Get Your News Stories Instantly With Facebook’s Instant Articles

Jun 26 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 1.45.49 PM

Sick of waiting for a web page to load?  When it comes to surfing the web, we’re all guilty of being a little impatient and expecting our content to load instantly.  According to Facebook, it takes over 8 seconds on average to load an article using a web browser.  Not ok!  With the launch of their new Instant Articles, readers will be able to load articles ten times faster in the Facebook app than a standard web page.

Instant Articles is a tool for publishers to post their articles directly to the social network’s newsfeed.  Publishers maintain full control of all content and can track data and traffic through analytic tools.  Also, the publishers have the option to sell their own ad space in the articles, keeping all of the profits, or allow Facebook to.  So far Facebook has partnered with nine huge news publishers, including The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel, and Bild.

So how is Facebook able to load these articles faster than the publishers’ own websites?  They pre-load the content and have it stored in their servers ready to load before you even click the article.  Plus since all advertisements are already embedded in the articles the loading time is much faster.  Usually the reason a web page takes more time to load is because of ads, social buttons, and other background code.  The benefit for readers is clear.  Instant Articles allows readers to get the content their already searching for faster than they would before.

Facebook continually reinvents itself to serve different purposes to different users.  Looks like their striving to be a news destination site!  Will you start using Facebook as your main source for news?

 

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Now You Can Record and Upload Landscape Videos to Twitter

Jun 11 2015

Finally, you can record videos in the Twitter mobile app any way you want! When they added the ability to shoot, edit and upload video in-app earlier this year, it seemed baffling that they didn’t include landscape capabilities. Considering that of all internet activity, 1/3 is watching video with more than 100 million people watching video everyday, this is definitely the right step for Twitter.

Learn more about Twitter’s in-app video here.

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How to get Graphic without a Designer: Small Business Tools

May 26 2015

How to Get Graphic Without a Designer: Small Business Tools | Gibbons Digital Consultants Westchester New York How to Get Graphic Without a Designer by Josie Amadeo

Are you a small business owner without a budget for a graphic designer? These helpful tools will help you bring your visual A game into your digital and print branding, even if you don’t have Photoshop!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words; it may also be worth a thousand retweets. For small and mid-size businesses, a graphic designer isn’t always in the budget, which is why we’re in love with Canva – a free service where anyone can make branded cover photos, infographics, flyers, invitations, email marketing and images for posts.

Once you check out these statistics on how visual content drives social media engagement, you’ll be quick to put aside some time to master your own graphic design.

Eye widening stats on visuals in social media infographic

After you quickly create a free account, Canva offers you dimensions for most of your marketing needs – from email headers and Etsy banners to Facebook ads and menus. You can even design your wedding invitations using this free graphic design tool! If you don’t see the dimension you’re looking for (LinkedIn Company Page Banners are noticeably missing), you can click ‘use custom dimensions’ and start creating at any width or height.

You’ll see an array of eye-catching templates on the left hand side, some of which are marked free, that you can choose from before you build up to creating your own designs from scratch. Along with paid templates that you have 24 hours to edit, you can also use Canva’s search bar to find affordable stock photography to use in your design. You can also upload your own images, branding and logos.

ProTip: Sites like Pixabay.com are full of free stock photography, graphics and icons to incorporate into your visuals, with more being added everyday.

ProTip: Sites like Pixabay are full of free stock photography, graphics and icons to incorporate into your visuals, with more being added everyday.

While the search function is very basic, try tacking the word ‘free’ onto your searches and see if you can find what you need. The library of images and graphics includes

  • Grids – to pop photos into a collage quickly and efficiently
  • Frames – these are growing everyday, and are like templates themselves
  • Shapes – perfect for anything from infographs to valentine cards
  • Lines – tons of different designs, though a little frustrating to resize
  • Illustrations – graphics to add to any image
  • Icons – from social media logos to lightening bolts
  • Photos – a huge range of stock photography, mostly paid
  • Charts – beautiful ways to turn your data visual

You’ll soon master transparency, line spacing, custom html color codes and more – especially if you go to Canva’s online Design School and make your way through their free graphic design tool tutorials!

ProTip: Can’t quite match the design colors? Try this free online tool that will give you HTML color codes when you upload a picture.

ProTip: Can’t quite match the design colors? Try this free online tool that will give you HTML color codes when you upload a picture.

So go forth and start designing, soon you’ll be volunteering to create flyers for tag sales, cover photos for Facebook events and baby shower invitations for friends and family, as well as rocking your business branding.

ProTip: Not sure what font you’re trying to match? Try out MyFonts.com’s WhatTheFont feature.

ProTip: Not sure what font you’re trying to match? Try out MyFonts.com’s WhatTheFont feature.

If you have questions about how your business can use visuals and infographics in your digital marketing and social media, contact us today!

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Understanding the Google Algorithm Change

Apr 15 2015

google mobile post

Google announced that on April 21 its search algorithm was changed to take into account a website’s mobile friendliness.  The change is designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results.   It’s important to understand what this means for your website.

Why Your Site Should Be Mobile Friendly

Over the past few years, most websites have seen the percentage of mobile traffic increase significantly in their overall web traffic.  In addition, Google has continued to be ranked as the number one search engine – and they want it to keep it that way.  To remain on top they want to guarantee their users will get relevant, high quality search results on their mobile devices.  Therefore Google is rewarding websites that are mobile friendly and will rank them higher than those that are not.

Mobile Friendly vs. Mobile Optimized vs. Mobile Responsive

There are a variety of ways in which your website can appear on a mobile device.  Although the terms mobile friendly, mobile optimized, and mobile responsive all sound similar they are very different.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming they are the same!

Mobile Friendly - A site that is correctly displayed between your desktop and mobile device.  It is designed to function normally between devices.

Mobile Optimized - A site that is a reformatted version of your website specifically designed for a mobile device.  It contains customized content and the layout is altered to appropriately fit your mobile device’s screen size.

Mobile Responsive - A site that is designed with one HTML code to be compatible with all devices, whether it’s a desktop, cell phone, or tablet.  The website will resize the same content to fit any screen.  All content is customized to be device specific under a single URL.

No matter how your website is configured, as long as it’s mobile friendly, Google will not penalize you.

Test Your Website

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly?  Take Google’s user friendly test that will analyze your URL and report if the page has a mobile friendly design.  Or simply Google yourself.  Use your mobile device to google search your website and if the gray “Mobile-friendly” label is underneath your site name, then you’re good to go!

If you still have questions about the impending Google algorithm, contact us today to learn more.

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Fun #Follow Fridays

Mar 14 2015

By now you are probably familiar with Follow Friday, or #FF, on Twitter. If not, the concept is simple. Every Friday Twitter users have the opportunity to send out tweets recommending interesting people or brands to their followers. It can be a great networking tool that is effortless and fun… when done the right way.

What Not To Do

As with all social media, your content should be intriguing and creative. The goal is to catch your followers’ attention. Many people make the mistake of just listing followers with a simple #FF. This is a definite no, no. It’s boring, can be easily overlooked, and doesn’t give your followers a reason to listen to your suggestion. Yes, you may have a bunch of people that you want to recommend but you don’t need to list them all in one tweet – spread it out! Either share a couple of people in different tweets or wait to recommend them over the next few weeks. I mean, after all, isn’t the whole point of Follow Friday to get people to actually want to follow who you are recommending?

What You Should Be Aiming For

It can be a little daunting trying to come up with an interesting way to phrase your tweet but the key is to be as creative as possible.  Always try to be descriptive and give your followers a reason to want to know more.  If words aren’t your strong suit then a great way to catch followers’ attention is to include a picture.  Adding visual content helps convey what you’re trying to say and makes your tweet stand out.  It doesn’t hurt to include a link either.  The combination of giving your followers a visual with a clickable link to learn more about who you’re recommending can be very intriguing.  Spark some curiosity and most likely people will start following your #FollowFriday suggestions.   Take these tweets for example:

to check out some awesome handmade funky jewelry made by septuagenarian Zoe

Happy ! Check out the beautiful & talented ‘s latest

B__gJ19UQAEP5yF

What all three of these tweets have in common is that they’re interesting.  They make much more of an impression than a tweet that plainly lists a bunch of people.  They create just enough interest to make you want to follow their #FF suggestion to see what they’re all about.

Now the real question… Who are you going to suggest this #FollowFriday? 

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Gibbons Digital At The Westchester Business Expo

Feb 27 2015

Looking for a way to improve your business and help your company gain an edge?

Westchester Business Expo LogoJoin us at the Westchester Business Expo on March 18th at the Hilton Westchester!  We are extremely proud to be participating in the leading business-to-business tradeshow in the Hudson Valley.  The expo offers a unique opportunity for one on one discussions that can lead to productive networking.  There will be over 180 vendors, including Gibbons Digital, showcasing their business and services.  The event is a great way to get ideas and find answers to expand your company’s business opportunities.  Check out  http://youtu.be/q7JMYup8uN4 for more information!

To register, visit www.westchesterny.org.

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New Facebook Advertising Format: Cinemagraphs

Feb 17 2015

Attention all advertisers!  Cinemagraphs are taking over.

It’s no secret that social media sites, like Facebook, and their advertisers have been looking for new and creative ways to catch their user’s attention.  According to AdWeek, Facebook is expected to be posting these GIF-like images everywhere.  A cinemagraph is a still image with a portion, or object, of the picture continuously moving.  For example, the glass of wine swirling in the image below.

Swirling Wine Cinemagraph

Creators, Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck, have found people are very receptive to their technique.  These images are extremely unique and draw the viewer’s attention in as they come to life.  Major brands such as Coca-Cola, Christian Louboutin, and Tiffany & Co. have caught on and begun using cinemagraphs in their marketing campaigns.

Coca-Cola Cinemagraph

Due to all of the buzz, cinemagraphs are expected to cause a shift in online advertising and will most likely be used as an alternative to videos.  It’s hard enough catching a user’s attention as they scroll through their newsfeed let alone getting them to watch a whole video.  Cinemagraphs are the perfect compromise of image and video.

What do you think of cinemagraphs?  Would you use them in your advertising campaign?

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The Next Big Social Media Platforms: Business or Personal? Part 3

Nov 12 2014

By now you may have heard of Ello, the hottest new site trending in social media. Their slogan, “simple, beautiful & ad-free,” is both a sales pitch and a promise. What started as a private social network between friends and colleagues now has the online world scrutinizing its every move. While Ello will never be an advertising platform, there are many other social networks, which embrace advertising and grow larger everyday.

What is Ello, the new social media network

This is a part 3 of our series on emerging social media networks to look out for. To see the networks we’ve already covered, go to part 1 or part 2.

Path

 

Path social media networkPath is a platform with a focus on limiting your social network to people you actually socialize with, while sharing photos and messaging.

What makes it different: Path, in order to create a higher quality social network, limits the number of friends each user can have to 150. Users can update their stream by posting photos and tagging (or adding tags to) people, places and things. When they introduced a messaging service, they decided to maintain their dedication to privacy, and as such messages are deleted from their servers after 24 hours. You can also set an ‘ambient status’ to let friends know when you are in the area, in transit, low on battery, and more.

Business Savvy: It will be. Path is working on a Place Messaging service that ‘will enable Talk messaging between you and any local business. Make dinner reservations, book hair appointments, get prices, hours, and check in-store availability all without ever placing a phone call.’  There are other potential ways to use Path as a business. Any user can decide to make it a professional network with industry contacts and gossip. There is also an exclusivity aura to the whole platform – if a high-end brand can only have 150 top clients, surely they could use it for rare items or exclusive content.

 

WeChat

 

WeChat social media appWeChat, an app based social network, is the fastest growing social network in the world – with its primary markets in Asia Pacific. The network includes text messaging, broadcast messaging, walkie talkie messaging, moments photo sharing, friend radar, voice calling and video calling.

What makes it different: WeChat is often compared to WhatsApp, but what makes it different is its ability to do just about everything (in participating markets). It is a platform for gaming, banking and shopping on top of it’s messaging features – and boasts the ability to pay for vending machines or even book a dentist appointment. WeChat also targets a demographic that is happy to use multiple social media platforms for different groups of friends or purposes, and it does not aim to be the be all end all of social media platforms.

Business Savvy: While this app isn’t used to its full capabilities in North America yet, it has a promising future. It is definitely a network to keep an eye on. Their newly launched advertising platform in 2014 does not distribute ads through messaging, but rather at the bottom of business pages.

Whisper

 

Whisper Social media AppWhisper is an anonymous app where users confess their secrets via text over images. Users can respond to these whispers and receive messages either publicly or privately. Secrets can be found randomly or through geolocation.

What makes it different: Users love the anonymity and perceived scandal. Its most popular user base is college students, with micro-communities forming on different campuses.

Business Savvy: Initially, the app cost users $5.99 per month for users to upgrade to being able to send direct messages. Once Whisper opened this feature up to all users, they looked for other ways to monetize the network. The app now uses a keyword based advertising approach, targeting users through their search terms and keywords. Users enter the text of their confession, and then are offered images to use as a background. Advertisers can have their images suggested for secrets associated with specific search terms.

Think one of these platforms might be right for you business, but are unsure how to get it started? Contact Gibbons Digital Consultants today for an in-depth analysis of the future of your business.

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The Next Big Social Media Platforms: Business or Personal? Part 2

Oct 01 2014

This is part 2 of our series on emerging social media networks to look out for. To see part 1 go here.

You’ve heard millennials don’t care about Facebook anymore, but it’s still the most popular social networking site for Americans, even for users age 18-24. While Snapchat and instagram are the go-to networks for millenials, there are many other niche social networking sites that could prove a perfect fit for your business. Innovative business owners can use many of these platforms as marketing tools, while others are just for personal use.

We will be covering many of these networks over our next few blogs. Stay with us and find out what under appreciated social network is ready for your business.

Nextdoor

 Nextdoor, a hyper local social networking site for your neigborhoodNextdoor is all about making social networking hyper local. Ever wanted to know what is going on in your neighborhood without actually going outside? This is the social networking site for you.

What makes it different: Nextdoor verifies your address either through your phone number, credit or debit card or by sending you a postcard. The billing address for your phone and card must be your address for this to work. Once you are on the site you can join groups (neighborhood watch, book club, parents, etc.) and network with your neighbors who have common interests. Once you’re on the site you can post alerts, find a trustworthy babysitter, ask for help finding a lost pet, publicly thank a neighbor using the ‘Thank button,’ welcome new neighbors, add local recommendations or send urgent alerts out to the neighborhood.

Business Savvy: Because of the nature of this site, it is very tricky to find a legitimate business use for this platform. Our suggestion? Realtors need to use this social networking site to advertise their business and ensure they have a lock on the neighborhood when it comes to selling or renting homes.

 

Sportlobster

 Sportlobster, social networking for sports fans worldwideThe creators of Sportlobster have found their niche audience, and it is growing quickly. This is truly a world wide social networking platform.

What makes it different: Sports for the sports lover. Users can make predictions, read and write blogs, get breaking news, get live scores, results and standings, and connect with like-minded fans in ‘fanzones.’

Business Savvy: Brands, clubs and organizations are welcome to create profiles on Sportlobster the same way any enthusiast would. The site encourages businesses to ‘build genuine interactions with fans’.  We can see local sport apparel stores making a voice for themselves on this network, but so far no one seems to have cracked the code.

 

Shots

 Shots - Justin Bieber's social networking site for selfiesThis Justine Bieber backed social media platform is aimed at teenagers and pretty much exists to share selfies.

What makes it different: Users can only take photos using the front facing camera – you cannot upload a photo you perfected earlier. You can like people’s selfies. Shots does not have follower counts or allow people to comment on photos, in order to hinder cyber bullying. It does, however, allow users to message each other.

Business Savvy: We can’t see a practical application in the near future. While a lot has been written about the failure of this app, it did reach 2 million users this month. We’ll stay tuned, so you don’t have to.

 

Think one of these platforms might be right for you business, but are unsure how to get it started? Contact Gibbons Digital Consultants today for an in-depth analysis of the future of your business.

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The Next Big Social Media Platforms: Business or Personal? Part 1

Sep 07 2014

 

You’ve heard millennials don’t care about Facebook anymore, but it’s still the most popular social networking site for Americans, even for users age 18-24. While Snapchat has risen to number three amongst millennials, there are still other networks to keep an eye on. Innovative business owners can use many of these platforms as marketing tools, while others are just for personal use.

We will be covering many of these networks over our next few blogs. Stay with us and find out what under appreciated social network is ready for your business.

Snapchat

undiscovered social networks for your business presented by Gibbons Digital ConsultantsArguably the fastest rising site in popularity, snapchat allows the user to share photos or videos with friends or other users.

What makes it different: There is a time limit on the photos or videos. Once they have been seen, they are gone forever. In a world where the next big thing is only a tweet away, embrace the impermanence.

Business Savvy: Early business adopters used Snapchat to send out coupons (that had to be opened at the register before they disappeared) or debut new fashion lines. Keep in mind, the tone of your Snapchat marketing should be casual – think the opposite of LinkedIN.

Medium

undiscovered social network medium for your business from Gibbons Digital ConsultantsMedium is a new kind of blogging platform. Take it at its name – it isn’t for long blog posts. Medium gives you a great cover photo spot (use it wisely) and space for a ‘medium’ length blog post. Posts are associated with your twitter handle, as are comments.

What makes it different: Users can comment on the post and create a sort of footnote that you can then click and expand to see what others had to say and how the original author responded to the comment. Comments are private until you publish them, but can lead to great discussions on a subject.

Business Savvy: Absolutely! Not only does Medium provide simple and clear statistics and graphs for you, it also makes it very easy for readers to share content on Facebook and Twitter. Because every user is associated with their twitter handle, you can also find your readers on other sites.

We Heart It

undiscovered social networks for your businessWe Heart It at first seems like another Pinterest knockoff – but it has actually been around longer. It is an image heavy site where users can curate collections of everything they, well, heart! Users can search existing content or add their own.

What makes it different: At first glance, it’s practically the same as Pinterest. However, the little differences make themselves clear the more you use it. A cleaner more minimal layout makes the images pop, without descriptions (or wordy space for advertising) in the search results. Taste makers are also important – when you hit the information button, the first person to ‘heart’ the image is named. It is also far more popular with the coveted 18-24 demographic who see Pinterest as a place for moms.

Business Savvy: Not only can business create their own profiles and collections, like Old Navy having spots for their season collections, We Heart It now uses native advertising with sponsored posts. We can see this being a great space for any business that makes, curates or sells beautiful things. We heart it definitely skews towards image heavy marketing.

Think one of these platforms might be right for you business, but are unsure how to get it started? Contact Gibbons Digital Consultants today for an in-depth analysis of the future of your business.

 

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