Enterprise Crowdsourcing Blasts Off as Social Media Growth Industry

As buzzwords go, “crowdsourcing” may not be as big as ”social-media” or “mobile apps” but new research show it is one of the most rapidly-expanding trends in our field. Crowdsourcing represents an epic shift in the world of labor, automation, and information science, one with large economic and ethical implications. Everybody is looking at this trend and wondering, “How big […]

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5 Ways to Capitalize on Last-Minute Ecommerce Holiday Shoppers

clockThe holidays are here, and if you’ve been following ecommerce holiday best practices, then chances are you’ve been planning your strategy for months. Hopefully you saw some strong traffic over Cyber Monday, and now you’re expecting things to peter out as shipping deadlines shorten and the season winds down. Well, think again.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average consumer had only completed less than half of his/her holiday shopping by the second week of December. That means people still have plenty of shopping left to do! Don’t get left in the cold. Make sure you pull out all the stops with the following five quick fixes you can do right now to boost your ecommerce holiday marketing mojo and generate more ecommerce sales this holiday season.

1. Spruce Up Your Website’s Meta Description

Don’t miss this opportunity for free promotion. While the meta description no longer carries any significant SEO value, it is prime real estate for promotion. Use these 150 characters to highlight any special promotions you are running. When a person searches on a product or brand, your offer of free shipping or 20% off might just tip them in your direction. For example:

describe the imageThink of it as a 150-character call-to-action!

2. Get in the Spirit of Social Media 

Leverage the power of social media to help spread the word! First, add social media share buttons to your thank-you and order confirmation pages. You can either pre-populate the message to help shorten the process for social media users or allow people to create their own custom posts.

describe the imageSecond, consider sending out a branded holiday card or video to fans and followers. Use this opportunity not only to build or promote your brand but to drive valuable eyeballs back to your site. Get in the holiday spirit, and have fun with it! 

Need some inspiration? Tap into your office comedian and ask him/her to help with a quick one-liner for a holiday card. Or ask the resident karaoke enthusiast to help you make a short, one-minute holiday video. Then promote your holiday message to your fans and followers in a way that’s easy for them to share with a link back to a version hosted on your site. Optimize that page around those searching for your holiday message and make sure to include an offer showcasing your holiday specials.

3. Optimize Your Email Messages

December is abuzz with emails from retailers. Make sure your emails stand out from the clutter by using a funny or clever subject line. For example, an email subject line from clothing retailer American Eagle reads, “Today Only! $10 Tech-cessories.”

Not sure where to start? Think of two of your best-selling products — or a product you are offering a special on — and come up with a fun play on words. Create two different versions of the subject line, and then test them using an A/B test: send one version to 10% of your list and the other version to another 10%. At the end of the day, see which email generated the most click-throughs, and send the winning subject line to the remaining 80% of your email list.

4. Leverage E-Gift Card Greetings

Create a few silly or sentimental holiday e-gift cards to accompany your e-gift certificates to turn generic gift cards into holiday-friendly gifts. Think of your personalized e-gift cards as unwrapped presents. No one wants to give an unwrapped gift! Once you’ve got your new cards set up, use this as an opportunity to capture last-minute stragglers. Send them an email after normal shipping deadlines have passed to let them know it’s not too late to send a “wrapped” holiday gift. Finally, on Christmas morning, feature your e-gift cards front and center on the homepage for those truly last-minute shoppers!

5. Serve Some EggBlog

Take the guesswork out of online shopping and help speed up searches by writing a blog post with suggested gift ideas. No one knows your site better than you, so help direct traffic to the hard to reach places.

Before you start, think about what specific keywords you are trying to target, and make sure to optimize your links and images to include these words. Have some extra time? Consider creating a themed blog series. Some suggested topics to include: “Great tech gifts for under $25” or “10 Unusual Gifts for Dad.”

Don’t forget: the holiday traffic doesn’t have to stop in December! According to OnlineMarketing-Trends.com, roughly 60% of holiday shoppers plan to take advantage of sales and discounts to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves. By continuing your email, blogging, and other inbound marketing strategies into January, you can capitalize on traffic from those looking to benefit from holiday promotions. 

So what are you waiting for?! Get cracking, and then report back with what worked and what didn’t.

Have other holiday-worthy ecommerce content ideas? Share the holiday love!

Image Credit: Irwin-Scott

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How RockMelt Will Battle Chrome In 2012: Identity, Apps, Communication

RockMelt Too New done6 months after its public launch, the RockMelt social web browser now has 1.4 million registered users and several hundred thousand weekly active users, CEO Eric Vishria told me this morning. With Internet Explorer and Firefox on the decline, RockMelt’s 2012 will be defined by competition with Chrome. Google’s browser recently moved in the direction of RockMelt, adding login for personalization and an app store. To stay unique, Vishria says “I think we should push further ahead”, building radical new features “everyone will ultimately want”. But will RockMelt arrive too early to the browser revolution?

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How to Master the Art of Storytelling to Increase Social Sharing

magnetic poetryMarketing is about telling good stories. Social media marketing is about getting your customers to tell them for you. The value and freshness of your content and how well you tap the connections that tie users and businesses together via social networks directly impacts the effectiveness of your social marketing campaigns.

Connections are the key to making social business, well, social. But it’s good stories that fuel conversations, allow businesses to be a trusted source, and underpin the success of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. The content that tells a story is the content that elicits the most conversation and engagement.

How content is crafted and presented is a huge determinant of its social success. So how do you relate it to the reader so it resonates and ideally motivates them to retell the story and spread the word? Here are 6 ways you can practice the art of storytelling in your content creation to see more success with your social media networks.

6 Ways to Tell a Story With Your Content

1.) Tap user-generated content. The growth of social media and community-sourced content from citizen journalists and bloggers has exploded in 2011. But as we know, unfiltered user-generated content isn’t necessarily good content. Arguably, the explosion of community content has only created more demand for experts who can act as trusted advisors that route only the best stuff to its audience. Be that expert guide, and remember that the fact that it’s user generated can often positively outweigh any editorial inadequacies you may find, but it’s your job to keep the right balance.

2.) Talk about your mistakes. Social marketers who master the art of crafting stories have the opportunity to spark interest by creating a shared experience. And no shared experience is more endearing than sharing the mistakes you’ve made that your readers have likely also experienced. Telling this type of story humanizes your brand and makes you relatable. By sharing your mistakes, you’ll find you become a special breed of influencer that becomes part of the community, versus just marketing to the community.

3.) Make content personal. What a generic statement. What does this really mean? It means you should talk about why you’re discussing a topic, and why it’s important to you. There’s some reason you decided to create this particular piece of content; share that motivation with the audience so they know why they should care, too.

4.) Respond to news content. If a story is happening that will affect your audience, write about it with a spin that’s specific to your industry. This takes the news story out of the abstract and makes it personal, relevant, and helpful for your readers. On top of that, you’ll be rewarded in search engines with Google’s freshness algorithm update.

5.) Use real life examples. Produce case studies. Highlight your customers’ experiences. Find people who are doing it right, even if they’re not in your network (a great way to make new friends in your industry, by the way!) If you can’t find a real life example, create a use case in which you write your own characters who exemplify your audience’s persona. Bringing your content into real life scenarios will have a bigger impact on your readers that makes your content more likely to be shared.

6.) Talk like a human. Enough with the business babble. Don’t worry about sounding smart. It’s alienating and condescending, and your story will be quickly lost on your audience. Talk like a human being that cares about making meaningful relationships with people. Clarity is more important than big, fancy words.

How do you incorporate storytelling into your content creation?

Image credit: contemplicity

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