Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mobile Relationship Management (MRM) in Action w/ GGP

Vibes had the pleasure of sponsoring a Mobile Relationship Management (MRM) track at the Mobile Marketing Association Forum in Los Angeles November 16th-17th, 2011. As part of the track, our own Co-Founder and President Jack Philbin and client Katie Sholem, Manager of Mobile Marketing of General Growth Properties, discussed how GGP activates, engages and deepens consumer relationships with MRM.

The session was very well received by the audience and we offer a big thanks to Katie for joining us.

Mobile Marketer magazine featured some of the session in an article this week where Katie discussed how GGP has learned about retailer and consumer behavior as it pertains to mobile.

From Mobile Marketer: “We’ve found that our retailers are interested in using mobile to drive transactions and loyalty but that they weren’t eager to dive into the channel,” said Katie.

“The higher the offer the more successful the campaign has been,” Ms. Sholem said. “In-mall activations are really big for GGP, even bigger than push notifications to its opted-in list: “The in-mall activations work well because when people are in the mall, they are in shopping mode, so having them text in lets us know they are here and interested.”

Read the entire recap of the session in Mobile Marketer here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from Vibes!

Trick or treat, smell my feet. Give me something good to eat!

Happy Halloween from everyone here Vibes!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge!

We’d like to send a special shout out to Braintree for hosting the Redux Dodgeball tournament this past Saturday.

The fearless Team Vibes gave it our all, we played in a round robin finishing 6-2 giving us the #3 seed before going into the single elimination bracket. We ended up being defeated by Groupon with just a second left in the game (we’re looking forward to a re-match!). Despite our loss, we gave every duck, dip, dive and dodge our all and we want to send a big congrats to the tournament winner, Groupon, who took home an impressive trophy to display their victory. If there had been a trophy for best dressed team, we certainly would have brought home the victory. Anyways, everyone had a great time and even more rewarding, all proceeds from the event were donated to Kiva, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.

We’ll be practicing some new secret moves for next year’s rematch. Get ready Groupon – we want that trophy.

Team Vibes included:
  • Co-founder and President – Jack Philbin
  • Co-founder and CEO – Alex Campbell
  • Software Developer – Jitendra Bethina
  • Director of Product Marketing – Rebecca Bogler
  • Marketing and Social Media Manager – Kristina Stewart
  • Executive Assistant – Johanna Rohac
  • Client Services Coordinator – Katrina Dittrich
  • Director of Software Engineering – Steven Mastandrea
  • Senior Director of Mobile Sales – Tom Giovingo
  • Sales Executive – Tim Tassio
  • Senior Project Manager – Jen Zanella

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Five Ways to Optimize Your Blog

If you don't optimize your blog—or other online content—there's a good chance you're missing out on higher search-engine rankings that could extend your reach well beyond your site's current readership. But take heart: Sometimes all you need are a few tweaks here and there.

"A little attention to this area is better than none," notes the Guru Hub blog, which offers advice like this for creating SEO-friendly content:

Arrange your post's content in logical order. Think back to the essay format you learned in grade school: an introductory paragraph followed by supporting evidence and a conclusion. It improves readability for human visitors, and will earn a search engine's approval.

Pay attention to word count. According to Guru Hub, an article should contain at least 200 words. (For eyeballing purposes, most Get to the Po!ntnewsletters are between 250 and 300 words.) They recommend writing to a target length in the 400-to-500-word range.

Be sure to use local keywords. If your company offers products or services to a specific region, incorporate terms that local customers will likely use when searching for companies in your area.

Choose an image that complements your text. This provides visual interest for the reader, and you gain SEO points with a keyword in the photo description tag.

Don't duplicate and resubmit content. As with keyword stuffing, this raises major red flags for search engines—and they'll likely treat you like a spammer. "That could be the kiss of death for your site," Guru Hub notes, "so be very careful."

The Po!nt: Tweak it one more time. If your blog delivers valuable content, you're already winning most of your SEO battles—but why stop short of a total victory?

Source: Guru Hub.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs has passed away at the age of 56. He was a brilliant man who changed the face of technology forever. He will live on as an inspirational innovator of the twenty first century. Steve Jobs led a life of commitment, passion and perserverance. May we all learn to live so full of life.

"Sometimes life will hit you in the head with a brick, don't lose faith" - Steve Jobs

This commencement speech is very moving and endearing. We cannot chose the circumstances of life but we can choose how to react. Make the most out of every moment. You only get one chance.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10 Reasons People Won’t Follow You on Twitter!

Twitter is one of my favorite social media platforms. It is great for branding, SEO, business networking, keeping up-to-date on industry news and sharing blog posts; that’s just to name a few. I’ve been able to use Twitter to gain more knowledge of the mobile marketing industry while connecting with thought-leaders in the field. I’ve done this by optimizing my Twitter experience. Part of creating the best experience is following people and getting people to follow you back. Let’s face it, if people don’t follow you, then you’re not gaining exposure and you can’t engage.

There are not any steadfast rules to social media. However, many times you’ll find some universal unwritten rules. As a social media fanatic, I realize that the unwritten rules are more apparent to those of us who spend a lot more time in the space. However, they are also very useful for new users. In particular, I wanted to share some unwritten rules for Twitter following. I think these rules have evolved as super users have developed a strategy to optimize Twitter for their use. Your time is valuable and who you chose to follow on Twitter shapes your entire experience.

As a general rule of thumb you can expect on average seven out of ten people to follow you back when you follow them on Twitter. So how do you maximize your results to make sure people follow you back? Here are 10 reasons Tweeters won’t follow you back:

1. Your Twitter avatar is the egg (default photo) – Spam accounts are notorious for not uploading photos. So put up a picture of your pretty face already!

2. Your bio is empty – Again, spam accounts notoriously have empty bios. Also, use the 160 characters to give people an idea of who you are and give them a reason to follow you and use keywords.

3. You don’t have any Tweets – Twitter is about being social. People want to see that you are joining the community because you are actively interested.

4. Your Tweets are protected – Again, who you follow creates your entire Twitter experience. So if people can’t see your Tweets in order to decide if they like your content, most likely you’ll just get the ax.

5. Your “follow to followed” ratio is unbalanced – If you are following a thousand people and only have a couple hundred followers, it indicates to fellow Tweeters that you might not be that interesting. Don’t go on a “follow binge”, your growth should be natural as you stay active.

6. You only Tweet about your product/service – Twitter is not a direct sales platform. It’s about creating engagement and being a resource. Make sure to have a balance if you’re promoting a brand.

7. Incompatible content – We all like different things, sometimes people won’t follow you back simply because they aren’t interested in what you are saying. Don’t take it personal.

8. You don’t engage – It’s called “social” networking for a reason. People aren’t interested in constantly reading your monologue.

9. Too few updates – If your last Tweet was a month ago, (or for more active users a week ago), most Tweeters won’t follow you back. Again, Twitter etiquette is to stay active.

10. Too many updates – It’s important to find a balance. People don’t want a single Tweeter dominating their news feed.

Using Twitter can be a fun experience; it just takes some time to learn the ropes when getting started. These ten reasons people won’t follow you back are likely to be reasons down the road you’ll eventually not follow other Tweeters. As you learn to optimize your experience, you’ll naturally start looking for other Tweeters who will bring the most to your user experience.

Follow me @kristinastewart :: Follow Vibes @Vibes_Media

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Feng Shui Your Life

Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.

When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye..

Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

Believe in love at first sight.

Never laugh at anyone's dreams.
People who don't have dreams don't have much.

Love deeply and passionately.
You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

Don't judge people by their relatives.

Talk slowly but think quickly.

When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.

When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice

Spend some time alone.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I saw the Google car!

It's the little things in life... I saw the Google car yesterday! I was walking back from lunch when I spotted it on the corner of Sycamore & E. 6th Street. See the red ball on top? That's the camera. Nifty, huh?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Skype coming to an Xbox near you!

Today Microsoft announced they are acquiring Skype for $8.5 billion. Sources at Reuters reported last week that Google and Facebook were also in the mix trying to acquire Skype. While Microsoft has video chat features in its messenger service (through Windows Live), the service does not work for some phones, whereas Skype has versions of its program available for iPhone and iPad.

So, what does this mean for Xbox 360 users? Perhaps in the not so distant future we will see an update to the Xbox 360 Dashboards to integrates Skype.

According to Skype CEO, Tony Bates "I believe this acquisition is the very best way to extend Skype’s reach and will allow us to bring real-time video and voice communications to more people around the world than ever before. The combination of Skype and Microsoft will directly benefit all of you who use Skype by ushering in a new era of generative ways for everyone to communicate."

I'm an avid Skype user and I'm anxious and excited to see where this acquisition takes the company.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Social Media at its Best - Ben & Jerry's - Fair Tweets

An absolutely amazing social media marketing campaign by Ben & Jerry's promoting social responsibility and fair trade. This is such an incredible idea! Ben & Jerry's created a Twitter application that allows users to use leftover characters to promote free trade. Watch as their algorithm creates a unique message based on how many characters you have left over from your 140 character Tweet. So not only is Ben & Jerry's creating viral spread but they are helping a great cause. Kinda genius. I love it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Is The Value Of A Facebook Like Or Twitter Follower?

I recently found a research report that set out to determine the monetary value of your social media fans in online commerce. Chompon.com released this research report to show their findings. Below is what they have determined to be the value in gross revenue per action. This is taking into consideration immediate next sales:

Facebook Share… $14
Facebook Like… $8*
Twitter Tweet… $5
Twitter Follow…$2*

Chompon says “*Admittedly, we believe the true value for likes and follows to be much higher due to creation of long-term loyalty. Additionally, it is not possible to directly attribute traffic from these actions so it was necessary to estimate”

So here’s how Chompon.com came up with these values:

• For shares and tweets, we were able to directly attribute sales to the original action, so we simply took the total revenue attributed to each action and divided it by the total number of shares/tweets.

• For likes and follows, we had to estimate attribution by looking at our traffic references and subtracting out purchases made
through shares/tweets as well as purchases made through direct traffic.

• None of our analysis captures long-term value of customers acquired through these social channels –which means the true value per action should be even greater.

• Gross revenue depends on the products/services being sold, but due to the diverse set of ChompOnpublishers, we still feel the comparison between actions is reasonable.

The entire point of this blog is to demonstrate that it’s possible to create a monetary return on your social media strategy. You just have to be able to figure out how to monitor and measure your efforts. Granted it will differ by industry but it’s important to remember social media marketing is about maximizing results. The only way to know if you are maximizing your results is to have some sort of tracking system.

Many companies leave social media marketing on the back burner without giving it real effort. What you put into social media marketing is exactly what you’ll get in return. If you’re not committed to creating a solid social media strategy that includes measuring, tracking and analyzing… you can’t expect to see impressive results.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Advice for Connecting on LinkedIn

I absolutely love LinkedIn, it's definitely one of my favorite social media platforms. I've heard many different strategies for making LinkedIn work for you. Some are more universal and some are a little more questionable. However, one tip that I always hear that I really feel like needs to be reiterated is:

Always customize your introduction
when sending an invite!

This is a huge pet peeve for me because it happens all the times. I get an invite with the standard "I'd like to add you to my professional network" from someone I don't know from Adams. Then they have also indicated we know each other because we are friends, it really diminishes your credibility with me, and I won't accept your invitation. Just because we both love social media doesn't mean we should connect. Give me a reason, tell me why, tell me something.

Here's the deal. LinkedIn is a professional networking site. It's important to understand that in order to network you need to talk to people. You wouldn't walk into a networking event and start handing out your business card while staring at the ground and not saying a word... would you? Well, that's nearly the same concept as not customizing your introduction.

When sending an introduction, explain why you want to connect. Granted you only have 200 characters to make an introduction, which can prove difficult, but write something! LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool, but only if you know the people in your network. It's important to be "social"! Next time you find someone you want to connect with that you haven't met in person, explain the best you can why you want to connect. Whether it's because you are in the same industry and have similar interests, you want them to be a resource in your professional community or you want them to help you get a job. Tell them why you want to connect!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Words Truly Can't Describe!

After 2 years with my ever-failing Dell computer it finally went kaput this weekend. So after much consideration (not as much as I let on) I decided to splurge and finally get my very own Mac. I've worked on Mac's for nearly 5 years and fell in love immediately. It was just always difficult for me to justify making the purchase personally because of the obvious expense. Well after my experience with the Dell it didn't take much contemplating for me to realize it was time to move on. I'm happy to say that this is the first blog I'm typing from my new MacBook Pro and I'm elated. I am happily an Apple convert... with my iPhone and iPod, I can officially say I'm hooked! Hence, "words truly can't describe"... I'm a nerd and love technology!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Which should I choose?

I recently had someone ask me a really great question, it went something like this:

"I'm trying to establish my business in the social media and digital world. I'm overwhelmed by it all and sometimes I really don't know where to start. I mean I see people posting all day, every day and I don't have the time to do that! Do I have to be on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Youtube and Myspace just to be seen?!"

In my personal experience I see a lot of people jump in head first and create a page on every single platform then they are overwhelmed with trying to create content. So inevitablly all the pages fall behind and become stagnant, which is social media suicide. Remember creating a social media strategy takes time and it takes patience (which is still difficult for me to embrace at times!).

This is my advice, if you are going to do something, do one thing well versus five things half-way. What I mean by this is don't jump into Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Youtube and Myspace all at once. In the begining choose a single platform or pehaps two platforms where you feel comfortable and you know your audience will be. Don't try to be everywhere at once if that's not what you feel comfortable doing. Remember social media is about socializing and being authentic. If you are scattered and not paying attention to your audiences they will notice, and then you just defeated the purpose of being on the social media platform.

You may notice that some people and some companies are everywhere all the time in social media. People like myself are dedicated to posting because it's our passion. I am addicted to social media. I admit it. I love it. It's easy for me to sit and converse online for hours at a time that's why I love maintaining multiple platforms. But if you're not addicted to social media, don't feel like you have to be everywhere all at once.

Think of it this way. If you have five sites that are poorly taken care of and fans scattered out across all of the platforms, how do you expect to build relationships? Many fans will stop coming to your pages and will stop interacting with you because you aren't reliable. It is much more beneficial to have a substanial presence in one space where you focus on building strong meaningful client relations.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Usability & Internet Search Marketing

I found a really great article that I wanted to share on usability and internet search marketing. This article presents a more unified look at how the 2 work together. It's important to truly understand how to get the most from our digital campagians and improve user experiences.

For years there were two camps – website usability and search engine optimization. Rarely did they acknowledge each other, let alone work as a team. Each side argued they knew best how to make web pages findable in search engines.

They’re both right.

The website usability house is focused on human behavior. They follow along as people, or “users” as they’re referred to, use websites. User experience and user interface design offers challenges because our needs constantly change as we adapt to living and using the Internet to get information.

Read More.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Now you can edit your Facebook comments!

We’ve all done it… you’re writing a brilliant comment to post on a friends page or string, you hit ‘Submit’ and as you re-read your comment you see an error! Nothing is more frustrating on Facebook (ok, that might be a stretch but for the sake of conversation) because you know the person is going to get a notification that you just submitted a comment, so of course if you decide to delete and repost they are going to get yet another notification. I just noticed today that Facebook has updated their system (without really announcing it) so you can edit your comments. If you notice, the Submit button is no longer available… you have to hit Enter to submit your comment, or if you want a new line of text hit Shift+Enter. If you want to edit your comment after you hit Enter, hit the ‘X’ next to your comment and the edit box will show back up! Keep in mind that if you leave and come back you’re not going to have the option to edit. You’ll have to delete the post to change it. Great Facebook tip of the day!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

No more 5-Hour Energy for me!

I've always accepted the fact that I can be a brand snob. I know their is no difference (usually) between the generic and the brand name but sometimes I just really like the brand name product better. I know that a lot of things are phycological for me... I know it and I accept it. But that doesn't mean it's not disappointing when someone points out the fact I've been relying on something for it's phycological benefits. This was published in Men's Health and I read it online:

7 Worst Supermarket Rip-Offs

Friday, March 4, 2011

Social Media No-No... Broadcasting like you're a PA System

When beginning a social media strategy many small businesses tend to use the same message over and over and they use the same message for every platform. This is a HUGE mistake. You will loose followers, you will irritate your fan base and you will stagnant your growth.

The key to understanding social media is that people don't connect to businesses they connect to people. When you walk into a room, do you barge into the center of the room and loudly announce "Televisions are 20% off right now so give me a call!"... people would stare - let's just be honest! It's not all that different in social media.

You need to create a strategy of building and cultivating relationships. You can't do that by using Facebook or Twitter (or any other platform) to simply broadcast messages. I mean seriously who wants to get on Facebook and be bombarded with annoying repetitive and useless information?! Not me and probably none of your fans. So keep this in mind when you create content: you want it to be interesting, relevant and useful to your audience. Take a serious step back and be objective about your content.

So what kind of strategy do you use to create content?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Speaking of Social Media...

Several weeks ago I was asked to participate in a panel discussion on social media in the business. Specifically this panel was to help students learn how to utilize social media for job searching. The panel discussion was held at University of Cincinnati last week and it was a great opportunity for me to share my knowledge and passion of social media. It also made me realize a few things...

We live in a world dominated by technology (not part of my realizations) and it's safe to say that technology is not going anywhere soon. However, I'm amazed at how many people don't realize how to take advantage of it and also self-sabotage themselves. Many of the participants in the panel really didn't understand how to use social media platforms to help move forward in their career goals. However, the biggest thing people fail to realize is that your online persona (or lack thereof, which also says something) is a reflection of your personal brand. It can be just as important as your resume.

For example, when I review resumes, the first thing I do (if the resume is appealing) is google the person. I can tell you from first hand experience if the person's online social media does not reflect the same image as the resume (professional, digital expert, etc.) it creates red flags for me. I received a resume recently from a digital expert and they didn't have a LinkedIn account, that's a little contradictory to me.

This concept can also be taken into consideration with clients. Maybe you are not job hunting but what if a client is considering doing business with you... what will they find if they google your name, not your business name but your name as the owner or representative? Will it reflect the same image that you are conveying through your business brand? These are all very valid questions that I think most people forget to ask. As we progress into a more high tech reliant world I think it's going to become increasingly important.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Are You LinkedIn Optimized?!

Did you know that you can optimize your LinkedIn page? I told someone this the other day and I got the most random blank stare... "Huh? What? Really?" was the response. I assumed that this was common knowledge. Apparently not.

So what are your key skill sets? Are they all listed on your LinkedIn page? They better be! Oddly, I see plently of LinkedIn pages that are empty and/or sparse. Optimize your page for best results. Use keywords and keywords phrases that best match your skill set. You can add different sections to your resume including "skills", "certifications", "experience" etc. So why not make sure that your skills are highlighted in multiple areas? If you have certifications list them in the obvious category but also list them in the experience section.

When employers or even potential clients do a search, the pages that are the best optimized will show up at the top. Statistically people are more likely to click on the top search results. So why not increase your liklihood of exposure and optimize your page? Don't leave LinkedIn to chance, do some work and make it work for you. That's what it's there for. If you have specific questions about optimization feel free to ask!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Understanding Social Media for Business

I notice that a lot of newcomers to social media marketing truly don't understand how to utilize social media for business purposes. Too many people try to use the same concepts on their business pages as they do on their personal pages. Unfortunately that's going to get you nowhere fast.

It's important to understand that when creating content for your social media that you take into account your audience. What are you offering to your audience? How do they perceive you? What is the brand image that you are conveying? All of these questions can help you decide what is relevant content to post to your businesses social media pages. The biggest difference between posting on business pages and personal pages is that on a personal page it's all about you. Most people don't take into consideration their audience when posting on a personal page, it's striclty based on "this is what I feel like sharing at the moment". This concept cannot be applied in a business space.

When putting together a social media strategy focus on creating relevant user content. But it doesn't stop there, once you have your content you have to constantly evaluate what is working and what is not. Are people interacting with you? Are they clicking your links? Are they asking you questions? (If the answer is no, then it's time to re-evaluate your content). These are different ways to gauge whether your content is relevant. Remember that their is no silver bullet. You must constantly monitor and adjust your message to make sure that it fits your audience and adds value to their experience.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The power of Google, The stupidity of people

Are you in the job market or plan to be in the future? Of course you are, we all are.

So have you ever Googled your own name? Do you think anyone else has ever Googled you? If you are living in a fantasy world then you are truly underestimating the power of Google and answered "No" to both of these questions. Everything that is posted on the internet can be found through Google if you don't use the proper pre-cautions (privacy functions available on most social media platforms). Trust me, if it's out there on the internet, employers can & will find it.

If employers are able to freely search for you on the web, they can find out about your personal relationships such as marital status (or in some cases if you are homosexual or transgender), they can look up where you live and view your house on Google Maps, they could find out if you are pregnant via status updates on facebook or twitter and they can absolutely make judgements about the types of people you associate with.

Of course, all of this falls under categories which employers can not discriminate against but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. So the next time you make a status update, post a picture or Tweet, think about how you would feel if a potential employer were to see it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

20-somethings and social media management

I read a really great blog (here) about a recent social
media controversy. During a panel discussion Wednesday in Charlotte, NC a panelist suggested companies should use 18- to 20-year-old interns to handle their social networking. The suggestion sparked a little opposition from audience memebers. However, Observer reporter Eric Frazier garnered several comments on his blog supporting the notion of having younger employees manage social media.

As I joined a discussion on LinkedIn (where this topic was first mentioned) I was bothered by how many people were so opposed to utilizing the skills and talent of a younger generation. Fraizer said it best "experienced marketing professionals should be charged with guiding corporate strategy and holding online conversations with the public". However, I think it's silly to underestimate the talent of young people. Especially as digital media continues to evolve, the Millenial generation has the strongest grasp of the evolving platforms because they have been so ingrained into their lives.

Several comments on the @Charlotte blog highlight this very concept. An anonymous user commented "I've had over 25 years experience in marketing, using all kinds of media, and my teenage grandsons can run circles around me using Facebook, Youtube, e-phones, digital cameras and and many, many other "social medias" with a quick click."

Another anyonmous user posted:
"As the CEO of a $3 mill company my best social media employees are between the ages of 20-25. I am 42 and many of my peers in our industry can barely manage to use the basic functions of a smart phone much less social media. Her statement is more truth then not."

I'm not saying that 20-somethings should be given free reign because they obviously lack real-world experience. My point is that marketing professionals must learn to work together even-more-so to utilize talents of all generations to make the absolute best business decisions. Generation overlap is becoming increasingly important especially in social and digital media. I truly believe that companies that embrace this concept will be the ones to thrive across digital platforms.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dreams / Goals / Life

A short poem...

I want to be inspired

I want to be challenged

I want to grow beyond my dreams

I want to be an inspiration

I want passion & hope

I want to inspire