Google

Goodbye to Google

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Over the holidays I had a chance to catch up with an old friend whom I’ve not seen in months. He is fairly highly placed in the technology sector and of course we wound up talking “geek” ad nauseum. One of the things we discussed was his take on Google. Here is what I got.

There is absolutely no privacy when it comes to Google; there may be some last vestige of anonymity, but there is no privacy. Google knows when you’re in your car, who you communicate with, and now, with the acquisition of Nest, what you do in your home, thus rendering the phrase “in the privacy of your own home” meaningless. The amount of data they collect, examine, and use is staggering and is an absolute assault on the right to privacy.

That being said, yes, I opted in. But now I’m opting out. It will take a while, I’m guessing at least a year, to get away but I’m going to do it. And yes, I’m going to miss the effectiveness of Google as a search engine. Plus I’ll be giving up an email address I’ve had since 2004, but I have to draw the line somewhere and this is it.

While all of what my friend shared is already public, hearing it put together with his perspective, which I greatly respect, has led me to one conclusion: my 2015 resolution is to separate from Google. That means dropping Chrome, Gmail, Google+, YouTube, the whole shebang. Can I actually do it? I don’t know, but I’m going to try.

To get a real sense of what Google does and does not do/know/plan/collect/sell, check out these articles:

“4 Ways Google is Destroying Privacy and Collecting Data”

“Privacy concerns? What Google now says it can do with your data”

“Google concedes that drive-by prying violated privacy

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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Google Plus Communities to Join

Five Google+ Communities You Should Join

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If you have a Google+ account that you use actively, you know about Google+ communities. Similar to LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Groups, it’s a categorized “community” based on a specific topic where anyone who has a Google+ page can join, chat and participate in the conversation. Below are five types of Google+ communities that are helpful and useful. These are prime examples of what a Google+ Community has to offer for your business, or personally:

Google+ Help Community

Let’s face it, when you first start poking around Google+ it can be quite confusing to get the ball rolling. There’s a community for that. Google+ Help Community is a place for your Google+ related questions. There are 338,595 members of this community that are able and willing to help you with all of your Google+ needs. This community has a wide range of topics from general help, to Google+ tips and tricks.

Apple Google+ Community

For all those Apple, Inc. users and lovers there’s an Apple Google+ Community. This community has 132,976 members who post about news about Apple, their devices, apps and everything else related to the company. The topics for discussion range from questions and answers about Apple product to trending topics about iOS updates (the most recent topic is about the iOS8 update issues).

Google Small Business Community

This is a community where businesses can get the help they need to succeed on the web by connecting with experts and each other. In addition to regular Hangouts and Q+A’s with Google+ members, trusted advisers and industry leaders, you’ll also see an assortment of other topics such as #BizBits, stats, tips, quotes and trivia for everyday learning, and #AskanAdvisor, which is where you can ask a question online to a professional. This community is backed by Google+ Your Business and has 73, 156 small business members.

Healthy Living Community

This community is killing it in the health and fitness section of Google+ communities. This is a community all about living a healthy lifestyle. The topics discussed are about health, diet, exercise, weight loss, fitness, and workouts. Anything in the health and fitness category that you have questions about, this community is meant for you. With 107,925 members the discussions are always interesting and about trending health topics.

Medicine & Biology Community

For health and science experts, this community is something you should check out. The goal of this community is to share and discuss technological advances in medicine and biology, focused on human health and longevity. With 36,822 members all discussing topics from basic biology, to immune systems, to synthetic biology. This is an all-around impressive Google+ community.

Do you have a favorite community? Share with us below!

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Who are you designing for?

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The Design Dichotomy

Whether you’re an individual designer or part of a design team or simply someone in a company who has some say in the final design output, you carry with you a heavy question.

“Who is this design for?”

One the one hand, knowing your audience and creating pieces that will resonate is a crucial part of any brand communication.

On the other hand, stepping outside of your authentic self as a company or a designer for the sake of chasing trend can ultimately water down the relationships your brand is working to build.

So there’s your line. Draw it. Paint it. Walk it. But how?

Set the goals of the design first thing.

Here’s where we can fall behind right from the start. All too often the goals for a design project go something like, “we need a label design for this salsa. Make it look awesome. Go.”

Your definition of awesome and my definition of awesome may be completely different. Not to mention the customer might think both of our definitions of awesome are, well, not so awesome.

Good design requires some sense of space for creativity, sure, but some context and direction is just as important. What are the goals for our new salsa label? Just to be awesome? That’s too broad. Do we want it to stand out on the shelf? Speak to our fresh ingredients? Prepare people for just how stupid hot it is? Are we marketing to the buyer who cares about locally sourced or organic?

Thinking about and documenting all of the requirements and considerations in a creative brief takes some of the guesswork out and gets you thinking about your audience.

Ask yourself what you bring to the design table.

This is where we shift focus for a bit from the recipient to the messenger. Reflect on your collective works for a moment. What are the consistencies in your design that you want to carry through to this project? Are there brand characteristics to be considered? Especially if this is part of a brand extension.

Remember, “a camel is a horse designed by a committee.”

Internal meetings happen. Client meetings happen. Opinions happen. And often times in these “happenings” design by committee can be the result. It’s important to establish a filter for the noise. Ideally this can start in the Goals Phase by only having the people involved who absolutely need to be involved in the design process and when it comes down to it, trust has to be placed on the right person to make the final edits.

The NY Times wrote a piece a few years ago about the difference in design approach between Apple and Google. It’s nicely summed up in the photo below but the full article is well worth the read.

DIGI-articleLarge

You can’t be everything to everyone and you shouldn’t. That holds more true for design than possibly anything else because when you set out to create something for everyone to love chances are no one will. So who are you designing for?

Photo credit: ANGELOUX via Compfight
Adapted by Shout Out Studio
Illustration via NY Times / Peter Arkle

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Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Business

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In business a new year often means new goals and a plan to achieve them. Next thing you know, several months go by and sometimes that means things get a little cluttered or you might even find yourself slightly off track. Spring is always a refreshing turn of the season, because it not only signifies that you have survived the less than desirable winter, but it’s an opportunity to organize your enterprise. From the collective crew at Shout Out, here are a few Spring cleaning tips for your business:

Nathaniel Seevers

When a company has a product or service they’re passionate about they want to tell the world; tell them everything, every feature benefit and scream it from their homepage mountain. It’s understandable but what can often result is a bloated, busy, confusing first impression when someone hits your site.

For a spring clean homepage purge consider:

  • Reducing the number of slides in your slider. Online attention spans are short. Few visitors stick around to see more than 2, 3 slides at the most. Getting more concise with your benefit statement helps you in other areas as well. Even challenge yourself to reduce to one static main image. Get really good at being captivating.
  • Attracting your visitors to specific click-throughs for diving deeper into content versus telling the whole story in one spot
  • Implementing a heat mapping tool like Crazy Egg to see what people are clicking on, hovering around and ignoring. This can help you better understand what’s working and what you can cut.

Gretchen Ardizzone

To many businesses a customer email address is like a golden ticket. But how much is that ticket worth if it’s extremely out of date? My tip is take time to clean up your email lists. Why waste time and energy communicating to a vast group of people who hardly even read your stuff, can’t remember when or why they subscribed, or frankly they may question how they ended up on your list to begin with. Spend your time communicating with those who want to read what you have to say or see what you have to offer.

If you have an old list, don’t start re-engaging by sending them a promotional email, instead consider a quick reminder email to make sure they remember who you are and want to continue to receive your communications. And if it’s been a little while it doesn’t hurt to include an opportunity to opt-in again. Give them a couple of chances to opt-in before finally removing them.

If your email list raises some questions to begin with, you might want to check out this MailChimp article titled “Is my list ok to use in MailChimp.” While this may be intended for importing lists into MailChimp, I think many of the questions they ask are still applicable in evaluating the quality of your list. If you’re anything like us, you’ll enjoy the humor and appreciate the advice.

Shannon Blair

Ah, Spring… you begin cleaning out cars and closets – but what about social media? Yep, there are quick and simple ways to clean that up too.

Twitter: Go through your Twitter lists and followings and clean those up by unfollowing the ones that are inactive or who aren’t posting content that’s relevant to you or your company.

LinkedIn: Have you updated your resume, done some networking, or moved positions in your company? Dust off those cobwebs and update all that information and connect with new contacts!

Pinterest: You can comb through your Pinterest boards and tidy up by creating new boards or deleting old, irrelevant ones.

Google+: Clean up those circles, people!

Facebook: Get on Facebook and check on your information and update content that needs it – also give your Facebook a facelift by adding a new photo or header.

Luke Pierce

This winter was a tough one in central Ohio. It is easy to let the clutter accumulate in that kind of weather, not only around the house, but digitally as well. For whatever reason, I let my desktop on my computer get overcrowded, hardly emptied my browsers cache, and let hundreds of things pile up in my downloads folder. This week I decided my spring cleaning was going to take place on my lap top. I cleared my desktop, getting everything in organized folders to where it needed to be. Emptied my browsers cache. And cleared out my downloads folder. Not to my surprise, my laptop started functioning loads better. It always amazes me how easy it is to make things better and it makes me wonder why I don’t keep up with it all the time. Next up: properly back up my laptop on a regular basis.

Do you have a Spring cleaning list of your own? Share your tips in the comments below.

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AdWords Certification Tips

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Recently I had the pleasure of going through Google’s certification process for AdWords. I passed. However, it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. It’s not that the material is hard to grasp or that the test itself is difficult. No, the main problem I found with the AdWords certification process is sifting through the seemingly endless amount of information in the study guides and figuring out what Google really wants you to know. I spent the better part of three weeks reading through the study guides that Google provides, reading books on AdWords, and using a paid online resource for question banks and mock exams to prepare for both the fundamentals exam and the advanced search exam. The truth is I could probably have done it in half the time if I knew some of the things I know now. I want to now share with you some of the insights I gained while going through this process in the hopes it may be able to help you become certified quicker and more efficiently.

Skim through the Google Study Guides

If I had tried to pass the exams just by reading the study guides, I am almost positive that I would have failed. It’s true that ALL of the information you need to pass the test lay within these study guides. However, they are mind numbingly boring and very hard to decipher what the big take-aways are from each entry. I read these word for word, sometimes literally falling asleep at my computer, and when I was done I struggled to look back on what I read and say what it was that I actually learned and retained.

If I were to do it over again, I would skim through each section and try to pull out the main ideas (which I said is already hard) if I can. But I definitely wouldn’t read it word for word. To take notes, I wrote down things in a spiral notebook and took screen shots of things in the study guides for reference later. I suggest doing something along these lines. Oh, and you will probably read lots of other people out there telling you to not only read every word but to watch every video too. Don’t bother. Everything covered in the videos are covered in the text, and most of it is useless.

Don’t buy any AdWords books… yet.

I bought a copy of Perry Marshall’s Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords and spent a few days reading that cover to cover. While it is a great book for someone starting out in AdWords and contains some great advice, books like these aren’t going to help you pass the exam. In fact, they are just going to serve as a distraction to you if your main goal is to get certified as quickly as possible. Hold off on buying a book like this until after your certification.

Pony up for iPass Exam (and jump right in!)

iPass Exam is the paid resource I used to study. While the English is a little off at times, some questions are extremely poorly worded, and you have to pay for it, the service does a pretty good job of delivering exactly what you need to know for the exam. In fact, I am fairly certain that if I had just jumped in and started studying off of this, I could have passed the exams just as easily as I did with all the extra studying I did. Make sure you are good about writing down the answer to every question you get wrong. Then go back and test yourself on it again. If you are passing the practice exams on iPass you are probably ready for the real test.

The real test is not as hard as the practice tests you may be taking

I was getting low 80%’s on my practice tests. I got 96% on both the fundamentals exam and the advanced search exam (no big deal). In the real test, there are a lot of questions addressing the same topics, and the questions are worded so you can VERY easily eliminate two or three answers from each question. Overall, the test really isn’t that hard.

With all that said, keep in mind you still need to put some time in to study. If you don’t pass the first time, you’ll have to wait 7 days before you can take the exam again so just put in the study time the first time. Take plenty of notes from questions you miss off of practice exams and question banks and utilize the screen shot to capture pictures of tables and guidelines that Google provides off the study guides. Overall, don’t stress. It’s way more manageable than the study guides make the test out to be.

 

Photo Credit: albertogp123 cc

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Social Media Changes: What We’re Looking Forward To

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In the competitive world of social media platforms it seems like the only thing that is constant is change. Over the last couple weeks Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all made major announcements for change. While some of these updates have rolled out in a phased integration, others (including us) wait in anticipation. While we wait though, we’re not shy to share our perspective on what this means:

Nathaniel Seevers

Word on the street is a new Twitter layout is on it’s way to a profile near you and including you. I haven’t received mine as of this publish. I’m not one of the cool kids I suppose but based on some early reviews and screenshots I can already make some educated guesses about parts of the new design I anticipate and parts I dread.

Excited to see more: tweets via a new mosaic, less straight line vertical format. The new design takes a queue from the Facebook timeline’s not so side-by-side content “tiles” to provide more information in a single view and even multi-column layout (pictured here) for photos and videos.

Not so excited to see more: arbitrary cover images. I’m confused as to how it’s useful or relevant to a micro-blogging/information resource/celebrity stalker platform like Twitter. I’m all for a little more visual tweet, the summary cards are cool and useful, but a 1500px X 500px cover image?

The bigger design question becomes, how does it all translate to mobile? Does the mobile side change at all? According to a report on TechCrunch back in October Twitter said, “75 percent of its 218.3 million+ monthly active users are accessing the site from mobile devices — or 161.25 million users. And mobile accounts for 65 percent of all its ad revenues.”

They’re a savvy bunch so maybe that’s what I’m anticipating the most; how it all ties into a larger overall strategy for my favorite social platform.

Gretchen Ardizzone

My first instinct when I heard about LinkedIn rolling out its publishing platform to all users was why would I want to blog on LinkedIn when we have a well-built, beautifully designed blog platform on our company website? So as I evaluated the functionality of this new feature, I had a few questions and considerations:

Will people be duplicating content they’ve published on their blog or will it be unique? I’ve already noticed some of the influencers I follow on Twitter linking to their LinkedIn posts, but I’ve also noticed some of it to be repetitive to the content I’m seeing published on their blog. That’s a big best practice no-no for me because you’re training me to stop following one of your channels of communication. It’s going to have to be original.

What kind of metrics can I measure? LinkedIn has some metrics around company pages, but there’s little around individual users to track who’s really reading the content (from what I can tell). We utilize several analytical tools to track our website traffic and can even identify posts that are most read. I’m all about generating the right content to the right audience, but part of being able to do that is having the analytics to support.

Does this shorten the time-span of content? Whatever post is published last will appear to any visitors of their LinkedIn profile. The only issue with that is the next post trumps the prior content. There’s no search feature to allow people to find the content they want based on relative topics. Some of our blog posts, while published maybe a couple months ago, still have application to business today and are not necessarily time-sensitive.

What can we expect from the quality of content we might start to see published? Most blog platforms are relatively easy to use anyhow, but from what it appears the simplicity of the LinkedIn posts take things to a new level. Will everyone adopt a blogger mentality? Yes, folks you still need a beginning, middle and end, and spell check is still required.

Will I start to see an increase in individuals who want to join my network that I don’t know? It’s one thing to follow me on Twitter, but I’m more selective of who I give access to in my network of connections. Just because my content resonates with you may not mean I’m ready to invite you into my inner circle…we may need to have coffee first.

With that said, we’re a digital marketing company and we’ll test it for ourselves before we close the book on this one. It does offer another platform for content to be published that our network might not otherwise reach. And honestly, I’m excited to see LinkedIn’s continued evolution. It’s not my favorite (or first-priority) platform, but I’m pulling for the continued changes because I see potential. The further blending of business and social is an opportunistic position for platforms.

Luke Pierce

If you read the news, are ever on the Internet, or simply converse with people on a regular basis you have probably heard of the staggering 19 billion (yes with a B) dollar acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook this week. This is one of the biggest acquisitions in the tech industry for over a decade and is the biggest news in social media in 2014. What I am struggling with is how to feel about it. I needed to take a closer look at the deal and answer some basic questions.

Why did Facebook want WhatsApp?

Given Facebook’s goal of trying to connect everyone on the planet, WhatsApp and its growing 450m users was a good way to take another step in that direction. But it wasn’t just the fact WhatsApp has 450m users, it was how it got there. WhatsApp reached 450m users faster than any other social network to date, including Facebook. In addition, they are adding users at a rate of 1m a day. Another staggering statistic is how active it’s users are with over 70% of WhatsApp users interacting with the app more than once a day. To put it in perspective, WhatsApp users generate the same volume of SMS messages as every carrier in the world combined.

What does it mean?

For now, not much. The CEO of WhatsApp has been brought on to the board of directors at Facebook and Mark Zuckerburg has said that WhatsApp will continue to operate as its own company. Mostly the acquisition just means that Facebook bought 450m users for its overall network, what they will do with them is to be determined.

Is it good or bad?

At this point, it’s hard to say. My hunch is that it is a good thing that WhatsApp went to Facebook and not Google, who were rumored as willing to pay more than the 19 billion Facebook paid for the app. The rumors said that Google was willing to pay more solely to keep WhatsApp out of the hands of Facebook, which sounds to me like they might have smothered the app if they acquired it. Anything with a user base growing as fast as WhatsApp, I want to see what it evolves into. However, with an acquisition this big there are bound to be some changes. The CEO of WhatsApp is very anti-advertising, but I would be surprised if that continued through the life of the app. If you are currently a user of WhatsApp it would be safe to assume you’ll see some changes in the future.

I’m excited.

When I read more about the acquisition and gathered my thoughts, I decided that I am excited. WhatsApp was, and is, growing at an incredible rate. Faster than anything we have seen before. With it’s mere 55 employees and relatively low yearly revenue, it’s hard to say if WhatsApp would be able to accomplish the same things that it can now with Facebook’s resources backing them. Overall, I’m just excited to see what WhatsApp might grow into.

Are you using one of these platforms in their new form or have an opinion on the updates? Drop us a line, we’d love to hear.

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Tools For Content Curation

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In order to have significance in the online world, you have to post relevant and timely content that means something to you and your audience. However, the process of finding great content to share, as well as deciding when or how to share it can be challenging and time-consuming. Here are a few tools to help you get the ball rolling:

Feedly and Scoop.it

Feedly is one of the most popular tools for content curation, and personally – it’s a great tool. You add the URL’s of the pages or blogs you follow and when they are posted they show up in a magical stream of great content that you can share. Essentially you subscribe to these blogs through Feedly and each time you open your account the latest blog posts are available. Another helpful tool to use is Scoop.it which is similar to Feedly except you use keywords instead of web addresses and you store the information you want to share on categorized boards. These are really good resources used to generate content that is specific to your industry. The best part of these tools is they are completely tailored to fit your content curating needs.

Google+ Communities

Google+ Communities are advantageous because you can use them to not only distribute content but gather content as well. For example, if you are looking for “Marketing” content in Google+ Communities you can simply search marketing in the ‘Communities’ field, where you will find prime resources for information. The first three communities that come up under “Marketing” are “Social Media Marketing,” “Content Marketing and Social Media,” and “Social Media Marketing for Business Owners.” All of these communities and plenty of other communities are full of good information to take a look at.

Twitter Lists

Like many social media platforms, Twitter is valuable for content in general, whether it’s from participating in chats to using Twitter for directly searching for content either with hashtags or keywords. However, Twitter provides one tool that is a useful way to get your hands on some relevant content –  Twitter Lists. Twitter Lists are fantastic because they are similar to Feedly and Scoop.it because they provide a completely customized list of the information you want to read, but instead of just looking at websites and articles on the web, you’re looking at tweets from specific people or companies.  The best way to use Twitter lists is not only for influential people, but for those who inspire you, motivate you, or even people who just make you laugh. It’s a simple and easy to use tool.

Hootsuite

HootSuite is simply the bee’s knees when it comes to content curation. You can use this tool with multiple social media platforms to make it easier to share the content you find and can schedule it accordingly. You compose your awesome information into a message and it can disperse your posts to various social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, or even WordPress – that’s all there is to it. Hootsuite doesn’t only help you share content, it also helps you find great content. Within Hootsuite you can search for information by searching hashtags that are relevant to your accounts such as #businesstips or #marketing. You can also keep an eye on your feeds on various platforms, all in one place. Now let’s talk scheduling. With Hootsuite there are two options: Auto schedule, which is when Hootsuite estimates is the best time for that message to be posted, or when you choose – and then Hootsuite provides a calendar for you to schedule a time for the post.

Calendars

Now that you have tools to find content and a dashboard where you can share your content, it’s time to find a tool to layout the content you find so you can schedule it accordingly. Although Hootsuite is a beneficial tool and has a scheduling calendar built in it, it’s a good idea to also have a separate calendar to not only make your content curation more effective and efficient, but to help you keep your head on straight. You can always use an editorial calendar, however, the most important part of keeping track of your content and when it’s being published is when and how it’s comfortable to you. If you struggle to understand or simply don’t like the layout of some of the calendar tools out there you should always look around. Evernote has a great calendar, or you can connect your calendars with others with a resource like CoSchedule. Another option is to keep it simple with Google calendar or the handy little iCal. Look around for what is comfortable for you!

Remember, each piece of content you share should have a purpose:

  • To inform
  • To instruct
  • To inspire
  • To entertain
  • To start a conversation
  • To express an opinion
  • To share industry knowledge or resources

If your content doesn’t have one of these purposes, then it shouldn’t be shared with your audience.

Photo Credit: *s@lly*

Digital Marketing Horror Story

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Cue the blood-curdling scream…

It’s that time of year when the weather changes and we all prepare for the usual Halloween activities like trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, horror flicks, hayrides and haunted houses. Given the seasonal timeliness, the subject matter of our marketing meeting yesterday ended with each of us telling our own Digital Marketing Horror Story. Please avoid these terrifying tactics at all cost.

Luke Pierce

You know that iconic vision of a haunted house? Those once beautiful Victorian homes that have sat lonely on a hilltop rotting and decaying for years? Well, the Internet is riddled with their website equivalents. It’s horrifying.

Some believe that a website is a one-and-done type of thing. They believe that once it’s built, it will sit in pristine condition until the end of time. The truth is, it is just like our haunted house. It decays over time without attention. It gets forgotten about. People stop visiting. It starts to inhibit ghosts of your copyright past. Frankly, there is nothing that scares the shit out of me more than when I log onto a website and see 2002 ©.

Marsh Williams

So… we’ve all been there. We’re looking for something and we click a Google ad and poof… we’re magically transported to the mystical land of landing pages. Once I’m there I resist the siren call to give them all of my information before I learn more about the product. I attempt to go to the corporate website and read some more, but noooooo, I’m trapped! I’ve fallen for the oldest of gambits, next to “Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line,” and there is no way to leave the landing page. No link to the company home page, no hidden link in the company logo, no link anywhere to other information the company would probably want me to know about. Yes, worse than a corn-maze with no exit, a landing page with no way out.

By the way, I’m still stuck on the page and can’t seem to find my way home. Send pizza…

Many thanks to read more

Social Media Missteps

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Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, yeah, you’re there but are you following a social media strategy for your brand’s communication approach? If not, you’re likely to fall into one of the pitfalls we like to call “Social Media Missteps.” Here are a few things we’ve identified as common mistakes brands sometimes make in social media communication.

Shannon Blair—Stop social media blasting us, please

Yay! You found/have great content that makes you want to run to the top of the nearest mountain and shout it to the world!! While we all appreciate a good Julie Andrews – Sound of Music opening scene moment – please… please… stop blasting it on every social media platform you have. There is nothing worse than going to Twitter and seeing a great tweet, then Facebook and seeing the same post, then LinkedIn and seeing the same post, and Google+ and seeing the same… oh, I’m sorry, are you seeing a repeat here? So are we. Stop it.

Luke Pierce—Not using your brand voice

It’s really simple; if you sell couches don’t post about fried chicken. Unless you’re having a fried chicken couch party, then post away. If you aren’t however, then stick to posting about subjects that accurately reflect what your brand is all about. People seem to mess this one up all the time. I get it, there are all these social media platforms to share information across, and it can be a struggle to generate content for each, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to start posting things that don’t relate to your brand. If you don’t have fresh content that you’ve generated yourself, spend a little time doing industry research about a subject you’re excited to tell people about. If you are constantly trying to educate yourself and share what you learn, you will never run out of content to post. Oh, and if you need a little help trying to clarify your company’s voice, check out this article.

Nathaniel Seevers—Anti-social media

Social media is meant to be just that – social. Too many companies approach social platforms as their own personal broadcast channel, a chance to feed an audience a spoonful full of a sales pitch. There are brands all over Twitter who log in only long enough to toss out their own blog post or press release. read more

Test Driving the New Google Databoard

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The internet has blessed us with many things. New ways to communicate across distances. The ability to tour a city or building on the other side of the world. Opportunities for new business ventures, avenues for invention, enhanced celebrity obsession and copious amounts of cat videos.

And Insights. Data at our fingertips. With a little smart searching and a lot of compiling you can build a case for or against nearly anything thanks to the internet.

The folks over at Google decided, you really shouldn’t have to waste all that time. They’ve compiled insights for you via Google research studies and have made them available to you at the new Google Databoard. There are only a few studies available currently, all based around mobile usage and trends, but you’re able to sift through the studies, drill down into topics and curate data points to create your own infographic. read more

Image of white Suggestion Box

Your Business Doesn’t Belong to You

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Let me preface this post by saying that none of what we write here is to call anyone out or make anyone feel bad about their efforts online. If you think we don’t screw up you’re crazy.

The goal for us is to provide some guidance when we can so companies can get better and in turn, provide a better experience for their clients.

Thus the basis for this reminder.

A good friend of mine was telling me about a conversation he had the other day with the marketing manager at a respected business in his area. They were talking about everything online marketing and happened to stumbled over the topic of online reviews like Yelp and Google and so on. This friend of mine happened to ask how this business handled negative reviews online. The reply was to the effect that they ignore it because it doesn’t make sense to let people tell them how to run their business.

Here’s where the reminder comes in: read more

Social Media Burn Out

The Trend in Social Media is on Reducing the Noise

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Why the Move in Social Media is Toward Reducing Noise

It seems like everyone has a blog these days and every company is cranking up the content marketing engine. Information is a dime a dozen and it’s accessible from every device and we consume more of it than ever before.

But there’s a shift taking place. Local, regional and craft movements aren’t just happening on the streets in your hometown. They’re also happening across social media.

We’re using Feedly and Pocket to collect and filter info we actually want to read and save it for later. Mailbox is helping us put off reading less important emails until tomorrow. Smart social media is allowing us to Consolidate, Segment and Simplify. Is it possible we’ve nearly come through the stage of Social Media Glutton and we will now trend toward reducing the noise? read more

Keys to a New, Better Website in 2013

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A new website might be in your organizations future. Maybe it’s even part of your new year’s resolution.

Here’s some keys to helping your new website be the best it can be in 2013.

Identify The Value of An Effective, New Website

Knowing how valuable the website will be for your business is absolutely critical before you explore who might be building it for you. Are you a software company and your website might help reduce your customer service calls? Are you an independent insurance agency who needs to compete with engaging websites like those of Geico and State Farm? Are you embarrassed to direct potential clients to your website? read more

3 Absolute Truths About SEO

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Optimizing a website for search engines is absolutely critical for brands hoping to be the answer to a searcher’s query.

While the importance is obvious, the strategy and tactics to get there are not. Being such a misunderstood practice, Search Engine Optimization has attracted both champs and chumps. Unsuspecting clients might have no clue they’ve hired an SEO chump until read more

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