Blogging for your Business

As a fairly small advertising agency in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Patterson Riegel understands the difficulty of bypassing the bigger companies when it comes to the ‘evil’ that is social media.  Like everyone else, Patterson Riegel wants to be noticed heavily by those in our local community…but also by those in the surrounding areas.  (Even as a small advertising agency, we still do business for several companies around Indiana.)

Blogging is a perfect way to help increase the chances of your business getting noticed by those far beyond your network.  Wait a minute! Before you start entering all your business information into WordPress or Blogger, you must realize that blogging takes some strategy. I recently read an article on toprankblog.com that discussed the importance of social media for boosting small business sales.  Business Blogging definitely takes center stage in this article, and certainly deserves it!  Before your fingers strike the keyboard, read up on the most beneficial blogging tactics.  You won’t be disappointed!

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The Benefits of Your Business Using Video

YouTube now holds the number two spot when it comes to search engine use.  Granted, this may or may not be because it is now owned by Google, but even so 65,000 new video clips are uploaded to the YouTube site daily. Since its beginning in 2005, YouTube has become progressively popular with businesses trying to get ahead of their competition. Over the last few years the use of corporate video has undergone significant change.  We’re moving from what is known as text web to the ‘next web’ era. Whatever this newfound obsession may bring, one thing is certain – video and interactive media will play a growing role in how all company’s plan on promoting themselves.  Patterson Riegel Advertising in Fort Wayne, Indiana has ventured out into the video/digital media world and posted several commercial spots on their YouTube channel and Facebook page. The several catchy commercial jingles have caught the attention of many Fort Wayne followers.

But what about the future of video for those pushing to get ahead of their competition?  The blog site, Engage states that by 2013, 90% of internet traffic will be video.  Does your business still need convincing? Check out this article titled, Seven Reasons why Web Video for Businesses Rock! and dig deep into the nitty gritty to help your business understand the benefits of using corporate video.

Seven Reasons why Web Video for Businesses Rock!

If you are a business owner reading this, then it is time to consider advertising using a web video for business to get your message out to the world. In 2011 a trillion videos were viewed on YouTube. In 2012 that number is expected to rise and your promotional video or animation should be online on YouTube as well.

There are a lot of benefits to having a video, or several videos, posted online to promote your business, especially small business.

1. Videos can be an excellent SEO tool that helps raise your ranking in the Google search pages. The YouTube bots and spiders operate in the same way as the Google ones that crawl website text. Once your website is posted, your analyze your content both within the video and in your titles and your 5000 character description. If your content is well-targeted your video could end up in the first few pages of the Google search engine on You Tube and bring you tons of traffic.

2. We live in an age where people are a bit “trapped in visual space” and tend to be less literate. You can reach that audience that does not have the time to read or is incapable of reading your carefully contrived landing page. Immediate gratification is where it’s at when it comes to surfing the web and if you have a video that makes people laugh or that has an important social message it can be bookmarked and shared on all the social networking sites across the web.

3. You can reach a global audience if you have just the right video. Sometimes pictures really do speak louder than words especially if you have just the right clever concept that can compel them to click on the link you have added so that people can surf right to your website.

4. You can make money with your video by putting a pay-per-click ad for other related products on your video which could be instructional or entertaining. This is called monetizing your web-video. If your video is nifty enough or getting a lot of hits as soon as you upload you might be approached by an advertiser who will ask to put an ad in front of your presentation.

5. You can make a video and post it a lot quicker than you can post articles that have keywords in them. This is especially true if you have hired a professional team to put a video together for you. As Google owns YouTube, the results of what they find are posted quite fast in their search engine pages and sometimes about three months faster than the results they crawl for when analyzing text on a typical web page.

6. If you own a restaurant or a store you can use video to describe your services, showcase the food or even provide a how-to video on how to use the things you sell. This is a lot more efficient than trying to write cleverly about what you sell.

7. Finally if there is one big way that a small business can fight back against the million dollar video commercials and impersonal approach of big business and store chains it is with the video. If your animation is warm, funny and home-spun then people will connect with you and want to buy from you.

The art behind video on YouTube and other video submission sites is the ability to be able to connect to your viewers so that they like you feel familiar with you and trust them. A big corporation only offers a cold manipulative experience in this medium but as a small business you can make them feel like you “know what they are thinking” and thus draw yourself a crowd of devoted customers. Get a web video for business today and start increasing your sales!

One thing Patterson Riegel knows about the future in digital media is that it’s only going to continue to grow, and this advertising agency is fighting tooth and nail to get to the top!

Facebook Timeline

A little over a month ago, Facebook went through with their new “face lift.”  Basically,  Facebook now requires all users to use their new design called the “Timeline.” This new look completely changed the Facebook page you’re used to viewing. Not only is this look a little more confusing for viewers, but it is also quite time consuming for those of you that have your corporate social media pages created/updated ‘in house.’  Thankfully, ‘in house’ at Patterson Riegel Advertising means there’s an entire department designated for social media.  Other companies, are not so lucky…which is why my job tends to be fairly successful. (For now.)

Now that Facebook users have had a month (or so) to get used to the new look, it’s time to decide our true feelings.  Do you think this new layout is geared more towards just personal pages? As a business woman, I fail to see many benefits for the corporate pages. A recent Jeff Bullas blog helps to put our feelings about the Timeline on paper…or computer screen rather.  Take a look.

 Is the New Facebook Timeline a Failure in Design?

Written by Jeff BullasView Comments
Categories: Facebook, Facebook Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Visual Web

Generally people don’t like change! The majority of us like routine and familiarity.  Mess with someone’s habitual routine and watch them start to sweat, stress and squirm.They also say that a change is as good as a holiday but is all change good?

Facebook’s new timeline is now live on both the personal profiles and pages and it has taken the known and familiar and replaced it with a very new design.

Steve Jobs said in an interview with Wired magazine in 1997 “People think that design is how it looks, but it goes much deeper than that, it is actually how it works

So does the new Facebook timeline design “work”?

The impact for business is that it needs to evaluate the implications of these changes to ensure that they maintain their engagement and utilise the stronger visual format that the brand “pages” now have.

So the changes are in place and the dust has settled, what are the implications for the managers, administrators and users of the “new”Facebook timeline “page”.

Is Facebook’s Timeline User Friendly?

Is it a failure from a usability and design perspective? One study by Simple Usability looked at how viewers scanned and interacted with the new Facebook timeline and by recording eye movements and actions while users browsed online, they could see exactly what elements each user was drawn to, distracted by and engaged with.

Here are their key findings.

1. Cover images aren’t as important as you may think

We all love great photos but the usability study that looked at how people interact with the Facebook page showed that other than to orientate themselves with what Brand page they were on users paid little attention to both the cover and profile images.

I think timeline like that works much better for a personal than a product page, I just think because it is a banner with a main picture, it just looks like advertising.”

2. Your company and its history is interesting

There are 2 key elements here that tell your company story. The “About” section and the Dynamic “Timeline” which can go back to when the company started and this new feature of the Facebook timeline is that you can post updates that are dated such as when your company or brand was established.

The research showed that users were very interested in this “About” section on Facebook but usually found it difficult find on a company’s official “website”

Feedback from one the users in the test group “Just the general information, I like to know a little bit about their background… I liked the bits where it said founded and a little bit of information on when they started and what year, I thought that was interesting. The websites, it’s not obvious on there but I liked seeing it on here.

Scroll down to the beginning of Ben and Jerry’s Facebook page and you will see photos and information that reveal a great story about their humble beginnings at a renovated gas station in 1978. (thanks to Jacinta from the digital agency “Croagh INK” for pointing out this great story timeline to me)

It is certainly worth considering placing the important dates in your organisations history on the timeline. This will make the brand authentic and real.

3. The Timeline needs to remain current

Regular updates keep the sequence of the Facebook page connected and tell a story over time. The study showed though that no users scrolled back more than a month.

Users appeared to be put off by the breaks in the “Timeline” as the new sections loaded and stopped scrolling.

Users feedback -“When it started loading February..I thought it had finished, because you know with timelines, it stops at a certain bit… so I thought that’s it… because there is a big gap and the big gap is quite misleading because there is more stuff later on.”

4. Users take notice of friend interactions with a brand

The research also showed that seeing which of their friends already liked particular page split user opinion on whether they themselves would also like the page.

A status update or a comment from a user’s friend was more likely to create motivation to interact withe page especially if it was recent.

5. Pinned posts aren’t obviously different to users

The study also showed that the layout doesn’t differentiate the posts.

Few of the pages were utilising the pinned posts at the time of testing. Those pages that did had little effect; no users realised the pinned post was intended to be highlighted.

Clearer definition of pinned post as a feature would help or a unique use of content that works with other elements of

6. Users aren’t interacting with apps

According to the study un-expanded app positions are the most important real estate.

Other than to click through and see photo albums, the majority of users failed to interact with the row of apps. More importantly, nearly all didn’t spot the arrow which makes all of the available apps visible.

Participant in the research said “I never even noticed that arrow, maybe it should be set out slightly differently.”

Takeaways

The study suggests that much in the new “Timeline” layout is flawed. Even following Facebook’s guidelines for creativity and opportunity isn’t enough as users are navigating as if using established design formats.

According to the study, here are the major takeaways:

1. Brands should also make full use of new functionality – such as the Timeline and cover Image – to engage users, being aware that the latter has to be used imaginatively and not just considered to be a Facebook ‘billboard.’

2. Page managers should consider how promotions, competitions and themed content can be contained within a specific timeframe that doesn’t require excessive scrolling.

3. There is also no longer the opportunity to set a default landing tab or application, so brand managers should think about how the cover Image and pinned post functionality can support and reinforce competitions and campaigns.

4. The relationships and interactions a user’s friends have with a brand are now more prevalent than ever before, as such brands should focus on nurturing positive brand mentions wherever they may be on Facebook.

SimpleUsability MD Guy Redwood said:

But is clear that the average user doesn’t fully understand the new layout, or interact with it in the way intended. The mechanics of obtaining ‘Likes’ has become more difficult for brands, they now need to drive engagement more than ever. Page editors no longer have the ability to set targeted landing tabs or applications for non-fans. In the past you could direct people onto a particular tab to encourage likes or interaction with a promotion“.

How About You?

What do you think about the new timeline for Facebook?

Do you find it confusing? How do generate “likes” now with the new page?

How are you using apps and which ones are you making visible?

Do you think it is a user friendly design?

Look forward to hearing your stories.