Monthly Archives: January 2014

Conversations With a Hummingbird?

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You’re driving home from work, you have your smart phone in your hand and you don’t feel like cooking. What do you do? Do you take the time to pull over (because no one types while they drive, right?) and type a disjointed string of keywords like, “Chinese restaurants east suburbs Cleveland open Monday?” Or do you hit that handy little mic icon and say, “I want Chinese tonight. What’s nearby?”

Google’s betting you do the latter, and those question-based mobile searches are beginning to influence how you search on a desktop or tablet. They’re so sure, in fact, they rolled out an entirely new search algorithm – the first in 12 years – to turn search into more of a conversation and less of a guessing game.  Hummingbird, introduced sometime in August 2013, is designed to help Google understand and answer questions more like a person and less like, well, Google.

Take your hypothetical dinner search, for example. You didn’t include the word “restaurants” in that voice search, you didn’t specify a location and “tonight” wouldn’t mean much in a traditional keyword-based search.  Based just on the words you used, you might be more likely to get results for where to MEET someone Chinese than where to EAT Chinese food in the next two hours. That’s where Hummingbird comes in. Hummingbird combines the words in your query with the billions of facts it’s gathered about search semantics to fill in the blanks. That’s good news if you’re hungry, but what does it mean for SEO efforts?

Depending on your audience, Hummingbird can be problematic in the short term. Say your company provides professional house painting services and all of your site content focuses on your reputation, your expertise and a description of your services. If Google’s historical data tells its searchers who enter “house painting” means “house painting companies,” you’re in luck. But if Google determines searchers are actually looking for “house painting tips,” your site may not be the best match. If you’ve seen a loss in organic search traffic over the past few months, it may be time to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What questions do they typically ask before they make a purchase decision? Are they likely to ask HOW to tackle a project or problem before they ask WHO can tackle it? Companies may be hesitant to answer the first question and give away information, but doing so now could put you in a great position to answer that second question and gain a long-term customer in the future.

 

Business as Usual at True Digital Communications? I don’t think so.

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A glimpse of True’s new space!

A few months ago, we hosted an Open House party at True’s new home to friends and family.  It was great to show off the new True Digital Communications’ office space and to hear everyone tell us it wasn’t like other offices they had been to before. How is it different? Let me tell you.

For the past three years, we’ve used an open office format allowing our associates to work at our clients’ offices or wherever they are most productive. While we all enjoyed working from Starbucks or our living rooms, we needed space to collaborate. Panera wants you to buy sandwiches, but they frown when you write on their walls.

When I started looking for an office, I wanted to find space that would allow our open office structure to flourish. For me, that meant no office cubes, no closed walls  or doors, except where you need them– like bathrooms. We needed lots of space for collaboration where you can write on the walls or even a table. Space for impromptu meetings or formal client idea sessions. Space to work from a beanbag chair or barstool and the ability to plug into technology anywhere. And lots of sunlight coming in from the windows and shining throughout. We found all of this in our new home.

True’s new space is all about letting our associates and our clients work together comfortably and productively. Let me take you on a tour.

  • Our True Blue Conference Room is perfect for formal client meetings or internal team huddles. It’s also one of my favorite places to sit and work during the day.
  • Ideas literally bounce off the walls in our Rock’Em-Sock’Em Conference Room. Share ideas everywhere – on the wall or on a table. Bounce around on our buoy chairs or snuggle into a beanbag chair. This is the space where strategy and ideas come alive.
  • Need space to put together a really big idea? Or a space for video production? Or how about meditation or a quick yoga session? The Studio is a big space for big ideas and for working out of your mind and body.
  • So where do we work when we’re not collaborating or brainstorming? Check out the Genius Bar as it is affectionately called by our team. Why is it called that? Because they work there, that’s why!

So are you inspired? We are. Everyday.  We would love to show you our space but more importantly how we think and how we do what we do. Stop by and see us. And in the meantime, check out our Facebook page for photos from our Open House!

 

 

 

 

 

Pinterest or Instagram?

Us PR and marketing folks know visuals drive content and engagement. …We see, we process, we engage. It’s pretty simple and effective; however, are you using the appropriate channel(s)? More specifically, is Pinterest or Instagram the better photo-generated social media platform for your brand?

Buckle up as we analyze which outlet is right for you.

Pinterest, a.k.a. the idea generator

Question to self: How many times have you heard someone say they got their wedding, recipe, party, remodeling or craft ideas from Pinterest? Countless times, right? Though such mentions may sound repetitive like “The Song That Doesn’t End,” that’s Pinterest’s intention—it’s all about the domino effect of sharing ideas. (And yes, that was a Lamb Chop’s Play Along throwback reference.)

What also makes Pinterest such a popular and engaging outlet is its sharing (pin and repinning) capabilities and having the freedom to categorize your findings. This makes it easy for followers to find and share ideas and create boards of their own. Martha Stewart Living makes a slam dunk with its Pinterest account, creating and organizing boards based on specific topics like “Gift Wrap and Packaging” and “Summer Drink Ideas,” honing in on its followers’ interests and reinforcing its brand identity.

This also gives brands the opportunity to give consumer ideas and use eye-catching photography that can be shared with others.

And what about the average Pinterest user? According to the Pew Research Centre, women are five times as likely as men to use Pinterest, with the better part of its user base ranging from ages 18 to 49.

Take a look at this fabulous infographic for a more detailed look at the results.

Instagram, a.k.a. the photo diary

Point and click. That’s how easy it is to post and share a photo on Instagram, and that is why Instagram is so successful. I mean, there is the whole choosing the right filter for your photo crisis, but that’s a totally different discussion.

For brands, Instagram serves as the channel to share the experience and the personality of a brand. Often times, photos are shared from special events, sneak peeks of new products or announcements, and real-time happenings, reading much like a diary.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame and Glamour Magazine are both wonderful examples of this with their behind-the-scenes images, adding character and flavor to their brands.

Because of this, consumers receive a more personalized connection with the brand. Rather than searching for particular images, Instagram users usually stumble upon information as it appears in their feed.

And what about the average Instagram user? In the same Pew Research data referenced earlier in this post, results revealed the bulk of Instagram users fall within the younger demographic of ages 18 to 29. Research also showed females slightly use Instagram more than males.

So, is one platform hands-down better than the other? No. Is one better for your brand and messaging than the other? Most likely.

They both tell stories in different ways to different audiences. So before you latch on to Pinterest or Instagram, ask yourself: Who is my audience? What do I want to share? What is my goal? How am I going to tell my story?

Whatever the choice may be, it is our responsibility to guide our clients to tell their stories in the most effective way possible.