Industry Buzz

Hacking journalism at the MIT Media Lab

The Twitter Developer Blog -

Developers, designers and journalists recently came together for Hacking Journalism, a hackathon hosted by the MIT Media Lab. We were excited to see that numerous teams turned to the Twitter APIs as their source for real-time information and credible sources. There were a lot of great projects delivered in the course of just 24 hours. Our favorite was News Bingo, created by @abtran, @putneydm and @mclaughlin. News Bingo is designed to encourage user-submitted photos for news organizations through gamification. Using the Boston mass transit system as an example, here’s how it works: You tweet to @MBTABingo to get a bingo card containing a series of hashtags. Fill in a square by replying with one of the hashtags and attaching a photo related to that term (for example, reply with #graffiti and a photo of one). For your submission, you’ll get a relevant news story back. Since News Bingo is a competition to fill the card first, there’s a leaderboard that shows you the contributors you’re competing against as you work your way to the top. @jbulava and the team creating News Bingo at #NewsHack. Congrats on winning the @twitter API prize! — Kawandeep Virdee (@whichlight) June 11, 2014  The creators of News Bingo have open-sourced their code and it’s available here on GitHub. Check it out to see just how easy it is to build on the Twitter platform. Thanks to @whichlight and @MattAtMIT for hosting this hackathon and giving us the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion of the Twitter platform with the crowd. We look forward to attending next year and seeing lots more innovative projects then.

How to make a website Blog -

Do you have a really good idea, are thinking about creating an online portfolio, or want to make a web presence for your business but don’t know how to make a website? It’s something that can seem overwhelming, but there are so many great tools making it easy to get online, that you can do it even if you don’t know how to code or have graphic design skills. Since even the thought of making a website is something that can be daunting, we decided to make a quick, “how to make a website,” guide that lays out all of the ways you (yes, you) can quickly and affordable make a great looking website. How to make a website: Web Hosting WordPress Website Builder 1. Web Hosting: Web hosting is like a plot of land for your website. You buy your piece of the Internet and decide what you want to build on top of it. Web hosting is best for people who already know how to make a website. It’s the most advanced option in our guide because it often requires you to know things such as CSS, HTML, and how to use a graphic design program. If you think that web hosting sounds like a great choice for you, you can learn more about web hosting here. 2. WordPress: WordPress is packed with a ton of standard features. It’s a great solution, especially if you have basic HTML knowledge. WordPress makes it easy to find a great design for your site, add blog posts, add site pages, and get discovered online. If you’re wondering how to make a website that is polished, WordPress is a fantastic choice because it makes it easy for people with minimal coding abilities to make a very customized website. You can make a WordPress website in just a single click here. 3. Website Builder: If you want a drag-and-drop and press-to-edit solution, a website builder is the way to go. The website builder is a very easy way to create a sleek and professional website for you or your business. The website builder allows you to pick from up over 40 fully customizable, mobile-ready templates that you can drag and drop your content into. Best of all, you can try it for free for 14 days to make sure it’s the perfect solution for you as you figure out how to make a website. Click here to start a trial of the website builder. We’d love to see what awesome things you’re crafting online. If this article helped you figure out how to make a website, feel free to comment below and link to your sparkly new website.

Getting creative at #CannesLions: Day 3

The Twitter Advertising Blog -

#CannesLions was in full swing today, with festival attendees crowding the streets and attending a myriad of sessions on marketing, creativity and storytelling. We live-tweeted three presentations this afternoon and heard from a great mix of speakers including musician Kanye West (@kanyewest), investor Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz) and Coca-Cola’s SVP, Global Sparkling Brand Center Wendy Clark (@wnd). The first session was “Technology, culture and consumer adoption: Learning to read the cultural landscape.” Translation CEO Steve Stoute (@SteveStoute) and @bhorowitz were joined on stage by surprise guest @kanyewest. Next up was “Storytelling with story creators” hosted by the New York Times. Maureen Dowd (@NYTimesDowd) and Rebecca Eaton (executive producer of @DowntonAbbey) talked about the art of storytelling and what it takes to craft a memorable experience. Wendy Clark delivered the next presentation and shared great insight from her marketing experience at Coca-Cola. She also revealed Coke’s real time strategy and the activations they’ve launched to celebrate the World Cup. Check out the highlights from these sessions in the Tweet collection below: Meanwhile, back at the Tweet Suite, @dronie was taking in all the action from above! We wrapped up the day with another fun Vine video of one of tonight’s #CannesLions Grand Prix winners. That’s it for now! Check back here tomorrow for our update on #CannesLions, day 4!

How Cloud Sites Rises To Super Spikes

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

The Rackspace Cloud Sites team is no stranger to high traffic events (HTEs), and we are definitely proud every time we have the honor of managing our customers’ sites during an anticipated spike. While surprise super spikes are a challenge we love to conquer, we advise to contact your Cloud Sites team if you know of an upcoming high traffic event. That way we can take the necessary measures ahead of time to ensure your site stands up to the spike. Here, I will guide you through how we are preparing one of our Cloud Sites customers for an upcoming high traffic event. 1. Evaluate the potential amount of traffic the site is expected to receive. All Cloud Sites web clusters are capable of handling very high amounts of traffic.  Typically, we coordinate with the customer via conversation or answers to HTE questionnaire to determine if additional resources are necessary. In this case, we determined that it was necessary to point the specific website to a “high capacity cluster.” This is basically a set of around 25 web servers that are only to be used for handling high traffic events. These nodes are not shared with any other websites aside from other HTEs. They are configured without limitations to allow a higher rate of traffic. 2. A courtesy glance over the website to identify any possible bottlenecks while looking for areas to increase efficiency. Our administrator specialists view the website’s elements to find areas that can benefit from optimization. 3. Load test We perform load tests and benchmarks while monitoring our systems to evaluate how many hits the website can receive without slowing down or causing system issues. This further identifies what other potential bottlenecks may have been missed during the website look over. 4. Dedicated website monitoring using MaaS (Monitoring-as a-Service) As part of an HTE we add monitoring that checks the website every 30 seconds from six global locations:  Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Hong Kong (HKG), Northern Virginia (IAD), London (LON), Chicago (ORD) and Sydney (SYD). This provides our admin staff alerts including response times, which allows us to immediately jump on any possible issues. And there you have it! We will always step up to the plate to ensure your business a successful high traffic event, no matter what the situation, but if you expect a super spike, we advise that you give your Cloud Sites team a heads up as an extra measure of caution.

Dedicated Server user? How Parallels Plesk 12 and 1&1 Can Help

1&1 Online Success Center -

By John Zanni, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Strategic Alliances, Service Providers, Parallels. 1&1 is serious about having the best dedicated and VPS server offers in the market, so it comes as no surprise to us that 1&1 is Parallels global launch partner for our release of Plesk 12. Combined with the power and performance of 1&1′s new server line-up, Plesk 12 offers the peace of mind that your server is fully protected from a range of threats and malicious attacks. Plesk 12 adds unmatched security features to the infrastructure and website management experience that you already know and trust. On top of existing protection available from your server firewall, we’ve fully integrated Fail2ban – a service that scans your log files and bans IP addresses with suspicious activity – and Mod_Security – web application firewall governed by specialized rulesets. We even partnered with industry leader, Atomicorp, to give you the most trusted Mod_Security rules for free. We have these new security features set to secure defaults that will protect your servers out-of-the-box. For more advanced users, you can choose to fully configure your Fail2ban settings and edit Mod_Security rules from the Plesk UI and customize them to your specific needs. With Plesk 12, we also allow you to monitor your servers and websites in and out of the office, on a variety of devices. Parallels Mobile Manager is now available for free with all Plesk 12 licenses for both iOS and Android phones.  The Plesk interface itself is now built in responsive design and can be easily used from any of the tablet or smartphones that you use. This means that you can easily watch and manage your servers from wherever you are and be worry-free knowing that everything is running as it should be. Plesk 12 officially launches this week and is now available with all 1&1 servers. We are excited for you to try 1&1 + Plesk 12 for the very best in server performance, management, and security. Members of the 1&1 and Plesk teams will be celebrating the Plesk 12 launch at HostingCon in Miami. If you are in attendance, stop by the Parallels booth to see Plesk 12 and come enjoy the 1&1 and Plesk 12 launch party on Tuesday, June 17 from 3-4pm EDT with drinks and Plesk 12-themed giveaways.

Jon Rogers: soccer enthusiast & graphic designer

Oh, How Pinteresting! -

At 23, Jon Rogers was heading in the direction of playing professional soccer until a series of injuries put him on the sidelines. But that didn’t stop his love for the game. He picked up design as a hobby, and as an experiment, began connecting his art and passion together. Little did he know that after putting his work online, his designs were being Pinned all over the world. Jon’s art caught our eyes here at Pinterest HQ, which led to our recent collaboration with him for our Places to watch the World Cup campaign. Watch our interview with Jon and see how he’s been able to join forces with artists and soccer fans all around the world. How did you get involved with Places to watch the World Cup? Soccer is my passion and I’m a full time soccer coach. I design in my spare time and early last December, I decided to start a personal World Cup project based on each country’s most loved player. I didn’t think too much of it and put them up on my portfolio. But a short time after placing it on my website, I was contacted out of the blue by Ben C. at Pinterest to see if I may be interested in collaborating on the Best places to watch the World Cup campaign. He told me he had stumbled upon my designs on Pinterest while searching for inspiration. I had no idea my images were even up there as Pins. Can you walk us through your design process when coming up with the various boards covers for each country in the campaign? We had a few initial ideas that were good but just didn’t feel right. I’d been thinking about a way to encapsulate the idea of places and blending that with the aesthetic of the World Cup Posters I’d done. FIFA follows a 3 letter country code system, not unlike airport codes. When I had that insight, it was a matter of applying the concept of baggage tags to each participating country. From there, we worked mostly on the details - colors, location of elements, etc. How has this campaign helped you reach different communities on Pinterest, either for soccer, design and beyond? It’s quite amazing actually. When Ben first contacted me to work on this project, I had no idea my designs were working their way around the world through and though I knew what Pinterest was and how it worked, had not engaged with it myself. The real purpose in creating the World Cup poster series was to reach out and seek a connection with the world of soccer and design and that was accomplished far beyond my dreams and mainly because of Pinterest and their global reach. Last I heard, my designs were being traded around in 80 countries. That’s just amazing to me. Hard to believe. Follow Jon Rogers’s board Arsenal on Pinterest. What’s next for you? Because of my exposure on Pinterest, I’ve had a number of requests for commissions, most notably for The Guardian UK and their coverage of the World Cup. I’ve been busy for the past few months and expect to stay that way! Thanks Jon for bringing us into your soccer and design world. If you want to see what Jon is designing next, check out his website and Pinterest boards!

How'd They Do That? Adding Footer Navigation in 3 Simple Steps

The Weebly Blog -

“How’d They Do That” continues this week with a look at the sophisticated footer links Our Table created with just a few basic theme adjustments.    Every Weebly theme includes a footer area that can be fully customized with a Starter, Pro, or Business plan. Using these customization options to change the footer into a secondary navigation source makes it easier for users to discover and digest your website content. Our Table created it’s unique footer navigation in 3 steps: Step 1: Drag text element into footer. Step 2: Enter the page names you want to link. Step 3: Turn each name into a direct link by creating text links. This customized footer allows Our Table to explore multiple navigation levels without a pulldown, which helps unclutter key interaction points. The main navigation is allowed to focus on Our Table products, jobs and core values, while the bottom can display secondary (but still important) content like blog, events and contact pages. Together, the top and bottom navigation work together to allow visitors to quickly and easily access a site with intricate page architecture. We hope this latest video helps you create awesome footer navigation areas for your site, store or blog. Feel free to share your own work with us directly, and if you have a topic you would like us to cover don’t forget to let us know about it in the comments.  

Kabbee Slams The Brakes On Unsupported Infrastructure

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Kabbee is growing. Last year, we grew nearly 400 percent and we’re looking ot continue that trend and grow by the same amount this year and next, culminating in a growth rate of 64 times in just three years. At Kabbee, we work with more than 70 fleets of minicabs – and growing — across London, where we’re based. Our mobile app and website allow passengers to choose their car by type, price, time and user ratings across dfferent minicab providers to ensure Londoners save money while getting a safe, reliable cab. Our business has caught on. To grow at such a dramatic rate, we needed support and 24-hour customer service– something we didn’t get from our previous hosting provider. It was cheap, but in this instance the saying “you get what you pay for” rang true. Their model was not good for our business. We needed a partner that can scale with us and be a part of our long-term plan. We looked at a trio of big name cloud providers, but they were only interested in selling us infrastructure. For the support we needed we would have had to outsource to a third party. One provider would only offer support in the form of articles and other documentation, but getting a human was out of the question. As I said, we wanted a partner to come on the journey with us. That’s when we found Rackspace. Rackspace is not just another company looking to sell us commodity infrastructure. The level of service is untouchable, and the infrastructure is rock solid. I would much rather spend my money on a hybrid cloud solution (a mix of dedicated and cloud servers) that includes a dedicated account manager and 24×7 access to a team of specialists that can help plan for scale and help us chart our course over the next three, six, 12 or 18 months than on unsupported commodity infrastructure. In just a few months, it’s been an eye-popping experience. It’s clear that Fanatical Support isn’t just a term thrown around blindly – it’s the ethos of Rackspace. Whenever I’ve dealt with a hosting company before, I couldn’t get any help. My team and I got so use to a “no service” culture with previous providers, that I have to remind them that Rackspace experts are available to help and will answer when you call them. While this level of service is difficult to measure in terms of dollars and cents (or pounds and pence here in London), I can say that had Kabbee chosen a commodity infrastructure provider, I would have had to hire at least six engineers to provide the 24×7 coverage I receive from Rackspace. I’d also have to train them, and sharpen their expertise. All of that goes away with Rackspace – the cost savings from that alone make it a no-brainer. And on top of Rackspace’s round-the-clock support we have seen a massive performance boost. We measure performance in terms of internal transactions and external transactions. Before, our external and internal traffic rode the same pipe, now each has its own dedicated wire. Our inbound traffic has gotten 10 to 100 times faster, while our external response times have improved by 200 milliseconds to 500 milliseconds, a 25 percent to 35 percent decrease in the amount time it takes to serve a user. To achieve these performance improvements on our own, it would’ve taken two to three years. We have essentially freed up three full years of developer time just by moving to Rackspace. That’s a very real metric and it’s a huge deal to us. Taking into consideration the support and the performance improvements we’ve seen by moving to Rackspace, it all adds up to a massive difference and a level of success we couldn’t have found elsewhere.

Early Theme Adopters: Pictorico News -

Launched last month, Pictorico is a free theme that combines a dynamic portfolio-style home page with a simple, single-column layout for posts and pages. It’s great for pro photographers, casual photobloggers, and anyone who wants a sleek space for personal blogging. Let’s take a look at a few sites using Pictorico: A Feast for the Eyes British blogger Issy shares recipes at A Feast for the Eyes, a name that perfectly captures the focus of the site: food and photography. Pictorico‘s front-page grid displays her mix of dishes beautifully — her images are crisp and bold, while her plate setups are stylish and carefully considered. Issy sets featured images on individual posts, adding color and sophistication to the header area. She also takes advantage of the theme’s clean, single-column layout, letting her images shine on the page: Ubuntu The traveler and outdoor enthusiast at Ubuntu sets a wide custom header image, which changes the homepage look of Pictorico. The panorama of snowy, jagged peaks is the first thing you see, and captures the blogger’s wandering, adventurous spirit. Pictorico‘s custom header area accommodates images of at least 1180 pixels wide, so the visual effect is dramatic. Shine Studios New Zealand-based photographer Blair Quax of Shine Studios uses Pictorico to publish his wedding photography, much of which captures the beauty of Waiheke Island. The front-page portfolio design of Pictorico allows Blair to showcase distinct wedding day collections at a glance. Single post layouts are elegant and uncluttered, so the focus is entirely on the couples celebrating their special days. Blair activates the theme’s post slider as well, which adds another layer to the front page: More Pictorico examples Photographer and cyclist Cherie Vale creates tiled galleries, as shown in this post from the UCI MTB World Cup, and illustrates another way to display images in posts and pages. Artist Rosalys also displays a wide custom header, showcasing an anime-inspired illustration. Visit the Pictorico page for details, other examples, and to preview or activate the theme.Filed under: Community, Design, Themes,

6 Clever Ways to Use Facebook Groups for Marketing Your Business

Post Planner -

You probably belong to at least one Facebook group, right? But maybe you haven’t considered using a Facebook group for your business.  You should.  Today I’ll show you how to leverage a Facebook group for your company.  But before you just create a group & start inviting friends to join, remember, the group is NOT about you.  Don’t build a group, get people to join & then just spam them with links to your website. So how do you make Facebook Groups part of your advanced Facebook marketing strategies?  Here are 6 clever ways: 6 Clever Ways to Use Facebook Groups for Marketing 1. Provide Value for Customers Create a group to reward your customers & make them feel special — for example, a group exclusively for people who have purchased your product. Include a link on your sales page or send emails inviting customers to join.  Use the group to follow up with customers or help them if they have questions. >> Click to Tweet << Dennis Heenan created this group to answer questions from customers & motivate others: 2. Discuss Current Events  Groups are also great places to keep up with current events in your industry. That’s why we created a group called Post Planner Experts. Here, members discuss the latest happenings in the world of social media:  3. Build Your Community  Don’t forget the Facebook marketing basics: it’s not about you! A group should be about its members & how the group can provide value for them.  Chris Brogan’s The Secret Team is one of the best Facebook groups out there. The level of engagement is off the charts: 4. Communicate with Brand Ambassadors  When considering how to start a Facebook group for business, one of the best reasons might be to keep in touch with your biggest fans. The strong relationships you have with your top advocates & brand ambassadors are invaluable. And a group like this lets your advocates connect with each other. A group I belong to allows me to test new product features before they’re released to the public.  5. Promote Events  A Facebook group is really handy if you organize or promote lots of events. >> Click to Tweet << Those who attend the activities will use the group to network & share photos & notes. 6. Strengthen Your Team  If you have a diverse team of people working from different locations, create a Facebook group to keep in touch with your employees & promote company culture.  Key Takeaway In this post, blogger Scott Ayres runs down the mechanics of creating a Facebook group: How to Create a Facebook Group There are many ways to use Facebook groups. Most important is finding a way to provide value for group members that will keep them active & participating in the discussion. Has your business ever used a Facebook group? The post 6 Clever Ways to Use Facebook Groups for Marketing Your Business appeared first on Post Planner.

Don’t Settle: How To Land Your Dream Job At Your Dream Company

LinkedIn Official Blog -

Peter Gibbons, disgruntled Initech employee from the movie Office Space, once said, “So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.” Office Space struck a chord with lots of people who relate to being stuck in a dead-end job at a company that doesn’t appreciate them. In fact, 70% of employees say they aren’t enthusiastic about or committed to their work or they don’t contribute to their organization in a positive manner. Sound familiar? If so, don’t settle! Today we unveiled North America’s Most InDemand Employers — aka, our annual rankings of the 50 companies our more than 109 million American and Canadian members most want to work for. We calculated the rankings by analyzing billions of interactions between American and Canadian members and companies on LinkedIn. Here are the top 10 (click here to view the full list): These companies have their pick of the litter when it comes to talent. So what should you do to stand out from the pack and land your next dream job at one of North America’s Most InDemand Employers? We wanted to find out. So we asked the experts at Adobe, lululemon athletica, NBCUniversal,, and VMware. Here’s what they said: Be authentic. “Be at the top of your game, have a great track record, and have great relationships. But most of all, be authentic,” says NBCUniversal VP of Talent Acquisition James Ryding. “The culture at NBCUniversal is not a faceless corporate culture, it’s a culture that allows people to have a personality. Being true to your personality while maintaining professionalism is the key to success with landing your dream job here. It will shine through in your applications, and will set your relationships on a genuine footing when you start with us.” lululemon athletica Manager of Recruitment Isabella Egan says, “Know what it is that you want to do and have a plan as to how you are going to get there. On our website you will see there are Vision and Goal coaching tips. As recruiters, we love it when a candidate completes the worksheet because it helps us understand more of who they are as an individual, above and beyond their education and experience. It also helps us see where they see themselves going in the next one year, five years and 10 years and how we can help them get there!” Do your homework. “We are social,” says SVP of Global Employee Success Monika Fahlbusch. “Get to know us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and then find someone in your network to refer you in.” VMware Director of Executive Staffing Anu Datta says, “We encourage prospects to do their homework by understanding our business, people and culture.” Showcase you’re a team player. “Adobe looks for three key factors — differentiation, motivation and collaboration,” says Adobe VP of Global Talent Selection and Development Jeff Vijungco. “We want individuals with a unique skillset that complements the team, a sense of urgency to deliver beyond what’s possible and ‘we’ rather than ‘me’ team players.” Think big. VMware Manager of Employment Brand Marketing Judy Phung says, “We are looking for intellectual mavericks at VMware. People who approach situations with ingenuity and drive.”’s Fahlbusch says, “When you interview, show us your passion, your innovative mind, and intrigue us with your big ideas on the impact you could have on our company, customers and our community.” Demonstrate you’re adaptable. “Prospects should be open and determined about pursuing passions yet flexible enough to jump in to anything,” says VMware’s Datta. So there you have it. Congrats to North America’s Most InDemand Employers and good luck landing your dream job! *Please note that while talent is our top priority, we exclude LinkedIn from the InDemand rankings.

Peek under the hood

GoDaddy Blog -

If your 1971 VW bus broke down on the side of the road, would you know to pop the hood and check the battery and the timing belt? Yes? That’s awesome — knowing your stuff just saved you the cost of a tow and a condescending look from a mechanic. Your small business website is a lot like that VW bus. It might even be the single greatest tool you have at your disposal for convincing customers to buy from you — but do you really understand how it works? You’ve got to look under the hood of your website and make sure you know what’s going on. There’s was a time when it was the norm to leave control of your website entirely in the hands of designers and other techy types whose only jobs involved understanding how to build and promote websites. That’s still a good idea, sometimes. But considering how important — even essential — it’s become for small businesses to succeed online to succeed at all, it makes sense nowadays for business owners to understand the basic mechanics of their website. Why does it really matter? Knowing what your online options are means that your business will be able to act on new opportunities that much faster. That’s called earning a competitive advantage. Considering how quickly the technology that fuels your online success has evolved, insisting on technical literacy throughout your company can give you a key edge in your niche. What’s more, there are people who claim to specialize in “online marketing,” “SEO,” and other Web-based services who are happy to sell you all sorts of services you might not need if you don’t know any better. (Surprising, right?)  Knowing what they’re really trying to get you to pay for will save you time, cash, and perhaps regrets, in the end. Start with the basics and build up Many of the best Web designers and developers have minimal formal education in the technologies that they work with every day — they just invested hour after hour into trying out new tools and reading up on the topics that interest them. You probably don’t have that amount of time to invest in learning about websites, but you don’t need a college degree to get the information you need. Start by focusing on the tools you’re already using — ask the designer who created your site to give you a list of the tools she used to create it. You’ll probably get terms like:                HTML                CSS                CMS (popular content management systems like WordPress® and Joomla!™)                JavaScript You might get a lot more, depending on the complexity of your website. But no matter how long the list, start at the top. For most Web technologies, just reading the Wikipedia entry for each item is a good place to start — you’ll be able to follow links to explanations that will provide the context you’ll need for greater understanding. Follow some reputable tech sites and blogs. And setting up Google Alerts™ for a topic like “website design” or “html” can’t hurt. Join the conversation Once you’ve tackled some of the vocabulary, caught up on the latest WordPress news, maybe even watched a few YouTube® videos, plan on sitting down with a professional or two to talk about what you’ve learned. A good starting point is your own website designer. See if she’s willing to chat with you (maybe over happy hour) so you can get a deeper understanding of your website’s back-end. Also, think about joining an online forum or one of the hundreds of Web design meetups that take place around the country. Understanding Web design and development is an on-going process. Don’t worry, you won’t have to invest as much time as a Web designer. But since new tools and technologies launch every day (remember those pesky website trends?), it’s in your best interests to stay at least a little bit current on your options. Just set aside a little time each week — like when you’re taking your 2 p.m. latte break, or waiting for AAA — to get that much smarter about what’s under your site’s hood. The post Peek under the hood appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Tweet sheet: Use Twitter Cards to accelerate your lead gen

GoDaddy Blog -

With Twitter’s® newest advertising feature — Twitter Cards — one Web marketing agency increased its Twitter lead generation by 1,000 percent over a four-week period. For that company (Webtrends) and many others who are discovering the marketing magic in Twitter Cards, this tool promises lower costs to get leads and higher engagement with customers — translating into what we’re all really looking for: a healthier bottom line. Twitter Cards 101 We all know the basics of social media marketing — or think we do. Create some great content, blast it out there where we believe our target customers are likely to see it, then include a call to action to entice them to buy a product or subscribe to a newsletter or fill out a form to request more info. Until last year, Twitter’s very 140-character nature meant that most branded Tweets tried to entice users away from their Twitter accounts and to a landing page. Even the most alluring call to action can get lost in the crowd when it involves stopping what you were doing (perusing your Twitter feed), clicking over to another tab, and then figuring out what the heck you’re supposed to do from there. At their simplest, Twitter Cards change all that. Hear what Webtrends brand and social marketing manager John Lee had to say to Search Engine Watch: Social marketing is at a tipping point. Until now, the focus has been on optimizing social content, making it more accessible and more discoverable. What’s happening now — and Lead Generation Cards reflect this — is you’re optimizing the social user experience; you’re making things more convenient and more accessible for users — without them having to click anywhere else.” These branded advertisements allow users to respond to your call to action directly from Twitter. They cut out the landing page middleman, and brands are all the richer for it. Optimize your message How can you optimize the social experience for your users? With Twitter Cards you can persuade your followers to: Use a coupon Sign up for a newsletter Register at a website Visit a landing page (hey, some things will never change) Do something new and creative! And they never even have to leave Twitter. The experience is better for everyone. Getting started with Twitter Cards Any kind of online advertising comes with a built-in learning curve. Luckily, the Awesomely Techie team has written us a thorough introduction to the use of Twitter Cards (which come in a bunch of different forms, including Lead Generation cards). In “Twitter Cards: Why Your Site Needs It and How to Activate It,” lead geek Luvvie Ajayi and her crew walk you through the installation process — from downloading WordPress SEO by Yoast (if you haven’t done so already) to previewing your test card. Ready to get started? Head over to Awesomely Techie to begin crafting the card that could be your ticket to a bunch of new business. For more great tips, check out the GoDaddy Tool Kit on BlogHer. The post Tweet sheet: Use Twitter Cards to accelerate your lead gen appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

All hail the king of content marketing: Why dazzling design is worth the investment

GoDaddy Blog -

Content has always been king, but is design becoming the king of content marketing? Good design is expected. Great design is memorable and sets you apart from your competition. Get ready to think about the importance of design in content marketing in a fresh, new way — as an essential investment in your business. Yes, investment. A recent Mashable article clearly outlined the return on design investment: Findings from the Design Council report that ‘shares in companies where design plays a critical role consistently outperform key stock market indicators by 200 percent,’ and that ‘for every $130 spent on design, design-alert businesses realized a $298 return.” Wow. Now that you have the numbers, you’re sold, right? Great! Let’s dive into why design is so important in content marketing and how you can harness its power for your own business. It’s the face of your brand online. An integral part of branding is your company’s visual identity within the market. Design establishes, expands, and reiterates your brand’s identity, and can quickly establish your brand’s tone and credibility. Consider AirBnB, a startup-turned-billion-dollar-company founded by a designer who understood that remarkable design could create an overall positive user experience with the brand. Visual design elements are more sharable. Great design relates a company’s visual identity in a way that makes consumers excited to share (and like and retweet and pin) content. The proof? Social media marketing guru Jeff Bullas cites stats from a Simply Measured study of the top 10 brand pages on Facebook® — check it out: Photos are 200 percent more likely to be shared and liked than text alone Videos are shared 1,200 percent more than text and links combined Read that again. 1,200 percent! Imagine the possibilities when you take the impact of enormously popular online videos and use superior design to make those videos more visible and attractive to consumers. What do you share when you’re on your personal social media accounts? Consumers share the same. Use design to create the powerful visuals that are key to viral content. Superior design spurs consumers to action. When your business website excites and inspires viewers, they are more likely to engage with your brand. Really. Toyota’s Prius Projects won a Favourite Website Award for the company’s innovative use of design to consistently engage users, encourage participation at events across the country, enable users to provide fresh content, and facilitate ongoing conversations about the brand. There’s more. Digital Telepathy founder Chuck Longanecker points out that amazing design — like Flipboard’s app design — actually makes people rethink the way they consume content. Flipboard has used design to literally change consumer’s consumption habits. You don’t have to be a powerhouse, design-savvy brand like Apple®, Toyota®, or LinkedIn® to harness the power of design to expand the success of your own content marketing efforts. People have become hardwired to digest information visually, and visual digestion occurs milliseconds (yes, literally) after landing on a website. Good design is your ally in those milliseconds and your opportunity to grab viewers’ attention. Great design allows you to set yourself apart from the competition. Use design to create memorable experiences with your brand for consumers. The post All hail the king of content marketing: Why dazzling design is worth the investment appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

4 Tools that Measure Google+ Page Performance

Social Media Examiner -

Are you keeping tabs on your Google+ performance? Do you need new tools to help you? The right tools make it easier to see if Google+ is a viable marketing platform for your business. In this article you’ll discover four tools to track the analytics behind Google+, identify your key audiences and boost engagement. Why [...]This post 4 Tools that Measure Google+ Page Performance first appeared on Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle


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