Wise use of color on your website can enhance your branding
Learn how to choose colors and color combinations that work to express your business. This primer gives the basics of what colors mean to people. While it was published in a blog for nonprofit enterprises, the advice is useful for all website owners. For instance: purple is a color that people either love or hate, so use it in moderation or be prepared to take a risk. Similarly, red and black can have powerful negative connotations. Maybe the number-one takeaway is that gray can be your best friend. Complete with color swaths and associated meanings, as well as examples from real websites, it's definitely food for thought.
Mobile search dominates the restaurant space
People searching for restaurants are using mobile devices and applications more and more. Yelp says 40% of its activity now comes from mobile, up from 27% in 2010; Groupon says 30% of all its transactions take place on mobile devices. Good things to think about to help increase sales: 1) having a good mobile experience on your website, 2) making sure you have good coverage in databases that mobile users depend on, like Google Places, and 3) encouraging your customers to submit reviews to Yelp. (Tip: Ask them to mention dishes they like by name.) Also interesting: a chart showing the mobile-to-desktop ratios for keywords and keyword phrases such as "restaurant," "Chinese restaurants," "restaurant coupons," and more.
10 online tools tell you what's hot right now
There's a whole world of search engine and keyword-based tools to tell you what the trends are right now - even in real time. Google Trends is a great way to compare search terms over a selected period. You can see how search volumes rise and fall, and if there's any seasonality to the patterns. Google Trends Hot Searches shows the top 20 searches on any given day, perfect for staying up to the minute as you tweak your online strategy. Three platform-specific tools also deserve a mention: TweetStats shows what's trending on Twitter; Like Button is Facebook's tool to tell you what's being liked right now; and the YouTube Trends Dashboard shows what the hottest videos are.
Best practicer: Coca-Cola becomes first retail brand to hit 50 million Facebook fans
Rihanna and Lady Gaga may have more fans on Facebook, but Coca-Cola has become the first retail brand to surpass the 50 million mark (Justin Bieber has about 46 million). Next in line among retailers are Disney, Starbucks, and Converse who have yet to top 40 million. To celebrate, the company is launching a new app on to encourage people to submit ideas for causes and inventions that this enormous online community can rally behind to help change the world for the better.
Reviews and social media content shape shopper purchasing behavior
Where do customers shop before they shop? Recent stats show that 70% of Americans look at product reviews, 79% use smartphones to help with shopping, and 83% of mothers do online research after viewing television commercials. Last year, Google published an ebook dedicated to what the author called the "Zero Moment of Truth" (ZMOT) in marketing: the moment that a prospect converts into a buyer. Learn what Google's learned about what counts in reaching potential shoppers in their ZMOT in this article, which includes a link to downloading the Google ebook.
Facebook still rules the social media world
Despite investors' disappointment in the aftermath of the Facebook IPO, the rise of Pinterest, and continued strong growth by Twitter and Google+, Facebook still dominates social media. Facebook should hit over 1 billion users by the end of the year. People still spend much more time on Facebook than on Pinterest or any of the alternatives. People don't just passively read things and look at pictures, either: they share and re-share massive amounts of content there. Facebook is set up so that everything online can flow into it automatically and with as little effort on users' part as possible - and everything does. Photo sharing is huge and growing, and Facebook's Instagram acquisition positions the company to take advantage of it. Finally, people care: love it or hate it, people are engaged with Facebook and they keep coming back. Where do your customers spend their time (and money) onine?
Barack Obama is a social media superstar
Social media lessons from POTUS? President Obama tweets more than 30 times a day, his campaign uses Twitter to deliver messaging and information regularly, and he has more than 19 million followers. (Mitt Romney is far behind in the Twitter race with a respectable 1 million plus.) The President's Facebook Fan Page has 28 million likes, 3 million people talking about him, and a constant stream of engaging information, media, and volunteer and contribution opportunities. Obama chose Twitter to respond to Clint Eastwood's empty chair lecture at the Republican National Convention. His masterful tweet: "This seat's taken" got more than 20,000 retweets.
Get great results with Facebook contests - but follow the rules!
Don't use a Facebook feature as a contest, like "click to win," for example. It's against Facebook's contest rules, and can incur penalties. Do use a contest Application. Contests must be implemented within Facebook Applications, so unless you're prepared to have an in-house developer do the heavy lifting, choose one of the many popular Facebook Contest Applications available, such as Wildfire or Strutta. Don't announce the winners on the Page Wall. I know, this seems crazy, but it's the rule. Don't give away prizes that are unrelated to your business. Everybody wants an iPad, but they'll remember your business better if the prize is a great product or service of your own. Finally, you have to promote the contest enough. There are no shortcuts. Tip: an inexpensive Facebook Advertising campaign could be very helpful in promoting your contest
How-to: complete Google Alerts strategy
Companies and brands are discovering the importance of knowing what people are saying about them, their industries, and their competition. Google Alerts is a powerful, free tool that monitors the web and sends customized emails or updates an RSS feed whenever it finds a new result. Read about this collection of ways to get alerts on just about anything related to your brand or niche that you could ever need to know. An example for a local business would be an alert, based on your location and a product or service that you sell, that would find shoppers in your immediate area who are looking for what you offer - right now.
Daniel Lieberman is the founder of Daniel Lieberman Digital ("I speak Geek - You don't need to"). Based in Shelburne Falls, Mass., he helps companies, organizations, and individuals learn to use the Internet to communicate, market, and brand themselves using the most up-to-date tools and techniques. Contact him at 413-489-1818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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