NYC is for ME!

After being away from NYC for a week I can definitely say that I still love the city more than any other place on Earth. The pace, the energy and the constant flow of ideas and innovation fuel my love for this crazy place.  I know many haters out there who think NY is overrated, but they are just flat out wrong. Probably better that they just stop visiting.

I was away in The Bahamas in the most beautiful setting, but for some reason all I could think about was the fast paced island of Manhattan.  The tiny underdeveloped island of Exuma, is actually much larger than NYC, but it is only inhabited by 7000. I am fairly certain my apartment building alone houses more people.  We went to the three supermarkets on the island and were unable to find a single chicken breast to cook.  Only chicken feet, chicken parts (what does that even mean?) and a large package of 15 chicken breasts with a sell by date of November 1st 2011. SKETCH.

We met a lot of locals on the island and a lot of tourists. The people I liked the most? You guessed it, other New Yorkers who live three blocks away from me, whom I had never seen or met before. Now I have new “neighbors” to look out for when I get home. I always comment on how amazing it is that there are so many people and you can pass millions on any given day and know nobody. Talk about escaping, go to Central Park and disappear for the day if you desire.

The one thing the island did have was wireless internet everywhere. The resort had it it every nook and cranny and even the tiny little airport with a make shift security line and a tiny little runway had higher speed internet than most Starbucks. Facebook usage was very high and I think every computer screen I snuck a peek at over the week was opened to it. It really is the most universally accepted portal into the web.  Powerful! It is amazing how the whole planet is becoming inter connected through the web and as a result many of the islanders were more curious about places like Manhattan then we are about Exuma.  I think they would gladly switch places, but not me….I am a New Yorker through and through and I look forward to getting back there ASAP.

My family and I head back north today. NYC here I come!

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Google Analytics-Worthwhile?

A lot of business owners ask me if I think they should be using Google Analytics.  My answers is always:

  1. If you will react to data you find in analytics then yes, of course you should be tracking analytics on your website
  2. Google Analytics are free and intuitive, but they are not the only version you should consider.  If your business is more sophisticated online and you are really optimizing page performance I really like Webtrends (especially with their new interface)
  3. If you are committed to measure ROI and review KPI’s on marketing efforts then you should constantly be analyzing your website to make sure that you aren’t losing traffic when they get there.  Marketing efforts might be stellar in bringing people to fish, but if you aren’t going to make the lake fishing conducive then you there might not be any fish caught. Measured behavior once users come to your website and then onsite optimization are so important.
  4. If you are selling products online and/or trying to drive leads from your website then optimization based on analytics is a must!
  5. If you are approaching social from a marketing angle only then it is imperative to really have an understanding of what the value of a social referral to your website really is.

Click here to see a recent article about upgrades in social reporting that Google Analytics launched this week.  It really helps you better understand the value in social interactions, and can arm you to make some really good moves for your business.

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Pinterest Interest

At this point you have heard of Pinterest but might now know much about it beyond the name. It is a rapidly growing image liking and sharing site, where many users (commonly integrated from Facebook) discover new interests by sharing/pinning them to their friend feed. Many people think that the site is mainly for women, but the site can also outreach and benefit the male gender as well.

During the SXSW conference, many social networking and tech companies announced news related to their sites, and the emerging website of Pinterest was not left out. The image-liking website’s CEO Ben Silbermann announced various ways that the site will make sharing interests easier for the end user.

New profile page
The new profile pages will help Pinterest’s users find other sharing users that they might want to follow, along with showing who other users have repinned from. This is a great way to see the source of where pins came from.

Pertaining to the design of the profile page, Silbermann stated “We wanted to make your profile is very different from the profile you might have on Facebook or Twitter.” This is a great idea, because this will help Pinterest become unique from other social networking sites.

New media to pin
Other than pinning just images, users will be able to pin videos from other sources (not just YouTube), such as: Hulu, Vimeo, and Netflix.
More media = more sharing = good for businesses!

New API
An API is currently in development that will allow outside businesses to develop applications to interface with this quality liking website; however, the release date for this API has not been set yet. Currently, Pinterest is first working with this API to develop applications for other platforms, such as the iPad. After platform development has been complete, Pinterest will continue focusing on releasing its API to third-party companies.

Pinterest is the easiest way to get your images, products and content in general into the hands of consumers and shared amongst others.  It isn’t right for all business types, but it is very effective for most.  If you want to know if Pinterest is right for your business and how it all works, give us a call!

If you would like to learn more, email us at hello@sircle.me 

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Scribe Video Vibe!

Whiteboard Animation videos teach through SIGHT & STORY
83% of learning occurs visually, 11% by hearing and the brain processes information best through storytelling. Video Scribing optimizes all three making it crazy brain food.

Whiteboard Video Scribing KEEPS ATTENTION longer
Whiteboard animation grabs attention with continuous motion and keeps it by constantly revealing new images, resulting in viewers that happily give 5, 10, or 15+ minutes of their time.

Your message is REMEMBERED LONGER after viewing…
When you combine audio and video message retention jumps to 65%, almost 2x more effective than video alone, and morethan 6x more effective than audio alone. Whiteboard animation heavily leverages that powerful combination to delivery your message.

Why you should create one?
These videos are the most effective way to tell your story, sell a product or explain a service to your target audience.  This format can be used for education, customer service, recruiting, sales and marketing making it a very cost effective tool for a business.

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Client Spotlight: Fitmark Bags

One of our newest clients, Fitmark Bags is making big moves with social media and they dont even have a product for sale yet. They came to us back in early December and their objective was to build a passionate community of fitness enthusiasts. Their plan was to launch their product at the end of Q1/beginning of Q2, but it was imperative to harness the power of this viral and loyal crowd right away.

We launched a “coming soon” website with a countdown to launch to create a feeling of excitement and anticipation, around this new and innovative product for the fitness industry. We then built a clean and crisp branded Facebook interface to grow their fan community. They hired Sircle Media to create a social strategy document for them and they committed with the vigor and intensity of a true fitness enthusiast to follow it religiously over the first 90 days.

This commitment has paid off and continues to produce results. It is the perfect balance of smart social strategy/direction and relentless execution.

True Organic Milestones:
2600 Fans within first 35 days
4000 Fans within first 59 days
1400 Twitter Followers within first 45 days

“We stand for the fitness enthusiast. We’re a bag company first, and we’re all about looking good. It so happens our line of bags and the brand is exclusive to fitness enthusiasts.” – CEO Mark Samuel

We highly encourage you to check them out and get ready for their launch. Their product is amazing!

Facebook.com/FitmarkBags
Twitter.com@Fitmarkbags

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ROI Of Video Marketing

At this point in the online marketing timeline we think it’s safe to say that having online video as part of a company’s marketing efforts is finally universally accepted. It is just the most effective way to deliver a message, have it be seen and then have it be shared with others.

Measuring online video Return On Investment (ROI) begins with understanding what the videos set out to accomplish. At Sircle we always preach that “Social Media” is just a new term for the internet as a whole. Social networks afford businesses and individuals a vehicle to easily share information and can help the word spread very quickly on any relevant content. The delivery mechanism that packs the biggest punch is video, making it such an attractive product for most. The problem is that you must make sure that the content in that video is compelling and easy to understand.

Video is a tool that can be used by various departments within a business. Sales, HR, Customer Service and Marketing all can benefit from the positive attributes of a well positioned video message to tell their story. Attributing a direct ROI to video by department can be tricky making true video ROI a tough one to map out. Ask yourself:

How many more prospects did our sales reps speak with today/this week/this month because they had a video to help explain your product more succinctly?

How many customer service issues were resolved with greater ease based on your video that explained how to use, setup or fix a product?

How many new hires were we able to recruit based on our company position video?

From a true marketing standpoint, it is not much different than a traditional marketing campaign. Comscore reports that on average a person watches 14.8 hours of online video a month, so it’s not the matter of trying to prove that online video marketing is effective. The Executives at every business however, want to know that the marketing dollars are achieving the highest value and ROI while receiving the desired results.

So how do you measure ROI of online video?

  1. Know your objectives.
    The most essential component of executing a campaign successfully is having clear goals. The simplest way to measure return on what you’re investing is knowing your target audience and what message you are trying to deliver. Your objectives may vary. For example, if you’re trying to promote product sampling, your objective may be to have individuals register for a coupon on your website after viewing the video. If you want to increase exposure and awareness of your brand or business, you might be simply looking at views to measure total exposure of the campaign. Dividing cost, by views can give you a cost-per-view metric. Know what you want to see happen before you start.
  2. Social = Sharing = Exposure.
    Remember, ROI doesn’t necessarily have to equal a dollar figure. It can be social interactions, shares, conversations around your brand and recommendations by your brand ambassadors. If your video is getting shared by your target demographic and this audience is recommending your video to their friends, the reach and engagement is just as valuable as a dollar figure. Make sure you give them the opportunity to easily share your video!
  3. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
    Measuring online video ROI isn’t always an exact science and with a non-traditional platform, you have room to come up with creative and different ways to validate your efforts.  Online video can often drive traffic back to your website and one way is to look at what that traffic would have cost if it had been acquired by a push advertisement.

For example, comparing the pay per click model and the received traffic you can use the following:
Running banner ads on a website with $3 per click which results in 300 unique visitors to your website. This traffic of 300 people to your website is then worth $900. Although this approach offers an easy dollar figure, it’s crucial to note that the difference in pay per click banner ad traffic and organic post video engagement differs greatly and the value through organic engagement is much higher.

To conclude, online video enhances and creates the most engaging online user experiences. When it comes to ROI, the measurement metrics differ greatly depending on the specific goals. However, success lies in the ability to target a specific audience based on demographic, geographic and contextual parameters.  Being able to speak the language of your target audience and deliver a strategic message in a simplified format is a sure fire way to increase business.

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Timeline Is Here Whether You Like It Or Not!

Facebook suddenly and with no formal announcement rolled out their Timeline format for Facebook pages on February 29th. Rumors were swirling around for months that it might be coming, but nobody knew when. Seems only fitting that they chose Leap Year to make this big leap forward with their business. Brands and businesses have until March 30th to strategize and adopt the new look and feel, and before they jump in we thought we would share some quick tips.

Cover Photos (starting at the top this is the most blatant change)
You will now have one large horizontal image that will be the “Cover” to the book which is your brand/business.  Some things you cannot do:

  • Don’t put purchase information in the image;
  • Don’t include contact information in the image;
  • Don’t put a huge like arrow in the image;
  • Don’t ask for likes, shares, comments nor make any other calls to action in the image;
  • This last one should be obvious, but do not make promises that can’t be kept. Facebook outlined this as a specific rule for cover photos.

Embrace Your Past (one nice element is you can now tell the story of your brand through key milestones)
Definitely take advantage of the back-dating capabilities of timeline. The more content and context you can provide the more you can “advertise” the story of your business. Include company milestones such as the day you opened, strategic alliances, product or service introductions, expansions (domestic and international), key new hires etc. Let users see what has happened in your company’s history!

News Feed is More Important (target with interesting posts)
With a high percentage of user interaction occurring in the news feed, sharing fresh content and giving Facebook users reasons to engage with that content is vital. Share internal news and use links to images and if you can provide video, DO IT! Also, users will now see in a more featured format the actions of their friends on Facebook, making any interaction with your page that much more valuable. Create engagement at all costs!

Build Relationships Before Selling
Salesy promotional posts will have even less weight and value now.  Carefully craft messages so you can capture attention while also promoting your objectives. It is a fact that users don’t come back every day to be sold products and services. They come back because they love networking with family, friends, and, yes, even with brands. They like brands who offer them up things of value that they perhaps cannot find elsewhere. Original and engaging content and/or repurposed yet community specific articles will go a long way. Thing before you type!

Manage Private Conversations
Users can now private message a brand just like they do currently to other users. This opens the doors for powerful one to one engagement. Use this forum wisely though and be sure to always reply to messages!

Like most Facebook changes it will take some getting used to, but will probably help the ones who are thinking smarter achieve better results.

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