The Bizz by AnyPromo.com

Business & marketing advice, news and features, design inspiration, and the art of gifting.

WTF, Google? What Does the Search Engine’s Massive “Hummingbird” Update Mean for Me?

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By Fausto Mendez

    Has Google felt a little bit different lately? On the surface, Google may look like the same, reliable search engine, but under the hood, the company just launched a major overhaul of its search algorithm. And it’s already affecting the way you search.

    Google is constantly updating its search algorithms to better serve the public; most updates barely tweak the search engine’s behavior. However, Google’s latest update - dubbed “Hummingbird” - is a major overhaul, and if you’ve used Google.com this week, you’ve already experienced features of the new change. We summarize the update below, the meatier details courtesy of TechCrunch

Presenting a New Focus on Questions & Answers

    Perhaps the most noticeable change is a new focus on questions and answers. Previously, Google Search focused on keywords, but now, Search takes a more intelligent approach to questions. Asking a question results in Google trying to answer it with the most relevant and reliable answers. 

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    Furthermore, an update to Google’s Knowledge Graph, which is a database that attempts to store and relate (connect) all kinds of data from various sources, has made the search engine much more effective at comparing and “understanding” data. For example, you could ask Google to compare the nutritional characteristics of broccoli and asparagus, and it should bring up relevant comparison charts, diagrams, Google+ pages/posts and, of course, good-ol’-fashioned links.

    In my test of this feature, I didn’t get any fancy charts or diagrams next to my search results, which is what is supposed to happen (sometimes) if Google understood your question. Fortunately, the first link on the search results did feature a fancy chart. So it looks like the update made the search results more relevant and useful at the very least, but if you’re hoping for fancy charts by your search results, Knowledge Graph may need to grow and “learn” a little more about veggies.

Over 90% Of Searches Affected by the Update

    During Google’s presentation of the Hummingbird update, the company remained quiet on how it all works, but they did mention that about 90% of global searches would be affected by the change. That’s a big percentage for an algorithm update, and that number is absolutely frightening to search-engine marketers as they may have to make big changes to the way they operate, the clients they work with, and the employees they hire. I’m search-engine marketers will ponder it over one too many drinks this weekend.


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Yahoo! Logo Generator Transforms Text to Match Company’s New Logo

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By Fausto Mendez

    The Yahoo! Logo Generator has arrived, and it’s ready to transform your company name - or any text phrase - into a logo that matches the style of the company’s brand new, redesigned logo. 

    You may have heard over the weekend that Yahoo! just updated its logo, and whether or not you think the change makes sense or is worth the time/money, the entire Web is talking about it. So it definitely achieved at least one of its purposes: get everyone to focus on Yahoo! This week, the company’s making sure that the spotlight remains on itself by unveiling the Yahoo! Logo Generator, a single-serving website (a toy, really) that matches text to Yahoo!’s logo style.

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    The five-minute time waster was developed by Flickr employee Bertrand Fan, not Yahoo!, so it’s not an official Yahoo! project. Flickr being a property of Yahoo!, it’s likely that the Logo Generator is not only sanctioned by the company itself, but it was probably encouraged by the company’s marketing team too.

    However, the story getting passed around the Web certainly makes it feel like a quirky, on-the-fly idea, which is great for marketing, and in any case, it’s an effective marketing strategy that has ensured the continuation of the conversation for at least another week. 


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Content Marketing Explained, Defined and Dissected

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By Fausto Mendez

    Content (marketing) is King! Let’s define and discuss the fundamentals of web-based content marketing because, frankly, too many business owners misunderstand the purpose and methodology of this marketing strategy. To start, let’s get one thing clear: content marketing is brand building. I know it’s hard to believe, but hear me out.

Hard Sell vs. Soft Sell

    Let’s start by defining the two basic schools of thought in marketing: the hard sell vs. the soft sell (AKA outbound marketing vs. inbound marketing).

    The “hard sell” refers to finding customers and directly offering your pitch, such as through a targeted ad or a marketing email. The “soft sell” refers to attracting customers by going to where they are and offering help or entertainment that is in some way related to your product, service or brand.

    The soft sell succeeds by making customers feel as if it was always their own idea to do business with you, which is not the effect achieved through the hard sell. 

Brand Building is Soft Selling

    Soft selling can feel synonymous with brand building because that’s essentially what you’re doing. You make your brand obvious, entertaining and/or useful in the places where your customers spend much of their time, whether it’s a live event at the Staples Center, Facebook on a smartphone, or the checkout page on your website. But you should always do it in a way that improves the audience’s perception and awareness of your brand.

    By building up your brand within your target audience, you ensure future success because those potential customers will eventually need your actual product or service - either from you or a competitor - so it really helps to close the deal if your brand is the first brand that they think about when they’re suddenly ready to buy.

    It’s a very convenient form of marketing for both the customer and the brand because customers feel as if they aren’t being pushed to buy, and once a brand is aware of where the target spends time, 50% of the work is just being there while the audience is there. 

Content Marketing is Brand Building

    Content marketing is a strategy that marketers use to raise brand awareness by engaging the interests and needs of the target audience through the distribution of free tutorials, free entertainment, free advice, free downloadables, and other free media. The goal is to convince your audience that your brand is THE authority in your industry, so your brand naturally comes to mind when the customer thinks of your industry or related topics. If you do this correctly, when the customer is finally ready to buy, he naturally turns to your brand, not the competitors.

    But if you’re giving away all your secrets, advice and tutorials for free, why would any customer ever want to pay you?

    You may find that you offer a lot of free advice, free tools, free documents and much more than the customer could ever use in a lifetime, but he probably doesn’t have the time to do it all himself, much less understand it all. That’s why he’s always looking for help on your blog - after all, you’ve been his indirect mentor for weeks, months or years! And now that he’s ready to commit, he wants to do it the right way, your way. That’s when the customer will hire you.

The Difference Between a Battle and a War

    Every blog post is a miniscule battle (one of thousands of battles) that could eventually turn into a small victory in a never-ending war, so don’t expect any single post to be “the one that goes viral and makes you millions”. It almost never happens that way, and when it does, it’s almost never intentional. Content marketing is about building up your brand by gaining the audience’s trust and respect in a memorable way.

In Summary…

1. Soft selling is a type of marketing that makes the customer feel as if it was always his idea to do business with you.

2. Brand building is a type of soft sell.

3. Content marketing is a type of brand building.

4. Content marketing works by distributing free media that is clearly related to your brand and labeled with your brand.

5. The goal, of course, is to make the customer think of your brand whenever they think of your field of expertise, so when they are ready to buy, they start with your brand.


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When Social-Media Marketing Goes Bad: Newcastle vs. Budweiser - #MarketingMonday

By Fausto Mendez

    Newcastle steps into the social-media ring with Budweiser, but the outcome of the fight may surprise you. In the social space, it turns out the fans are in control, not the brands. 

    Towards the end of July, Newcastle had a seemingly brilliant idea: poke fun at Budweiser’s latest marketing ploy, a bow-tie-shaped can. This fight is about a month old, but that’s just enough time for the dust to settle in order to clearly examine the results.

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    Budweiser’s new can takes the shape of the bow tie in the Budweiser logo, a silly change that clearly has no effect on the beer inside the can.

    In an attempt to differentiate itself from beer brands that focus countless dollars on pointless changes to the can instead of the actual beer, Newcastle posted the below image on its social media channels with the the following message.

"Introducing the new, #Newcastle bow-tie can. It’s our regular can with the sides pushed in. Innovation! #NoBollocks".

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    The intent is to get “real” beer fans to pay attention to Newcastle - the kind of fans that don’t care for color-changing paint, bigger mouth holes, and bow-tie cans. However, the social-media battle sparked up some backlash from those “real” beer fans, the same ones Newcastle was trying to attract. Soon after Newcastle’s joke, a Facebook user posted the following comment to the photo. 

"Is that to hide that fact Newcastle is not using Toasted barley to get its golden or deep brown color; however, in this case, Newcastle is colored artificially with caramel color?

This caramel coloring is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure, which creates carcinogenic compounds. If beer companies were required by law to list the ingredients, Newcastle would likely have to have a cancer warning label under California law because it is a carcinogen proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice.”

    It turns out that calling attention to Budweiser’s “fakeness” caused fans to shine a super-bright spotlight on Newcastle’s “fakeness”. The comment was just one of the first in a massive social-media backlash over a simple joke. Newcastle later responded with an official statement that suggests that the company will look into alternative ingredients that achieve the caramel color, but it’s so far unknown if Newcastle is just calming the crowd with empty promises.

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(Source: beerpulse.com)

Email is no longer private. What that means for marketers and the businesses they serve. #MarketingMonday

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By Fausto Mendez

    Email was never an extremely secure medium, but today, it’s as insecure as your “private” Facebook page. In other words, it’s open to any hacker or government agency that wants to get inside. But what does that mean for business owners and the marketing guys that serve them?

    If you’re reading this article, you’re probably aware that the US government is currently spying on you and the rest of its citizens by accessing private and corporate email accounts in mass, and it may have a tremendous effect on American businesses and the marketers that serve them. 

Why Businesses Are Paranoid of Spying

    IT and security experts are paranoid, but it’s not because American businesses are often breaking laws. However, it is true that unlawful businesses have a lot to fear. The real problem is that this kind of spying occurs without warrants, which means a judge doesn’t have to determine if it’s actually necessary to access your email. And a judge won’t be there to make sure that government agents did not abuse their powers when accessing your data. Normally, judges keep tabs on law enforcers that spy on citizens, but today, nobody is monitoring the depth or breadth of information that is accessed.

    The National Security Agency and its partners may access your digital data without restraint, and this wouldn’t be such a big deal if governments always acted in ways that benefit their citizens. But like people, governments are open to corruption, so all it takes is one corrupt NSA agent to start auctioning off your data to the highest bidder. Then, your company secrets are out on the open web. 

How Businesses Will Respond to Digital Spying

    The way that companies and consumers react to this news can have a major impact on the way that marketers, like me, do business. It’s easy to imagine the following reactions.

+ As it was before the ’00s, face-to-face encounters, including video calls, may become the standard way of meeting with clients. Of course, traditional phone calls will continue to occur as often as they do now, but I imagine that anyone that wants to hide behind an email will come off as an amateur or uninformed. A marketer that understands the value of a client’s privacy will be more important than ever, so email will not be the standard way of discussing company secrets.

+ Email marketing may get harder, especially B2B email marketing. If companies and their customers stop relying on email so much, it will be harder to reach them via email because that’s not where they will be. Private forms of communication, such as custom IM software, may become rather common at big corporations. There are probably more practical ways of working around email, but that’s a topic for another article. 

+ If email marketing gets harder, social-media marketing may get easier. I know what you’re thinking, “doesn’t social media have the same vulnerabilities as email?” Yes, it does, but social media is not often used to discuss and share company secrets. From the most successful CEOs to the greenest interns, we will all continue our use of social media even if we all abandon email. And just like email, a marketer can easily message a list of Facebook fans and Twitter followers with special offers and sale flyers, so you can think of your social-media profiles as replacements to the holiness of your email list. 

+ If email is no longer secure and private, email service providers that offer a truly private experience will go out of business. That’s exactly what’s happening to companies like Silent Circle, which has officially closed its doors because the National Security Agency has made it impossible for the company to deliver on its promise to offer a truly secure and private email experience.

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#MarketingMonday - Pretty Soon, You’ll Be Embedding Facebook Posts into Your Blog or Web Page

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    Facebook is about to unleash a new feature on the masses, which enables a user to embed a facebook post into any blog post or web page. The feature is long overdue, especially for bloggers and social-media fans.

   About 72% of Facebook users block the public from their Facebook posts and profiles, says Consumer Reports, so the company has been searching for and developing ways to increase the exposure of its public posts, profiles and pages. Embeddable posts is certainly one of the easiest and most effective ways of doing that, and since the Web is already accustomed to embedding all types of media, including Tweets and YouTube videos, it only seems natural. 

    Right now, the disadvantage with Facebook posts is that users have to visit Facebook.com in order to comment, like and share posts, which sometimes makes blogs, Twitter and YouTube more attractive platforms for announcements and big, open discussions. But embeddable posts solve that problem by allowing the discussions to occur outside of Facebook, wherever the audience is currently located.

    In 2013, Facebook hasn’t underperformed, but it is losing (or sharing more and more of) its younger audience to other niche social platforms, such as Tumblr. Post embedding can be an effective way to keep Facebook in the loop on these other platforms, but it may not be enough to re-capture the youngest Web users. Some of the Web’s youngest users see Facebook the same way that the rest of us see AOL, a walled-off garden that dumbs down the Web into a boring, predictable and forgettable experience.

    Facebook is slowly rolling out post embedding, so it’s not yet available to everyone. For now, only a few mainstream media companies, including CNN, can use the feature. 

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How Wendy’s Uses Social Media to Influence (Good) Business Decisions

By Fausto Mendez

    It’s probably safe to say that we haven’t seen everything that #social media can do for businesses. Most brands use it to post company updates and engage customers with sharable content, but Wendy’s is thinking way outside the box for social. And the rest of us should be taking notes.

    Beyond marketing, Wendy’s employs social media to influence important decisions, and it’s becoming a core component of the company’s decision-making process. That’s because effective social-media management involves a ton of listening, so Wendy’s leadership listens to the customer base via Facebook, Twitter and other social channels to find out what motivates them. Then, they act upon the information they gather, according to Brandon Rhoten, director of Digital at the company.

    At his recent BlogWell presentation in New York, Rhoten described Wendy’s fresh, effective approach to social, and we beak down three of his more eye-opening examples below. 

+ Earlier this year, the “pink slime” issue hit the news with full force. Fast food chains, supermarkets and restaurants that sell the cheap, disgusting slime quickly came under public scrutiny. As the beef industry clamored to keep everyone quiet, Wendy’s was more interested in what the company’s fan base had to say about it, and the fans had a lot of negative things to say. As a result, Wendy’s determined that it had to effectively spread the word that it doesn’t serve pink slime, and the company did this successfully through its various channels, including social media.

+ You can say the 1” x 1” real estate on a smartphone’s home screen is more valuable than 100 highway billboards. That’s because every time a fan opens his phone, you have an opportunity to make a connection with him, so when Wendy’s found out that its social audience was complaining about the restaurant’s lack of healthy meals, the company was quick to respond with an app that features each menu item’s nutritional details. Though it’s technically not a nutritional meal, Wendy’s understood that the app would alleviate many concerns of the healthy conscious. 

+ Wendy’s recently set a goal to raise sales of value items, and it would do this with the help of social media. Unfortunately, value items don’t make for great social content, and the company’s social channels seemed to be hush on the topic. But the company wouldn’t give up so easily. As a result, Rhoten’s team came up with a new plan: ask customers to rename the value items through its social channels. When the company finally decided on the new names, there was a significant increase in orders of items from the value menu. 

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(Source: smartblogs.com)

The 80 Rules of Social Media Every Social Specialist Must Know

jeremywaite:

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1. Obey the rules
2. Social media is ALL about your audience, be they consumers, viewers, fans, followers or users. It has nothing to do with you, or what you think.
3. Followers lead from the middle of the pack – usually by example.
4. 1 active user is a BIG deal. They have 140 friends.
And…

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