2011 Social Media Week Celebrates Fourth Year

Sponsored by Nokia, Social Media Week 2011 begins next Monday, February 7th through the 11th. The event is being hosted in New York, San Francisco, Rome, Paris, Toronto, São Paulo, London, Hong Kong and Istanbul. Social Media Week (SMW) is described on their website as, “a global platform that connects people, content, and conversation around emerging trends in social and mobile media.”

The aim of SMW, connecting hundreds of thousands of social media experts, is to advance and improve understanding of the role that social media plays in our society. The event will broadcast the internationally hosted conferences through several mediums, including social and mobile media. The opening ceremony kicked off the fourth official SMW today with a global press conference at Hearst Magazines. Founder Toby Daniels gave opening remarks and videos were sent in by Social Media Week teams in Istanbul, Rome, Paris, Hong Kong and São Paulo. Overall, the ceremony was a great preview of the week to come. SMW offers a unique conference format wherein participants receive “a much more rich and beneficial set of experiences for everyone who participates.” Click here to learn more about how you can get your city involved in the February conference.

This event has been running since February of 2009 and has been yet another great resource for online marketing professionals. Broadcasting the conferences on the internet and through social media outlets like Facebook allows anyone to gain valuable insights and glean the latest information on effective social media marketing. To watch Social Media Week videos, visit their YouTube Channel.

How to Build and Design an Effective Website

These days, most business owners have acknowledged the importance of having a website, realizing how legitimate online marketing has become and not wishing to miss out on any potential new business. However, many still don’t fully understand how essential it is to respect the significance of how the site is designed and built.

Investing in a well-designed and well- built website can produce a marked return on the often hefty investment. Visibility Online recently published an article outlining the five essential elements every business website should have.

1.       Online marketing is still marketing; it simply isn’t enough to draw visitors to your site without gaining any information about who they are in order to further your marketing efforts. Create a signup form with a freebie, like a newsletter. With this, you will be able to get the name and email addresses of many of your visitors, which will also enable you to build a quality list of prospects.

2.       Make sure your contact details are clearly visible on every page on your website. The purpose of your website is to generate inquiries. Because the surfer will likely browse several pages, you don’t want to risk losing a potential client because they weren’t sure where to find your most relevant pieces of information. Furthermore, it is also in your best interest to include social media links like Facebook and Twitter.

3.       If it is appropriate based on the nature of your business, creating dedicated sales pages is a great idea. This approach allows you to focus each page on just one product or service, a great way to market to specific audiences. This method also gives you the ability to include detailed information on each featured product or service, while simultaneously improving your search engine optimization efforts.

4.       Follow up with clients to ask for testimonials for your site.  These testimonials should be featured on each product/service page, and clearly aid with creating a sense of trust between your company and the prospective client. It is also a great way to learn about any flaws with your product or service so that you have the opportunity to correct them.

5.       Last but certainly not least is a blog. A blog allows you to write about anything related to your business, providing further insights about your products or services that may not be on your dedicated pages. This blog strategy will open the communication highway and allow you to address customer questions and concerns, establishing yourself as an unequivocal expert in your market.

If your business already has a website, the start of a brand new year is a great time to consider a possible redesign. By incorporating these five essential elements into your new site, you will undoubtedly enjoy much more business from your online presence.

The 2010 Tech & Web Awards Are In…and CES 2011

We hope you had a wonderful New Year and a good first week back at the office! Looking back at 2010, there were quite a few notable advancements to online marketing and social media. Mashable has just released its 2010 awards acknowledging some top innovators. HootSuite won for Best Social Media Management Tool, and Best Use of an API went to Qwitter Client, a useful feature that tells you when your Twitter followers stop following you! The iPad, not surprisingly, won for Best New Gadget of 2010 and the Best Location-Based Service went to Foursquare. Twitter was recognized for its breakthrough website design because of its support for multimedia. Other winners:

  • Best Mobile Device: iPhone
  • Best Mobile Game: Angry Birds
  • Best Mobile Platform: Android

For the full list, see Mashable Awards 2010.

As we enter 2011, we look forward to the many upcoming news and events happening in social media marketing and interactive marketing. Right now, CES 2011 is being held in Las Vegas until Sunday, January 9. The international conference brings industry leaders in media and technology together under one roof, with keynote speakers including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, CEA President Gary Shapiro, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, Samsung President Boo-Keun Yoon and many more.

CES features a line-up of entertaining and informative sessions such as “Hollywood Creative Masters: A Media Money Makers SuperSession” produced by Variety magazine. The session features directors and producers of films and programs such as The Incredible Hulk, Heroes, Megamind, Conan and Dancing with the Stars. They discuss how digital media has impacted their work and how social networking, transmedia and mobile platforms have opened up new opportunities for them.

It’s not too late to join CES 2011 this year! Register at http://www.cesweb.org.

2011 Means Growth for Small Businesses in Online Marketing

When it comes to low-cost marketing methods, utilizing the web is the most effective way small businesses can market their products and services. In a report by Zoomerang, small businesses (companies with fewer than 1,000 employees) are predicted to maintain steady marketing budgets in 2011, including spending on websites, email marketing, social media marketing, direct mail and print advertising.

Websites are the number one item spent in marketing, with 39 percent of small businesses spending more than 20 percent of their marketing budget on website design. Next year, 17 percent of small businesses report they are planning to increase spending on websites – that’s the highest percentage of any other marketing strategy. 15 percent of respondents say they plan to increase spending on email marketing next year, and 13 percent plan to increase spending on social media.

Surprisingly, only 54 percent of small businesses reported that they currently have a website. And of businesses that have websites, only 13 percent of them have a blog. This indicates a huge growth opportunity for the other half of small businesses to develop websites and for current websites to expand functions to include blogs, lead generation or e-commerce features. There’s a lot of room for growth in 2011 for website design for small businesses.

Social media is another area for growth, as 34 percent of small businesses have a social media marketing program and 13 percent report they plan on increasing their social media budgets next year.

Businesses with modest marketing budgets still have many opportunities. Is your business benefiting from the many interactive marketing options now available online?

The Powerful Influence of Web Video

At the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association Summit last Friday, May 14th, online marketing experts and social media strategists shared their insights and experiences in the interactive marketing realm. One common topic that came up among several speakers was the growing influence of video in social media.

Of the many companies that engage in social media campaigns, 80% use Twitter and 76% use Facebook, but only 42% use video. That seems like a miss – considering YouTube is the number 2 search engine and the number 3 website on the web. Video is a great way to capitalize on the 75% of internet users who watch online video at least once a week.

Chris Thornton, CMO of Definition 6, shared a Coca-Cola case study to show how video can help your brand. His company created the “Happiness Machine” video shown below.

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After posting this video to YouTube and with just one Twitter mention, the “Happiness Machine” video received over 2 million views and over 1,300 comments and retweets since January.

This campaign is 100% viral with no media support. It goes to show you just how powerful video can be.

Of course, you cannot expect every YouTube video to reach such astounding numbers so quickly. Video is meant to support your main social media platforms, but can have a strong influence if used effectively.

Murry Izenwasser, Senior Interactive Strategist for Biztegra, shared some tips on how to make your videos more effective from an SEO standpoint:

  • Start by giving your video a title that accurately sums up what it’s about, so people who are searching for that topic will find it easily.
  • Go ahead and include the word “video” right in the title since many people will Google “video” if that’s the medium they’re looking for.
  • It is important to have a good description filled with keywords. You should always keep a list of keywords close by – it’s an SEO imperative!
  • Be sure to include tags of the keywords.
  • Once you’ve posted your video on YouTube, syndicate it to multiple sites such as Tube Mogul and Pixel Pipe.
  • For videos with lots of spoken content, it may be a good idea to have your video transcribed.

Lastly, know your statistics. Track visits and conversions to sales. Dig deep into the web analytics to measure your success.

Good luck and have fun with it!

South Florida Interactive Marketing Association Hosts Summit May 14, 2010

The South Florida Interactive Marketing Association is hosting its first annual summit on Friday, May 14, 2010 at Nova Southeastern University’s Miniaci Performing Arts Center. The event titled “Driving ROI with Search and Social Media” is sponsored by SapientNitro, Social Media Club, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Technology Committee and other South Florida’s technology and e-commerce organizations.

The summit is a full day event that will cover all things search and social, including in-depth tactics and strategies from top keynote speakers, case study workshops, panel discussions and presentations. The keynote speaker, Mitch Joel of Twist Image, will give a presentation on “Six Pixels of Separation – How Marketing Connects in a Connected World”.

Other speakers include Jay Berkowitz, author and CEO of TenGoldenRules.com as well as Shawn Rorick, past Director of Marketing for Cirque du Soleil and Director of Internet Marketing at MGM Mirage in Las Vegas.

Social media speakers Nathaniel Perez of SapientNitro and Chris Thornton from Definition 6 will talk about Facebook advertising. Murray Izenwasser of Biztegra will explain how to utilize video and YouTube effectively in online marketing. Finally, Jeffrey Sass, Vice President of Development at Myxer, and Craig Agranoff, author and founder of Aphrodisiac and WorstPizza.com, will demonstrate how to leverage location based social channels.

The SFIMA “Driving ROI with Search and Social Media” summit is an excellent opportunity for CMOs, vice presidents and directors of marketing, online and interactive marketing managers, online media buyers, search and social media professionals to network and learn strategies in the interactive marketing world. Two representatives from Blue Interactive Agency will be in attendance. Check back next week for social media tips and news from the summit.

Yahoo uses search results to display ads with images and videos

The struggling Yahoo is becoming innovative, announcing plans to incorporating ads and images into their paid search results. It is a new type of search advertising that allows images and even video to appear within paid search listings when in the past this area was simple text advertisements with links.   

It is typical for marketers to budget part of their online marketing to appearing in top search results,including these text-only ads with links using both pay per click and organic search marketing methods. Yahoo is calling the new service Rich Ads in Search, and the program gives search some of the advantages of banner advertisements.

Yahoo hopes that Rich Ads in Search will transition online advertising from simple blue links to a more engaging and interactive experience for users. Yahoo is hoping this new search marketing strategy will make them more competitive with Google, the market leader with 67.7 percent market share. Yahoo’s strategy in the past has been display advertising, selling boxes and banners on its high traffic pages. The recession has caused advertisers to redirect spending on the banners and boxes to search marketing, which yields direct measurable results. Yahoo has addressed the issue with Rich Ads in Search. 
Brought to you by Blue Interactive Agency, your Fort Lauderdale search marketing and web design firm.