Tag: online


A few tips to get your business started on Vine

There are a multitude of social networks that are beneficial for marketing your business, and all of these sites have introduced new features that can help you further your advertising efforts. Twitter has been on a bit of a spree recently between the forthcoming Lead Generation Cards and Vine. The former is beneficial for convincing users to join your mailing list, but the latter is the service that you need to start using if you want your account to stand out.

Twitter explains that Vine is a mobile service that records videos that can be shared and looped on your page. When the social network says that the clips are short, it’s not exaggerating in the least bit as Vine only records for six seconds. That might sound completely useless from a marketing perspective, but that amount of time is actually more than enough to create messages. What’s more, the limited recording time actually forces you to be creative instead of just filming commercials for your business.

Vine’s popularity is currently exploding, so now’s the perfect time to start using the service. Topsy Analytics recently reported that the feature has surpassed Instagram in terms of shared links on Twitter. Users enjoy sharing and watching videos on the social network, and small business owners can easily capitalize on this fact by making Vine part of their marketing campaigns.

Here are a few tips to get you started on Vine.

Use stop-motion animation

Stop-motion animation is something of an antiquated style. The shooting style is where objects would be positioned, have their pictures taken, moved around and then photographed again. Eventually, all the images would be spliced together to make it appear that the camera’s subjects were moving naturally. The film style has made a comeback recently as it was used in the films “Coraline,” “The Corpse Bride” and “ParaNorman.”

The Search Engine Journal explains that Vine has a feature for stop-motion animation. The site points out that most smartphones can take pictures at 30 frames per second, meaning that small business owners can easily create short clips without bringing in expensive equipment.

The animation style will give your videos a unique look that other companies might not be able to match. Ultimately, stop-motion allows you to truly vary your videos so that they all have high entertainment value and don’t feel like basic advertisements. This may be the best way to actively engage Twitter followers with your marketing content.

Teach viewers

According to the Content Marketing Institute, you can also use Vine to educate consumers. For instance, a short video can be paired with a lengthy article so customers will be able to see how a product functions. Alternatively, you could use a clip to demonstrate how a service works from beginning to end. Remember that you only have six seconds to include the entire lesson, so you can’t really go into the finer details.

Vine can be a great marketing tool when used properly. Have you started using the video service?

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#BeerChat, Cheers to Community!

Thursday, August 23rd, I had the honor of hosting #BeerChat, a Twitter Chat created by @ActiveBeerGeek about Beer on Thursday at 9 P.M. EST. Having a few pals that I drink brews with on a weekly basis I knew there would be at least a few tweeps partaking. I also chose a topic I knew that there was an interest in and trending the craft beer world, canned beer.

I invited a few of the breweries I knew that had canned beers and also the CraftCans.com people to join in on the fun. What ensued was what I would call a “screaming success”.

A total of 351 tweets were generated in the hour of the chat creating 2.17 MILLION impressions.

We had a sighting of a very unique beer, thanks to @GhostofElHombre

And even the great @OskarBlues join in on the fun!

Great big THANKS to everyone who joined in on the fun! See you next Thursday.

From Pins to Purchases

Last Year’s Pinners are Making Purchases

Below is an inforgraphic that answers a BIG question. Does pinterest have a payoff? Indeed it does! It does not answer for which industry specifically, although in the US the top categories on Pinterest are Crafts, Interior Design and Fashion. The most interesting fact gleamed from this graph is that of the 12% making purchases online and offline after pinning, 46% are from the Pre-Jan2011 boom and are more active on average.

The new question is: Is “warming-up” period for Pinterest users before they get comfortable with making purchases, or is the post boom demographic in a different category all together (e.g. younger with less income)?

Social Footprint of Your Children

The Social Footprint of Your Children

81% of two-year-olds have some kind of digital footprint. Starling? A Study published by Internet security firm AVG found that 5% of babies under 2 have social media profiles, while 7% have an email address. What are these little guys doing online? Turns out their parents are carving out an online space for their youngsters – er infants — er fetus’. According the report, 23% of fetuses also had images of their antenatal scans uploaded before birth.

In a hyper interactive internet world, where social media is taking over our free time, its only natural that parents are putting their kids on the internet. It can even has positive effects on their “influence” . This is a growing trend! Parents are creating social media profiles for their kids, buying their name URLs and reserving their place online. Companies are following suit! Huggies has a very popular Tumblr, a site consisting primarily of teens. It seems that companies are beginning to target their market before they are even really their market. Are babies next?

There are special networks like Cafe Mom designed for mothers to talk amongst each other about their baby journey. Your may have friends who already have a social print for their kids, like the Boones or the Brownes. Parents celebrating their infants and unborn children is just the tip of the iceberg. Unlike most social media users, these children have a social media footprint before they even know how to walk, let alone type. So as these parents manage their profiles until their children ripen to internet maturity, it begs the question: What will this affect have on children when they take control of their own profiles?

Privacy. First and foremost privacy will be leading the concerns. The level of comfort parents have with their social media content may not match up with their children’s, for better or worse. Children may be embarrassed by the amount shared over the years, or on the other end of the spectrum, parents may be hyper controlling when it comes time to hand over the reigns.

Keeping in Touch. Family and friends will have been keeping up with these children online. Minimizing the need for those long winded holiday family update letters at christmas. Gone will be the days of family scrap books and photo albums, as everything will be stored neatly in your Facebook time – accessable through a simple search query.

Dating. No need to polish that shotgun, Dad. Your daughter’s date has a full history online and you can check up on him and his activities since birth. The other side of the coin is your child can research their prom dates months before asking them. Transparency is going to be the new black of the internet chic.

Genealogy. Getting a bit geekier. Your children’s children will have a world of “adults” with chronological histories online. Family Trees will take a new digital format and the 6 degrees model will be realized in a true, holistic online model.

Age barriers. Back to the realm of privacy. You cringe when you see a 6 year old with their own iPad and cell phone – we ask now “what happened to the days of playing ball in the street and sock puppets?” – the future holds an even more unimaginable desensitization. Given these children already have profiles, you can assume their kids will, too. The age of the average user will inevitably drop.

It may be too soon to say this is a bad or good thing. It borders on ethical issues, but none that have yet to be taken advantage of. Your Thoughts?


BING! A great social idea.

All site links from this page lead to “Bing.com” – minor glitch, working to figure it out. To navigate the rest of the site please type MerlinUWard.com in your browser :-)

Bing launched their “new Bing” this morning. It’s intriguing – the promise was a better integration of social into search. It was difficult to imagine, but they’ve come through and in an amazing way! The site starts off introducing you to a new dashboard that has an obvious Facebook information feed on the right.

[Click Images to Expand]

This feed actually updates with your friend’s information based on searches performed it includes, posts, pictures and page likes. A simple search like “restaurant” gleamed great results on the socials side.

It even produced a twitter results for “experts” around my search that you might want to know.

Pages that your friends have also liked or posted on Facebook get a “+1 style”, “thumbs-up” signaling you that these are recommended.

Now for the most amazing part! While performing your search you can simultaneously post to Facebook to ask friend directly, event tag them. Watch:
<a href='http://video.msn.com/?vid=e0aaf4ff-24c7-42a0-875f-40917489ea1b&#038;mkt=en-us&#038;src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Search with friends'>Video: Search with friends</a>

Overall this social and search experience was great and certainly an improvement from old Bing (and Google). Granted this social experience is limited to Facebook social, but it is that largets site and offers much broader reach in social that Google’s G+ integration. I’m still exploring the validity of the search results, but it looks as though Google.com may no longer be the homepage standard.