How Does Online Media Consumption Affect Our Lives?

Social media is used for work and personal matters and even for fun. Have you ever wondered how it’s affected your everyday life?

Foursquare mayors: If you’ve been in a battle for a mayorship or know of anyone, it’s a BIG deal. People often change their daily routines to make an extra check-in to keep the Mayor title of… let’s say Hooters? Battles have gotten so intense that Foursquare has had to change its rules to compensate for cheaters. Businesses can also now oust these cheaters.

Shopping on Facebook: Businesses like Threadless now give customers the option to shop straight from Facebook. This is pretty cool since you can also update your Facebook status about a product and share it with all your friends.

Working during the holidays: Despite stress and other complaints, a study shows that 59% of people will check their work email over the holidays. I guess feeling interrupted on your break is better than feeling left behind and having to catch up – 42% of the people in that study feel the same way.

Reacting on Twitter: Here’s a story from last week about Bill Nye the Science Guy and his speech at USC. Bill apparently fainted several times during his speech and experienced slurred speech. Even after a fainting spell that lasted at least 10 seconds, no one came to his help. A Trojan senior had this to say, “Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening.” REALLY, now? This is disgusting, that people could be more connected to their Twitter accounts than to actually helping a human being. I really hate to think it but sometimes, I’m afraid that Idiocracy has foreshadowed our future…

Late night usage: And of course, there’s those late night texts that we can’t avoid. Texting and video games not only affect teen’s sleeping cycles but can also cause more serious problems such as depression and  anxiety.

In many ways, online media enriches our everyday routines but this doesn’t come without negative consequences. How has it affected you?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Retailers Use Social Media to Promote Black Friday Sales

Many experts predict that consumer spending will rise this holiday season. As if email promotions weren’t enough, retailers are now using social media to push their Black Friday ads.

On Monday, the #blackfriday hashtag was a sponsored tweet that retailers used to share their deals. At first, I thought it was a little early but it makes sense for consumers who are planning to make big purchases. You can check out the ongoing mentions here. If you have any special  promotions going on, don’t forget to use the hashtag!

Many businesses are also using Facebook to unveil their specials long before Black Friday or Cyber Monday. How else can retailers get customers into stores? Last Saturday, GAP offered 40% off for customers who checked in using Facebook Places. Many are doing the same thing with Foursquare checkins.

Instead of a one day “special”, Black Friday seems to be growing into a month long event – which is a good thing for both retailers and consumers. Good luck if you’re braving the crowds this weekend!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Social Media Gives ‘The Walking Dead’ a Hand

Last night, Conan O’Brien made his triumph return to late night television on the debut of his new show on TBS. Not only did Conan beat David Letterman and Jay Leno, but he also managed to pull in more viewers than Jon Stewart’s Daily Show! Perhaps, this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the 1 million+ devoted fans of I’m with Coco.

Let’s take a look at how social media has also helped one of my new favorite shows, The Walking Dead:

Home to Mad Men and Breaking Bad, AMC brought life to the comic book series in 6 episodes for the first season of The Walking Dead. After just 2 episodes, it’s been confirmed that the network as OKed 13 episodes for the second season!
How exciting can zombies really be? Check out some fan feedback: “This is the best zombie show ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and “This by far is one of the best made series, ever, I truly can’t wait to see what you do next. Thanks.” Note how the Page updates frequently with Q&A, conversation and extras to engage their fans.

The marketing team hasn’t just stopped at their Facebook Page though. Fans can also Spread the Dead, which is a way for them to generate a unique URL to share on their social networks. This is a great way to generate buzz and encourage conversation. Meanwhile, more clicks = more points. The contest ends Nov. 19th and prizes consist of $5000 and other Walking Dead memorabilia. Check out the leaderboard to see who has exposed the most friends to the undead.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

What Makes Good Causes Successful on Facebook

Two weeks ago, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes revealed his new project, Jumo. By the end of the year, Hughes hopes to unveil this social network for non-profits. This is in part of an effort to create a forum where people and non-profits can develop a long-term relationship. We’ve talked about how well the Salvation Army takes on social media so let’s take a look at how other good causes are doing on Facebook:

Animal Lovers for The Gentle Barn
I first learned about The Gentle Barn through Facebook. It is a local sanctuary in Santa Clarita, CA which houses and rehabilitates abused and abandoned animals. Even though it is a relatively small cause (compared to the Salvation Army or the Red Cross), the Barn has nearly over 25,000 fans from all over the country

Their Page has a prominent donate tab which encourages a direct action to donate. The Wall is used to post frequent updates about the Barn’s inhabitants and upcoming events. How interesting can animals really be? A post about new fluffy chickens got over 160 likes! The Gentle Barn fans really care about animals and like to stay engaged by learning about the animals’ conditions. I got the chance to pet an emu and feed horses on my visit. It is a worthy cause and Facebook fans  definitely help contribute to it.

TOMS Shoes Gives Back
Even though TOMS Shoes is a commercial product, they stand behind a commendable cause. As a consumer, you know that for every pair of TOMS shoes you buy, the company will give another pair to a child in need. This message is clearly displayed on their welcome tab on their Facebook Page. Their Page is well-organized and robust for fan engagement.Over 5000 fans have submitted pictures of their favorite TOMS shoes.

Sharing Your Good Causes
Remember to do research on the non-profits and causes that you donate to. Bono’s ONE foundation recently angered many as it was revealed that it only donated only 1% of funds raised! Like any other Page, good causes are successful on Facebook if they:

1) Have a clear message
2) Provide customers/fans with resources and content
3) Make it easy for fans to participate

What are some of your favorite causes?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Help, My Dad is on Facebook!

“Just watched my dad type in into the username field on the Gmail homepage. Wow.”

Comedian, Aziz Ansari shows us that some of our parents aren’t as internet-savvy as we’d like them to be. So, how do you feel knowing that your parents are on Facebook?

Fastest Growing User Segment
There’s a myth that only teens and young people are on Facebook – that would be wrong of course. The 35+ age group has grown drastically and actually, 55+ females was one the fastest growing groups earlier this year! Facebook surpassed 500 million users earlier this summer and I’m sure that only more “older” people will sign up. Can’t they enjoy Mafia Wars and Nightclub City like the rest of us?

Scams to Watch Out For
No, my dad hasn’t fallen for any email proposals from Nigerian princes but he does have the bad habit of opening pretty much every email he receives. Which is only one reason that I now worry that he is on Facebook… From password phishing, fake “Unlike” buttons and worms from applications, there are plenty of Facebook scams out there. Even though all this stuff is out there, I think the benefits outweigh the potential negatives.

Please Don’t Friend Me
Some people may find it “creepy” or “weird” that their parents or older relatives are on Facebook to check up on them. Two words: privacy settings. Facebook doesn’t have to be all about businesses or games. I actually think it’s a great way for my parents to stay connected to our relatives (most who live in other states) and reconnect with old friends. What’s your opinion?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

What Bothers You About Facebook?

emarketed Facebook advertising
Whether you think that change is good or bad, it’s one thing for sure: inevitable. Facebook faces harsh criticisms as they are always changing features and updating their looks. Let’s take a look the pain points of Facebook:

Constant changes – People don’t always like change, especially when it comes to something that they’re familiar with. Facebook is always changing how Pages look and have recently put a size constraint on Facebook Page tabs and eliminated Boxes. They claim that the purpose of this is to enhance the user experience but how is it helpful for Pages to take things away?

Facebook Places also made its debut and people are up in arms over privacy issues, so learn how to disable it if you’re interested.

Lack of focus – Should I focus on gaining more Fans? Constantly updating my status? Adding new content? What’s the point of all this?! Many people find themselves asking these questions. It’s hard to find a balance in all this but you’ll eventually find the spot. To me, the most important aspect of a Facebook Page is to show your personality. An updated Page shows that you’re active and “social” so yes, it’s important to show your customers and fans that there is a real person behind your Page.

Irrelevancy and distractions – This article shows how Facebook Pages are becoming irrelevant in some ways. It claims that less people are visiting Pages. I think that well-maintained Pages will still get hits.
So, what are people doing on Facebook? I just noticed that I got a complimentary 25 credits for Facebook Games such as Resort World (nearly 2.5 million players) or Happy Island (nearly 9 million players). Time to spend that virtual money!

What are some other things that bother you about Facebook?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Stop Being So Frantic About Social Media

Such a rare sight to see – a hummingbird that’s actually sitting still!

This just reminds me of people who are so frantic about getting started with social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Ning, Flickr, LinkedIn, Tumblr and more. Sure, you can throw out all these names but what’s the point of being on all these social media channels? If you just want to be on all these profiles for the sake of being there, it’s time to reevaluate your strategy. In this related article from Problogger, Darren Rowse notes that:

“I’m pretty sure that facebook is not a site that will work for every topic.”

Wanting Too Much
Businesses and individuals with successful social media pages can tell you how much time, research, and resources it takes to just maintain ONE profile. So, how can people expect to do this effectively and efficiently with numerous social media profiles? Simply put, most people just can’t. Clients often want too much out of social media because it’s “free”. If anyone starts suggesting that you can save time by copying and pasting things in place of real engagement… it’s time to step away. (Especially if it applies to starting a new social media profile and building a fan base.) Check out some other practices to avoid.

What is the Point?
Before you setup a social media account, it’s time to think about your goals. What do you want to achieve with this profile? Here are some things you want to consider:

  • Create a space where you can respond to customer feedback
  • Raise brand awareness for your local business
  • Offer specials and discounts for loyal customers
  • Provide helpful resources for customers who need help
  • Or just share information that you’re passionate about

A Moment for Clarity
Remember, it helps to stay still for once. Like the hummingbird, it gives you a chance to catch your breath and take a look at the big picture! You can still take notes but make sure to edit it down to reasonable actions. If your strategy doesn’t work, move on and look for another approach. Don’t let all these thoughts and ideas consume your efforts in boosting your online identity.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Step Up 3D’s Social Media Advertising

Did you catch Step Up 3D this weekend? This is the third film of the dance series in which Channing Tatum was the original lead. The film made a pretty good debut for it’s opening weekend, grossing over $15 million and securing the 3rd spot in the box office.

The film had a relatively small budget of $30 million but wasn’t afraid to hit hard when it came to social media advertising. Their Facebook Page has close to 1.5 million fans while their MySpace Page has over 2.5 million fans. Not too bad for a threequel!

Lessons learned from the film’s marketers – they effectively understood their audience demographics by:

  • Implementing interactive pages that engage fans with questions, music and videos. Some Facebook fans even claimed to have seen the movie 4-5 over the weekend!
  • Having an impressive soundtrack with popular artists like Flo Rida, Estelle, Jessie McCartney, T-Pain and Chromeo.
  • Take advantage of the 3D trend. Who said 3D is just for childrens movies? Let’s see how Piranha 3D does later this month..
  • Riding the popularity of dancing in pop culture. So You Think You Can Dance and America’s Best Dance Crew are just a few examples of what is “in” in entertainment nowadays.

Sure, this movie may not have the best storyline…  but sometimes, audiences just want to watch a fun movie. In that case, Step Up 3D really captured the sentiment and understood their audience. The real question is, who’s ready for Step Up 4D?

Piranha 3D

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Are You Feeling the Pain of Social Media Promotion?

Nowadays, a blog here and there just isn’t enough to get your content out there. It can be hard to go that extra step but the effort is worth it. Promotion with social media doesn’t have to be a painful process for writers and bloggers. Many people see social media as a medium for personal relationships, so why can’t you apply that concept to engage your readers?

Add a Personal Touch
It’s easier than it seems but fans will appreciate it when you add a personal touch to your social media efforts. Instead of just linking a news story or site, give them a good reason to read and click. People aren’t just interested if you’re throwing a URL out at them. Give your opinion or a different spin on the subject. Here are some examples:

  • Have a sense of humor. Being genuine and funny is one of the best ways to get a response or RT on Twitter. Also, don’t be afraid to ask!
  • Give people shout outs. On Twitter and Facebook, you can use the @ tag to show your fans and followers appreciation.
  • Retweet others and comment. The best way to engage is to start with outreaching others. Remember, it’s not all about pushing your URL.

Simple is Always Best
It helps to stay simple and you can start with your content. Unless you’re focusing on a niche topic or doing some technical writing, more people will be able to connect with a simple subject. Reading other blogs and articles can help give you ideas and also improve your writing. These are simple steps you can take for inspiration and learning more about your area of expertise. Simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy and it takes practice. Just think about it, what’s more difficult: writing a concise one sentence summary or writing a summary paragraph?

Bloggers often focus on consistently coming up with new ideas and writing the content. After the writing process, it can be tedious to promote your work on different social media channels. Try to force yourself to do so by following a few of these tips. Remember that in the end, you get what you put in but you can always work to change the outcome. No pain = no gain!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Does Social Media Help or Harm Your Blogging Efforts?

Everybody uses social media advertising to promote their blog nowadays. Besides, what good is so good about blog without the sharing aspect? But, does social media actually help or harm your writing efforts? Either way, it’s important to look at both sides of things before you implement a social media plan for your content.

How It’s Helpful
The best thing about social media is that it gives you the power to share your content beyond just your blog domain. Through your RSS feed, Twitter retweets, Facebook ‘Likes’, diggs and more, these tools give you the opportunity to give your writing exposure. When paired with your online network or blogging community, social media broadens the audience that has access to your posts. How awesome is that?
Social media is also a great way to get ideas for new topics to write about. Let’s face it, writing is fun but not when you run out of things to write about. Searching my favorite blog communities is the best cure for my writer’s block. Even if you’re just feeling lazy, you can expand on a comment you’ve been meaning to make or react to a current news story.
Sharing through social media also provides an open way for you to strengthen your online brand while demonstrating your knowledge.

How It’s Harmful
Now, on to how social media can be harmful to your blog. Two words: damage control. If you’re a big brand, you really have to watch what you say. Is it wrong to say that readers are waiting for you to make a wrong movie? Just take a look at Consumerist who reveals the mistakes and slip ups of big companies. They also take consumer tips!
It’s easy to give into information overload on social media networks. Some bloggers argue that social media can also be a sheer waste of time. While you start using social media as a way to find ideas, it could lead to clicking irrelevant sites that just pointless to your blogging goals!

How about you? In my experience, social media has been an extremely helpful part of the blogging experience. I started my first foray into guest blogging and it’s going better than I initially expected! Again, it’s the social aspect that made this all possible.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.