New Mac Pro Alternative

Fun read of an insanely expensive yet pretty awesome setup…

So it was decided. New Mac Pro. Will buy.Or so I thought. A couple of months ago a change in circumstances meant my girlfriend’s need for my 11” Air went from “After you buy a new Mac Pro” to “Yesterday”. Since the Mac Pro was still months away I had to make a decision.

via I couldnt wait for the new Mac Pro – Hopefully Useful.

How to Expire Contest or Coupon Related Tweets

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If you use Twitter for anything marketing related, you’ll occasionally bump into the need to delete or expire a tweet (or series of tweets depending on the campaign).

Here’s a nifty tool that helps solve that problem:

A former Twitter engineer has released an app that lets you schedule your tweets to be deleted. Enable Spirit for Twitter and append a hashtag like #1m, #2h, or #3d, and your tweet will disappear after the specified timeframe. It’s introducing even more ephemerality to a service that’s already heavily focused on the moment.

via Add an expiration date to your tweets using a simple hashtag | The Verge.

Chromecast Love

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I’m watching a great BBC production on YouTube about the Syrian conflict while getting some Labor Day work done (and while Willie chews a bone) via Chromecast.

I didn’t immediately understand what Chromecast meant for my media consumption but it really is revolutionary in bridging the gap between web content and my ‘tv’ which has basically become a dumb screen for content via Roku and Chromecast now.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Favicon Cheat Sheet

Favicons have been handy for web browsers for years. However, with the proliferation of devices (not talking just computers and mobiles here), you need to keep up with your favicon optimization (never thought I’d type that). Here’s a nifty “cheat sheet” that walks you through proper sizes for everything from iOS and Android to the Chrome browser to GoogleTV and iPads…

Obsessive cheat sheet to favicon sizes/types

via audreyr/favicon-cheat-sheet · GitHub.

While there’s no demonstrable SEO gain to having a favicon on your site, it definitely helps if your affiliate or marketing site is in anyway brand related (there’s nothing worse than seeing the SquareSpace, BlueHost, Drupal etc default image in the navigation bar).

I can’t be the only person that finds this insanely useful.

How is GMail’s Promotion Tab Affecting Your Email Marketing?

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How are things going with your email newsletter as we head into the all-important holiday season?

Trends don’t look good if you’re doing your email marketing the same way you did things in 2004…

Before the tabbed layout, open rates to Gmail had been above 13% for 15 weeks. They never dipped below that threshold unless there was a specific holiday. For instance, weekday opens for Gmail fell to 12.5% on the week of Valentine’s day. Open rates between Christmas and New Years are an abysmal 10.5%. Something about spending time with loved ones just isn’t conducive to combing through your inbox. Weird, right?

What bothers me in this case is that open rates stayed down for 3 consecutive weeks. From looking at a year and half’s worth of data, I can say that kind of behavior isn’t normal. I’m not willing to declare an emergency just yet. After all, I don’t even know what the adoption rate is on Gmail’s side. However, I would say this is an early indicator, and we’re definitely keeping our eye on it.

via How Gmail’s New Inbox Is Affecting Open Rates | MailChimp Email Marketing Blog.

Of course, GMail isn’t the only email provider but you’d be downright ignorant if you chose to ignore the new tabbed interface of the service. Since the changes started rolling out earlier this summer there have been handy “how to survive” guides that you should read (such as this one). Whether this is anti-competitive or helpful to users (or somewhere in the middle), the reality now exists and marketers must deal with it.

While it may only be Labor Day, you should be in full swing of planning out your holiday season promotions. There’s a very specific calendar mindset that successful email marketers use (you should read that), so it’s time to dive into your email marketing provider analytics (we love MailChimp but affiliates and marketers should be careful when using the service and look to others like AWeber) and see what kinds of trends you can spot from the data over the summer.

One of the most helpful things you can do for your own lists and subscribers is education. Even outlets such as No Agenda, one of my favorite podcasts, is relying on user education to make sure their email newsletter (via MailChimp) gets delivered to listeners’ inboxes after seeing a dismal drop in user contributions (they don’t run ads) since the GMail changes.

Email marketing is just as important, if not more so, than ever as we enter into the 2013 holiday season. Make sure you’re doing your homework before things really heat up and plan for success.

Users Outraged Over Proposed New Facebook Data Guidelines

In case you’ve ever wondered how Facebook might use your data in ads, a court settlement recently shed some light on proposed changes of those policies and procedures:

Facebook clarifies how ads are using your data | Digital Trends: “Instead of giving users the opportunity to use their privacy settings to control how their name and profile picture is used to advertise a brand they Liked on Facebook, the social network is now proposing that by using the site, users automatically give the company permission to use any personal information associated to their profiles for advertising purposes. This means that if you happen to like Downy’s Facebook page on the site, Downy can pay Facebook to use your profile details as an ad on the site without having to pay you.”

While there’s always been a lack of transparency regarding Facebook’s use of our “stuff,” this goes to a whole new level for many people. From a marketer’s perspective, this is a great opportunity. The ability to tie stories which originated from a user’s own circles to a brand would likely create a new level/sense of trust amongst many users (if your friend likes it and posts about it, it’s probably good).

However, I’m not sure this change is one that Facebook will ultimately be able to implement since there are big privacy implications and issues at hand. Reading through some of the comments on the original announcement shows that users don’t approve and are more than willing to move off of Facebook if this change goes through. If Facebook doesn’t listen to its users and embraces a dictatorship as opposed to a democratized services where users still have a voice, it will lose traction and eventually see its demise (which I think is inevitable anyway).

Always important to remember that nothing is free and in turn, there’s a cost associated with everything.

 

5 Tips and 3 Tools to Get You Engaged On Multiple Social Networks

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One of the most frequent questions I get during talks on social media marketing have to do with the never ending (and seemingly always expanding) situation of having to post your content to the variety of social networks that currently exist and continue to pop into existence like mini galaxies.

My normal stream of advice goes something like this…

1) Don’t post your content to every social network.

2) Pick the social networks where you want to focus and do your homework. This requires time. However, much like my 7th grade science teacher always said, “proper preparation prevents poor production.” Figure out your intended audience within that network, what your goals are and develop a timeline so that you don’t suffer “two week fatigue” when you don’t see the results you think you should be having.

3) Engage and don’t just post links. There’s an old social media guideline that goes something like 70-75% of your content should be comments, plus 1’s, retweets, replies or likes. Only 20-25% of your actual business social networking should be you broadcasting and posting (and even that is sliding further down towards the 15% range in 2013-2014).

4) Be entertaining. Social media is not TV or radio or a PDF brochure. Social media is for personalities. Even if you’re selling paper products for Dunder Mifflin, there’s space for a company personality. Be quirky and let the kimono open up a little.

5) Try not to automate your posts. There are many good reasons for this but the best is that in a time of a national or international event and/or crisis when everyone turns to Twitter or Facebook, NO ONE wants to see your latest coupon offer. Plus, real-time marketing is red hot. Oreo got it right at last year’s Superbowl.

I always recommend three tools if you do want to participate in multiple social networks with yoru business or marketing campaign… IFTTT, Buffer, and ShareThis.

Briefly, IFTTT is a fascinating tool for moving your content from one place to another on the social web. While not every “recipe” (their nomenclature for instructions on how to move data from one place to another) might be applicable to you or your business, there are some really valuable and time-saving recipes available. Even Twitter has come back to IFTTT. Here are a few of the recipes I use personally and professionally (there are others, but you can choose what to make public and private).

Second, Buffer is a more traditional broadcasting tool that includes nifty features including apps and connections to multiple Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. There are analytics included but for a quick and easy way to get your word out on multiple networks in a free (or cheap with their paid plans) way. There are more heavy duty social media dashboard services or WordPress plugins that do all of this, but in my experienced opinion, Buffer does it much nicer and without the overhead that plagues many of its competitors.

When you’re ready to do real analytics and measuring of your social media engagements, look at ShareThis and their SQI tool. ShareThis makes it incredibly simple to include sharing links on your site (whatever platform you’re using from WordPress to Drupal to Joomla to Tumblr etc). That allows for more organic sharing and ties directly into your efforts. However, once you are sharing and engaging via organic networking, IFTTT and Buffer, a tool like ShareThis is indispensable and you shouldn’t discount its powerful analytics-of-the-share potential.

So, follow those five points then get rolling with IFTTT and Buffer and top it all off with ShareThis. You’ll be happy you did as the social web continues to drive not just traffic but qualified leads to your site.

Tim Storm on Building a Team

Good read from industry legend Tim Storm on the ShareASale blog…

FatWallet started when there were already a number of coupon sites to be found on the internet (and hundreds more yet to be started).  One of the great differentiators early on was that I hired employees to help build and operate the site, where many of my competitors clung fiercely to going it alone.

via #Lessons Learned: A Guest Post from Legend Award Winner Tim Storm | ShareASale Blog.

Tim is one of those people that I’ve always looked up to. Reading his thoughts about building a great team and finding the right people is so important for the affiliate industry. Let’s face it, we’re a group of hard-nosed folks who do like to go it alone. That works sometimes, but often you need a team around you to challenge and compliment your talents.

Twitter’s New Conversations Spark Internet Outrage

Today, Twitter rolled out an updated interface for iOS, Android and the Twitter.com website that makes a major change to how tweeted conversations are viewed:

Today we’re updating our iPhone and Android apps, as well as Twitter.com, to make it easier to discover and follow conversations in your home timeline. From buzz about the VMAs to debates around upcoming football games, people come to Twitter to take part in these real-time, global, public conversations.

via Keep up with conversations on Twitter | Twitter Blogs.

And the internet is not happy:

However, we’re all missing the point with the twitter-rage (click to go read the search query).

Will Oremus writing on Slate nails the point of this (and why I think it’s a good move for the platform of Twitter):

For all its virtues as an RSS reader, real-time news board, and virtual water cooler, Twitter has never excelled as a platform for connecting with family and friends. The new emphasis on conversations could help to change that. If nothing else, it will privilege tweets that spark discussion over those that don’t.

Twitter, in its ongoing mission to boldly explore the zeitgeist and find a way to make that attractive to marketers, wants to be the center of conversations about twerking at the VMA’s, the next huge 3rd down conversion or that hideously ugly dress at the Emmy’s. It knows that its place is a protocol of conversation that allows for not only operability but also discovery.

Good move, Twitter.