Feeling Stuffed? Try a Digital Marketing Diet!

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Are we feeling a little bloated, tired and stressed out — and not because of the holidays? Many of us who live and breathe online marketing have a tendency to try to eat everything at the daily digital buffet and walk away feeling exhausted. We’ve talked about the digital diet trend here at Brandsplat before, but we think the holidays are a perfect time to revisit and revise our digital marketing diets.

Diets, by their very nature, are the act of cutting out stuff that isn’t good for us. So our digital marketing diets should eliminate the efforts that aren’t working. If, for example, like one of my clients, you have better luck on LinkedIn than with Facebook, by all means play to your strengths. This doesn’t mean you have dump Facebook altogether, but budget your time and effort so it makes sense.

Next on our diet and exercise list is make your blog start working out. If your blog is just sitting there eating Fritos and doing nothing, make it get up and get busy. In other words, if you have a blog that features all of your excellent advice and industry expertise, spread the word! Tweet links to your blog. Post it on LinkedIn and Facebook. Your custom content may be brilliant, but if nobody sees it, then what’s the point?

Once you’ve dumped the digital junk food, it’s time to introduce some healthy habits into your diet. The holidays are a fabulous time to get on the email marketing bandwagon. Why? Well, it’s inexpensive to implement and it’s a great tool to help keep your clients in the know during the season. Brands like Barnes & Noble and The Home Depot use it to tell folks about specials and new merchandise — and, thanks to smartphones, emails are read and received anywhere.

Lastly, get in the habit of saying “no” and saying “I need help.” Say no to marketing techniques that you don’t have time for or you instinctively know aren’t right for your company. And say “I need help” to blogging, social media and digital marketing experts who can help you with the areas that are mysterious or difficult.

Happy dieting and healthy marketing!

The Black Friday Battle Gets Brutal on Twitter

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It’s a strange day in TwitterLand when the most vocal battles on the social media mecca aren’t coming from politicians or celebrities but from brands. Must be the holidays. In fact, it is Black Friday itself at the center of this brand bickering and the year’s most unsavory shopping day is getting even uglier on Twitter.

According to ClickZ, JCPenney and Target are among the chain stores duking it out for sponsored tweet dominance. In one corner we have Target, that online-marketing-savvy store that seems to have mastered both hipster and grandparent appeal with Twitter marketing and Facebook finesse. In the other corner is JCPenney, that once tragically un-hip brand that (thanks to some well-played social media marketing) has made a colossal comeback. ClickZ is reporting that good old Penney’s threw a wrench in Target’s plot for a Black Friday tweet takeover by hijacking promoted tweets featuring the word Target. Talk about ballsy! JCPenney bought the following sponsored tweets: “Target,” “Target stores,” “Target gifts,” “Target deals” and “Target holidays.” The tweets featuring the words are a winking nod to JCPenney’s president Michael Francis, who was the head of advertising at Target until last month. ClickZ points out that Target has a, well, target on its back — other brands like HP, Gap and Neiman Marcus have also bought “@target”-promoted tweets.

But the Twitter tussling doesn’t end with sponsored tweets. Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R’ Us appear to be in a one-up contest over who tweets the best deals for Black Friday. Meanwhile, Best Buy is tweeting like mad to help shoppers find out about sales, hours and breaking news. Again, it’s the holidays, so naturally tension is going to be high. You still have to worry about whether your drunk aunt is going to throw cranberries at the table like last year, but be thankful you’re not a brand manager, as brands have to worry that one of their competitors might be outsmarting them at Twitter marketing for Black Friday.

Facebook’s Frictionless Sharing is Anything But

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Facebook is just one of those brands that regardless of what new product it unveils, somebody is bound to think that Facebook is over and that users all over the world will soon wise up and delete their 800 million accounts. Those of us who do Facebook marketing, however, know better. We’ve seen the complaints since Facebook’s inception — that the site exploits users’ privacy while giving their information to marketers, for one. Now Facebook’s “frictionless sharing,” which was released in September, is the latest Facebook product to tick off marketers and average Joes alike.

Frictionless sharing (an ironic name considering the amount of feathers that have been ruffled thus far) is an application for Facebook which, upon initial user approval, allows friends to see what articles you’ve read and music you’ve listened to. If you’ve noticed blurbs like “Monica just read ‘Beyonce worried baby secret would be revealed'” at the top of your news feed, you’ve seen frictionless in action already. The problem with this annoying yet at times comical over-share? Critics like Molly Wood of CNET say the one-time inconvenience could spell a lifetime of Internet issues.

“In search of ‘frictionless’ sharing, Facebook is putting up a barrier to entry on items your friends want you to see — that is, they’re creating friction,” Wood writes. “Even if it’s just a one-time inconvenience, any barrier to sharing breaks sharing. The barriers will keep popping up as more content publishers create social apps that have to be authorized before you can view their content. For every five people who authorize an app, I’d guess five will turn away, and eventually get annoyed enough to stop clicking links at all, and maybe eventually annoyed enough to stop visiting Facebook so often, and go searching for somewhere easier and less invasive to simply post a link and have fun with your friends.

“Sharing is the key to social networking,” she continues. “It’s the underlying religion that makes the whole thing work. ‘Viral’ is the magic that every marketing exec is trying to replicate, and Facebook is seriously messing with that formula. Plus, it’s killing the possibility of viral hits by generating such an overwhelming flood of mundane shares.”

Others say frictionless is damaging to newspaper sites and original online news sites. Personally, we find the app to be a bit bombastic. If several of your Facebook friends have read the same thing but at different times, the article will continue to show up in your feed. It’s information overkill and drains the personalized, audience-specific sharing we love from Facebook.

But we want to know what you think. Is frictionless a bad idea? Do you even care what your friends are reading or listening to?

Freshness Rules!

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Freshness is a word we preach often in the custom content biz. Fresh and timely blogs, articles and social media updates are king in online marketing because they help readers and consumers find brands. Now Google’s latest algorithm overall includes a freshness update which is bound to confirm the power of keeping it fresh.

Google conducts hundreds of algorithm updates a year, but this current batch of ten updates is creating a buzz in the content marketing world. The freshness update in particular is causing marketers to salivate because of its proposed power. The update will impact 6 to 35 percent of web search results and it includes searches for up-to-the-minute events, news stories, blog posts and hot topics. For small business owners, the update is titillating because it will also push up the ranking of product and service reviews. According to Google’s official blog, the freshness update will allow searchers to find the latest information about a topic first. This means if you typed in “online marketing” the most recently updated blogs and articles would rank higher. Likewise with current news stories. If you searched for Demi Moore, news stories about the newly single actress would appear before biographical information, with many of the items being just a few minutes old. Basically, your new Google searches will have faster and more recent results than ever before.

Freshness is now not only ideal for our businesses content but a necessity. In order to stay relevant, our content has to be fresh and interesting — and this a good thing. Bloggers and article marketers and small business owners now have the opportunity to keep their followers up to date with the latest happenings in their world. Content creators are now not only spreading the word about their business but providing news.