Tag Archives: Social Media

GIF Images Are Clever Tools in the Right Marketer’s Hands

Beginners Guide To GIF Images In Marketing - Eminent SEO

A Graphics Interchange Format image, better known as a GIF, consists of picture files compressed to decrease transfer rate. GIFs possess several pictures in one file to create an animated effect. GIFs are prevalent in modern day cyberspace because the images are quick to download and the animations are often entertaining. For marketers, animated GIFs can be incredibly useful for improving engagement online.

We’re not here to settle the GIF pronunciation debate: Does it sound like gift without the “t,” or should it be pronounced like the peanut butter brand Jif? Instead, we want to offer you a rundown of the types of GIFs available, how you can make your own, and the legal considerations involved in GIF sharing.

Prevalence of GIFs in Social Media

Although GIFs can be used in blog posts (such as this one) and in website content, people primarily think of these animated images in the context of social media conversations. Here’s a quick breakdown of how many GIFs are posted to different social media platforms, according to the New York Times:

  • Tumblr: An average of 23 million GIFs posted every day
  • Facebook Messenger: Roughly 5 million GIFs sent between users every day
  • Slack: More than 2 million GIFs sent between users each month
  • Twitter: More than 100 million GIFs shared in 2015

The Different Types of GIFs

Not all GIFs are created equal. Before you go attaching a GIF on a social media post or your website, it’s best to know the different types of GIF images and to make sure you’re using the right one for the right situation.

1. The Replay GIF

David Tyree Giants Super Bowl CatchThere was a time not too long ago when sports fans had only a couple  of opportunities to watch a replay of their favorite touchdown catch or slam dunk. It was either shortly after the play occurred via instant replay, or later during ESPN highlights. If you missed those windows of opportunity, your last option would have been hoping someone recorded it on VHS.

In the age of YouTube, those days are gone. GIFs, however, let fans replay highlights in a condensed format. The replay GIF changes the game by continuously looping virtually any notable footage – from last night’s game winning field goal to even a memorable scene from your favorite movie.

On Twitter, the official accounts for the NFL and NBA were recently using a high volume of Vine videos for replays. But with Vine supposedly on its way out the door, the NFL and NBA are slowly turning to GIFs and native Twitter video to highlight must-see moments.

Replay GIFs are not limited to entertainment. This style of GIFs can be helpful for the marketer who wants to share current company news or connect a current event to their business.

2. The Reaction GIF

Chris Pratt Andy Parks RecreationEmotions are studied on replay with the reaction GIF, which is arguably the most popular style on social media. Film and TV are the industries most responsible for content you’ll see in most reaction GIFs. Outside of Hollywood, reaction GIFs serve marketing industries by replacing textual replies with animations. For example, a creative GIF could be used as a social media reply.

Reaction GIFs are typically used to enhance whatever comment a user is making online. These looping images express whichever emotion the user is feeling or trying to convey at the time. No matter the emotion, reaction GIFs typically elicit a laugh out of the viewer, especially if the image is used in a clever way in reaction to a particular topic.

3. The Cinemagraph

Chicago Traffic CinemagraphThe cinemagraph is the black-tie affair GIF. More formal than its GIF relatives, the cinemagraph GIF is a still shot-animation hybrid. The viewer of this GIF doesn’t experience one event in a loop, but one event continuously progressing through time. In a cinemagraph, one element of the image is in motion while the rest stay still.

Because cinemagraph GIFs have a limited number of moving parts in the image, the viewer is left with a tranquil feeling. Travel and fashion companies gravitate toward the cinemagraph GIF because of its professional appearance and quiet tone. The visual benefits and complex consistency of the cinemagraph GIF demand advanced editing skills and usually begin with footage captured by a camera on a tripod.

4. Technical GIFs

Sea Level Pressure United StatesBrowsing through the internet for useful marketing data is no longer a painful chore thanks to technical GIFs. Technical GIFs transform boring figures into engaging content. These types of GIFs are especially useful for marketers who want to include statistics, diagrams or graphs for product summaries.

Technical GIFs are interactive, as opposed to a black-and-white graph on a PowerPoint slide. Video marketing combined with a technical GIF creates an even deeper animation experience.

5. The Perfect-Loop GIF

Max Monster Rainbow Loop - Eminent SEOWhereas the cinemagraph GIF is still and serene, the perfect-loop GIF is active and busy. This GIF consists of a seamlessly looped camcorder recording of an event. The final frame of the shot leads back to the initial frame without missing a beat. Even though the viewer relives the same 7-or-so seconds over and over, he or she can lose track of time due to the seamlessness of the GIF.

The perfect-loop GIF can be used to a company’s advantage. Since the loop is inherently nonstop, it can be used to market non-stop service. It can also be used to advertise a customer demonstration’s of a successful product.

How You Can Make GIFs Yourself

Creating a GIF doesn’t take a background in computer science, IT or engineering – nor is it limited to tech-savvy people. For example, if there’s a YouTube clip for which you can’t find a corresponding GIF, there’s an easy way to to turn that video into a looping image. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Find a YouTube clip to make a GIF out of.
  2. Type “gif” before the “youtube” portion of the URL. Press enter. This will transfer you to gifyoutube.com. You can use your originally selected YouTube video to make a new GIF.
  3. Pick the start and stop times and add a GIF title.
  4. Click “create GIF.”
  5. A preview of the GIF will appear. If pleased with the preview, use the new URL to share across the internet. If displeased with the preview, click “go back.”

If the looping image you’d like to create doesn’t have anything to do with YouTube, you can try one of these GIF-making online tools and see which one you find easiest to use:

  • Giphy Create Tool
  • GIFS.com
  • ScreenToGIF (lets you record a designated area of your computer screen)
  • RecordIT (similar function as ScreenToGIF)
  • GIF Toaster
  • GifBoom or GIF Me (for turning phone videos into GIFs)

And, of course, if you have reasonable skills in the Photoshop department, you can use that software to make a GIF out of original artwork, a series of still images, or any video file you’d like to upload into the program. Here’s Adobe’s guide on how to make GIF images with Photoshop.

Sharing GIFs: Legal Considerations to Keep in Mind

Millions Of GIFs Posted To Slack Tumblr Facebook Messenger - ESEO

Legally, individual users are given a lot of slack when it comes to GIF creation and usage. Businesses, on the other hand, are not.

Companies must be aware of the legal restrictions of GIFs. Clashes over a GIF’s origin are judged according the doctrine of fair use. This doctrine allows copyrighted material to be edited and used for alternative purposes if the copy is derived from the original and does not compete financially for copyrighting rights.

The four factors considered in the doctrine of fair use for GIFs include:

  1. The intent of the GIF: Is it for profit or not for profit?
  2. The content of the GIF.
  3. The ratio of GIF used to copyright material.
  4. How the GIF would value the potential audience.

GIFs of well-known people – namely actors, celebrities and athletes – have strict publishing guidelines. Businesses intending to post a GIF of a celebrity should gain permission from everyone in the clip, the copyright owner, and the creator of the GIF.

If a business wishes to use an athletic GIF to show a game highlight or replay, there are high hurdles to clear. The MLB and NFL are fairly strict with their GIF policies. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee and FIFA do not allow GIFs at all. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects social media sites that post GIFs if a reporting structure is in place to eliminate content suspected of copyright violation.

For marketing companies, it’s best to follow these GIF-sharing suggestions:

  1. Obtain a written release. Contact the copyright owner and actors/celebrities present in the GIF for permission to share the GIF.
  2. Provide hyperlinks. Content shared by another should have a link to the original site. This protects the company using an unoriginal GIF and places the original site with the liability responsibility. Give recognition to the creator.
  3. Make your own GIFs. Creating a GIF bypasses the legal trouble. Instead of asking others for permission and risking legal ramifications, you won’t have to ask anyone permission to create your original GIF, and you won’t be under the threat of impending legal action.

We’re not saying you can’t use existing GIFs that involve movie scenes, sports footage, etc., but you’ll run the risk of legal action if you use one of these images with your business’s name behind it, especially if you stand to profit off anything associated with that particular image. Therefore, we advise being prudent with what type of GIF image you plan to use as well as the platform on which you will use it.

GIF Images Have Staying Power on the Web

GIF Laptop Collage - Eminent SEOGIF images can be profoundly useful when used correctly. Clever use of these animations can undoubtedly help a business reach and advance its goals. These images also add a smile and a laugh to a monotonous work day.

The graphics interchange format has actually been available since the 1980s, and tech experts have continually predicted that the format will lose favor on the web soon. Yet, thanks to Twitter and other social media platforms, GIFs have only seemed to become more popular and ubiquitous in recent years.

With so many GIFs circulating the web and even making their way into other mediums, such as text messages, these looping images have been embraced as a new way to communicate. What’s your favorite particular GIF image or style of GIF?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusFlickrStumbleUponYouTube

What Killed the Vine App – Or Is There Still Some Hope Left for It?

Death Of The Vine App Social Media - Eminent SEOWhat Caused Vine to Wither?

Social media has exploded since the mid-2000s, when Facebook began to rise to prominence. The social landscape changes every day, with old apps and platforms giving way to new technologies and services.

This was certainly the case for Vine, a Twitter-owned video-sharing service that appears to be on its way out the door. Although Vine was a once-popular and user-friendly app, some analysts say it was a bad match for Twitter.

How the Vine App Worked

Vine was arguably one of the easiest social media apps to use. A user could upload a video from a smartphone or other device directly to millions of Twitter and Vine followers. A popular Vine video or meme had the potential to make someone’s social media presence explode. Through Vine, more people were able to make connections and expand their networks, both on social media and in real life.

Vine videos were able to compress time so a single video could loop millions of times and generate billions of hits. Videos often referenced each other: One Vine could contain a cross reference to a dozen or so others. This kept viewers searching for similar videos and finding new ones to share with their networks.

A classic example is former “Mad TV” comedian Will Sasso’s series of Vine videos involving lemons. These individual Vine clips have all been combined into one YouTube video.

For a short time, this simple video-sharing service seemed like it might carve out a permanent niche.

Why Vine Worked

Before Vine, there was no quick or easy way to broadcast video. Apps such as Facebook Live and Periscope didn’t exist, and people who took video on their phones were concerned about data and messaging limits. In 2012, Twitter acquired Vine, which eventually had a six-second limit. This allowed users not only to broadcast video, but to focus on the most important parts of what they shared.

Even before the six-second limit, Vine was popular for its short-streaming video. The app was aimed at teenagers, who particularly enjoyed trends and memes. However, Vine expanded to include other demographics, including people in their 50s and 60s.

Michael Pachter, a 60-year-old financial analyst, used Vine regularly and built up a following there and on Twitter.

“You’d have to be a technological idiot not to be able to do it,” he told The New Yorker about shooting Vine videos.

Additionally, Vine was popular because it was perceived as fun.

“Vine is not a tool. It’s a toy,” Vine’s then-new general manager Hannah Donovan told Variety back in June.

Vine was the place to find a quick laugh in the form of pratfalls, potatoes spinning from ceiling fans, and other slapstick antics.

For a good example of how users worked within Vine’s parameters, see this simple video that features a cameo from “New Girl” actor Lamorne Morris. (Be sure to turn the sound on.)

As for Vine’s overall brand of comedy, Donovan admitted, “The witty, wordy comedy of Woody Allen or Will Stillman it was not.”

However, it did attract different type of users than those on Snapchat or Instagram, giving social media users yet another outlet to exert influence.

According to Casey Newton, a writer for The Verge, users also loved Vine because it provided a “creative challenge.” Vine “endlessly rewound itself,” causing people to think of new and unexpected ways to use it.

Newton added that Vine had an early advantage over other social video apps due to its ability to spawn popular memes and much-applauded “cultural moments.”

Why Vine Is Shutting Down

Vine was extremely popular circa 2013-14, so what caused it to die so quickly? One former executive cited other apps such as Instagram, saying Instagram Video was “the beginning of the end” for Vine.

Instagram

Instagram Video debuted 15-second video limits in 2013 and has since expanded to clips as long as 60 seconds. Users, especially celebrities, found Instagram Video much more flexible than Vine. Although Vine eventually tried offering extended videos, they never caught on.

Snapchat

Snapchat also played a role in killing Vine, as well. Snapchat allows users to send each other video clips individually and/or broadcast them publicly, while Vine videos were only for all users, and even non-users, to see.

Time allowances also made Snapchat superior: The platform allows 10-second clips rather than 6-second ones. Four extra seconds might not seem like much, but extra flexibility attracted users, just as Instagram did. It doesn’t hurt that Snapchat also has all of those face and voice filters to add some extra dimensions to any video.

Problems Behind the Scenes

Twitter Lays Off Staff And Kills Vine - Eminent SEOInstability was another big issue for Vine. Managers consistently quit to pursue startups and other, more lucrative opportunities. In 2015, Twitter underwent massive layoffs, which involved firing Vine’s creative director. Gradually, Vine usage dropped.

Celebrities who once posted on Vine lobbied to be paid for using the app. However, the negotiations came to nothing. Celebrity users hoped to promote Vine videos the way they did Twitter posts and accounts, thus gaining followers. However, interest in Vine peaked around 2014. After that, it was difficult for celebrities, let alone average users, to generate significant followings.

In 2015, Twitter bought a social media talent agency in an attempt to save Vine. However, neither celebrities nor Vine and Twitter executives were interested in giving more money to a dying app. Additionally, Vine never offered its popular users options for reimbursement once negotiations stalled. Thus, they had little incentive to stick with Vine over other similar platforms. Vine never capitalized on its stars’ relationships with popular brands, thereby severely limiting itself.

Other Forms of Media that Contributed to Vine’s Demise

Although Instagram Video and Snapchat were seemingly the biggest threats to Vine, many other social media apps and forms of media played a part, too. Native Twitter videos are one such example.

Twitter Video

Unlike Vine, native Twitter videos are not a Twitter sub-service. The social media platform now offers more ways to attach and upload videos. With Vine, videos were mostly broadcast through phones. Meanwhile, Twitter now allows uploads and attachments from computers, tablets and several other types of devices.

Native Twitter videos have a maximum length of 2 minutes and 20 seconds, making them as much as 23 times longer than Vine videos. Twitter’s new limit gives users enough time for a quick instructional video, a miniature vlog entry, or even a sketch comedy routine. Native Twitter videos do not rely on pratfalls and endless looping to keep users engaged.

Unlike Vine, Twitter video uses auto-play similar to Facebook Live. Videos also begin playing as soon as users scroll over them in the feed. This draws the eye directly to the video and makes it more memorable.

GIFs

GIFs are another popular alternative to Vine. Although they lack audio, which Vine allowed, they communicate quick, memorable and often comical messages. GIFs usually start up easily and loop endlessly, so users can watch them as long as they like, over and over again.


Additionally, GIFs are often used to enhance text. That is, if you want to write a long blog post broken up with engaging pictures or memes, GIFs will most likely keep the audience’s attention. Some users have tried to use Vine videos in the same manner, but they just didn’t work out quite as smoothly.

YouTube

Finally, YouTube has been a primary alternative to Vine for years. YouTube has no length limit now, and depending on your editing capabilities, a YouTube video of much higher quality than a Vine or Twitter one. Additionally, YouTube offers features Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat cannot, such as the opportunity to create your own channel.

What Was the Major Culprit?

From all the options above, even though they all likely played a role in Vine’s demise, if we had to choose one, we would say GIFs are an unheralded major culprit. As mentioned earlier, for a short period of time, Twitter users were using Vine videos similar to GIFs. That craze eventually died down as users became more comfortable with finding and attaching GIFs, thanks to sites such as Giphy, while Vine videos eventually took on a different purpose.

Some outlets even claimed a couple of years ago that Vine would render GIFs obsolete, but that forecast seems laughable in retrospect.

The problem with using a Vine clip instead of a GIF is that the latter typically accentuates whatever statement the user is trying to make, while the Vine is more of a statement in itself. It doesn’t help that thousands of GIFs capture memorable scenes from some of our favorite movies and TV shows, while Vine mostly featured footage of sporting events as well as original user content.

One the popularity of GIFs was undoubtedly more sustainable on Twitter than that of Vine videos, and when the Vine social network itself began dropping off in activity, the writing was on the wall for the once-prominent video-sharing service. The evolution of human communication is fascinating thing to witness, eh?

But Wait … Is Vine Really Dead?

Just earlier this week, TechCrunch reported that Twitter is shopping Vine around to as many as 10 interested buyers, meaning the platform could survive after all. However, offers for the video-sharing service are reportedly falling short of $10 million, which is a sharp drop from the $30 million Twitter bought it for in 2012.

It is unclear whether Vine or apps like it will endure, or whether they will have a significant presence in social media in the future. In the meantime, users have more ways than ever to chronicle their lives through video and share their experiences.

What’s your favorite way of sharing video experiences online? Leave us a comment below.

Save

Save

Save

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusFlickrStumbleUponYouTube

10 Ways Social Media Can Help You Stand Out in the Job Search Process

This entry was posted in Workplace and tagged , , , , on by .

Social Media Can Help In Job Search Process - Eminent SEOWe live in an era of convenience where we have the ability to access information with the click of a button in a fraction of a second. Technology has allowed us to accomplish tasks and reach out to people we never thought was possible even 20 years ago.

Social media, in particular, is the beast that holds much power in our success or demise. It can single-handedly crumble a person’s reputation with a single tweet, or catapult a career with the sharing of a 20-second video. The bottom line is the user must navigate with savvy and caution.

Searching for the job you want can be exhausting. The whole process is time-consuming and impersonal, and it can difficult to show your full range of qualifications. Well, we’ve come up 10 ways you should leverage social media to stand out from the pack and look more desirable to potential employers while you’re in the job search phase.

1. Get On Board!

LinkedIn Most Popular Job Search Social Media - Eminent SEOLet’s start at the very beginning. If you do not have social media accounts and you are not close to retirement, get at least one now! LinkedIn is the most popular job search site, where an estimated 95 percent of recruiters search for candidates, and 79 percent of all employers hire based on contacts and referrals from this network.

Employers also look to social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to get a more personal take on a candidate and make sure that they fit in with the culture of their company. They also look at candidates’ social profiles to gauge who might possess the type of character traits needed to thrive and be an asset for their team.

2. Maintain Your Account

Although keeping up with your social media accounts can be a job in itself, you need to do it! Don’t forget: You reap what you sow. You should set up a strong profile and use keywords that highlight skills that potential employers may search for.  As you develop new skills or complete certifications, let them know!

Potential employers want to see that you’re keep active on your profiles, but you don’t need to get overwhelmed trying to show your activity every single day on every single site. Just a little something every few days goes a long way.

3. Become a Social Butterfly

Like Share Comment Tweet Social Media - Eminent SEOIf you’ve spent any time on social media, you know how awkward it is to get a random “like” from someone you completely forgot you have a connection with. You know, the “creeper” who looks to see what everyone else is doing but never engages? Don’t be that guy! It’s social media, so don’t forget to be social!

Remember, you have a choice of what to entertain and engage in, so choose wisely. You don’t have to put your entire personal life out there just to be seen. In fact, that disposition has the potential to deter potential employers and only serves as a distraction. Instead, it’s best to like, share, comment, tweet and retweet relevant information in your field and follow sites that interest you professionally.

Get used to putting your name out there. The more you get your name in front of businesses, the more it’ll stick and show them that you are relevant and up to speed in the industry.

4. Use Discretion

As tempted as you may be to make a comment about certain political candidates or fire back at an internet troll, it’s usually in your best interest to refrain. By all means, be authentic, but if you desire to use social media as an avenue for potential employment, you must remember that once it’s out there, it stays out there. Photos, comments and posts can come back to haunt you with a vengeance, even if you delete them, so using the utmost discretion from the get-go will only help your cause.

Also, it’s important to be mindful of the persona you illustrate online. You may be someone who can compartmentalize your life and have a “work hard, play harder” mentality, but if “play” means posting pictures of you and your buddies passed out after a few rounds of beer pong, or you showing off your new bikini in a dressing room, you should just pass. Companies want someone who can represent them professionally at all times and not compromise their reputation. If you do post highly personal photos, you should keep your account private.

5. Make an Impact

You don’t have to filibuster your way through an interview to show that you have good ideas and can make an impact. Use your social media platform to gain followers by posting information that your audience will appreciate. Gaining followers will not only show employers that you have something to say and can influence the community, it will also give you the confidence to continue to make an impact, which can allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment.

6. Keep It Positive in the Job Search Process

It’s not easy being unemployed (or underemployed). It can take a toll on your self-confidence and your ability to land a new position, so why remind yourself of that?

You can rephrase your former employment status in your profile and avoid using the word “unemployed” and instead highlight what it is that you are looking for. Your profile will sound much more ambitious and will remind employers that they need you as much as you need them.

7. Read Between the Lines

Actually, employers are the ones that will read between the lines, so be sure to cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Literally. Using the correct punctuation and grammar on your page and in your comments will show your potential employer how well you actually communicate.

Everyone loves to highlight their “excellent written and verbal communication skills” on a resume, then fail to proofread a comment left on a company Facebook page or description paragraph on their profile. If you say you are great communicator, do not pick and choose when to be great. Make sure to stay consistent with whom you describe yourself to be.

8. Get Endorsed

Ask For Recommendations Endorsements - Eminent SEOSince LinkedIn is one of the top job search engines, it is important to get endorsements from other professionals within the network. Your connections are allowed to endorse you, or legitimize your skill set. You can ask former bosses or coworkers to write recommendations for you, and you can certainly return the favor.

Creating several symbiotic professional relationships online can only help you. The more high-quality references you can get, the better. These endorsements show employers that you’re not the only one that thinks you’re great, because there are others in your field that give you a stamp of approval.

9. Keep It Simple

We know … you have so many awesome qualities it’s hard to narrow it down. But you have to. Simplicity is key in a great professional social media page. Try to narrow down your descriptors to what you want employers to know.

You may think you are offering a way to get to know you better, but all the extra words only serve as a distraction. Get down to the essentials and stick with it. There will be plenty of other ways for potential employers to get to know you.

10. Dress for Success

This seems simple, but you’d be surprised at how many people fall short with this one. Now, it’s not necessary to wear a tuxedo or red carpet dress in every photo, but your attire should lean toward the conservative, business casual side.

Social media has become a place of validation in our society, and many users look for approval from others in the looks department. Professionally, it’s an entirely different ballgame. Again, be authentic and be yourself, but if ever in doubt, err on the side of caution.

The Payoff

If leveraged correctly, social media has the power to distinguish you from your competition without having to even step foot outside of your home. You can make yourself the most sought after in your field, or you can get lost in the shuffle of mediocrity: The choice is yours.

If social media overwhelms you, it’s OK. You don’t have to do it all. Simply pick whichever social site works for you and stick with it. Something is better than nothing, and as with almost anything else, you get out what you put in.

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusFlickrStumbleUponYouTube

What Are the Consequences and Prevalence of Internet Addiction?

This entry was posted in Health and tagged , , , on by .

Do You Have Internet Addiction - Eminent SEO

On this Eminent SEO blog, we generally offer marketing advice, website and social media tips, as well as SEO and tech news. On this go-round, however, we’d like to slightly deviate from our usual offerings and talk about an issue that more closely relates to something many of our clients would usually cover: addiction.

But we’re not here to talk about addiction to drugs, alcohol or other harmful habits that quickly come to mind. Instead, what we’d like to look more into is excessive online surfing, aka internet addiction.

Internet addiction is real, and it’s not spectacular. Studies show that it’s not all too prevalent now, but given the web-usage habits of millennials on down, it will likely become more common in coming years.

In this post, we’ll take a look at:

  • The characteristics of internet addiction
  • How common this type of addiction is
  • The risks and consequences of excessive web usage
  • How alleviate one’s own internet addiction

What Characterizes Internet Addiction?

Couple On Couch With Smartphones - ESEOInternet addiction isn’t yet considered an official disorder, but it’s listed in the U.S. as a condition that warrants further study. This condition is characterized by spending too much time on a computer or web-enabled device to the point where it starts to affect an individual’s relationships, finances, employment, health and more. People with “addictive personalities” are at-risk for becoming a little too attached to their internet-connected devices.

Like many other forms of addiction, internet addiction can cause excess dopamine in the brain, meaning it can give the user a sort of “high” when online. But once the person goes offline, he or she may feel withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, when away from the computer. When an internet-addicted individual is not on the computer, he or she may spend most of the time itching to get back online again.

Not only is an internet addict’s relationships and job and school performance suffering, but the individual will likely lose interest in non-online hobbies or pursuits. Additionally, the internet addict may become defensive or angry when someone else comments on his or her behavior. Internet addicts may even go out of their way to hide the extent of their usage.

Which Online Activities Are They Addicted To?

Certain online activities are ripe for becoming a timesuck. If one is not careful, one or more online pastimes may become the centerpiece of a person’s life.

So what are the activities that internet-addicted individuals are spending so much of their time on? It could be one or more of the following:

  • Online gaming
  • Social networking
  • Gambling
  • Trading stocks
  • Online forum and chat room usage
  • Reading and leaving comments on favorite blog and news websites
  • Dating site interaction
  • Online shopping
  • Pornography

How Widespread Is Internet Addiction?

Despite the increasing exposure to the internet and the ability to get online from virtually anywhere, internet addiction doesn’t appear to be an epidemic … yet.

It’s hard to gauge how common internet addiction is, and how to measure it, but here are a few stats that attempt to paint the picture:

  • A 2010 study in “The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse” found that the prevalence rate of internet addiction was as high as 8.2 percent among Americans and Europeans.
  • “Internet Addiction: A Handbook and Guide to Evaluation and Treatment,” published in 2010, estimated that more than 18 percent of college-aged internet users may be addicted.
  • In 2010, the University of Leeds in England surveyed people between the ages of 16 and 51 and found only 1.4 percent of respondents were bona fide internet addicts.
  • According to Daily Mail, data published in late-2014 said that 7.1 percent of the population in Asia is addicted to the internet, a figure which includes 24 million children in China.
  • According to a 2014-15 survey in Taiwan, the prevalence rate of internet addiction among 1,100 respondents (mostly female) was 10.6 percent.

Drawing from all of the studies above, it’s probably safe to say that internet addiction affects less than 10 percent of people worldwide. However, you can also estimate that a reasonably higher percentage of young people would qualify for being internet addicted.

More on China’s Internet Addiction Problems

China is particularly seeing an affliction of internet addiction, especially among young males. In 2008, the most populated country declared internet addiction a clinical disorder, becoming one of the first nations to do so, according to Voice of America. Three years earlier, China had already begun combating the problem, opening its first of many military-style internet rehabilitation camps.

China’s threshold for what qualifies as internet addiction might seem quite low to some. When it was first categorized as a disorder, internet addiction in China meant someone spent more than six hours online (not work- or study-related) each day and felt bad when unable to access a computer. While that may seem like a low benchmark, China is nonetheless not joking around when it comes to the problem. It is just one of many countries that has been taking steps to curb heavy web usage, with South Korea being another prominent example.

Risks and Consequences of Internet Addiction

Although the internet offers ways to connect with people all over the world, the interactions are often superficial and rarely a substitute for real-life relationships. Besides potentially hurting relationships, finances and job status, internet addiction can negatively affect people in other ways, such as exacerbating or giving rise to mental health issues.

Back in 2008, Dr. Jerald J. Block conducted a study that concluded that 86 percent of internet-addicted individuals exhibited other mental health disorders. The mental health conditions that are sometimes linked with internet addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Social isolation
  • Psychosis
  • Hostility
  • Insomnia
  • Impulse control disorder
  • Substance use disorders, such as abuse of alcohol or prescription and illegal drugs
  • Suicidal thoughts

People who are addicted to the internet may also become malnourished due to poor eating habits, such as not eating often enough or consuming unhealthy snacks and meals that don’t take too much time away from the web and can be eaten while sitting at a computer. As you can imagine, since sitting or lying down is the most common position for internet surfing, someone who spends hours and hours online each day will see their physical health start to slide as well.

More on Depression and Internet Addiction

Medical experts have had trouble determining if depression leads to internet addiction or vice-versa. Either way, the worse the addiction gets, the more one’s depression is exacerbated, in most cases.

This can become a vicious cycle. Depression can tempt someone into retreating to a computer or internet-enabled device and staying there for hours on end. In other cases, the allure of the internet can keep a newer user online for hours to the point where they’re doing it every day, but as their connections and relationships with others start to fade, depression can begin to seep in. If a person’s internet usage is making depression worsen, it’s time to pull them out of the cycle and begin some form of therapy.

More on Suicidal Thoughts and Internet Addiction

You don’t have to search too hard on the web to find stories of people wearing diapers (especially for gaming) to keep their internet usage uninterrupted and others who have physically harmed themselves to try to pull themselves out of the digital timesuck.

These are unfortunate situations, but they hint at something direr than simply depression. Not only does web addiction closely relate to depression, but it gets even more serious: suicidal thoughts and actions.

The aforementioned Taiwanese study looked closely at the link between suicide and internet addiction. When comparing the internet-addicted respondents to the non-addicts, researchers found that internet addicts have:

  • A 47 percent higher rate of suicidal thoughts within a week
  • A 23 percent higher rate of lifetime suicide attempts
  • A 5 percent higher rate of suicides attempt within a year

Unsurprisingly, the same study also found that web-addicted individuals have a 65 percent higher rate of psychiatric morbidity, which means both physical and psychological decoration due to a mental condition.

How to Get Help for Internet Addiction

Couple Hugging Each Other Looking At Smartphones - ESEO

You’d be surprised at the number of ways you can treat internet addiction now, whether at home or in a professional environment. You don’t even have to fly to China to enter one of its rehabilitation boot camps!

If you know someone who exhibits many of the signs of internet addiction, don’t be shy in trying to redirect their attention to other hobbies or to help them seek professional treatment. As you just read, the consequences can even be fatal, in rare cases.

At-Home Options and Strategies

Software is available to help keep internet usage to a certain time constraint. Most of it is available for download online. It’s usually intended for parents and schools, but it will work for you if you’re trying to help a loved one with his or her web usage. Just do a search for “software to limit internet usage,” and you can read reviews and choose a product that works with your budget.

Also, if you’re a close friend or family member of someone who’s addicted to the web, it helps to model a healthy internet behavior to them. If you are on the web for several hours in a row too, or if you can’t finish a conversation with your loved one without checking your phone, it’s going to be hard to convince him or her to cut back. So, not only model appropriate web-usage behavior, but also try to encourage the person to frequently join you for social events, physical activities, etc.

Medical Treatment

Depending on the situation, a doctor or psychiatrist might prescribe certain medications to treat web addiction, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs. Prescription drugs such as Lexapro, Vivitrol (an extended-release injection), Wellbutrin, and a Celexa-Seroquel combination all are options for treating internet addiction.

Counseling and Therapy

The internet addict should go through his or her insurance in order to find and start seeing a licensed psychiatrist. The struggling individual could also join a therapy group. Some 12-step programs do accept internet and tech addicts, by the way. Of course, group sessions should take place in person, rather than in chat rooms or other online areas.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has proven to be very effective when treating this type of condition. Led by a therapist, CBT helps replace addictive behaviors with something more positive and healthy. CBT can change thinking and behavior patterns, as well as give the patient some tools that will be useful throughout life.

Inpatient Treatment

If the situation is that grim or if group therapy isn’t working, you may want to look into residential treatment. Some hospitals and drug rehab centers offer programs for internet addicts. It’s still a relatively new process, but there should be a residential rehab center that will offer a little getaway from the digital world as well as expert guidance toward a healthier lifestyle.

Please share this article with your friends and loved ones to help spread awareness of the dangers of internet addiction.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Like It or Not, Vertical Video is Here to Stay: How Marketers, Brands Can Adjust

Vertical Video - Upright Or Sideways - Eminent SEO

Trying to watch an entire video that was shot vertically might be like nails on a chalkboard to a design expert or videographer. However, much to their chagrin, vertical video has expanded well beyond Snapchat and isn’t going away anytime soon.

It seems to fly in the face common of sense, but a market has emerged for vertical video. Just a few years ago, most of us were making the switch from 4:3 monitors and television sets to widescreen versions. Now, a significant amount of the media we watch and interact with is being presented vertically, not horizontally.

How did this happen? You can credit (or blame) mobile devices for this movement. As our smartphones have gotten more powerful and as most families own at least one tablet device, we are quickly moving toward a mobile-first world.

Let’s take a look at the arguments for vertical video, why the format will likely be around for years to come, and how advertising and marketing departments can capitalize on the movement. But, before we do that, let’s look at why vertical video gets the goat of so many who claim to be experts in the aesthetics of moving imagery.

Why Vertical Video Sucks

You may have thought we’re living in a widescreen world, but the vertical video movement is pushing back at that notion.

How did this happen? A common complaint about trying to watch a video in this format goes to the effect of, “My eyes aren’t stacked vertically on my head!”

Yes, we naturally see the world horizontally. We generally like to see the full context and background of whatever subject on which we happen to currently have our focus. This explains why television screens and computer monitors have evolved to replicate, as closely as possible, our natural field of vision.

Yet, more and more people are serving up video in a vertical format. You can thank apps like Snapchat and Periscope for this phenomenon, or maybe just blame the orientation of smartphones and perhaps sheer laziness by their owners.

Vertical video has been getting on consumers’ nerves for several years now. Some even claim that the format is evidence of a rise of narcissism in society, since it’s usually one person filming themselves. In 2012, a popular video was released that claims to be a public service announcement on “Vertical Video Syndrome.”

“Vertical videos happen when you hold your camera the wrong way,” the lighthearted, humorous video says. “Your video will end up looking like crap,” it adds.

This so-called PSA came out about a year after the creation of Snapchat. Even then, its creators recognized that too many smartphone users were forgoing turning their devices sideways when shooting video. Today, vertical video is even more prominent, and many former horizontal advocates are finally giving in.

Perhaps the reason vertical video gets on the nerves of so many is quite a few of us think in terms of YouTube when consuming and producing visual content. A vertical video might play well on a phone, but once if it gets uploaded to YouTube, an excessive amount of pillarboxing (empty, black bars on the left and right) accompanies the footage inside the video player.

Why Vertical Video Does Not Suck

Let’s put aside any personal distaste for vertical video for a moment and take a level-headed look at why the format is excelling and why it legitimately has a place in today’s digital world.

Cellphones are getting larger and larger, and they’re getting harder to hold steadily in one hand, even for those of us with large hands. Turning the phone sideways to shoot video almost always takes two hands to operate the device, and there are certain times where that’s a luxury some users just don’t have. Shooting a video with the phone held upright can usually be accomplished with one hand, so there’s little reason to fault people for not being gung-ho about turning the phone horizontally.

Also, sometimes framing a video vertically just makes sense. It works for certain photos, after all. If you really want to get a tight focus on a single subject – a person or an object – then a vertical orientation could work really well. And it’s not just that it can work really well, it is working really well in the current smartphone- and tablet-laden environment, as more and more users are feeling comfortable with watching and shooting such videos.

This tweet sums up the best situations in which to shoot a vertical video:

Several Signs that Vertical Video Is a Legit Movement

You don’t have to look too far to see that vertical video is a viable movement and isn’t going away any time soon. Here are a few examples that extend beyond the realms of Snapchat, Periscope, Meerkat, etc.:

Vervid

Vervid is a website and iPhone app that allows users to create and share short videos with an aspect ratio of 9:16 (as opposed to the widescreen dimensions of 16:9). This company appears to be on a mission to make vertical video a mainstay.

Verly

Verly is an online marketplace for stock vertical imagery, with video clips available across 30 different categories and ranging in price from $15 to $79.

Verly Vertical Video Screenshot

Vimeo

You will see pillarboxing around a vertically-shot video on the desktop version of Vimeo, but the video controls actually fit inside the narrow frame with the actual footage, rather than spread across the entire media player, as seen on YouTube.

Vimeo Vertical Video Screenshot

Vertical Film Festival

The Vertical Film Festival takes place in Austrailia and features short, 9:16 submissions. The festival is actually coming up on its second annual celebration, which will take place on May 21, 2016.

Vertical Film Festival Australia

Photo from the 1st annual Vertical Film Festival in Australia. (Facebook Photo/Vertical Film Festival)

Vertical Video Trailers

A YouTube account named “Vertical Video Trailers” has emerged, where it appears the account creator has just taken the traditional trailers of movies and cropped them to fit a vertically oriented device. These clips will have pillarboxing when viewed on a desktop, but if you take them full screen on your phone, they will fill out the available space.

The Stats Back it Up

If the above examples are a little too anecdotal to convince you of vertical video’s newfound prominence, let take a look at a few statistics provided by Snapchat and Verly:

  • Vertical video ads are watched all the way through 9 times more than horizontal video ads on Snapchat.
  • Smartphone users hold their phones vertically about 94 percent of the time.
  • Brands that are producing vertical video are seeing a 73 percent average completion rate.
  • Viewing of vertical content has jumped 600 percent over the last five years.
  • More than 7 billion video clips are viewed daily on Snapchat, a majority of which are vertically filmed.
  • Consumers use vertically oriented devices 30 percent of the time, up from just 5 percent in 2010. This means desktop, laptop and television screens aren’t dominating consumers’ attention the way they used to.

What About YouTube?

Last year, a Business Insider video producer created a vertical video about vertical video and embedded the YouTube version on his company’s website without any pillarbox showing.

Business Insider YouTube Vertical VideoHowever, if you click to see the video directly in YouTube, a significant amount of pillarboxing fills the widescreen frame.

This indicates that Business Insider must have adjusted the video embed code so the clip shows up perfectly on the page with its accompanying article. In fact, if I dig into the source code of the page, it looks like the width of the video player was changed to 400 pixels and the height changed to 711.

So, while you can manipulate the code of a vertical YouTube video to display correctly on your own site, it won’t look all too great on the popular video platform itself unless you’re viewing it on a phone and you make it full screen. If vertical video creators can eventually convince YouTube to fully cater to their 9:16 content, there’s no telling how far the format will continue to go. But, so far, YouTube is still a little behind the curve, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

How Advertisers, Marketers Can Capitalize on Vertical Video’s Success

Although you can certainly find examples of vertically-shot video and content pre-2010, the format’s viability is currently undeniable in today’s digital climate.

It’s still a rather fresh trend, so brands are still trying to figure out how to capitalize on the format’s success. If you’re in advertising or marketing, keep reading for a few ideas on how to get you started with creating and leveraging vertical video.

Leveraging Snapchat

Many media companies are on Snapchat Discover to provide video and photo content for users on this platform. Your company can try to get on Snapchat Discover, or if you’re a smaller business, you’ll just make a pleas for your Facebook or Twitter followers to find your Snapchat business account. Be sure to hide your phone number, as it will likely be one person whose personal phone will be logged in as the business.

However, make sure your business’s Snapchat Stories can be viewed by the public, not just “friends” of the company. If you can see Stories and individual snaps by users who have friended the company, feel free to interact appropriately and keep your brand on the mind of these users.

Shooting Other Vertical Content

Perhaps, your company periodically shares video to its social accounts, just maybe not vertically oriented clips. You can start changing that today.

Videos shot vertically will play well in Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram. You don’t always have to shoot such videos with a phone, either. You can use a higher-powered camcorder and just turn the device 90 degrees, or find a tripod where the camera mount can tilt and still hold the device sideways.

Better yet, use your camcorder to shoot a video with a landscape orientation. And when you have a single subject within a certain shot, just keep it in the focal point in the middle of the frame. This way, you can always crop the footage to a vertical orientation using video-editing software.

You can then share that video to Facebook, Twitter and such, but you have options if you want to use the widescreen version for other platforms, such as YouTube. Companies like Mashable, Vox and National Geographic are known for shooting videos horizontally but cropping some of them down to appear vertically on certain platforms.

Video Length

Vertical video seems to work best for brands when clips are short – as in 1 minute or less. If you look at the submissions to last year’s Vertical Film Festival, most of those “films” didn’t even linger past 3 minutes. While more content consumers are opening up to vertical video, the clips are still difficult for the average viewer to watch for long periods of time.

If you don’t shoot video too often, you can get started by purchasing vertical content from the aforementioned Verly and then adding graphics or a few seconds of your own footage to the mix. Producing high-quality vertical video can help your company succeed on mobile and open itself up to new audiences.

It’s Good to Have Options

Personally, I find vertical video hard to take in, other than on Snapchat and maybe Twitter. However, after digging deeper into the trend, it’s not hard to see the value and the opportunity the format provides, even though it does take some getting used to.

Are we going to start seeing tall, narrow movie theater screens, desktop monitors and TVs? Not likely, although monitors that can rotate 90 degrees may start gaining popularity.

Now that we know vertical video is viable, it’s just another tool in the arsenal when it comes to how to shoot and produce footage that can be used on social media, a company’s website, a presentation, etc. Whether a video needs to be vertical comes down to:

  1. The device you’re using,
  2. The type and number of subjects you’re recording, and
  3. How you want users to view the final product.

A general design rule applies here: If it’s the right format for the right context, it’s usually a success. User experience can go well beyond a website and now apply to the format of videos as well. Whether you personally like vertically filmed video, as marketers and video creators, it’s time to adapt or get left out of the frame.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Boost Your Social Media Marketing Efforts with These Online Visual Tools

Online Storytelling Tools - Eminent SEO

As 2016 approaches, you’re probably looking for fresh ways to deliver compelling content to online users, particularly those in the social media realm. Rather than trying to get people to focus on run-of-the-mill blog posts and straightforward service and product pages, why not focus on what you can do for them, not what they can do for you?

With that in mind, what steps can you take to better inform and even entertain your current audience? How can you make that audience grow, not only on your website, but on social media? What tools or practices can you employ to make your content stand out from the competition?

We’re going to tell you about three online tools you can use to help you answer the preceding questions. Not only are each of the tools listed below fairly easy to use, but two out of the three of them are free. One is fairly new to the scene, but all the companies behind all three tools happened to make moves within the last couple of years that helped them reach a wider audience.

The best part about each of the tools on the following list is that there’s a storytelling component to each of them. Telling stories is a tried-and-true way of capturing people’s attention. As far as storytelling online is concerned in the age of short attention spans, this time-tested method can help keep eyes on your content longer. Using the online tools below will help you churn out great content that’s a little different than the norm, yet readily shareable on social media.

Without further ado, let’s get into the three tools (in no particular order) that can help you boost your social media marketing efforts and overall online engagement in the coming year.

Storify

This online curation service is probably the most recognizable name on the list. It debuted in 2010 and was free for everybody to use. A business plan debuted in 2013, boasting additional features not found in the free version. You’ve probably seen Storify stories embedded on media sites like Yahoo and BBC, as the features are very useful for journalists trying to aggregate content posted to social media.

Storify lets you easily pull from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, SoundCloud and more in order to create one chronological story. You can write some text in between some of the social posts to give more context, but usually these stories are pretty light on copy, taking the best from social media and other online platforms. The stories are easily embeddable on your website, and your creations can get some extra views through custom social sharing features and on the platform itself, which functions as its own social network.

Even if you’re not in the news business, if you ever see a news story, event or trending social media topic that relates (even faintly) to your industry, that’s the perfect time to take to Storify. There you can grab social posts that either 1) best recap the online conversation, or 2) best illustrate whatever point you’d like to make. This can be a perfect way for your company to share your expertise on the trending subject and add value to the conversation. Your completed story will be perfect for sharing to social media and even embedding on your site.

When shared to Twitter, Storify stories make for one of the most interactive types of tweets imaginable.

If you go with the Storify Enterprise plan, you’ll have additional features at your disposal such as real-time story updates (perfect for live blogging) and the ability to blend an embedded story into your website’s format and color scheme. Overall, though, Storify is easy for any user to pick up and use for free.

ThingLink

This tool is the only one of the three on this list where your business is going to have to pay right off the bat, unless you’re counting the free 14-day trial. ThingLink lets you add interactive elements to photos and videos like never before. The company was founded in 2008, but arguably rose to prominence after receiving $2 million in venture capital funding in 2013.

In short, ThingLink allows you to put hot spots (or rich media tags) on a photo or video, which can bring up videos, product pages or stories (text or audio) that relate to that specific part of the image. Think of it like creating your own Pop Up Video. With ThingLink, a single image or video is just a stepping stone to a vast amount of content – as much as you choose.

Businesses that are naturally very visual-based have found many effective uses for ThingLink. Other companies have used the service to build landing pages, and even homepages, with a large photo that can take the user to various parts of the site. A spruced-up image or video through ThingLink makes for enticing content to tout on social media, bringing more eyes to the completed piece. Some images you can even share and allow outside users to tag parts of the picture and add content as they see fit.

If your business doesn’t do a lot of video or original photography, you still might try out the free trial on ThingLink and see what kind of feedback you get on a finished piece. If you see a strong ROI in that time frame, it may be worth your time to spring for a business subscription so you can work on bigger and better video and image projects.

Apester

Last but not least on this list is Apester, which has less to do with storytelling, on the surface, than the other two tools, but does allows you to churn out some visually impressive content. With Apester, you can create a slick, media-rich poll, survey or personality test to engage users and better understand your audience. Apester, a relatively young company that was formerly known as Qmerce, reached a milestone of $5 million in funding earlier this year.

Apester describes itself as a digital storytelling platform, especially when users take advantage of the service’s video quiz feature. Rather than having users passively watch a video, you can now create stopping points with Apester and ask the viewer questions – such as what the next lyric might be, if they’re watching a music video.

For other business purposes, if you have an educational video about a topic in your industry, you could use Apester to create places to, as educators would say, “check for understanding” about something the viewer should have learned from your video. The Weather Channel used Apester to quiz viewers of this informational video on extreme weather driving. After a user has voted or answered a question in an Apester-powered video or poll, they can share the content with their followers on social media.

If your company doesn’t do too much with video, the most practical use of Apester would be to create polls or surveys for your website. British media company UNILAD tends to use Apester polls at the bottom of many of their online news stories. For your business, you could embed a poll even on a services page of your website to see if visitors are understanding the content or to ask them what their most-pressing question or concern on the topic is. Well-worded polls can help you get to know get to know your audience better, which can help you market smarter to them going forward.

Did we mention the tool is free? You can use it for creating video advertisements, too. So, go ahead and sign up for Apester and start cranking out as much content as you’d like in ways that are going to boost your business.

In Conclusion

Don’t just give your audience the same ol’ same ol’ in 2016. Bring content to life by trying the aforementioned online tools, as well as any others out there that you think will help your company in some form or fashion. Now’s not the time to let your content stay idle and one-dimensional online. Let’s step our collective game up and deliver appealing (and informative) visual content to social media and other online users in the new year.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Vol. 43: ESEO New Hire, News and Magazine Websites Get an SEO Boost

Eminent SEO News

The Eminent team continues to grow, as Content Manager Andrew Gilstrap started with us in May.

andrew gilstrap - Eminent SEO

Andrew assures the highest level of quality assurance for Eminent SEO and its clients by editing, writing and placing web content, including web content pages, blog posts, press releases and various video/image media.
Learn More About Andrew

Good To Know In SEO: Google Update Caters to News and Magazine Websites

Google updated its core search algorithm in the middle of June, and Search Metrics SEO Blog noticed it largely benefited websites belonging to news publications. The websites for Fortune, NBC News, Tech Crunch, Business Insider and the Wall Street Journal were among the winners in SEO visibility because of the latest Google update, which largely focused on informational and newsworthy keywords. Search Engine Land writer Barry Schwartz said even his small SEO news site, seroundtable.com, saw a 134 percent increase in keyword visibility on Google and a 25 percent increase in Google organic referrals a week after the update. Search Metrics noted, however, that news publications’ recent gains in visibility seem to be only a temporary success.

May Eminent SEO Social Media Roundup

Team Eminent and our brand mascot Max celebrated several national holidays and some local events in May through the early part of June. Check out some of our favorites among Eminent SEO’s recent social media posts. Which one do you like best?

mothers day - Eminent SEO

memorial day - Eminent SEO

international donut day - ESEO

peanut butter cookies - ESEO

May Marketing Blog Roundup

Every month, we like to round up our favorite blog posts from the Eminent family of sites. Below are the top posts from May 2015. As always, check out our blog for the latest website and marketing how-to’s, news and tips.

How to Dominate Local Search
Google continues to localize search results, and small businesses can reap the benefits, provided their website is set up and written in the best way. For example, is your business’ phone number and address consistent throughout the internet? See this post for some tips on how to gain more exposure on a local level in search engine results.

5 Reasons Why Your Website Isn’t Producing Sales
Your website may be experiencing a high volume of traffic, but most of it isn’t converting into sales. Why is that? Your website is your storefront, and if users aren’t impressed by what they see, then you’ll continue to experience low conversion rates. We offer five reasons why your website may be hindering your conversion rates. See if any apply to your business and get some ideas on how to change it.

Why Your Team Should be Well Versed with Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is all about finding qualified visitors for your website, converting the user into a qualified lead and enticing the leads to become loyal customers. Your sales and marketing teams need to lead the charge for your company’s inbound marketing efforts. See why inbound marketing is so crucial in today’s business environment, and how your company’s digital efforts play a role in that approach.

How to Improve Facebook Engagement and ROI on Your Business Page
It often takes quite some time for any company, especially a small business, to feel anything other than invisible on Facebook. Be ready to boost a few posts and focus on the particular community that you want to reach. Read this blog post for additional tips for your business’ Facebook strategy.

How to Use Affiliate Marketing to Your Advantage
As Google continues to update its algorithms, your company should be exploring every avenue to attract visitors to its site. Can you build connections with other companies and link to each other’s sites? How can the images on your site build your visibility, and what are some steps you can take to keep users on your site longer? See here for answers to these and other important website marketing questions.

Featured Service: Local Marketing

local marketing - Eminent SEO
How strong is your local marketing campaign? Does your Google Place Page (Map) show up in local search results? Can you easily find your business on all of the major social sites and important directories? Do you feel like you are getting enough local traffic, calls and conversions? No?
Local businesses need local traffic, both on and off-line. Read more about our Local Marketing Services here, or call us to learn more: 800.871.4130.

Until next time, see ya online!

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusFlickrStumbleUponYouTube

How To Use Twitter For Your Business Without Sounding Spammy

This entry was posted in Social Media and tagged , , on by .

twitter businessYou’ve wanted to use Twitter for your company, or maybe you’ve already established an account, but if you’re a small- or medium-sized business, you’re probably having trouble gaining interaction or any ROI on the social media platform.

Heck, even many large corporations have trouble getting many Twitter users to care about what they’re tweeting. But if you are trying to use Twitter to generate sales, leads, or interest in your brand, there is some light at the end of the tunnel: Research shows there are reasons why your company should be active on Twitter, and that the proper strategy can help you succeed on the platform.

Why Should My Business Be On Twitter?

You might think of LinkedIn as the place to put on your proverbial sport coat and start making a sales pitch, but a recent Forbes study found there’s a better place to do it. Twitter has emerged as the No. 1 platform for sales prospecting, edging out LinkedIn and Facebook, respectively, according to Forbes’ research. Jill Rowley, a startup adviser, told Forbes she learns more about a buyer on Twitter than LinkedIn – whom they follow, who follows them and what they tweet about and retweet.

How A Business Should Tweet

First and foremost, businesses should aim to be engaging on Twitter and ready to interact with any user who shows genuine interest. Small Business Trends advises companies to be personable on the micro-blogging platform. For example, if one of your colleagues is celebrating a birthday, or if your team is gathered at a recognizable venue, a tweet or two with photos of the event goes a long way in peeling back the curtain to your company and showing Twitter users you’re relatable.

However, don’t be too personal on your Twitter timeline. The Twitterverse is sort of a buttoned-down place where business can be conducted, but sharing a little TMI will almost always have an adverse effect.

As far as volume of tweets, a new Hootsuite blog post recommended not to tweet too much, and not to tweet too little. Posting several tweets subsequently that don’t build on each other is a great way to turn some of your followers off. Conversely, tweeting too little will make users bored with your brand and will reflect how little commitment you have to the platform.

It is okay to send the same tweet more than once, particularly if you have an ongoing campaign you’re trying to draw attention to, but tweak the copy or attach a different picture so it looks different each time, and don’t post the same idea more than once or twice day. Also, make sure to post a variety of tweets in between the ongoing message you’re trying to deliver. And for the best times to tweet, a Hootsuite blog post last year said many studies point to 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 3 p.m., but it may be beneficial for your company to post in the evening, as well. Just consider whether your business goes for a national or local audience, and if it’s the latter.

What A Business Should Tweet

Your business Twitter account should reflect your expertise in your field. Apart from the tips and industry knowledge you possess that can be shared on the platform, feel free to share links to recent publications on topics related to your field. Your Twitter followers will appreciate the insight, even if it didn’t come from in house.

A recent Twitter blog post recommended adding value to the products you offer, such as how to use the items in ways consumers probably never thought of before. Also, invite Twitter followers into a community; tell them what you tweet about, what customers you serve and what kind of incentives they might expect. That leads us to highlighting exclusive prizes and giveaways. There’s no greater way to draw in some potential customers than to tweet about giveaways, promotions, deals and contests you’re running. Additionally, remember to include a call to action in several of your tweets. Simply saying “follow us” and including a compelling reason why can go a long way.

And most of all, remember: photos, photos, photos. Try to include photos in as many tweets as possible. Mashable reported in 2013 that tweets with photos that can be instantly seen in a user’s newsfeed (e.g. not Instagram links) garner 94 percent more retweets than text-only posts. Food photos tend to do well, as do pictures of recognizable landmarks or destinations. Memes are also acceptable to include in your tweets, provided you can make a relevant connection and not choose something that might offend your followers. As long as you have rights to whichever photos you want to tweet, go ahead and post them and make sure the text of each tweet logically ties into the image.

Closing Thoughts

Don’t sound like a soulless robot in your tweets, and be engaging on the platform and ready to react to your followers or what other leaders in your industry have to say. If you’re mentioned in a tweet or asked a question, be sure to respond to it! Also, try to follow back anyone who has just followed you, as long as their account looks legitimate.

Not every tweet from your business’ account has to make a sales pitch, but such posts will be more effective as long as you are engaging and expanding your audience with a steady stream of compelling content and commentary.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Vol. 42: New ESEO Team Members, What Is Happening With Mobilegeddon

Eminent SEO News

We are still expanding our team! We are excited to welcome Casey Hansen and Kayla Haskin!

Casey Hansen

Casey is the new Executive Assistant to our CEO, Jenny Stradling. She also is a Jr. Graphic Designer and has been developing the social creatives for Eminent SEO and Eminent Social Media as well as several clients.
Learn More About Casey

Kayla Haskin

Kayla is part of our Fulfillment Team and is helping manage the inventory, fulfill organic marketing orders and develop strategic website plans.
Learn More About Kayla

Good To Know In SEO: What Is Happening With #Mobilegeddon

Last month we notified you about one of THE biggest Google algorithm updates in years: #Mobilegeddon. So, now that it has officially rolled out how is it impacting search and mobile marketing?

Despite all of the buzz and speculation, the mobile friendly algorithm update has not been as significant as most of us expected. Google confirmed the algorithm update did indeed roll out on April 21st, 2015 and some noticed changes to their mobile rankings and traffic as early as the next day. However, most are saying that the shifts were really not notably different.

In this Search Engine Land post Danny Sullivan reviews the winners and losers of Mobilegeddon. This preliminary list identifies Reddit as the top loser, obviously they took a hit because the site doesn’t test as mobile friendly (what were they thinking?).

The good news for any “losers” is that there’s a pretty good chance you can regain your lost rankings within a few days if you just make your website mobile friendly. We know it’s not THAT easy – but, don’t say you weren’t warned!

April Eminent SEO Social Media Roundup

We’ve been having a lot of fun with Max and Meg. Check out some of our favorite social posts from the last month. Which one do you like best?

April Showers

YouTube

Hero

Believe

Apple Watch

April Blog Roundup

Each month we like to roundup our favorite posts from the Eminent family of sites. Below are the top posts from April 2015. As always, check out our blog for the latest website and marketing news, tips and how-to’s.

The Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update Is Coming April 21st
Google announced its mobile-friendly algorithm update and gave the internet plenty of time to make their websites mobile responsive. Did you prepare your site? Still not sure what needs to be done? Check out this post to learn everything you need to know about Mobilegeddon.

How Seasonal Search Plays a Role in Your SEO and PPC Campaigns
Does your business have peak times during the year where sales are a lot higher? It’s important to understand seasonal search when developing out any SEO or PPC strategy because users are going to search a lot more during your peak times, so you want to make sure your business is visible. This could lead to adjusting campaign budgets and more. Learn more about seasonal search and how this plays a role in your campaigns.

Facebook Launches Scrapbook Feature
Yesterday Facebook started rolling out a new feature called “Scrapbook”. The feature serves as a handy tool for organizing all those baby (or pet!) photos and storing them in a dedicated, easy-to-access place. Awesome, right? Read our blog to get all the details!

How To Get The Most Out Of Your LinkedIn Profile
Are you happy with the way you are using LinkedIn? With more than 347 million users, LinkedIn is the most popular social network for professionals as well as one of the top social networks overall. However, without the right knowledge, it becomes just another time-sucking social network.

See Ya Online!

Don’t forget, it’s not too late to turn that outdated, non-mobile friendly website into a fully responsive site. We can re-design and/or re-develop your website so that it meets all of Google’s requirements and also enhances your user experience for higher conversions. Just call us for a quote: 800.871.4130.

Until next time, see ya online!

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYouTube

Vol. 40: Good to Know in SEO, Social Media Design Optimization, Monthly Blog Roundup

This entry was posted in Design, Newsletter and tagged , , on by .

Good to Know in SEO

As you know, internet marketing is dynamic and is literally changing every day. If you want to know what is going on in SEO now, you need to read… a LOT!

Here are a few great posts from across the web we think you should read this month:

Google Reveals Android App for On-the-Go Campaign Management
After a whole slew of product launches for AdWords in recent weeks, Google has now revealed an Android app that is available in the Play store.

Google May Discontinue Its AJAX Crawlable Guidelines
Does your site use AJAX? Well, Google may stop crawling those pages. More details to come from Google as early as next week.

How Google Pulls Structured Snippets from Websites’ Tables
Bill Slawski gets into how to apply WebTables. Some great stuff for the more advanced SEO’s.

How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide
Everyone does their keyword research slightly differently. If you are just learning how to do it yourself, check out this method from Hubspot.

Should Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Be Taught At College?
Often people have asked us if there is a course or degree for SEO… The answer is no. Why don’t colleges offer a legitimate degree in this sphere? As it turns out, there are very good reasons for it.

BONUS:

Okay, this one isn’t necessarily going to help you with your marketing strategies, but it might help you have a good time with your friends this weekend. You’re welcome!

Google Search Now Serving Up Cocktail Recipes With Drink Ingredients & Directions
Want to know how to make a Mint Julep? Just ask Google.

Google mixologist

Social Media Design Optimization

Social media platforms all offer different features. Most let you customize your profile image, banner and add some information about your business. If you want to take full advantage of the platform, you should customize and optimize every area available to you, including designs.

Some people think it’s enough to load their logo or a photo – but all too often we see logos that are cut off, blurry images and other obvious issues due to the designs not being properly scaled for the individual platform. Even if you create beautiful, custom designs you still have to size them for the specific recommended dimensions, per platform. For example, the recommended Facebook profile image sizing is 900 x 900, however, for Pinterest it’s 735 x 1102.

To help you design optimal images for your business profiles we created a quick guide. These are the only dimensions you will ever need to create and optimize your important social platforms (until they decide to change them on us again!).
Social Media Image Optimization

February Eminent SEO Social Media Roundup

February was a fun month for social media… We buzzed about the Super Bowl, sent out love for Valentine’s Day and shared some motivational quotes. What do you like to see in your social media feeds? Funny videos, inspirational quotes, articles about SEO, marketing facts and stats? Let us know so we can share more of what you love!
Superbowl
Achieve Goals
Maya Angelou
Too Busy
Beauty
Go for great

February Marketing Blog Roundup

Lots of good reading in this month’s Eminent SEO, Social Media and Branding blog roundup!

5 Ways To Build Online Brand Awareness In 2015
Looking for ways to build your company’s brand awareness this year? Are you looking for ways to stand out from the competition?

The Importance of a Website Content Audit During a Re-Design and How to Do It
Are you looking to re-design and develop your website? Have you thought about performing a content audit on your existing site before the re-design? If you haven’t, you need to. Here are some tips on how to perform a website content audit and reasons why it’s necessary.

Getting To Know Team Eminent SEO: Kirstin Douglas
Meet Kirstin Douglas. She is our Office Guru who is witty and logical at the same time. Mother of two, loves anime and keeps us in line! Find out how Eminent SEO keeps functioning at our best with Kirstin on the team.

How Content and Links Work Together for Better Organic Marketing
Content and link building techniques need to align in order to build a strong organic marketing strategy. With a strong organic presence, your website will rank higher in the SERPs attracting qualified users, while content marketing will walk those users through the sales funnel and help convert them into qualified leads. Here are some ways these two techniques work together.

2015 Super Bowl Commercials: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!
When you are a marketer you watch the Super Bowl for the commercials! This year entertained us, made us cry and even made us cringe a little. What was your favorite ad this year?

Is Pinterest Adding A “Buy Now” Button?
Your favorite cork board may be making the switch to digital mall. What if instead of just pinning those shoes you would die for, you could buy them with a click of a button? This feature will make buying (and selling) a breeze.

How Your Business Can Benefit From The Growing App Market
Don’t think your business can benefit from mobile apps? Think again. Some tips on how to make Snapchat work for your business marketing campaigns.

Facebook Limits Organic Reach: What Does That Mean for Marketers?
Now that Facebook is limiting the amount of promotional content in newsfeeds, how are marketers supposed to utilize Facebook to help promote brands? There are still ways, but they are limited. Here are few we came up with. Feel free to share some of your ideas in the comments.

See Ya Online!

Welcome to our new subscribers! We hope you found something useful in this month’s newsletter. Are you interested in a specific topic you’d like us to feature in the next blog post or newsletter? Send us a note – we’d love to dive deeper into the subjects that matter to you the most.

Thanks for reading! Until next time, see ya online!

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYouTube