Getting one of your social media channels hacked isn’t anything new these days however it doesn’t make it less frightening whenever that happens. Recently my Instagram account got compromised and you bet that made me crazy even though I know I’m the one to blame for not having a secure enough password. I’ll detail how it happened and how I recovered it in this blog post.
I started taking pictures back in 2007 when I was in my early college days and like most people, I only used a point-and-shoot digital camera to take photos. Back then, I would store the photos on my hard drive and then upload it on Friendster. Technology has evolved and from Friendster, I started uploading them to Multiply, then Facebook and then now Instagram.
Looking back I realized that not much has changed really. At least for me, the change was mostly on the sites I’m uploading pictures to. And I find that normal because these photos are majorly tied to the “in” social network which has changed quite a bit in the last 5-7 years. What changed on my end is my interest in the subject of photography. No I didn’t own a lot of cameras during the period but I became more obsessed with taking better photos and investing on better equipment.
What usually happens is I would take pictures using my entry level Sony Nex 6 camera. I would make sure I take good pictures (note I’m still a novice in this area though) and then once it’s done I would store it on my hard drive but then upload either on my personal Facebook page or Instagram. As we all know, both of those services decrease the overall quality of the pictures. But still who cares? I have my original source on my hard drive right?
Well, not until now. I realized that I need to take a look at a service where I can upload my best shots. Maybe not really just the best ones but every photos that I’d like. A major requirement for the service is that it would not (majorly) alter the photos and eventually decrease the quality.
No I’m not building some kind of a image portfolio here but it’s my personal desire to have a place online where I or my friends can look at photos that I took and hopefully those aren’t too bad for them to feel bad. And so that is why I started searching for the services.
I actually have a Flickr account and this is where I realized that I have been taking photos for quite some time now. I like the service a lot but it functions as a social network itself which can be a problem. That might take away the focus of me just uploading photos to finding friends, commenting on their photos, browsing other people’s pictures and etc. That’s not a big problem though.
I haven’t used Flickr in years but I remember that you can’t really use the service to upload pictures continuously as they have a limit for free accounts. They also compress your photos (not as bad as Facebook though) and that would only go away if you fork out some money and pay for a subscription.
But maybe it has changed and I’ll just have to take a closer look at the service again.
Photobucket is an equally popular service however I kind of view them more as a casual image uploading site as oppose to something that has a more personal feel to it like Flickr. Nonetheless, Photobucket seems to be as good as Flickr but it has its own limitations for a free account.
I’m personally not too high on Photobucket for some biased reasons but I know I’ll take a look of this service again and see where it fits.
Picasa is a popular photo sharing service owned by Google. Doing a quick look at it, it seems they have their own share of features that are not available on other platforms. I read that they accept more file formats (including RAW) and they are of course very much integrated to other Google services.
I should take a look at Picasa because I’m pretty much a Google person like most people. I use a lot of Google services but I’m not sure I have any use for the Picasa integration at all (what? integrate to G+? meh!).
The website of this service strikes me as a a photo and card printing service rather than an photo sharing site but it seems like the latter part is a very good service on its own.
Shutterfly doesn’t have any limitations for uploading pictures and unlike others, they actually store the images in full resolutions and uncompressed. Like other services, they also offer some basic photo editing tools and integration to social networks. And of course, they have this tied neatly to their printing services in case you want to get a hard copy of your photos.
I haven’t reached the point yet where I’m nit-picky with the features that a service comes with so I think I would do fine with all the services I found above. However, I can’t really use all of them and upload to each every time as that would be very silly. It’s also worth-noting that me picking a service doesn’t change the fact that I would still upload photos on Facebook and Instagram since both are services that I heavily use for other purposes.
Overall, I would say Flickr has an advantage as I’m already an existing user there. Unless Flickr has a deal-breaker kind of limitation on their service, then it would be tough for other services to win me unless of course they offer something that is so good that I’m willing to switch and start over from scratch. But who knows?
I’d like to hear your thoughts here. Feel free to suggest other services as well. 🙂
This is a guest post by Paul Malicki.
On October 30-31, the 7th Search Engine Marketing Conference took place in Hotel Intercontinental. The event featured some of the biggest digital marketing agencies and speakers from the Philippines, US, Australia, and Europe. Among various theme related primarily to new trends in SEO and search engine advertising, only a few speeches extensive elaborated on mobile marketing. My topic, i.e. “Leveraging Mobile App Discovery” was probably the only one, which fully focused on mobile.
Marketing objectives VS app discovery
Any business engaging in mobile app industry (on a different note, isn’t it a right time to start referring to it as an “industry”?) should start with defining the objectives of their campaign. There are two main marketing objective, one being direct response and the other– branding. Let’s treat SEO as an external universe to these two, although we all know that SEO primarily aims at increasing conversion rates. Thus, during the user acquisition stage most of the efforts should focus on the former. Branding is a great way to increase the brand loyalty and brand awareness and it should be underestimated. However, still many businesses underestimate the fact that user acquisition demands separate type of marketing. Whether these are Facebook ads or AdWords or even social media content, choosing the right type of bidding, tracking and target URL is a must. Once we define the objectives we can finally understand what app discovery is all about. Just look at the definition below:
Most successful app discovery channels
How do most of the users find out about your app? The results shown by the biggest research I found on this topic, suggest that mobile is a totally different world. Remember all those articles about how great Google AdWords and SEO is for the desktop conversions? Leveraging mobile app discovery is not anymore about Google AdWords and SEO. Focusing on app reviews, positive word-of-mouth, and social media seems to be key to increasing the user base. As much as 63% of the users find out about the app through… searching in the online store! Nearly 50% – by speaking with their friends or family, while another 34% – browsing through certain categories in the app store. The fact that a typical digital marketing channel comes only on the 5th place signifies to the fact that creating good vibes and optimizing app store present are a must!
How do we do it at Easy Taxi?
Let me briefly introduce you an interesting startup. Easy Taxi is world’s biggest taxi hailing application, available on iOS and Android devices. With the app you can easily, with one-click, request for a taxi (and track it in real time). Although the company has been present globally for nearly 2 years, the local operations and marketing are so unique, that each local branch we initiate is a true startup.
Our approach to marketing is very holistic. In the explanation below I would like to focus on my favorite user acquisition channel, which is Facebook ads.
Have you noticed that social media was mentioned as the 5th most popular channel in the diagram above? Not without a reason. One unique thing about using Facebook as an acquisition channel is that it creates a brand environment that surrounds an ad. Each viewer is able to see the fan count, company description and additional graphics, which accompany brand’s Facebook presence. This makes them more convinced about the product. And although the relative conversion rate is quite low, in the developing countries, where advertisers don’t fully utilize that platform, you can easily get a Click-Through-Rate on mobile of 2%+, which assures the Cost Per Click which is close to zero.
What are the features of a good mobile ad on Facebook? Let’s analyze a sample ad of Easy Taxi.
1. Pricing Model
Choose Cost per Install. It’s good for user acquisition since Facebook will automatically optimize the best performing ads.
2. Campaign Structure
This is a general structure I recommend to all advertisers. It’s simple and straight to the point. At the same time it allows you to distinguish between the test and main campaigns and track what works and what doesn’t.
3. A/B Testing
I don’t recommend doing the test without accruing at least 50 clicks. Just choose the best ad and replace the current if it’s underperforming. You can follow this diagram to better understand the process:
- Please note the following:
- Target competitive fan pages and phrases
- Consider targeting users with higher education
- Technology Early Adopters tend to produce lower CPA
- Target precise interests and job positions
A good ad is engaging and has a call-to-action. It also features an image which clearly explains app usage or a user case.
On the top of that don’t forget about the following features / functions:
- High Ad Rotation
- High CTR = low CPC. Quality Score matters
- Register your app with Facebook. Use native SDK or third-party SDK for tracking, not iTunes or Google Play ID
- Understand Facebook bidding model
- Make sure you don’t display your ads towards existing users
- Analyze. Analyze. Analyze.
On a final note, let me outline a few recommendations to anyone who wants to start with mobile marketing. The main one is to try different things and stick to those that work. But before you do that, calculate your Customer Lifetime Value. It might happen that your app just won’t monetize and then your efforts will be pointless.
- Before you start, calculate your cLTV (Customer Lifetime Value)
- Measure your results regularly and make sure that your CAC (Cost per Customer Acquisition) is low
- The only right approach is a holistic approach which puts an emphasis on various mobile strategies
- However, there are usually 1 or 2 channels that work best
- Find a partner
- Humanize your brand and do something for others
- Offline is not dead
This is a guest post by Amanda Green.
It’s a new day for marketing, and those at the cutting edge seem most eager of anyone to abandon the older methods of soliciting customers and dive headfirst into the newest options.
While it is true that jobs in telemarketing are down due to the sluggish economy, that is likely to be more because of overall advertising cutbacks than of decreased effectiveness. Why is that the case? Because nearly everyone has a telephone, but only 51% of American homes have a computer.
So every company that has chosen to rely on social media, pop-up ads, banner ads, direct email solicitation, or promotion of their website via other ad media is missing out on a huge percentage of the population.
How are these firms making such a critical error? It’s tough to speculate on why, but they may be taking a distorted view of social media use because of the speed with which Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the like are adding new users.
For the savvy firm, sticking with the older, reliable methods can provide rewards in terms of building a client base. Here are some ways it can help to continue working with clientele over the phone.
No More Mystery Calling
Good client searches involve making the most of every bit of information you can find. Sometimes that can be a phone number from old sales records or even one found on somebody’s desk calendar.
Who does that number belong to? Could it be your next Customer of the Year? If you want to maximize the potential of every floating bit of info you have, gather up numbers like that and use the best reverse phone lookup service you can find. A lookup service can identify the businesses and consumer base with an associated phone number – which can allow you to find a target audience easily.
A good service will do more than just give responses on names. It will provide you latitude and longitude, letting you sync your customer listing with other geospatial tools. It will also look up toll-free numbers and distinguish between residential and business listings.
Why not just call the number? Because the level of professionalism is marginal when all you can tell the answering party is essentially “Uh, we found this phone number and wondered if we could sell you something.” Look the number up, know who or what you’re dealing with, assess the location, and go from there.
A Quicker Foot in the Door
Click. Even the politest person in the world can dispose of an email solicitation with a step that simple. One quick swipe across the “delete” button and your carefully worded electronic missive is right in the trash can with all the mail-order pharmacy ads and the Nigerian ripoff spam.
Most targeted phone calls will perform better. If you are calling someone with a reasonable likelihood for interest in your product, you will at least get your first sentence out before they begin to resist, and likely you’ll get further than that. Email is quick to send and can provide mountains of information, but it’s very easy for customers to ignore, too.
A Two-Way Conversation
And that excellent, detailed email is unable to answer questions, clarify things, or express personality. Getting on the phone with a knowledgeable, friendly sales associate makes a potential customer not only feel warm and fuzzy (and valued), it also helps you head off their doubts before they have time to take root and grow into full-blown “no, thank you”.
Face-to-face is always best, but when that’s impossible, there’s no question that the telephone is a close second. Don’t abandon what many generations of companies found successful just because there’s a new kid in town.
This is a guest post by Amanda Green.
In the days of the internet and social media, word of mouth advertising has altered a bit. This doesn’t mean it is dead just because it has changed shapes. In fact the opposite is true. Personally, I think it is stronger than ever. There aren’t any statistics to prove this, or at least I haven’t found any. But I am one to pay attention to marketing and the strategies that businesses take and the success each approach offers.
Think about your Facebook or Twitter feeds. How many times do you come across a post that shares a deal or a new item that was recently purchased? Well, my friend, that is word of mouth. Better yet, how often do you see one of your “friends or followers” ranting about a product that just irked them when they tried it? I see it at least a few times a day and between work and play, I don’t spend as much time on social media as most.
Just a few weeks ago I updated my profile picture on Facebook. This new picture wound up with 117 likes and 70 plus comments. I was impressed, thought I must have really looked good. But the truth is that picture was taken by an aspiring photographer. She is a good friend and needs to build her online portfolio. Always one to help I sat through the awkward session and let her snap away.
Through my picture she gained recognition and booked a wedding and a few pregnancy sessions from people that would have never known about her otherwise. This too is a type of word of mouth advertising in our current world.
Giving away free gifts is another twist on word of mouth. No it’s not simply saying, “I love such and such company and I think you should love them too.” But if you are forcing people to share information essentially it falls into the same category.
Another story that comes to mind happened a few months back when I was looking into renting new office space. I was given a pen by a lady who worked in one of the buildings. I love pens. It is maybe somewhat of an obsession. As a writer, I soak in the moments I get to take it back to my roots and put pen to paper. So for me this was the perfect way for me to not only remember them but to talk about them to my friends later.
Today I am working in that space, and while the pen isn’t the sole reason for that… it was definitely a selling point. They made me remember them and now I have an item that I use regularly and has been the start of many conversations.
If you don’t have branded office items that will start random conversations you may want to change that. InkHead is where we purchased our customized pens, apparel, and electronic accessories and they had everything we wanted plus some. All of which came without breaking the bank.
Marketing comes in many forms, but without doing the little things that cause people to talk about you randomly, you will not find the amount of success you are really looking for. Even bad publicity is still publicity. While you are always aiming for positive feedback, just be thankful when people are talking about you.
This is a guest post by Amanda Revie
“If you like it, tell your friends” translates into “If you like it, tweet about it” in the age of social media. Word of mouth marketing for brand awareness is all about creating compelling and engaging content that people will want to share with others. A successful strategy for increasing brand awareness often combines different platforms on which to share your content and release it into the world. It is easy, relatively cost free to market your brand through different platforms, but done in the wrong way and it will never work. Planning and strategy are the keys to raising brand awareness.
Constant Updates Don’t Raise Awareness
Spamming is the absolute worst thing you can do. It is easy to think that the more content you post the more likely you will interest someone, but in fact constantly updating is a big turn off for users. It is therefore a huge waste of your time to be on social media and actually driving interest away.
Think quality, not quantity and you will begin to build awareness around a brand that people will want to engage with on social media platforms and share your content with your friends.
However, don’t make the mistake of posting too little. People enjoy fresh content, even if it’s something small. If you don’t update regularly then people will stop checking your site. This is why a content strategy is important, so you know what to post and when. This also means you can do it beforehand and have it automatically post for you if you’re away.
Striking a balance is of the utmost importance.
Variety is the Spice of Life
If all your updates are promoting you, your products, events or services then the people who receive your updates will become bored and go elsewhere. Raising brand awareness is doing just that- raising awareness of your brand and not necessarily what your brand sells. Let your reputation and your brand identity sell your products. Take Innocent Drinks on Facebook as an example. Most of their posts are in line with their overall personality as a business. They use casual humor about nature, animals, fruit and veg, and bad jokes that they find amusing as posts for their Facebook page. They do occasionally post about their products, but it by no means dominates their page.
Even content that seems completely irrelevant can have a positive effect on your brand awareness. Social media and content marketing company Red Rocket Media, for instance, promoted their ‘best office dog’ competition through their Facebook and Twitter pages. Over the two months of the competition, the reach of their Facebook increased by 4,495 per cent. This demonstrates how even seemingly irrelevant, but engaging and compelling content can increase awareness of the brand behind it.
A viral marketing plan takes a lot of planning and an inspired idea. A video is the type of content most likely to go viral, as it is eye-catching and easy to engage with. If we think that the video is funny, fascinating, or weird then we are more likely to share it instantly with our friends on social media platforms. A viral video is the ultimate in word of mouth marketing.
A video that has gone viral is often short, simple and entertaining. If it’s for a brand or a business, it’s never obvious or advertorial.
Google considers video to be more engaging and ranks it higher than blogs or articles so it will gain more exposure. However, you can’t rely on Google to do the work for you. If you want to make the video go viral, then there are a few things that you can do to help it along. Make sure that the thumbnail image is intriguing and your title will spark interest. You should share your video with your network on all your social media platforms, and ask them to share it. Make sure you share it with the right people too, such as bloggers, writers and sites with millions of visitors. If it’s successful, then people will share it without any obligation to you, thus promoting your business by pure and simple word of mouth.
Content is King
Word of mouth marketing starts with social media and if you do it right it will expand and expand. The things that you post need to be consistent with your brand’s identity but varied enough to retain interest. You also need to make sure that you strike a balance between posting too much and not enough. Above all, the content needs to be engaging. As the saying goes, content is king.
This is a guest post by Charles Hammerman
In this rapidly changing online environment, social media plays a very important part in gaining exposure. News spreads like wildfire throughout the main outlets, and there’s no better way of getting a message across to a large number of new people. It wasn’t long ago that SEO and social media were two pretty different things, but recently they seem to have blended in to one online marketing strategy.
For this reason, utilizing social media is essential for any aspiring business. Nowadays, half of the world’s population is on websites such as Twitter and Facebook, and it hasn’t taken long for the world’s biggest brands to reach out across the globe and gain a whole new customer base. There are countless stories of social media posts from companies going viral.
This is an example of why social media is so important, and why it should not be discounted from a company’s SEO strategy. In fact, more and more companies have now begun to make use of social media in order to bring about an increase in the number of followers, and visibility that their pages get. If you browse Twitter, you’ll find famous companies have their own accounts which provide live updates of what’s happening with the business, and what’s new. This is the kind of thing you should incorporate.
Getting it Right
If you are looking to use social media to your own advantage and boost your SEO strategy, it is important for you to make sure that you follow this few steps.
- Firstly, it is important for you to create a plan of what you are going to do during your social media campaign. Gaining popularity on a social media website is not necessarily difficult, but making sure that you maintain the level is what’s really important. This is where some companies may fail.
- It is important for you to make sure that you create accounts on all of the major social media websites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, and create an identity for you and your brand. Whatever you share on one of your pages should also be done so on the other pages, which helps in creating a unified identity for your business.
- The most important thing that you must keep in mind during your social media campaigns is to always treat your visitors well. The real point of social media is to interact with the people, to talk to them and gauge their reactions and opinion. It would be a poor decision to ignore what your users are saying. Try to interact with your readers and viewers as much as possible.
- The final thing to make sure you get right is the content itself. It’s all very well posting regular updates, but if you don’t have anything good to say, then nothing is going to get shared, which means that you won’t boost your online presence at all. Be as interesting as possible, and capitalize on breaking news that’s relevant you your industry or niche.
Charles Hammerman is an international SEO and social media marketing specialist based in the UK.