Brand Posting on Facebook3 min read

You risk hurting your business by not taking advantage of social media. Not only are you missing an opportunity to connect with the people who spend a significant amount of their free time browsing Facebook, Twitter, or a number of other social outfits (which is a majority of them), but you are also jeopardizing SEO efforts with your website. Even if you don’t realize it, social factors are becoming more and more tied into your Google, Bing, and Yahoo rankings, and by not having a presence you are unnecessarily harming your brand.

 If your brand is new to social media, or you are thinking about venturing into this new means of advertising, you should be aware that the one-size-fits-all approach with regard to brand posting is highly inadequate. Just like other advertising avenues, you need to understand your audience and the best way to connect with them.  Once you figure out what your audience is looking for, the rest is pretty simple if you follow these general rules regarding posting. Remember, the most important thing is to stay active, posting a minimum of once or twice a week.

Post content that is of interest to your audience

You’d be amazed how many brands are just posting for the sake of posting. These brands are easy to spot, as their entire wall resembles one big billboard. Don’t get us wrong, you do want to drive sales and have related posts, but this needs to be balanced. You should typically strive for 85% useful content, and only about 15% of sales-oriented posts. How quickly do you hide ads on your Facebook page? Your fans will do the same to your page if this happens, and it will prevent them from staying engaged with your page as they will no longer see your updates.

Optimize the content for shares, likes, and comments

The news feed is prime real estate. Depending on how many other brands or friends a person has sharing content with them, your message may not even get seen. You can increase your chances of locking up a spot on the news feed by creating engaging content. The more likes, shares, or comments a post has, the more likely it is to be shown. This has a snowball effect, as Facebook also takes into account how often someone interacts with your page, as well as if their friends interact with the page also.

Ask for feedback, shares, or likes

If you’ve optimized the content for it, why not encourage the feedback? Asking questions or requesting shares or likes for your posts actually works! You can get creative with this as well. If you’re asking an either/or question, have a response tied to the share, like, or comment buttons. For example, if your post is attributing a favorite flavor of ice-cream, you could say something like, “Our chocolate fanatics share this post, those who prefer vanilla like it, and if you prefer a different flavor, let us know in the comments.”

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These are just a few of the many tips we could share with you when it comes to representing your brand on Facebook. If you have specific questions feel free to leave us a comment below, or reach out to us via our contact page. We also offer full-service  social media services for those who don’t have time or interest in managing social media, but who understand its importance.

How to Choose a Domain Name3 min read

Clients often ask us “What name should I use for my website?” It sounds like an easy question, but there are actually a number of variables to consider before you rush to secure your new domain name with a re-seller. Here are five considerations to take into account when choosing your own URL:

1.    Length of the URL

Often, choosing a short name for your URL (website address) is the best way to go, especially if the name is directly linked to who you are or what you do. But having a short name isn’t everything. If the words you chose aren’t memorable, are spelled abnormally, or are awkward contractions of other words, you might be better off using the longer option.  For instance, www.thelightingworks.com would be more memorable than www.ltngwrks.com, even though it is longer. But www.lightingworks.com might be even better, since it captures the core name without being hard to remember.

2.    What to do when a URL is already taken

Chances are, unless your organization or business is very unique, your first choice for a domain name is already in use by someone else. This is no cause for panic, however, as this problem is often remedied by simply being creative. Adding geographic-specific attributes to your URL like www.palightingworks.com or www.lancasterlighting.com, for example, may be the solution.

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Why a “Super-phonebook” SEO Program may not be your Best Investment4 min read

If you are looking to join the millions of others committing money to online marketing, you probably have given thought to the large “Super-phonebook” companies that claim to be the best choice for your online marketing needs. Before you start spending money or make a commitment, there is a lot of information—and some misinformation—of which you should be mindful.

There is no shortage of horror stories floating out there in cyberspace about why people have regretted going the “Super-phonebook” route. But we wanted to find out for ourselves, so we placed a call and talked with a representative about the opportunities they could offer their clients. In comparing their options with a smaller, more customer-focused business that offer similar services, we began to understand the reasons for the complaints.

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Sharp client recently featured on the popular tech blog, “Gizmodo”2 min read

Have you ever bought a new pair of bright, white tennis shoes, only to have them look old and dirty after an ill-placed step through a puddle? Or perhaps you’ve worn a crisp, new shirt at a barbeque and quickly realized that shirt wouldn’t look new for long. Maybe you’ve simply had a beverage accidentally knocked over, right near your smartphone that happens to be lying beside it on the table. Whatever the careless moment or unfortunate incident, a small company out of Lancaster, PA has developed a product that guarantees to revolutionize how we protect our personal possessions from life’s unfortunate run-ins with these liquid-based hazards. NeverWet™, a longstanding Sharp Innovations client, has recently partnered with Rust-Oleum™ to bring this technology to a store near you. For about $20 a can, you can purchase NeverWet’s™ two part super-hydrophobic coating that effectively resists water and other aqueous solutions, acids, bases, salt solutions and most foods.

See NeverWet™  in Action..

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Now Trending: Social Media3 min read

Which-demographics-use-what-social-media

American culture has very much been influenced in the 2000’s by the impact that the internet has made on society. Perhaps the most exemplary of our cultural fascination with the internet is the magnitude of the growing trend toward social media. Whether we like it or not, mastering the social media ‘game’ as businesspeople seems like a skill we must acquire to reach the younger generations. But to what extent is the social media experiment exclusive to the “Generation-y’ers” among us? A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center presents some pretty telling data on the social media puzzle.

Contrary to what may be popular belief, 52% of the 50-64 year age bracket use some form of social media; 77% of 30-49 year-olds check in on a regular basis, and 83% of consumers ranging from 18-29 years of age will visit their social media page regularly. It’s probably not a surprise to you that social media usage ranks more prominently among America’s younger adults, but the fact that over half of all baby-boomers check into their Facebook/LinkedIn account at least semi-regularly? Wow. That’s enough to make you re-think your marketing strategy!

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Long Live the Hardware – Consumer Electronics Show3 min read

The CES, or the International Consumer Electronics Show, for those of us who aren’t in the technology awards circuit, commenced Monday, thus handing out its yearly prize to Samsung. Samsung won out in the 2013 edition of the CES’ convention over viable foe, Sony. The North Korean tech wizard claimed this year’s title through an array of products, led by its patented Galaxy S3 system, powered by Google’s Android OS. Many in the tech device know-how consider the Galaxy S3 the world’s only formidable competition for Apple’s iPhone, riding the coattails of a November sales report which positioned it as the world’s best-selling smartphone.

Media Credit: Mobile and Web News

The victory comes with a small disclaimer. Industry giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Google did not “compete.” The yearly convention, according to some, has become somewhat nostalgic, as your usual industry trailblazers are not in attendance or in consideration. The reason for the nostalgia is the distinction in the tech market between hardware and software. Most experts point to software as being the primary player which drives the technology market, that’s why it’s no surprise that software leaders like Apple and Google were “left out.”

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Yahoo! chronicles another year of “searching”2 min read

Each December Yahoo! compiles and organizes its “most searched” words of the year. These are usually representative of a year’s worth of trends, viral web sensations, and popular cultural anomalies. It can also imply what people are thinking about, talking about, and concerned about.

We can be encouraged that the top two searches for this year were NOT celebrities! With that said, and not counting their “overall” list, Yahoo! felt obligated to categorize its searches into “Female celebrities,” “Male celebrities,” and “Reality TV Celebrities.” The Kardashian clan mastered the latter, with family members claiming slots 1 ,2, 5, and 9 , respectively.  Don’t worry though, Honey Boo Boo registered a solid third on the list. Justin Bieber logged the most esteemed spot on the Male Celebrity list and Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton, and Lindsay Lohan were the three most searched Female Celebrities.

As for the top “Overall” 2012 searches, the very civic Yahoo! users searched “Election” the most this calendar year. In the same vein, “Political polls” came in at number eight. It’s no surprise that in an election year politically related searches enjoy more keyboard mileage, but this statistic is encouraging in light of the charge that Americans are politically apathetic. Without knowing exactly how productive any given search is, it seems responsible to presume that most searchers sought to be more informed this election season. Another quadrennial (every four years) favorite for 2012 was “Olympics,” which grabbed the number seven spot on the list. The other non-celebrity top 10 search in 2012 was “iPhone5,” which was second. Could it be that a large sum of iPhone5 searches were made while standing idle in huge lines waiting to buy said iPhone5’s?

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Even Though Bing Surges, Google Still Tops US Searches1 min read

Google, the worldwide search engine leader, has some competition. Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, has steadily crept up search engine rankings since it debuted in 2009, and is now in the number two spot for the first time. Google and Bing’s trajectories appear approximately parallel, while the rest of the competition’s rankings continue to dip.

According to comScore, Bing and Microsoft’s other websites had a respectable 2.7 billion U.S. search requests in February 2012, but Google still remained on top with 11.7 billion search requests. Yahoo ranked third with 2.4 billion requests. Ask Network came up two percent in February to reach 535 million search requests, and AOL, Inc. had 266 million.

What do these statistics mean for your business? Basically, search marketing, or search engine optimization (SEO), is more important than ever. With the right SEO team, you can increase lead generation and bring in more traffic to your site. Ultimately, it is possible to take advantage of Bing’s surge and the increasingly competitive search engine market to increase sales for your business. Let Google and Bing duke it out, and reap the benefits by hiring a great SEO team.

Search Traffic Infographic

Graphic courtesy of Statista.com.

 

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Smart Phones vs. the Personal Computer2 min read

According to data collected by online search giant Google, more consumers in each of five key global markets now have an Internet-capable mobile device than have a desktop or laptop computer. In the United States, the difference is creeping toward 10% more (76% to 68%), although consumers still report accessing the Internet on multiple types of devices. Still, Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker believes that, “Within the next five years, more users will connect to the Internet over mobile devices than desktop PCs.” Based on her predictions, she expects mobile data traffic to increase by almost 4,000 percent by 2014.

In addition, online tech blogs like The Verge are reporting that more Americans have smart phones than traditional feature phones, and research from the Canalys group backs this up by estimating that 487.7 million smart phones were shipped in 2011—an increase of over 60 percent from 2010. Adding fuel to the fire, Canalys doesn’t expect the increase in smart phones to continue as rapidly next year, but suggest that’s only because manufacturers will focus on higher-end models and greater profitability, instead of pushing a larger number of low-end products.

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Changes to Google Search Results2 min read

How will it affect your business?

Google announced last week that there would be another fundamental change to their search algorithm to help index new content as fast as possible. This update, called “Freshness,” will affect about 35% of all search queries. It will mostly target highly talked about news items (such as celebrity breakups and the world economy, for instance) but may also impact search queries that are broad-matched keywords such as “football.”

With the increasingly high number of people utilizing social media, blogging and news related sites, Google has taken the indexing of results in real-time by the horns.  The change has already been showing in the results. Following is an example of the results in real-time for the search query “Barack Obama.”

Changes to Google November 2011

As you can see, there is a time stamp of 17 minutes next to the most recent news item. For those businesses that have news feeds and blogs, this could have the potential to be a large outlet for pushing keyword-related content. Google still says “content is king” amongst keyword rankings, so the more quality content a business can generate, the better chance they’ll have of ranking well in search results.

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