Posts Categorized: Buzz

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How to survive the death of Google Reader

Sadly, Google Reader is leaving the world next week. They are calling it “retirement” but that’s a nice why of saying they are killing it. But, we’ve all mourned and we knew this day would be coming. July 1st is just about here, and for those of us that are procrastinators are freaking out about transferring RSS feeds and finding a new reader that we like.

Before doing anything, and definitely before July 1st, make sure to make a copy of all of your data through Google Takeout. You’ll receive the data as an XML file and it will be easily transferrable to whichever reader you choose to use.

Speaking of choosing a reader, there’s a lot out there. Feedly seems to be a favorite alternative to Google Reader for many. However, make sure to look around and do your research before choosing one. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with this program. Here’s a good list of readers to check out.

When choosing which program you want to use, consider the following:

  • How important are images?
  • Do you want to be blasted with ads? Do you mind ads?
  • How do you want to consume your information?
  • Do you want something that is similar to Google reader or are you ready for a big change?
  • Do you want a program that has been around for a while and has fixed all major glitches?

These questions are important because it can help you weed out many of the new startups that rushed to create a program in only a few months that would replace Google Reader. You don’t want to get stuck with something that will die on you again, or won’t be reliable.

Finding a feed reader that works for you might be a little frustrating, but it will be worth it in the end. You’ll be able to consume news the way you want and tailor it to your needs.


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How to use Facebook hashtags

We can’t escape it. First Twitter, then Instagram, and now Facebook is jumping on the hashtag bandwagon. Facebook announced this new feature on June 12, to a sea of mixed feelings and reviews.

Facebook Product Manager Greg Lindley wrote on the Facebook Newsroom Blog:

“Starting today, hashtags will be clickable on Facebook. Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion.”

Hashtags are useful on Twitter, where we use them for Twitter chats and to search different topics. However, the use for hashtags on Facebook seems a little more blurry and most of us are scared that it will just get plain annoying.

The hashtags will have some benefits and positive functions:

  • Search for a specific hashtag from your search bar.
  • Click on hashtags that originate on other services, such as Instagram.
  • Compose posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results.

The downside is we might be seeing a lot of useless and nonsensical hashtags from those friends of ours on our newsfeeds. Luckily there is still the ‘Hide’ feature.


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What Google Fiber means for the tech scene in Utah County

Yesterday it was announced that Provo will be the third city to receive Google Fiber, Google’s super-fast Internet service. The announcement came after Mayor Curtis promised he had some “Epic” news to share. Twitter blew up with assumptions as to what the announcement could be, using the #Provoepicannouncement hashtag. Many of the assumptions were comical, but several people suspected Google Fiber.

“Once connected, Provo will be one of the first cities in the world where access to broadband will flow like water or electricity,” Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Fiber said.

Google bought the fiber optic network that was laid years ago for the iProvo project that was never completed. Because of this, they hope to have Google Fiber in every home by the end of the year.

This is cool. But what does it mean for the growing tech scene here in Utah County? Well, first, I think the fact that Google Fiber is setting up shop here is proof and recognition that the tech and startup scene is, in fact, really awesome where we are.

Provo/Orem was ranked number 2 in the nation for the number of patents granted in the country. Don’t believe me that we have hundreds of tech startups here? Check out this list. Oh, and we’ve been rated one of the best places for businesses and careers by Forbes. So for the residents here, it makes sense that Google would join in, and everyone is excited.

With Google Fiber, businesses will have access to the fastest Internet in the world, speeding up downloading and uploading processes. The Utah County tech scene will be on the cutting edge of the future of the Internet.

This will also be a huge incentive for companies to relocate to the Provo area. SAAS companies would especially benefit from the fast Internet that will be offered.

As a startup in the Provo/Orem area, we are excited to see Google Fiber implemented, and even more excited to see the growth it will bring in the future to our neck of the woods.


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What You and the 18,000 Ex- Hostess Employees Should Know About Linkedin

Most often the stuff I publish online is about online advertising. Advertising on Linkedin is something that I am very familiar with, but today I am going to talk about Linkedin in another light.

Linkedin is a very valuable tool. It is like a virtual swiss army knife for anyone trying to survive in this economy. I think about the 18,000 people that lost their jobs when Hostess closed its doors now looking for jobs. Hopefully they read this and learn about this incredible, multi-tool that they have at their disposal.

In college I applied twice to get a job at the same company. Both times I did not get the job. I’m a little embarrassed to say that. I never even got a chance to interview. I always asked myself why I couldn’t get a job at a place where they frequently hung a sign that said, “now hiring.” Years later, after getting my degree and some experience, I had a chance to speak with the head of recruiting of that same company. I asked him what could have been the reason that I didn’t get the job. His response, “who was the employee that referred you?” No one referred me. I gave him a blank stare and he said,

“We always put the resumes that don’t have a referral from an employee of ours at the bottom of the stack. Usually we find people to hire that already know someone at the company and we never even look at the rest of the applicants.”

It’s all about who you know, isn’t it? I was mad at myself. I actually knew a few people that worked there and didn’t even bother to let them know I was applying.

Now that I have had the chance to interview at least 100 applicants, I have learned just how valuable it is to interview people that know someone you know. People can learn and say all the right things on their resume and woo you into thinking they are the best fit for the job, but their acquaintances give the real story. In an interview, you see someone for 15 minutes. Their acquaintance has seen them interact with other people and do different things for months, if not years.
“I trust what others tell me about someone more than I trust what they tell me about themselves in an interview.”

So I think I have made my point that getting a job is a lot easier when you are connected to people that know you and can vouch for you.

Now let’s get to the point of how many ways Linkedin can be used like a virtual Swiss army knife when going on a job hunt:

Online resume

  • Make sure that your Linkedin page is just as polished up as your resume.
  • Be sure that it doesn’t have any “holes.” Give your entire career history.
  • Be honest. Avoid the temptation of embellishing, or changing your title.
  • Put up a professional picture of yourself. It used to be that you didn’t include your picture on your resume. I think that is still the case, but on Linkedin, it is a must, so make sure your profile picture shows you dressed to impress.

Messaging platform

  • You can email within Linkedin to all of your connections. Message people that work at places where you might be interested in working. Message people you are connected with that are in the industry or position you want to be in and ask them for advice.
  • Rule of thumb: be personal and real in your messages.
  • Don’t talk to a complete stranger like you have known them forever. It will creep them out, just like it would if you walked up to them in the grocery store and did the same thing. Introduce yourself. Explain why you are reaching out to them and why you feel they should be interested.
  • Don’t send a message you are copying and pasting to everyone. Your lack of sincerity and will shine through. It is okay to copy and paste a message, but YOU MUST personalize it.
  • Treat the messaging platform like real life.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will be surprise how willing people are to lend a hand. They have been in your shoes looking for work and they will empathize.

Groups

  • Join groups that interest you. If you are into the auto industry, join the groups where the auto people are.
  • You can’t just message anyone on Linkedin, without proving that you have some connection to them, but you can message and invite to connect with anyone that is in the same group as you.
  • Get involved. Don’t treat Linkedin like a place you go just when you are looking for work. When you have a job, participating in the groups shows your passion for the group topic.
  • Message me (on Linkedin of course) if you want to hear how I was able to connect with the head engineer of Ford when I was trying to license a product to them.

Group Discussions

  • This is where you can really show off what you know! Answer questions. Give advice.
  • Top contributors in groups show up on the right hand side of the page. The more your profile shows up on people’s screen the better, especially if it is because you have all the right answers to the questions being asked, and good insights to the discussions going on in the Group.
  • Don’t start a discussion asking for a job. This shows desperation.
  • Start a discussion asking people how to have success when interviewing for x-position. This shows that you are looking for inspiration.
  • Message me if you want to know how I picked up an extra $30,000 in revenue through a Linkedin discussion.

Connections

  • This is the main blade of the Swiss army knife.
  • Here’s who you should connect with:
  • Coworkers – past and present
  • Employers – past and present
  • Neighbors
  • Friends and professors from college
  • Church friends
  • Family friends
  • Other Linkedin members that are in your same group(s)
  • Conference speakers
  • Family – You have no idea the connections that Uncle Bob has
  • People you talk to about work – This could be at conferences, at meet-ups, associations, clubs, on Twitter, seat neighbor on the airplane, etc.
  • Twitter followers and Facebook friends
  • Just because someone is in a different industry than you, or because they are retired, or you don’t think they can help you get a job, still connect. Linkedin is all about connecting. Your friend that is a dentist, may have a brother that is hiring for the construction job that would be perfect for you.
  • Connect in person when possible with the people you connect with.
  • This takes the relationship to a new level.
  • NEVER send an invite to connect on Linkedin with just the default message of “I’d like to add you to my professional network on Linkedin.”
  • The least you can do is add their name to the top of the message.
  • I recommend that you explain how you found them on Linkedin and the reasons why you think it would be beneficial for both parties to connect on Linkedin.

Recommendations

  • If your peers are willing to say nice things about you, that says something.
  • If your boss, or cilents, say something nice about you, that says a lot!
  • If someone gives a specific example of how your expertise impressed them/helped them/made their life easier, that is GOLDEN.
  • Do you want recommendations? Give recommendations to other people that you know have nice things they can say about you. They will return the favor.
  • You can ask for recommendations. Be very cautious here, and only do this on rare occasions. Don’t ask someone who doesn’t know you, or the work you do very well, to give you a review.
  • Don’t worry. If someone gives you a negative review as a recommendation, or if a goofy friend says something stupid, you can simply keep those recommendations private so the whole world can’t see.

Endorsements

  • These are a great way to show other people that you believe in them and the work they do.
  • Your face shows up in their email saying that you endorsed them. They will think happy thoughts, and might call and thank you. If they do, you will get a chance to tell them what you are up to.
  • Give and get. If you give endorsements, you will most likely get endorsements.
  • The man with the most endorsements doesn’t win, but it helps. Endorsements are new, and a dime a dozen, but if I am choosing between two guys, and one has 3 endorsements, and the other has 50, it may sway my decision.

Rolodex

  • People used to keep cases of business cards. I keep all of the ones I get too. I couldn’t tell you where they are, but if I dug around I am sure I could find them. My point is, nowadays, you don’t need business cards, you need an email address where you can share a link to each other’s Linkedin page.
  • Linkedin helps you keep track of everyone you have been in contact with at some time in the past.
  • You can reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in years. They may not remember your name, but thank heavens for the profile pic! They are a lot less likely to forget your face.
Stuart Draper is the guy that founded Get Found First, a PPC management agency. Stu has been doing online marketing since 2007 and has taught Online Marketing as an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University- Idaho

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Google REALLY Wants You To Try AdWords

Back in October Google stock plummeted 9% when earnings estimates failed to meet Wall Street expectations. Google has made a habit of exceeding earnings expectations, so this failure was a big wake-up call. So what does this mean for you as an advertiser?

Now Is The Time To Try AdWords

Let me explain the history of AdWords coupons:

  • $100 of free clicks for new advertisers – These coupons were as ubiquitous as AOL CDs. However, not everything lasts forever.
  • $100 of free clicks AFTER spending $25 as a new advertiser – This change happened in September and is a great way for Google to squeeze an additional $25 out of anyone looking to get their free $100 of clicks.
  • Double matching on first $125 in AdWords Express – I did a write-up on PPC.org for this change, but this is an attempt to get new users into the dumbed down AdWords Express product.
  • $400 refund if you’re not happy – This is the newest approach which I’ll discuss fully below.

$400 Refund on AdWords

Background: I received this offer via a direct mail offer sent to my home address. The letter accompanying the offer indicates that it was sent to AdSense publishers who hadn’t tried AdWords yet. Below is the offer card:

Google AdWords Refund $400

Of course there is all the small print like “enter the code above in the billing tab of your account within 14 days. If you’re not satisfied, close your account within 60 days and you’ll get your money back.” That’s just the details, but I see a larger trend here.

Google REALLY, REALLY Needs New Advertisers

My reasoning is two-fold. First, the lower than expected Q3 revenues shows that Google isn’t growing as fast as they want to be, and more importantly, not as fast as Wall Street has grown to expect. For a publicly traded stock this is a very big deal. Second, the frequency and variety of offers I’ve received demonstrates that Google is putting serious effort into new advertiser acquisition. Some offers are co-marketing efforts with hosting companies. Some offers are going to AdSense customers with not AdWords account (ie this new one). They ran a holiday promotion through Google Engage (their agency-focused department) offering prizes to agencies that could sign up new customers and reach certain spend levels before the beginning of the year.

So, if you’ve been considering AdWords, now is a great time to start because Google is dangling lots of carrots. Oh, and if you need one of those vouchers (and some help using it wisely), give Trafficado a shout through the contact form. We can probably find one laying around.


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London’s Top Tweeting Olympians

Get ready for it, folks:

The London Games will be the most tweeted, liked and tagged in history, with fans offered a never before seen insider’s view of what many are calling the social media Olympics, or the “socialympics.”

So who are the top voices of these upcoming socialympics? In addition to the fans, organizers and sponsors, there are stunning number of social-savvy (and not-so-social-savvy) athletes that are tweeting up a storm.

For this analysis, I took the 50 most popular Olympians from the official NBC Olympics website and collected data on their Twitter usage. The statistics are awesome.

Top 10 Tweeters (Most Updates)

Interesting stat: 7 out of the Top 10 are female.
[table id=4 /]

Most Followers

Interesting stat: 50% of the “most followed” are basketball players.

  1. Lebron James – Basketball – 5,274,238
  2. Serena Williams – Tennis – 2,841,006
  3. Kevin Durant – Basketball – 2,479,605
  4. Carmelo Anthony – Basketball – 2,247,680
  5. Usain Bolt – Track & Field – 557,769
  6. Rudy Gay – Basketball – 539,667
  7. Alex Morgan – Soccer – 531,517
  8. Tony Parker – Basketball – 292,290
  9. Michael Phelps – Swimming – 235,037
  10. Lolo Jones – Track & Field – 154,750

 Early Adopters

Interesting stat: This list’s earliest adopter (Bryan Clay) joined Twitter 3 years, 3 months and 16 days before our latest adopter, 15 year-old gymnast, Kayla Ross.

  1. Bryan Clay – Track & Field – 12/2/2008
  2. Reid Priddy – Volleyball – 2/23/2009
  3. Lindsey Berg – Volleyball – 3/2/2009
  4. LeBron James – Basketball – 3/6/2009
  5. Allyson Felix – Track & Field – 3/15/2009
  6. Serena Williams – Tennis – 3/15/2009
  7. Alex Morgan – Soccer – 4/3/2009
  8. Ryan Lochte – Swimming – 4/25/2009
  9. Jordyn Wieber  – Gymnastics – 4/25/2009
  10. Kevin Durant – Basketball – 4/27/2009

 

With London right around the corner it will be interesting to watch who’s most active during the games. How do you rank among these Twitterlympians?


Utah Governor Sports Contest: Is it Rigged?

I got an email this morning asking me to go vote for the First Annual Governor’s State of Sport Awards for Utah. Being a big sports fan in Utah I was curious who was nominated so I headed over to vote. I did this on my phone and immediately noticed a weird interface. There were three candidates, but only two “VOTE” buttons. This is what I saw:

Utah Governor State of Sports Awards

Now you can click on the individual BIO and then vote for them but it takes an extra click, and I would expect quite a bit of drop off for those who don’t know who they are and don’t care to spend the extra few seconds to find out.  Also, having the “VOTE” buttons in between two players led me to second guess who I was actually voting for.  Other than it being a pretty bad mobile user experience I didn’t think much about it until I got to work and went back to see if the experience was better on desktop.

What I found was everything looked the same.  As I was showing the guys in the office the poor experience, one of them pointed to a small red arrow that revealed an entirely new candidate (as well as the original missing “VOTE” button).  The first time I went through the candidates and voted I missed 25% of all of the candidates.  It was probably largely because I was on a smaller mobile screen, but I didn’t notice it at first when looking on a desktop browser either.  Here is what the desktop looked like (same as mobile):

Utah Sports Awards Poor User Experience

I’ve highlighted the arrow that I missed the first time around:

Utah Sports Awards Fail

 

Which leads to this:

Utah Sports Awards Poor Hidden Candidate

 

I’ve got to believe that there are plenty others like me who completely missed the fourth candidate on each page. Luckily for me, there wasn’t any “hidden candidate” that would have won my vote, but for the Real Salt Lake fans and a few other athletes, they are fighting an uphill battle to win enough votes from the casual voter. What started as a poor user experience turned into a poor administration of the contest.

As a marketer, the main lesson to be learned is helping users achieve the desired result. Pay special attention to the site layout and the user experience.  If you have a product you are selling on a site that isn’t easily found, chances are very good that it won’t be sold. Most people will scroll down to see more content on the page before they notice a small arrow leading to additional page content off to the right of the page.  It also would be a good practice to have someone else  (or a lot of other people) go through the experience on your site (including a mobile version) to see where the potential flaws and pitfalls are. While I doubt it was the intention of the Governor or whoever actually administered the contest, the poor administration leads to a biased contest.  For this contest, chances are pretty good that the “hidden candidates” lose the contest simply because according to most users they weren’t actually ever in the running.