Saturday, 29 September 2012
At first glance, LoveIt looks exactly like Pinterest. And that’s on purpose. The more visual something is, the more shareable it is.
LoveIt is a platform where you can discover, collect, organize and share images of — you guessed it — things you love. Yes, that’s the same idea behind Pinterest. So, if you already use that platform, why in the world would you need another one?
Because you are going to fall in love with LoveIt.
LoveIt Gets You
Pinterest hooks you up with your Facebook friends, which is great. But you could be missing out on the content that you really love, rather than the content your friends are sharing. LoveIt constantly works to identify your specific interests and pulls compelling images based on those findings.
And if the things you love are things you want to keep to yourself, that’s OK (talking to you, wedding planning pinners who aren’t yet engaged).
“The lack of private collections on Pinterest is a hindrance to many people,” says Ron LaPierre, LoveIt co-founder and CEO. “Even in the social world we live in today, many people want to keep certain things either to themselves or to an identified small group of friends or family. LoveIt allows them to do that.”
LaPierre notes that those private collections make LoveIt a suitable place for businesses. For example, an architect can share plans and concepts with a client in private. More importantly, he can get feedback from the customer without tipping off competitors.
LoveIt’s Sourcing and Terms of Service
LoveIt’s content importer tool includes an algorithm that automatically credits the original content source.
Improper or missing credit is a huge problem on Pinterest (and other networks for that matter) because it essentially thwarts user interaction. Not only does a source link provide necessary credit, but it also promotes next steps — that’s huge for advertisers and companies. Love that paisley bedspread? You should be able to click on its photo and buy it.
But in a place where images are the main focus, copyright and ownership is the elephant in the room.
When Pinterest’s popularity exploded earlier this year, users pinned with wild abandon. But several content creators dropped it after closely examining its Terms of Service, which claims broad rights to all pinned photos. LoveIt was well aware of that controversy when it launched and didn’t make the same mistake.
“We clearly call out in our Terms of Service that the content you bring into LoveIt is yours,” says LaPierre. “We don’t claim any ownership of the content and you’re more than welcome to move it or share it on any other site you choose. We fully support the DMCA and the rights of content owners.”
Just like Pinterest, LoveIt provides an opt-out code that content owners can add to their website in order to prevent their material from appearing in LoveIt collections.
Drawback: It’s Still Really, Really New
As with any service that’s still in its early stages, LoveIt lacks the addictive content-packed boards that Pinterest is known for. This problem is one in which many early adopters are familiar. Building a robust library doesn’t happen overnight. After all, it took Pinterest nine months to get 10,000 users.
But that doesn’t mean that you won’t still find great stuff on LoveIt. Upon signup, it prompts you to answer questions about your interests and generates suggestions from there. Will those first few photos be completely different than the pins you stumble upon on Pinterest? Probably not yet.
This is where you will have to do some training. But you won’t necessarily have to start from scratch. You can do a bulk import of the stuff you’ve already uploaded to Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr and your blog.
Do We Still Want This?
Pinteret’s exponential traffic started slowing down in April. But does that mean the concept of a photo-centric network is just a hyped-up Internet fad? Probably not. The web loves its photos. Facebook Timeline is proof enough.
But is there room for a service that basically does the same thing as another really successful one? Definitely. The Internet has unlimited space, and every network needs a competitor. Just ask Groupon.
While LaPierre was hesitant to give us a hard number of LoveIt’s active users, he did say it has a “solid base” that is steadily growing.
“What I can tell you is that it took Pinterest months to get 10,000 users,” he says. “We surpassed that a few days after our June 7 launch date.”
Are you still active on Pinterest? Would you consider switching to LoveIt? Tell us in the comments.
Bonus: Other Social Networks to Keep an Eye On
Path is an online journal to which you can post photos, travel updates, the music you're listening to, etc. Use the app for keeping in touch with friends and family.
Connect your social sites to share Path updates on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
Although its trippy logo makes us dizzy, Highlight was one of the most buzzed about new social apps at SXSW this year.
The location-based service alerts you when another Highlight user is nearby. The app continuously runs GPS in the background all day to make sure you're constantly connected.
Similar to Highlight, Sonar helps you learn more about the people in your immediate vicinity.
By surveying your Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare accounts, Sonar determines your most appropriate connections. Sonar suggests using the app for activities like networking and online dating.
An additional location-based social tool, Banjo not only alerts you when your Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or Instagram connections are nearby, but also tells you about hot activities in the area.
Glancee's radar tool helps discover which friends are nearby. Keep notes in the app's diary about all of your encounters and events.
Localmind is the app for spontaneous, social users. The service gathers information from users nearby about events, restaurant specials and attractions occurring now.
Localmind generates location-specific information by analyzing Foursquare and Facebook checkins. Similar to Foursquare, earn karma points for helping others out and giving location advice.
Very similar to Pinterest, Fancy encourages users to "fancy" products that then file into a digital wish list of sorts. The difference between Fancy and Pinterest is that you can actually buy the products on Fancy.
So far, we've talked about apps that log what you've done in the past, and services that improve your experience in the present. Forecast asks what you plan to do in the future.
The platform's developers hope that forecasting your yoga class tomorrow night will encourage other friends to join the fun.
Gogobot is like Pinterest for travel content. Plan vacations, solicit friend recommendations, and share your own travel stories.
author: Amanda Willis
at 3:24 pm
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Here is a short video by Tony Robbins on Clarity and Purpose. This video is very motivational and inspiring. I use this information daily to enhance my own goals and vision for my internet business and in other areas of my life. Glad to share this with you.
While you are here, I would like to offer you 4 Free gifts to help you start your own online business.
Just enter your email at the top of this page.
Friday, 21 September 2012
As a business owner, here are some questions that you need to ask over and over, as your the market evolves and your strategic plan changes. Very often, the answers to these business development questions will change in response to evolving conditions. It is important that you change as well when it is necessary.
1. What business are you in? What business are you really in?
A typical business owner will answer this question by explaining the product or service that they sell. But this is not the business that you are in. The business that you are in is customer satisfaction. As a business owner, you must always define your business in terms of what your products or service does to improve the life or work of your customers.
You don’t sell life insurance; you sell peace of mind. You don’t sell cars; you sell safe, dependable transportation. You don’t sell houses; you sell safe, comfortable homes for families.
In order to implement successful business development for your company, you must realize that customers’ wants, needs, desires, hopes and expectations are constantly changing, and you must change with them, or your sales, cash flow and profitability will suffer.
2. What business will you be in the future, based on current trends?
In business, the trends are everything. Which way is the market going for you today, and what changes do you need to make in your strategic plan to move with the market?
What business could you be in if you were to change your product or service offerings in some way? What business should you be in if you want to be among the most successful and profitable businesses in your industry?
Imagine that could wave a magic wand and make your business perfect in every way. What would it look like? Especially, how would it be different from today? These are questions that you must answer over and over again as a business owner. If you are wrong in any of these answers, your business can go sideways and your plan for business development could fail.
3. Who is your customer? Your ideal customer? Your perfect customer for what you sell?
You can’t hit a target that you can’t see. As the market changes, your ideal customer profile changes as well. You can tell if you have properly identified the ideal customer for what you sell if you have high sales, cash flow and profitability. If you do not, for any reason, you need to revisit this question. Who is my ideal customer?
4. What does your customer consider as value?
What does your customer want to enjoy or receive from your product or service more than anything else? What must your customer be convinced of in order to buy your product or service rather than that of someone else? The answer to this question is the core of your strategic plan for business development. It is the core of all of your marketing, advertising and selling activities.
5. What do you do especially well?
In what areas do you excel? What is your competitive advantage? What makes your product or service superior to that of any other competitive product being offered in your marketplace?
As Jack Welch said, “If you don’t have competitive advantage, don’t compete.” As a business owner, your first responsibility when you start your business, and throughout your business life, is to develop and maintain a competitive advantage, an area of excellence in comparison with your competitors that your ideal customers want, need and will pay for. What is yours?
6. What are your goals?
You know the importance of detailed, business development planning 12-18-24 months ahead. Before you create a strategic plan of action, you must know the answers to the following questions: What are your sales goals for the next year, broken down by month, or even week and day? What are your goals for profitability? How much do you need or want to earn from your business activities? What are your growth goals? What percentage of market do you want to capture? The more specific and clear you are about your goals, the more likely it is that you will achieve them.
Most of all, does everyone in your business who is responsible for achieving those goals know exactly what those goals are?
7. What are the constraints on your business today?
What is holding you back from achieving your goals of sales, cash flow, and profitability?
Of all the factors that are holding you back from achieving successful business development, what is the biggest single factor, and what could you do to alleviate this constraint?
In every business, there are limiting factors that determine the speed at which you achieve your goals. You must be absolutely clear about these constraints or limiting factors, and work continually to remove them. Sometimes the constraint can be a lack of sales. Sometimes it is the lack of skilled, qualified people. Sometimes it is the lack of capital for growth or expansion, or even operations.
Here is one of those “brutal questions” that Jim Collins talks about: Why isn’t your business already as profitable as you want it to be? What’s the reason? Of all the reasons, what is the biggest single reason? Sometimes, asking and answering this question can be the push you need to trigger business development success.
8. What are the 20% of your activities that can account for 80% of your results?
What are the 20% of your prospects that can account for 80% of your sales? What are the 20% of your customers that account for 80% of your business? What are the 20% of things that you can do personally that can account for 80% of your results?
You will always have limited resources of time, money and people. You must therefore allocate these resources carefully in order to get greatest return on your investment.
9. Based on your answers to above questions, what strategic plan of action should you take immediately? What should you do now?
What should you stop doing? What should you discontinue altogether so that you have more time to work on those few things that can make an enormous difference in your business?
Thank you for reading this post on the key business development questions you must answer to create a winning strategic plan for success. Are you a business owner who has a successful tip you would like to share with others? Please share and comment below!
Sunday, 16 September 2012
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Blogging is a great way to make money online from the comfort of your home writing about what you love. While this online business idea can get you money in the bank, this can only happen if you have readers who visit your blog regularly to read your content. Needless to mention, you need to have a good number of visitors and they need to bear some of the following qualities;
- Great conversationalists
- Good commenters
It is not impossible to find a following on the internet but it is extremely vital that once you get people interested in what you have to say, you must give them a reason to always want to come back and read some more.
Here are a few ways to make that happen.
Do not let yourself become irrelevant
This is what has come to be known as topic discipline in blogging. If your readers feel at any one time that they will not get the information they want form you, they will go to other sites that can provide it. Focus your energy on topics that are relevant to what they like reading about and do not diverge to uninteresting stories.
Plan to please your readers
Your readers need to know that you know what to write when. It is therefore upon you to create an editorial calendar for your blog that spans for at least a few months. This way you do not have to dream up topics spontaneously that will offset the rhythm and consistency your readers like to see. It will also help you keep your readers abreast with what to expect in your next blog post
Promote your work as much as you can through social platforms
As much as your readers may enjoy reading your blog content, it may be a little too much to expect them to go in search of you every time they need to know if you have a new blog post. Make it easy for your visitors by engaging them on social sites like Twitter and Facebook with updates on your latest articles. All they have to do is click on a link and there you are. It endears your blog to them more.
Create tangible connections with consistent visitors
Nothing pleases a blog visitor more than being noted and appreciated. Invite frequent blog readers to guest post on your blog and from there exchange emails and even calls with them. This will not only keep them coming, it will also encourage them to tell other people about your blog and invite them to read.
Never run out of posts
This is perhaps the worst thing that can happen to a blogger. Running out of ideas of what to write for your blog readers will make their confidence and interest in you fade and fade fast. Getting back a gone reader is harder than retaining an interested reader. Always have a new post for your readers to enjoy.
Create a commanding online person
Your readers like you and your work. This is why you must not try to ape someone else’s work or style of putting ideas across. Make yourself heard in a clear and creative way and be an authority in what you write about. Try making use of these 6 tips to keep readers coming back to your blog and you will never regret it.
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
The potential of your brand reaching a wide audience these days is often determined by your company's social media presence.
A strong social media strategy is vital for your company's online marketing campaign. What's the point of having a Facebook page, if you don't know how to truly engage with your followers.
People are constantly driven to social media by products they purchase, TV shows they watch and even food they eat – with companies asking to 'like' their pages.
This is because when people like a Facebook page, a company can continue to provide a form of advertising to their audience – so that when users check their Facebook page, they may see a new advertising campaign on their news feed.
This rings the same for Twitter, where companies can even create 'promoted tweets' to reach a wider spectrum of users and encourage engagement from their current followers.
It's time for you to get your company's Twitter and Facebook campaigns into gear, so here are some top tips to get you engaging with your audience and improving your social media presence.
Don't post spammy statuses
No one likes to follow a company that engages in the so-called 'spammy' posts. This is the type of content where people can tell it has been recycled across all social media platforms and is simply just flat and boring.
You have to identify the 'tone' of your audience – and let them know that it is a real human that makes these posts! When posting pictures or statuses, ensure to use relaxed, friendly language to engage your audience.
Utilise all areas of social media
Each social media platform serves a certain purpose, with Twitter used for short and snappy updates, Facebook for your general content sharing and Pinterest for pictures, recipes and diagrams.
You can target a large range of your audience by utilising all these sites and having fresh content to deliver on each one.
Internet marketing company The Whole Brain Group has created a handy infographic, The Sensible Social Media Marketing Checklist for Businesses, that gives great tips on how you can promote your content and engage effectively with your audience across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
author: April Revake.
Sunday, 9 September 2012
Technology makes the magical possible, but it’s also making marketing complicated. With ad exchanges, hyper-local targeting, and endless mobile options, it’s easy to get tangled up in an alphabet soup of advertising technology. Just one look at Terence Kawaja’s ad-tech landscape induces tears of empathy for over-marketed-to marketers. Basically, the time for simplification is here.
Simplicity is what consumers want, what marketers need, and what standard-bearers such as Apple and Google have shown as the way forward.
What did Steve Jobs do when he returned to Apple in 1997? He simplified the product line and, by extension, Apple’s whole business. That worked out pretty well.
The same goes for Google. Every once in a while the tech giant cuts products to move forward with new offerings. Sure, some of their initiatives — say, wind energy or self-driving cars — may seem to come out of left field. But Google’s basic promise to consumers is to develop products and services that help them organize and navigate the world in a better, geekier way. (I’m talking about you, Google glasses.)
We need to learn from these examples. When advertisers obsess over brand impact, and agencies insist on slicing and dicing every impression, it’s hard not to wonder if we’re focusing on the wrong things. For all the efficiency we’ve gained with the burgeoning of ad tech, we’ve lost a lot in the way of simplicity. Keeping marketing simple — delivering compelling ads and content that consumers actually want to engage with — could take the industry a long way toward improving performance for both brands and consumers.
Here are three rules that brands can follow to simplify their marketing for everyone involved.
1. Put Consumers in the Driver’s Seat
Let’s move away from strategies and metrics that aren’t really relevant for branding. Brands always look for some kind of number and stat to justify their online spend — CTR, view-through, attribution, “likes.” Does that make sense at all? Did brands worry about measuring the impact of a full-page spread in Vogue back in the day? The issue is over thinking the numbers and not thinking enough about advertising in the interest of consumers.
Give people choice, control, and relevance in their experience. Don’t put a roadblock between anyone and the story, images, or video they want to see. Create intriguing, value-add experiences that are relevant to the page, that make users want to click, view, and engage. Make it user-initiated and easy to start and stop engagement. Instead of real-time bidding (RTB), how about trying real-time relevance?
2. Get in the Content
We’ve seen a recent surge in attention for the “native ad,” sponsored content, and branded-content meme. But it’s really nothing new. Ever watch soap operas on TV? Those started out as radio broadcasts that were literally created by consumer packaged goods companies. Since the dawn of digital time, we’ve known that the traditional ad concept had to change and that brands needed to move into the content-creation business and get their content seen.
But what if your stellar campaign assets are part of the one-third of display advertising that, according to comScore, goes unseen due to banner blindness? Even if you have awesome, entertaining, useful branded content like Red Bull or Unilever, you still need to surface it. How will your brand’s content be discovered by consumers who have literally zillions of content channels to choose from?
Focus your attention where consumer attention is focused: in the edit well online, on mobile, and on the tablet. Surface your content through advertising technology that gets you in the words and images where a relevant, immersive brand advertisement or content experience will really make an impression with consumers.
3. Simplify Your Strategy
Instead of doing one thing on mobile, another on tablets, and something else on desktop, consider putting mobile at the center of the design process, then refining and customizing everything from there.
Brands can now respond directly to how consumers interact with all kinds of devices. In an era where we swipe, expand, and share an ad or useful brand content, it isn’t enough to rely on the same old creative approach. Brands need to leverage their great assets with amazing creative executions in high-impact, exciting ways that are native to devices, contexts, and formats.
So let’s leave the purchase funnels behind, and stick with these three simple rules. Chances are people will thank you with ever-coveted, ever-elusive, real engagement.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, fotosipsak
author: Jonathan Gardner
Thursday, 6 September 2012
Sunday, 2 September 2012
Brands have learned that success with a Facebook page isn’t just about fan numbers, but also about how many fans see their posts. Facebook’s news feed algorithm — called EdgeRank — controls that visibility.
Of course, optimizing a news feed so that it bumps up your EdgeRank is a complicated recipe that varies with each brand, the kind of content it posts, and its fans. There have been hundreds of blog posts written about this subject, but here are five completely new ways to get better results.
1. Post Photos
The Facebook news feed algorithm appears to be calculated both per fan and per type of post. That means a person might see Coca-Cola’s photo posts, but not the company’s link posts. There are six post types: a text-only status update, a photo, a link, a video, a platform post, and a question. The first four are the most commonly used.
After some research, its clear that a Facebook page gets more fan engagement from photos than links, statuses, or videos. In fact, photos get as much as twenty times more engagement.
So, even when you need to post a link to your website, you should post a photo with that link. You might also consider posting a thumbnail of your video and a link to the video, rather than featuring the video itself. To do that, enter the status update and link first, then hit the x to cancel the video preview, then click on “photo/video” and choose the image file you want to attach.
Posting everything with an image will increase the percent of fans you reach. In all these cases, your status and link will show up above the image. My experiments show that you can get a good amount of clicks on links above photos. For example, one post (also amplified by sponsored story ads) reached 114, 434 people and engaged 619 people (0.5% of reach), while the link received 311 clicks (0.27% of reach and half the engaged users).
You can get creative with your message by taking things that might have started as status updates, and adding the same message into an image. Someecards is a popular and funny e-card website, and it allows you to create your own. Just choose a background color and one of their line drawings, then add your text. You can save the image and post it on your Facebook page. Do this manually to make sure it’s a photo post-type. A great example of this comes from The American Heart Association. They used a card to humorously promote children eating vegetables.
It’s not the funniest image you’ve ever seen, but many big organizations can’t be as edgy as others. It’s better than no humor at all. As you can see, it got a good amount of shares.
You can also use memegenerator.net to glom onto some of the latest and more edgy memes, or even use Photoshop to make it yourself.
2. Create Photo Albums
The World Health Organization’s Women Create Life program aims to improve women’s rights internationally. One way they do this is by creating great photo posts or great photo albums like the one below.
In the last month, out of 11 posts the organization created, three of the top four most-viewed posts were photo albums. Photo albums show one big photo and several smaller ones. They look different from other posts in people’s news feeds, so they get attention. People click in to see all the photos. This gives you an advantage over all the other people and pages you’re competing with for your fans’ attention. Also, although Facebook hasn’t confirmed this, clicks on links or into photo albums probably impact EdgeRank to some degree.
3. Write More Text
Women Create Life takes a magazine approach to its posts. The organization doesn’t use a separate website. Instead, they put all their text into the posts. Sometimes that’s as much as 800 words (the current limit is 5,000 characters).
As a result, there is always a “see more” link to click to read the rest of the text. Women Create Life also added a Spanish translation at the end of each post. According to Facebook, clicks on “see more” are counted as a consumption under the “other consumptions” category.
Again, this may feed into EdgeRank, although Facebook has not confirmed it. Either way, this approach also helps followers to see you’ve put significant time into your posts, which can lead to more shares.
4. Push Your Network to New Posts
Can you front-load engagement to convince the news feed algorithm to show the post to a larger audience? It’s hard to say how much impact doing this would have, but here’s how you do it:
1. Go to the photos section of your Facebook page and upload an image.
2. There is a “post” button at the bottom, but you can change the album name and just exit the tab once it has uploaded the image.
3. Go back to photos, you’ll see the image there.
4. Copy the photo URL, or look for the URL they give you on the album page.
5. Promote the album and/or photo via Twitter, email, LinkedIn, and any other distribution networks you have in place.
6. Take this even further by spending some money on the post. Either promote the post directly, or create a sponsored story in your Facebook ads to increase visibility and likes early on. After you have some likes and comments, post it out to your news feed, too. To do that just go to the album and upload a new image, and it will prompt you to post out.
If you keep adding a new image, it lets you publish each time. So seed the album with two photos, promote, then add more, then publish. Because you start off with extra engagement, it spikes the post. If you leverage your entire distribution network, this may increase your reach. The more people interact with a post, the more of your fans Facebook shows it to. Every post has a lifespan, and you have more posts you want to get out, so getting more engagement early is key.
5. Use Post Targeting
The new post-targeting feature, still being rolled out to all Facebook pages, allows you to segment your fans by criteria previously only available to advertisers. This includes age, gender, interested in (likes), relationship status, all education information, workplace, plus the old options like language, country, state, and city.
You can use post-targeting to your advantage in a couple of ways. First, you can target a post to the segments of your fans most likely to interact with it. The more tarted you get, the fewer people you’ll reach, but a higher percentage of the people you do reach will engage. If there’s someone who wasn’t that into your page, but really likes the topic you posted on, and ten of their friends comment on a particular post that hits that interest or demographic, then EdgeRank shows your page to that person. It’s like a snowball that picks up momentum and just keeps rolling because it’s so concentrated.
Second, you can divide your audience up and release multiple posts at one time. This content customization increases your chance of getting more people in each fan subgroup to see and engage with your posts.
see also Sorry, Marketers, You’re Doing Facebook Wrong
author: Brian Carter