Despite High Usage Rates, Teens Feeling Facebook Burnout

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Though usage of the social media network is at an all-time high, teens are feeling less and less enthusiastic about Facebook, according to new research released by the Pew Research Center.

After a survey conducted last September, the Pew Research Center has released a 107-page report detailing the online habits of 802 teens between the ages of 12 and 17. The report is significant for Facebook, because this particular demographic has fueled the company’s success and its rise to become the most frequently used social network in the world.

While overall usage of Facebook by teens who use social media is higher than ever, at 94%, and while the report finds that teens continue to view Facebook as a vital part of their social world, the Pew report authors also find that these same users are experiencing a “waning enthusiasm for Facebook.”

“Honestly, Facebook at this point, I’m on it constantly but I hate it so much.” Female Focus Group Participant (15 Years Old)

Facebook has emerged as a “social burden” for teenaged users of the site, according to the report, which cites teens’ exhaustion with “oversharing,” unnecessary social “drama,” and the use of the platform by oversharers who post excessively about the minutiae of their lives. The teens in the study also acknowledge the increasing presence of adults on Facebook as a reason for their migration to other social media networks, even though Pew found that 7 in 10 teens are Facebook friends with their parents.

[Photo: Flickr/rishibando]

Because Facebook has become such an important part of the social lives of teens, they are not fleeing from the network nor deactivating their accounts. They are, however, signing up for accounts on other networks like Twitter and Instagram at the same time, where teens feel they can express themselves more openly and honestly without interference from adults. 11% of teens who are engaged in social media now have Instagram accounts, and Twitter saw a massive leap in the number of teen users of their service, from 16% in 2011 to 24% in 2012.

“Now I am basically dividing things up. Instagram is mostly for pictures. Twitter is mostly for just saying what you are thinking. Facebook is both of them combined, so you have to give a little bit of each. But yes, so Instagram, I posted more pictures on Instagram than on Facebook. Twitter is more natural.” Female Focus Group Participant (16 Years Old)

As usage of social networks by teens is becoming more fractured and spread among several networks, overall usage of social media by teens has not changed significantly. According to the report, “Frequency of teen social media usage may have reached a plateau; three in four teen social media users visit the sites on a daily basis.

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This article was written by Malcolm Bedell, Online Marketing Strategist at Dream Local Digital. Based in our Rockland office, Malcolm brings his 15 years of new media experience (with a focus on online marketing and design) to clients nationwide. In his off time, Malcolm also authors an Alexa-ranked top 100k most trafficked website about cooking, eating, and food culture in Maine. His writing and photography has been featured online on The Huffington Post, Bon Appetit, Serious Eats, and the Ladies Home Journal, as well as in print for Downeast and Indulge magazines. You can email Malcolm any time at malcolm@dreamlocal.com.

What is the point of #hashtags?

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Dreams realized here.

As one of the leading social networks, Twitter’s success has been rooted in its simplicity and the ability to communicate to a broad audience using only 140 characters. A key part of its popularity has become the hashtag. Once considered a tool for geeks, the hashtag has become increasingly mainstream. You may notice as you scroll down through your Twitter feed, the people and organizations you follow finish their posts with a number sign followed by a word or phrase. Why is that?

According to Twitter, “the # symbol… is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.” Although hashtag is the name of the symbol, the term has come to refer to the topic it embodies. Hashtags can be single words, abbreviations, or entire phrases, and they are usually meant to be catchy. When a hashtag becomes popular on Twitter, it can become a “trend”. Big events in news, sports, and entertainment tend to quickly develop trends on Twitter. For example, following the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the hashtag #BostonStrong was frequently used by Twitter users. Trends are listed in the left column of your homepage.

What is the significance of trending hashtags? Debbie Swanson, a Freelance Marketing writer for Freelance Switch, describes the usefulness of hashtags clearly by stating, “Think of hashtags as you would an index to a book: if you wanted to find out how to cook lasagna, you would flip to a cookbook’s index to find the term lasagna.  If you wanted to use Twitter to learn about lasagna, you would type #lasagna into Twitter’s search box.”

Hashtags have recently spread to the Facebook world. Users now have the ability to add hashtags into their status updates, wallposts, and captions, allowing common topics on Facebook to be categorized the same way that they are on Twitter. By supporting hashtags, Facebook is joining the ranks of Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media networks that businesses should be using in their marketing strategies. 

Hashtags are already a popular way for businesses to reach customers on Twitter. With 500 million total users and more than 200 million active users, this social network gives a business the opportunity to reach out and interact with a wide variety of audiences. Typing a hashtag into your tweets will help readers find you, and starting a hashtag from scratch requires you to spread the word about your hashtag, just like any marketing effort.

According to Steve Cooper, contributor to an article on Forbes titled, “5 Reasons Businesses Should Care About Hashtags,” he states, “A new survey from ad platform RadiumOne found that 58 percent of respondents use hashtags on a regular basis, and 71 percent of regular hashtag users do so from their mobile devices.” Forbes provides five reasons businesses should embrace hashtags:

  • Businesses can develop #promotions by awarding discounts to respondents who share hashtags they create.
  • New tools like Tagboard allow businesses to track a hashtag across all the major social networks, which allows for #unification.
  • Create your own #conversations by developing creative, catchy hashtags for followers to use and see what #conversations are taking place on Twitter through trending hashtags.
  • #Targeting an audience is possible by advertising through hashtags, allowing people to engage in social conversation on Twitter and share positive experiences concerning your brand.
  • Since hashtags are still taking off, there is room for #innovation. Get creative in finding ways to make your business trendy!

For six successful Twitter campaigns through hashtags to get you inspired, visit: http://mashable.com/2012/03/23/twitter-hashtag-campaigns/

Web Sources:

http://freelanceswitch.com/freelance-marketing/hashtags-and-social-media/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevecooper/2013/03/31/5-reasons-businesses-should-care-about-hashtags/

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This article was written by Lianne McCluskey, intern Online Marketing Strategist at Dream Local Digital. Based in our Rockland office, Lianne has spent the summers home in midcoast Maine interning with Dream Local Digital since 2012. A student at La Salle University in Philadelphia, she is a Communication major with a concentration in Journalism and English. Lianne is a member of the La Salle Women’s Swimming & Diving team, having been competitively swimming since she was five-years-old. She is also a member of La Salle’s Lambda Phi Eta Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and works for the La Salle University Annual Fund. She has written feature stories for the La Salle Collegian and NewsWorks, powered by WHYY in Philadelphia. She enjoys having the opportunity to help local businesses learn how to use social media to reach their audiences and build mutually beneficial relationships with the people they serve, strengthening her writing skills along the way. You can reach Lianne at lmccluskey0@gmail.com or connect with her online at http://leeleecogitoergosum.wordpress.com/.

Online Reviews: The Good News and Bad News

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Yelp. TripAdvisor. Google Local. You know that your business is receiving online reviews, both positive and negative, from your customers every single day. Often, these reviews are some of the first search results that pop up when a new lead begins conducting research about your business online. But how much emphasis should you be placing on review and reputation management, when you’re already juggling several social media profiles, working on your offline advertising initiatives, and, uh, also finding time to run your business?

The answer may surprise you. Thanks to this new infographic that aggregates statistics from AdAge, Nielsen, Marketing Sherpa, and some of the biggest names in online behavior and metrics, we have a much clearer picture of what online reviews mean for your business. For example: 

  • 70% of people consult reviews/ratings before purchasing.
  • 75% of reviews posted on review websites are positive.
  • Nearly 84% of people said they would trust a friend’s review over a critic’s.
  • Reviews drive 18% higher loyalty, and 21% higher purchase satisfaction.
  • 71% agree that consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product/service.

Online ReviewsPerhaps most significantly, 95% of unhappy customers will return to your business if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently.

There are two key messages here which are overwhelming:

First, that online reviews are an absolutely vital part of the decision making process, when it comes to attracting new customers or driving sales. Consumers are actively looking for reviews of your business online; in fact, these reviews make up a huge part of your overall online identity. Most of the reviews being written by these consumers are positive, and there is overwhelming evidence that these reviews can drive new business.

The most important message, however, is that even negative reviews online can be used to a business’s advantage. If you work hard to address negative reviewers’ concerns, 95% of them will return to your business, and they may even update their review, provide follow-up, or take to Twitter or Facebook to share their (now positive!) experience with your brand.

Online reviews, both positive and negative, provide opportunities to interact with existing and potential customers, and turn even critics of your business into loyal brand ambassadors. Any reviews of your business that appear online provide an opportunity, and we recommend that all our clients devote time and attention to cultivating these reviews.

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This article was written by Malcolm Bedell, Online Marketing Strategist at Dream Local Digital. Based in our Rockland office, Malcolm brings his 15 years of new media experience (with a focus on online marketing and design) to clients nationwide. In his off time, Malcolm also authors an Alexa-ranked top 100k most trafficked website about cooking, eating, and food culture in Maine. His writing and photography has been featured online on The Huffington Post, Bon Appetit, Serious Eats, and the Ladies Home Journal, as well as in print for Downeast and Indulge magazines. You can email Malcolm any time at malcolm@dreamlocal.com.

What’s Happening in Turkey? Social Media has the Answers

Monday, June 10th, 2013

What began as a peaceful demonstration in Istanbul, Turkey against tearing up the city’s Gezi Park, has transformed into a national protest against the Turkish government. The protests are a surprise to many in Washington, who considered Turkey more democratic than it was a decade ago and an “excellent model” or “model partner.”  

What's Happening in Turkey

 

An article in Foreign Policy stated, “There is a certain amount of truth to these assertions, though the latter, which is repeated ad nauseum, misrepresents the complex and often contradictory political processes underway in Turkey.”

 

Turkey protest

 

Tens of thousands of citizens have begun to protest what they believe has turned into an authoritarian government under Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s command. The protest is against plans to raze Gezi Park and replace it with a shopping center; however, underlying tensions emerged after Turkish police responded with tear gas and truncheons. The Gezi protests are the culmination of growing popular discontent over the recent direction of Turkish politics.

Many people around the world are unaware of why this demonstration is occurring; but thanks to social media, Turkish citizens are getting past the barriers of restricted information.

The Istanbul protesters have supporters in the United States. Supporters in New York are raising money online for a full-page ad to be placed in either the New York Times or the Washington Post. In the New York Times, a full-page ad for causes and appeals in the international section run between $140,000 and $153,000. After one day, the crowdfunding campaign’s already raised $35,000 in pledges- their goal is to reach $53,800 before the deadline, which is one month away.

The ad calls for “the world’s support.” The copy of the ad reads, “This is not just about a park. Before the park was the closure of an Ottoman pastry shop, the arrests of journalists, laws on alcohol sales, constantly changing school curricula. Gezi Park and the subsequent police violence on demonstrators were just the latest examples of a fundamental shift away from basic civil rights.”

The protest in Turkey has turned into the biggest protest to occur during Erdoğan’s term, which has lasted over a decade. Over the course of the 11 years of AKP governance, Turkey has achieved unprecedented economic success, transforming a crisis-hit economy into a quickly growing one fuelled by trade and foreign investment. However, it appears Erdoğan has grown a big head, and made remarks about his party’s legitimacy and the fact that it won 50 percent of the votes in 2011 elections. The Prime Minister has referred to himself as “the servant of the nation” following the economic and environmental success of the government.

 

Turkey Protests

Protestors have been using Facebook and Twitter on their mobile phones to inform the world of the latest news during the demonstration against the demolition of the park in Istanbul.

 

Though much of the information has been limited, international social media, blogs, and articles have helped to spread the word and demonstrate the power of the Internet as a tool for uprising. We are able to see for ourselves the bravery of the Turkish citizens standing up against their government. An article revealed that Turkish police have detained at least 25 Twitter users; social media activists have been accused of using Twitter to “instigate public hatred and animosity.”

“There is now a menace which is called Twitter,” Erdogan said on Sunday, dismissing the protests as being organized by extreme elements. “The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.” Is it a menace for revealing the reality of Erdoğan’s regime?

Through Vimeo, a similar social media tool to YouTube, a video was released of a helicopter view of the protestors in Gezi Park. Check it out:

http://vimeo.com/67803369

Not only is social media serving as a tool to inform the rest of the world about the protests in Turkey, but it also serves as a tool to bring people from various cultures together. A number of people throughout the United States are now helping the Turkish citizens by expressing their support, creating a virtual bond across the world. They may not know each other personally, or understand one another’s lives, but social media generates a way for human connections to form.

We can juxtapose this with how social media creates mutually beneficial relationships between businesses and their customers. Businesses constantly communicate with their clients on Facebook, send updates on Twitter, or blog to provide detailed facts about the company to show their customers that they are there to serve them.

Who knew a protest across the world that isn’t being publicized enough would go viral through social media?

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This article was written by Lianne McCluskey, intern Online Marketing Strategist at Dream Local Digital. Based in our Rockland office, Lianne has spent the summers home in midcoast Maine interning with Dream Local Digital since 2012. A student at La Salle University in Philadelphia, she is a Communication major with a concentration in Journalism and English. Lianne is a member of the La Salle Women’s Swimming & Diving team, having been competitively swimming since she was five-years-old. She is also a member of La Salle’s Lambda Phi Eta Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and works for the La Salle University Annual Fund. She has written feature stories for the La Salle Collegian and NewsWorks, powered by WHYY in Philadelphia. She enjoys having the opportunity to help local businesses learn how to use social media to reach their audiences and build mutually beneficial relationships with the people they serve, strengthening her writing skills along the way. You can reach Lianne at lmccluskey0@gmail.com or connect with her online at http://leeleecogitoergosum.wordpress.com/.

Pinterest Captions Become Critical – Here’s Why

Friday, June 7th, 2013

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Dream Local Digital, Alyssa McCluskey

This week, Pinterest announced that users can search for their own pins in the search bar.

Many Pinterest users find that they pin so many things, they often have trouble finding them later on.  To reduce the amount of digging, Pinterest’s blog post on Tuesday said that the new search option “makes it easier to rediscover stuff you’ve pinned.”  By typing a word into the search bar, Pinterest now allows users to filter search results by selecting “Just my pins.” 

Pinterest  

With the new search filter, how exactly will Pinterest users be able to find their pins again?  Searching for items on Pinterest means that the images must have the right keywords in their descriptions that users are typing into the search bar.  In my own experience on Pinterest, I have seen users who let the image speak for itself by writing, “Love this!” or “So cool” instead of actually describing what the image is.  Sometimes, users simply hit the space bar once or twice, since a description is required in order to pin or repin something.

Pinterest

This new search filter option makes it all the more necessary for Pinterest users to optimize their pins with keywords that make their content searchable… for their own personal use as well as for sharing purposes.  Writing clear, keyword-rich descriptions will not only make your pins more popular on Pinterest, they will also be easier to find when you want to find the image again.

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This article was written by Alyssa McCluskey – Online Marketing Strategist at Dream Local Digital. Alyssa has lived in the Midcoast area for seventeen years. Raised in Hope, Maine, she recently graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Maine at Orono. Alyssa has been a part of the local community for a number of years: she was a member of the Pen Bay Sailfish Swim Team for twelve years, and worked for the Penobscot Bay YMCA by helping to develop youth through swimming lessons and summer camp. She was also a member of the UMaine community during her four years in Orono as a Resident Assistant. Her past community involvement gave Alyssa the skills to interact with people and the desire to get involved and watch local businesses thrive. She is very excited to use her skills as a writer and to learn more about social media by working with Dream Local Digital. To contact Alyssa, email amccluskey@dreamlocal.com.

7 Reasons To Be the Indiana Jones of Social Media

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

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Dream Local Digital, Corissa Poley

Indiana Jones is close to universally likeable. He’s got an aura of adventure and a great story. You could say he’s engaging. With some online work that’s nowhere near as hard as archaeology, you can be as influential, likeable, and daring as Indy. Read these reasons to be an Indiana Jones online and grow your business. Afterward, share your own ideas in the comments.

1. He knows his stuff

 

image source: tumblr.com

Dr. Jones is a professor when he’s not being chased by bad guys and fending off snakes. His knowledge (and yours) is power. Your content must be based on your own solid expertise or trustworthy experts. Trends and websites you use every day shift and change on a regular basis, so stay up to date and make sure when you post, you know what you’re talking about. Your customer needs to know you are the expert in your industry niche, so they seek you out for conversation.

 

2. He’s not afraid to hunt

 

image source: tumblr.com

It doesn’t matter what he’s looking for, Indiana Jones will put in the time and work. Roughing it while looking for content online doesn’t seem so bad, right? A long search for the best post or most informative link doesn’t have to be tedious. Sometimes it takes a determined hunt to compose your perfect post. Don’t be intimidated by the digital hunt for great content; persevere until you find what fits your audience the best. It will be worth it. Quality is king, and it will attract new customers.

 

3. He’s aware of but unconcerned by his competitors

 

image source: tumblr.com 

Yes, he’s in a lot of scrapes. Someone’s always trying to kill him. But he always manages to get out of it, because he’s smarter than his colleagues and competitors. He spends time with his enemies and takes the time to figure them out when he can. That’s why he always ends up alive in the end. Although social media marketing isn’t as brutal, it’s still a tough market with thousands of businesses online. You can compete, by being aware of but not focused on your competition. Don’t fret over what they’re doing. Focus on your work and move forward to engage your own customers and gain brand loyalty.

 

4. He’s always got style

 

image source: tumblr.com

Even in the midst of crazy adventures, sweaty fights, kidnappings, and (ew) snakes, Indiana Jones still manages to keep his style suave. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in his circumstances while you’re braving the adventures of social media, but to have your style at hand is a wise idea. You need to represent your brand in a unique way, so find out what your company’s voice is and distinguish yourself.

 

5. He’s focused on his goals

 

image source: tumblr.com

For years, Indy chased down the cross of Cortez because he knew it belonged in a museum. He was so determined to make sure the artifact was in the museum, that he endured all manner of fights, cruelties, rain, and icy ocean water in order to do what was necessary. You should be the same on your channels and in your brand representation online. Focus on your goals and do what it takes to reach them, even if it means you check your profiles every day. Diligence is key in social media.

 

6. He analyzes in the moment to find a solution

image source: tumblr.com

Indy’s version of archaeology requires a great deal of quick thinking. Social media is the same way; it grows and evolves every day. You might wake up to discover that a social media channel has completely changed its design. Perhaps you’re surfing the web one afternoon, only to read that Spotify has become social. You, too, need to be able to make a good decision in the moment and engage customers on social media with skill.

 

7. He does his own thing

image source: tumblr.com

You have to admit, Indy’s methods are unusual. Real archaeology is nothing like what Indy does. He has his own patterns, crazy ideas, and determined goals. He goes for it, no matter what others think, and it works. The artifact is always safe in the end; he reaches his goal. You can do the same by thinking differently than others and breaking new ground. If you have an idea you think might work, test it out. Perhaps share one post based on it, and gauge results. Online marketing is still a sandbox, so give it a go and build your expertise.

 

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This article was written by Corissa Poley – Online Marketing Strategist at Dream Local Digital. Corissa lives in Portland, Maine and believes Maine is the best state in the U.S. She brings her can-do attitude from the busy pace of her former residence in the New York/New Jersey Area. Her professional experience with the Portland Public Library, green construction publishing, Apple Inc., and the Information Technology Group at University of Nebraska-Lincoln gives her a diverse outlook to feed her ever-curious and creative mind. You can reach Corissa at corissa@dreamlocal.com or connect with her on Twitter.

Improving Reader Engagement with Your Brand on Facebook in a Single Step

Friday, May 31st, 2013

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We talk a lot about “reader engagement” on Facebook here at the Dream Local Digital offices, and for good reason. Setting up a Facebook page for your business may be an important first step in bringing your business into the world of social media, but it marks only the beginning of the work that your business must do to use Facebook effectively.

The term “reader engagement” refers simply to the degree to which your posts on Facebook are interacted with by your page’s fans. If your posts to Facebook on behalf of your business receive tons of comments, lots of people hitting the “like” button, and shares to your readers’ own networks, your reader engagement is high. If your posts are largely ignored and you feel like you are shouting into an empty room, your overall reader engagement is low.

Whole marketing consultancies are built around the simple goal of improving reader engagement. In fact, it’s a big part of the work we do for our clients here at Dream Local Digital. What I want to talk about today, though, is a dead-simple way you can immediately improve reader engagement for your Facebook brand page with a single step. It comes down to one simple thing: Remembering how and why people use Facebook.

[Photo: Flickr/Fbouly]

The most difficult fact for many businesses to accept when it comes to crafting compelling posts for their Facebook pages is that most readers simply aren’t interested in seeing them. Facebook users aren’t spending time on the site so that they can see your marketing message; they are on the site to catch up with family members and to see photos of their friends. Your best expectation should be that if users absolutely love your brand, they may be willing to tolerate seeing your posts appear in their newsfeed. To persuade them to interact with those posts (thereby increasing their visibility on the network), you have to consider their overall motivation for interacting with any post on Facebook: Users want to make themselves look awesome.

Because Facebook readers are aware that their every action on the site is broadcast to their personal network, much of their activity can be traced back to increasing their own status within that peer group. When a user likes, comments on, or shares a post, it’s a way of subtly communicating to their network that they are smart, funny, cool, or somehow otherwise in-the-know.

 

[Photo: M. Bedell]

A user who “likes” a photo of a beautifully plated restaurant dish is partly showing their appreciation for that dish, but also quietly letting their friends and family know that they know what gourmet cooking looks like, and that they have the kinds of refined palates that can appreciate the subtle nuance of the chef’s cooking.

A Facebook user who shares a photo of an adorable kitten eating a bagel or a video of a goat singing along to a Taylor Swift song is partly offering a stamp of approval to the creator of the photo or video, but is also communicating to their friends and family that they have a well-developed (if perhaps not always particularly refined) sense of humor.

I know it sounds a little cynical. But if you can find a way to appeal to your followers’ own well-developed sense of personal celebrity, you ensure a high rate of engagement for your Facebook posts.

For every post you craft for your Facebook page, ask yourself a simple, single question: “Is this post something my readers will feel proud to interact with, because doing so will impress their friends?” If you can answer “yes” to this question, you practically guarantee that a reader will engage with your posts.

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This article was written by Malcolm Bedell, Online Marketing Strategist at Dream Local Digital. Based in our Rockland office, Malcolm brings his 15 years of new media experience (with a focus on online marketing and design) to clients nationwide. In his off time, Malcolm also authors an Alexa-ranked top 100k most trafficked website about cooking, eating, and food culture in Maine. His writing and photography has been featured online on The Huffington Post, Bon Appetit, Serious Eats, and the Ladies Home Journal, as well as in print for Downeast and Indulge magazines. You can email Malcolm any time at malcolm@dreamlocal.com.

Native Advertising Is Just a Relevant Advertisement

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

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Content marketing is a form of native advertising. Brands seeking to engage with customers and expand their reach online purchase ads on search engines, social networking sites, and blogs to boost viewership in relevant arenas. One example is the paid search results that attach themselves to key terms in a user search and are thusly relevant to the searcher’s needs while still being a paid advertisement. Another example would be a promoted tweet that highlights news or information relevant to the user’s search. Today I reviewed my saved search for Social Media News and popped up a promoted post from Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! About their acquisition of Tumblr:

In the form of content marketing, native advertising is businesses on the web offering curated content that is directly related to their business and industry in order to offer something of value while promoting their brand. It’s an advertisement and part of their sales funnel, however it does offer something of value for free while it promotes the business.

Native advertising isn’t exclusive to the web. TV commercials are the truest form of native advertising, as they provide some entertainment between shows while promoting their product or service. It could even be said that the term native could be interchanged with “just plain good” advertising. The more thoughtful and targeted an advertisement is, the more effective it is. In that sense, native advertising is thoughtful advertising created for a specific market that takes the format of the medium and user experience into account.

Online marketing and social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, are aggressively pursuing new ways to tap into their vast user bases to monetize them primarily through new forms of native advertising. You’ll notice a lot more suggestions in your news feeds these days, a direct result of this effort. Businesses and brands are able to choose demographics which they think are most closely linked with the products they are selling and market only to them. As databases grow with each online transaction we make and Like we click, businesses are better able to target the customers who are most likely to buy. Beyond reaching these customers directly, the viral effect of social media, enables further sharing and online word-of-mouth marketing that money can’t buy. We’re in the infancy of social media native advertising and lots of things that are out there today may not be there tomorrow. But the power of this data and these social platforms is not going away, and the closer marketers can get to their customers using these platforms, the more marketing dollars will flow from traditional advertising to digital.

To sum it up:  If you aren’t targeting your advertising dollars to specific segments and creating unique, useful, and engaging content on the web… you are wasting your budget. Get native!

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This article was written by Eliece Hammond – Online Marketing Strategist at Dream Local Digital. Eliece is from the Pacific Northwest and has recently relocated to Silicon Valley with her new husband, Jim. Maine has a special draw for her and she is excited to work with the team and support local commerce. Eliece attended college at an early age in Illinois, earning a high school diploma and AA degree in Graphic Design in June of 1999. She later went on to complete a 4-year Business Administration degree from the University of Washington with concentrations in Marketing and Finance. Her focus has always been on entrepreneurship, with 14 years of experience developing business models and marketing plans. You can reach Eliece at eliece@dreamlocal.com or connect with her online at: http://about.me/eliece

5 Social Media Tips From Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

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Dream Local Digital, Corissa Poley

Ernest Hemingway had many talents. His foremost were writing and drinking, but his little-known skill for giving excellent, concise advice was not widespread until after his death. His inspirational quotes are often relatable and full of truth. Here are 5 of his quotes that can be used for social media. Read the details and rock your online customer service.

(1) “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

Listening is an essential part of social media. The number of American digital shoppers was 137 million in 2010, and is expected to be 175 million by 2016. As a local small business, you must reach out to your community and see what target customers are saying. Pay attention to their needs, questions, and lifestyles so you can offer the right product or service solution at the moment of purchase, to build brand loyalty with your customer. As Mr. Hemingway says, you can learn a great deal from listening carefully. Follow community pages and reach out to customers by asking questions about your service, facility, or product.

(2) “Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.”

This one’s a little strange at first. Read it again. You’ll see his point is simple: all the days coming upon you in the future are affected by what you do today. That’s a valuable lesson in social media. When you check your social media regularly and post fresh content that stimulates conversation and a buzz around your brand, your actions will have a positive impact for your company’s influence. Your daily behavior, conversation style, and demeanor are important for your reputation. Future days will contain bigger audiences, more customer solutions provided daily, and conversation with your fans. Be diligent.

(3) The grass is greener where you water it.

Don’t be jealous if your competitor has more Google+ reviews, Facebook fans, or blog posts than you. It may look as if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but consider your opponents’ social media pages. Find out what they do to engage fans; monitor their status posts to see what works. See what their industry content sources are, and how they interact with their fans. You can care for your social media “lawn” by creating bigger and better ideas based on competitors’ successful online practices.

(4) “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

The word nobility comes from an Old French word nobilite in the mid-14th century. It means, “quality of being excellent or rare”. You want to be that business. Your biggest competitor is the local small business you were yesterday. When you have the right relationship with your customer, you can provide them with help, answers, and a solution in their moment of need in a rare, high-quality way. Respond to messages. Interact daily. Ask questions. Pay attention to what is going on in the community, online and offline. If you do this, your business practices will be best practices, and your customer base will grow larger and become stronger.

(5) “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

Social media marketing and digital communications are always evolving as they work together. Both industries discover new ways to communicate brand values which engage the online customer. Sure, some of us are more experienced than others and have been using social media since it began. But in an ever-evolving technology industry, the social media communications craft is about flexibility and adaptation to change in a digital world where anything could be invented tomorrow. Keep in mind: we’re all apprentices, and an open mind will serve you well.

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This article was written by Corissa Poley – Online Marketing Strategist at Dream Local Digital. Corissa lives in Portland, Maine and believes Maine is the best state in the U.S. She brings her can-do attitude from the busy pace of her former residence in the New York/New Jersey Area. Her professional experience with the Portland Public Library, green construction publishing, Apple Inc., and the Information Technology Group at University of Nebraska-Lincoln gives her a diverse outlook to feed her ever-curious and creative mind. You can reach Corissa at corissa@dreamlocal.com or connect with her on Twitter.

Geekbook 5.24 | An Internet and Online Media Zeitgeist

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Welcome to Geekbook —  Capturing the weekly buzz in digital media and online marketing & design, as well as trends, news, and cultural topics that are helping shape and inform today’s readers.

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Oklahoma Governor Thanks Media for Coverage

Since a devastating tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma Monday afternoon, relief agencies and government officials have been using online resources as a key tool in providing emergency information and communicating ways people can help. Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin thanked the state’s media for saving lives with early storm warnings and on-going coverage. The local television stations regularly use social media sites and online video during storms to better assist those who lose television reception and to advise of street-by-street storm details. – Poynter

Yahoo! Acquires Tumblr

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!’s CEO, announced on their Tumblr feed Monday, that consistent to last week’s speculation, Yahoo! did indeed acquire Tumblr. Vowing not to change the niche blogging site, she promised that Yahoo! would not “screw it up.” Though the company plans to preserve the core mission of Tumblr, this platform opens up a big window for Yahoo! to offer advertising on the site. Since users’ blog preferences generally indicate their interests, better targeted ads could be served to its 300 million unique monthly visitors. – Yahoo! Tumblr

 

Pinterest Adds Advertiser-Friendly Features

Pinterest looks to monetize and start generating revenue by adding “rich pins” for businesses to drive purchases. While clicking on current pins takes users back to the source website, this new functionality allows instead the expansion of the pin to provide the user with additional information, such as product pricing and availability, recipes, and movie information. – Social Fresh

 

Nutella Exemplifies How Not to Use Social Media

Fererro, the company that makes Nutella faced an Internet backlash after sending a cease-and-desist letter to Sara Rosso, the organizer of World Nutella Day, an online event to celebrate the popular spread. She decided to blog about the incident and the message spread across the web. Taking what could have been a huge win for the company as well as  and a ton of positive free marketing, they decided on the wrong approach. Social media users took it from there, helping educate Fererro on how marketing works in the social age. The company has since reconsidered their position and World Nutella Day may live on. – SocialTimes

 

Father of GIFs: ‘It’s Pronounced JIF’

Steve Wilhite, who created the .GIF file format for images in 1987, has ended the debate on the proper pronunciation of the ever-popular acronym. Accepting a Webby Award this week for his achievement, instead of giving an acceptance speech, he flashed a GIF on the big screen: “It’s pronounced JIF, not GIF.” – Mashable

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(Images via L.E.H., Twitter, Getty Images, AdAge)

Geekbook is produced by Jeff Howland, Community Manager at Dream Local Digital, a marketing agency specializing in interactive media, marketing, SEO and social media.

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