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By: Zach Goodchild

Intern Extraordinaire

Today we’re taking a little tangent into the world of music as Zach, our Intern Extraordinaire, applies social media and online branding as it relates to the music industry. Enjoy!

In the current music business landscape, it’s never been a better time to be an independent musician and have the ability to reach your fan base and appease the masses.  Want to release one song every week to build up anticipation for an up and coming project you have been working so hard on?  How about delivering a mind-blowing music video or a behind the scenes look at your recording process to help promote your new single?  What are you waiting for?! GO FOR IT!  Websites like SoundCloud and of course, YouTube provide musicians with free promotion.  Your career is ultimately in your hands with all of the available resources in the land of the Internet.

Musicians have to be multifaceted with their work and careers, or at least have a team behind them that can maintain and provide assistance on the digital end.  Properly utilizing a Facebook fan page, and your official Twitter account is going to keep your current fan base engaged, help attract the new fans you desperately need, and more importantly, keep you relevant in your respected genre.  When fans can see that you respond to their questions, engage in conversation and are accessible, they are more inclined to pay attention and receive your material on a consistent basis and in the long run, possibly even purchase your music when its for sale in the iTunes store or on the shelves at Best Buy.  (The same is true for businesses!) Musicians have the ability to cross promote new music, videos and promoting future shows and events all through their social networks.  You share it, and the fans will share it as well.  It’s all about paying it forward, folks.

I reached out to one of my peers to get his take on this topic.  He is a person with a passion for the music business, and has a strong stance when it comes too engaging with a current and new fan base.  I bring in the people’s champ, Ben Witherspoon, founder of Your Next Fan and music consultant based out of Orlando, Florida.  Ben states “The Internet has made it easy for musicians to share more media than ever before. Social media marketing is at the forefront for most musicians when it comes to fan engagement. From the biggest artists in the world like Jay-Z, to the kid sitting in his dorm room writing lyrics, nearly every artist has social media as a priority in their marketing plan. And the best part about social media? It’s free! Sure it takes time to develop strategy and to keep your sites updated, but social media can be done without having a large effect on musician’s shrinking marketing budgets. Musicians have to go where their fans are, and their fans are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and Vine.”

So by now, you should have a clear understanding of the message I am delivering here. I hope this has provided you with that spark to get things moving on your digital and social image.  As I wrap things up I leave you with this… Musicians, find ways to build and keep relationships, use the available resources to your benefit, continue to hustle and share your gift and talents with the world.  Nobody ever said it would be easy, you’re on the road less traveled; try to have at least one thing that makes sense… your digital image.

Until next time, this is Zach, signing off.

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By: Alex Fernandez

Internet Marketing Strategist

Over the past few weeks, many of us have seen business timelines posting something to the effect of “adjust your interest lists because Facebook is pushing people to paying to promote posts.”

First, this is a completely false rumor, and we’ll explain why – but more importantly:

The visibility of your brand’s social media posts is up to you!

So, about these silly posts (that will make your brand look silly if you share):

“Add to Interest Lists” is not a ploy that Facebook has developed to gain more advertising dollars. It’s a feature that allows users to conveniently organize their connections into different interests. This was necessary in order to remain competitive to popular features of Twitter and Google+. This is a convenient feature for users, and it’s completely optional.

You can also check out Facebook’s official explanation of Interest Lists, here.

One thing that Facebook openly admits is that the news feed is discriminating. A minority of posts actually find their way into a users news feed, because every past user action is taken into consideration when news feed content is generated: Who the user “likes,” what posts they “like” or comment on, or anything they click on in general. Another thing worth mentioning is yes, you can advertise to increase visibility via promoted posts, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that approach.

SO! How can you appear in your audience’s news feed more often, without paying for ads? Many companies are beginning to offer a service called “News Feed Optimization.” What this boils down to is posting engaging content that encourages user action – something we’ve always promoted and adhered to. Here are few tips, without “giving away the farm” as they say ;) .

  1. Engage your audience with your posts, by ASKING them for a reply or action.
    1. Like or Share
    2. Enter a caption for an image
  2. Social media is becoming more and more visual!
    1. Photos and videos get more engagement than text
    2. Consider incorporating Instagram and/or Pinterest in your social effort
  3. Time your posts to when your audience is online.
    1. “Dead times” or “slow times” for B2B audiences
    2. Nights and weekends for certain consumer audiences
  4. Publish simple posts that can easily be shared.
    1. Images, memes, and other visual content with mass appeal
    2. Use questions and surveys
  5. Leverage contests or sweepstakes that encourage viral sharing.
    1. Voting contests
    2. Contests offering additional incentive to share

At PTE – we do not offer a service called “News Feed Optimization”. That would be a disservice to you. We do everything we can to improve news feed visibility for all of our social media clients, all the time. That’s the way it should be.

I’ll end with a question: Are you doing all you can to get noticed in your audience’s news feed? Contact us if you have any questions about social media marketing at 239.221.2858 or Info(at)getpushing.com.

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Susan Frantz Online Communication Assistant

By: Susan Frantz

Online Communication Assistant

It’s beginning to feel a little bit spooky over here at PTE! Since we are in the Halloween spirit we thought we would share with you some “scary facts” about Social Media

3 Spooky Social Media

Negative reviews really impact the consumer.

Did you know that about 80% of consumers will change their mind about purchasing, booking, scheduling, etc. if they see even a single negative review? This is why it is so important to constantly manage all of your social media channels in order to respond promptly and address what ever issues the negative reviewer might have.

Social media leads to lead generation for B2C and B2B.

You may already know that Facebook is the largest and most effective social media channel, but did know that 77% of B2C marketers have gotten customers through Facebook. For B2B companies, it was reported by marketing charts that 65% companies who used LinkedIn acquired customers. This is scary good news.

Tweet it out.

Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media outlets. 8% of the United States uses Twitter with 460,000 people creating a new account daily.  There are 200 million members of the “twittersphere” and 24% of those users are checking their tweets several times per day. With numbers like these it’s no wonder that 72% of U.S. companies are tweeting!

We hope these spooky facts have helped you to understand just how global social media is. One small review can affect what millions of people are seeing, and one fan can help to draw in multiple more.

References:

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June 30th is recognized internationally as Social Media Day. It’s kind of a big deal around these parts… Check out how PTE is participating.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4ARo6TyvK8&w=640&h=480]

 

So, who’s your favorite PTE-er who’s bringing social media to life?

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Annette Venditti Pushing the Envelope

By: Annette Venditti

Communications Ally

Remember the famous quote by Napoleon Bonaparte, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” Napoleon was a man before his time as this holds true today as you are somehow moved on a daily basis when you see an amazing photograph or piece of fine art that just leaves you breathless… and you finally walk away knowing that you are the better for having viewed it.

How do photography and art (graphic design) come into the workplace as you market and communicate using tools like print, video and the ever-changing social media sites? Your goal should be to reach your researched target audience and make them trust, feel and connect with the brand, product or service you represent and really understand who the company is and what they stand for.

I want to share a few key points on how to correctly use photography, art and graphic design in your public relations and marketing mix. These tips will give you the tools you need to look at each project and create the best end product and message for your intended audience.

1. Think. Brainstorm. Create. This basic process must never be skipped if you want your message to be the best it can be. Ask your team to participate in a brainstorm session and let them go back and think about the task at hand, process overnight, etc. Compare ideas in an open discussion and see whether photography, art or a combination of the two is the best path to take. Think beyond the obvious and you and your client will be happy you took the time when you see the results.

TIP: As you develop concepts and ideas sketch them on paper. Really look at the text and image mix and be sure it’s simple, crystal clear and wildly creative. Too much of any of these elements in the mix will add up to a catastrophe that will confuse your audience and not win you any design awards. Research top rated print and social media advertising and campaigns and see what makes them stand out from the crowd!

When the chosen photograph, art or graphic combination hit the mark, you will need very little text to support the message and your audience will love you for it!

2. Hire a Pro. Please. When you need photography or art/graphic design (for an ad or for an event) do your research and hire a true professional to work with you and create the best possible images and designs for your needs. Don’t rely on friends or family to supply what you need, the cost of your initial investment will be more than obvious when you compare the finished product to a less expensive version created by your sister-in-law who “knows how to use Photoshop”. Yikes.

3. The Social Mixer. Social media has given us a vast variety of ways to share photography, text, videos and art/graphics on sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as well as Pinterest and Instagram, two image social channels that have changed how you and I see photographs, graphics and personal inspired interests shared. The same principles apply here, use professional images and graphics and be sure they are clearly stating your intended message before you share with your audience. Facebook Ads is another social media tool that allows you to share brand information and connect with potential customers. Take the time to research this ad platform and see if it might work for you and your client’s needs.

Keep in mind that every client (their brand, product or service) and every project you work on is truly unique unto itself. Challenge yourself and your design team to develop and create innovative solutions for every element and I can assure you this will keep your clients happy as larks and your team will walk away reveling in their hip new “creative genius” status.

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We’ve done it again! The entire team at PTE is excited to share we brought home some gold from the Local Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Image Awards today!

fpra swfl image awards

Susan, Annette, Samantha and Alex after winning the Award of Distinction

Alex Fernandez and Samantha Scott, APR received an Award of Distinction for their social media efforts on behalf of Cruise Naples. Work included creation of a social media campaign involving a custom-designed blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, Flickr, YouTube and video series, Foursquare and many other online communication efforts. All efforts exceeded campaign goals and showed marked growth in traffic to Cruise Naples’ accounts and website.

The Florida Public Relations Association is a statewide organization designed to promote professional and ethical public relations through professional development and community involvement. For more information about the local chapter, please visit www.fpraswfl.org.

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We are excited to share we’ve recently expanded our team! Please join us in welcoming, Susan Frantz!

Susan Frantz Online Communication AssistantSusan is our Online Communication Assistant. She will coordinate social media and online communication efforts on behalf of PTE’s clients in Florida and around the country. From Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or YouTube, she’ll work closely with Alex to service all of our clients’ online communication needs.

Prior to joining Pushing the Envelope, Frantz worked in the marketing field for a variety of industries including retail and sports management, most notably the Orange Bowl. She is currently studying at Florida Gulf Coast University to obtain her Masters in Business Administration and already has her Bachelors in History from Rollins College and Masters in Education in Sports Administration from the University of Miami.

Want to congratulate her on the new gig? Shoot her an email at susan(at)getpushing.com or call (239) 221-2858!

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By: Alex Fernandez, Internet Marketing Specialist

Facebook business pages will be undergoing yet another transformation in late March. The transformation from Facebook “Fan” Pages to Facebook “Business Timeline” Pages will spur some of the most dramatic platform changes that have occurred at any one time, since the idea of marketing on Facebook came about in the mid 2000s. As always, we’re keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Facebook-land, and we bring to you our insights into Facebook’s Business Timeline Pages.

More control over page content

Highlight

There are a couple of new ways to feature posts. The “Highlight” feature (a clickable star that appears when you hover over a post) allows you expand any story on your wall to the full width of your Facebook Timeline. This allows businesses to dedicate more page real estate to one story over another. Page admins can also select “Pin to Top” on any story, which moves the selected story

Pin to Top

to the very top of the page, no matter when it was posted! The beauty of these two features, especially when they’re used in tandem, is in the new level of control that businesses will have over their page content. ANY time a user visits the Business Timeline, they receive the most important information first!

Tip: “Highlight” and “Pin to Top” any ongoing social media contest information posts or promotional posts before and leading up to special events.  Remember to use third party Facebook applications like involver and wildfire to host these activities.

Increased Branded Real Estate

Another big improvement is the amount of branded real estate that Business Timelines offer. Rather than the square or vertical profile picture that is currently offered, businesses can now have a square profile image in addition to a very large,rectangular “Cover Photo”. The ideal size for the cover photo is 851px

PTE Photo Cover

by 351px and there are already several brands that have developed innovative designs! It’s important to note that this will be the first impression that your fans get about your business, so cover photos should not be used for purchase information, download information, or anything that looks like a banner ad. Rather, use the space for what it was built for, brand identity, photos recent events, featuring your fans, etc.

Tip: Reach out and ask your fans for design or concept ideas for your new cover photo!

More exposure for past content

Another beautiful thing about Facebook Timeline, is increased return on investment for past activities. Social media is free aside from time spent. Well, now with Timeline, businesses can continue to receive return on that time spent – year after year! Users can easily browse by year on the right side of the page, to view past content. It is now much more likely that past content will engage current users.

Tip: Be sure to take a look into the past yourself. Perform a spot check and make sure that your business’ Facebook posts are to your liking. For example, if your business has undergone significant changes, or if  (like many companies) your business hasn’t always followed social media best practices, now is the time to clean up those older posts.
 

Tell the story of your business

Perhaps the coolest feature of Timeline for Businesses, is the Milestone Feature. Business’ can add their own milestones, as they happen, or dating back before Facebook existed. For example, if you broke ground for one of your business locations in 1970, you can add a milestone, and it will back-date itself to 1970, but also post in your current timeline! Cool, right?!

Think of all your accomplishments over the years: Opening your business locations, receiving awards and recognition, hiring key employees, starting your website – all can be added to your timeline, and easily accessed by your fans!

Tip: It’s best to have pictures of your Milestones, so users can take a trip back in time with you. However, if you don’t have any pictures from that point in time, try to dig up some supporting material, drawings, sketches, anything that is a visual reminder of that point in time. Here’s the PTE Mission Statement, from the day we opened our doors in 2006:

If these changes are causing you to experience heart palpitations or discomfort of any sort, please do not panic. We are here to help! For any of your social media needs, Facebook or otherwise, we have a staff dedicated to all things web-geekery for your business’ online needs! Call us today at 239.221.2858 or email Alex (at) GetPushing.com.

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Annette VendittiBy: Annette Venditti, Communications Ally

I must confess that I am a product of the 90s, a time in my early career when networking and communication of the services my employer offered took the traditional path of print advertising and brochures, direct mail, local/national trade shows, etc. These forms of communicating your brand/business still exist and, but more often they are used in balance with modern forms of networking and sharing information about you and your business.

Today, we have a more interesting challenge as the World Wide Web has offered us massively popular channels to connect with friends, other businesses as well as current and potential clients. I will, however, tell you that some of the same rules apply – especially when we speak of the human or personal connection. Here are some guidelines I have learned to follow in today’s world, which have helped me build relationships and make the long-term connections I was looking to gain.

Make the Connection

Seek out local networking groups and organizations where a diverse collection of businesses attend on a regular basis. Make the time to attend these events on a regular basis as this is your opportunity to listen to others about their business and their personal experiences. These events will give you the chance to share your own story and the passion that drives you towards your own business goals. Also keep in mind who else will be attendance so you can be sure to reach your target audience (i.e. If you want medium to large business decision makers, going to a business card exchange may not be right.)

TIP: Set the standard in your networking process and offer newly made connections information and, if you can, do something for them like introducing them to someone who may be interested in their product or services. This trust- building activity will afford you positive results as I have not met anyone yet who did not appreciate some friendly guidance and professional help and had them NOT remember me for it.

Be “Professionally” Social

Use social connections intelligently and professionally. Facebook and LinkedIn are great ways to connect with other related businesses from which you can benchmark or that you can connect with, as well as to multiple individuals from all over the world who have the same interests and “likes” (Hint: These are your potential clients!). Facebook allows you to set-up a business page vs. a personal page making your company brand more trust worthy and believable. Share information on these social channels that is both informative and educational on a consistent basis and you will see your connections come to life.

Get Involved and Give Back

Are you actively taking advantage of the philanthropic side of your business? Give back any way you or your company can afford, get connected with local non-profits that make sense to you and to your business message while helping those who need it most. Community involvement is a perfect way to create goodwill opportunities and to show your community what you, personally and professionally, stand for. This will serve your public relations efforts well too.

The Bottom Line

Do your homework, get out there and make an effort to create new connections. It’s not often that new relationships are made by someone coming to your front door. You have to make the effort – on your behalf and your company’s. Good luck!

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Another gem from our talented Internet Marketing Strategist, Alex Fernandez, this week we’re covering social media resources other than the obvious – Facebook and Twitter. From websites to tools, these are valuable resources anyone can use. There’s certain to be something covered for everyone…

#1 Involver Applications

Involver is a great resource for the social savvy marketer that wants the freedom to think outside the confines or limitations of social media websites. Their Facebook applications are superb. Yes, this blog entry is about resources OTHER THAN Facebook and Twitter, but I would argue that Involver (and Wildfire, below) completely transform Facebook. You can add an RSS tab, a YouTube video tab, a Twitter tab, or create a completely custom HTML tab – right on your Facebook page.

#2 Wildfire Iframes

Wildfire offers an entire suite of products, that help with promoting your company through social media. My favorite product of theirs, however, is completely separate from their suite. They have a completely free Facbeook app, called Iframes (much like Involver’s static HTML app), which has a feature, called Fan Gate. Fan Gate is a means to generate likes on Facebook. It essentially allows users to “unlock” coupons, exclusive products, downloadable content, etc. by liking you on Facebook.  This is possible with Involver too, but not quite as simple.

#3 YouTube

YouTube is the Internet’s largest video website and also the second leading search engine in the world. A presence on this site is vital to any business that wants to be found. Aside from that – people like video. Aside from all things Facebook, online video is the most preferred and consumed form of online content.

#4 LinkedIn

It’s important to have a business presence on LinkedIn. This site is the number one professional social network in the world. New additions like status updates for company pages have made their already-robust website a truly viable channel for companies seeking to connect with business professionals. Another notable feature of LinkedIn is Groups. These can be created any user, and have a wide variety of applications. We use groups to engage communities with our clients, but I’ve seen them used as company intranets for employees, and forums for industry professionals.

#5 Yelp and other User Review websites:

Today’s consumer shares their experience with the entire world, through social media review websites. There are several popular review sites, including Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Places, Yahoo! Local, UrbanSpoon, and the list goes on. Each has somewhat of a  different focus. For example, TripAdvisor is travel and tourism focused, where UrbanSpoon has a restaurant focus. It’s important for brands to claim their business on these websites, and respond to all reviews, both positive and negative.

Have questions or want some help? Want to see examples of these in use for our clients? Contact Alex – alex(at)getpushing.com!

Alex Fernandez

Pushing the Envelope, Inc.

http://www.getpushing.com/about/alex-fernandez/

http://www.getpushing.com/news/alex-fernandez-earns-internet-marketing-masters-degree/

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