Does Your Business Need a Blog?

The answer is an unequivocal, YES! Blogging is the foundation to holistic content marketing campaigns and it provides a channel for developing thought leadership. Instead of being another faceless brand, you can distinguish your business by lending it your credibility and defining yourself as an authority in your industry. Our social-media driven culture is also placing new demands on brands. Customers expect higher levels of engagement with businesses because of the access that the online world provides them. If your website is static, you aren’t set apart from your competition and you’re not convincing potential clients that you are the best possible company to purchase from/work with.

Still not convinced? Here are some of the best reasons why your business needs a blog:

Blogs help raise your Internet visibility

Search engines prefer blogs over the millions upon millions of static websites out there because the content is updated regularly. As you have probably heard many times before: content is king.  You want to be featured on the first page of a Google search? A consistently updated and bustling blog is the best way to land there. Creating regular content on topics relevant to your industry increases the chance of a potential customer landing on your website.

Say you're a landscaper in Florida, creating a post about the top five ways to spend days or evenings in your garden not only advertises your services but helps those not specifically searching for a landscaper to find your company.

Blogs establish your authority

With the introduction of Google Authorship, establishing yourself (and your brand) as an authority in your industry has become obligatory. You want to be recognized as a trendsetter and thought leader among your competition, but you also want to show consumers why they should do business with you. Knowledgeable, original content proves your legitimacy while inspiring confidence in potential clients. This applies to all industries, as potential clients are more likely to do business with someone who has already established their authority.

For example, if you're a dentist, regular posts on good dental hygiene will be valuable to potential patients and lead them to believe that your knowledgeable advice leads to knowledgeable care. People directly associate your content with your abilities; you want to be in control of your image.

Blogs reflect the culture of your company & values of your brand

Gone are the days where you can just claim to offer great customer service and exceptional products. Consumers want to know specifics and they want your unique approach to business. Blogging is the perfect opportunity to infuse your personality into your company. By providing your opinions on relevant topics of interest in your industry, consumers get an understanding of the person (or people) behind your brand. This works on multiple levels.

For one, it helps consumers relate to and understand your brand. Blogging can also be a great starting point for building the reputation of your brand. For example, if you're a consultant and you have multiple articles offering free advice, you send the message that you are generous with your  expertise. Doing so also suggests that you possess such a wealth of information that there is plenty more of that same expert advice for clients who contract your services.

Blogs allow for interaction with consumers

If a potential consumer is visiting your website, you want to do everything you can to improve engagement. Static websites guarantee short visits whereas regularly updated blogs give visitors a reason to stick around. Chances are they'll comment on a post, you comment back and before you know it they're scheduling an appointment or placing an order.

Starbucks is an excellent example of increasing user engagement through blogging. While their posts are only tangentially related to coffee, Starbucks allows users to submit ideas for new drinks, food items, packages, and even store designs. They then blog about the ideas and encourage users to comment and rate the different items. This is a brilliant approach to blogging as it increases consumer engagement and creates original user-generated content.

While blogging doesn't have to be a huge undertaking, it does require some planning and commitment. The key is to post consistently. Ideally, you should post relevant content for your target audience 2-3 times a week. Not only does this keep your content fresh (and therefore more likely to appear on search engines) but also encourages a consistent following.

For more advice on successful social media marketing strategies, iQuarius Media is an expert on helping  your brand's online presence grow. Contact our Content Marketing Strategist, to discuss your blog and content marketing strategy.

Image Source: Lucy Catherine Photography

Top Ways Brands are Utilizing Social Media

If you want your business to be successful, increasing engagement with fans through social media is crucial. These articles on the updates to Instagram along with insight into how other brands are doing social media right provide the perfect foundation for increasing your brand’s online influence.

Instagram’s New Tagging Feature is Huge for Brands

Instagram has introduced a feature Facebook users are familiar with: the ability to tag photos. With “Photo's of You” users have the ability to tag photos with any other instagram user, business or product. This is big for brands as they can curate the photos tagged with their name, showcase the best photos on their stream, and tag their photos to show on other users stream. Entrepreneur.com believes that “this adds a new level of consumer reach — the feature aims to compel users to interact directly with the brands and businesses they follow.” Brands will also be able to post the same photo in a number of relevant streams, multiplying their reach with a single tag and attract fans from a wider audience.

Why Victoria's Secret is Winning at Social Media -- While Other Brands Fail

When it comes to social media, Victoria's Secret is proving quantity is as important as quality. According to Expion, a social media marketing management company, 87% of the top posts on Facebook between January 1st- March 31% were made by Victoria's secret, Walmart and Burberry. Although Victoria's Secret's scantily clad models may have something to do with their popularity, their success is largely due to product focused posts that centered on major holidays. Walmart employed a similar tactic and posted seasonal deals, in addition to humorous photos of animals the internet can't get enough of. Burberry had the highest engagement out of the top 100 brands, but Victoria's Secret beat them from the top spot by posting twice as much. The key to social media popularity is regular engagement with fans, so posting has to be both relevant and consistent.

Five Companies that Mastered Social Media's Branding Potential

Many companies struggle with finding a way to get consumers to connect with their products on social media – there's only so many ways you can talk about tampons or household appliances after all. But big brands are finding that the easiest way to be successful on social media is to allow the fans to lead the conversation. Fastcodesign.com suggests three steps to online success: Go where the people are, Have a legitimate purpose, and Be real. Consumers look to social media to find the human behind the company and find something outside of product promotion. Pepsi found that connecting to causes that supported their core values was a way to be real while encouraging fans to take action. They made their platform online more about ideas than soda, by “shifting branding focus to funding causes for social good”. This encourages fans to interact online by voting and forms a connection in the consumers mind with doing good and drinking Pepsi.

Image source: Jason A. Howie

How To Optimize Your Facebook Cover Photo

The cover photo on Facebook pages is an excellent opportunity for brands to personalize their pages and advertise their services. Chris, our social media manager, noticed a problem with cover photos recently – namely with the way they're showing up in the newsfeed. Since Facebook changed the feeds users can see, page cover photos are shown in two instances: as a suggested page via paid advertising and when a friend likes a page. Facebook crops the image in different ways depending on the reason they're being shown in the newsfeed. Unfortunately, Facebook crops only certain areas, regardless of whether the important stuff is in those areas. So the text or product you picked especially to represent your brand? It's been cut in half or, worse, not included at all.

 

For example, here's how one brand's, Snow Lizard, cover photo appears on their page:

facebook_img

And here's how it looks in the newsfeed as a suggested page:

facebook_img2

The most important part of Snow Lizard's cover photo, the product, is cut off. Not to mention, the suggested page version of their cover photo doesn't tell audiences anything about Snow Lizard as a company. So how do you make sure your cover photo will be cropped correctly no matter what?

 

Fortunately for us (and you!), iQuarius is a full service media agency, so Chris was able to talk to Georgette, our interactive designer, and figure out a solution. The best practice is to create a 851x315 cover photo, as those are the exact dimensions of the space. Of course, Facebook is still going to crop your photo in the newsfeed. You then have to make sure that the most important part of your cover photo is in the “safe area”. The safe space is the area on the cover photo that is always included when your cover photo is cropped.

 

When done incorrectly, the most important information will not fit into the safe area:

safe_are_img

According to Facebook’s rule, text on a cover photo most only take up 20%. The text on this image is too big and not properly located. The cropped image would feature dismembered bodies and other floating body parts -- not the image anyone want’s associated with their brand!

 

By choosing a better suited, correctly sized image and relocating the text, the important information fits into the safe area:

safe_area_img2

If Snow Lizard had implemented these tips, their suggested page would look like this:

much_better

Much better, right?

 

Exclusive Offer!

 

A professionally-branded social network will increase your credibility and differentiate you from the competition. Mention this blog post and receive a discount on our Social Identities service. Interested in updating your social profiles? Contact our Content Marketing Strategist, to discuss your blog and content marketing strategy.

Orlando, Social Media, The New iPhone, Whatever

chrisNice day at iQuarius! Can’t complain about the turn the weather’s taking here in Orlando.

Chris, our social media manager, got the new iPhone 5. We say this with a little sigh of exasperation, but also with a complete acceptance that iQuarius personnel are avid consumers of the technology we design for and produce content for.  We work on the Internet, but we also play on the Internet. We don’t just manage social media – we love social media! We produce websites, copy, streaming video, 3D animation, mobile apps, and audio post-production… but we also consume all of the above like there’s no tomorrow.

And, technically, there’s no tomorrow.

Tech changes. Tomorrows change. At any rate, it’s part of our jobs to keep up with the changes, which we do with confidence.

Social Media Group on Facebook

We’ve been talking a lot about Orlando social media here. We keep it pretty light with plenty of pics, infographics, and the sort. Come join us if you’d like.

So the ability to take panoramic photos is a pretty cool new feature on the new iPhone. Here’s a view from our offices.

orlando social media

Instagram Infographic | Instagram Filters On Old-School Cameras

Things we love at iQuarius:

We also like when those pics of people’s lunch tacos and overall lives look more exciting thanks to Instagram filters.

Can you imagine what it would have taken, a couple of decades ago, to get these same effects? Each effect now take a single click on a mouse. Check this out, though.

instagram infographic

Free Starbucks | iQuarius Starbucks Giveaway 9/19 ~ 9/28

free starbucksiQuarius Media is giving away Starbucks giftcards for being our friend!

Here’s the link to the Starbucks Giveaway contest page on Facebook.

Winners will be notified by email first, so make sure to leave your name and email at the contest page.

Even current clients and fans are eligible to win!

The contest runs from 9/19 through 9/28 (Friday). Winners will be notified soon after through email and on Facebook. Good luck, coffee lovers (or friends of coffee lovers)!

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If the link above does not work, you can manual copy and paste this into your browser address bar:

https://www.facebook.com/iQuariusMedia/app_197602066931325

Twitter Redesign: Who's Moaning About It?

twitterWith each new Facebook update, there’s a good, loud whining that comes along from people who proclaim they’re fixing something that ain’t broke. It’s not as if Twitter were exempt from that same outcry when they do an overhaul.

Trust us, we hear it firsthand.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo went on NBC’s Today show to announce the changes: Profile pages on Twitter look different now. Twitter is also throwing its weight behind mobile (which is still Facebook’s weak spot, despite recent changes to its mobile apps). Of course, literally a few seconds later, the first wave of complaints started on social media.

The Twitter Re-Design is More Visual and Fast

Expansion of visuals is the main call of the day with the new Twitter redesign:

  • Huge header image (banner) across the top
  • User avatars getting pushed to prominence

It’s all part of what the company calls “our mobile-first strategy.” Costolo described the new mobile apps: “We rebuilt Twitter for iPad from the ground up to make it fast, beautiful and easy to use.”

Sizing Hints For Your New Header Image

  • Original image size cannot exceed 1252×626 pixels (with a max file size of 5MB)
  • Try to keep above 640 px
  • Call us to do it for you

Why They Need To Keep Updating, Despite Protests

For all the voices decrying the changes, there is a reality that the social media landscape is changing drastically and rapidly. It’s for the simple fact that technology changes the people who use it, drastically and rapidly. Moore’s Law applies to social media as well, folks.

The smartphones and tablets and getting more powerful and getting into the hands of more and more people, and the apps need to perform. Twitter needs to perform on these devices or they lose relevance (same goes for Facebook and other networks, of course).

And by this logic, more changes are coming. Those who are still moaning about it will, themselves, become irrelevant.

iQuarius Media Blogs for Good

As part of the Blogging For Good program, we would like to highlight a local organization that is bringing good to the Central Florida community: The Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

According to the site, the Second Harvest Food Bank  (SCFBCF) is a “private, nonprofit organization that collects and distributes donated food to more than 500 nonprofit partner agencies in six Central Florida counties: Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia.”

The Central Florida area is no exception to the hunger epidemic sweeping the nation with 1 in 5 of our population (approximately 732,000 people) needing food assistance last year.

How Second Harvest Helps

In response to this need, Second Harvest distributed more than 33 million pounds of grocery product, which is the equivalent to more than 21 million meals. Still not convinced? The SCFBCP also aids in the following ways: 

–       47% of clients served are children.

–       20% of the households served have at least one member age 65 or older.

–       33% of households served have at least one working adult.

With your help and donations, Second Harvest is able to collect and distribute food, assist with food stamp applications, provide disaster relief, and so much more. Want to get involved? Check out this link.

Enter to Win!

Second Harvest has created a raffle just for the Blogging for Good campaign! By simply buying a raffle ticket for just $10, you can win $100 in prizes. The raffle prizes include: 

–       3 day/2 night stay in a 2-bedroom villa at any Westgate Resort (excluding Westgate south beach)

–       $25 gift card for Elephant Bar

–       2 GA Wine Women & Shoes Tickets (we don’t have our date set yet for next year. working on a venue this month)

–       Pair of stemless wine glasses (with Second Harvest and Wine Women & Shoes logo)

–       Second Harvest Food Bank T-shirt

iQuarius Media is here for all of your blogging needs! Contact us today for content marketing and more.

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