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How To Share A Facebook Visitor Post on your Facebook Page

How to Share a Facebook Visitor Post on your Facebook Page

When a visitor posts to your Facebook Page, it does not show up in the main feed the same way as your own postings do. Instead, it is hidden within your Facebook “posts page.” Which means, visitors to your page cannot easily view posts on your Facebook page made by visitors. Unless people dig deep and really explore your Facebook site, it’s unlikely they will see comments visitors post to your page.
And that, sadly, is a missed digital marketing (and boasting!) opportunity. Visitor posts are typically chock-full of glowing reviews, grin-worthy shout-outs, and honest reasons why you’re the best at what you do. And that’s good, because, people trust and respond to online reviews. However it doesn’t have to be that way – read our guide to learn how visitor posts can be easily added to your business Facebook page’s main feed where everyone can view them.
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Instagram Influencer Marketing – How to Make the Most of It for Your Brand

Influencer marketing on Instagram

When it comes to influencer marketing, Instagram ranks first among the social media platforms most commonly used by the influencers. Influencers employ Instagram to promote their personal opinions and specific brands’ products when hired to do so.

Influencers and influencer marketing are certainly not a novelty at this point. In fact, this infographic shows that about 40% of these influencers are already in long-term partnerships with specific brands.

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Key Takeaways from Social Media Camp 2019

Social Media Camp 2019
This year, Stikky Media attended Social Media Camp 2019. Read on to learn about our experience at this unique Canadian social media conference, topics covered by the speakers and our key takeaways.
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Why Facebook no longer resonates with GenZ (and what does)

GenZ Marketing Tips

Want to learn how to market to the movers and shakers, the trend setter – the elusive 20 something year old? Who better to tell you than Ethan Dennett –  the 20 year old member of the Stikky Media team. Read on for GenZ marketing tips and considerations for reaching this unique audience – in Ethan’s own words.

The modern advertisement industry started in conjunction with the development of modern psychology. The idea that the average person could be suggestible enough to buy a coca-cola was groundbreaking to advertisers.

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How To Combine Email Marketing and Social Media

How to Combine Email and Social Media

As a marketer or business owner, you may find yourself thinking about which digital marketing channel to invest your budget in. You have a wide variety of tools at your disposal including email, content marketing, and social media, so choosing the best one for your budget and for your organization can be challenging.

If you are looking for strong ROI, you might choose to devote a portion of your resources to email marketing. If, on the other hand, you have limited resources and are not in a hurry to increase your sales or profits, you might go solely with social media.

Can’t decide? The good news is that you don’t have to choose between email marketing and social media—the two channels work best when used together. You can maximize your email marketing strategies by integrating them with your social media campaigns and vice versa.

Email and social media may seem like two entirely different marketing channels, but they actually have a lot in common. Both of these channels provide you with the opportunity to increase traffic to your website, build relationships with new customers, maintain these relationships and earn your customers’ loyalty, and of course, significantly boost your company’s ROI.

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Why Instagram for Nonprofits?

More than the images that it is so well known for, Instagram makes imagery engaging, evoking primal emotions – such as humor, concern, awe, or intrigue.

Instagram is another platform with which to work with nonprofits. With most users being of a younger demographic, Instagram will very likely reach many subscribers and members that other forms of social media. currently does not reach. More than 500 million people have an Instagram account and 59 percent of online adults ages 18-29 use the network. More than 300 million of them use it daily.

What makes Instagram different from social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter is the way people use it.

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Why Use Twitter?

Twitter is a tricky to work with due to the limitations of the media. Tweets are limited to 240 characters, meaning your message must either be brief and to the point, or split over multiple tweets. In addition, there is no tried-and-true formula for creating the perfect tweet. Your audience may respond to content that another group’s audience may not. The best judge of audience response is likes and retweets, with the latter helping spread your message to others who might not be subscribed to your feed.

Find Your Voice

It is best to develop a distinct voice for your your organization, allowing tweets to be differentiated from the rest. Find a voice that works for your organization, your follower, any members of your organization, and so on. Just remember, social media is about trial and error. Try something, look at how people react, adjust, and try again.

Tweets that work well tend to:

  • Have a personal, human voice.
  • Contain interactive media (memes [material – such as images or snippets of text, that is rapidly passed around the internet], photos, vines, videos, links).
  • Provide updates of real interest to followers.
  • Start a discussion among followers.
  • Inspire the readers with compelling and inspiring quotes

Tweet Engagement

In order for tweets to reach as many people as possible, some general rules of thumb apply:

  • Keep your tweet at 100 characters or less.
  • Use no more than two hashtags per tweet (Hashtags are keywords related to the topic or theme of your tweet. A hashtag is marked with the pound sign (#) before the word or phrase.)
  • Tell your followers to re-tweet (or “pass it on” as we say).
  • Tweet during business hours and on weekends
  • Ask service leaders to tweet to their audience for you.

What Is A Facebook Page?

An active Facebook page creates opportunities for new people to discover  your organization, and can serve as a path for connecting subscribers with new content being offered by your organization. People who “like” your page may see your posts in their News Feed when they visit Facebook. They can then like and share your posts with others, distributing your message to those who are not currently part of your page. At the very least, a business-centric Facebook page can contain contact information allowing visitors to find your online presence and store.

When to Use a Facebook Page?

A Facebook Page is ideal for organizations wishing to expand and connect with the ever-growing global network of Facebook users. For many non-profit organizations, having a single Facebook page helps people find, and stay up-to-date with, a unified voice and message.

What is a Facebook Page For?

A dedicated Facebook page can inform visitors of your organization’s message, relevant news items, developments within your organization, new products, and links to news items of interest to you and your subscribers. It allows you to respond in real time to developments around the world — offering your thoughts, opinions, and reassurances on a variety of subjects.

We Have a Page, Now What?

Creating a business-centric Facebook page is simple, as it only requires the following:

  • About – Give people a quick preview of what your organization is about and what its message is.
  • Profile Image – Help people recognize your organization when they receive a post from your page in their News Feed.
  • Videos – Present infomercials, advertisements, personal messages, breaking news, and the like in either in audio-only formats (thus preserving anonymity) or in full audio-visual releases.
  • Events – Your page is a great way to direct visitors to an online calendar that indicates when major events involving your organization will occur.
  • Notes – A section that can be used for longer messages or statements.

Verified Facebook Business Page

If your organization qualifies, you can be eligible for a Verification Badge, which would tell your followers that any content being posted is official and from your organization itself. In addition, a verified page will show up higher in search results to attract more visitors.

Posting to Your Facebook Business Page

The primary communication channel on Facebook is through posts from your organization. This is the easiest and simplest way to contact followers. The actual posts themselves are simple to create – your updates can be about anything you think subscribers would be interested in. After you have published your post, Facebook gives the option to:

  • Give Important Posts More Attention.
  • Hide a Public Post from Your Timeline so not visible to the public.
  • Delete a Post from Your Page.

Video on Facebook

Video posts perform well on Facebook and are an effective way to create a visual connection between the information presented and subscribers. More than 65% of all video views are happening on mobile devices as people turn to Facebook at different times and places throughout the day.

If your organization has a YouTube channel, be aware that videos uploaded directly to Facebook have proven more successful than those linked to other video players. Part of the reason is that videos uploaded directly to Facebook fill the entire width of and play directly in one’s News Feed, offering a seamless viewing experience. Directly upload videos also autoplay, making them more eye-catching than a video thumbnail. If you link to a video hosted on another site like YouTube, the link appears with a small thumbnail from the video.

Control your Facebook Business Page Content

In the Settings section, you have control over your page and the way your content appears. You have general controls for page and post visibility, whether people can post and/or comment on your page, and who can make changes to your page. You can also control the apps you use on your page, and create posts from your organization’s email.

Achievement: A Non-profit Facebook Page Success Story

Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Campaign Goals: The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is an event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. The Facebook campaign aimed to recruit participants for the walk, as well as fundraising for the organization.

Impact: Using Facebook, the Alzheimer’s Association organized and rallied supporters from across the country to its yearly fundraising efforts.

The Alzheimer’s Association Facebook page directed users to the Alzheimer’s Association website in order to create awareness about the Walk. During the 2015 Walk season, nearly one-quarter of overall traffic to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website was referred from Facebook. Facebook was a significant source of referral traffic for online registrations.

Based on anecdotal evidence, members often want to help, but do not always know , while those seeking help or additional information may not necessarily know where and how to find out it. By creating a Facebook page and offering information about specific ways members can subscribe, serve, and support your organization, they will know more, and what they can do to share your message.

Top 5 Factors Influencing B2B Sales Lead Generation Online

Generating sales leads online for B2B products and services can seem counter intuitive at first. After all, those business deals tend to rely on personal relationships developed over years of networking and sales prospecting. In fact, I know a few B2B salespeople who tend to avoid doing any of their networking online. They claim, “not enough time,” “not efficient,” “not how I work.” That is, until I explain the top 5 factors influencing B2B sales lead generation.

Once sales leaders understand the connection between these critical B2B marketing factors and revenue, ears perk up. Funny how that works. (more…)

5 Skills Marketing Students Must Master To Succeed

Title image.5 skills marketing students must master to succeed

After a summer full of sun, fun and maybe summer work for some students, it’s now time to head back to the classroom and hit the books. There’s little I personally like more than the back-to-school time of year, despite the fact that I’m no longer a student. I love the warm sweaters, new books, changing leaves and especially: learning new things.

I would like to share some of my knowledge and wisdom for business and marketing students beginning their degree or returning for another year. 

You will learn lots of information and skills in university, but, if you don’t master these 5 basic skills, you will likely have a hard time succeeding in today’s fast-paced marketing world.

1. Writing

Writing is the most essential and most useful skill you will ever develop as a marketing professional. Get your writing skills in order.

typewriterThe ability to communicate using the written word has many, many purposes. Purposes that go far beyond your boss being able to understand your emails. Good writing, as it turns out, is a plain, good, life skill.

According to research, those who write well have a better chance of getting promoted in their chosen profession. Why? Because writing well means having the ability to communicate well.

Communicating well is essential to becoming successful at marketing.

In marketing, writing well will be beneficial to you as you will probably be asked to write blog posts, prepare presentations, and build proposals or reports. Without a well-developed foundation in writing, completing those common tasks required in the field of marketing could be difficult.

2. Basic Web Design

Designing a websiteBeing able to manage a website is another essential skill for future marketers. Although people in the marketing team are seldom asked to build websites from scratch, it’s useful if you know the following basic web design skills:

  • Format and update content.
  • Correct small errors. 
  • Manage plugins in your CMS (Content Management System).

A little ability with HTML and CSS can give you that little extra boost you need to get hired, too, so take that web design course if it fits in your schedule.

3. Social Media Management

Birds on a wireBecause it’s still considered recent, social media is not yet taught in most business schools though some programs are emerging. Whether you’re looking for a social media degree, certificate, or even an online refresher from a site like Udemy, there are plenty of opportunities to level up your skills. The ability to manage a social media stream and use it as a communications/PR/marketing/customer service tool is increasingly important. 

And if nothing else, your personal Twitter account counts as “social media management”. Showing you can maintain a consistent personal brand voice and produce content that engages followers is what matters for employers.

4. Analytics

Analytics chartsTomorrow’s marketer is as much at ease with data manipulation as he or she is with creating visuals for a campaign. Marketing initiatives are now so tied to analytics data that it’s hard to do one without the other.

I know, I know, not everyone’s a numbers person (I’m the first one to admit that), but being able to manage both the creative and the qualitative sides of a marketing campaign is going to be essential as everything moves towards the digital space–even TV ads.

5. Networking

Group of people.It can be a little depressing to be a student today looking at job numbers: fewer and fewer students end up with full-time, permanent jobs when they graduate.

But those who do usually have something special: they spent some time learning how to network effectively and used these skills to make their way into a job. Networking is one of the most fundamental soft skills you need to learn for success in the business world, and the earlier you do so the better.

Networking can be done in person, of course, but there’s also plenty of ways to do it online too.

Ready for the new school year?

With a focus on the 5 essential soft skills (as well as your grades, of course), you have a better chance of succeeding in the marketing world!

5 Smart Ways To Build Social Proof For Marketing

Testimonials are a tried-and-true marketing technique that can help overcome objections and convince people to buy your product or service. They’re used everywhere: on TV, in advertorials, even on the web. (We have ours too!) They’re especially useful for more expensive products or services, where the investment is significant and potential customers need some reassurance that it will perform as expected. However, testimonials can be tricky; especially on the internet, they can be made up or paid, and it’s really difficult to verify their truthfulness. (more…)

6 Must-Haves Of Successful Blogs

While blogs are the cornerstone of content marketing, when you compare the number of successful blogs against the total number of blogs that exist on the internet, you’ll notice the ratio is very, very small. Only a fraction of blogs build an audience of more than a few hundred, and only a few rare ones get subscriptions of 100K+. Ever wondered what these top blogs have in common? In this blog, we’ll share 6 must-haves of successful blogs. (more…)

Intriguing Results From 3 Content Idea Generators

I don’t know a blog writer who doesn’t go through writer’s block sometimes. Yet to keep your website fresh and current, you need to keep updating your blog with interesting content that keeps your visitors coming back for more. So what do we do when we’re really, really out of ideas and still need to write blog posts?

Fortunately, there are content generators we can use to get our brains storming. In the three examples I used, you input a noun or two and the generator spits out sentences (blog post titles, mosty) incorporating those nouns. (more…)

4 Social Media Tasks You Should Never Automate

4 social media tasks you should never automate

If you want to do it right, social media management takes a lot of time. So much so that it’s now some peoples’ full-time job. But not everyone has the budget to hire a social media manager or coordinator; enter Social Media Automation Tools. Programs like Buffer, Social Oomph, Hootsuite and many, many more all promise to make your social media management easier, more seamless and less time-consuming. However, it’s vital to not automate everything. In this blog, we’ll break down 4 social media tasks you should never automate and why.

Social media is still social, and nobody likes to talk to a robot when it comes to developing relationships (or talking in general). Some things still need to be done in real time, by a real human. Here are some social media tasks that should be done by humans, not automation. (more…)

How To Make “Post To Page” More Visible On Your Facebook Page

Say your goodbyes: it’s now impossible to make “post by others” show on your Facebook business page timeline. We have a super popular post about how to make that possible, but it dates from a few years, and Facebook business pages have changed a lot since then.

However, we still receive questions and comments about why the advice in that post doesn’t work anymore; it’s because you simply cannot do it anymore. The new Facebook business page has a completely different structure. (more…)

Victoria’s Best Social Businesses–What They Do Right And What You Can Learn

As a digital marketing professional, I’m lucky to live in one of the most social (media) cities in Canada. Many of our social media influencers were among the first to take up Twitter as a community-building tool, and we have some of the foremost social media professionals this side of the Rockies doing their work in our beautiful city. It might be because social media work is rather flexible and can be done from anywhere; where else but in Victoria would you want to live if you had the chance? (more…)

4 Facebook Lessons From Victoria’s Latest Community Pages

We live in a pretty awesome place. There is the ocean a stone’s throw away, a beach at every corner, the mildest weather in Canada, mountains all around us, the best hiking trails in the world, some of the best food on the West Coast, and many, many other perks. But one thing that only locals know is Victoria’s highly engaged social media crowd.

Our dinner choices are fueled from blogs and UrbanSpoon reviews; our events are plastered all over Facebook and Twitter and are always full; our people use Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and direct messages on Twitter to meet each other for coffee or dinner. Hey, we’ve been named the Canadian Capital of Selfies for a reason! (more…)

Your 7-Step Guide to Excellent Content

Content this, content that, content here, content there: content is everywhere. I’ve made my argument elsewhere that it’s an important part of your digital strategy, no matter your business size or type. And in order to reach your marketing and sales objectives, your content must be excellent. But I realized something lately: that lots of people don’t really understand what excellent content means, or how to reach that level of quality. The web is clogged with sub-par, badly written, uninteresting, plagiarized and useless content. (more…)

How To Get Free Followers To Your Small Business Twitter Account

You have a new business Twitter profile and you’d like to get more followers. You want followers who will actually pay attention to your tweets and who are part of a relevant audience, be that locally or within a certain sphere of industry. You’d like more followers, and for free…

Free Followers – Without Spamming or Cheating?

Yes.

Free Followers – That aren’t in distant regions or irrelevant as a target market?

Yes. (more…)

Pinterest Is Testing Paid Ads–What We Know So Far

Since its meteoric rise to popularity in 2011, Pinterest has garnered a lot of attention from marketers and social media professionals. We know that visual marketing is a very effective way to reach your target market–after all, “a picture is worth a thousand words” isn’t a cliché for no reason. Pinterest, with its focus on beautiful visuals, easy sharing and an intuitive user interface, has everything marketers need to get their products known and shared. (more…)

Social Media Camp Report–Guy Steeves on Email Marketing

Any digital marketer worthy of his or her name will tell you that email is still the best and most reliable way to connect with your customers. What’s better than getting directly into their computers and phones?

Guy Steeves of Constant Contact presented a useful talk about e-newsletter marketing, and why it’s still the “sexiest new social media app” (direct quote) around. Here are the highlights of his presentation. (more…)

Let Your Blog Bloom By Answering These 5 Questions

Having a blog is now pretty much standard fare for business content marketing. Most companies and organizations have blogs. But only some of them update it. And then only a portion of those actually does it well.

As a professional blogger, I’ve seen it all: the ultra-serious finance blog, the light-hearted lifestyle blog, humour blogs, review blogs, health blogs, news blogs… pretty much anything you can imagine. If you can imagine it, there’s a blog out there about it. But because there are so many of them, a majority of the blogs that exist don’t have much of a readership. There’s only so much human attention to spare between millions of different blogs! (more…)

The Social Media Channels – Post What, To Who, To Where, and Why?

facebook-logo_0.jpg

Everyone tells you your small or medium sized business MUST be on the social media channels. There are a growing numbers of channels, each of them becoming increasingly important in its own way.

So you’ve signed up for the four best-known social media channels:

  • Facebook.
  • Twitter.
  • Google+.
  • LinkedIn.

You’ve written (or had someone else write) a blog post, and now it should be posted on all four channels. There! Done. Right? (more…)

5 Bad Social Media Habits You Should Give Up

Lent is a 40-day period during which practicing Catholics give up something–usally a bad habit like smoking or drinking–to commemorate Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert.

But it’s not just good for individuals. As business owners doing internet marketing, we can also develop bad social media habits. Want to give up something for Lent? Start by these less than desirable things we do on Facebook and Twitter.                                                                                                                                                                               

1. Stop shilling on Facebook​

Facebook may seem like a great place to promote or sell your services, but doing so insistently (or “shilling”) will only drive followers away.    Remember the social media mantra “People connect with people” and start behaving like a person instead of a business. Share  employees’ good news. Post pictures of your office. Ask interesting questions. You can even find ways to present a new product or service  without making it look like an advertisement.

2. Stop Retweeting

Although retweeting can help spread a piece of content, a timeline that is filled with only retweets is not very attractive to new followers. Again, “people connect with people”, and followers want to connect with a real person who has thoughts and emotions. Use Twitter to spread your brand’s personality around, not other people’s. And if you absolutely must retweet that piece, add a personal comment to it.

3. Move one-on-one conversations away from Facebook comments

This happens more often than you think, especially in customer relations. People are not interested in reading about how you’re going to solve a client’s problem. Whenever a Facebook comment risks pulling you into a long conversation, provide a contact email to move it to a more private space. Fans will thank you for it.

4. Stop using so many hashtags

Sure, hastags are useful to put a tweet in context, especially during major events. However, hashtagging every word from your tweet not only makes it unreadable, but it also makes you look like you can’t formulate a coherent thought. Also, it’s totally unethical to use popular hashtags that are unrelated to your business for promotion purposes. People pick up on it… and then pick on you.

5. Stop pre-programming your social media updates

Sure, it might seem useful to program Facebook and Twitter updates ahead of time, but you end up looking really insensitive if something major happens. On the other hand, taking advantage of timely events (as long as they’re not tragic) to promote your products or services can work really well! Follow Oreo’s example and tweet appropriately!

So, which of these bad habits are you willing to give up for Lent? Share your thoughts with us!

New Social Network: Vine

No, we’re not talking about a new wine-related social network (although that would be awesome), but rather a new video-based app now owned by Twitter called Vine. It’s all the rage these days, with celebrities like Tyra Banks and Emmy Rossum posting Vines on their Twitter feeds.

Here’s a quick Vine I made especially for this occasion:

 

 

1. What does it do?

Vine is super simple: you take a 6-second video that the app posts as a video loop on Twitter and on Vine feeds. The video is looped automatically.

2. How does it work?

You start by downloading the app on your iPhone. There’s a simple tutorial in the app to show you how to make a video–it works by the touch of your finger.

After making your video, you can share it with your social networks.

3. Where can I share the videos?

The Twitter integration makes it easy to share the videos directly with your followers on Twitter. The app also connects to Facebook so you care share it with your fans as well. If you embed your Twitter feed on your website, you’ll also be able to share your videos that way.

4. How can I use it?

Vine can be useful for your internet marketing in a variety of ways. It gives you an opportunity to be creative and show your business from a fun, creative angle. You can take a funny video of the staff or show how your product works.

6 seconds doesn’t seem like much, but if you watch other people’s videos, you’ll see that you can fit in a lot of content in these few seconds. The advantage: you can make an impact before your audience’s attention span fades. And the best videos? People will watch them over and over again.

Think of Vine as a video version of Twitter: conciseness and originality are key. As with any new social network, it’ll take a while to unlock its full potential, but Vine’s popularity is growing so quickly that it can’t be ignored for very long.

4 Social Media Resolutions Every Business Owner Should Make

A new year is upon us, and with it comes those pesky resolutions. Join a gym. Quit smoking. Eat less cheese. Eat more cheese. Whatever your intentions, it’s time to make them a reality and start the year off right.

That said, most New Year’s resolutions fail miserably. So why not choose a resolution that’s actually doable? One that will increase credibility and visibility and ultimately boost sales?

Here are 4 social media resolutions you’ll actually want to keep:

1. I will write more high quality, original content. And then I will share it.

Google loves fresh content. Loves it. And so do your readers! Compelling, unique content is the foundation for a solid online presence. It’s what makes the internet tick.

That said, make it your goal this year to sit down and produce. Write better blogs. Write more blogs. Write website content. Make videos. Create visuals. Create interviews. Write things people actually want to read, so when you share them on social networks they’ll be shared and re-shared, increasing your SEO, your traffic and ultimately your sales.

2. I will learn to love Google+.

Despite the hype, businesses have been slow to embrace Google+. Whether they deem it too complicated, too unnecessary or too different (from Facebook, natch), they’re missing out on one of the most valuable social platforms around.

The truth is, Google+ affects your business whether you’re signed up or not. When your customers search on Google, your page, along with your profile image and recent posts, may show up on the right-hand side of the results when relevant to a customer’s search. Relevant posts, photos and videos can also show up within search results for your page’s followers. And if you’re not signed up? Well, you won't have all of this tasty exposure. Sign up immediately and reap the benefits of this SEO bonanza.

3. I will network with the social media community, both online and off

Here in Victoria, we’re lucky to have an incredibly active social media community. Not only do we interact online, but we also hang out at countless real-world events, from Social Media Workshops and Camps to Tweetups and Twestivals. Heck, mayor Dean Fortin even signed an official document proclaiming June 30th as “Social Media Day.”

When you take the time to cultivate meaningful offline relationships with social media movers and shakers—relationships that consist of more than just retweets and likes—you’ll take your online presence to the next level. In addition to learning tips and tricks from the best of the best, you'll increase your business exposure, boost your credibility and maybe even transform followers into customers. You’ll have the chance to help and be helped, and solidify your brand as a dynamic, informed and engaged member of the community.

4. I will respond to all comments in a timely manner (even if they’re negative)

Treat comments as a good thing, even if they’re not what you want to hear. After all, comments are evidence of community, and community is what will propel your business forward.

Take the time to individually respond to each person, spending extra time turning the negative experiences into positive ones. Just don’t forget that some commenters are trolls for the sake of being trolls, so don’t take it personally if you can’t turn around 100% of the negativity. Even if you’re unsuccessful, other users will appreciate your efforts and remember your good faith.

What are your social media marketing resolutions for 2013?

4 Ways to Build Trust Through Social Media

We all know the best form of credibility is word of mouth. But with so many self-professed social media gurus these days, it can be hard to separate yourself from the not-so-credible pack.

Even if you go out and create a branded, multi-channel social media presence with consistent logos, colours and messaging, you’re not guaranteed to earn anyone’s trust. It’s a start—but it’s not enough.

So how do you earn trust and start building real relationships online? It won’t happen overnight, but here are a few easy ways to get started:

Be consistent

Chances are, your online marketing strategy involves multiple social media platforms and multiple employees. Having a consistent look and feel (name, logo, colours) across all of your accounts is the first step to tying it all together, but you’ll need to go even further to really gain your customers’ trust.

To avoid coming off as disjointed and fragmented (and filling customers with doubt as to exactly what your brand stands for), you’ll need to define a few things. Is your brand’s personality/voice fun? Funny? How funny? What’s inappropriate and what’s not? What’s your area of expertise? What topics do you not want to touch on?

And because people will be talking about your brand whether you’re on that particular channel or not, it’s also important to claim as many profiles as possible. That way, you can not only moderate what people are saying about you, but also avoid confusion as to which social media account is your official profile, and which ones are controlled by the masses. 
 

Invite conversation

The whole point of social media is to engage, converse, listen, share, discuss, chat. It’s a two-way conversation, not a billboard.

Do your posts invite others to engage with your brand, or are you blanketing them with advertisements? To boost the conversation, get personal. Rather than posting product information, post the story behind the product. Post interesting/humorous/thought-provoking content, ask your fans for their opinions on topics related to your business, give fans a behind-the-scenes look at your business, and always, always, always respond to individual comments (even if they’re negative).

Photos, videos and infographics get more views than a straight-text post, so don’t be afraid to mix it up. Your fans and followers will thank you for it.


Build the right relationships

Are you hanging out with the wrong crowd? I’m not talking thugs and vandals—I’m talking people who don’t inspire you, who don’t teach you, who don’t add value to your business in any way, shape or form. It’s easy to become obsessed with increasing your online following—after all, a business with 2000 followers looks way more credible than one with only 50 followers—but that number is meaningless unless it contains both your core audience and other industry insiders.

Take the time to research the people you befriend online so you can cultivate real, meaningful relationships. When you hang out with people who actually care about your industry, your business and what you have to say, word will spread and your business will thrive.
 

Create your own content

Sharing other people’s content is lovely and generous, but it’s even more important to create your own content. Without sharing your own thoughts, words and expertise, customers won’t get to know you, the brand. They may know what you do, but they won’t see your company as a leader in its field—one they can trust, follow and return to again and again for the best information.

You don’t have to post original content every day, but don’t forget to throw your own ideas into the mix. If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on incredible opportunities to bring people even closer to your brand.

The New LinkedIn Profile: Visual, Graphic and Easier to Share

I don't know about you, but I am a visual person—especially when it comes to connecting with people. So, the fact that LinkedIn has edited the layout of the personal profile to create a more visual design is definitely a plus in my books. The announcement, made by LinkedIn in mid-October, will also see more graphic visuals that will make them easier to understand and see where possible connections exist. For instance, you will be able to see a visual presentation showing which companies your connections work for (perhaps one of them is your dream company!).

Status updates will also have more prominent real estate on the page, which will encourage us to share more (which is, after all, the power of LinkedIn). The experience section will also display in a more interactive way to make it easier for connections to read and for us to edit. P.S. The mobile app for iPhone and Android has been updated (13 Nov) to include the ability to add a new headline, recent skills or a new position.

Here's an example of the new profile layout from LinkedIn's blog:

LinkedIn Profile

So, just as we are navigating our way around the new company pages that were rolled out in September 2012, we now get to switch (or divide) our focus onto our personal page as well. The good news, as I understand it, is that the personal page changes will be introduced more gradually over the next few months. If you are eager, you can request an invitation to have your page updated to the new layout by visiting the LinkedIn sample profile page.

Let us know what you think about the new profile layout and how you will use it to tell your professional story, share more with your connections and discover new people and opportunities.

3 Must-Have Social Search Tools (That Aren’t Google)

Want to know what the world is talking about right now? Looking for a juicy search term? Need to kill a few hours? Then check out these powerful social search engines:

Bottlenose

Bottlenose Social Search Engine

A real-time social intelligence engine that analyzes activity across all the major social networks. Bottlenose’s fancy algorithm, called “StreamSense,” uses in-house natural-language processing, personalization and semantic techniques to figure out trending topics and trending content.

Their never ending sea of updates is called a “stream,” and gives users a comprehensive overview of top links (including newspaper articles), recent posts, trending topics, trending images and recent comments for any given search term. You can even check out trending people, which is great for connecting similarly-minded folks.

Bottlenose launched its public beta form in May 2012. Since then, it has fielded 3 acquisition offers (including one suspected offer from Twitter) and scored nearly $1 million in financing from ff Venture Capital and Prosper Capital.

Topsy

Topsy Social Search Engine

A conversation search engine that lets you explore top links, tweets, photos, videos and “experts.” You can instantly see the number of mentions—by the minute, hour or day—for any term, phrase, username link or hashtag. Topsy also features a special influence algorithm that displays the most pertinent and popular social results, but the real gem is the social analytics tool that lets you visually compare up to 3 queries.

As a testament to their powerful social analytics, Topsy expects to index and measure approximately 250 billion items by the end of 2012, with over 16 trillion pre-computed metrics.

 

Social Mention

Social Mention Social Search Engine

A simple, easy-to-use tool that measures over 100 social media properties directly, including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc. View top keywords, top users, top hashtags, sources, reach and even sentiment (positive, neutral, negative).

Social Mention is pretty basic, but it does dive into some deeper measurements:

Strength: The likelihood that your brand is being discussed in social media
Sentiment: The ratio of mentions that are generally positive to those that are generally negative
Passion: A measure of the likelihood that individuals talking about your brand will do so repeatedly
Reach: A measure of the range of influence

Even More Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Automate Social Media Posts

Lack of engagement. Robotic presence. Potentially awkward timing. We all know your business can suffer due to excessive auto-posting, but what about your personal life? Ever thought about the consequences of spamming your friends with intimate details that may harm your reputation—both online and off?

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Infographic: Social Travel vs. Traditional Travel

Back in the olden days (circa 2008), travel used to require a Lonely Planet, a detailed itinerary and a packed tour bus. You might have jumped online once a week to let your family know you’re still alive, but other than that, you had to rely on your trusty guidebook to get you from point A to point B. It was great at the time, but thankfully the travel world has moved on to something bigger and better. Now, all you need to see the world is a sense of adventure and an internet connection.

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4 Sneaky Facebook Settings You Need to Fix Right Now

As you’ve probably heard by now, Facebook quietly pulled an email switcheroo. They disabled your primary email address and replaced it with an @facebook.com address, which you probably never even knew you had.

The world is outraged at this unforeseen (and unannounced event), but it’s really the least of your worries. Facebook is full of unwanted default settings that threaten your privacy and your peace of mind.

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Facebook SEO: 6 Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Page

Wondering why your Facebook page isn’t performing well? The answer may lie in an unexpected place: search engine optimization. Read on to learn how to optimize your Facebook page.

Facebook pages are a great way to promote your business online, but only if you can be found. Luckily for you, Facebook, in partnership with UK-based marketing agency Distilled, just released a neat video that shows you exactly how to boost your Facebook page ranking in search engines. Aimed at business owners, not SEO masters, the video gives an overview of what search engine optimization actually is, and lays the groundwork for more traffic, more likes and more online success.

The video is a little long, so here’s a breakdown of the key points:

1. Include keywords.

Search engines rank websites on extremely complicated algorithms, but one thing’s for sure: The top-ranked websites contain the key search phrases people are looking for. This principle also applies to Facebook pages, so make sure your page contains the appropriate search terms. The best place to put them? The ‘About’ section. Fill that space with keyword-rich info about your business, such as your services and location.

2. Choose an effective user name.

Usernames are all about balance. If you choose an obscure name, nobody will be able to find you. And if you choose a name that is too specific, users will be less likely to ‘like’ your page.

The actual name of your business is typically your best bet because that’s how most people will search for you. Don’t forget to claim your username for your Facebook web address!

3. Generate likes and links.

Because so many websites want to rank for the same keywords, search engines take another metric into account: the number and quality of links pointing back to the site. The better the links, the more the “trustworthy” the website is considered to be and the higher it will rank in search results.

Every time a user likes your page, a link will appear on their profile. And because most profiles are public, search engines will pick up on these links and push your page higher up in the search results. All the more reason to build an exceptional page that people will want to engage with.

4. Purchase Facebook ads.

Already have great content? Facebook ads are another way to gain more visitors and more likes.

5. Set up your business as a Facebook Place.

If you’re a local, physical business, make sure you’re set up as a Facebook Place, which allows users to check in at your location. When they check in, they will immediately be presented with a like button. You can also offer discounts or special promotions as additional incentives to like your page.

6. Link your Facebook page to your website, and vice versa.

Facebook provides a variety of plug-ins to allow your website visitors to easily like and comment on your content. But not all plugins have links to your Facebook page that the search engines can read, so be sure to add a direct link to your Facebook page from your website.

Click to launch video:

 

6 Ways to Find Great Social Media Content

There’s no doubt that social media is a valuable marketing tool. It’s free. It’s fun. It has incredible reach. But it also has to be maintained. It’s not enough to sign up for a few social media accounts and call it a day—you have to regularly update them with interesting news, photos and tidbits. It can be tough to keep up the conversation, but there are plenty of easy ways to keep the social media content flowing.

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2012 & 2013 Social Media and Tourism Industry Statistics

2012 Tourism Statistics

In response to the overwhelming desire for up-to-date social media and tourism statistics, here are some new numbers for 2012.
(UPDATE: We have now updated this post to include new and additional statistics from 2013. These are indicated in blue text. Note that in most cases we have not completely replaced the 2012 statistics, but added new metrics we felt were relevant to the information.)

In response to the overwhelming desire for up-to-date social media and tourism statistics, here are some new numbers for 2012. (Please note: Stikky Media did not create these statistics. For a list of primary sources, see below).

The world is expected to witness 1 billion arrivals by the end of 2012, according to the World Travel Market. And as a result, the relationship between travel and technology is closer than ever, with businesses continuing to turn to social media to promote their services and reach customers in a more intimate and personal way.

Mobile

By 2015, 9 out of 10 consumers will have a mobile subscription.

  • 29% of travelers have used mobile apps to find flight deals
  • 30% have used mobile apps to find hotel deals
  • 15% have downloaded mobile apps specific to upcoming vacations
  • 85% of leisure travelers use their smartphone while abroad
  • 72% post vacation photos on a social network while still on vacation
  • 46% check in to a location (eg Facebook and FourSquare) while on vacation
  • 70% update their Facebook status while on vacation
  • 61% of US travelers report using social media while on vacation
  • 85% of travelers use smartphones while on vacation, and 46% use tablets
  • The most popular use of smartphones while traveling is for finding restaurants (36% for smartphones, 21% for tablets) and accessing social media (32% for smartphones, 19% on tablets)
  • In 2012, 57% of business travelers used a mobile device to book travel
  • More than 40% of online traffic related to travel comes from mobile devices
  • 44% of travelers use their phones to research travel while they’re actually traveling

Top five uses of smartphones while traveling:

  • Take photos
  • Use map features
  • Search restaurants
  • Search activities and attractions
  • Check in prior to flight

Consumer Trust

  • 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising
    • an increase of 18% since 2007
  • 70% of global consumers say online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising
    • an increase of 15 percent in four years
  • Only 47% of consumers around the world say they trust paid television, magazine and newspaper ads
    • confidence has declined by 24%, 20% and 25% respectively since 2009

Despite these numbers, the majority of ad dollars are still spent on traditional or paid media.

Results of the Nielsen 2013 survey:

  • 84% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations, or earned media, above all other forms of advertising.
  • 69% trust owned advertising, in the form of content of branded websites—up 9 percentage points from 2007
  • 68% trust consumer opinions posted online
  • Traditional ads still strong: 62% trust TV ads, and 60% trust magazines. Only newspaper ads showed a decline, from 63 to 61%.

Increased trust in online and mobile ads:

  • 56% of respondents trust consumer-oriented email messages
  • 48% trust ads in search engine results, online videos, or on social networks
  • 42% trust banner ads, up from 26% in 2007
  • 45% trust display ads on mobile devices
  • word-of-mouth formats—earned media and consumer reviews online—prompt the highest levels of consumer action—84% of people will take action thanks to the former and 70% to the latter.
  • Roughly 2/3rds of respondents take action some of the time based on ads in traditional media, and half are willing to engage based on social network and mobile display ads.

 

Reviews

Post-vacation, 46% of travelers post hotel reviews.

  • 40% post activity/attraction reviews
  • 40% post restaurant reviews
  • 76% post vacation photos to a social network
  • 55% “liked” Facebook pages specific to a vacation

Influence

Social media has a huge influence on travel bookings. Of those who used social media to research travel plans, only 48% stuck with their original travel plans.

  • 33% changed their hotel
  • 10% switched resorts
  • 10% changed agent/operator/website
  • 7% holidayed in a different country
  • 5% switched airlines

TripAdvisor

  • 69 million monthly visitors
  • More than 60 million travel reviews and opinions from travelers around the world
  • More than 90 percent of topics posted in the TripAdvisor forums are replied to within 24 hours
  • 82 million people have downloaded a TripAdvisor app
  • 2800 new topics are posted every day to the TripAdvisor forums
  • More than 150 million reviews from over 60 million members worldwide

Facebook

  • 900 million monthly users at the end of March 2012
  • 488 million monthly active mobile users
  • Approximately 80% of monthly active users are outside the US and Canada
  • More than 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook per day
  • An average of 3.2 billion Likes and Comments generated by Facebook users per day
  • More than 42 million Pages with ten or more Likes
  • Facebook is available in more than 70 languages

2013 Stats:

  • 1.23 billion monthly active users as of December 2013
  • 945 million monthly users of Facebook mobile products
  • Approximately 81% of daily active users are outside the US and Canada
  • Photo uploads total 300 million per day

Twitter

  • Twitter search is one of the most heavily-trafficked search engines in the world, serving over one billion queries per day
  • 500 million registered users
  • 175 million tweets per day

 

Sources:

The World Travel Market (WTM) Industry Report and Global Trends Report
Nielsen: Global Consumers’ Trust in ‘Earned’ Advertising Grows in Importance
Lab42: Techie Traveler
Facebook Key Facts
TripAdvisor Fact Sheet

Nielsen: Earned Advertising Remains Most Credible Among Consumers
T
op 15 Valuable Facebook Statistics
TrustYou Travel Marketing Statistics

8 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Blog

Not completely convinced that your business should have a blog? Remember this: Content is king. And with the abundance of both free and inexpensive blogging platforms floating around the web (WordPress being one of the most popular), there’s no reason why your business can’t set up a blog and start connecting with customers in a matter of minutes.

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8 Silly Grammar Mistakes That Are Killing Your Blog

The worst piece of writing advice I ever received? Write like you talk.

If you’ve ever eavesdropped on a conversation, you know that our verbal culture is an editor’s worst nightmare. Saturated with rotten grammar, half-baked ideas and a disturbing amount of likes, ums and y’knows, human speech isn’t exactly made for readability.

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Infographic: Should Your Business Be On Pinterest?

When the first version of Pinterest launched in early 2010, the creators lost sleep over whether anyone except for a handful of close family and guilt-ridden friends would ever use the site. Well, turns out their fears were unfounded. Not only have they attracted over 16 million users, they’ve also opened up a whole new world of social media marketing.

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Twitter Rolling Out Self-Serve Advertising for Small Businesses

Timeline, Premium Ads, patent lawsuits, IPO delays, proof-of-ownership emails—it seems like Facebook has had all the fun lately. But while Mark Zuckerberg and friends are busy soaking up all the attention, Twitter has been flying under the radar, cooking up some sweet new advertising tactics for small businesses.

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Timeline for Pages: Creative Marketing Inspiration for Brands

Not all brands are in love with the new Facebook Timeline, but a few early adopters have jumped on board and stepped up their creative game.

As these brands show, Timeline is about more than cool cover photos. It’s about defining your brand, showing off your personality and providing a continuous flow of interesting and engaging content.

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Brands on Pinterest: Who’s Doing it Right

When Pinterest first launched back in March 2010, it was dismissed as a feminine space for brides-to-be, aspiring kitchenistas and crafty, DIY types. While it’s true that Pinterest users are overwhelmingly female (97%, actually), the site is not as niche as it used to be.

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Survey Reveals Scary Truth About Facebook Friends

It’s safe to share with friends of friends, right? I mean, you kinda know them. They’re the people you were introduced to at your girlfriend’s birthday party, or the ones you met in passing at the mall. It’s only 2 degrees of separation, so why not let them see all your photos?

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Superbowl XLVI Gets First-Ever Social Media Command Center

Superbowl XLVI has a Social Media Command Center. Seriously. While you’re tossing back chicken wings and yelling at the television screen, a team of 50 will be monitoring the digital field from the comfort of their 2,300 square foot space in downtown Indianapolis.

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Mapping the World with Twitter and Flickr

Remember those light pollution—err… I mean those Earth at Night—maps that were so popular in the late 1990s? Well, it’s time to move on. Eric Fischer, Google programmer and digital map aficionado, has created something that will delight even the techiest of tech-lovers. Bye bye city lights, hello geotagged tweets and Flickr photos.

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Invitation To This Is My Jam Beta: What Is YOUR Jam?

There’s a glut of online music streaming services battling for your social timeline. Spotify, Grooveshark, Last.fm and Rdio all exist to annoy your Facebook and Twitter friends with the latest tune you listened to and what you think everyone else needs to hear. It’s like cranking tunes in your bedroom as a teenager, except the echo-chamber is the entire online world. What’s better than indiscriminately forcing your musical taste on your drinking buddies, high school aged cousins and accountant uncle?

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Facebook Finally Launches Timeline

After months of wondering if it would ever show its face in public, Facebook timeline has finally arrived! It’s not official—you have to go here to get it—but if you upgrade now you’ll have 7 days to test it out before it goes live on your profile.

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Kicked off Facebook: Why These 4 People Got the Boot

If British police get their way, rioting hooligans will soon be banned from using social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger. Senior officers met with each individual company following last summer’s riots to learn how perps use the networks to stir up trouble, and to find a way to ban them for violating the networks’ terms and conditions.

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Why I Love Twitter’s 140 Character Limit

I believe good things come in 140-character packages. In a single tweet, you can argue your case, share good news or link to something awesome. You can tell the world about your new toothbrush, your new product or your new daughter. You can even spam your friends with inspirational quotes, which they love.

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The Schools That Rule the Web

Recent studies prove it: increased engage,ent between educators and students cia email and social media has a positive effect on learning. Check out this infographic to see the schools that rule the web.

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4 Ways to Squash Silly Facebook Rumours

Facebook rumours. No, I’m not talking about Microsoft buying Facebook or Mark Zuckerberg’s pregnant girlfriend. I’m talking about those pesky, illogical rumours that spread faster than the truth. The ones that abuse caps lock, exclamation points and common sense.

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Facebook f8: Zuck-Dawg Announces Even Bigger Changes

If you hate the new Facebook changes right now, you’re really going to hate what Mark Zuckerberg announced this morning at the annual f8 conference in San Francisco. The Facebook that you know and love will be gone, and those irritating minor changes will be here to stay—plus many, many before. Basically, Facebook is getting an overhaul that coincides with a shift from user growth to user engagement. The last five years have been focused on signing people up and getting connections in place, and now that Facebook has half a billion users, the only thing left to do is get those users to share more.

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Astroturfing: Fake Reviews Aren’t Always Greener

AstroTurf. Once famous for being the Brady Bunch’s lawn of choice, the term now refers to the endless stream of opinion spam that litters websites around the globe.

You know what I’m talking about—those so-called “consumer reviews” that are stuffed with exclamation points, superlatives and robotic phrases like “Great rooms and service! Highly recommended!”

My fake-o-metre is also set off by:

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Should Teachers Be Allowed to Friend Their Students?

Missouri’s newest law—the “Facebook Law”—has caused an uproar among teachers, students and others who believe it violates their freedom of speech and association.

Why? The law forbids teachers and students from befriending each other on Facebook. That’s not the law’s only concern—it also touches on things like background checks for anyone having contact with a student and reporting alleged sexual misconduct within 24 hours—but the social media aspect is naturally the only thing people are making a fuss about.

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How to Celebrate Social Media Day 2011

Social Media Day 2011 is tomorrow! Now in its second year, this global event celebrates our connected world and gives people a chance to socialize with their online communities offline.

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Stikky Media Wins Social Media Campaign of the Year!

With content from our interactive media division, northStudio360, we were recently the proud winners of Social Media Campaign of the Year, presented by Social Media Camp. The award, dubbed a “Westie,” was judged on creativity, sociability and results. Here’s how it went down:

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Social Media Camp 2011 – #smcv11

Two days, 8 workshops, 30 sessions and a deliciously embarrassing amount of Wannawafels later, the 2nd annual Social Media Camp has come to a close. This year saw over 650 participants, almost 200 more than last year.

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Deadmau5 Asks Fans to Design His Next Rodent Head

Deadmau5, the Canadian-born electronica musician, needs a new rodent head. It’s a unusually big request—he’s famous for wearing over-sized mouse heads on stage during performances—so he’s turned to Talenthouse.com to design a one-of-a-kind mau5head that will be featured on deadmau5’s official website and worn during his “Unhooked” shows.

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Toyota Friend: Would You Accept a Car’s Friend Request?

Toyota and Salesforce have joined forces to create Toyota Friend, a private social network for Toyota owners. Its name makes it sound like a lame role-playing game where owners give their cars cutesy names and elaborate personalities and spam each other’s walls with requests for virtual spark plugs, but it’s nothing like that.

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Starbucks Goes Gaga, and Other Successful QR Code Campaigns

Scavenger hunts are always awesome, but Starbucks just upped the awesomeness by including QR codes—and even better—Lady Gaga. Without using raw-meat bikinis or elaborate egg vessels, Starbucks found a clever way to connect their stores, their digital networks and their customers.

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Why the Tourism Industry Needs a Special Approach to SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a main component of any industry’s marketing plan, but for the travel industry it’s absolutely essential. According to a Travelport report, online search engines continue to dominate the travel industry with two out of three leisure travellers (66%) and 59% of business travellers using them to research travel.

The internet has revolutionized the tourism and accommodation industry by giving travelers access to greater choices, better deals, more flexible plans and a wealth of media designed to immerse them in the destination before they even get there.

This quick, simple and convenient travel planning is a big step forward for the industry, but it has also transformed travel into one of the most highly competitive niches, requiring specialized, industry-specific optimization strategies. To survive, businesses need to gain an understanding of what consumers are searching for and learn how they can leverage internet search technology to maximize not only traffic to their site, but also to the destination itself.

But when it comes to SEO, it’s not enough to rely on keyword-rich text. On-page content is important, but there are many back-end factors to consider, including title tags, meta tags, image optimization, internal link structure, multilingualism and foreign search terms. And as of recently, social media can also affect your Google ranking.

In addition, Google rolled out a new feature last September that dramatically affects search results. Businesses can now claim Google Place Pages that allow them to verify and supplement their business information, including products, photos, videos, hours of operation and more. These Place Pages not only take up a major chunk of the first page, but they also pull in reviews—both good and bad—from multiple sources. Google designed Place Pages to help customers make informed decisions where to go, but now it’s more important than ever before for businesses to maximize their online presence.

Here are the stats:

  • 95% of natural clicks come from page one of Google, Yahoo and Bing
  • 3% of clicks came from page two, and 2% came from page three
  • One out of five Google searches are related to location
  • The number one spot on Google search results gets double the traffic as the number two spot, and the second through fifth spots combined
  • 41% of searches unsuccessful after the first page choose to refine their keyword search phrase or their chosen search engine.
  • 80% of completely unsuccessful searches are followed with keyword refinement

Sean Avery vs. Uptown Sports: Why You Shouldn’t Mix Twitter Business With Pleasure

It’s not surprising that hear that New York Rangers forward Sean Avery is at the centre of yet another controversy.
The 31-year-old former Vogue intern teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign and released a 30-second video for “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality” over the weekend, becoming the first professional athlete in New York to publicly support marriage equality. And according to the HRC, the Rangers, as an organization, are now rallying behind Avery in support of the campaign.

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To Tweet or Not to Tweet: That is the $25,000 Question

While some countries are left to deal with fraudulent elections, Canada is busy cleaning up the aftermath of the #tweettheresults fiasco.

Twitter is famous for broadcasting news before traditional media outlets pick it up (and for prematurely killing celebrities), but the recent election raised some interesting issues about a person’s right to tweet.

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Pepsi’s Social Vending System: Pop-Swap With Thirsty Friends and Strangers

Vending machines have always been social. People crowd around and share their thoughts on the best way to steal drinks, how far you can shake the machine before it falls over and whether or not the Coca-Cola script is really an obscene image.

Pepsi recently created a vending machine that’s truly social, in the 21st century sense. It’s still a prototype, but their “Social Vending System” allows users to gift beverages around the country.

Here’s how it works:

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Play With Numbers

When it comes to social media, it’s easy to get lost in the number crunch. Facebook has over 500 million users, Twitter has over 175 million. You have 357 Facebook friends, 3246 Twitter followers and your blog has been read 467 times.

You have 23 mutual friends with someone on Facebook, yet you have no idea who that person is.

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NASA Explores the Vast Reaches of Social Media

April 12th is a big day in the space world. And this year, it’s even more special—it’s the 30th anniversary of NASA’s first space shuttle launch and the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight, taken by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

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Crowdsourced Travel Magazine Coming to an iPad Near You

Everyone loves a good social media experiment—especially when it involves free stuff.

Travelati, an upcoming travel magazine, is giving away tons of freebies for the best travel tips and unique stories. They’re crowdsourcing all of their content, so travelers can receive American Airlines Advantage miles, airline gift cards and lounge access in exchange for the best photography, video, writing and spoken word. If you’re not a writerly type but still want a shot at magazine fame, you can phone in your story.

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Have Tripbod, Will Travel

Travelers naturally gravitate toward referrals and recommendations. They’re social creatures who trust other travelers more than traditional marketing, and they’re always on the lookout for atypical tourist activities. Social media is a great way to get the most current insider info, but what if you could skip the planning and get a personalized itinerary from a trusted local? It’s kind of like Rent a Friend, only less creepy.

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Esperanza Spalding Wins Grammy, #TeamBieber Can’t Belieb It

There’s a retweet swirling around Twitter that says the Grammys lost 17 billion+ views after Esperaza Spalding won over the Biebs. Hmm.

With a world population of about 6,775,235,741, that would mean each person would have to love Bieber with 250% of their heart. And even with herds of dedicated Bieberites running wild on this planet, I’m pretty sure that’s impossible.

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Foursquare Helps Tourism, but DMO’s Aren’t Checking In

Foursquare has over 6 million users and over 381 million check-ins, but very few DMO’s are using the using the geo-location service to boost tourism. Explore Chicago was the first to really get involved with Foursquare, and since then, only a handful of DMO’s have joined.

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Ground Shaking? Drop, Cover, Twitter.

I’ve gotten used to the blasting over at the Uptown construction site, so when I felt a big rumble at 8:30 this morning, I completely ignored it. But while I quietly ate my oatmeal, Twitter lit up with earthquake-fueled chatter.

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Super Bowl XLV Social Media Helps Newbies Understand Football, Fit in at Parties

I have a confession: Superbowl XLV is 3 days away and I don’t know which teams are playing. I didn’t know last year either, but I attempted to hide my indifference by bringing a hideous football cake to the party. Unfortunately, it was so over-iced and under-baked that only one person tried it. So instead of passing myself off as a quiet fan with amazing baking skills, I became “the girl who brought the cake.

And I still never figured out who was playing.

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Destination Marketing Organizations Need to Stay Social

Ideally, the tourism industry is win-win situation. While travelers escape their normal routines to frolic and explore, they enhance the quality of life for the community by creating employment, generating tax dollars and attracting facilities and events that appeal to both visitors and locals.

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