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Marketing Voices: 5 Reasons Small Businesses Should Budget for Social Media Marketing

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5 Reasons Small Businesses Should Budget for Social Media Marketing

In our new Marketing Voices series, we invite exciting digital marketing professionals to join the conversation. This month’s guest post is by Nick Rojas, an experienced business consultant and writer living in Los Angeles and Chicago. Nick has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years and has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch.

It’s no secret that startups, small businesses, and even one-man entrepreneurial operations all share a need to invest in digital marketing. While search engine optimization and excellent content go a long way towards creating growth, social media cannot be ignored if you want to jumpstart your business’s future and start connecting with your audience in an effective way. More

Creating Community Online and IRL

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Creating Community

It was 2005 when I signed up for Facebook and explored this world of pictures from last night after they’d been uploaded from an actual camera, and statuses that changed more frequently than AIM away messages. I adapted to this new way of communicating and interacting, a way that at the time seemed to focus more on what happened when we got together, and less about the online world we were creating. More

PSA – Twitter, LinkedIn Updates for B2B Marketers

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Twitter new profile

Twitter and LinkedIn are important traffic, lead generation and engagement platforms for B2B marketers.

Both are changing their profile and company pages in the next couple of weeks: More

Social Media Planning Tool for CMOs

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Here’s a great infographic by Adobe that shows the value each social media platform could provide when it comes to traffic generation, SEO, customer communication and brand awareness. When it comes to B2B, LinkedIn is way more important, but still there’s a lot of valuable information here.

Enjoy!

 

The CMO

by johnmnelson.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Babylon Touch, PrimeSense and OpenNI at GDC 2012, and the OpenNI Challenge

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We’ve got some exciting things happening for our clients:

Babylon just launched a cool new app for the iPhone that received over 100,000 downloads in the first week!  The reviews are coming in, and the consensus seems to be that the Babylon Touch is both useful and user-friendly.


See?

GDC 2012

In other news, OpenNI and PrimeSense just presented at the GDC in San Francisco.  The discussions were lively and stimulating, and covered an array of topics including the capabilities of 3D sensing technologies.

Meanwhile, OpenNI is also getting ready to launch an exciting challenge for game developers. This contest will take place from April 1st-August 1st, and is two-fold:  The first part of the competition is a Twitter raffle from April 1st-May 1st where participants tweet in order to enter to win one of ten free ASUS Sensors. Anyone can enter — you just have to follow @OpenNI on Twitter and tweet with a specific message which will  be released by our client very soon.

But that’s not all!  Meanwhile, developers will also be able to  create an app using the OpenNI standard — and, if they win the Twitter raffle, they may also use the ASUS sensor.  Once completed, they can upload the app and a short video explaining how the app works to the official competition website where it will be voted on by website viewers as well as by a panel of distinguished industry leaders.   The grand prize is a free trip to IBC 2012 in Amsterdam in September!

For more information, please check out http://www.opennichallenge.com/

We’d also love to hear what’s going on in your company!  What’s new?  Has it been an interesting and challenging week?  What sort of projects do you have on the horizon?

The Half-Life: How Social Media Changes the New Immigrant Experience

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I’ve heard the stories at least a hundred times: My Great Grandma Tsiryl dry-heaving over the side of a steamer ship as they rolled up into Baltimore Harbor in 1904. A pregnant Great Grandma Esther stoically clutching the belly that held the baby that would one day be my grandfather while ocean waves battered the hull of the last ship out of Europe before World War I.

Two different women from two different places, and yet they shared such a similar experience with each other and with the thousands upon thousands of other Jewish immigrants who left Eastern Europe for American shores. They crammed their lives into small suitcases – sometimes with incredible forethought, other times in great haste, they kissed their families goodbye, and on trains or buggies or by foot they traveled over hostile terrain toward distant harbors, and ultimately onto ships that would take them excruciatingly slowly, slowly, slowly away from the achingly familiar.

And like so many others who left the cities and shtetls of Eastern Europe during those fragile years at the turn of the 20th century, my Great Grandmothers made it work.  They gave birth to American babies. They raised their children in broken English. They played Mah Jong and drank coffee with other landsman in cramped apartments in big cities far away from their childhood friends. They waited for letters from their families. They dreaded the inevitable telegram. They celebrated mitzvahs and simchas at the synagogue. They sat shiva. They buried their own on foreign soil.

You have to be an optimist to pack up and move for a life unknown like that and survive.

And not only did they survive, they thrived as they grew roots in a new world.

For me, it’s different. I wasn’t escaping pogroms and persecution.  I took a freaking stretch limo to the airport because I have delusions of grandeur.

My worldly goods amounted to three suitcases, two carry-ons, one purse, a laptop player with a battery life of 12 ½ hours and a Smartphone.

My voyage was 14 hours, not 14 days, and I spent most of it spent Tweeting from the airplane like a rockstar.

Can't a girl get some #peanuts around here?

Unlike my Great Grandmothers who started from scratch, with Facebook and Twitter I am connected 24/7 to my life back home – clinging to moments and milestones in real time, ten time zones away.  In some ways, it’s a good thing:  When Krystal posts “10 centimeters, people! It’s show time!” I know her baby is about to be born (and by inference, that she got that epidural she swore she would never in a million years get, because seriously, no woman in hard labor without an epidural can post on Facebook, believe you me). When Aaron’s grunge band plays their first gig, I get to see pictures of the show right away thanks to Instagram. I even know what Michelle had for lunch.  (Girl sure loves her #Sushi!)

In a culture of openness and (over)sharing, Facebook is a great way to keep the intimacy going even when you live on the other side of the world.  And yet, it’s really a false intimacy, because friendships are really built on a series of moments large and small cobbled together in shared  real space and not online.

Who needs a cafe when you can hang out with your homies on Facebook?

So I guess this begs the question:  How does Social Media change the New Immigrant Experience?

Unlike my Great Grandmothers who tumbled headfirst into their new lives and were forced to learn a new language and make new friends, With my Android phone and my iPad (I carry both because Heaven Forfend one should run out of battery or stop working or fall in the toilet and I should be disconnected from Facebook and Twitter) I carry my old life with me  like two virtual security blankets.   When I ride the train, I update my Facebook status, and send tweets instead of interacting with the passengers around me.  Headphones complete my self-imposed isolation while I listen to (English) music and watch (American) videos on Youtube.

Hey, who needs to integrate, when I can be in two places at once?

But over the last year, I’ve learned  you can’t really be in two places at once, and as much as I try to keep up with my friends in the virtual world, they’re moving on.

And so am I.

Fortunately, there are ways that Social Media can actually make it easier for the New Immigrant to integrate.   Meetup groups either on Facebook or through other online channels like Meetup.com or Yahoo Groups are a great way to connect with people going through similar struggles.   And since the goal of these communities is to get you to meet in person, joining these groups is a baby step towards getting off the freaking laptop and into the cafe (or bar!) in the real world.

I’ve also found that when sharing your own struggles online in a public way, others going through similar things can find you. (And so can internet stalkers, for that matter, but that’s another post for another time.) But seriously, over the last year,  I’ve made several “IRL”  friends here in Israel through Facebook, Twitter and other online arenas, and I am grateful to these Social Media channels for helping me get off the internet already and start living in real life.

A Facebook Friendship IRL.

 

 

 

 

The Links We Love

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Happy Monday, Everyone!

We hope you had a peaceful, relaxing, and enjoyable weekend.

Now, go get your coffee on,  and check out these links.  We hope you find them as interesting as we did!

First of all, our client, Babylon.com, just started a new series on their blog called “My Life in Translation”

“How many of us have found ourselves visiting or even living in a country where we can barely speak the language?  Sure, while It’s an adventure to navigate new cultural terrain without being able to communicate the way you would ordinarily in your homeland, it is certainly not without its challenges.”

Every few days, Babylon will post a new sotry.  The first two posts are dynamic and engaging, and we hope you’ll check them out:
Babylon is also celebrating International Children’s Day (November 20th!) with a cool infographic featuring fascinating facts about children from around the globe.  For instance, did you know the earliest written version of the Cinderella story comes from China in 860 CE?  And here we thought we could blame shoe fetishes on Disney or the Brothers Grimm!
We also found some interesting videos that highlight creativity that we think are worth sharing:
And, we found some terrific articles about Social Media that we found interesting and relevant:
Finally, there were two clever videos about Facebook that made us laugh out loud.  Literally.  And hopefully you’ll like them, too:
Hopefully you’ve got your caffeine buzz on by now, and are enjoying your Monday!

Memories in a Digital World

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Four months ago I went through a life changing experience: My first daughter was born, and I fell immediately in-love with the little adorable baby that became an important part of our (now mostly sleepless) life.

From the moment she was born, my wife and I photograph and videotape her, using our iPhones, and our DSLR camera.

At the same time my parents aren’t getting younger. My father turned 72 this year, and my mother 66. On his 70th birthday, I made a short film about him, as an excuse to both hear and document the story of his life. We went through old photographs that were lying in our living room drawers, and with each picture came a story, about love, war, family, and friendship. Most of these pictures were older than me –from the 50s and 60s — telling the story of his life as an immigrant, young tank commander, husband, and young father.

Not surprisingly, I love gadgets, applications, and great sites. That’s why I upload my daughter’s pictures to Flickr and Facebook, and save all of them in our centralized media hub, and I also back it up using Dropbox. I use Twitter, Foursquare and serendip.me to tell the story of my life – places I’ve been at, songs I’ve heard, thoughts I’ve had at a specific point in time.

Up until now, I was certain this is enough. We have all those cameras with their amazing images, those fancy video cameras, these smartphones that are actually point and shot cameras that can also call people. But something is missing:
When you look at it from an historical perspective, all these sites and gadgets lose their sex appeal. The reason is simple – in 40 years perspective, suddenly Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, hard disks and iPhones seem like not the best way to store memories.

I don’t know what will happen with Apple, Yahoo!, Twitter and Facebook 40 years from now.
I don’t know if the images I am taking now will be compatible with the technology 20 years from now.
I don’t know if my media center’s hard disk will survive the next 5 years.
And maybe, just maybe, Dropbox will go out of business.

There is a missing link in our digital age. There is a crucial element that is not guaranteed in our advanced technological environment. It is a simple thing: the physical element of our memories. The real life scrap book. The image, printed on a paper.

Yes, I know, these physical representation of our memories can be lost or destroyed. In fact, history teaches us that the physical element of our memories could be easily destroyed (such was the case of the Library of Alexandria).

However, if there is one thing that is for certain, it is that we will be able to see the pictures of our lives in the future. It is not a matter of file formats, web applications, and smartphones. Our eyes will still be able to see pictures. Our fingers will still be able to feel the aging paper they are printed on.

Think about it, next time you look at your hard disk full of those priceless images of your life.

What Makes Quora Such an Amazing Product

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Steve Case, founder of AOL at Kinnernet in Isr...
Image via Wikipedia

The recently launched Quora grabbed my attention as soon as I started using it. I find myself spending more and more time on this question and answers site and it seems that I am not alone.

What makes it so awesome?
1. Authority – I am still amazed with the depth of the answers on the site. Let me give you an example – a question was asked about  the causes  failure of AOL Time Warner merger. While on Facebook and Twitter such a question would be answered by many, but not the most knowledgeable, on Quora, Steve Case (AOL chief at the time) himself gave his point of view on the matter. When a person asked how did Amazon decide to enter the cloud computing market, Amazon’s CTO answered him directly. What else could you ask for? In a sense, the fact that content is edited and removed if not informative enough, makes this platform so great.
2. Content discovery – Quora is all about topics and people. You can follow a topic or person over time and continuously learn more. This is just awesome. I follow the topics I am interested in, and people I value their opinion and knowledge.
3. Ease of use – first time you use it, you already know how to find relevant questions, as well as post your own.
4. Diversity – whenever I login, I find a question about SEO techniques, followed by a philosophical question about the meaning of life. As a guy who loves to read random Wikipedia articles, this site is a great way to learn about topics in the world around us that normally we don’t stop to think about. This thread is a great example.

I love Quora – it’s a key part of my online toolbox. If you didn’t try it yet – I highly recommend you do.

Email Marketing + Social Web = Bliss

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Take a look at this diagram:

North American marketers see major improvements when integrating email marketing and social media efforts. This is another proof that the power of digital marketing lies in channel integration, and not in short term campaigns. As social web marketing requires an ongoing nurturing of branded online assets (brand’s Facebook page, Twitter account, on so on), the biggest advantages are for those who combine different channels to utilize these assets.
This information also sheds light on the expected announcement of Facebook Mail today. My friend Yaniv Golan have some interesting thoughts about this move.

In a world were marketing ROI becomes critical for brands success, the combination of strong branding tools with direct marketing tools provide major advantages to the ones who use them well.