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GIFs Prove to Be Worth at Least 10,000 Words

GIF Happy Dance from Seinfeld

GIFs: Animated, looping images are experiencing a surge on mobile devices, growing an industry and providing textless messages for millions of users.

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Check out these stats from the New York Times‘ fascinating exploration of GIF culture:

  • 23 million GIFs are posted to Tumblr every day.
  • Facebook Messenger sees more than five million pass through daily.
  • Slack counts more than two million GIF integrations each month.


The importance of visual content cannot be understated. We live—and market in—an age of ever-increasing competition for ever-decreasing attention spans. Study after study shows captivating imagery leads to better engagement. According to an ongoing research survey conducted by Software Advice and Adobe, images are the most important factor in optimal social media content. GIFs are a mini-vehicle for storytelling, capturing emotions, and communicating them in a concise way that words and pictures alone cannot.

GIF stand for Graphics Interchange Format, and it was born before the popular explosion of video. In fact, the GIF is probably the grandfather of Web 2.0 video. The GIF tells a story more than a static image ever could – it is literally a series of timed images patched together

Just what do we see in GIFs? Like emojis and emoticons, they’re a way to quickly transmit information or emotion to a population that’s inundated with content and favors image-based communication.

Part of the fun is that there seems to be a GIF for any social situation you might find yourself in.

But GIFs increasingly have a more serious side, too—they can be a way to tell a story, explain a piece of information with more depth, or (yes, really!) conduct a conversation. For example, NASA uses GIFs of satellite imagery to transit important information, and Buzzfeed recently used GIFs to explain Greece’s debt crisis.

If you’re ready to add some GIFs to your online personality (or just up your GIF game) here are 10 social media moments to give GIFs a try.


Long live the GIF!

Rocky success GIF



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4 Things To Never Lose Sight Of When It Comes To Content Marketing

content marketing

According to Smart Insights, content marketing is the most important digital marketing trend for 2015. Chances are, you’re fully aware that content marketing is where it’s at and you’ve already been implementing it into your marketing strategy.

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In such a fast paced industry, it is very easy to lose sight of what’s truly important. Some individuals believe successful content marketers got to where they are because they supplied more content at a faster rate than the rest. However, it is not just the speed, nor the quantity, but rather the quality that earns true results. In this piece, Steve Olenski discusses four things to never lose sight of when it comes to content marketing. One important principle to remember is putting yourself in the reader’s chair.


“A writer must recognize target consumers to create engaging content. Your content should show readers that your business has credible expertise on the products you are offering, and your content must provide quality ideas of how your products can benefit consumers.”


There are no shortcuts to content marketing success. Check out the rest of this article to find out what else to keep an eye on.

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5 Tips to Make B2B Social Media Content Interesting

B2B Social Media

Tired of people passing over your social media content? In this post you’ll learn how to make your social media post more interesting and get more reads.

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Promoting content is not always an easy task. Especially with over 86% of B2B marketers joining the content marketing bandwagon. Social media is one of the many platforms used by top marketers. Unlike with B2C, marketing to companies through social media is often seen as dull and unexciting. However, the key to standing out in today’s marketing world is having unique and entertaining content. In this article, Holly Chessman suggests five tips to make B2B social media content interesting. One suggestion? Include visuals.


“Want to give those statistics or any other post even more punch? Make each one into a graphic and note the audience response. After all, 40% respond better to visual information than plain text. What’s more, it’s easy to make cool graphics, so what do you have to lose?”


Anyone can market in social media, but not everyone can do it right. Get ahead of the competition by checking out the rest of these tips.

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How Do You Create #ContentEnvy?

Content Marketing

Grow Your Business. Save Your Town. Leave Your Legacy. The latest book by best-selling author Andrew Davis. Embrace the one thing that separates boom from bust.

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Having just returned from Content Marketing World and having the immense pleasure of meeting, learning from, and chatting with Andrew Davis, we received an email from Joe Pullizzi talking about Content Envy with a link to Drew’s new book. You can bet we’re pre-ordering.


From Joe:


“In his new book, Town Inc., Andrew Davis talks about something called #LocationEnvy. Basically, #LocationEnvy involves creating such interest and action in your region around a certain expertise area, that other companies in your industry are compelled to wonder what they are missing out on by not having their operations there, too. For example, Warsaw, Indiana is known as the Orthopedics Capital of the World. The city has a history of excellence in this field, and has created content that gives example after example of why it is the place to be for orthopedics. Having this position has brought billions of dollars to the local economy.


How do you create #ContentEnvy? How do you position your content platform as the place where industry influencers and experts want their content to appear?


What do you need to do to create #ContentEnvy? First, you need to be consistent. You have to consistently produce valuable content and deliver it on the same reliable schedule, every day (or week, or month), year after year. The second requirement is quality. Your content has to be of the highest possible quality so that it makes a real impact on your audience. Lastly, it has to be best-of-breed for your niche. This means your content cannot cover a broad range of subjects. You need to focus on the particular content niche where you can position yourself as the leading expert in the world.


If you can accomplish these three things, you will see more and more people inquire about how they can become a part of your efforts. You will have created #ContentEnvy. #ContentEnvy helps spread your message to new audiences and can actually make an impact on your ongoing content marketing expenses (for the good).

Have you set yourself up to create #ContentEnvy?”

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13 Tools to Automate Your Content Marketing

content marketing

Content marketing can be time consuming for an already busy entrepreneur. Luckily, there are software solutions that help automate this part of business.

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Having the right tools make doing a job more efficient, less costly, and helps keep one’s sanity. Here are some great tools for content and social media marketing.


Don’t be fooled, though. There’s no “set it and forget it” program. A successful content or social media marketing strategy involves time and effort. A brand has to be present and interact on a daily basis.


Many tools have trial periods so they can be tested and demoed. While this is great in theory, most require more than a few hours of setup, so by the time you’ve gotten them into production, the free trial period is about over. What should you do? Continue on with the tool because you’ve spent the past two weeks getting it initialized? Should you look for an alternative (only to find the same routine occur)? Should you contact the vendor and plead your case for an extra two weeks of trial time?


It’s easy to then fall victim to sunk-cost fallacy – when one makes a hopeless investment of time or money that isn’t productive, but reasons that they can’t stop now, otherwise what they’ve invested so far will be lost. This is true, of course, but irrelevant to whether one should continue to invest time or funds in the project.


First, don’t be too hard on yourself. Many development companies have the timing of the free trials to a science and know exactly how long it takes to get into their systems and get them up and moving. It’s no coincidence that the trial expires not too long afterwards.


Second, if the tool looks promising and will help meet the organizational goals, then consider contacting the vendor and requesting an extension to the demo. It doesn’t hurt to ask. If you have the contact information for a sales agent, that’s the best place to start.


Third, if the setup is rough – maybe you’ve found little documentation or assistance from the vendor – then consider if it’s worth sinking more time and energy before moving forward. Don’t fall into the sunk-cost fallacy.


Finally, if the tool seems promising but the vendor has denied your request to extend your free pass, you may have to pony up to continue using it. Free trials are great, and we love new toys as much as the next person, but there are some tools in our arsenal that we can’t live without and knew it from the first few days of the trial. When that happens, don’t be fooled that the grass may be greener. Those are the ones you hold onto with both hands.

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Are you sizing up business prospects or building relationships?

What’s the best way to follow up with prospects without overwhelming them with email?

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Out of the 13 ways to follow up with business prospects listed in the above article, several of them employ nudging tactics. They encourage you, to nudge … and potentially become a nudge yourself.

Nudge: To push (someone) gently with your elbow in order to get that person’s attention. To prod lightly: urge into action

How often do you like to be overtly nudged, when someone’s main goal is trying to sell you something?

People not quite ready yet to see things your way quite may not be very receptive to nudging. You risk alienation. When you nudge someone, you want them to be receptive and their response to be positive.

One of the ways to increase receptiveness to your nudges is to nudge far less often and reframe your business prospects altogether. Think of them as people and interact and engage with them in a way that builds relationships.

For example: Grabbing a coffee and drink is a good tactic to build relationships, but don’t blow it by never switching out of selling mode.

Open the conversation with a question such as, “So, are you working on any exciting projects right now?” or “How are you making out on your end?”

By inviting the person to talk about themselves, you’re likely to earn trust, convey that you’re a good listener and lay the foundation for building a long-term relationship.

After all, that person may change jobs several times in the next few years. Wouldn’t it be great to follow them along as they progress through that career?

Perhaps the most generous effort you can make is to be selfless. Don’t make it all about you. (HINT: It’s not all about you.) Ask the person if there’s anything you can do to support their efforts.

Even if it’s just a vote of confidence or moral support, you’re reinforcing a relationship that can and will last a lot longer than a business prospect that you immediately dump once you’ve determine they’re not ready to buy right now.

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Making the case for social media and mobile marketing

In 2015, it’s hard to believe there are objections or those in the workplace that would question the need for social media and mobile marketing.

But we know this about humans: They don’t like change very much.

And in organizations, group think, personal resistance and lack of support from upper management are just a few of the many obstacles that need to be overcome to win support for a social/mobile marketing strategy.

One of the most compelling and succinct ways we’ve found to make the case for social media and mobile marketing is focus less on the nitty gritty.

If you’re trying to explain how Instagram works or explain just exactly why people use Twitter, you’re likely to fail or invite criticism. Quickly.

Focusing on the big picture is a much better strategy. The opportunities waiting for businesses who have yet to truly invest in social, mobile and digital marketing are enormous.

Try framing your next meeting about social media and mobile marketing with senior leadership by showing them this video by Erik Qualman.

You’re almost certain to get their attention and lay the groundwork on the importance of investing time and resources in these ever-evolving mediums.

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Open your next conversation with a compliment

For success, and especially to obtain employment, one’s knowledge and skills are less useful and less important than one’s network of personal contacts. – Wiktionary

In other words, It’s not what you know, but who you know.

Because we know this proverb to be true, you should always be building and maintaining relationships. Of all types. Whether it’s for work, a side project or just going about your personal life.

One of the best ways to ease into a conversation is to open with a compliment. Or a question. Or both.

You: “What have you been working on lately?”

[Person replies.]

You: “Well, I have to say, it sounds like you did a great job on that.”

You’ve just set the right tone for a pleasant conversation.

Often times people can have their guard up or are naturally apprehensive, especially if they don’t know you that well.

Help put them at ease by paying a compliment. It’s probably one of the nicest things someone will do for them all day.

Don’t you want to be that person who makes someone’s day?

When you pay someone a compliment, it can often lead to reciprocal feedback. While that always feels good, that shouldn’t be your primary purpose in paying a compliment.

Compliments should come from the heart and be genuine. More often than not, it will lead to a fruitful conversation that both parties will remember.

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How social media listening can improve your content marketing

social media listening

Listening to your community is an obvious first step to unlocking the power of your content marketing, but it’s one that goes tremendously overlooked.

Brands need to lay the foundation of a strong and sustainable content strategy by using social media listening to hear what your community is saying.


Listening is one of the most fundamental pieces of a brand’s social media program.

Social media listening involves much more than scanning for mentions of your brand across the social web.

Successful social programs use listening to:

1. Learn what their audience and communities are talking about

2. Identify and engage influencers and brand advocates

3. Determine how to contribute and add value to social conversations

Remember, it’s not all about you and your brand on social media. Before you do anything, make sure you listen and listen often.

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The Incredible Power of Paying a Compliment

The incredible power of paying a compliment

Paying a ComplimentA compliment wields great possibility. It shows respect, admiration, approval, gratitude, trust, appreciation, and hope. One of the most generous things you can do in your life is to give someone else a true and meaningful compliment.

Criticism is easy and can often be perceived as negative. Giving praise is much more meaningful and makes the recipient feel better.

Try it and see what type of response you get.

It’s a great tactic to use up front in business meetings to set a positive tone. It’s also a great way to convey genuine feedback to a colleague.

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