Saturday, January 13, 2018

Virtual Reality | Branding Strategy

Virtual Reality: Your Secret Weapon For Building Brand Experiences

Take your pick. Is virtual reality the groundbreaking technology of tomorrow or a marketing antic that’s already old news? While 2016 and 2017 have seen virtual reality evolve into the public lexicon, its 1:1 interface and limited consumer adoption have constrained marketers’ abilities to execute effective activations at scale. As a result, it remains stationed in the land of ‘advertising gimmick,’ rather than reaching its full potential as a marketing resource.

So what’s an advertiser to do? The first step—don’t limit your VR strategy to creating 360-degree versions of existing video content. Treat the technology’s immersive potential as an extension of your brand experience game plan to enhance emotional, educational and transportive storytelling.

Democratize Experiences

Experiential marketing such as pop-ups require a big investment on behalf of the brand—real-estate, staffing, training—while limiting how many audiences can reach the physical engagement. So to truly get a good ROI, it is necessary to implement tools into the mix such as immersive video, which can bring the joy of a brand experience to a larger audience at a lower cost (check out Quilted Northern’s virtual toilet paper pop-ups). Hosting VR activations at your local store or encouraging audiences to access your content with a branded Google Cardboard headset,  offers deeper engagement to a greater number of interested consumers.

Heighten The Moment

Consumers want to be swept away by their senses. Already surrounded by digital content, it takes more than a video to keep today’s audiences entertained. The key is to use VR to authentically build on what already makes your brand special. Take Guinness’s VR-enhanced beer tastings.  As customers taste three new beers, they are immersed in an abstract virtual environment where they experience colors, textures, movements and sounds that are meant to enhance the beer’s flavor profiles.

Try Before You Buy

Digital advertising has a tough time building shopper confidence, especially for big purchases.  Customers aren’t sold on the luxury of sitting in leather car seats from a social ad. Virtual reality’s rev-gen power lies in its ability to help customers experience a product pre-purchase, driving upsell opportunities in high-ticket industries such as automotive, home and travel. Travel technology company Amadeus helps travelers experience luxury plane cabins or car interiors before booking, while YouVisit offers students virtual tours of college campuses they can’t visit. Committed to building shopper confidence, retailer Lowe’s has created Holoroom How To, a VR clinic for homeowners to learn how complete DIY tasks, such as putting up drywall, before purchasing the materials and tools.

10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing Tips - For Local Businesses

Social Media Marketing Tips For Local Business Owners

11 Social media marketing tips that can help you connect with your audience & take your small business up a notch.

When it comes to posting on social media remember that it's not just about captioning off that perfectly captured filtered image, it's about connection, networking, being socially intelligent and strategic.

1. Brand your Social Media
Stay away from those generic filters. Just because it's easily available doesn't mean it doesn't come with a price. The price of engagement, that is. Branded images allow you to have a distinctive look and appealing brand to those who pop in on your feed. Allowing them to stay a bit longer, convert into a lead and possibly a sale. No one likes murky, dark or blurry vision, why use it on your social feed? A great app to help you edit as easily as pressing a button is the VSCO app which you can download straight to your smartphone. It allows you to make your Instagram pop like it's never done before. Light and Bright are usually a great starting point.

2. Have a Blog
This is something I advise all business owners to have because it allows you to have more online visibility, customer loyalty and set you apart from your competitors. You don't have to write up a novel, 250 - 350 characters work great. And you don't have to post every single day! Once a week to every other week is perfectly fine.
How powerful can your blog be?

"Your Google ranking will go up dramatically. Whereas Google and other search engines may take two or three weeks to list your new website in search results, new blog sites and new blog entries are indexed every day. From comments, you will accumulate external links both into and out of your site, and get additional ranking from Google" -via Business Insiders

3. Add Value
Make sure you're adding content that not only jives with your brand but incorporates value to your readers. Done right a blog curated, branded and socially spread the right way can have you hundreds up-to thousands of visits a month. You can easily set one up through your website hosting provider and if you're using Squarespace or Wordpress.org it is nothing but a phone-call or easy set up away.

4. Use Pinterest
Tailwind is a great app that allows you to schedule posts on Pinterest. Pinterest is like Google with images. It's a large index of beautiful digital sticky notes that you can't help but click and read. Pinterest, in a nutshell, is a visual search engine. It's not just for looking up incredibly tasty Christmas cookie recipes or how to decorate your home for the holidays, it's a social media beast! Use it wisely my friends.

5. Design your Images
Canva - If you're not already using it you need to. Canva is a graphic designer that you've folded up and placed in your back pocket. If you don't do anything but create pinnable images, it is well worth your time to look into it. Plus canva has a FREE version. With this tool in your back pocket consider making your post pin worthy. Meaning, slap some clickbait on that image!

SEO Trends For 2018 | Video Search, Voice Search

7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2018

1. Video and image search will vastly improve. 

Gradually, our online interactions have evolved to become more visual. Over the past few years, faster internet speeds, more visual-friendly social media platforms, and a general public desire to engage with more images and videos has led to a surge in visual online interactions. Accordingly, I think we’ll see some changes to how Google and other search engines treat images and videos in an online environment. New startups like Moodstocks and Eyefluence (both of which were acquired by Google) have sought to recognize visual elements within images and videos more accurately, or have sought to improve user interactions with them. I’m not sure what changes these startups foretell, exactly, but I bet we’ll see a vast improvement in search sophistication for visual assets.

2. The Knowledge Graph will dominate. 

For a few years now, Google has been steadily increasing the frequency and specificity of featured snippets—the concise answers to questions users pose in their search queries. Yet, just last month, the frequency of featured snippets declined significantly, apparently replaced by equivalent answers found in Knowledge Graph boxes. I think this event could portend the rise and eventual dominance of Google’s Knowledge Graph, replacing a good chunk of the space currently occupied by featured snippets in an effort to provide users with even better, more consistent answers.

3. Voice search will sharply increase with the rise of smart speaker sales. 

Do you have a smart speaker? If you don’t, I bet you know at least a few people who do. Smart speaker sales, like those for Amazon Echo and Google Home, surged in 2017, and sales will probably grow further in 2018 as newer models start to roll out. Because these speakers are activated by voice, and provide spoken search results, users are getting even more used to interacting with search engine results with only their voices and their ears. This could drastically change the types of queries we see, and reshape the way businesses think about SERPs (since they may no longer be as visual).

SEO | Artificial Intelligence | Google Search

SEO trends and Google changes to expect in 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) will power many more aspects of search

It’s now been over two years since we were first introduced to RankBrain, Google’s machine-learning AI system which helps to process its search results. Since its introduction, it’s gone from handling 15 percent of search queries to all of them.

Google’s interest in AI extends much further than RankBrain, however. They have developed the Cloud Vision API, which is capable of recognizing an enormous number of objects. Indeed, Google has so much machine-learning capacity that they are now selling it as its own product.

But perhaps most interestingly, Google has now built an AI that is better at building AI than humans are. This was a project by Google Brain, a team that specializes specifically in building AI for Google.

Unfortunately, AI is not without its issues. AIs tend to get stuck in local minima, where they arrive at a “good enough” solution and are unable to climb out of it in order to discover a better solution. They also have a tendency to confuse correlation with causation; one might even call them “superstitious” in that they draw connections between unrelated things. And since the developers only program the machine-learning algorithm, they themselves don’t understand how the final algorithm works, and as a result, have even more difficulty predicting how it will behave than in the case of traditional programs.

As Google continues to embrace AI and incorporate more of it into their search algorithms, we can expect search results to start behaving in less predictable ways. This will not always be a good thing, but it is something we should be prepared for.

AI doesn’t change much in the way of long-term SEO strategies. Optimizing for AI is essentially optimizing for humans, since the goal of a machine-learning algorithm is to make predictions similar to those of humans.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Branding | Marketing | Social Media | SEO

Improve Your Personal Brand’s Social Networks for SEO with These Tips

Search engine marketing and social media work together in building visibility online, which is a change from the older traditional methods of link building and keyword usage. Social media, in particular, is a large influence in the way people look for information, which is driven by conversations and phrases. Google’s latest algorithm reflects this and influences the way personal brands publish content.

Has your brand’s website ranking seen a decline? There are new methods you can use that can attract readers, and improve your placement on search engines. In order to be successful, you need to be aware of the latest trends in marketing.

Today’s social-driven SEO methods differ from those in the past, which means that in-depth and original articles are now in favor for readers. Here are a few ways that will help you improve your following online.

Online Search: SEO

SEO 2018: 15 Rules for Dominating Online Search Results

Seems like yesterday that I was writing about SEO in 2017. Now, 2018 is near. Are the rules changing much? Sort of. But, the fundamentals are staying the same. You still can't game the system. You can't take shortcuts or cut corners. If you want to absolutely crush the SEO game in 2018, you need to put in the work.

The truth? Understanding search engine optimization takes time. With hundreds of rules to Google's algorithm, it's no wonder it's so confusing. But, to stay ahead of the proverbial curve with SEO in 2018, you simply need to put in the time and the effort to deliver real value. Not try use shady tactics. No. Real value.

What exactly does that mean? Well, in order to properly convey the underlying rules to you, let's start with a story. Let's pretend you just opened up a new business and you walk into a bank. You sit down with the banker and explain your fantastic business model. You even show him a dazzling business plan.