Is New Media Good or Bad for your Family

Is New Media Good or Bad for your Family

IS MASS MEDIA AND THE INTERNET HELPING OR HURTING YOU?

Since the internet, and particularly smartphones, became household commodities, mass media’s impact on people and societies has increased exponentially.

As you might expect, there is a swinging pendulum of public opinion which often shifts from decrying the ills of this trend to extolling the many virtues of on demand technology.

Whether you tend toward the former or latter opinion, it’s obvious that mass media and social media are having profound effects upon individuals and society as a whole. Many people are concerned about the implications of these effects, and find themselves asking questions like:

  • How is media affecting me?
  • How is mass media impacting the next generation?
  • How do video games change us?
  • How does on-demand media impact health?
  • Is mass media truly important?
  • How do we use mass media and social media well?
  • Is mass media a good thing?

Something Different Companies phone usage Answering these questions can help you to be smart about how you interact with the constant barrage of media being directed at you and your family.

So let’s think through the implications of mass media together so that we can come to informed conclusions.

HOW DOES MASS MEDIA AFFECT YOU?

Many are wondering mass media, and social media, in particular, is a good thing or bad thing. Of course, for every type of media, there are a host mixed opinions, some based on research, some not. Neil Postman was asking these same types of questions over the mass adoption of the television.

A positive use of technology and mass media enables people to become informed, collaborate in innovative ways, or stay in touch with friends and family. Yet, these same connections can be used for dangerous cybercrime.

Social media can help people to feel connected and happy, to connect with old friends and make new ones. However, that same social media can lead to depression or anxiety, when life doesn’t meet the expectations created by perfectly edited profiles.

The internet may be a source of motivational messages, videos, or blog posts that improve your life and increase productivity or healthy living. However, it’s just as possible that these very messages can prevent you from getting out there and living.

These are just a few examples of the vastly different ways media can impact our daily lives.

Because mass media affects each person differently, you need to look at your own life to make informed decisions.

Where do you fall on the pendulum? How does your use of social media affect your mood, productivity, and sense of well being? If you tend more toward the negative impacts – depression, anxiety, inactivity – it may be time to limit your media consumption.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF MASS MEDIA ON CHILDREN?

Television is the best researched area of mass media effect on children. It has the how is media affecting childrenpotential to help and to harm, as is true with most media types.

Many negative effects have been recorded, and kids often spend more time watching television than on any other activity. However, if the television time includes educational programming and parent supervision, the power can be harnessed to help with learning and have positive effects.

With this in mind, parents must think critically about how their children are consuming television. Are they largely involved in what and how often their children are watching, or is it more of a hands-off experience?

This is perhaps even more important to think through now that most “television” consumption consists of Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming platforms.

Making the decision to be diligent about these decisions now will improve children’s interactions with television, and prepare them to interact well with other types of media as they mature.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF MEDIA ON TEENS?

Media often is described as harmful to teens, and while this is certainly true in some circumstances, it can be best understood as having mixed effects.

The key is to be aware of how mass media and social networking affect the brain so that you can make intentional decisions about how to use it.

Some positive effects include:
  • Motor skills are improved by typing, clicking, playing games, and other tech-related finger skills.
  • Hand-eye coordination or even quick thinking can be helped. (Future drone pilots)
  • Access to mass news media can improve reading skills.
  • Social network activity is theorized to improve writing and socializing skills.

Additionally, the content of media stories or social media posts can be useful and meaningful to teens. With platforms like YouTube and Instagram, they have access to people’s stories they might never have heard otherwise. In this way, teens may learn that many others are experiencing similar struggles to their own, giving courage and confidence.

However, there are significant negative effects as well.

Negative effects include:
  • Depression or anxiety over body image
  • Normalizing violence
  • Unfettered access to pornography
  • Increased risk of obesity from inactivity
  • Decreased attention to schoolwork

Knowing about these potential risks of social and mass media consumption is important for both teens and their parents. In this respect, knowledge really is power, as it will enable both parties to be strategic about the role of media in their lives.

Read more about media communication master’s in communication options.

WHAT ABOUT VIDEO GAMES?

Video games are a frequent concern, particularly as technology continues to advance affects of video games on youthand gaming becomes more and more realistic. Research shows some mixed effects from video game use.

Though the problem solving and dexterity skills employed can lead to higher intelligence or better motor skills, the violent or other disturbing content in games is of high risk to well being. It’s established that seeing violence can desensitize one to its effects.

As with other types of media mentioned, it’s critical that parents exercise caution about what types of games their children play and how often they do so.

DOES MASS MEDIA DAMAGE HEALTH?

The proliferation of mass media and electronic devices has had profound effects on Health Appshealth. There are numerous physical problems which may arise from this consumption, particularly if left unchecked.

The effects of smartphones often first show up as eye strain and neck pain, the inevitable result of constant screen-time and often slumped positions while using these devices. Obesity is a risk if much time is spent in sedentary activity.

Some research shows links between mass media consumption and anxiety and depression. There can be a change in happiness, social skills, and peace of mind that is attributed to media and the internet.

It is most important to monitor your happiness and health and correlate them with your own practices so you can make informed decisions for your or your family’s well being.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY?

There are many recommendations for being wise with media consumption.

Parents must be familiar with current sites and channels, and the types of content that their children come into contact with. Ask questions and browse with your child. Set clear and appropriate ground rules for young ages, which then build a strong foundation for future responsible use.

Make sure to discuss the difference between fantasy and reality with your children. If exposed to gratuitous violence and sexuality, children and teens should know these are fantasy, and not the norm or real life. The dangers of violent and risky behavior should be a topic of conversation.

For almost any age from 1- 99, limiting media to a few hours per day is reasonable and enforceable. Discuss education, values, and the intrusion of media regularly with your family.

Conclusion

There is no definitive answer to whether mass media is “good” or “bad”. Research has shown that it can have both positive and negative effects, and often these effects are dependent on how the media is being used and consumed.

The solution isn’t to totally cut yourself off from all mass media or to wholeheartedly embrace every facet of it. Rather, it must be carefully analyzed and evaluated. If you’re a parent, you need to help your children understand both the positives and negatives of things like video games, social media, and streaming television.

Unless you plan on moving to an isolated island with no internet connection, this issue isn’t going away. The best approach is to tackle it head-on, rather than hoping things just work themselves out.

Many people are choosing to engage with mass communication head-on with master’s degrees in mass communications. It’s with this progress we are able to understand the effects of mass media and other emerging social channels have on society currently and in the foreseeable future.

 

Anna Kucirkova Guest Blogger: “Anna Kucirkova speaks 3 languages has a passion for kids and writing. While she has been to many places in Europe and SE Asia she still wants to explore the rest of the world.”

 


Over 75 Facts about Cyber Crime

INFOGRAPHIC: 77 FACTS ABOUT CYBER CRIMES IN 2018

cyber securityThanks to “Best VPNs.co.uk” for allowing me to share their infographic.


2018 Retail Trends You Will Likely See

Retail Trends Likely to Dominate the Scene in 2018

Trends and predictions are part and parcel with the start of a new calendar year. One area in which trends are analyzed at the beginning of the year involves the retail market segment. There are a number of retail trends that are likely to dominate the scene in 2018.

Grocery eCommerce will Blast Off

A major 2018 retail trend will center 2018 Retail trends on grocery eCommerce. A primary reason a focus in 2018 will be on grocery eCommerce is associated with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods and Walmart’s decision to up its game when it comes to online grocery marketing.

Prior to the latter part of 2017, U.S. citizens lagged behind their international counterparts when it came to grocery eCommerce. All of that is expected to change in 2018 due to a significant uptick in the number of U.S. consumers who will embrace grocery eCommerce.

“Traditional” Retailers and the Realization that They Must Change

Forbes, the widely read business J.R. Atkins on retail trendsmagazine, traditionally makes predictions pertaining to retail trends at the start of a new year. In 2018, the magazine focused on one major trend to pay attention to in the retail market segment in 2018. Specifically, the “big trend” to watch for in 2018 is that a multitude of retailers, from different market segments, will finally concede that they must embrace change.

Embracing change does primarily involve so-called traditional retailers, including those stores that have been in business for more extended periods of time. These enterprises have long held firm to the principle that retailers determine what a customer should desire to purchase. These enterprises also believed that retailers held the keys as to how customers shop.

In reality, that has not been the case for quite some time. In fact, in the digital age, customers truly to define the shopping experience on all levels. 2018 is marked to be the year in which retailers reluctant to accept this reality will finally do so.

With a notable number of traditional retailers closing their doors forever, many others muttered the mantra that 2017 was a year to survive. Those that made it into 2018 are expected to be seen realizing that they must change and embracing that process.

Integration of Crypto Currencies

2017 say the cryptocurrency world 2018 Retail Trendsgarner attention from the media and large swaths of the public. By the last quarter of 2017, a growing number of retailers were also starting to take notice of cryptocurrency.

Thus far, cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, has been regarded as an asset class rather than a type of currency or form of payment. A trend among some retailers in 2018 will the integration of cryptocurrency into their sales systems. As part of this effort, some retailers will take the step of holding onto whatever cryptocurrency or currencies they elect to accept from consumers. This will eliminate the fees associated with conversion to U.S. dollars following a cryptocurrency purchase.

Tech-enhanced Store Staff and Elimination of Checkout Counters

Another significant trend to keep a 2018 tech retail trendslookout for in 2018 is the further tech enhancement of store associates. Accompanying this trend will be an increasing elimination of checkout counters in stores.

The one benefit that brick and mortar stores have over online retailers is face-to-face human interaction. Increasing the tech availabilities of retail staff, and eliminating the checkout counter, is thought to be a sure way to enhance the overall human interaction between patrons and staff at retailers in the brick and mortar world.

The Rise of the Robot

2018 will not be the year in which 2018 Retail trendsrobots start to populate retailers floor space in the brick and mortar world in large numbers. There actually will be an uptick in the visibility of robots and automation in brick and mortar stores, but the real trend in robotics will be behind the scenes in retail fulfillment centers.

Major online retailers, with Amazon leading the way, will incorporate robots into the work of more of their fulfillment centers in 2018. In 2017, Amazon had robots in action in about 20 percent of their fulfillment centers. That number will increase, and noticeably so, in 2018. Similarly, other retailers will utilize robots more broadly in their fulfillment operations during 2018.

Guest Blogger: Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage a leading company that provides Internet fax service for individuals and businesses.

 


Marketing Beyond Palestine with Partners

According to Palestinian businessman and entrepreneur Sam Bahour, the people of Palestine have great business ideas, plenty of education, and capital to finance J.R. Atkins is working with Bethlehem Free Trade Artisansprojects. What they need to reduce investment risk is mentoring and partnering with business people from foreign markets. This is exactly what is occurring with Bethlehem Free Trade Artisans.

Bethlehem Free Trade Artisans or BFTA, is a combination non-profit, for-profit organization working to spread the fair-trade message in Palestine and link Palestinian producers to global fair-trade markets. Open since 2009, BFTA has helped local producers reach markets in Europe and the Middle East. Their founder and CEO, Suzan Sahori, has a history of successful projects in both the public and Bethlehem location of something different companiesprivate sectors. Under her guidance, BFTA has grown to represent hundreds of Palestinian artist and craft people.

Now with the help of American businessman and consultant, J.R. Atkins of Something Different Companies, BFTA is getting ready to expand into the US Market. “Since J.R. has lived and worked in the West Bank, he was able to understand our business and cultural context and thus quickly identify opportunities to grow our business,” says Sahori. “He made suggestions for our website, marketing, and distribution methods that will be instrumental as we grow our business in America.”

Suzan Sahori and J.R. AtkinsSuzan and her BFTA team have done a great job of building solid relationships with local producers who make unique items that will sell well in the US. The key to success is to identify a wholesale marketplace in the US that will allow us to reach thousands of retailers in a short amount of time. It looks like we have done that in the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market” said Atkins.  J.R. Atkins operates a consulting practice with offices in the US and Bethlehem. He helps companies in the areas of social media, websites, email marketing, and Marketing consulting.

If you have a success story of a West Bank organization you would like to share or would like assistance growing your business, please contact us.


5 Social Trends We’re Expecting to be Huge In 2018

Technology as a field implores innovation; it is perhaps the fastest moving industry in the world. Social media, technology’s wild child, is no exception to this.

Social media is inherently unpredictable. Companies can push new features or channels all they want, but they won’t always see the results to back their efforts up. Whether it’s content, audience, or channel mismatch, social media success can be elusive.

Part of making the most of social media is knowing what’s hot, and what’s not. Here are five essential social trends you need to make note of for 2018.

J.R. Atkins social media

Live Videos

J.R. Atkins uses Facebook live2017 was the year live streaming entered our collective consciousness. Which was almost entirely down to Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat: they presented live stream videos in the most accessible, hard-to-ignore packages possible. Live videos suddenly became a great way to add more context to personal and brand stories.

When browsing Instagram, a live stream pops up as a notification almost as if they were streaming just for you. An ingenious way to present the feature; long gone are the archaic days of Meerkat.

And it appears live video’s popularity will only continue to rise in 2018. Look at these stats for some evidence:  82% of online users have stated they prefer to consume video content rather than written, and 88% users are more likely to stay when a page proposes prominent video content.

Use live videos as part of your social strategy to spice things up at an event or awards show, or use them as small instructional features you use to pass on knowledge.

Algorithms Getting Harder To Beat

In some ways, it’s getting harder and harder to engage a genuine social media audience.

For starters, Facebook has made some plans. Huge plans. Massive plans. They have, for the first time in their history, made a decision that didn’t have the overarching premise of increased engagement. They want ‘meaningful’ usage, which apparently isn’t videos of people falling over with garishly blatant text narration. Who would have thought?

J.R. Atkins in AlgorithmsMark Zuckerberg has stated they’re going to ‘tune out’ publishers and brands, focusing more so on the updates of your friends and family. Part of that change has been the realization that passively scrolling through a page full of articles and videos, although addictive, is not good for our collective wellbeing. Read here for more ideas on how to deal with the changing Facebook.

As said, social trends are unpredictable. 2017 alluded towards branded video content becoming increasingly omnipresent, one announcement from Facebook later — that may have been flipped on its head.

It’s a good time to invest in paid advertising on Facebook as the organic game gets tougher and tougher, but make sure you put time and effort into crafting good ads that will gain genuine traction with your audience.

Gamification

Gamification has been on a steady rise for years. Historically, it has been a tad gimmicky. Moving forward, it will probably mature into something more compelling and useful for social media marketers.

Gamification affects salesGamification improves brand loyalty. We’ve seen this with Snapchat; their streak feature is thought to have been one of the key reasons for their somewhat short-lived dominance. Gartner has stated that gamification inspires users to “higher levels of engagement” as humans are “hardwired to enjoy games”. Considering this, we believe its usage will only grow as people seek new ways to engage their target audience(s).

For us, the highlight of gamification in 2017 was when Mind, an app enabling one to connect with a higher sense of mindfulness, gave users achievements for day streaks. It’s a great testament to how even the realms of Zen Buddhism can be harnessed for gamification features!

Think about how you can bring gamification to your social media strategy in 2018. Maybe start with something easy like a competition to get things going?

WeChat & Messenger Takeover

Did you know that the most sold beer in the world is Snow? We doubt most have even heard of that golden nectar. It’s only sold in China but dominates the market there. Similarly, WeChat is one of the biggest social phenomena in the world, and we doubt you’ve ever heard of it. But that’s probably going to change.

Something Different Companies uses Messenger WeChat is used by 95% of the 16+ population in China. The app is an amalgamation of Whatsapp, Uber, Slack, and Monzo. It’s popularity has demanded total control of the Chinese market.

Whilst it’s not definite that WeChat will resonate with our market, it comes as no Pay that Facebook are attempting to imitate the model. They’re slowly integrating Facebook pay more and more. Considering their Whatsapp purchase, it appears that Facebook are also trying to dominate the messaging world. Is Uber next?

Value, Not Selling

J.R. Atkins offers valueLast, but most certainly not least: value.

Invasively targeted ads appearing on all social mediums – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter  — are having a dulling effect on the consumer. They’ve brought about a renewed questioning of the real value of social media.

Privacy is also at the forefront of social dialogue: all companies that have access to private information have to be totally transparent with their intentions. This will be a key feature of marketing across the board in 2018.

We believe many will look for apps and websites that put the user’s desires first, rather than their own financial incentive of selling information. It’s all about giving people real value and compensation for their time, so make sure that you’re not engaging in any clickbait or low value activities.

Considering the potential changes with Facebook, and the emphasis on privacy; we do believe the consumer will have more power in 2018. It’s an exciting time for brands who are willing to go the extra mile and engage with their audience in a way that’s real and genuine.

Guest Blogger:

Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.Victoria Greene is a freelance blogger and branding expert. On her blog, Victoriaecommerce she shares tips on building awesome brands that people feel compelled to follow


New Trends In Web Design for 2018

New Trends In Web Design That Will Massively Improve Your Online Appearance

A website that aims towards success demands a well thought out blend between its design and content. In the ever-changing industry of website design trends rise and fall with each passing year. Keeping track of everything is difficult, especially if the design isn’t even related to your field of work.

Nick Brown guest blogger

Ignoring this and just making a website based on a hunch or some personal preference is a big NO. Don’t fall into this trap. Respecting your users’ experience and having functionality that is easily digestible is key. Confusing layouts, eye-hurting color schemes, and annoying texts are to be avoided at all costs. However, I will not be pointing out potential problems, but rather trends in this article that are quite welcome to add to your thought process. Here are a couple of those trends:

Underline key points

You probably didn’t see this one coming, neither did I. I’m not talking about underlines that you see in your conventional text processors or hyperlinks, for example. Implementing underlines within your sites’ design is the smartest way to highlight the content you wish to be in focus.

Always consider the background image, color, font and functionality of the web page where the content is displayed. Try fitting in the underline in a way that it complements as many factors mentioned as possible. Make it seem natural. Using white space is great with this, especially if you want to use basic contrast or thick fonts.

Arrange the information input

With touchscreens and other kinds of modern displays, the way a business can present information has drastically changed. Designers have to arrange the ideas in a way that they catch the interest of visitors.  The attention span of an average visit is very short indeed.  The way your information is presented has to reflect the amount of time you have to catch a glaring eye.

If your information is constructed in a way that it encourages your users to go from point A to point B.  Having their focus aimed at a certain point of interest that transitions into another point of interest in a smooth way is paramount when you want to promote browsing through various parts of a website for specific information.

Simple color schemes

J.R. Atkins 2018 website trends

Minimalist designs have positioned themselves as the style of choice both in terms of design and clarity. Using more than two or three colors creates a messy composition promoting nothing but confusion. Try combining simple colors by using gradients and hues in context of your page design.

Colors should emphasize the focus points as clearly as possible. A well-placed object with appropriate coloring is the winning ticket to sending the desired message. The intensity of chosen colors mirrors the intensity of the perception of your product, serenity or excitement – chose accordingly.

Prepare for going mobile

This has been chewed over by countless market analysts. The mobile market is a giant growing with each passing year – its impact has changed the way we do marketing. Most of online shopping and browsing is done via smartphone and tablet – your website must be prepared for incoming traffic from such platforms.

Having a responsive web page for all platforms and resolutions has to be taken into account when approaching your sites web design. A lot of businesses lose traffic and revenue because users lose interest if your site isn’t approachable on demand. Don’t force your users to sit in front of their PC for some interaction. Maintaining your brand by being attentive and approachable is the key to success.

Text positioning

Designers have started displacing text in regard to the page composition. Having assets in layers above your text obscure it in a stylish way, creating an arrangement that will shape an otherwise boring text into something that will spark the mind.

Be careful when using this approach, a lot of designers have made mistakes with it. Having your text unintelligible is far from desired. Chose simple words that can be understood when only one or a couple of letters are covered. Basic fonts should also be considered when doing this because of additional clarity. Whatever your choice is, the design shouldn’t be too complex – keep your message clear, always.

Guest Blogger, Nick Brown – Nick is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged on projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business, and marketing resource. He is an aspiring street artist and does Audio/Video editing as a hobby.


5 Instagram Tips You Can Glean From the Pros

With over 500 million active users per month, it’s clear that Instagram is no small player in the world of social media. There is plenty of potential for brands to leverage and broaden their outreach. But how do you cut through the noise and navigate a platform with such vast scope? You learn from the pros, of course. Here are seven Instagram tips that your competitors are already following right now. By taking these on board, you will be well on your way to mastering Instagram for your own brand.

5 Instagram Tips You Can Glean From the Pros

Are you on the lookout for content marketing advice to improve your overall strategy? Check out our previous post.

Show what your online business does in a creative way

Show what your online business does in a creative way

credit: fedex

Instagram is the perfect social channel for you to showcase the visual element of your brand. No matter what you do, there will be a creative way for you to document and showcase it. Consistent, visual storytelling cuts through the mediocre noise on Instagram. To grab people’s attention and build an audience that anticipates your next post, you need to get creative with how you share your ideas and tell your brand’s story.

Take FedEx, for example. This brand successfully uses images of their delivery service and combines it with posts of happy customers receiving parcels and flowers. This tactic not only makes an otherwise rather functional and unglamorous service look attractive, but it also serves to tell the brand’s story by giving it a human face.

Brainstorm the different processes your business is involved in, and how they affect your customers. With this information, you can create stories and come up with ways to creatively show how your brand’s day-to-day operations work.

The most successful brand storytelling involves bitesize micro-stories that tie into your brand’s values, mission and customer experience. You want to develop a strong brand presence on your Instagram feed that represents your overall brand image. Check out this post for more examples of visual storytelling.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with Instagram stories

Instagram Stories are a new function, recently rolled out across the social network, which allow you to use a slideshow of videos and images that remain accessible for 24 hours. This feature is in direct competition with Snapchat’s stories, but has the additional benefit of being linked to Instagram profiles. This means that with an Instagram profile for your brand, you have the opportunity to not only bedeck your feed with visual marketing, but to get creative with film and a story to really engage your audience.

Here are some things that you should know about Instagram stories:

  • Stories are displayed at the very top of your follower’s timelines
  • They can be used to display your behind-the-scenes content. This is often less staged and lower quality than the permanent posts on your profile
  • The story function really enables you to experiment with different types of content and see which gets the most engagement. Photos, short videos, Boomerangs, Rewind videos, and live videos are all available for you to get creative
  • The additional functionality of face filters, text and stickers allow you to really customize your posts and make your mark. It’s very easy to edit your posts on the go

Your posts will autoplay in the chronological sequence they were added, and you can post an unlimited number of times. This feature only works on the mobile app. Check out these unique brands to see how other people are making innovative use of Instagram Stories.

Take your audience behind the scenes of your business

As mentioned, brand storytelling is a really great way to interest your audience and add an extra dimension to your image. The more story you can provide, the more you open your brand up to engagement and conversation.

Some customers are naturally curious about where their products come from, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to answer their questions with your Instagram feed. For example, if you are a Fairtrade company, you could show your customers where you source your raw materials from.

Take your audience behind the scenes of your business

credit: fairtrade USA

The Fair Trade USA instagram does this to great effect. This non-profit organization shows exactly who crafts or handpicks the raw materials that go into fairtrade certified products. By doing this, their target audience can buy these products, safe in the knowledge that they are cruelty free. This kind of story is what evokes empathy from audiences and encourages them to buy products.

If you have an interesting brand story, don’t be afraid to show it off. Perhaps you started off as a hobby crafting jeweler to help keep food on the table? Let your audience know about your story and why you started your brand. Any kind of shareable information that connects you to your audience is very useful for social media. 

The power of micro-influencer collaboration

The power of micro-influencer collaboration

credit: mary orton

Another really great way to broaden your outreach on instagram is to harness the power of collaboration and employ an influencer. Micro-influencer collaboration aligns your brand with their values and mission. This often works more effectively than using hashtags, as the act of following hashtags is often more manual for the user. Banana Republic promoted its clothes to audiences that are defined by their sense of style and interest in fashion. The micro-influencers selected were fashion and lifestyle focused, and this helped Banana Republic to reach a large, but targeted, audience of consumers.

Micro-influencer marketing might be the biggest thing this side of 2017, but don’t worry – you don’t necessarily have to part with a large sum of money to hire their services. Consider offering them some free products to sample, and perhaps they will post to their Instagram feed or story without payment.

If you want to integrate micro-influencers into your marketing strategy, there are a few things you should know first:

  • You should consider whether your chosen micro-influencers fit in with your brand and values. Ultimately, you want to piggyback from their established presence and gain access to their following. You need to be sure that their demographic is the right one for you to gain maximum ROI
  • If you are a local or smaller business, consider finding micro-influencers from your local area, with a local audience. This would allow you to be hyper-targeted with your outreach
  • When searching for the right micro-influencers to work with, you should aim for followers with a similar amount of followers to you, otherwise, you may risk not being taken seriously

 For more tips on how to collaborate on Instagram, this article is for you. Once you’ve decided which influencers to target, it’s time to make contact. Consider emailing them directly, rather than direct messaging them on Instagram. Emails tend to get higher response rates, as direct messages are often overlooked.

Analyze the performance of your posts and build on them

As with any marketing strategy, it’s really important for you to analyze the performance of your Instagram posts to make sure that you’re barking up the right tree. You need to make sure that you are spending your money in the right way, broadcasting the right kind of content, and targeting the right audience.

There are many apps and subscription services that allow you to track hashtags, engagement levels and mentions of your brand on social media. Keyhole tracks all of these, and even integrates seamlessly with online store creators like Shopify. This means that Keyhole can access all of your ecommerce business’ data in real-time, and give you the most up-to-date reports. Trackmaven is another great product that puts you in the driver’s seat of your social feeds.

Whether you choose to go down the micro-influencer route, or have a go with Instagram’s new story function (or perhaps all of these ideas!) – don’t forget to consistently analyze your engagement levels. The truth will be in your metrics, and data is essential to constantly improve on your marketing strategy and make sure you’re investing your budget in the right areas.

Which of these tips will you take onboard? Let us know in the comments.

Guest Blogger: Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.

Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer. Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing consultant and freelance writer, working with large brands to grow their reach. She loves sharing her expertise with other entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them reach success.


2017 Trends for Online Privacy

With the latest move to dismantle internet privacy protection guidelines, online privacy continues to remain exposed. Consumer advocates seem to have a tougher journey ahead as they need to create a stronger framework to debate it out. As much the telecommunication companies hold the consumer in their grip, internet companies equally enjoy the custody of consumer data which is highly sensitive.

Research by the SANS Institute found that 80 percent of data breaches originate from third parties. This doesn’t mean the entire chunk is neglectful towards internet privacy but signals the lack of confidence in the measures they take to maintain online privacy.

While it’s difficult to fight the telecom entities in terms of information required by them, we can certainly be more vigilant with our online behavior by deploying safer internet practices like incorporating data protection tools and private search engines.

The infographic below beautifully depicts the current trends and measures towards online privacy. Take a look –

J.R. Atkins Privacy Trends & Measures 2017


Facts about Content Marketing That Every Business Owner Should Know

J.R. Atkins content marketingContent marketing grows in popularity with each year. But what is it, a working technology or another trend that will soon come to naught? To competently answer this question, let’s dig deeper along with Lucy Adams.

Let’s face it: content marketing is not suitable for everyone and requires time (up to a few years!) to give results. Like any other trend, content marketing is surrounded by myths and omissions. To confidently decide whether to invest in this tool, let’s consider the facts that we already know about content marketing.

#1 Content Marketing Strategy Should Be Documented

According to Content Marketing Institute, about 42% of companies in b2b operate according to the pre-written content strategy.

On average, successful companies use 15 tools while inefficient – no more than 10. Successful companies allocate about 40% of their budget on content marketing while inefficient – about 15%.

#2 Content Director Will Soon Become One of the Most Demanding Professions in Marketing

More and more top managers will treat content marketing as a necessary tool requiring marketing costs. This means that companies will need not only favorable climate and corporate culture but also responsible managers to create and implement content strategies. Companies that do not assign responsibility for the creation and distribution of content to special people or units will lose the battle!

#3 Content Marketing Attracts More Customers at a Lower Cost

According to polls, in about 60% of cases, content marketing increases both the quantity and quality of incoming potential customers. Moreover, the price per 1 client reduces by 38%! In other words, good content marketing has a tangible commercial effect, increasing the flow of customers and reducing the price of a single lead.

J.R. Atkins contenet marketing model#4 Large Information Articles, Videos, and White Papers Have the Greatest Return on Investment from All Content Marketing Tools

According to a study conducted by copypress.com, the three greatest tools in terms of ROI are feature articles, video materials, and white papers (manuals, reviews, and mini-books that help to choose this or that product or solution).

In conditions of time and budget shortage, you can start your content marketing strategy with posting the materials that give the maximum effect and require minimum efforts. Most likely, employees of your company must have valuable experience to share. Start with it.

You can never know which article will become viral and cause noise. Often the material that takes a week goes unnoticed, and vice versa. That’s why you should prepare at least a dozen of different publications to test the interest of the audience.

#5 Your Subscriber Base Is Your Main Asset

Remember that you can’t make the first impression twice! Be sure to provide visitors with valuable information from the very first try. As soon as you get emails, things will go easier.

There are many pieces of evidence of the effectiveness of proper email marketing. According to icontact.com, those customers who received emailing spend 83% more money on online purchases and make purchases 28% more often. Every dollar invested in email marketing receives the return of $44!

#6 Adjusting the Content Strategy to the Sales Funnel Increases the Conversion

According to Aberdeen Group, adjusting the content strategy to the sales funnel increases the conversion by 73%. Almost all successful companies have internal databases containing articles, presentations, reviews, cases, videos, interviews, checklists, recommendations, etc. along with instructions for managers. It is called lead nurturing.

Prepare useful and interesting materials for clients, which will help them to understand your opportunities and advantages better. Teach sales managers to use these materials, taking into account the degree of customers’ readiness for making a purchase.

#7 People Won’t Read Everything You Wrote

According to Nielsen, only about 25% of the text is covered by an average visitor while 17% of visitors spend less than 4 seconds per page (apparently, these are those who immediately realized that they are in the wrong place).

First of all, make the visitor sure that he will find what he’s looking for. Secondly, make the page convenient for quick scanning, the so-called diagonal reading. Thirdly, provide bright, contrasting and understandable calls to action: these buttons must vividly stand out in the background of the page!

J.R. Atkins email marketing content#8 Content Marketing is not Suitable for Everyone

It requires transparency, both in relation to customers and within the organization. One of the main tasks of content marketing is to get the trust of the market. Customers want to work with competent, enthusiastic, afflicted people who won’t quit in a difficult situation.

#9 You Must Have Your Own Content Marketing Platform

Make sure that you post materials on the platform created for your tasks and that you completely control. All the other platforms are the leased territory. They can disappear one day, and you will not do anything about it. Although you need links, you must have your personal platform!

Given the excessive attention to social networks, there is another danger: your competitors can target advertising exclusively to the communities that you lead in social networks, thereby taking away your potential customers.

When it comes to monetizing contacts and customer bases, one targeted subscriber from an emailing base brings the same amount of money as about 15 followers in social networks. That is, the point is to focus on collecting a base of loyal subscribers, considering the audience in social networks as a useful addition to it.

#10 Content Marketing is about a Team, not a Single Person

Depending on your tasks and scales, you will need a person or team that will embody your content marketing strategy. Where can you get a good content marketer? Well, it’s all about your budget. One of the options is to find the best you can afford and train it.

If you can afford only one specialist, must have the skills of writing, editing, getting information from your employees and authoritative sources, as well as preparing the full range of marketing materials, from blog posts to emailing and brochures that sales managers will send out to potential customers.

If your budget is small, don’t worry. Just as morning exercises are beneficial to the body, even one strong article in a couple of weeks can be of great importance if such articles are regularly issued!

 

Guest Blogger:

Lucy Adams is a blogger and buzzessay writer. She’s interested in education, writing, books, and a few more niches. Simply put, Lucy is a generalist who’s able to bring to life a huge variety of ideas. Feel free to share your suggestions; be sure, you’ll get a grounded response to your each and every request.


5 Ways Your Website Could Be Hurting Sales

website conversion helpIf you’re in the business of selling products or services online, your website can make or break your brand. While most companies stay on top of the marketing techniques that can help to drive more traffic to their site, they often forget to make improvements to the site itself. Here are five ways that your site might be hurting sales and how you can fix it.

1. You Have Unresolved Glitches

This sounds like a simple problem that any web administrator with an ounce of sense would avoid. However, many site admins don’t realize that their e-retail platform has a glitch because they don’t regularly check the platform for user friendliness. If customers run into a glitch, they’ll oftentimes abandon the purchase rather than contacting the administrator about the problem. Hence, it’s crucial that you’re regularly checking the site for any glitches or issues.

2. There’s Never Any Rush To Buy

If your site isn’t regularly running promotions that feature a deadline, such as “product X is 25% off until this Friday,” then you’re not creating time-sensitive reasons for customers to make purchases. Companies attach deadlines to their promo codes and sales for good reason; it gives the customer a reason to buy now instead of later. Don’t think of these promotions as sleazy. They’re actually quite common and a completely moral sales tactic.

3. The Tech Is Fine, But The Site Itself Is Hideous

Sure, any e-retailer needs to have a glitch-free storefront that runs smoothly and processes data and promo codes without error. But don’t think that design doesn’t matter. Customers like to be welcomed by a web design and graphics that are pleasing to the eyes. Good visuals can compel customers who are on the fence to finally make that purchase.

4. Zero Social Media Presence

As social media becomes more and more of an integral part of how our society communicates, retailers can’t afford not to have a strong social media presence. It’s common for consumers to look at a brand’s Twitter or Instagram before deciding to make a purchase. If your site doesn’t have any sort of social media presence, customers may actually find that to be odd and somewhat suspicious. Social media isn’t just good from a marketing perspective. Rather, it’s a good way to cement your brand as trustworthy and give a legitimacy to your brand’s entire presence online.

5. Contacting Customer Service Is A Nightmare

No one wants to receive a barrage of petty customer complaints or unnecessary questions. For this reason, many sites tend to bury their customer service contact form or information, theorizing that only customers with legitimate questions will take the time to seek out the contact info. While this idea is okay in theory, it can kill potential sales. When customers have a question that they need to ask before they feel confident making a purchase, they want to be able to contact customer service quickly and simply. This is why a customer service contact should always be plainly visible on your site.

If you stay on top of these five potential mishaps, you can create a site that is user-friendly and conducive to consistent sales.

Guest Blogger: Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who has worked in eCommerce for the last five years. She currently writes for Rakuten Super Logistics and recommends them for all your fulfillment


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