace growing.

Jetsetter, a flash sales travel site, helps lead promotions by engaging its followers through Pinterest.  The company encourages brand supporters to post their most inspiring travel ideas, which helps them involve their community.  During one promotion, Jetsetter invited a team of celebrities to name the top pinners, who won prizes accordingly.  Participating pinners pinned more than 50,000 pins in one month.

Finally, there’s the gluttonous guilty pleasure site AllRecipes.  AllRecipes is a go-to spot for the best ways to cook anything from kale to Rice Krispies Wreaths.  Marketers are generally aware of the fact that images often inspire action, and this is tactic is probably most effective when it involves food.  For years, advertisers and marketers have been able to capitalize on the comforting sensations that people experience when faced with aesthetically-pleasing food.  AllRecipes uses their food photography and the Pinterest platform to help their community share recipes through repins, as well as to drive traffic back to their site so that people could find even more meal recipes.

As the Pinterest business pages continue to develop, we will doubtlessly continue to see innovation in how brand pages leverage the Pinterest platform to help make the best user experience possible…. the team at our Orlando marketing agency is “Pinterested” to see what the next generation of business pages holds.

Follow us on Pinterest!: http://pinterest.com/bigeyeagency

Caring about your consumers time could change the ad world

It’s a fact that people are inundated with branded content hundreds of times a day. The advertising industry is worth billions of dollars, and brand marketers latch on to this by finding ways to reach you EVERYWHERE, including billboards, television, smartphones, tablets, magazines, websites and search engine pages.
If you’re developing an advertising or marketing strategy, then chances are that you’re thinking about how you can get the word out about your brand or business. (Of course that’s what you’re thinking about; after all, that’s the primary goal of the entire industry!) However, as you develop your new video or concept, I encourage you to think carefully about the end result.

Many times, the specialists at our Florida advertising agency see competitors carefully craft high-budget interactive media projects without giving much consideration to the most important aspect of the campaign: the end user. If you are creating digital content, you are, in essence, asking people for a piece of their time, which, for many people, is more valuable than money or material goods. As a goods or services provider, once you have peoples’ attention, you are then asking them again to convert; i.e., to make a present or future investment in your product or service. The question then becomes: what are you offering this person that makes it worth their time?

[quote]Numerous advertising campaigns fall flat because the advertising doesn’t reach the person in a meaningful way.[/quote] Rather than focusing on companies that have tried to reach their readers and failed, I thought it better to highlight innovating digital marketing projects that have succeeded beyond expectations.

If you represent a deodorant brand, you have to work hard to convince your audience that you’re superior to anything else your potential customers may be able to find on the shelf. But, if you’re a company like Old Spice, you’ve managed to prove that you’re a lifestyle brand. After discovering to the interesting insight that women often purchase deodorant for their boyfriends or husbands, Old Spice introduced “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” which featured a muscular male model. The campaign proved such a hit that the man soon had his own following. Rather than leaving the rest up to fate, Old Spice took advantage of this and offered opportunities for fans to interact with the Old Spice Man through their website and social media platforms, including a series of YouTube video responses that were extremely popular.

Another innovative video concept came from Mitsubishi, in conjunction with B Reel Productions. The project, called Mitsubishi LiveDrive, allowed people all over the world to test drive the Outlander from their own computers, using the buttons on the keyboard to drive. The concept was the first of its kind, and garnered massive publicity, as people were impressed with the ability to control a car from thousands of miles away.

When Jay-Z came to Droga5 for ideas as to how to help launch his book Decode, the company partnered with Bing to come up with a concept that offered insight into the places that Jay-Z references in his book, as well as a gamification element that kept people returning for more.

The only thing that truly sets these campaigns apart from numerous other failed campaigns is that they all encompass a single quality: an appetite for innovation. Our agency believes that we can also help you develop an innovative digital marketing campaign on any budget.

Contact us to help create your own innovative digital marketing campaign!

The newest buzzwords & what they mean to your company

The marketing and advertising industries are notorious for making up their own buzzwords, in order to emphasize and, in some cases, glamorize trends and ideas as they come into the public space.  (I once received an email from a media company encouraging me to “techcessorize” my iPad – how’s THAT for corny PR language?)  Here are a few definitions intended to flush out fresh trends from Orlando advertising agencies, and what they could mean for you.

Advocacy: A new phase in the traditional marketing cycle, where fans of a brand encourage active engagement by sharing, via their own social media platforms.

Aggregator: An aggregator collects content from a number of sites around the web, and allows people to search the aggregated content to find links that they may find of interest.  Popular aggregators include Reddit and Google Reader RSS Feeds.

Agile Marketing: A marketing technique that involves the use of agile tactics, such as real-time response to marketing opportunities, brief stand-up meetings and investing resources in production and project execution (as opposed to planning).

API: Application Programming Interface.  Companies such as Facebook and Foursquare allow third-party applications to access their systems in order to create innovative uses for such platforms.

App: Short for application.  Though mostly associated with smartphones and iPads, browser-based applications may connect to Facebook or other social networks, such as Facebook games like The Sims Social or Words with Friends.

Content Marketing:  Based on the theory that good content creates reader and viewer interest and encourages engagement and social sharing, content marketing describes the consistent generation of branded content to create and sustain search engine traffic, and to keep people returning to a company’s website or social platforms.  (Content marketing = keeping your blog up to date.)

eCommerce:  All commerce activities that occur on the internet.  While people commonly think of companies such as eBay and Amazon, newer power players in the eCommece industry include companies such as Groupon and Fab.

Engagement:   The process by which readers and viewers interact with your content, generally by commenting, “liking,” up-voting, mentioning and sharing.

Frictionless Design: The development of intuitive, painless digital interfaces that reduce bounce, increase conversion and increase user satisfaction.

Gamification:  This technological function makes digital behavior into a game.  Though Foursquare didn’t create this type of tactic, which encourages repetitious behaviors that presumably lead to more points, the company made it popular by including “badges” in its platforms, allowing people to earn various badges (and therefore, social capital) for their check-ins.

Hybrid:  A hybrid delineates a person who has a broad skill set applicable to a number of technological disciplines, though that person typically also has one or two areas of true expertise.

Infographic:  A visual representation of a data set.  Sometimes funny or downright hilarious.

Meme:  You know those funny cat pictures, or those sarcastic eCards that always pop up in your Facebook feed?  As people share those photos and images, and continue to alter them in ways that are humorous and make sense within the context of the original content, they becomes Internet memes.  (It’s pronounced like “theme.”)

Native Speakers (of Technology):  This term is used to describe a generation that is growing up with smartphones, tablets and computers as the norm.  These children are learning through interactive games as opposed to books and notebook paper.

Pivoting:  When a company realizes it’s not meeting its goals, it may pivot to set a new trajectory.  This may occur in a single marketing campaign, or may apply to an entire business strategy.

SEM:  Search engine marketing.  SEM may involve paid search, search engine optimized content, or both.

Social Capital:  Many people believe that social capital is at the core of most individuals’ content creation and sharing behaviors.  The theory is that people share content with the hope or idea that it will elevate or retain one’s status within their online community.  Put simply, the idea is that people share content because it makes them “look cool.”

Social Listening: Monitoring digital media to assess what’s being said about a company, brand, product, or person on the internet in real time. Listening provides opportunities for quick response to customers, get ahead of public relations issues, and trending topics.

Social TV:  This describes technologies and behaviors that combine television and social media content.  For instance, when brand marketers encourage fans to live Tweet sporting events, this is a form of social TV.

Trendjacking: Leveraging a trending topic to generate buzz around a brand. Like most marketing tactics – there are smart, creative ways to do this right, and also terrible, clunky attempts that get this all wrong.

Viral Video:  No one can create a viral video; rather, they can aim to create a video that “goes viral.”  Though many viral videos have well over 1,000,000 views, a video can be said to have achieved some level of virality at views as low as 100,000.

We sometimes throw these words around at our Orlando marketing agency, but we’ll never leave you in the dark about what they mean, and the implications for your company.  (And we’ll never ask you to techcessorize ANYTHING.)

Contact us and we’ll help fill you in on the fancy lingo.

Things you didn’t know about LinkedIn – & probably don’t want to

Many people see LinkedIn as a way to stay connected to fellow professionals.  However, the online resume platform uses some interesting tactics to help put a price on your skill set. Our Orlando marketing agency uses LinkedIn to help us find talent, but always with caution.  What follows are some things you may not know about the high tech career services company.

LinkedIn is a Search Engine for Resumes.

Think about how a search engine works.  Typically, a person keys in search words in order to filter results.  From a recruitment perspective, LinkedIn allows employers like our Florida marketing agency to weed out unqualified job seekers and limit searches to only the top candidates.  That means that hiring personnel can search based on your number of years of experience, prior job titles, educational background, skill set and anything else you put on your online resume.  While in theory this sounds like an excellent, efficient recruiting strategy, it also has serious limitations.  For examples, recruiters will tell you not to use the most recent buzzwords on your resume, but then will actively search for terms such as “creative,” “innovative” and “strategic” as they look for job candidates.  In the end, it’s all about how build your profile, and therefore not necessarily about your actual experience and what you can bring to the table.

LinkedIn can expedite the hiring process, saving recruiters time and money in placing individuals.  Whereas it once used to cost potential employers $20,000 to place one person through a staffing company, such large companies can now manage such requests in-house to narrow the search down to a dozen qualifies applicants in minutes.

It’s All about Sales.

LinkedIn has a tremendous sales force behind it.  The company’s representatives sell recruitment products to leading Fortune 500 corporations, and those products are quickly becoming the industry standard in recruiting practices.  Companies that don’t latch on to LinkedIn’s practices will risk falling behind the industry, and therefore, will continue to shell out cash for LinkedIn’s recruiting service products.

While the team at LinkedIn purports to care about helping professionals connect with each other and helping job seekers connect with recruiters, what really seems to be driving the company is the bottom line.  Because LinkedIn’s revenue model actually works (as opposed to Facebook, which currently seems to be facing some challenges), the company is working hard to make money while the company is still profitable, potentially at the expense of the people it purports to help.

LinkedIn Makes Millions From Users’ Personal Information.

The leading professional social platform uses your information and connections to make big bucks.  [quote]Data is extremely valuable, and the more that a company like LinkedIn can garner from you, the more that the company can leverage your information to build products that help grow the company.[/quote]  For the executives at LinkedIn, the bigger picture revolves around using your data to help sell products to the companies it services, to offer these companies advantages in terms of competitive hiring practices, desirable skill sets and in-demand job opportunities.

People Can See When You’ve Viewed Their Profile, Even if you Limit your Privacy Settings.

Even regular LinkedIn users may not know that every time you visit a profile, your name, photo and job title shows up on the person’s page.  Typically, LinkedIn’s privacy settings adjust to your own settings; for example, if you set your search settings to anonymous, you also can’t see who’s viewed your page.  However, if you’re in an in-between setting, and someone knows that “Someone in the Publishing Industry” looked at your profile, you can click on a link that shows about ten profiles that match that description, with one of those being the person who actually looked at you.  Typically, you can use the process of elimination to find out who is stalking you.  This can offer some awkwardness, especially for small business owners who may be looking into their networks’ talent pool.

LinkedIn May Still be Behind in Security.

Earlier this year, more than 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords were stolen and published online, exposing a hole in the company’s security procedures.  While technology moves fast, it’s possible that even six months later, the company hasn’t effectively worked to fix security holes that may lead to breaches.  Unfortunately, the only way we’ll know is if someone else comes forward and attempts to crack the code.

If You Don’t Have a LinkedIn Profile, You Might be Screwing Up Your Future.

Even if all these things offer a solid case against using LinkedIn, the reality is that employers rely on it the way that teenagers rely on Facebook.  For employers such as our Orlando advertising firm, LinkedIn is a gateway to your digital presence, and will continue to be such as long as the company is making money from your data.  If you have yet to sign up for LinkedIn, you may be sheltering yourself from career opportunities amidst an uncertain economic climate, which could be shooting yourself in the foot in terms of future opportunities.

Love it or hate it, LinkedIn is the holy grail of recruiting technologies, and is around to stay.  If you’re using LinkedIn (and you probably should be), make sure to leverage your knowledge of the digital platform in a way that puts you in best light with future employers.

Be sure to check out BIGEYE’s Linkedin profile here: http://www.linkedin.com/company/bigeye

Why college students shouldn’t handle social media

College students and recent college graduates love social media.  According to a January 2012 survey published by CampusLIVE (now DailyBreak), 73% of college students use some form of social media in their everyday lives.  For many people, this is indicative of a young culture that has grown up with social media all around them.  (Or maybe it just accounts for a lot of UCF students Facebooking during class.)
It can be tempting to hire a student or college graduate to handle your company’s social media.  Hiring a student is typically cheaper than hiring a Florida marketing agency to handle your social media, but is this really a good idea?

Consider the case of Red Cross, where a social media specialist sent out a drunken Tweet from the highly respected organization’s Twitter account.  The message said in part, “…when we drink we do it right #gettinslizzered.”  The person who sent the Tweet, Gloria Huang, admitted in a follow-up message that her error was based on her unfamiliarity with how to properly use Hootsuite, a social media management application.  Such an oversight has the substantial capacity to diminish a brand’s strength. (Although, it was HILARIOUS to see that post coming from a leading non-profit).

While this particular case was an employee error, it has major implications as to the types of harm that can result from inexperienced users “#gettinslizzered” on the job.  A brand’s social media is an extension of its identity, and in the same way Apple would never risk its impeccable reputation by putting its social media in the hands of someone who just passed the legal drinking age, it may not be wise to entrust your own brand to someone with little experience in brand management strategies.  Even at a local level, working with an Orlando advertising agency will allow your business to more effectively leverage trending topics and popular events in order to ensure that your business’s social media truly is an embodiment of your brand.

Contrary to what many people think, it takes significant time and effort to manage a company’s social media.  For most businesses, social strategy should be framed as its own entity, rather than as an extension of editorialized brand content.  Of course, if your social media strategy requires more of a plan than posting puppy photos and keeping your fingers crossed for the best, it might require more resources.  As such, it may be in your business’s best interest to hire an Orlando marketing agency with a division dedicated to social media.

Media experts, such as those with a full-fledged advertising and media agency background, fully comprehend the tactics behind successful marketing, advertising and customer service.  These individuals attend conferences and seminars pertaining to social media growth and expansion, and have a much deeper understanding of the consumer cycle from an overall brand strategy perspective.  For example, who might be a better person to run your FourSquare brand page account than the social media expert who just spent her dinner discussing the state of the industry with Dennis Crowley?  (Here’s a hint: it’s probably not the girl who just spent her dinner eating Ramen while discussing the state of Seal and Heidi Klum’s breakup.)

Just because a person can write a few funny Tweets doesn’t mean that individual can understand the significance of the Facebook API, or knows how to effectively pull and apply complex data analytics for future use.  These extremely valuable facets help companies build strong and compelling multi-pronged social media strategies, and can help to elicit customer engagement by doing more than posting random comments about the VMAs and the Kardashian family that don’t effectively generate a future return.

Social media has the potential to reach millions of people in seconds.  A social media goof can lead to a public relations disaster that can cause a consumer perception to sink faster than the Titanic (read: the recent case of Progressive Insurance), and the risk of such faux pas is greater with someone who lacks the experience to understand what it means to manage and maintain a brand identity.

As with most digital content strategies, it’s typically better to invest in resources to find a person who has demonstrated digital media marketing capabilities.  At even the most fundamental levels, it can be extremely difficult to execute social media engagement, even for seasoned professionals.  Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider whether it makes sense to have a student manage the online presence of the entire brand.  If you do opt to go in this direction rather than working with the experts at an Orlando ad firm, you may find your brand strategy schooled by the professionals.

If all this has given you something to Tweet home about, contact us as we offer a full multi-pronged advertising and social media approach to help you develop and maintain a branding plan that won’t come down with a case of senioritis.