lundi 31 mars 2014

Social Media Growing More As Influential Source Of Traffic

Social Media Growing More As Influential Source Of Traffic image Social media growth report

According to Experian Marketing Services, a global provider of integrated consumer insight, data quality, cross-channel marketing, and targeting, new research suggests social media sites continue to play an important role in driving traffic to other sites.

An example would be ecommerce sites and even other social networks, but social media traffic typically comes at the expense of search engines.

Social media websites account for 7.72 percent of traffic for all retail websites, up from 6.59 percent in March of 2013. Pinterest is also providing the biggest percentage of downstream traffic to retail sites.

Although search is still the most dominate method of driving traffic, social media is closing the gap and becoming a more significant source of traffic on the Internet as consumers continue to use sites such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook as discovery platforms.

The report notes that more retailers are starting to direct their customers to their social media within their email marketing campaigns.

Nearly 96 percent of marketers have started promoting social media in their email campaigns, and Pinterest had the greatest year-over-year increase in 2013.

Consumers are visiting after going on Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube more frequently than all other retail sites.

The top five sites that downstream from Facebook are Amazon, Walmart, Zulily, Target, and Beyond the Rack.

[Photo Credit: AllFacebook]

via Business 2 Community

Lorde Reveals Acne To Prove ‘Flaws Are Ok’

Lorde Reveals Acne To Prove ‘Flaws Are Ok’ image Lorde Reveals Acne

The 17-year-old “Royals” singer Lorde took to Twitter and revealed her acne. Lorde declared “flaws are ok” in her tweet.

The singer-songwriter uploaded two photos of herself to Twitter Sunday, one featuring her acne-prone face in profile.

Acne affects 90 percent of people — celebrities too — at some point in their lives, and is most common among teenagers. Regardless of what some people say about “growing out of it,” the frustrating affliction can continue well into adulthood.

Acne vulgaris (acne) is a common condition of the skin, particularly affecting the areas with the densest population of sebaceous (oil) follicles. This includes the face, upper chest, and back. Sebaceous secretions are intended to condition and maintain a hydration balance.

The bane of most adolescents, acne is characterized by areas of skin with seborrhea (scaly red skin), comedones (blackheads/whiteheads), pustules (pimples), and nodules (large inflamed papules).

Any combination of the aforementioned types of acne can result in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (slow healing discoloration), giving the illusion of acne long since gone. Scarring (dimpling/pocking/permanent discoloration), can also form due to acne.

In adolescence, acne is caused by an increase in testosterone (androgens), which accrues during puberty, regardless of sex. Yes, women have testosterone too.

In fact, higher levels of testosterone promotes the worst, most difficult type of acne to treat, cystic acne. These appear as massive, inflamed red nodules along the chin line.

And ok, yes, for most people, once their hormones have balanced out, the acne does diminish or lessen over time. But there are people who suffer with it well into their 40′s and beyond.

Some people are just predisposed to have acne over others. Along with hormones skin-surface bacteria does play a role, and acne develops as a result of blockages in the follicles.

Dead cells are meant to desquamate (slough off). When they don’t properly shed they can accumulate within the pores and around hair follicles (hyperkeratinization), forming a commingled plug of keratin (natural protein), sebum (natural oil), and the dead cells. The cohesion of the protein, oil, and cells can block or cap the follicle or clog up the sebaceous duct.

In these conditions, the naturally occurring bacterium Propionibacterium acnes that thrives in the depths of our pores become inflamed. This leads to a variety of infected, inflammatory lesions in the dermis. When the bacteria provokes the immune system it results in swollen, red bumps.

Lorde, an apparent sufferer of acne, joins the leagues of other celebrities who’ve revealed their would-be flaws. Along with Lorde, other celebrities who have battled with acne, as reported by the Huffington Post, include Britney Spears, Rihanna, Cameron Diaz, Katy Perry, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

via Business 2 Community

How Do You “Celebrate” World Backup Day?

How Do You “Celebrate” World Backup Day? image IMG 5086 EditMarch 31st is officially “World Backup Day“, a day that is intended to raise awareness of the need for constant and diligent data protection. So what does one do on World Backup Day? For many, the answer may be “nothing special” since they’re already backing up their data daily or better. For others, they may be looking at how to start or improve backups for their home or small business, and that’s great because in today’s digital world everyone has something that’s worth keeping. Now, if you’re reading my blog posts, then you probably already have backups in place, and maybe even data replication and other availability tools. So, what do you do on World Backup Day?

My recommendation? Test your recovery process. While World Backup Day is a great reason to test your backups, to be honest, I’d recommend you do it more than once a year. Backups are not worth a thing if you can’t use them to recover your data. Making a backup plan in the easy part, and it’s easy to walk away at just that. With any luck, you’ll never need more than that security blanket of knowing that you have a copy of your data. Don’t be caught discovering that you can’t recover your data when you really need it though. Remember, it’s “backup and recovery”, and you can’t have one without the other.

Another good thing to consider is what’s known as the “3,2,1 Rule” of backups. In short, you should have three copies of your data, across two different media types, with at least one copy off-site. With the number of cloud-based storage and cloud-based backup options available today, this is something that ever company from small to large should be able to accomplish easily. Consider, at the very least, backing up your data locally and replicating that into the cloud or a second data-center if you have one available.

One other “rule” that I recommend keeping in mind is the “X-1″ rule of data backups. That is to always assume that you have one less copy of your data than you think you do. Storage fails, recovery fails, and something always goes wrong. So, if you have three copies of your data, trust that you can count on two. If you have only two copies of your data, trust that you have only one. If you have only copy of your data, well, you’re going to get burned. This is really an extension, or a foundation, of the 3,2,1 Rule above, but it is a good thing to remember when you’re planning out your backup (and recovery!) processes.

There are many good backup options out there. Some of them are even free or ridiculously inexpensive, especially those suited for home and small businesses. Recovery as a Service (RaaS or DRaaS) is a common MSP offering for SMB’s, as well high-availability and failover to the cloud. Given the high cost of business downtime, and the potentially fatal consequences of data loss, there is really no reason not to have invested in a good backup policy for your business critical data and applications.

Today is World Backup Day. Don’t let another day go by without backing up your data. Technology moves fast, things do break, and data can be lost in the blink of an eye. Don’t lose what’s important to you. In the words from an old 80′s television show, “Let’s be careful out there.”

via Business 2 Community

The Headless Horseman of the Apocalypse: The New Facebook Business Page

The Headless Horseman of the Apocalypse: The New Facebook Business Page image New Facebook Business Page

Earlier this month, Facebook announced an overhaul to the look of its business pages. The goal: To create a streamlined new Facebook business page that makes the life of a marketer much easier. When I first heard about this, I was pretty excited. I thought: Facebook cares about me? Really? That’s so kind of them to consider my daily hardships as a social media marketer. I’m always game for anything that makes my life easier. I have a hard time just doing the dishes.

While Facebook’s team probably doesn’t care if I clean my dishes, I suppose that they do care about my experience with their tool. That said, it’s probably time to give this new layout a closer look. Let’s explore what’s changing and what it all means for your business.

Here are some of the latest page updates:

  1. Only one, chronological column for posts – hooray! No more darting your eyes back and forth when looking through your page’s posts. The idea is to make the Page more consistent with the news feed.

  2. You can view key information, such as notifications, messages and current ads from anywhere on the page. There are also clearly marked navigation tabs added at the top left to access activity, insights and settings.

  3. There’s a new feature called Pages to Watch that allows any page to follow similar pages and view insights of their key stats. This feature is cool (though a little stalker-ish) and might give your business page some better insight on how to interact with similar brands – which is what we think that Facebook is trying to accomplish here. (HINT: Great for Cross-Promotion)

  4. Rumors were swirling that they might be eliminated, but the page tabs will still be available. This is good news for all of those businesses that rely on them or spent money on some sweet custom graphics

The Headless Horseman of the Apocalypse: The New Facebook Business Page image Facebook Page Recommendation

The new Pages to Watch function on Facebook makes is possible to view the basic stats of your competitors.

In case you’re wondering how updates might impact your traffic or overall engagement with your audience – I did a little digging into that as well.

Though this page update is a good way to get some consistency with desktop and mobile versions of the site, Facebook business Pages continues to get hit. The site has been designed such that business’ who purchase ads are going to get more likes and possibly more engagement over pages trying to achieve those results organically.

According to a Time article posted last week, a recent study of 100 brand Pages conducted by Ogilvy & Mather found that companies’ posts dropped from reaching 12 percent of their followers in October to just 6 percent in February. What’s more, the blog Valleywag is reporting that Facebook is planning to decrease those numbers further to around 1 or 2 percent in the future.

Those numbers are a little scary, especially when a lot of hard work has gone into developing an audience of brand enthusiasts. The idea of relying on paid advertising on social media to get seen is a little unsavory and might not sit well for small businesses. But, here are some things you can do to stave off buying ads for the moment:

  • Post Well, Post Often, Post to Engage

    Depending on who’s doling it out, this advice changes all of the time. I do, however, like the way they put it over at Tabsite: The vast majority of user time on Facebook, over 65%, is in the News Feed. So your Page must post to reach your audience in the News Feed. Use Insights to know when your fans are on Facebook and post well, post often (at least 3-5x a day) and post to engage! Content matters. Your audience is following you for a reason – so give them the content that they want.

  • Provide User Friendly Experience

    Something that looks good or works on the desktop might not work on mobile. It’s important to make sure anything you post can be seen and is clickable regardless of the method. This is particularly important for giveaways, downloads, etc. If a user finds it too difficult to access information, they are going to be done with you.

Facebook makes changes in the blink of an eye and as a social media marketer, it’s vitally important to keep up with their moods. Continuing to provide your followers with amazing content is the best way to get them to stand by your side; if they love you and your content, they’ll seek you out, no matter what updates Facebook makes.

The Headless Horseman of the Apocalypse: The New Facebook Business Page image c16495f1 6fab 4a6d bcca 99abbb1bd3b43

via Business 2 Community

Pharrell Joins ‘The Voice’ As Season 7 Coach

Pharrell recently sold his infamous Grammy’s hat for charity to none other than Arby’s, and today became the new coach on Season 7 of The Voice.

The official Twitter account and Pharrell tweeted out the news, and fans appear to be onboard with the new addition:

In February, longtime coach CeeLo announced he was leaving The Voice to work on other projects:

“I’m going to continue my relationship with NBC. I have a television show development deal with them as well and hopefully some other talk show opportunities for later in the year. But yeah, I’m going to miss ‘The Voice’ too.”

Usher, who joined the show in 2012, chimed in about Pharrell joining the team:

While season 6 of The Voice is still underway, fans can expect to see Pharrell on the stage, and planted in the show’s signature chair very soon.

Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group

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How To Make Meetings Suck Less!

How To Make Meetings Suck Less! image how to make meetings suck less

I’m really not a big fan of meetings.

They’re always slow and awkward to start, there’s very little progress that gets made in meetings, and they always seem to appear at the worst times.

I also think that too many people lack good meeting etiquette, and most meetings can be solved by email or group chat.

If it’s absolutely necessary to have meetings, at least you can follow these tips to have effective meetings.

What it essentially boils down to, is treating people with respect (and listening to them), not making meetings that never end, and ideally having a clear agenda.

1. Respect People’s Time

Paul Graham (from Y Combinator) wrote an essay about how people who make things need large blocks of uninterrupted time.

This is quite different from a manager’s schedule, who is used to being in meetings all day, and almost gets off on the fact that they can tell everyone how many meetings they’re attending.

Out of respect for people who actually do things, only schedule meetings early in the day.

I’ve heard people say that you should either schedule meetings early in the day, or later in the day, but not both.

While I somewhat agree with that, it’s been proven that we’re our most creative in the morning.

If you want people to actually come up with good ideas, and be creative in your meeting, then schedule it in the morning.

And since you’re taking their precious time away from them, get them breakfast.

Something as simple as coffee and donuts will do the trick, and they’re pretty inexpensive.

Also, make sure to have an agenda. If you called a meeting, you better have a good plan for how to conduct the meeting.

Respecting your employees time is guaranteed to increase employee engagement.

2. Be Open To Ideas From Others

I’d like to first reference a study that I found online that really spoke to me, based on previous experience.

Leonard Karakowsky conducted a study, and found that senior leaders were more aggressive and vocal in meetings. I can tell you from personal experience, that this is 100% true.

What the study found was that this destroyed any chance of innovation inside the company, because the more the rest of the group disagreed, the louder and more aggressive the senior leader would become.

Here are some tips to motivate employees.

This leads to an environment where the only ideas in the room ever being shared are theirs. Obviously this doesn’t work.

There are two solutions to this that I can think of, but both involve being open and listening to other members of your team.

The first is kind of creative, but will give you really unique insight into whatever problem or issue you’re trying to solve. Suppose this is a technical problem, maybe you’re trying to figure out what to do with a certain page on the company website.

After “brainstorming” with the design team, and not having any luck, try going to someone or a group of people in a completely different department. This might seem like a crazy idea at first, but you’d be surprised at what kind of insight they could give you.

And treat them like they were the design team, meaning take them through the entire problem from beginning to end, as if they were the ones responsible to solve it.

The second idea is to create a space where employees can feel safe to say anything and not be judged or ridiculed. Not only create this space, but actively communicate that this is the case, and encourage anyone and everyone to participate.

Once you remove the fear element, people will be much more likely to come up with creative ideas to help solve problems.

I obviously am a big fan of flat hierarchies, but even if your organization isn’t flat, make this meeting space flat.

As crazy as this sounds, encourage a low level employee to feel comfortable challenging an idea that a senior VP came up with.

It’s through this type of open, transparent communication that real innovation happens.

3. Get Creative About How You Do Meetings

Meetings are so boring, why not spice them up a little? Imagine doing a meeting on Google Hangouts instead of a boring conference room.

That way everyone can be right in front of their computers, and could potentially look something up as the discussion is happening.

Another idea is to try a walking meeting, especially if it’s a nice day out and there aren’t too many people in the meeting.

This change of atmosphere can be a nice way to spark creativity.

Remember to keep your meetings short, seriously. If it’s something that will require a large amount of time, space it out into a few different meetings.

First of all, constraint breeds creativity, and second of all, the mind loses focus after about 45 minutes.

If you’re looking to discover how other great companies (like Apple and Google) run their meetings, check out this great article from 99U.

I’d also recommend embracing technology to help you with all aspects of the meeting, from scheduling it to recapping it. Here are a few to check out:

What Do You Do To Have Effective Meetings?

In a perfect world, you would never need to have meetings about anything, but since we have to have meetings, we should try and do everything we can to make them as effective as possible.

Any tips you can share about having effective meetings? Let me know in the comments!

via Business 2 Community

How to Live on Loyalty Rewards

How to Live on Loyalty Rewards image PDC Infographic600x4994

There are moments in your life where you can no longer feel the level of self-confidence to make you want to do more in life. You might be feeling powerful right now and feel like you’re invincible, but that could change in one blink. Remember Jasmine in Blue Jasmine? She was so confident that her life wouldn’t change that when it eventually did, it caught her off-guard. Do not be like her. Be prepared, and now is the perfect time to be just that.

Being prepared means you can survive whatever difficulty, challenge or obstacle. The universe is so weird and unknown that you can never predict what’s going to happen to you tomorrow. And if you prepare yourself right now by collecting loyalty points that you can exchange for basic necessities when all the safety measures go down during, say, another personal crisis, you know you still have some little money to exchange with goods. Learn more about loyalty points and how you can survive with it.


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Jeff Barrett: Don’t Be Afraid to Use the F-Word in Social Media

We all tiptoe around the f-word. Failure, that is. Though, if you haven’t failed in business, you haven’t tried.

No one starts a business thinking about how they will fail; they think about all the ways they will succeed. It is the excitement about potential success that creates hope and motivates entrepreneurs.

80% of businesses fail in the first 18 months. There are a variety of reasons why a business doesn’t work. They run out of capital, the business model isn’t sound, they move on to another idea, they meet unexpected competition and more.

Failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can’t be avoided. It can be learned from.

Social media breeds self-promotion. Whether it’s personal branding or humble brags, people want to put their best foot forward. That makes perfect sense. There is nothing wrong with that.

Though, that means we never talk about our shortcomings. Some of us rarely think about them. Yet, we all have them. Those who are successful on social media (and otherwise) address them, learn from them. When they start a business they don’t just think of all the ways they will be successful. They think about all the ways they could fail.

We all know that person who talks about all the things they will buy when they are successful. That person rarely becomes successful. It is the person who focuses on the details, addresses all their points of weakness that becomes successful.

I’ll be speaking at Michigan State University this week about failure. Failure Lab, is a speaking event that aims to eliminate the fear of failure and encourage intelligent risk taking. Think of it as TED in reverse. In this speech I will be sharing my own personal and professional failures.

When I first started my business, I focused on all the things I did right. When I talked to colleagues or mentors I didn’t try to become better, I tried to prove I was better. When I discovered shortcomings, I didn’t address them.

It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, to admit you don’t know everything. My business didn’t start succeeding until I started asking people I trusted (mentors, colleagues, even competitors) for their insight. This is how I became better at what I do, how I learned to start connecting dots, how I started providing even more value in relationships. I learned from them and learned that I could also share what I did know well with others. Every time someone approaches me asking me for my insight, I provide it.

Like some in my generation, I have a strong case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I’m the last person you would expect to preach moderation in social media. In the last three years, I have produced more tweets than miles on my car.

Still, there is a balance in social media. Creating attention is good. Craving attention isn’t. I’m guilty of the latter sometimes. I’m sure I’m not alone.

The goal of social media isn’t how much attention you can get on social media. It’s how much attention you can get outside of social media. Social media efforts should always lead people to an action whether that be in commerce or connections. It’s easy to lose sight of that sometimes.

We all fail. Those who succeed, aren’t afraid to fail. They aren’t afraid to admit they have.

via Business 2 Community

What Qualities Make a Difference in Customer-Facing Employees?

What Qualities Make a Difference in Customer Facing Employees? image customer facing employeesSay you’re purchasing a new cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system for your company. You’re faced with similar product options, and the pricing structure is comparable. At company A, the sales rep is helpful, but not very engaging. He is knowledgeable, but isn’t very friendly, doesn’t follow up, and you can tell that though the sales rep knows the product well, he isn’t particularly enthusiastic.

At company B, the sales rep is passionate, knowledgeable, engaged, and pleasant to work with, without being too hard on the sell. You know, from brief experiences with both sales reps, that company B will be much easier to work with.

Which company’s product will you choose?

With cost and product features being similar, your choice isn’t even a contest. You’ll go with company B. After all, you recognize that being able to get assistance, product updates, and having your questions answered will go much smoother with the sales rep from company B.

In this situation, the sales rep from company A didn’t do anything “wrong” per se, but there was a lack of engagement, which became clear when contrasted with the rep from company B. This gets you thinking: What is it, exactly, that separates a great sales rep from a mediocre one?

Let’s look at the qualities of standout customer-facing employees so that you can understand what areas to train your employees in, and what to look for when hiring.

Pride in the job

Employees with certain temperaments may naturally display more pride in their work, but for many employees, their level of pride will be a reflection of the workplace. Do you offer training so that your employees are knowledgeable and confident about their product? Are the employees treated well, given adequate time-off, and respected? Do you specifically tell your employees to show their pride when dealing with customers? Customers notice employee pride, so when hiring and training, make sure this quality is one of the top characteristics that comes through.

Your company values should shine through

Your employees will have different personality characteristics and ways of handling customers, but they should all be able to work off of your core company and brand values. In other words, your customer-facing employees need to be able to show a united front. Do they make decisions based off of your corporate ethos? Employees should be able to think creatively and flexibly, but your job is to ensure that they understand what your company stands for. Customers should not get drastically different experiences from different employees. Make sure your employees are able to demonstrate your values. Put effort into communicating and training your employees so they reflect your company culture.

A flexible attitude

Flexibility is a personality characteristic and a quality that can be encouraged. Customer-facing employees should be able to adapt, think out-of-the box, take on new adventures, and adjust to changes. When dealing with customers – who can be frustrating or demanding – customer-facing employees need to demonstrate a way to modify and come up with solutions. Rigid, uncompromising personality types do not do as well in customer-facing roles; make sure you take note of this when you are screening applicants.


Empathy can be improved through soft-skills training, but some employees definitely have an innate knack at showing empathy. Empathic employees make customers feel valued, and even when the employee can’t directly solve the problem, the employee shows that he or she understands and validates the customer’s concerns.

A friendly personality goes a long way

Friendliness is one of those qualities that seems straightforward, but if you think back to your own experiences with customer service reps, you can probably name situations where customer service reps were not friendly and didn’t have a light attitude. In customer-facing roles, people want to look forward to working with a rep, and when your employees radiate a friendly attitude, this can make all of the difference.

Friendliness is certainly a quality you can look for when hiring, but it’s also a characteristic worth pointing out and encouraging when you are training your reps.

Employee-facing employees are the face of your brand

Remember the example from company A and company B in the beginning of this article? A good employee really can make the difference in a purchase decision. The qualities of customer-facing employees should not be discounted, and don’t make the mistake of thinking that employees will just “improve” with time. When screening and hiring, look for employees who show the characteristics highlighted above, and then spend time training and arranging your work environment to get the best out of your employees. Your customer-facing employees can truly make or break a sale, and they are the face of your brand, so it’s worth investing in employees who will represent your company in the best light.

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Click Fraud Isn’t New: And Here’s How to Avoid It

Click Fraud Isn’t New: And Here’s How to Avoid It image 3933748843 fd7822767b bClick fraud isn’t new. Savvy marketers have known about it for some time. But the amount of fraud is so staggering – and the digital marketing industry’s response so lackadaisical – that the situation is approaching a tipping point that is sure to drive changes in media buying.

The Wall Street Journal picked up the topic in a recent article, reporting that “36% of all Web traffic is considered fake, the product of computers hijacked by viruses and programmed to visit sites.” This represents billions of dollars wasted every year on advertising seen only by bots and not the desired end users. This behavior is a byproduct of some perverse incentives by those who sell this media and poor oversight and analytics from the buyers.

At Acceleration Partners we’ve been very proactive and vocal about addressing and limiting fraud in online marketing. How? By taking the power away from bots and algorithms and empowering actual people. It’s not hard for companies to protect the integrity of their brands and prevent fraud—they just need their marketers to actually know where their dollars are spent and how their programs are running. They also need to ask questions when things don’t make sense and not be confused by complicated responses that don’t actually answer the question directly.

Know Where Your Ads Are Running

First and foremost, marketers need to understand where their ads are being placed. Lack of visibility opens brands up to fraud and also improper representation of the brand. The goal is to place ads on quality sites with content relevant to the brand. When marketers take the time to look at sites where their ads are running, this is usually obvious.

Part of this entails being vigilant about what ad networks and DSP’s you use. It is important to screen networks for trustworthiness and to avoid networks that place ads on hundreds or thousands of sites without proper visibility At the end of the day a human being may often need to be involved in making the call about whether a site is relevant enough to an ad and excluding those that aren’t and it takes sophisticated technology to monitor and detect fraud in what is an ongoing arm’s race.

CPA Is the Ideal Payment Model

One way to cut down on fraud is to pay for an actual sale or lead instead of a click. This cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model is ideal, but it won’t be possible to implement across the board. The next best thing is a cost-per-click (CPC) model followed by cost-per-impression (CPI). It’s important to note that there are no hard and fast rules. Fraud is still possible in a CPA model, it’s just harder to pull off than click and impression fraud as it requires a sale. However, each channel needs to be looked at under an ROI lens and at some point reviewed by human eyes. Also, no matter what type of media you are buying, your reporting should measure that media on a CPA basis, especially for e-commerce and ideally with multi-channel attribution to ensure that the spend is incremental.

Watch for Outliers

Make sure someone is watching for data that is outside of the norm, especially in display advertising. For example, if the click-through rate (CTR) from a site is well above the industry standard of 0.2% to 0.25%, that could very well be an indication of fraud. The same goes for huge spikes of traffic from a site without any apparent cause or relevance to the brand.

Looking at geography can also help. With both display and affiliate marketing, a good way to detect fraud is to look at traffic by country. Large amounts of traffic from Russia, India or Southeast Asia to a site that targets U.S. customers could also indicate fraud, especially if conversion rates or related metrics for that traffic are well below normal.

Understand Who Is Promoting Your Brand

In affiliate marketing especially, we believe it’s important to know who is promoting your brand. Develop a relationship with your best affiliates so that if something looks questionable, there’s a real person to ask about it and work with to address the problem. A person-to-person relationship can go a long way toward making sure promotion is consistent with the brand image.

In large part, the current fraud crisis is due to the fact that human beings have been removed from large chunks of the digital marketing process. Last year, for example, more than half of display ad buys were made using automated systems. By 2017 that number is expected to grow to 80%. If humans are carefully overseeing this automation, this can work, but too often the machines are left to do things on their own which has both brand and fraud implications. The marketing world now has plenty of big data, what we need is really smart people reviewing this data and using their judgment to limit fraud and ensure brand relevance in digital marketing. This way companies can expect stronger ROI on all their paid performance marketing programs.

Photo via JD Hancock on Flickr.

via Business 2 Community

Voss Launches Facebook App To Keep An Eye On Clean Water Projects

Voss Water may be known for its premium product that carries a premium price, but the company also has its own foundation to support clean water projects.

Simply called the Voss Foundation, a new Facebook app looks to keep fans informed on various clean water projects in Africa.

Currently, Voss has six initiatives going in Mali, Liberia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Swaziland.

Facebook users can see an interactive map, and clicking on a country provides more information such as the project overview.

Voss Launches Facebook App To Keep An Eye On Clean Water Projects image voss water projects

You can also view a photo gallery of the initiative, and read more about the real lives that are being impacted.

Here are just a few highlights of how Voss Water has been able to help:

In Mali: Over 100 women are able to grow and sell produce from the Women’s Association Garden, doubling their income.

In Liberia: A water pump is located just 12 feet from a newly constructed assisted living facility, removing the need to travel long distances for water.

In Kenya: Although two tribes have historically not gotten along, access to clean water has helped to ease tensions and bring peace.

To date, the Voss Foundation has helped to build 68 water access points, impacting the lives of over 100,000 people.

Some 300 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa still lack access to clean water, and to learn more about Voss’ mission, you can visit their website here.

via Business 2 Community

PR Is The New SEO

A decade ago, even 5 years ago, SEO used to be easy. Go out, place a bunch of links in some blog comments or send out some mass emails to webmasters promoting your site, get links rolling in, and wait for Google to reward your cleverness with high search rankings. You didn’t even have to have intelligible content on your website, you just needed a lot of links of any quality to your site and you’d win. Those days are long gone. Today, using tactics from even just a couple of years ago can not only fail to boost your rankings, but outright cause real harm to your website and corporate brand.

For example, in the last 2 years, Google has iterated its algorithm over 40 times that we know of publicly (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird) to increasingly devalue any SEO trick that can be automated . Everything from keyword stuffing in press releases to spammy guest blog posts has been targeted by Google for punishment.

So what’s a brand that relies on organic search to do? It turns out that what Google values the most – links and mentions from high quality, high reputation sites – is exactly what competent public relations professionals have been doing for decades. Think about it for a second.

  • The goal of public relations is to create attention, awareness, and trust by getting other people to talk about your brand.

  • The goal of SEO now is to create attention, awareness, and trust by getting search engines to display your brand near or at the top of search rankings for relevant keywords and terms.

Both PR and SEO are all about getting other people to recognize that you have something to contribute to your industry. PR and SEO have almost identical processes: reach out to relevant publications, make a timely, targeted, relevant pitch to the publisher, provide great content to the publisher’s audience, and get accreditation for your work. The only significant difference is that SEO folks are usually more vigilant about getting a link in an article than PR folks; otherwise, the processes are about the same.

The outcome is the same as well – attracting new, relevant audiences to your brand. It doesn’t matter whether someone visits your website from a print magazine article or a Google search – at the end of the day, you want them to visit your website by any means permissible.

So if PR and SEO are functionally the same thing, what does this mean for both? If the processes are the same and the outcomes are the same, then the same people should be managing both for maximum synergy. SEO doesn’t belong in the marketing department – it belongs in your public relations and media relations department. PR shouldn’t ever work in a silo, either. Your SEO teams should be working side by side with your PR teams to ensure you have common research, messaging, creatives, and content (all part of the same earned media hub).

On a practical level, PR can teach SEO folks how to pitch better. PR folks generally have better media tools like Cision, Vocus (client), Sysomos, etc. for finding high quality publications to pitch, and the best PR professionals are supremely good at building and maintaining long-term friendly relationships with their media contacts. Conversely, SEO folks generally have better research tools like Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, etc. for identifying early trends, niche topics, and important words and phrases that should be common across a brand’s media properties.

Here’s a very practical example: log into your brand’s Google Webmaster Tools account and look at the search terms that you’re getting a lot of traction for. If you haven’t already created content to pitch about those terms, start writing!

PR Is The New SEO image 13518376415 f13a59aeb6

If your PR team and your SEO team aren’t working together, chances are you’re not going to reap the benefits of having each specialty. If you have a PR agency that is unaware of SEO tools and methods, they won’t be able to do as good a job as an agency that does. If you have an SEO agency or team that isn’t coordinating with PR, sit them down in a room together for an hour each week and have them do their editorial calendars and pitching schedules as one team. Assuming that everyone understands that they’re on the same team, your results from both disciplines should improve dramatically.

PR Is The New SEO image blog banner2 540 pixels10

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Smarketing: How to Utilize Dashboards and Reporting

Smarketing: How to Utilize Dashboards and Reporting image smarketing how to use dashboards and reporting 300x168The key to creating a successful Smarketing team is to monitor daily and monthly progress through reports and dashboards, which document each team’s activity.

Once you have established a Service Level Agreement, or SLA, you will know what both the sales and marketing teams are responsible for on a monthly basis. Dashboards will take the data from your closed-loop reporting system and turn it into a daily snapshot of the team’s progress toward those goals.

This data should be shared with the entire Smarketing team, so both the sales and marketing departments will be less likely to fall behind on their objectives. Over time, turn these daily updates into monthly progress reports to give a detailed look at your strategy’s success rate. Kev and I will explain everything you need to know about dashboards and reporting in this week’s video!

Love marketing as much as we do? Subscribe to Synecore Tech’s YouTube Channel for the latest tips and tricks on all things marketing!

Smarketing: How to Utilize Dashboards and Reporting image cdb2d75d c499 467c 9ad6 4a0e56f177f444

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3 Sneaky Tools Marketers Never Share

Let me tell you a little story.

I had three dogs at one point in my life: Lucky, Brownie, and my current dog Cocoa.

3 Sneaky Tools Marketers Never Share image lucky

3 Sneaky Tools Marketers Never Share image brownie

(Hey, believe it or not, he actually enjoyed me holding him this way. He’d fall asleep. Maybe he was being affixiated. Eh, same difference.)

3 Sneaky Tools Marketers Never Share image cocoa

I’ve had to endure the experience of losing Lucky TWICE and Cocoa once.

Yes, THREE times in less than 2 years.

The first time was Lucky, and it took about a week.

The second time was Lucky again (yes, not so “lucky”)… and that was 4 days.

The third time was Cocoa and it took two days (actually, this story went viral and was covered on ESPN & CSN because a NHL hockey player and his wife found him).

3 Sneaky Tools Marketers Never Share image joe pavelski san jose shark finds lost dog taewoo

Now, did I become a professional dog hunter? Well, I’d like to think so, but no. Dogs aren’t stationary tools that you carry with you. They have their own mind and legs to move around.

No, the reason why I got “better” was because my tools got better. Or rather, how I used those tools to achieve my means.

The first time, I relied heavily on the traditional methods – flyers, posters, door to door knocking, etc.

I was already doing lots of marketing & advertising, so I thought on 3rd day, ‘hey why not do this to find my dog?’

2nd and 3rd time, I went as far as doing EDDM (every door direct mail by US postal service) SMS broadcast, Facebook ads, etc.).

Finding a lost dog is slightly easier, but comparable to finding anything online.

The tools are there.

You just have to figure out how you’re going to use it and WHAT you’re going to use it for.

1) Reverse IP lookup on Bing

3 Sneaky Tools Marketers Never Share image bing ip reverse lookup

All websites are hosted somewhere, and those host servers have IP addresses.

In Bing, if you type in “ip:aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd” (i.e. aaa….ddd being the IP in question), it will tell you what other websites are hosted on that IP address.

Case Scenario A

For example, suppose you’re doing search marketing (i.e. pay per click) in a vertical where you have a gut sense that there are people bidding for the same keywords using multiple domains to dominate the search results page. This is against most search networks (“double serving policy”), and one entity is not supposed to have more than 1 account.

You can “ping” the destination URLs… get their IP and reverse IP look up on bing.

More often than not, you’ll notice people hosting multiple websites on one server. So if you know and are on same IP and you see them showing up on the search results page ads for simlar keywords, voila! You most likely found this person violating search engines’ TOS.

Don’t be a “rat”, but remember, rats are evil.

Case Scenario B

Another example… suppose you find your content scraped & hosted without properly giving you the credit with a back link. (Content scraping is a huge EVIL business and the search engines are still fighting this)

You try emailing, contacting, sending cease and desist, and all kinds of stuff.. but they don’t respond. Here’s couple of things you can do

a) Send a letter to the hosting company telling them they’re hosting copyrighted content. 99% of the time, they will comply because they’re not going out of business because one stupid idiot.

b) Do a reverse IP lookup and find out if there are any “parent” looking companies that seem to own this site. Usually content scrapers work in large scale volume and are probably scraping other sites and hosting on their other domains. Find out who they’re scraping as well and contact them to let them know. Not only is group effort better, but you also build up rapport with that other victim who didn’t know that he/she was being victimized.. and might even give you some link love. Two birds, one stone.

2) Disavow Tool

3 Sneaky Tools Marketers Never Share image disavow

If you do any kind of link building, you know that having bad or shady links is bad for you. Panda, Penguin, etc etc. With each update, the search engines are getting smarter about where the traffic should go.

But sometimes, you get bad back links.. whether or not you did it. Most probable cause? Spammers (and your competitors) are probably trying to bring you down so that THEY can rank higher.

Most links can be easily “wiped” by you sending a nice email to the owner of the website you want that link deleted from. But sometimes, they just don’t respond.

In that case, you can use the Google disavow tool to let Google know that specific link is one you want to disavow so that they won’t take that link into consideration.

3) Google Cache

3 Sneaky Tools Marketers Never Share image google cache

If you are using chrome, there’s a command called “cache:”.

You can enter “cache:” into it and it’ll show you the CACHED version of that site. In another words, the “previous” copy that Google is hosting before the latest update.

Case Scenario A

Suppose someone wrote something nasty or factually incorrect about something that you pointed out. Say, you know a government official said something evil and you KNEW it was wrong.

But this is the web and things change split second.

How do you get this copy?

It’s like time archive of websites and it shows WHAT was written.

Case Scenario B

Did you do something stupid like delete a page? Lost the database password and now your CMS can’t connect?

Tada! Now, you have Google cache as a backup.

Yeah, it’s painful to go one by by one, but hey at least you got something.

4) Reverse Image Search

I have a great example for this one.

Are you doing online dating? Are you a girl who just met a guy (or received a pic from him) and he just won’t share who he is or what he does? Or God forbid.. has some kind of crazy criminal record?

Upload his picture into Google image, and it will tell you where on the net that picture (or pictures that resemble that picture) is.

This isn’t fool proof because image recognition technology is still very primitive, but more often than not, people re-use their photo over and over… so while it’s not 100% fail proof, it does work a big chunk of time.

Sweet huh?

Now imagine, you can extend this to marketing prospects.

Did you go to a networking conference and you just forgot who you spoke to? If you have his picture (whether you took it or you downloaded it from the event page), you can upload it and check out his web profile.

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Business Challenges? Tackle Them Like a Startup Founder

Picture this: three people with minimal cash and a bowl of ramen noodles trying to win a share of business in the emerging social media landscape. That was me four years ago, prior to joining Monetate, a startup founder in every sense of the word.Business Challenges? Tackle Them Like a Startup Founder image LG

What I’m learning now, as I talk with marketers from some of the web’s largest brands, is that the challenges they face—lofty goals, tight budgets and heightened competitive landscapes—aren’t all that different from start-ups. What is different, though, is the way startups respond to those challenges.

Woven into the DNA of startup founders is the ability to do more with less while still succeeding in trying conditions. Here are three ways to act like a startup founder within any organization:

1. Make your bet

First Round Capital founder Josh Kopelman asks entrepreneurs to distill their business down to one “bet,” which will lead to success if it hits, or result in a pivot if it doesn’t.

For many of the marketers I speak with, the bet is that putting customers first is the way to win business in digital, and that all strategy should be crafted through this lens. Within your organization, what’s your bet?

2. Form your team

No, I’m not talking about asking for budget to go and hire. I’m talking about Little Giants recruiting. In a startup, you don’t have a ton of cash, or an established product, or a 401K, but only a vision with which to attract talent. This may also be the case in your organization or for your project.

Walk down the hall and find a few smart, hungry people from departments outside your own, buy them a beer, and pitch them your problem/initiative and your vision to solve it. (The beer helps quite a bit here.) Let them know how they can be critical in your success, and how it will benefit their own careers.

3. Think long term, act short term

Building a company is, by definition, a long-term endeavor. But there is ample work to be done in the short term.

In my case, our startup incubator gave us ten weeks to build a social media platform and go-to-market strategy worthy of pitching to 200 investors. The situation within major brands is no different—18 month re-platforming projects are a necessary component of long-term growth. At the same time, you can begin to test assumptions, and enact strategies that effectively win business—and make you a hero—in the short term.

Start-up founders are looking for ways to solve a problem in the market. They are looking for ways to do so with minimal resources. And they are looking for ways to do so as fast as possible. Sound familiar? You may be one at heart.

The Multichannel Email Marketer
Explore different ways to benefit from email campaigns that work in unison with other areas of the organization, connecting two crucial elements that have always been treated separately within organizations—knowledge about the customer and marketing actions to deliver a better experience. Download “The Multichannel Email Marketer.”

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C.R.E.A.M. (Content Rules Everything Around Me) for Wu-Tang Clan

When it comes to innovative content distribution strategy, Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to f*** with. The legendary hip-hop collective is made up of content distribution pioneers, releasing classic albums both together and separately to maximize visibility and influence. C.R.E.A.M. (Content Rules Everything Around Me) for Wu Tang Clan image wu tang content distribution

And the Wu is changing the game again. After more than 20 years in the game, Wu-Tang is crafting a new album, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, and selling just a single copy; although there will be no reproductions of the album, fans will be able to listen to it in museums and galleries during a tour. The goal is to push listeners to rediscover “music as art, hoping the approach will help restore it to a place alongside great visual works.”

But this move also gives Wu-Tang an advantage over its competition in today’s streaming and subscription-based music industry: it changes the way new listeners see the group and its product, uses exclusivity to drive demand, and gives its loyal base a reason to bring its back catalog to new audiences. And that’s all before anyone hears the album.

Bringing the ruckus: a new kind of user experience

Before selling Once Upon A Time In Shaolin to a single owner, Wu-Tang plans to take the one-of-a-kind show on the road to museums and galleries, charging listeners between $30 and $50. By creating an environment in which the album is part of a larger multimedia experience, the group could influence the way hip-hop is viewed in the mainstream industry.

The group’s reach into mainstream pop culture has grown throughout the decades, with its members composing soundtracks and acting in TV shows and films. But the highbrow atmosphere of modern art has room for hip-hop; Jay-Z proved just that with his performance of “Picasso Baby,” which attracted a diverse list of visitors, lent legitimacy to the genre and brought it to new and seemingly unlikely audiences.

Protecting ya neck: an exclusive invitation to the 36 Chambers

So, how does creating an album that only one person can own a savvy content distribution strategy? Once Upon A Time In Shaolin does two things: it forces audience members to take action to listen to the album, and it encourages hardcore Wu fans to share the group’s earlier catalog with new listeners. By making music an active pastime—and offering active fans something other than a simple concert—Wu-Tang can use its most devoted fans to promote its entire body of work.

Leaking an upcoming album is now considered an effective promotion strategy, but Wu-Tang’s approach will make it all but impossible for lazy listeners to get a preview of the work. Event attendees will likely have to pass through security in order to listen to the album, and people who don’t attend will have to rely on the lucky few to tell them about the experience.

That gives true fans a reason to talk about the upcoming events on social media and blogs, creating instant earned media from brand advocates. The earned media created by those brand advocates is sure to encourage folks to listen to the Wu’s extensive catalog, which will give both new and devoted listeners a reason to find and purchase the group’s music.

The digital revolution has changed the music industry many times over in the past decade. Musicians are still finding ways to make money with their art—and they’re learning that the content they create needs the right distribution strategy in order to pay dividends. With the right staging, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin could become a hip-hop masterpiece for how it’s distributed as well as how it sounds.

Image credit:

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What Wikipedia Doesn’t Tell You About CRM

What Wikipedia Doesn’t Tell You About CRM image social crm

In order to build relationships with clients, the customer service role has to encompass a series of services that corresponds to pre-sales, sales, and after sales care. Upselling of your products and services is also a part of these blanketed obligations. The core responsibility of the customer service agent lies at the front line. They are the chosen ones who are in direct contact with customers.

Nonetheless, the ability to build relationships with customers is the key to success for any form of business. The quality of customer service care and the experience that it brings about to potential and current customers are what make your clients come back for more.

Having people skills is a must in any sales or customer service organization. The way your company moves in order to adjust and adopt new communication methods and channels help set the tone for the essence of your customer’s experience. Apart from training, customer service agents should be empowered with tools that enable troubleshooting and decision making in the quickest and most efficient manner. This is where Client Relationship Management (CRM) tools come in. Because customers are the lifeblood of your organization, you need the right systems to handle all of their data.

The Importance of CRM Tools

Through CRM platforms and data applications, you can provide a seamless integration of all channels of communication that your company utilizes. These platforms are capable of sending and consolidating data in real time regardless of location. Analysis becomes easier; you can personalize communication, segment contacts and resolve any outstanding cases much more quickly to the benefit of your customers’ satisfaction.

Field-based company representatives benefit from CRM platforms because the processing times of inquiries, requests, and purchase orders are sped up-significantly. Tracking your orders becomes simpler, while managing customers becomes more tailored.

At the same time, the elements of communication between company representatives and customers correlates to your chosen CRM platform design. Although it does not have to be extremely sophisticated, the system should have the capacity to integrate multiple devices within a single access point.

Furthermore, CRM data tools and applications should be lightweight with lowered bandwidth use and fewer data storage requirements. This is because they increase accessibility and portability. User-friendly CRM platforms require less training, as well.

Types of CRM Platforms

Start-up business ventures, small businesses, and enterprise businesses all benefit from CRM tools. They create a process flow specific to various department levels. This helps in tracking business leads and converting leads into sales, which is what you want. It also enables a smooth transition of requests from one department to the other, making sales processes, work flow, follow-ups, and customer feedback less complex.

Mobile CRM

The most prominent theme of 2014 will be mobile CRM. Most companies equip employees with a mobile device that run on SMS and/or GPRS. The biggest benefit is that voice and data communications allow real time collaboration. It also gives your customers direct access to representatives, anytime, anywhere.

Social CRM

Social CRM conveys a more complex process flow, but one that is a standout in the CRM world. This type does not simply deal with accessibility that goes from point A or point B or business-to-business. Instead, it encompasses a larger audience and focuses more on content rather than a defined process flow. For example, Social CRM uses outlets such as forums, Twitter and Facebook to appeal to the more emotional side of customers.

Basic CRM is predictive in nature. Steps and processes can easily be determined, and cases can be treated independently. On the other hand, Social CRM, is highly unpredictable, and capabilities depend on the end user. These facets of Social CRM require content management geared toward customer relationship building to be fruitful.

With Social CRM being a new and evolving technology for customer experience management, out of the box solutions that feature new software and applications are now in demand. CRM tools that come with features that are intuitive and responsive may perhaps be the answer to this need.

Cloud-based CRM

Cloud-based CRM is a cost efficient alternative to standard platforms. These enable companies to save on data storage costs since they are taken care of for you. Accessibility to data is also increased because this platform is not device specific. With no more than Internet access, you can reach your client accounts. You don’t need any built-in software or applications to run it either.

There are even cloud-based CRM platforms that can be implemented free of charge for a limited number of users with a minimal storage capacity. This type of platform is ideal for start-up companies and small businesses. Larger companies with multiple remote offices can also find cloud-based CRM platforms more convenient to use.

Current CRM Trends

Today, intelligent CRM technologies allow access to various types of data in real time. Additionally, these trends specifically offer the following key features that enable a user-friendly experience within the following aspects:

  • Seamless integration of various communication channels both in the platform and network.

  • Faster and easier consolidation of data with real time analysis.

  • Increased data storage at a lower cost.

  • Enhanced productivity.

  • Real time online collaboration with customers and potential customers.

  • Decreased training requirements.

  • Online presence management.

  • Augmented personalized customer interaction.

With the expected progression and evolving technologies designed around multiple CRM platforms as well as its usability in various processes within and outside an organization, the line between customer service relations and marketing and the corresponding responsibilities are now blurred or even overlapping. This now poses the question of which department holds the responsibility for Social CRM? Moreover, is there a need to come up with an entirely new department to manage a company’s or a brand’s online presence in social media?

There is no question that traditional customer service programs, which analyze sales and customer actions for predictive results will also be crucial to marketing, sales and customer service. The new CRM platforms such as social and mobile CRM do not replace these methodologies, but they empower and add to their capabilities instead. In order to attain company prosperity, you need both client data, such as sales, along with feedback. So, how do you plan to update your CRM systems this year?

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New (And Fake) Toronto Mayoral Candidates Promise To Just Smoke Weed (Hoax)

New (And Fake) Toronto Mayoral Candidates Promise To Just Smoke Weed (Hoax) image jeff mcelroy

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has set a pretty low bar for all of his successors to the end of time, but that doesn’t mean that a bunch of potheads are now running to replace him, eh.

The top image comes from reddit’s frontpage, and features “Jeff McElroy,” a supposed candidate to replace Rob Ford who promises to “keep it green” if he is elected mayor. Though taken as a real campaign sign, Mr. McElroy is not a real candidate, and his sign is one of a series erected in Toronto Monday by the group No Ford Nation, an anti-Rob Ford (sorry, “pro-Toronto”) group.

Here are a couple more in the series, from CP24′s Katie Simpson:

According to No Ford Nation’s Facebook page, their goal is to “stop and highlight the divisive nature of Ford Nation and the lack of respect this administration has for the rules of City Council and the residents of this city.”

Their website catalogs the controversial mayor’s unfulfilled promises, and includes a page of information about real candidates who are running against Ford this year.

But the sign from reddit’s frontpage definitely does not display a serious candidate, and was designed simply to point Toronto voters to No Ford Nation ahead of the upcoming election on October 27 of this year.

“Our point is if you’re gonna vote for Ford you might as well vote for this guy,” Christina Robins, who started No Ford Nation three years ago, told “Quite frankly, the guy who says he’ll only smoke pot in office is better than Ford.”

You can check out more from No Ford Nation by hitting the links. Sound off, our Canadian brethren! Were you duped by these fake Toronto mayoral candidate signs?

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Facebook Dispute Ends With One Teen Stabbing Another 65 Times

Facebook Dispute Ends With One Teen Stabbing Another 65 Times image Social media murder Facebook dispute ends in stabbing

A Facebook dispute between two best friends ended with one teen stabbing another at least 65 times. Authorities say 16-year-old Erandy Elizabeth Gutierrez was so infuriated following a Facebook dispute over uploaded pictures, that the young girl murdered her best friend, Anel Baez, also 16.

Gutierrez received a Facebook alert whereupon she realized Baez had posted naked photos of the two onto the social network. Metro reports that Gutierrez told another friend Baez would be lucky to survive the year over posting the embarrassing images.

After the two friends hashed out several threatening and disparaging messages online, Gutierrez supposedly convinced Baez to invite her over to Baez’s Guamuchil, Mexico home to make up over the naked photo fall out.

According to local police, Gutierrez excused herself to use the bathroom but instead went into the kitchen where she acquired a knife. Gutierrez then used it to stab her friend over 60 times.

Gutierrez tried to clean the blood from her clothes and the weapon but was unsuccessful, the Mirror reports. The teen also attempted to conceal her role in the grisly murder. She fled the scene and later pretended to grieve alongside her other friends when the murder was revealed.

Gutierrez was arrested at her best friend’s funeral.

This unfortunate murder between friends, citing social media as a contributing factor, is not an isolated case.

Edward Richardson, 41, was found guilty of stabbing to death Sarah Richardson, 26, a hairdresser, in her parents’ house in May 2008. Edward murdered Sarah because his estranged wife changed her relationship status on her Facebook from married to single. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

In Sept 2011, authorities found a woman’s decapitated body in the Mexican border city Nuevo Laredo. The World Post states, along with the unidentified remains police found a handwritten sign saying she was killed in retaliation for her postings on a social networking site.

A year of hateful social media posts, text-messages, and voice mails between two teenage girls escalated to murder in April 2009. Rachel Wade, who was 19 years old at the time, stabbed and killed her rival, 18-year-old Sarah Ludemann.

Both girls were engaged in a vicious battle over another teenager, Joshua Camacho, as both girls had dated the young man. Wade was convicted of murder in the second degree.

Earlier this year, Social News Daily reported on how a Facebook newbie, 35-year-old Travis Schelling, was arrested for kidnapping and assaulting his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.

The misunderstanding began when Schelling suspected his girlfriend of being too social with other men on her social media account, confusing the woman’s Facebook news feed updates for direct personal messages. Fueled by jealousy, he proceeded to slap and beat his girlfriend over several hours every time something new appeared on the page. Thankfully, in this case, the woman survived the nightmare ordeal.

[Photo Credit: mkhmarketing]

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6 Ways to Maximize Your Snapchat Experience

6 Ways to Maximize Your Snapchat Experience image 6 Ways to Maximize Your Snapchat Experience

Are you getting the most out of Snapchat? Are you creating a wonderful Snapchat experience your fans love?

Snapchat has quickly grown into a powerful mobile visual social media platform. Brands have quickly hopped onto it and are making the most as seen in this article by Sarah Ang. And you can too.

At first glance, Snapchat is a pretty simple program. You can take a picture and anonymously send it to any recipient you choose, and you can even choose how long the picture is displayed for. There’s more to Snapchat, though.

Here are six ways to maximize Snapchat experience for both your audience and you…

1. Increase the Font Size

6 Ways to Maximize Your Snapchat Experience image You Can Increase Font Size on Snapchat

Image via

Have you ever wanted to send a picture to a friend but found that the font size of the text is just too small? Good news! There’s a way to make it a lot bigger. First, update your app — you won’t see this on an outdated version. Next, go to settings and click manage. In this section, you’ll see an option that says “enable special text.” After enabling it, when you go to take a picture, you’ll see a “T” in the top right of the screen. Tap that, then type whatever you want. It’s that easy.

2. See Snaps Again

6 Ways to Maximize Your Snapchat Experience image You Can View an Image Again on Snapchat

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Has a picture ever disappeared too quickly? If you want to see a picture one more time, turn on “replay” in the settings section where you enabled special text. This option will allow you to see recent Snapchat messages one more time. You can only use this feature once per day, though, so be sure that you’re paying attention this time around. This update was stealthily added to Android and iOS versions of Snapchat, so when you download the latest version of Snapchat on your smartphone, you’ll be able to take advantage of it.

3. Draw on Your Images With Black and White

6 Ways to Maximize Your Snapchat Experience image You Can Draw on Your Snapchat Images With Black and White

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While it’s no secret that you can draw on Snapchat images, did you know that you can do so with black and white ink? When you’re choosing your color, press your thumb down and drag it all the way to the left. You’ll notice that the ink has turned white. If you press down on the color bar and drag it to the bottom, you’ll notice that the ink has turned black. While it’s not an amazing trick, it’s a neat trick that allows you to draw on images with two colors that you wouldn’t normally get to select.

4. Use Filters

6 Ways to Maximize Your Snapchat Experience image Use Filters on Snapchat

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Did you know that Snapchat has filters? It’s true! This trick is the easiest to use. After you take a picture, all you have to do is swipe to the left or right. There’s only a small handful of filters, including sepia and black and white. Some people don’t like filters, but for those of us that do, at least there are a few options.

5. Negative Images

6 Ways to Maximize Your Snapchat Experience image Take Negative Pictures With Snapchat

For those of you using an older version of Snapchat, however, you’re able to take negative pictures. After taking a picture, bring up the text field. Type “Negative…” without the quotes. If your version of Snapchat supports it, your image will turn negative. After that, you can delete the text and type whatever you want. If it doesn’t work, then you’ve got the latest version of Snapchat. It’s a neat trick to use because your friends will be freaking out and trying to figure out how to take a negative image.

If you want to take it a step further, you can combine filters. After typing “Negative…” type “Sepia…” and you’ll get the negative image with a sepia filter. There are other combinations you can make, as well. Combined filters make for a freaky image!

6. Best Friend Tricks

6 Ways to Maximize Your Snapchat Experience image bftricks snapchat

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There are two tricks involving Best Friends. The first allows you to increase your best friends list to seven. To do this, just go into settings and change the number of best friends to seven. Easy enough, right? Most people bypass the settings on Snapchat, so most people don’t know about it.

The second trick is a bit sneakier. If you need to keep tabs on someone, listen up. If you click on the list icon on the bottom right corner of the screen and click someone’s name, you’re able to see a list of the three people they send snapchats to the most.

Now it’s your turn…

Do you know any other Snapchat tips or tricks? How do you use it to reach your audience? Leave a comment and let us know in the comments section below!

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J.K. Rowling Agrees To Write Three Films For The ‘Harry Potter’ Spinoff Fantastic ‘Beasts and Where to Find Them’

J.K. Rowling Agrees To Write Three Films For The ‘Harry Potter’ Spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them image 6016822309 544b53938d b

Wipe the dust off your wand and iron your cloaks, Warner Bros. is planning a movie trilogy for the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Don’t expect to see all your favorite wizards and redheads return to the big screen. This series is an extension of the wizarding world, following a ”magizoologist” Newt Scamander set in New York City seven decades before the Harry Potter story begins.

Potterheads have Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara to thank for convincing Rowling to start writing a script: “When I say he made Fantastic Beasts happen, it isn’t PR-speak but the literal truth. We had one dinner, a follow up telephone call and then I got out the rough draft and I’d though was going to be an interesting bit of memorabilia for my kids and started rewriting!” Maybe she will start the script on napkins for nostalgic reasons.

In a recent interview, Emma Watson teased us with the possible appearance in Fantastic Beasts, “I would definitely be up for a cameo!” Rowling, if you are reading, please include Watson because that accent and face should not be wasted.

Fantastic Beasts movie trilogy is trending on Facebook and the twitterverse is pumped:

[Photo credit: pottermcfly]

via Business 2 Community

Fixing Your Sucky B2B Website: Step One

My friend Aileen is breaking up with her husband Dan. It’s going the way such things usually do, and Aileen is self-medicating with a nice pinot noir when she isn’t building Dan-shaped snowmen to run over in her driveway. I called the other night to see if she needed help with the Tuesday Night Effigy Burning.

“Sure, but we have to do it in the park; the neighbours complained again”, she said. “Maybe I’ll just stay home and wallow instead”.

“I get it”, I offered. “A sad old movie and a good cry are just what you need.”

“Screw the movie”, Aileen said. “When I want to go to the dark places, I just look at our website and down I go.”

Aileen is a B2B marketer with a website that sucks only slightly less than her marriage. And that, naturally, gets me thinking about those of us with sucky websites. We seeFixing Your Sucky B2B Website: Step One image img 00000093 your emails and nasty reviews; we know our sites suck. We know that each day that passes without some redemption is only making it worse. We even know what needs to be done, and sort of in what order. But B2B websites are like old houses: they were never really conceived of as things that need constant reinvention, just a little upkeep. Years of neglect, rigid templates, ugly content management systems and thin budgets take their toll, and the next thing you know, the floors are squeaky and something growls every time you go near the furnace.

You’ve got a fixer-upper with a three-year time horizon to get funding and redo the whole platform. That’s not going to help much is it? But just as in real estate, there are little things we can do tart things up until we have a better idea. So for Aileen and all the other marketers out there who cry when they see their sites, here is the first of my Three Steps to a Not-Very-Sucky Website

Step One: Fix the Windows

Rudoplph Giuliani is said to have applied Wilson and Kelling’s Broken Window theory to reduce crime in New York City. The idea is that by taking care of minor issues, such as broken windows and other petty vandalism, the community is signaled to pull up its socks and behave. Whether this had any meaningful effect or not, it’s a good place to start with your website. Get in there and clean up the small stuff. That’s probably what makes you most crazy anyway. Start with these:

  • Typos — seriously, no excuses for those

  • Broken Links — also no excuses– we have tools that should find them

  • Images that don’t load

  • Images that shouldn’t be there to begin with

  • Footers that still say © 2007

  • That shout-out to visit your booth at TechExpo 2002

  • Job postings from last year (or earlier) (or that have been filled)

Once you’ve tidied up the yard a little and swept the porch, it’s time to invite the whiny people in for a look.

One of the reasons you feel bad about your site is that other people tell you over and over and over again how much it sucks. These people are also known as either your mother or your colleagues. Mothers I can’t help you with, but my experience with whiny colleagues is to deal with them head-on by inviting them to a cathartic session of website bashing. Put it up on a screen, sit them down with a cup of tea and let them go. Let them whine and whinge and criticize and complain all they want. Write it all down and fix as much of it as you can. I will bet the majority of the issues are in one of the buckets above. Show them progress, promise them action and send them packing.

Next week, we’ll look at Step Two and chewing gum.

via Business 2 Community