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Archive for February, 2012

The Technology For Marketing & Advertising Conference

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Earl’s Court 2

Tuesday 28th February 2012

 

This week this famous historic sporting venue was home to an event which was more energetic than a team of professional athletes, bounding up and down the court. This event is the largest meeting of advertising and marketing minds in the UK that runs over a period of 2 days. With sessions from Google, EBay Advertising, Yahoo and Microsoft and with hundreds of businesses exhibiting; the team at Bigfoot Digital just had to be there!

As soon as we placed our big feet through the door at Earls Courts we threw ourselves in to a talk given by Tim Grice, Head of Search at Branded 3 Search Ltd. He spoke about how businesses use social media to improve SEO which provided us with great food for though. After a quick coffee break we found ourselves taking on the coloured carpets of the Expo, each colour belonging to a different classification of stands.  It was great to meet and chat with so many different companies and “Where great minds come together” was the perfect way to describe the TFM2012′s

After networking our way down the coloured carpets, we found ourselves in one of the longest queues of the day, which was for one of the busiest seminars given by Chris Hackney the VP of Client Services at Vitrue; he spoke about the social media trends to watch out for in 2012 which was well worth the wait! Chris raised some interesting points about the way Facebook has changed over the years, and how it’s going to progress in time to come.

Facebook now has the power to tell others where we are, who we’re with, what we’re listening to. What games we’re playing and even what we’re reading. It’s no longer a ‘news feed’ but a catalogued feed of our lives.

“All your stories, all your life. No story is too big or too small to share”

-Zuckerburg September  22nd  2011

We came away feeling excited about what the future of social networking has in store for us, but also making it hard to predict past the next 6 months.

Overall, Visitors can gain valuable information on how to gain bigger and better results, as well as creating successful campaigns. The Technology For Marketing and Advertising Exhibition is an exceptional opportunity to learn about the new trends in advertising and marketing in this economic period, and can develop new business contacts in this booming industry!

…..Today it’s back to business at the Bigfoot office!

 

 

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Career Wednesday @ Bigfoot Digital

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Last week I shared an article that highlighted search engine optimisation as one of the most sought after skills in the tech industry. Admittedly, it’s a very attractive career choice which is both shrouded in mystery and in high demand at the moment. Oh, and did I mention that SEO managers can earn up to £47,000 a year. So what exactly does it take to land a job as an SEO specialist?

It’s important to understand what exactly is involved with the job; it’s not all heavy coding, nor is it all keyword analysis, so your experience should strike a balance between being tech savvy and having a firm grasp on communication. SEO specialists bridge the gap between the programmers and the average Joe web users.

Best degree for the job?

There isn’t really a ‘best’ option here, since the skills required are so varied. Marketing, Business, Communications, English, Maths and Computer Science would all give you a good starting off point for your career. Regardless of your degree choice taking the time to learn HTML and making sure you have a good grasp of social media will put you at a huge advantage.

Experience

To get a feel for the type of work you’d be doing, and to start building up your experience, you should try landing an internship. The key to getting the most out of an internship is to not worry so much about being offered a job at the end of it. Most of the time a job offer isn’t on the cards; so focus on impressing the boss, learning as much as you can and developing contacts.

If you intern with a small company you’ll probably get a more hands on experience as you’ll be needed in all areas of the business. If you intern with a larger company you’ll most likely be placed within a specific department, and get a more in-depth understanding of that particular area.

Getting Noticed

If you don’t manage to bag your dream job fresh out of university, don’t panic! Work on building up your experience and making your CV shine.

  • Try building a website to host your CV, contact details and an SEO industry blog. An SEO blog will demonstrate that you’re actively engaging in the industry. Once your website is set up you can give it a
  • sprinkling of magic SEO pixie dust and watch it shoot up in the rankings. (That’s how SEO works, right?)
  • Network; use social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to communicate with people in the industry and build up a network of contacts.
  • Work freelance; everyone knows someone, who knows someone, who is looking for help with their website. It’s like, the rule of the universe or something. Build up an impressive portfolio of work by helping Uncle Andy get his fish food emporium website up and running.
  • Get a job in a related field; you know how the saying goes ‘it’s easier to find work when you’re in work’. An employed person is more employable. It’s cruel and unfair, but it’s true.
  • Never stop learning. SEO isn’t something you can learn once and be an expert for life, it’s always changing and adapting, so you should too. Keep up to date with news and take every opportunity to develop your skills further.

So this wraps up advice for the graduates, next week on “Bigfoot Career Wednesdays” I’ll focus on changing careers.

Happy Leap Year Everyone!

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Beyond Social Media: Multi-Platform Marketing

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

What?

Introducing Hub It! from TribalDDB, Singapore.  The world’s first four dimensional, multi platform, interactive marketing campaign.  Encompassing TV, Internet, mobile and tablet technology, this trans-media alternate reality game lead players across various technology platforms and even into the real world searching for clues. I feel like I’ve written a lot, but I haven’t really said much yet.

Taking Internet marketing to a whole new level, “Hub It!” leveraged every platform available to them in order to create a month-long treasure hunt style game in which participants found clues on the Internet, on TV commercials, and even out in the real world.

How?

It all started with an app which introduced users to Sparky, a love-sick pooch with his heart set on a little brown poodle. The mission was to reunite Sparky with his crush. Using augmented reality technology, players could use their Smart phones to find clues across various platforms. It was a truly interactive experience, with rewards along the way worth over $100,000.

And the result?

“Within a week, the mobile app broke into the top ten most downloaded apps on the Apple App Store. Click-through rates via our mobile ads were 22% higher than the average. View count on the StarHub YouTube Channel increased by 500%. Number of fans on the StarHub Facebook page increased by 105%, interactivity on Facebook increased by 315% and the number of comments posted increased by 413%.”

Those are some pretty impressive figures considering this is fairly new territory.

And why am I telling you this?

Ok, so I understand that this is big budget advertising, and it wouldn’t be easy for the smaller firms to replicate; but it does emphasise the importance of good quality content behind your marketing efforts. So how could you implement this interactive focused strategy without the enormous budget?

  • Use ‘check in’ technology from sites such as Facebook, Foursquare or Gowalla to reward your customers for checking in to certain places. This creates a treasure hunt style game that will surely get people talking.

 

  •  Start a social media based game with your users; like how Kraft started up a childish game of jinx with Twitter users. Whenever two users mentioned Mac and Cheese in a tweet, Kraft would message them both with ‘jinx’; the first to respond won 5 boxes of mac and cheese and a tshirt. The great thing about this is that users didn’t even know they were playing a game.

 

  • Use Pinterest to pin your way to popularity; host a competition to fill a board with themed pictures. Easter egg themed? The best chocolate board wins. Summer themed? ‘Best ways to keep cool’ board.

 

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The Key to Viral Videos… There Isn’t One

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Every day, roughly 45% of tech bloggers get lazy and throw together an article which is just a round-up of “viral videos”. 10% of these will also make up some statistics to go with it. So let’s get this over with…

I’ve always felt a bit queasy about using the phrase “viral” when talking about videos; not only does it conjure up images of snotty tissues and runny noses, but it’s also a subjective and difficult to define term. What makes a video viral? At which point does a widely viewed video achieve the coveted “viral” status?

Just a selection of the most popular viral videos, including: OkGo, Is this real life? And Charlie the biting baby.

We generally start to talk about the viral status of a video when it hits the 1,000,000 views mark—but viral means so much more than this. Like that nasty bug you brought into work and infected the whole office with, “viral” means widely shared. So landing a gazillion hits on your YouTube video doesn’t technically mean it’s viral. It has to be widely shared between people; through e-mail, blogs and popular websites.

So when you see a company offering to produce viral videos to help your social media efforts, you’ve got to look at this with a certain amount of scepticism. Unless of course they know something we don’t know—maybe there’s a formula for producing viral videos.

Before we determine a formula for producing a viral video, surely we have to figure out what is it that makes us pass them on to our friends like a bad cold in need of a Lemsip.

  • They’re usually hosted on an easy to find and popular platform; and if they don’t start out there, they almost always end up there. YouTube and Vimeo are the most popular choices here; they both offer easy sharing and search functions which help users to find out what’s already popular.
  • Viral videos are usually shared on social media sites; hence the importance of being hosted on an easy to use platform. If you can’t link it up to your Facebook, how will anyone ever know about it?
  • They’re nearly always laugh-out-loud hilarious! Would you pass on a bad joke? Or a sad story? No! Because they depress the hell out of people. The things we share with our friends make us smile, giggle, or laugh hysterically.
  • They’re spontaneous, candid, or unplanned; the second it looks scripted, or has an obvious marketing message, we switch off.

So is humour the key? Possibly. Google attempted to develop an algorithm which would determine the funniest video on the internet, which is partly based on the number of ‘lol’ responses, amongst other factors. As far as I’m concerned, they failed, as their funniest video at the time this article was written was just plain stupid.

Even if you can guarantee that all of these factors are in place, viral videos are still unpredictable and it’s difficult to guarantee results. So if you’re planning to dedicate a huge portion of your marketing budget towards creating the next big internet sensation: proceed with caution. That said, in 2012, content is king! Customers aren’t so much interested in seeing advertisements; they’d rather see entertaining branded content. This is essentially the same thing as advertising, only it’s wearing a subtle LBD rather than a chicken suit. It’s a whole new world for marketing, and it’s also a time for exploring; so don’t be afraid to be a pioneer.

A video gaining viral status should be an added perk of producing amazing content, not the overall aim. Think of it as a pat on the back from the internet.

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Social Media Marketing: LinkedIn for B2B

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Do a quick search for social media marketing and chances are you’ll be inundated with articles and sites which include top tips, 10 steps and quick fixes. The problem is that all of this content is generally geared towards the B2C side of commerce. So what about our friends in the B2B industry? Is B2B ready for the social approach, and are the rules of interaction essentially the same?

I keep harking on about the four C’s of social media marketing, which is odd because I don’t usually buy in to the cookie cutter approach of explaining things. However, in the case of B2B, the 4 C’s are so obviously applicable. As with all social media, communication, context and content are all crucial.  The key difference in the social approach for B2B is the channel used to find your audience.

And enter LinkedIn; it’s not just for recruiters and job hunters. It’s a valuable link to your target audience with over 100 million professionals worldwide. Here are some top tips for engaging your audience using LinkedIn.

  1. Start out as an individual with a personal account, interact with people, and build connections and relationships. And then, when you have a strong network which includes the top people in your target field…
  2. Start a group for your business, (or your field, if it doesn’t already exist). Groups are a great way to bring people together and discuss what matters to your industry. (But remember, just because you have your own group set up, it doesn’t mean you should neglect the groups you’re a member of.)
  3. Use the LinkedIn Answers function to demonstrate your knowledge and provide a valuable resource to your industry. Using your expertise in this way is comparable to hosting an amazing blog, only more direct. For the people using social media to learn something, or develop their skill set, directly answering their questions is far more useful than making them look for the same answers in your blog.
  4. The LinkedIn search function returns profiles which are relevant and recently updated, so keep your profile up to date and increase your visibility in search results.
  5. And finally, network, network, network! There are a bunch of third party apps around which can make your networking efforts oh so simple. Tripit, for example, will let you know who in your network will be nearby when you’re travelling on business. Make your time work for you by setting up meetings with people, just because “you’re in the area”.

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News Round Up

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

My, my, it’s been a busy week – with a delicious pancake-y interlude. Once again the lovely folk at Bigfoot Digital have been sifting through the internet chaff to bring you some tasty wheat-y morsels of SEO and SMM news. Enjoy!

Tech Crunch warns that a SEO-volution is on the horizon: “after 3 years of machine learning development in stealth, BloomReach reveals its big data solution for website relevance optimization. BloomReach is capable of boosting organic search traffic by a whopping 80%, and will flip the search engine optimization and marketing industries upside down.”

As Google +1’s are set to be integrated into searches, Mashable gives us the lowdown on how this will effect SEO.

Readwriteweb hooked us up with a link to the Grovo how-to series about SEO.

A guest post from Ryan Spoon on Techcrunch included 14 top SEO tips for start-ups. He’s even thrown together a great looking presentation for us.

Another one from Mashable: the top tech jobs companies want to fill right now, and SEO expert is top of the list, natch!

We all know content is king, so here are the top mistakes publishers make when bringing content to the tablet.

And finally… yet another Mashable article: what to do when your SMM strategy is a raging success.

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Top Tips for Tweeting

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Anyone who follows Stephen Fry on Twitter will know that there is a line between Tweeting with enthusiasm and spamming. Catch him on a good day, and he’ll be firing off three to four tweets a minute. It’s interesting stuff, I can’t argue with that, but sometimes I just want to read about what my friends are having for breakfast, and maybe a catch a HelloGiggles article about how awesome it is to be single and eat ice cream sandwiches.

Any company hoping to capture their audience through Twitter will be forced to toe this line carefully; Tweet too often and you’ll be un-followed, Tweet too little and your customers won’t even notice you.

With all social media marketing, your focus is on the four C’s; customers, content, context and channel. This is all fine and well when you’re thinking about your social media plan in a general sense, but what about the specifics; like ‘how often should I tweet’, and ‘should I respond to everything’?

Biz Stone, creative director and co-founder of Twitter told an audience at a business conference in Canada that user shouldn’t be spending hours on the micro blogging site as it’s “unhealthy”.

“I like the kind of engagement where you go to the website and you leave because you’ve found what you are looking for or you found something very interesting and you learned something.”

I couldn’t agree more.  So here are a few tips for capturing your audience through Twitter:

  • Integrate Twitter into your everyday life; don’t make it something that you have to find time to sit down in front of a computer and ‘do’. Pick up a tablet or Smartphone and get tweeting—make it natural and conversational.
  • Follow the kind of people you want following you—but don’t be that person who frantically follows a bazillion users and only has three people returning the favour. Keep a balance, and dream of the day when you’re followed by more people that you follow.
  • Once you’ve figured out your crowd, take note of when they’re most active. If you have a worldwide following, great, you can Tweet day or night. If you have a more local following, try to stick to the time between the 11am tea break and the 3pm tea break; when the nation is distracted by twitter.
  • As a general rule you should Tweet every day. And remember, you don’t always have to be delivering original jaw-dropping content. Fall back on a RT every now and then—when it comes to Twitter, interacting and participating is just as important as providing a resource to your readers.
  • If you struggle to find the time to do this every day, consider setting up Twitter scheduling, with a site like Gremln.
  • And should you return every follow, and respond to every @mention? As a general rule, yes, but to be a bit more specific:
    • If the Tweet is business related offer to move over to e-mail, as this is easier than responding in 140 characters or less.
    • If, heaven forbid, it’s negative, don’t feel that you have to respond via the public feed, but again, offer to respond to the complaint via e-mail.
    • If you’re getting a bunch of RT’s every day, show your appreciation with a group ‘ta v much’.

So there you have it, top tips for Twitter.  Happy Tweeting everyone!

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SEO Infographics Courtesy of Pinterest

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Despite what all the reports are saying, I can confirm (as a regular Pinterest user) that it isn’t only used by women pinning pictures of crochet, cats and cupcakes. Granted, they do make up the majority, but Pinterest is also the home to some pretty spiffy content. And even more surprisingly, SEO related content. Jaw hits floor.

 

So here we have it: a round up of the best of Pinterest SEO…

 

 

If SEO link building were oil drilling.

SEO Wars: What Colour is Your Lightsaber?

 

 

Possibly the most interesting thing I found; eye-movement tracking on Google search, explaining the fundamentals of SEO.

 

 

And finally… The Periodic table of SEO.

 

Where am I going with all of this jibber jabber?

 

Infographics, of course. In their modern and oh-so-colourful form they’re quite possibly the best thing to happen to the internet. Ever.

 

 “Information graphics” may seem shiny and new, but they’ve been actually around for a while and they’re everywhere. Think about it. The London underground map is the best example I can think of. Infographics are the new medium of choice for conveying enormous chunks of information. When a market researcher would have once compiled a multi-page report teeming with graphs and statistics, a graphic designer can now whip up a poster which can make the most mundane subject seem almost interesting. Energy costs, anyone?

 

 

 

You have to wonder though, are Infographics making us dumb? Or are we just accepting that it’s easier to digest large amounts of information when it’s presented visually?

 

Maybe someone should make an Infographic about it…

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Twitter Teams up with Google’s Russian Rival

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Google sure is stirring up quite a storm; from the recent revelations about tracking users on Safari, to their decision to include +1 content in search results. This decision has effectively left Twitter out in the cold, as Twitter feeds will not be indexed by Google.

Despite protests from Twitter:

“As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter. We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone.”

And you have to admit, they have a point, have you ever heard the BBC news team say “let’s see what’s trending on Google+”?

Not one to walk away from a fight, Twitter has teamed up with Google’s Russian rival, Yandex to make Russian Users’ tweets available through search, paving the way for this to be rolled out elsewhere. Users tweeting in Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Kazakh will be able to search by @username and #hashtag on the Yandex blog search, or by using a dedicated social media search Twitter.yandex.ru. This is quite a step forward, as Google doesn’t currently index the ‘@’ symbol in their searches.

It’s also a clever marketing step for Twitter, according to the Moscow Times, as this move will raise the profile of Twitter and strengthen its position in Russia.

So Russia’s going to be fine with their amazing Twitter searching abilities, but where does this leave us?

It’s apparent that the inclusion of those ellusive+1’s in search results will skew the results in favour of the most popular sites on Google+. It’s fairly intuitive really—a more shareable site is more likely to be relevant—so the ‘share-ability’ of a page is indirectly linked to the CTR. So in addition to your regular search results, you’ll also see how many people have given the site the equivalent of a ‘stamp of approval’.

How do you feel about social media affecting search results?

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Is the end of cookies nigh?

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

With the recent news that Google has managed to slip past Safari’s privacy policy, you may well be wondering if cookies are just a little too intrusive to be trusted. Every day we trust our web browser to manage so much personal data; and it seems the more we share, the less secure things become.

For Internet advertisers, Cookies are obviously a valuable asset as they allow targeted ads to reach the right people. Without them, there would be no way to establish a segmented market audience. I know I’d be upset if my history of fitness related searches stopped yielding masses of diet pill ads (seriously Google, I just want some running tips.)

Enter Hiro, a Tel Aviv based company which has come up with a way to work without cookies and still target ads accurately. Their method of ‘URL sniffing’—which admittedly doesn’t sound as appetising as ‘cookies’—aims to remove the need for cookies which track your entire Internet history and search preferences. Instead, they target ads based on what you’re looking at right now. Their patent pending method of placing ads targets them based on the content of the page you’re currently on, which is established by ‘sniffing’ the URL.

So, if you’re browsing the Grey’s Anatomy episode guide website, the sniffer would assume that you’re 18-35 and female. Likewise, if you’re checking out the price of the latest Call of Duty game, you’d see ads targeted at men.

URL sniffing of this kind is still in the early stages, if you throw a quick search for it into Google, it seems the word is currently synonymous with snooping. So it could be a fairly appropriate replacement for cookies.

My initial thought is that this would be very unpopular for website owners; would the targeted ads not just be from your competition? What do you think?

Are cookies a useful perk, or an unwanted invasion of privacy?  And do we need a new way of targeting ads?

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