On May 31, Microsoft premiered a “Release Preview” of Windows 8 on their website which features a downloadable version of the upcoming operating system with limited functionality. Additionally, the release includes several applications that will be integrated into the new Windows environment; which is based on the “Metro” language seen on the Windows Phone OS. Among the applications included with the preview is a new program called “People”, which is an obvious indicator of Microsoft’s recognition of the impact of social media on Windows users.
The new Windows People app is designed to seamlessly integrate social media platforms such as Facebook and Google+ directly into the operating system itself. People’s interface will display notifications from various social networks and allow users to interact and engage on those platforms via the program. By making social functionality available on a user’s desktop, the accessibility of networking sites is greatly increased and is likely to appeal to a broader audience.
A New Era for Online Marketers?
The impending final release of Windows 8 creates almost endless possibilities for Internet marketing companies and social media marketers and advertisers. The ability to deliver rich content such as photos and videos directly to a user’s desktop as well as enabling sharing capabilities is very beneficial to SMOs. Essentially, the People application will not only enhance the reach of such campaigns, but their value, too. Microsoft’s recognition of the social media trend is not only a milestone for the social networking industry, but it may be the beginning of a new era for online marketers, as well.
In the weeks following the much-discussed Penguin Update, many things have changed for Internet marketers. Last week, I covered the topic of link building and how it has evolved since Penguin first struck on April 24th. Today, I’m going to address another major issue affecting digital marketers, bloggers, content developers and business owners alike: Content.
Out With the Old?
It was once said that “Content is King” and until very recently, that was certainly the case. On-page content was one of Google’s known ranking factors for organic search results and it was considered a crucial one, at that. Although content still plays an important role in SEO efforts, relevancy has become the new king of the post-Penguin Internet. Going forward, originality, quality and relevance will be key elements of content development and new marketing strategies will replace those which were rendered ineffective by Penguin.
Re-Inventing the Wheel
Inevitably, search engine algorithm changes lead to new online marketing techniques. Traditional “article marketing” strategies no longer have substantial value to SEOs. Additionally, spun articles and paid links are being penalized by the Penguin Update. In order to remain successful in the SERPs, optimizers and content developers should enhance their social media efforts and use various popular social networks as a marketing platform. Sharing and promoting articles and blog posts via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter will be increasingly beneficial to campaigns. The utilization of public relations is also effective in raising brand awareness. Delivering press releases and guest blogs or articles to legitimate online media outlets helps to establish a company’s identity and authority.
The Future of Content
In the months ahead, Google’s Penguin will continue to analyze content and link profiles and penalize sites for their failure to adhere to best practices. Blogs, social media and P.R. outlets are legitimate platforms for digital marketers to consider and these are likely to become even more valuable in the future. With relevancy reigning as the new king, quality will undoubtedly become the foundation of the successful Internet marketing campaigns of tomorrow.
Facebook, Google+, Twitter and virtually every other social network have become more than pastimes for the millions that use them daily. Today, these sites are the product offerings of multi-national corporations and have not only changed many aspects of Internet marketing, but impacted popular culture around the world.
From Humble Beginnings…
The world’s largest social network now boasts over 900 million members. That figure accounts for nearly 1/7 of the world’s entire population. Not bad for a company that began in 2004 as a small project of then-Harvard student, Mark Zuckerberg. While the story of Facebook’s origins and rise to prominence is well-documented (and has even won Oscars), the reason for the site’s success is not as obvious. Like many social networks before it, Facebook was merely intended to be recreational. It was designed as a platform for people to interact and engage online, while possibly (and hopefully) generating some ad revenue to keep the business afloat. Fast forward to 2012; Facebook is a publicly traded corporation with global reach and more importantly, international influence.
…To a Global Phenomenon
The rapid expansion of Facebook goes beyond Wall Street. The advertising and marketing industries have noticed the impact of social media in the wake of Facebook’s growth. Even news journalism has changed on the post-Facebook Web. In one form or another, social media is now incorporated into the business model of virtually every company with an online presence.
Jumping on the Bandwagon
Success breeds competition and Facebook is no exception. Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn have arrived on the social scene in the years following Facebook’s emergence as the number one network and more are likely to come in the months and years ahead. While none of the aforementioned sites are even close to Facebook’s membership, they are showing exponential growth. In fact, Pinterest even became the world’s third most frequented social network while still in its beta phase.
However, like many industries, social media is not without flaws and is bound to change and evolve according to the demands of its user base. Facebook’s IPO and the subsequent backlash that it has suffered have demonstrated that social networks need to assert their influence in the online marketplace and prove their value as viable advertising outlets. Additionally, social media sites must strive to remain in the Internet limelight in order to retain their ability to attract potentially lucrative online marketing campaigns. There is certainly a place for social networking on the Internet of tomorrow, but innovation will undoubtedly be the key to future success in the social space.
It’s been a few hours since we’ve heard something about Mark Zuckerberg; but, this is not about that acronym. This story is about Facebook’s potential to build a smart phone. That’s right, the social media star wants to broaden its horizons and fully enter the market.
Can Facebook just do that? I mean, what does it take to be a smart phone ‘maker’? “Building isn’t something you can just jump into,” relays one Apple hardware manager. “You change the smallest thing on a smart phone and you can completely change how all the antennas work. You don’t learn this unless you’ve been it for a while.”
Recognizable brands have had trouble breaking into the market, Dell and Hewlett Packard being two. But Zuckerberg likes to go big; ‘complexities’ may not be enough to stymie his interest in the endeavor. As the NY Times’ Nick Bilton points out, Facebook is well equipped to give this thing a good-ole-Harvard try.
So what kinds of goodies does Zuck have underneath Facebook’s hood? It has a complete operating system. The system is stocked with calendar, messaging, video options, and more. Furthermore, we’re awaiting a hefty app store, one which will host that one very special, billion-dollar photo application.
Actually, we’ve heard word of Facebook making such attempts in the past. Sources say previous endeavors were spoiled because the company could not wrap its head around the hardware aspect of the ordeal. Zuckerberg’s known for recruiting what he lacks in-house; sources report Facebook has and continues to hire additional hardware engineers.
As Bilton mentions, Facebook could recruit an entire smart phone company if it can’t make things run smoothly in-house. Research in Motion is valued at less than $6 billion. Facebook could afford such shopping sprees.
Zuckerberg has a lot going on right now; but, that’s the breaks when you have a public company serving over 900 million people worldwide. We know what one company does can affect another. If Facebook did issue a smart phone it would definitely raise the brows of people over at Google and Apple.
Apple probably wouldn’t appreciate that Google and Facebook would be making smart phones. Additionally, Google would have to swallow the fact that Facebook was attempting to do (yet again) something better than it.
When brands are built up effectively over time and used purposefully, they can have a tremendous impact on the company and deliver considerable financial gain, supplementing the primary revenue generation from the sale of their actual products. Ford, one of the biggest and most recognizable name brands in the country and world, is a shining example of this. The Ford brand is worth billions and the company is a leader in the process of licensing out the various elements of the brand. Their activity provides lessons for other companies both large and small in how they can leverage the equity they have built in their brand for financial gain and valuable exposure.
Yes, Ford is enormous and many companies do not have the same name recognition (and everything that goes with it) or find themselves in such a position as Ford does. They built up to their current position over time, creating slogans such as “Built Ford Tough” and establishing the “tough, long-lasting, strong” identity that they have been promoting for years. With that said, other companies can strategically build their name in the same way to represent something, an idea, a feeling, an emotion – marketing, advertising, and branding 101.
According to a recent Forbes article, the company has 400 licenses at present and has granted roughly 18,000 product approvals during the past year, which is a sizeable increase from 3,000 from two years prior. 45 million pieces of merchandise that had the Ford brand were sold last year totaling $1.5 billion. This is a lot of money to say the least from an additional revenue stream.
What types of products does the brand show up in? Well the “Built Ford Tough” slogan was licensed to Forever 21, a young women’s clothing store for one, another is ford-branded Tervis Tumblers for Bed, Bath, & Beyond. But the big winners are those that replicate the products, the cars themselves. This is exemplified in licensing the sounds and look of the vehicles for video-games, like the 2013 Ford Focus ST for the Forza 4 game. Similarly, they have been traditionally doing this with toy versions of the cars and trucks, most popular being the remote-controlled vehicles. This makes a connection to the actual products they sell. Jim Farley, Ford’s global CMO, describes how interest from various “licensees” to use a company’s brand is one of the best ways to understand and measure the value and health of the brand.
Takeaway – Building the Brand
The lesson here is the value in investing in building the brand – making it a priority. For smaller companies this starts with beginning with creating a core message and making sure in all communications, the company details the name, what they do, and the core message/slogan/why they are different. From there, local companies can solidify themselves as the place for a certain product or the place to support a local area business.
Companies can lean on reputable marketing agencies and SEO companies in order strategically build the message between social platforms and have it stick with customers, the hardest part. Social media is perfect for this and several platforms can be leveraged alongside each other to support the campaign. Reach out to us via our contact page for more information on how this can be done on both the small and large scale.
The last two weeks have been an incredibly stressful time for every web-focused company. Between Facebook’s recent woes concerning its IPO and General Motors pulling out of its in-network marketing, there’s been more than a little bit of uncertainty in the SEO and online marketing communities as of late. Many of our readers no doubt have their own growing concerns over the state of all-things social media and search engine-related. While current events may have everyone second guessing the viability of their social network strategies, in truth there is no reason to panic.
What about Facebook?
Anyone who watches major news network programming or reads the latest headlines will be familiar with the immense amount of criticism falling on Facebook at the moment. Over the course of the last seven days, Facebook’s underwhelming stock performance has led to a lot of serious questions regarding the effectiveness of the company’s in-network ads as well as whether its mobile efforts will pay off in the end. It’s gotten to the point where even notable SEO experts are making similar inquiries.
Although Facebook’s future is uncertain, that doesn’t mean that businesses should shy away from the social media site here and now. Many of the arguments taking place between pundits over Facebook are based on speculation, and the possible outcomes of these predictions won’t come to pass for months or years to come. While it’s easy to fall prey to the sort of fear-mongering that is common to network television, small business owners need to remember that FB will continue to be a valuable asset to their online marketing efforts.
How is that Done?
If anything, companies operating on Facebook should be focusing less on their in-network PPC campaigning and more on building up a solid social media following. The world’s most popular social network recently hit the 900 million user mark, and this milestone shouldn’t go ignored. In particular, business owners will want to remain dedicated in their efforts to expand the size of their follower base while simultaneously engaging those users that subscribe to their news feeds. This can be done in a number of ways:
- Search for groups or organizations that may share interests that match what your company specializes in. Do what you can to interact with their members and gain their attention.
- Post original and interesting content that is worth reading. This can be done by posting links to blogs and other company properties that may host these materials.
- Comment on breaking industry news that has everyone talking. Users will often take the time to add their thoughts to these posts if they are asked for their opinion.
Despite Facebook’s current predicament, the fact is that the social network still has every bit of impact it had before the company went public. The only difference is the amount of discussion taking place at the moment. Should readers have any additional questions or comments regarding their Facebook operations, they can contact me directly at email@example.com.