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Making Facebook Pretty! Step One…

Despite being absent from this blog for a while, ok, maybe a LONG while, we here at CDK are getting this up and running again.

Today’s blog focuses on the big leader in Social Media Marketing: Facebook. We’re starting a new 7 Step Series to help you make your Facebook page more appealing to fans!

Did you know that Facebook has pretty strict rules for what you can show on your timeline cover image? Here’s the run down:

Facebook says you CAN showcase:

  • Imagery of your products if you sell things.
  • Your staff, if you focus on customer service
  • Your testimonials, if you have loyal customers.
  • Your brick & mortar storefront. This makes it easier to identify your shop when someone visits.

I often see logos in cover photos, but realize this may not be the best place for it logo since you don’t want to duplicate what you have appearing in the small profile image (which appears next to each post, so it SHOULD be your logo).

Facebook says you CANNOT showcase:

  • Price Details – if you sell a widget, your cover photo can’t say you can “Get 2 for $19.95!”
  • Sales Info – no January BOGO or any other promotional details
  • Contact Info – no web address, phone number, email or snail mail addresses. This info is to be listed in your “About” portion of your page
  • Begging for Likes – this isn’t good form anyway, but Facebook takes it one step further and says NO! NO!
  • Calls to Action – While this is a definitely a feature you need on your website, Facebook says you can’t put them in your cover photo. So, no “Call Today!” or “Click Here!”

For more details, visit Facebook’s help page page here: http://www.facebook.com/help/276329115767498 .


Using Negative Customer Reviews to Your Advantage

Remember that old saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,”? Using Negative Customer Reviews can help validate your company or product by validating your positive reviews. They also give you room and space to brag on your company without seeming too commercialish–(yes that’s my word, probably not one you would find in the dictionary). In this way you can bring up new products and improvements without sounding like a salesman.

Check out http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/video/on-bad-reviews-there-is-gold-in-there-inside-the-entrepreneurial-mind-series by Seth Godin, who is interviewing Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio and Food Network’s Sarah Moulton about how they use bad reviews – and bad reviewers – to make their businesses better.

What do you do to manage negative customer reviews?


Seasonal Growth through Holiday Incentives

Every year, the holidays come in–and not quietly. They come in with shouts and skips of joy, and most probably some groans from reluctant wallets. Not all companies are compatible with making holiday sales, but with some inspired marketing, you could still get some jingle in your pocket instead of some jangle.

By tying your service or product into Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween-what ever the occasion, you may have a better chance of getting attention. However, if you are hosting a contest or drawing pay particular attention to deadlines. Offices close early, people go on vacation and you don’t want your prize left hanging in the wind or null and void because no one collected it.

Don’t forget about employees either. This is one of the best times of  the year for incentive contests and the boosting of morale.  According to the Chicago Tribune, around lunchtime on Halloween at Tinsley Advertising in Miami, employees scrambled into their costumes and competed for prizes. This year, the Halloween party theme was advertising icons, and employees puzzled over their costumes for weeks, contemplating everything from Tony the Tiger to the Keebler Elf. Obviously, happy employees are productive employees.

Also around this time of year, sales and incentive deals will draw in clients as well as offers to contribute a percentage of a sale to your client’s favorite charity. For instance, a law  firm might encourage lawyers to offer struggling clients some leniency. “We might be more considerate with discounts than at other times,” said Jeffrey Shapiro, managing partner for a Florida law firm.

So what are some ways your company uses marketing and incentives to survive the holidays?


Tech Toys for Christmas

This weekend the holiday season officially begins, and already tech toys are in demand. Whether it is the Nook or Kindle and their e-books, or the new iPhone4s with all its features, people are already scrambling to secure them for gifts. Even good ol’ Charlie Brown is being given new life via Apple’s iPad. The Charlie Brown app captures the nostalgia of the 1965 television special, while still adding a modern and inventive twist on the Children’s Book app. Click here to learn more about:

A Charlie Brown ChristmasAndroid appsChristmasHolidays 2011ipad appsloud crow interactiveWinter Holiday Season

For the tech office Christmas party, http://www.thinkgeek.com/ has a bit of everything for everyone, and at affordable to extravagant prices. There were several that make certain members of our team grin and bounce around like eight year olds.

You can go to http://geek-news.mtv.com/2011/11/18/the-top-10-video-game-gifts-2011-geek-gift-guide/ to find the top ten Video games for the gamers in your life. Among them is Skyrim, which my daughter has been drooling over.

So what tech toys are you looking forward to finding under the tree or in your stocking?


Why Social Media Isn’t Just for Reunions

Keeping in touch via social media may be a very smart business move in today’s economy. After all everyone has a need, so Uncle Joe may know someone who needs the products you are selling. In fact, the most common reason U.S. adults use social networks such as FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn is to stay in touch with friends and family members according to Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project study released November 15, 2011.

“Many social networkers view these sites as venues for making new friends and connections,” says the study‘s lead researcher, Aaron Smith. “But for the majority, social networking sites are most important as a way to share and communicate with friends and family who are already key social ties.  As as studies have already shown, when customers need a reference or advice about a product they are 72% more likely to ask friends and family.” Here are some other social media statistics:

Of those surveyed, 67% say connecting with friends was a “major reason” they use social media; 64% say connecting with family was also a “major reason.” Half of the social media users say connecting with people they’ve lost touch with is a “major reason” for their use.

Older users (ages 50 to 64) are more likely than younger users (ages 18 to 29) to use social media to find others with similar interests or hobbies. Eighteen percent of the older group, compared to 10% of the younger group, use social for that reason.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Is Most Popular Social Network for All Ages; LinkedIn Is Second [STUDY]

Twitter users are more likely than Facebook or LinkedIn users to connect with public figures using social media. While 41% of users say reading celebrity and politician updates was at least a minor reason for using social media, only 4% of non-Twitter users attributed interactions with public figures as their motivation.

Only 3% of respondents say finding potential romantic or dating partners is a “major reason” they use social media. Conversely, 84% say it was “not a reason at all.”

Pew surveyed 2,277 adults over the age of 18 between Apr. 26 and May 22. There is a 3% margin of error to the findings.

Why do you use social media?


The New Kid In Town: Remote Employment

For many of us, working remotely isn’t a new idea. However it is something that those folks in New York do, but not so much here in the Heartland. Many employers are loath to give up the old fashioned notion of working 9 to 5 in the office, and granted there are advantages and a certain convenience (especially for employers) to office bound employment.

However in this uncertain economy, employers as well as employees are finding it more and more difficult to stretch a penny. Everyone is looking to cut corners, but really if at all possible should employees be the first corner to cut? After all, even with unemployment up, studies show that is is not easy as you would expect to find and hire qualified employees, when a business’ economics do an upswing. There might be an assumption that recruiting is easier when unemployment is high, but that’s simply not true. According to Manpower Group, 52% of employers found it difficult to hire qualified employees, even though they cast a wide employment net.

What would be another alternative? Rather than spending hard earned cash on a large office space and expenses, hire remote employees who do work from their homes. Now days, it is making better and better business sense.

According to a report by Elance, that was the situation for Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of telework job service FlexJobs. Fell figured out what worked best for her company through a combination of instinct, trial and error, and feedback from colleagues who already had experience hiring remote workers.

If you are considering this move, one of the most important procedures to embrace is the ability to onboard a team. In order to do this, you must first:

*Connect face to face–just like a morning morale meeting, set a time for on-line conference to discuss that days projects, updates, and to do lists.

*Teach the job in steps–have a newbie? Teach company technology, as well as culture in steps, so that it doesn’t overwhelm the company or the new employee. This also ensures that everyone is on the same page.

Fell also says the most important step when adding a new technology to the onboarding process is test first, then implement. “The more we test a particular technology to see if it meets our needs, the better chance we’ll have of selecting the most appropriate and useful technology,” Fell explains. “And we’re sure to avoid headaches down the road!”

As more organizations recognize the value in telework arrangements, we’ll see more remote workers move from the status of occasional freelancer to full-time employee. Creating an effective, efficient onboarding process will benefit both the new hire and the company.

What advice do you have for companies looking to onboard remote employees? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.


Arguing With Success

Posted by Seth Godin on October 29, 2011 | PermalinkTrackBack (0)

Arguing with success

“You can’t argue with success.”

Of course you can.

Conventional wisdom says you shouldn’t bother. But arguing with failure is dumb. Failure doesn’t need to be argued with, it’s already failed.

It takes guts to argue with success, guts and insight. And it’s the best way to make things better.

As usual, Seth says it best.


The Power of Knowledge & Experience

As an entry level graphic designer searching through the never ending task of landing that Mr. Right of a job, each individual has key aspects that will make or break the employment status.  Whether you are new to the field, or switching career paths, graphic designers not only have to be creative, but they must also boast a high proficiency in the software backbone of the profession. They must also be complete perfectionists that see every detail. Lastly, and most importantly, they must have very tough skin for critique.

In order to become what many characterize as successful; a graphic designer must first and foremost know how to use their tools.  In this case, (speaking graphically of course), the primary tools would be Adobe products (like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Flash), as well as other manipulation software that aids to building graphic work, websites, identities, and more.  To become even more valuable in the job market, it is ideal to have knowledge of HTML and CSS.  Knowing jquery and JavaScript are an even bigger bonus for hunting down that perfect job.

Still, don’t count on just software tools to land your job. Knowing the genetics of a website and the development process, teaches designers what their creative possibilities are.  Designing is one step, but developing is an entirely different story.  When a designer knows how to use their programs, they aren’t slowed down when creating a certain look or hung up on any learning curve.  Working smart with Actions, (a short-handed function in Photoshop) and having the self-discipline of naming layers creates a design that works proficiently and still leaves a clean file for others to work in.

There are also personal traits that set certain designers apart from everyone else. One such trait is an eye for detail.  Another such trait is being a perfectionist. These two traits together can actually get you the job. The reason?  Every designer knows print work and web design have to be designed at different resolutions and at different color modes.  A designer has to know basic measurements and conduct exact alignments for each entity. Having this eye for detail enables a designer to get perfect and exact measurements, consistent color usage, and overall appearance.  In having to have exact measurements, the perfectionist trait speaks for itself. The lack of these traits could result in sloppy and unprofessional work—lessoning the chance of landing that dream job.

There is one other trait that a designer must have. The cliché that one man’s art is another man’s trash is very true.  A designer could design an elegant, professional, and creative piece and still, the client could hate it.  Because this often happens in this field, it is vital that a designer possesses a tough skin for all criticism that may fall upon them.  Think about it; you put your heart and soul into a project and it is scrapped in minutes. By far, this is one of the worst feelings in the world.  However, just because the client or boss doesn’t like your work does not mean your piece is worthless.  In fact, their negative assessment can be used to build upon that project to make it better.

So, instead of being upset if your design didn’t meet someone else’s standards continue on and use that experience in order to improve your work.  In my opinion, this is probably the most essential trait that you will need to survive in this very competitive field. Remember, the power of knowledge and experience is a mind blowing combination that ultimately creates successful designers.


Sweet Spots: More Strategy Tips for Your SEO

There are sweet spots to put ranking words as focal points with weight in your SEO. Do you know what they are?

Google’s algorithm recognizes focal points of importance, so it notes the words in headers. So you would not only put keywords in the headers, and again, (as discussed in the last blog)—long tails, use the keyword in the last sentence. A well written closing sentence is usually going to reiterate the topic of your article, which makes a common sense place to add in an important keyword or two.

You can also use the keyword in a picture. That’s right—did you know that you can actually tell Google what a picture is about? It’s called an ‘alt tag’ and it’s actually another place to fit your keyword in. There is also a free plugin called SEO Friendly Images—this is a plugin that will set the alt tags on all your pictures to the title of your post. This is especially handy if you have a blog with a lot of pictures and you don’t have time or the patience to optimize them. Instead you can install this plugin and it will give each picture an alt tag according to the title of your post.

Lastly, another overlooked spot to place keywords in in your URL. If you post is going to be your ‘go to’  post to rank #1 for a keyword, make sure to optimize the URL. If you didn’t know you could do this, you can go back to past blogs and edit the URL-WordPress should automatically redirect traffic to your new URL.

So, what are your “sweet spots” for placing keywords? Did we suggest any new ones?


Strategy Tips for your SEO

SEO strategy can be a bit tricky, but if you follow the following format, you will develop some good building blocks for improving your rankings. Today we will talk about the first three:

1: Keep the Keyword in the title of the post: and try to keep the density of the keyword in the title high. Really long titles that grab attention don’t necessarily rank will in the search engines for competitive keywords. So, instead, in order to rank high quickly just make the keyword the title.

2. Use the keyword in the first sentence: The algorithms that Google uses to score are pretty short. So as your old English teacher use to say, mention the topic in your first sentence. That’s also how the search engine looks at it.

3. If possible, use your keyword every 100-150 words: Just make sure to use alternate of the keyword in order to keep your content fresh rather than repetitive. Also, look to see what are the other long tails searched around that keyword. If you are in hurry, (and these days—who isn’t?) open up the Google search bar and start typing in your keyword. The Google suggest will begin recommending keywords. Then put these keywords into you articles because there is a good chance that people will click on the long tail suggestion that Google is giving them. You can also link the long tail keyword to it’s own article – this strategy is a sure winner when creating a niche site.