Twitter’s New Layout: It’s Here!

This was just too good not to share!

You may have heard a little something back in February about Twitter’s upcoming layout overhaul…well those weren’t just rumors. Twitter is finally getting ready to launch its new layout to a small group of users and within a few weeks you might have it too. In this blog post from Hubspot.com they give us a little insight into what to expect from the new look. You’ll notice it looks a lot, and I mean a lot like Facebook. If you ask me it’s a much more user friendly and attractive structure than its predecessor. What do you think?

Photo Courtesy of Hubspot.com

Facebook Introduces – Website Custom Audiences

It seems every time I open my email in the morning I have a newsletter about more Facebook updates. Sometimes these types of news updates are mundane and practices which I have already integrated into my daily best practices, but today, however, today was different. If any of you follow Facebook updates or are super into Facebook Advertising then you know who Jon Loomer is. He is by far, in my opinion, one of the most knowledgeable people on Facebook Advertising and the Facebook Power Editor. If you don’t know who he is I would recommend checking him out, he provides training, weekly webinars and best of all, daily postings of all he knows and finds new with Facebook. As I mentioned above, today I opened up my email, noticed an email from him with the subject line, “Huge Facebook Ads Update [Read]“. Of course anything I see coming from him I immediately click into because I know it’s going to be interesting and with this title, it certainly promised to be.

Introducing - Facebook Website Custom AudiencesI wasn’t disappointed. Facebook is now in the midst of rolling out Website Custom Audiences. It’s a slow roll-out, some have it and some, not quite yet. What this is going to allow Facebook advertisers to do is target visitors to your website, those that have visited a specific page and for some reason or another left. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have been wanting this for quite some time. I always heard talk about how this is available within Google Adwords through the Display Network and wished Facebook had something like this. Now it does and I couldn’t be more excited! Sure it will take time to perfect the system, but this time is well spent if a reach to those visiting specific pages of your website can be targeted through your Facebook Ads strategy.

Thank you Facebook.

You can read Jon’s entire article, Facebook Website Custom Audiences online here. And with the almost daily Facebook updates, among the million other social platform updates, I would suggest getting registered as a subscriber to his newsletters and weekly webinars, that is, if you want to be on top of the Facebook ad game. Happy adveritising!

Facebook Contests – Are 3rd Party Applications Still Important?

Facebook announced last week, some major changes on how businesses can run contests and promotions. No longer requiring 3rd party apps to be used, Facebook wants to make it easier for those without the proper knowledge, budget or capabilities to be able to enter the FB promotions rat race.  Businesses are now allowed to run a contest through a simple timeline status update and use the ‘Like’ and ‘Comment’ options to acquire entrants and responses.Facebook Updates Contest Guidelines

Initially, I wasn’t too sure how this was going to work. Being a marketer, one of the biggest reasons to run a Facebook contest is to gather fan and consumer information, establishing a database for long term customer relations. Yes, Facebook contests are important to increase page engagement and potential website visits, but they are also there to create important relationships between you and your target market. The thought of how businesses were losing a way to gather consumer information was bothering me. It seems I spoke too soon.

Leave it to ShortStack.com to come up with an app that actually allows you to import the ‘Comments’ and ‘Likes’ from any post on your page. It’s absolutely brilliant and called the Comment/Like Importer. If I didn’t support the on page contest before I am all in now and am comfortable telling our clients about it.

Obviously third party apps can’t be cut out completely. The amount of time to create a contest has decreased drastically which makes my job much easier, however, with the ease of creating a contest established, there also needs to be an easy way to include the rules.  Rules? Oh yeah… As with all Facebook contests you need to include ALL rules and regulations that go along with your promotion. I could not imagine including all this information in a status update. That would be quite a lengthy post, so linking out to a 3rd party app is perfect to not exhaust hopeful entrants with boring, yet important, information. I would suggest researching online for custom facebook app builders that you can use to create your rules and regulations page. Most lend to any level user and are fairly simple to install on your Facebook page.

With your contest goals and ideas in place, don’t forget about advertising it! Promoting your post to those outside your current Facebook fan base will increase page engagement and if your fans aren’t the most active FB users, advertising is a great way to gain social interaction and brand recognition. Posting the information on your Blog, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest pages is also a huge factor in gaining cross channel engagement and branding. Find more information on how to advertise on Facebook by visiting their Facebook for Business center.

In the end, Facebook has simplified the contest creation process for those not so savvy business owners who know they need to be involved in this type of online marketing, who previously didn’t know where to start. Freeing up valuable time for us Social Media Marketers to put toward other areas of our client social media marketing plan is another great benefit of this recent update. Like I said before, if I didn’t support it at first, the Comment/Like Importer has changed my mind.

What do you think about the recent Facebook changes and continued use of 3rd party applications?

Facebook Updates Their Algorithm

Facebook Updates Their AlgorithmSo one of your Facebook friends just shared this awesome picture of their trip to Bali. They posted it at 4 Pm Bali time which means you were probably in REM sleep mode when they made the post. Though you don’t talk to this friend very often on Facebook, you knew they were going and wanted to see pictures! With the recent update to the Facebook ranking algorithm you just might see the pictures after all, even if they were posted 10 hours ago.

Facebook is aiming to improve the News Feed experience for all its users by giving them the information they want to see. Recent testing showed that there was an increase in sharing, commenting and liking organic stories in the news feed when coming from friends as well as an increase in engagement for organic stories coming from pages. Previously, Facebook users encountered an unranked information stream, ordered chronologically, that would place an abundance of less than interesting information into a users news feed. Users would have to scroll and scroll and scroll to see the high engagement  posts from friends.  With the average number of news feed stories from friends and pages being around 1,500, a user’s  ability to see all the posts they wanted to see decreased.

This update makes it easier for Facebook users to view the items that are important to them and their social circle. For marketers, this change does not influence how promoted posts or paid advertisements appear in the news feed, so keep that social strategy intact. As Facebook moves closer and closer to ranking high engagement and relevant posts organically, it makes us wonder if Facebook is testing the waters to bridge the gap between itself as a social network and itself as a search engine. What do you think?

Announcing Our New VP Sales and Marketing!

ericwithgirls

Eric and his 3 daughters Celeste, Brooke and Audrey

Last month, here at Blizzard, we welcomed Eric Fullerton as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Eric has a very unique and diverse background in online marketing and technology implementation and we are so excited to have him here!

Eric’s expertise has helped many leading companies develop innovative solutions online which have lead to increases in business and enhanced ROI. For the past 13 years, Eric has worked in online marketing and eCommerce/web architecture for Aspen/Snowmass Resort, Stay Aspen Snowmass, Sport Obermeyer, and Ski.com.  Among other things, he also helped to improve the online presence for over 150 websites in hospitality and other industries.

You may recognize his name from a conference or workshop you’ve attended in the past.  He’s presented at numerous industry gatherings, including Search Engine Strategies in New York and Mountain Travel Symposium, the annual event for the ski industry.  He also co-produced the Partners in Group Sales conference for several years.  His engaging and entertaining presentations have earned him high regards amongst those in both the hospitality and SEO industries.

“I am very excited to be a part of this expert team at Blizzard Internet Marketing,” says Eric, “In the short time I have been here, it is clear that this company’s customer-centric values, service, and professionalism provide a high caliber of comprehensive marketing solutions for hotel, resort, vacation rental, and real estate companies in the US. I am confident that with our modern technology solutions coupled with our excellent reputation and visionary leadership we can go very far.”

Eric holds Bachelors degrees from UC Santa Cruz in philosophy and psychology and a MBA with an emphasis in Marketing/eCommerce from the University of Phoenix. We look forward to Eric sharing his vast knowledge and techniques to continue to push our client’s Online Marketing efforts to the next level.  His expertise and passion for marketing and technology will give us some extra edge!

Be sure to catch Eric at our upcoming Blizzard University on July 16 & 17th here in Glenwood Springs.   He will also be speaking at the national VRMA conference in Nashville and RezFest in Las Vegas this fall.  And if you can’t make it to the Workshop, be sure to keep an eye out for some of his great knowledge on our blog.  If you don’t run into him camping, hunting, hiking or skiing in the mountains, you can follow him here: www.linkedin.com/in/ericfullerton or on twitter: @ericjfullerton

 

Upcoming Search Marketing Workshops

Blizzard’s upcoming workshops that can help you market your website more effectively.

It would be great if you can attend any or all of these… if you cannot, order a video copy instead.  We are selling a package of ALL 3 workshop for $499 and will record each workshop and deliver it to you via streaming video after the event. You can watch it at your leisure.

At VRMA 2012 Nationals in Phoenix (October 21st) we are hosting a 4-hour workshop that is All About Google Analytics.  Learn how to use Google Analytics more effectively.  I hope to see you there!

Are you looking for a more intensive learning experience?  We are offering both a beginners and an advanced workshop in the next few months:

All About Google 2-day workshop will be in Glenwood Springs on November 12 and 13th. This is a great opportunity to sharpen up your SEO skills and understanding of the many opportunities Google offers your website.

Advanced Search Marketing Workshop is a 2-day workshop intensively focused on enhancing the performance of your website marketing efforts.  January 21-22 in Glenwood Springs, CO.

Timeline of TripAdvisor in the News for last 12 months

Read a  summary timeline of TripAdvisor in the news during the last 12 months with links to articles with more details:

10/28/11 Hoteliers and restaurateurs anxious to sue TripAdvisor in the U.S. over travelers’ disparaging reviews may have to rethink their strategy following a legal decision involving Yelp. Read More

10/20/11 TripAdvisor gets sued for 10 million after naming hotel the “dirtiest hotel” in the country.  The Grand Hotel, in Pigeon Forge, was ranked the dirtiest hotel in America and now its owner is going after TripAdvisor.  Read More.  Also read: Does TripAdvisor Play Dirty with Hotel Reviews? in USA Today.

10/20/11 TripAdvisor is seeking verification from a consumer after discovering a potentially false review.  The Howarth House (a hotel in the UK)  brought brought the review to TripAdvisors attention. Read More

10/4/11 Trip Advisor punishes hotel for writing its own reviews, and for writing a negative review of a competitors.  The hotel now has the “red badge” on its listing at TripAdvisor and denies wirting fraudulent reviews. Read More

9/27/11 TripAdvisor now emphasizing Traveler photos (along with reviews).  With over 8 million traveler’s photos on TripAdvisor, your guests can now shape public opinion of you not just by writing about your, but by also sharing photos.  This is a natura; extension of TripAdvisor’s user-generated content.  Read More

9/12/11 TripAdvisor waters down its trustworthiness when it removes “Reviews You Can Trust” and changes to “Reviews from our Community” Read More [Read more...]