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Facebook makes big remote work moves with plan for new hubs in Dallas, Denver and Atlanta

May 21, 2020 No Comments

In a live-streamed town hall, Mark Zuckerberg gave an overview for what he expects in the near future as Facebook pursues accommodations to keep workers productive and safe during the COVID-19 crisis. The move comes as large tech companies reassess the viability of their iconic Silicon Valley campuses, now empty as the pandemic keeps most employees at home.

Part of Zuckerberg’s vision, announced Thursday, includes the surprise announcement that Facebook will be setting up new company hubs in Denver, Dallas and Atlanta. Zuckerberg also noted that Facebook will focus on finding new hires in areas near its existing offices, looking to cities like San Diego, Portland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Facebook CEO estimated that over the course of the next decade, half of the company could be working fully remotely.

Zuckerberg also elaborated on what kinds of roles would and would not be eligible for all-remote work, noting that positions in divisions like hardware development, data centers, recruiting, policy and partnerships would not be able to shift away from a physical office due to their need for proximity.

“When you limit hiring to people who live in a small number of big cities, or are willing to move there, that cuts out a lot of people who live in different communities, have different backgrounds, have different perspectives,” Zuckerberg said.

For Menlo Park employees looking for greener pastures, there’s one sizable catch. Starting on January 1 of next year, the company will localize all salaries, scaling compensation to the cost of living in the enclaves Facebook employees may soon find themselves scattered to.


Social – TechCrunch


Challenges of remote work during COVID-19: Talking with nomad marketer Jason Barnard

April 13, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • With the COVID-19 virus striking, the world has been subjected to “self-quarantine”, “social distancing”, and “remote work”, there’s a high chance that remote working is here to stay for a lot of people.
  • Karina Tama, founder of Senior Care Clicks caught up with Jason Barnard, the Brand SERP guy and keynote speaker to talk about the challenges of remote work during COVID19 and share some tips.
  • It takes a lot of self-discipline (and understanding co-home sharers) to stick to your daily work plan.
  • Get dressed for meetings and webinars – getting dressed up changes my state of mind and encourages me to take things seriously.
  • Take a 10-minute break every two hours.
  • Dive in for tips, tricks, and advice on video call meetings, and more.

With the COVID-19 virus striking, the world has been subjected to “self-quarantine” and “social distancing”, there are several businesses across the globe that have been compelled to support remote working. While some of them struggle and some are successfully able to adapt to the “temporary” new normal there’s a high chance that remote working is here to stay for a lot of people.

Karina Tama, founder of Senior Care Clicks caught up with Jason Barnard, the Brand SERP guy and keynote speaker to talk about the challenges of remote work during COVID19 and share some tips.

Jason Barnard1. How did you start your digital nomad journey, working remotely?

I have never had a proper job in a stable office. After leaving university, I joined a touring folk-punk band and lived a nomadic life. Then I started a website for kids in Paris but moved to Mauritius (in the Indian Ocean, just off Madagascar) to build and run it. Less nomadic, but very remote.

I worked from home, right there on the beach, with the business end of things in Paris and the servers in the USA. That taught me a lot about self-motivation, work-day structure, separating work from family life, dealing with long-distance communication and even working with people you have never met.

Since then, I have combined remote work and nomadic living – without a home, constantly travelling and working remotely.

In the current situation, I am obviously no longer changing country on a weekly basis – it’s now AirBnB on monthly contracts and staying in France.

For me, in terms of working, nothing much has changed. For many people, remote working is new, difficult and perhaps scary. Hopefully, I can provide some tips, tricks, and advice to help.

2. In your opinion what is the advantage of working remotely?

You set your own timetable and can organize yourself in a way that suits you. If nobody is standing, looking over your shoulder, then that obviously brings freedom. I find that it makes me more productive since I don’t need to fit in with someone else’s vision of how work time should be organized.

Also, you avoid interruptions from work colleagues which can easily distract your flow – “fancy a coffee”, “can you just help me with this”, “that doesn’t look right” and so on.

3. Do you think working remotely has disadvantages and what are they?

Although it saves you from work-related distractions, it is so easy to get distracted by home and family stuff. It takes a lot of self-discipline (and understanding co-home sharers) to stick to your daily work plan. It is tempting to do the washing up, or cleaning, or turn on the TV, or play with the kids. That’s not a problem as such since they make a nice break. But this can easily become hours of missed work-time that become difficult to catch up on.

4) During COVID-19 most of the people are working from home for the first time. What advice will you give to them?

Probably the biggest is to have a dedicated workspace if possible. Obviously not on the kitchen table (you’ll get interrupted and moved elsewhere on a regular basis), at least on a desk that serves only that purpose, and if possible in a room alone. One frequent problem is that when people see you in a home environment, they have a tendency to forget that you are working. If you are in another room, they forget about you until you reappear.

Get out of your pajamas, take a shower and put on clothes. Maybe even shoes. I don’t follow that particular rule – I often stay in pajamas all day and it works fine. But I do get dressed for meetings and webinars – getting dressed up changes my state of mind and encourages me to take things seriously.

Take a 10-minute break every two hours. This helps with concentration during the other hour and 50 mins and will make the work time more productive. Importantly, do something that isn’t on a screen. Even more importantly, do something that only takes 10 minutes. Starting a game of monopoly with the kids is a bad idea. Playing three rounds of pen and paper hangman or I spy is a good idea. If you get other people involved, (a good idea if you can since the social aspect is a great brain-changer) make sure it is very clear to them that this is a 10-minute activity – especially important with children. It isn’t easy, but if you say “10 minutes now, then 10 minutes in 2 hours” and you stick to it 100%. For the first few days, everyone gets into the habit and it becomes easy, fun, and much less terrain for disagreements.

If you are on your own, ideas might be a walk around the garden, looking out the window and inventing stories for people you see, or playing a musical instrument (that’s mine – a strict regime of “three tunes on the ukulele, and back to work”)

5. Can you share some of your proven strategies to work remotely and be productive?

Video meetings become tetchy affairs if anyone at the meeting has a bad connection – dropped sentences, misunderstandings, interruptions, it all builds up quickly to ruining a good meeting. So a great internet connection, if only for those is something that could make or break a deal, keep or lose you your job.

Tip one for online meetings:

Don’t be afraid to cut the video to make sure everything is heard – great audio is the single most important thing in a conversation.

Tip two for online meetings:

If everyone in the house is on the same internet connection at the same time, your bandwidth might be limited. Rather than shouting at everybody in the house to get off, which causes frustration and isn’t very family-friendly, try your mobile phone as a hotspot, or get a dedicated mobile hotspot. As a nomad, I use Ubigi because it’s reliable and works internationally. That isn’t part of the equation right now, so I bumped my mobile plan up to 100 Gigs/month and use that. Last week, I appeared on over six hours of webinars. I did them all on my laptop, using my mobile phone as a hotspot – not a single glitch, and my video and sound quality were actually better than with the house wifi as you can see here. So experiment with that. Do a try-out meeting with your parents or your friends. Or a virtual pub.

You can do a test speed – My example: 8MB on the house wifi (just about enough for video, but not great), and 40 MB/sec using my mobile phone as a hotspot (easily enough to broadcast on a webinar in HD with great sound).

When I was in Mauritius, I had a young family. Small kids need your attention and don’t understand that you can’t break off from work every time they want you to. Here is my method for dealing with that. My daughter would ask for my attention, and I would systematically ask her to wait two minutes. I could then either finish the immediate task or write down what I needed to remember in order to carry on where I left off. Then I could give her my full attention. But anything she wanted me to do that required more than five minutes had to wait for the “official” 10-minute break, lunch or after work.  I found that by being very consistent with the system and making sure I always kept my word, a mutual understanding settled in and it ceased to be a problem for either of us.

When you think “coffee” or “snack” double-ask yourself whether you even really want them… or is it boredom? Probably boredom. Allow yourself a couple of quick 2-minute stretch-and-look-out-the-window breaks in between official 10-minute breaks.

But when the time comes, force yourself to take that 10-minute break. Do something different to switch off your work-brain. Physical, if possible. Get some fresh air if you can. If not, look at the world from your window and think about what you see there for a moment. Perhaps play a musical instrument (perfect time to learn) or a game – it reboots the brain, and keeps you sane (sounds like a song I could play on the ukulele).

6. What’s your suggestion for people on balancing life while working from home?

Going to work is important. Have breakfast, announce you are going to work, and stick to it on weekdays.

Go home for lunch (it’s not far). Maybe make a joke about it – I started singing to my daughter “I’m home for lunch” and she LOVED it.

Going home is important. At the end of your working day, close the office door (or put the computer away) and disconnect from work in a similar manner to when you went to the ‘real office’. My phrase was “home again, home again, jigged jig” – that was the signal for every day that my attention became 100% family.

Separating work and home is the single most important strategy for keeping both of an even keel.

7) What do you think will happen after COVID-19 with companies that didn’t allow their employees to work from home earlier?

I am not the best person to ask since I have no experience of “the other side”. But, assuming the boss is smart, I would hope that if the work people are doing from home is as good and valuable to the company, more companies will allow people to work from home a part of the time.

And that could just be one thing to help motivate people working from home for the first time. This is perhaps an opportunity – if it goes well for you and for your boss, you may well be able to choose to switch to a mixture of office and home-work.

It has been a learning opportunity for me to talk with Jason, and I will definitely put into practice his tips. I am working from home for a while now. But I still sometimes face the fact of losing focus and get easily distracted at home. I think that now due to the pandemic, a lot of people that are new at working from home will go through the same challenge. I can only say that it is a learning opportunity and an adapting process.

Karina Tama is the founder of Senior Care Clicks and a contributor for Forbes, Thrive Global and the El Distrito Newspaper. She can be found on Twitter @KarinaTama2.

The post Challenges of remote work during COVID-19: Talking with nomad marketer Jason Barnard appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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12 Unique social media marketing methods that work wonders

January 24, 2020 No Comments

It’s a fact. Today, every business needs a strong social media presence. No matter whether you run a small local shop or a multinational company, social media should be an essential part of your marketing strategy. 

Not only a social media platform helps you connect with your target audience, increase awareness about your brand, but it also boosts your leads and sales to a great extent.

Since around 2.96 billion people use social media platforms worldwide, it’s no passing trend. According to Statista.com, by 2021, this number is going to reach 3.09 billionSo, if you’re not using this fantastic tool yet, you’re surely missing out on an incredible marketing opportunity.

Source: Hootsuite

Undoubtedly, social media is one of the ideal platforms to market your business. However, due to increased competition and the rise of social media algorithms, the entire landscape of social media has changed. If you really want to stay ahead of your competition, you need to look for unique social media marketing ideas that can spice up your social media campaigns.

In this post, we will make you familiar with some creative social media marketing ideas. However, before that, let’s have a quick look at some social media statistics that is important for you to know.     

  • 95% of adults (aged between18 to 34) are most likely to follow a brand through social networking. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • Around 63% of customers expect businesses to offer customer support via social media channels. (Source: Smart Insights)
  • 42% of the world’s population has an account on one or more social media platforms. (Source: Statista)

Tips to boost your social media marketing strategy

1. Layout your goals

Having a solid marketing goal is essential for every business. However, if you don’t know what you want to achieve, how are you supposed to attain it? 

Before you jumpstart your social media marketing, make clear goals and objectives that will align with your marketing efforts. It is advisable to write down your goal. A study reveals you’re more likely to be successful if you write your goals.

To layout your goals, you can:

  • Use number (such as reach 10,000 Facebook followers)
  • Set a deadline
  • Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based (SMART)    

2. Learn about your audience

To create a successful social media strategy, you must have adequate knowledge of your audience. You should be able to know their needs, wants, and desires. Below are a few tactics that can help you better understand your audience.

  • Survey your audience to know their pain points better
  • Take a look at their demographics
  • Participate in conversations on forums used by your target audience
  • Respond to comments on your social media channels.
  • Get feedback

When you exactly know who your target audience is, you can better help them.

3. Produce diversified content for different social media platforms

For most businesses, it is easy to post pictures to Instagram and short tweets to Twitter. However, on most social media platforms, you can display different kinds of content, including video, photos, infographics, blog posts, and more. It is essential because if you keep producing the same content time and again, it may bore your audience, and that can keep you from reaching your goals. By providing diversified content, you also determine the best content types for your target audience.         

Social media marketing stats

Source: SmartInsights

4. Don’t ignore video content

Video marketing is one of those social media marketing trends that has been continuously growing. In 2018, 85% of all internet users in the United States watched online video content monthly on different devices. It shows that video is an excellent medium to promote your business.

There is no doubt about it that millions of hours of video content watched every year on different social media platforms. However, your videos must be watched by the right people. After all, there is no use in a video going viral if viewers do not belong to your market. 

Try to target the right people so that they can take the actions you want them to take after watching your videos. For the same, you must define your target audience before planning your marketing strategies. Some of the tools you can use to identify your audience include Google Analytics – Audience Tab, Keyword Planner, Facebook Business Page Insights.

Narrow down your audience based on their gender, interests, age, occupation, knowledge level, or location. Also, create a quality video with tools like Magisto that precisely explains your product or services and answers most of the queries of your audience and prospects. 

Don’t forget, high production values, smart use of keywords, and timing of your videos matter a lot in the success of your video marketing. Also, track your results from time to time and customize your tactics based on those results. 

5. Try sharing user-generated content from your fans and followers

When you share user-generated content on your social media profiles, it gives your followers a fresh perspective on your brand and helps you build stronger relationships. 

Even a survey reveals that people trust content from an average person more than they do from businesses.

You may ask your buyers to share their experiences with your products and services so that you can use that content on your social media profiles. 

For example, if you run a furniture store, you can ask your buyers to share the picture of how they position your furniture at their homes. After that, you can share those pictures within your social profiles with the profile link of the buyers to give other prospects an idea about how they can use your products. It will surely boost the interest of other potential buyers in your brand.      

6. Give education

No matter what your goals are, you must provide education about your products or services to your customers. Providing education is one of the best ways to build relationships with your target audience. When you give your audience practical advice or valuable information, they look to you as an authority and become your loyal customers. Social media is a great platform where you can educate your followers about your business without any hindrance. As per your convenience, you may provide educational resources such as blog posts, white papers, webinars, and more. 

7. Less promotion and more storytelling

When you take an educational approach, you do more teaching than selling. Storytelling is also educational in nature. Nevertheless, the power of storytelling lies not in teaching people things they weren’t aware of, but in showcasing relevant characters and situations evoking emotional responses. These responses stimulate action more effectively than the content involves self-promotion on social media.

8. Try influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is an ideal way to promote your products via social media platforms. When you collaborate with an influential person not only it boosts brand awareness but also builds trust. Perhaps this is the reason, around 2/3 of retailers in North America use some form of influencer marketing.

Source: MediaKix

Always choose a social media influencers whose vision matches with your own. Below are a few tips for selecting the perfect influencer for your brand.

  • Examine the engagement metrics and other insights of your potential influencer
  • Take out some time to invest in social listening so that you can find an influencer who is relevant to your business
  • Take a look at their skills. Since influencer marketing is more than just likes, communication, and engagement, an influencer must have some technical knowledge. It will be a bonus if your potential influencer is skilled in graphic design, crisis management, and other practical experience. 

9. Make use of VPN (Virtual Private Network)

If you think VPN is a tool to hide your IP address only, you’re mistaken. VPN is not just a security tool that ensures your privacy on a public network; it’s much more than that. 

Most new businesses are not aware that a VPN can help them understand their competition. From launching marketing campaigns to monitoring PPC adverts to evaluating search engine rankings, there are plenty of places where VPN is helpful. 

Since in this post, we’re discussing social media platforms, let’s find out how can VPN help you with YouTube advertising.Using VPN helps social media marketing

Source: Statista

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that YouTube is the most popular video platform of the time. According to Alexa, YouTube is the 2nd most popular search engine worldwide, behind Google. There are numerous benefits to advertising on YouTube. One of the most significant advantages is that it provides a broader reach to your business.

If you have an audience in different regions, states, or countries, you will need to know what works best in that particular region. Well, VPN can help you with this situation. Using a VPN, you can get your location to the region or area your target audience is. Thus you learn about your audience – their issues and needs. Based on that information, you can understand your customer’s persona, what they are looking for, and create marketing strategies accordingly.

Nowadays, several VPN providers available in the market, but not all are equals in terms of quality and customer support. It is advisable to look for the best VPN only. Read reviews of different providers before making your final decision.     

10. Take advantage of the enthusiasm of loyal customers

Your loyal customers have the potential to become brand advocates. They can boost awareness of your brand by providing social proof that helps prospects to build trust in your business much more quickly.

Social media is a great tool to motivate your loyal customers to become brand advocates. Below are a few tips that you can put into practice.

  • Ask your followers for reviews on social networks such as Facebook and Google
  • Take interview of your satisfied customers and share their stories on Facebook and Instagram
  • Support the submission of positive user-generated content and use them in your different social media campaigns.
  • Hold contests and give discounts. It would motivate people to spread the word about your business on different social media platforms.

11. Increase humanization

We all respond strongly to people in comparison to robots. By humanizing your brand on social media platforms, you can boost your marketing strategy. Perhaps, you interact with your followers by responding to your comments and user-generated content. However, it is not enough. To stay ahead of your competition, you must highlight your team members and their stories, and connect each of your social media marketing efforts back to your unique brand story.

Try to infuse humor in your posts. However, it does not mean you can go with anything. Keep a balance of fun and information. 

12. Use of chatbots for social media marketing

Over the years, chatbots have come a long way. Today’s bots are more smart and useful. They are capable of providing initial customer service, automating a function, and boosting user experience. 

Even people have started liking bots. A survey conducted by HubSpot concluded that 47% of respondents were open to buying products using a chatbot. It would not be wrong to say that chatbots have become more widespread on social media.

You can synchronize your chatbot with multiple platforms. For example, you can offer a chatbot on your Facebook Messenger, and it can also be used through Twitter direct messages. It will ensure a consistent experience across your social media profiles. 

Chatbots can be used to start conversations, encourage sales, answer questions, and offer individual customer support. 

Final thoughts

Social media has turned into an essential part of the marketing strategy for any business. And why not? It is a great way to reach a wide audience, demonstrate your expertise, show your authenticity, encourage engagement, and offer responsive and quick support. 

Although social media marketing takes a lot of hard work, its benefits are difficult to ignore. If you’re not taking it seriously, you will miss out on leads, customers, and ultimately sales.

Don’t forget, social media platforms are created for conversing with others. You won’t see the desired results until you don’t make your audience a top priority. Moreover, each social media platform is different, so you must know what kind of content works best on them. We hope the methods mentioned above will help you take your social media marketing to the next level. 

The post 12 Unique social media marketing methods that work wonders appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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New study: Majority of consumers are unaware of how search engines work

January 22, 2020 No Comments

As brands and their marketing departments deploy strategies to capitalize on record ecommerce spending — which soared to $ 586.92 billion in 2019 — new research from leading provider of brand protection solutions, BrandVerity, has brought to light important findings and hidden risks pertaining to the journeys consumers are taking online.

In order to give brands a better understanding of the search experiences their customers are having and how they are impacting brand perception and customer experience, BrandVerity commissioned the “BrandVerity’s Online Consumer Search Trends 2020” research study in Q4 of 2019 to over 1,000 US consumers, balanced against the US population for age, gender, region, and income.

Amongst the many findings, three main themes stood out:

Consumers confused by how search engine results work

Only 37% of consumers understand that search engine results are categorized by a combination of relevance and advertising spend.

The other 63% of consumers believe that Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are categorized by either relevance or spend, or they simply “don’t know.”

Additionally, nearly 1-in-3 consumers (31%) say they don’t believe search engines (e.g. Google) do a good job of labeling which links are ads.

Consumers more included to click on the result that appears first

Without a clear understanding of how search results are served up, consumers are more inclined to click on the result that appears first, believing it to be the most relevant option.

With 54% of consumers saying they trust websites more that appear at the top of the SERP, this isn’t just an assumption.

Consumers feel misled by the website they find in the search engine results

51% of consumers say that when searching for information on a product, they sometimes feel misled by one of the websites in the search results.

An additional 1-in-4 report feeling misled “often” or “always.”

Even further, 25% also say they often end up somewhere unexpected that does not provide them with what they were looking for when clicking on a search result.

“Against a backdrop where consumers have increasingly high expectations of the brands they do business with, and are holding them to equally high standards, companies must ensure that the entirety of the experiences they provide meet customer expectations,” said Dave Naffziger CEO of Brandverity.

“As these findings show, a general uncertainty of how search engines work, combined with the significant occurrence of poor online experiences, mean oversight of paid search programs is more important than ever for brands today.”

The post New study: Majority of consumers are unaware of how search engines work appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Instagram founders join $30M raise for Loom work video messenger

November 26, 2019 No Comments

Why are we all trapped in enterprise chat apps if we talk 6X faster than we type, and our brain processes visual info 60,000X faster than text? Thanks to Instagram, we’re not as camera-shy anymore. And everyone’s trying to remain in flow instead of being distracted by multi-tasking.

That’s why now is the time for Loom. It’s an enterprise collaboration video messaging service that lets you send quick clips of yourself so you can get your point across and get back to work. Talk through a problem, explain your solution, or narrate a screenshare. Some engineering hocus pocus sees videos start uploading before you finish recording so you can share instantly viewable links as soon as you’re done.

“What we felt was that more visual communication could be translated into the workplace and deliver disproportionate value” co-founder and CEO Joe Thomas tells me. He actually conducted our whole interview over Loom, responding to emailed questions with video clips.

Launched in 2016, Loom is finally hitting its growth spurt. It’s up from 1.1 million users and 18,000 companies in February to 1.8 million people at 50,000 businesses sharing 15 million minutes of Loom videos per month. Remote workers are especially keen on Loom since it gives them face-to-face time with colleagues without the annoyance of scheduling synchronous video calls. “80% of our professional power users had primarily said that they were communicating with people that they didn’t share office space with” Thomas notes.

A smart product, swift traction, and a shot at riding the consumerization of enterprise trend has secured Loom a $ 30 million Series B. The round that’s being announced later today was led by prestigious SAAS investor Sequoia and joined by Kleiner Perkins, Figma CEO Dylan Field, Front CEO Mathilde Collin, and Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.

“At Instagram, one of the biggest things we did was focus on extreme performance and extreme ease of use and that meant optimizing every screen, doing really creative things about when we started uploading, optimizing everything from video codec to networking” Krieger says. “Since then I feel like some products have managed to try to capture some of that but few as much as Loom did. When I first used Loom I turned to Kevin who was my Instagram co-founder and said, ‘oh my god, how did they do that? This feels impossibly fast.’”

Systrom concurs about the similarities, saying “I’m most excited because I see how they’re tackling the problem of visual communication in the same way that we tried to tackle that at Instagram.” Loom is looking to double-down there, potentially adding the ability to Like and follow videos from your favorite productivity gurus or sharpest co-workers.

Loom is also prepping some of its most requested features. The startup is launching an iOS app next month with Android coming the first half of 2020, improving its video editor with blurring for hiding your bad hair day and stitching to connect multiple takes. New branding options will help external sales pitches and presentations look right. What I’m most excited for is transcription, which is also slated for the first half of next year through a partnership with another provider, so you can skim or search a Loom. Sometimes even watching at 2X speed is too slow.

But the point of raising a massive $ 30 million Series B just a year after Loom’s $ 11 million Kleiner-led Series A is to nail the enterprise product and sales process. To date, Loom has focused on a bottom-up distribution strategy similar to Dropbox. It tries to get so many individual employees to use Loom that it becomes a team’s default collaboration software. Now it needs to grow up so it can offer the security and permissions features IT managers demand. Loom for teams is rolling out in beta access this year before officially launching in early 2020.

Loom’s bid to become essential to the enterprise, though, is its team video library. This will let employees organize their Looms into folders of a knowledge base so they can explain something once on camera, and everyone else can watch whenever they need to learn that skill. No more redundant one-off messages begging for a team’s best employees to stop and re-teach something. The Loom dashboard offers analytics on who’s actually watching your videos. And integration directly into popular enterprise software suites will let recipients watch without stopping what they’re doing.

To build out these features Loom has already grown to a headcount of 45. It’s also hired away former head of growth at Dropbox Nicole Obst, head of design for Slack Joshua Goldenberg, and VP of commercial product strategy for Intercom Matt Hodges.

Still, the elephants in the room remain Slack and Microsoft Teams. Right now, they’re mainly focused on text messaging with some additional screensharing and video chat integrations. They’re not building Loom-style asynchronous video messaging…yet. “We want to be clear about the fact that we don’t think we’re in competition with Slack or Microsoft Teams at all. We are a complementary tool to chat” Thomas insists. But given the similar productivity and communication ethos, those incumbents could certainly opt to compete. Slack already has 12 million daily users it could provide with video tools.

Loom co-founder and CEO Joe Thomas

Hodges, Loom’s head of marketing, tells me “I agree Slack and Microsoft could choose to get into this territory, but what’s the opportunity cost for them in doing so? It’s the classic build vs. buy vs. integrate argument.” Slack bought screensharing tool Screenhero, but partners with Zoom and Google for video chat. Loom will focus on being easily integratable so it can plug into would-be competitors. And Hodges notes that “Delivering asynchronous video recording and sharing at scale is non-trivial. Loom holds a patent on its streaming, transcoding, and storage technology, which has proven to provide a competitive advantage to this day.”

The tea leaves point to video invading more and more of our communication, so I expect rival startups and features to Loom will crop up. Vidyard and Wistia’s Soapbox are already pushing into the space. As long as it has the head start, Loom needs to move as fast as it can. “It’s really hard to maintain focus to deliver on the core product experience that we set out to deliver versus spreading ourselves too thin. And this is absolutely critical” Thomas tells me.

One thing that could set Loom apart? A commitment to financial fundamentals. “When you grow really fast, you can sometimes lose sight of what is the core reason for a business entity to exist, which is to become profitable. . . Even in a really bold market where cash can be cheap, we’re trying to keep profitability at the top of our minds.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Six social media marketing strategies that work and convert

October 10, 2019 No Comments

As an estimate, 3.499 billion people that make around 50% of the earth’s population are active social media users. Of that, Facebook alone has over 2.375 billion active users. WhatsApp, an instant messaging app by Facebook, has more than 1.6 billion users.

Other Facebook developments: Instagram has one billion, and SnapChat has 190 million daily users.

Despite the fact that Facebook owns a majority of leading social networks, there are many other social platforms where users love to engage and spend time. YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok are some of the most popular, non-Facebook social media platforms at present.

Marketing on social media is quite different from traditional marketing. In 2018 alone, $ 74 billion were spent on social media marketing worldwide. Why? Because social media marketing yields better visibility and ROI than traditional and TV advertising do.

This blog covers six new and proven social media marketing strategies on the following key areas. Implementing these strategies, you will be able to bring in new customers, build strong relationships and trust, and win back customers that seem to have been lost forever.

Start creating Instagram stories

As mentioned earlier, Instagram has over a billion users. And, roughly, half of its users use Instagram Stories every day.

And that’s where you have a chance to cash in via your Instagram Stories.

Considering the fact that you can build your audience and convert them through your stories, you should have a separate dedicated strategy for your Instagram Stories.

If you too are planning to use Instagram Stories, here are some of the best practices to create Instagram Stories that get views, engagement, and clicks –

  • Add hashtags (#)
  • Tag your location
  • Run polls and encourage users to participate
  • Use trending stickers and icons
  • Follow the right image and video formats so your stories look good on mobile screens
  • Put your popular updates, content, and stories in highlights
  • Add links to stories
  • Place strong CTAs

If you have a verified business account or more than 10000 followers, you could also set up your shop on Instagram. And then, you can promote your products through your Instagram Stories and ask watchers to take the desired action to buy.

Get started with YouTube Ads

With its 1.9 billion users, YouTube is the largest and most active video social network. At an average, its users spend at least 40 minutes every time they open YouTube.

If you are a YouTube user, you are already aware of YouTube ads being run before and during the videos you are playing.

Imagine your ads being shown to users chosen strategically based on whether they fit into your buyer definition.

Wouldn’t that be a great way to boost visibility and awareness?

You can target users – or show your ads to specific users – based on their Google search and YouTube watch history. Put simply, if a user has searched for a product or term on Google, and you have a product that falls into that category, you can choose to show your advertisement to that user.

YouTube reaches more people than any TV network in the world. Using YouTube Ads could give your brand massive visibility and your sales a big boost.

To set up your video ad campaigns, you will need to create attractive and meaningful videos to engage and delight your audience. Here is a complete guide to create and run your video ads campaign on YouTube.

Increase your reach with Facebook Ads funnel

Facebook’s more than two billion users access the platform eight times a day, either through web or mobile. That makes it the most active social network as well.

Given that, it becomes a platform with plenteous sales and marketing opportunities.

26% percent of users who click on Facebook Ads go ahead and make the purchase. 39% of users follow official brand pages expecting to receive the latest offers.

But, to be exact, Facebook is not a place where a user is ready to buy. It is certainly a platform to make a user a loyal customer that not only will buy from you in the future but will also spread your brand through the word of mouth.

If pitched right, Facebook Ads offer higher returns on investment meetings, and in most cases, surpassing your ad objectives and expectations.

The most important element of your Facebook ads is your content, which could be a blog post, infographic, video, live webinar, or eBook. The focus should be on producing quality content that you can pitch your audience.

You can also create the same content in multiple formats so that you can convince people at different stages in different ad formats through different ad sets. Creating and promoting segmented content by targeting it your lookalike audience is the basics of Facebook Funnel marketing.

Remarketing is probably the best feature of Facebook Ads. You could expose your brand (through your ads) to potential audiences multiple times till the time they make a decision.

TikTok Ads for a specific audience

TikTok rose to fame after a revamp, followed by the takeover of Music.ly a couple of years back. This Chinese social network allows users to create 15-second videos while lip-syncing on popular soundtracks, music, movie dialogs, and famous personalities. This fun app is largely popular among teens and those in their twenties.

The platform is available in 150 countries and in 75 languages. On Apple AppStore and Google Store, TikTok is one of the most downloaded free apps.

TikTok is an attractive marketing platform, especially if you have products that interest teens and tweens.

Of 500 million, 26.5 million are from the United States and 43% from India. 66% of its audience is below 30 years. These stats tempt marketers to use TikTok marketing to promote their brand.

IGTV for more views and actions    

IGTV is probably Instagram’s best feature from a marketer’s standpoint. Earlier, it was a standalone app.

Back then, using it was an uphill battle for marketers and a confusing affair for the user. It was challenging for marketers to generate engagement and views on their videos.

Now, things have turned easier.

What’s more interesting is: Users can now see IGTV previews on their Instagram feed. And by tapping the preview on their feed, they can move to and watch the video on the IGTV tab which is existent within the app’s interface.

Your videos are also shown in the search or discover section on Instagram – which gets you more views from users interested in videos, products, and services like yours. Strategic use of IGTV gives your brand a chance to showcase your product videos in an interactional manner and stand out.

With that, Instagram and IGTV offer a completely different approach to reach and convert. So gear up and create IGTV specific videos to deliver quality and value, and to gain more views and engagement.

Here are seven useful tips to get started with IGTV marketing

  • Create videos in Instagram-friendly (vertical) format
  • Keep your video content short and crisp – full of information
  • Choose different backdrops or locations to shoot your video. (it helps create visual interest for the audience)
  • Conduct game shows and interviews (make sure they are relevant)
  • Add subtitles to your videos (and make it easier for users, who watch videos with the sound off)
  • Use pop-up texts to send important messages during the video
  • Design your cover photo showcasing your title and keywords

Live video marketing

To make your marketing efforts perform, you will need to be different. Social media has transformed how businesses are run. The dominance of video-sharing platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, SnapChat, and TikTok has ignited a new trend within social media.

Since users spend one-third of their time watching online videos, video marketing has now become an integral part of any successful social media marketing strategy. And for that reason, 87% of marketers use video to market their content and brands.

Evidently, every brand and marketer seems to be doing video marketing. So, now is the time to take a step further and indulge in live video marketing.

Live video is the future of video marketing. People love watching live videos more than pre-recorded videos, as it is more trustworthy. Users know that there is no editing involved and what they are seeing is true and unedited.

According to a survey, 80% of customers would be more interested in watching live videos rather than reading blogs, web pages or customer reviews. Videos are easy to digest, and live videos add a dash of reliability to easy understandability.

If you haven’t started a live video, put together a live video marketing strategy for all social networks that support live streaming.

Since you are managing multiple platforms, you would not want to spend all your time navigating from one platform to another. It makes perfect sense to introduce a social media marketing tool in your process. Not only will it save your time, but also streamline your process and makes it easier for you to analyze and develop future strategies.

The success of your social media strategies relies largely on the experience of the user first on your social media and second, on your landing page. This definitely includes, but is not limited to, the content, the navigation, the design, and the call to action.

To supercharge your social media marketing efforts, you could consider working on the SEO part as well. People still use search engines to find products and services they need. Installing an SEO extension on your website, you can improve its SEO-readiness and performance on search engines.

To end with, here is what you should focus on

  • Select the right platform(s)
  • Set your goals
  • Identify your target audience
  • Share what your audience likes to engage
  • Make your social media strategies flexible
  • Be consistent
  • Never leave a chance to interact with the audience

To identify what’s working and what’s not, you should keep a watchful eye on the performance and outcomes of your updates and social media ads. Make necessary changes in your social media strategy as and when needed.

I hope the ideas suggested in this article help you curate an effective social media marketing strategy for your brand. If you have some questions or if you would like to share something, drop a line in the comments section below.

Birbahadur Singh Kathayat is an Entrepreneur, internet marketer and Co-founder of Lbswebsoft. He can be found on Twitter @bskathayat.

The post Six social media marketing strategies that work and convert appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Why mobile first design is the only 2019 strategy that will work

March 5, 2019 No Comments

Everyone knows that mobile is red-hot right now. In fact, there is a pretty good chance you are reading this very article on a mobile device.

And yet, like an old dog who just won’t learn a new trick, most people are still designing websites for desktop computers and then trying to make them work well on mobile devices. Square peg, meet round hole.

Quite simply, it doesn’t make sense. Why would you create a website for a dying medium (cough, cough; desktop) and then try to force it to work for new technology? It doesn’t have to be this way.

Why not, instead, create a website for the devices most people are using that will also work on a desktop?

Google has made it clear that mobile-first is the way to go. It is time to leave the past behind because five billion mobile phone users have made it clear they aren’t going anywhere.

Here is why designing for desktop first is a mistake, why responsive mobile design isn’t enough, and why mobile first is the only way to go in 2019.

It is time to put a stop to responsive mobile design

Let’s say you need a train. You want a fast one, one that can get you from Paris to London in two hours. (Ignore, if you will, that this train already exists.) Would you build a coal train, then convert it to a high-speed diesel-electric train? No, that would be a ridiculous waste of time and resources, particularly since the high-speed train can run on standard tracks.

And yet, that is what most people are doing when it comes to designing sites for mobile. They create a site for desktop first, then try to make it work on mobile instead of building a better, faster site that will work just fine on both.

Before we dig into how to design mobile first websites, we need to talk about responsive design.

What is the difference between responsive mobile design and mobile first design? Aren’t they, essentially, the same thing? Not quite.

Is ‘mobile responsive’ the same as ‘mobile first’?

Mobile responsive and mobile first have some of the same ingredients, but their methods, approaches, and strategies are totally different.

Here is how they differ:

Mobile responsive is a technical web design approach where CSS is used to adjust the site to the device it is viewed on. The coding is more complex, and the design still often places desktop needs at the forefront. In other words, the website’s built for desktop users first and then made to work on mobile later.

Mobile first, on the other hand, is a design strategy. While it may use a mobile responsive framework, it considers mobile users’ needs first and foremost. Instead of creating a desktop website and then forcing it to fit in a mobile box, you create a website that considers the majority of users (on mobile) first.

Mobile websites have been an afterthought for years. Yet, 52.64% of all internet traffic happens on a mobile device.

By implementing the seven strategies below, you’ll start designing websites for the devices users are actually using and not just for desktop.

Seven easy strategies to create mobile-first websites

Designing for mobile first doesn’t have to be complicated. And with the rise of the freelancer and gig economy, finding high-quality designers isn’t complicated either.

So get started and start putting the needs of your mobile users first.

Here’s how you can keep your mobile users at the forefront of your mind and get a few handy tools to make your life easier.

1. Less is more when it comes to content (yes, really)

Wait, what? Isn’t longer content better?

Well, (here comes everyone’s favorite internet answer) it depends.

Longer, more in-depth blog posts are, in fact, proven to generate nine times more leads than short posts.

But, mobile readers are looking at tiny little screens.

To be mobile first, your content needs to be concise and clear, so keep the mobile-first design in mind when starting your blogging strategy.

Solution: Keep your copy succinct and unique using a grammar tool to deliver in-depth information in as few words as possible. Break up text into single-sentence paragraphs when possible.

Screenshot of grammar tool

(Image Source)

2. Keep your site simple

Minimization is having a pop-culture moment. The truth is people, love simplicity. It reduces anxiety, improves clarity, and makes us happier.

This applies to web design as well. Less, really is more. Keep the website elements you truly need and ditch the rest.

“But, what about X thing that my site really, really needs??” Ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?” If yes, then keep it.

Ask yourself if each element is really necessary. For example, could you ask fewer questions on your 13 field contact us form?

Can you reduce the number of links on your nav bar?

Here are six more website simplification tips:

  1. Reduce the number of pages on your site
  2. Add an improved search feature so users can still find what they need
  3. Increase white space to reduce the appearance of clutter
  4. Use clean lines and wide borders
  5. Use a simple font and make it larger
  6. Keep a maximum of two columns on mobile

Get VOIP screenshot

(Image Source)

Solution: Keep it simple. Get rid of tiny buttons, ditch scrolling images, trash that 13 field form.

3. Bring your calls to action (CTA) into the 21st

There is nothing worse than clicking on a link from your mobile device that doesn’t load because, while the main site is mobile responsive, the landing page it links to is not.

Or, our favorite, when you get taken to an off-center, impossible to fill out lead-gen form.

Your calls to action are useless if they aren’t designed with mobile in mind. Which means you are missing out on leads and sales.

Solution: Stop throwing money down the drain. Make sure your CTA is designed mobile-first, too. Test links and consider using mobile-friendly calls to action such as SMS text messaging and live chat.

Chat bot example

(Image Source)

Additionally, your mobile conversion funnel needs to be brought into the 21st century with new features like mobile vibration on button clicks, full-screen mobile e-commerce experiences, and signature collection.

Mobile interaction experience example

(Image Source)

4. Let’s talk about it: Make mobile communication a breeze

There is no question that mobile devices have changed the way we communicate with each other and with brands.

Did you know that 97% of Americans report they send at least one text message a day? Research even shows that the increase in text messaging has contributed to a rise in phone call-related anxiety.

People want answers to their questions now, not at 9 a.m. when your phone support opens back up.

And they don’t want to call you if they don’t have to.

Have you adjusted your contact methods to meet the communication preferences of today’s consumers? If not, you may be leaving customers dissatisfied–without even know it. It is time to change. Luckily, there are plenty of tools to make this shift painless.

Consider using a help desk software like Freshdesk to manage your customer communications across channels and devices. It can track previous conversations, prioritize incoming requests, and even help automate the process.

Freshdesk screenshot

(Image Source)

Or, consider adding a live chat or a chatbot to your website to humanize your website for mobile users. If you are looking for an easy way to transition, this is it. Chatbots are a great way to give a fantastic mobile experience without a massive overhaul of your entire website.

Solution: Use technology like chatbots and mobile-friendly help-desk software to make mobile communication frictionless.

5. Graphic design for mobile first

You might be wondering, “Does graphic design really matter when it comes to mobile first?” The answer is a resounding yes!

A study into the value of graphic design found companies who emphasized on graphic design outperformed non-design-focused companies by 200 percent. Well-designed websites are also considered more trustworthy, more memorable, and easier to use.

So, what does mobile first graphic design look like?

According to Venngage, the most significant graphic design trends of 2019 are:

  • Vivid colors
  • Strong typographical elements
  • Geometric shapes and abstract patterns
  • Light and dark contrasting color schemes
  • Gradients and duotones
  • Bright minimalism
  • Original, hand-drawn illustrations and designs
  • Real photographs

What does this all mean in practice?

Aim for bold shapes, clean lines, bright colors, and typographical elements. Make use of white space, which is both visually soothing and makes navigating on mobile easier.

Graphic design examples

(Image Source)

Solution: Use graphic design tools to make creating memorable, trustworthy, and easy to use websites simple. We love Canva and Snappa for their library of templates and stock photos.

6. A need for speed

Site speed has always been important to user experience. But now, site speed is a Google ranking factor, too.

If you are too cool to care about what Google thinks, consider that 40% of people will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Even more damaging, 79% of shoppers are less likely to buy from a site again if they experience web performance issues.

Clearly, your site needs to load fast if you want to survive on mobile.

How to improve speed on your mobile first website

Luckily, building your site with an eye on mobile first means you aren’t stuck trying to strip features away to make your site load faster on mobile.

Instead, you can implement speed protocols from the beginning.

Here is how to build a fast, mobile-first website.

  1. Check your page speed using Google’s Test My Site. Google site speed tool
  2. Install a CDN, which loads content from a cache closest to the user.
  3. Compress images so they look good but load fast
  4. Consider using lazy load, which loads elements separately so the user can view at least some of your content right away.
  5. Make the switch to HTTPS, which is faster, more secure, and has SEO benefits.

Solution: Start by testing your mobile page speed, then implementing the changes above.

7. Test, test, test

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Testing is more important than ever for websites. Even the most carefully designed mobile first website needs to be tested on multiple devices.

Why? Currently, there are at least nine different operating systems in use on mobile devices.

According to StatCounter, Android makes up 75% of the mobile operating system market share. iOS clocks in with just under 22 percent of the marketing share, but KaiOs, Windows, and Samsung all claim at least a small portion of the market.

Statcounter screenshot

(Image Source) 

Dozens of new phones are released every year. In fact, Motorola released 11 new mobile devices in just 2017.

In 2018, Apple released two new iPad models (Mini and Pro), two new iPhones (iPhone XS and XR), and three new computers (new models for the iMac Pro, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini).

Trying to keep up is just plain exhausting. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to test your site across platforms regularly.

Solution: Use a cross browser and cross platform tool to see how your site performs across the multitude of different operating systems and devices.

Conclusion

The desktop computer is dying. Mobile responsiveness is not enough to keep mobile users on your site.

If you want to create an easy to use website that Google and users will love, mobile first design is simply the only way to go.

But changing the way we’ve always done things can feel overwhelming.

You’ve got enough on your plate, right?

As you can see, the mobile first design doesn’t mean changing your entire process. Instead, it means reimagining how we create content, images, CTAs, and communications while keeping a firm focus on mobile users’ needs.

Stop spending too much time creating sub-par mobile sites that users hate. Instead, use these tips to build websites that search engines and (more importantly) web users will love.

Adam Enfroy is Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce, and also does Content Marketing Consulting and Blogging at adamenfroy.com. He can be found on Twitter @AdamEnfroy.

The post Why mobile first design is the only 2019 strategy that will work appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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