Thursday, July 20, 2017

Facebook Changes Link Previews to Help Combat ‘Fake News’

By Caitlan McCafferty

Big changes from Facebook took effect the week of July 18. In order to combat the ongoing spread of misinformation, Facebook has changed the way users can edit the previews of links that they post to the social media platform.

This latest update from Facebook eliminates the ability to customize link metadata, which determines the headline, description, and image shown in the preview of the link.

According to an article by Engadget, the preview function has been abused by many fake news outlets, which “have been taking advantage of the ability to customize a story's metadata to spread misinformation.They often replace the headline, image and snippet with something controversial to get the most shares, likes and comments possible." This change allows Facebook to eliminate at least one method of disseminating false information.

The social media platform recognizes that legitimate publishers and content creators rely on the customization function to tailor their shares in order to improve audience engagement, and Facebook developers have been working on a solution for them. In the meantime, content creators can continue to customize how links appear with Open Graph meta tags. Open Graph meta tags are an important option to consider to optimize content on social media.

Overall, this change signals a serious commitment from Facebook to curb the spread of false information. Shortly after the 2016 election, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced an initiative to stop fake news. The elimination of the ability to alter link previews appears to be one of many steps the social media giant is undertaking to achieve that goal.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Twitter Tools for Hashtag Marketing and Research

By Gina Rubel

I recently went on a marketing mission to find out who is using certain hashtags on Twitter. My goal was to find those users who were most influential and most engaged on certain topics.

If you’re not familiar with hashtags and their value, check out Mashable’s 2013 post on The Beginner’s Guide to the Hashtag which is still relevant today.

Using Twitonomy for Hashtag Research
While there are various online tools that one can use to find influencers and hashtags, I discovered Twitonomy which I’ve decided to test as a one-month user.

Here are some of the things I discovered:

It is possible to download lists of followers or, more importantly, those a user is following. This is important because if you’re looking to find, for example, various reporters for a particular publication, or sources uses by a particular publication, it is likely that that publication and its editors are following those people.

I also ran a follower report on the profiles following me @ginarubel on Twitter. The report is chock full of interesting information.



For example, the top hashtag used by my followers are:
  • #marketing
  • #socialmedia
  • #PR
  • #law
  • #entrepreneur
This information tells me that I’m reaching the right audience as I am a lawyer entrepreneur who works in marketing, public relations and social media.

In addition, the top keywords used by my followers are:
  • Marketing
  • Legal
  • Business
  • Social
  • Media
Again, this tells me that my followers have interests and speak on topics similar to mine.

I can also identify where the majority of my followers are located:
  • Philadelphia, Pa. – where we conduct quite a bit of business
  • Doylestown, Pa. – my hometown
  • New York, N.Y. – where we have clients and deal with media
  • Bucks County, Pa. – the county within which I work and live
  • Chicago, Ill. – a hub for law firms, American bar association business and legal marketing activity
Using Hashtagify.me for Hashtag Research
Another tool that I was recently introduced to by members of our PR department is Hashtagify.me which allows you to search a hashtag to find related hashtags, top influencers, usage patterns and more.

For example, I searched #globalwarming in the free tool of hashtagifyme. Other relevant hashtags include #climatechange #drought #environment #science #climate and the top influencers were @pitbull, @xhnews, @theeconomist, @greenpeace and @realtonyrocha.

While there is a bit of information available for free on Hashtagify.me, the majority of the information is behind a paywall which is the save for other platforms that I found.

What tools are you using for hashtag marketing research? We’d love to hear from you.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Importance of Carrying a Business Card

By Karen Preston-Loeb


Technology has transformed business communication from email to internet. While written communication is often paperless, one piece of correspondence remains printed: the business card. And while it seems that it would be more advantageous to ping information between colleagues, it remains important to always carry a business card.

Here are some reasons why business cards are effective business tools:

Brand marketing
The business card represents your company’s brand. Not only does it convey important personal contact information such as name, title, email, website, address and phone number, but oftentimes it is also the first exposure to the overall image of the business. The company logo is prominently displayed for brand identity. The fonts used, color, texture and paper stock used also conveys a message about the type of industry represented. Specialized printing techniques can be used such as embossing, foil stamping, thermography or laminating. The business card reflects the personality of the company and gives the first impression.

Conveys professionalism and preparedness
Image is everything. Having a business card on hand gives the appearance of professionalism and shows proper planning. Being caught off-guard without a business card imparts an ill-prepared impression. Always carry a stack of business cards protected by a card case and you will convey a polished quality.

Quicker to hand a business card vs input digital information
Numerous apps exist for smartphones to transfer contact information wirelessly; however the quickest and easiest way to exchange data remains the paper business card. Multiple business cards can be handed out in seconds at a networking event versus entering data. In the fast-pace workplace, time matters and nothing beats the quick handing over of a business card for speed.

Some clients do not own digital devices
Do not rely on smartphones for transferring of contact information, because some people do not own digital devices or are not tech savvy. While the majority of our population does have a personal electronic device, some prefer not to rely on theirs. And even if digital devices are used by both parties, the applications may not be compatible. Exchange business cards and you can always follow up with an email that contains your digital contact card.

Essential in international business
With the rise of global working opportunities, doing business overseas is becoming more normal.  Business cards are not only necessary in international business in some cultures, but they are also used ceremoniously. In most Asian countries, the business card is treated with respect. It is often presented with two hands, never tossed, and should be properly placed in a holder once received—never shoved in a pocket. In Japan exchanging business cards is a ritual and considered a formal introduction to a person. Business cannot begin until business cards are exchanged as this signifies the beginning of a relationship. In India, business cards are exchanged even in non-business situations and are always presented face-up with the text facing the recipient. In the Middle East, protocol varies per country. In Bahrain, for instance, never exchange business cards with the left hand and be certain to look at the business card received carefully before putting it away.

The printed business card still dominates. At any instance, whether a networking event or at a coffee shop, the opportunity for a business connection can occur. Not having a business card on-hand could result in a lost potential client. Exchanging business cards gives the ability to follow up, providing a foot in the door for a business transaction. It also allows a personal encounter between two parties, a crucial element of creating a business connection.



Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Aligning Video Content with Brand

content marketing video best practices
How to Make the Most of Your Video Production Marketing Efforts

By Laura Powers

Businesses today should consider video a key component of a strategic content marketing plan. In January 2017, 78 percent of internet users in the U.S. watched online video content. It is a vehicle that immediately communicates a sense of what it is like to work with or for the company, the culture that surrounds the company, and team members and collaboration at the company. All of these factors contribute to a viewer's decision to buy services and products, to consider employment opportunities, or to make a referral.

Included here are key factors to consider for brand consistency as you invest time, resources and a team’s creative energy into producing marketing video content.

Keep it Short

There are reasons that elevator pitches are effective. They provide us with a tool to convey important messages in the short time frame where we have a person’s undivided attention. This recent blog on the limits of our attention span touches on the importance of tailoring experiences to a distracted population. Undivided attention for an elevator pitch is an infrequent, but fortunate, opportunity. Undivided attention while watching and listening to a video is more rare. We can’t control the distractions that may happen while someone is viewing. Since we are not in the room with the viewer, they can easily turn away or ignore us without the fear of being perceived as rude.

For these reasons, videos developed for content marketing purposes should run no longer than 60 seconds. If a one minute video can’t communicate everything necessary to educate and inform your audience, make a series of videos on one topic.

In certain circumstances – such as a 20th anniversary video that includes highlights from an organization’s history and profiles of key leadership – it is appropriate to extend the length of a video.

Select a Single Theme

Videos produced for paid advertising placement are typically driving one message home in a short, concise clip. Videos for marketing purposes are shared on a different platform (YouTube, Vimeo, company website) and are pushed out via a different method (email marketing, social media) and can get caught in the marketing trap of diffused, complicated messaging. To be most effective, each video produced must capture and hold the attention of viewers, be clear in its purpose, and increase credibility and trust with your audience. Some central marketing video themes are:
  • About Us Content – showcase your brand, team members, products or services in a documentary video
  • How-it-works Content – demonstrate a product or process in animation or live action video
  • Specialization Content – highlight differentiation, unique features and benefits of company services
  • Special Topic Content – videos highlighting anniversaries, events, awards, and topical issues
For about us, how-it-works and specialization content, select a single theme with a single message and focus on only that in one video. For example, a video highlighting a team member's expertise in state and local tax issues shouldn’t distract from the theme with other unrelated accomplishments or expertise.

Set the Mood

The atmosphere in video across the web is wide and varied. The atmosphere in a company video should demonstrate a tone and personality that is consistent with the brand through other marketing vehicles. In making decisions for setting a mood, ensure that they align with the company’s positioning statements, key messages and brand strategy.

Mood and atmosphere are often overlooked in a company video, especially with the low quality production tools available to the general public, but they are very important to get right. Incorrectly aligning the tone of a video and a brand can set a company back in its overall marketing efforts rather than move it forward.

Consider POV

On occasion, an individual facing the camera and speaking to the viewer (a talking head) may be necessary, but strongly consider a different point-of-view. A law firm promoting their energy practice attorneys may convey a better experience of their brand story if beautiful footage of energy sources is shown on screen with a voice-over, versus an office interior with a talking head. Abstracted video concepts like this one convey emotion, a sense of culture, and a personality. Most importantly, they are exciting to watch.

All video produced for business with the objective of building credibility, describing products and services, or reinforcing trust can benefit from thinking cinematically before filming begins. A first-rate video production company will assist with concepts and recommendations, scripting, securing voice-over talent and providing a mix of camera options such as wide pans, time-lapse and multiple angle options.

Video is a vital vehicle that will amplify a brand and provide reinforcement in a multi-channel marketing mix. Strategically shaping the POV, mood, tone and theme will produce a marketing video that aligns with and reflects the perception you wish to maintain.





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