Newsletter Signup

“Our PPC paid-search performance improved significantly under Nina’s management. Her knowledgeable guidance also helped us make inexpensive changes to our dynamic Web site which increased our natural search position and decreased our need to spend more on AdWords.” — Linda Peterson, Webmaster, Hazelden Foundation

Blog Archive

Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

The New Type of “Trending”: Fashion Week + Social Media

Monday, September 16th, 2013

MTS - NY Fashion Week 2013

Twice yearly, when New York Fashion Week takes over New York City, the term “trending” is much more than merely a reference to social media. Don’t get me wrong, although fashion trends are the primary focus and reason Fashion Week exists, social media is a quickly growing channel that cannot be overlooked during this style-filled week.


Event Recap: i612′s “Mobile: The New First Screen”

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

i612_mobile_the new first screen

This past Thursday (July 18), the Nina Hale crew went to check out the latest i612 event at the Graves Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, titled: “Mobile: The New First Screen.” A great turn-out of agency people, media partners and digital marketers ate some grub, grabbed some drinks and gathered together to hear some of the nation’s top mobile thought leaders speak about the hottest topics in the space.


Comedians Will Save Vine. Sorry, Instagram.

Friday, July 12th, 2013

vine vs instagram

Ever since Instagram launched its long-rumored 15-second video feature, hundreds and hundreds of articles have been published attempting to analyze and predict how the two micro-video platforms will be able to live in-tandem with each other (yeah yeah yeah, this is one of them). And as of now, the jury is still out (from a data standpoint) on the effect Instagram video has already had on Vine user activity. But for digital marketers, it’s fascinating and important to watch how users respond because (as with all consumer behavior) social media user behavior isn’t an instantaneous change.


Local Takes Another Step Toward Social

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Did you know that 13% of local searches happen on social networking sites? Engaging socially on a location level is rapidly becoming an important local marketing tactic. That’s why we’re excited to announce that our partner, Yext, has added Facebook to their publishing network. This greatly increases the efficiency of the subsection of Local SEO and social engagement allowing you to:

  • Manage; Name, Address & Phone Number information instantly
  • Distribute enhanced content in the form of apps native to Facebook
    • Calendars, Staff Bios, Products & more
  • Share local-social specific content to your Facebook location pages
    • Positive reviews from your local SEO efforts
    • Location specific photos & content
    • Promotions
  • Report on likes, check-ins & more



Another Reason Why Google+ Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

If you haven’t noticed recently, Google’s knowledge graph has been pulling Google+ information into its search engine results pages. Frequently, you will see Wikipedia information displayed here, however, if your Google+ page is optimized and relevant, those profiles will be displayed there along with recent activity. This can lead to some significant opportunity for brands. 

Here are a couple examples of Google+ being pulled into Google’s SERPs:

Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 2.23.55 PM

Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 2.30.25 PM



Here are some tips when considering your Google+ Page:

  • Make sure your page is optimized.
  • Make sure your most recent posts are something you want to be shared on Google’s SERPs.
  • Define your name, address, phone number (Use your REAL business name).
  • Claim your Google+ Local listing.
  • Think critically about the categories you use.
  • Link users to a page that keeps in mind that they are interested in a specific location.
  • Don’t merge with Google+ unless you have less than three locations and want to engage socially.


The Power of Social Media When Tragedy Strikes

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

When fear struck Boston on Monday, April 15th, word spread like wild fire across social media. The Boston Globe was quick to react to the explosions via Twitter, receiving almost 10,000 re-tweets in a matter of minutes. The news spread quickly to news outlets and other active social users, and soon enough, the news was known nation-wide. Many took to social media to not only offer condolences and receive timely updates, but also to locate friends and family that were in or around the marathon that afternoon.

The Google person finder, which was initially built for the 2010 Haiti earthquake, was one of the most helpful tools for tracking runners and bystanders and for also posting any information that was had about someone who was missing. Facebook was also a big help for locating people. According to The New York Times, Jeff Bauman was able to track down his son by an image that was posted to Facebook of his son being wheeled to an ambulance. Jeff was able to track him down after calling multiple Boston area hospitals. It’s times like this where we praise social media for being our guide to updates and answers.

According to Topsy, a Twitter analytics company, at about 4:30 p.m., there were more than 700,000 mentions on Twitter of the words “Boston Marathon” while Twitter mentions of “Boston” increased by 20,000%. A recently launched app, Vine, was also one of the first to display a quick six-second loop of the explosion. The Boston police are also using their Twitter account for updates. CNN just announced a suspect being arrested, while the Boston police were quick to respond that there has not been any arrest. With quick reactions like this, it’s imperative to note the importance of social media and how it’s typically first on the scene and the quickest place to release timely news and details.

For big brands and social voices, this is just another reason to make sure that a “crisis strategy” is implemented in your social media plan. When tragedy strikes, it’s important to be aware of timely tweets and posts in order to not stand out like a sore thumb. This is typically a problem when brands schedule posts too far in advance. By releasing untimely information during a time like this, a brand will look “un-human” and “robot-like” to the audience, resulting in extreme negative backlash.

4-17-2013 1-56-10 PM

As a result of advanced scheduling, an accidental slip could happen. Runner’s World was on the scene and had accidentally sent out a scheduled tweet, but it was pulled immediately followed by this response.


The best etiquette guidelines to follow in a situation such as this are: be sensitive, delay posting any promotional or irrelevant tweets, and join the conversation if you can provide any helpful details (especially if you’re local).

4-17-2013 1-59-36 PM

With all this being said, it’s apparent that social media has created its own form of reporting, and is continuously on the rise. People are always looking to social media for answers, which is why it’s important to understand the many roles that social media plays.

If you’re looking for ways to volunteer and help, near or far, follow the hashtag #BostonHelp on Twitter or check out this list of ways to get involved. Our deepest sympathies go out to those affected by the events at the Boston Marathon.

LinkedIn for B2B

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Why LinkedInWith all the attention being paid to the importance of social media in your overall marketing mix, you’d think more businesses would be building out their LinkedIn company profiles to the hilt. However, LinkedIn continues to be one of the most underutilized marketing and lead gen opportunities in the B2B space.

 Not only can you reach prospective customers on LinkedIn, but you can also make it easier for the media to contact you as a resource, your participation in groups can help you stand out as a thought leader and you can set the stage to attract the best and brightest new employees to join your team. 

If your LinkedIn company profile is languishing due to lack of attention, there’s no better time than right now to spruce it up and take advantage of every feature available to you on this powerful social platform. Here are the essential first steps to LinkedIn success.

Build Your Company Page
If you haven’t created a company page for your business on LinkedIn, do it today. LinkedIn has a great Help/FAQ section designed to answer all of your questions and get you started. Of course, there are certain rules and guidelines to follow, but they’re clearly explained and easy to follow. Visit the LinkedIn company page FAQ here. LinkedIn offers a 45 minute webinar every Wednesday at noon (CST) called “How to Build Your Company Page for Business Success” and you can find the link to sign up here. It may be the most valuable contribution you make to your business all week.

Optimize Your Company Page
It’s not enough to create the framework of your company page and leave it at that. Like all social profiles, your LinkedIn company page has the potential to show your business at its best.  An appealing banner draws visitors in; G& K Services has done this well with an attractive, branded image that promotes their friendly, professional team. 

G&K Company Page Banner







LinkedIn provides a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process of developing, optimizing and promoting your Company Page. You’ll find the Five Steps to Engaging Followers here.

LinkedIn 5 Steps to Engaging Followers







Make the Most of Your Products & Services Page

Pay special attention to the Products & Services tab, where you can call out individual product groups and service offerings.  You’re limited only by the time and effort you choose to devote to this section. Consider adding calls to action and offers to the Products & Services page – a tactic used by very few companies, but often with great success. 

LinkedIn may be best known for its ability to connect job seekers with open positions, providing ample opportunity for individuals to develop and nurture valuable business relationships. LinkedIn provides you, as an employer, with a well-lit stage from which to promote opportunities at your firm. 

LinkedIn Careers Banner






One of the best examples of a LinkedIn Company page is for LinkedIn itself. Each section has been crafted with care, taking advantage of all the features available to present the company in the best possible light. 

Recent Updates are timely, relevant and interesting…

LinkedIn Recent Updates








Products & Services pages are completely built out and optimized…

LinkedIn Product Pages











Content is useful and relevant…

LinkedIn Content







In short, LinkedIn has provided a great example of how to make the most of all Company Page features. Take a look and take their examples to heart. Consider making the creation and optimization of your LinkedIn Company Page a goal for your Q2 digital marketing program.

Google Places Closer to Full Google+ Integration

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Back in June, we announced Google Places as Dead, and transitioning to Google+ Local. While still true, the transition has been very slow. Yesterday, Google started rolling out Google Places’ new look and feel, the next step in the full transition to Google+. Here’s what it looks like & what you need to know.

New Look & Feel for Google Places

More Images of the New Look & Feel for Google Places

What Changed?

When Will My Account Be Updated?

As with many Google updates, this will be done on a rolling basis. It’s starting with new businesses claiming their locations for the first time. If accessing your Google Places account today, the account will likely look the same. You will receive an email from Google stating that your Google Places account has been upgraded.

Is There Anything I Should Do Immediately?

If you already have your account claimed & verified in either Google+ Local or Google Places, no immediate action should be taken. When your account is upgraded, take a moment to learn the interface and add additional categories if applicable.

Bottom Line

The main implications of the transition are the same. Google’s local listings are transitioning to a social platform, Google+. This is key and important to not get caught up in the minuscule changes. These webpages continue to poise themselves to be Google’s intersection of social, local and mobile for business listings.

Additional Information


But the small changes still carry weight. Notably, the loss of custom categories will be an important aspect. Pre-determined categories have always carried more weight, but occasionally for certain terms it gave one listing an advantage over another. If your account utilizes custom categories, consider looking for a replacement.

Previously, through the user interface, a business owner could only add up to five categories. Now you can add up to ten. This doesn’t mean go into your account and add any category that roughly has an applicable audience (don’t be a spammer!). But it DOES mean you should verify that the categories you’ve chosen are covering the keywords your business is targeting.


Local has always been somewhat of a black hole. Business representatives would make changes to their Google Listings, the edit would appear to go through, but alas, when seen in search or maps, the edit was not shown. If you feel like this story relates to you, know that edits will now have a “pending” status attached to the edit.

This actually goes two ways as well. If Google is looking outward at the data across the web, and decides to update your information, you will be notified of the edit directly in the interface. Previously this was done via email or not at all.

Another important aspect of updates is the exclusivity of claims. Now each location can only be claimed with one account. In the all too common problem that a Google Places account login information had been lost or forgotten, it would leave a feed of outdated data that appeared to be from the business owner. This resulted in listings reverting back to old data occasionally. Now, since each account can only be claimed once, a new claim would trump the old claim, resulting in a more accurate listing. 

Service Area Businesses

Previously, using a merged Google+ Local listing as a social page (Google+ for Business page), was unavailable to business owners with service area oriented businesses. The reason being that you could not hide your businesses address, which is required by the quality guidelines. Now with this new functionality, you can hide your address within Google+! This is a great update for businesses who were excited to become social on a local level, but were previously unable to do so.

I hope this answers some of your questions regarding the new change, if you have a specific question, feel free to leave a comment or engage with me on twitter!

Social Commerce is Growing – Fast. Are you Ready?

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

url-3As social media has infiltrated nearly every aspect of modern life, it’s no surprise that social commerce is the latest hot topic. Maybe you don’t believe the hype – but you can rely on the studies, including recent stats from Gartner Research that point to social media being responsible for 30 billion dollars in sales within the next five years, and a staggering 50 percent of web sales by 2015.

Yes, that’s right. They’re expecting half of all online sales to take place on social media. Given the influx of social commerce platforms, apps, widgets and add-ons we’ve seen lately, this doesn’t sound so shocking.

What is shocking is that the same study indicated currently only 17 percent of Facebook pages feature products for sale, and of those, only four percent enable check-out within Facebook or other social channels. But if the consumer is social and active on social channels, shouldn’t the products they’re interested in be available there, too?

Luckily for brands wanting to reach their loyal fan bases with their products and bump up that 17 percent number, the options for solutions is growing by the day, ranging from full-service in-stream purchasing to sharing purchases and recommendations on social networks. Even Victoria Beckham’s e-comm site that launched yesterday utilizes social shareable GIFs to sell her clothes. 

There are social sharing options for e-comm, like Gigya or in-stream social purchasing solutions like Chirpify, which allows people to buy brands’ products on Twitter and Instagram with a hashtag (and an account linked to PayPal). Last week, they enhanced their platform further by including Facebook as a supported social channel.  No word yet on Pinterest, but it’s apparently part of their plan as well. 

Last month, American Express announced the ability for card members to Pay By Tweet. Also using the hastag / linked account model, this option is still only available for select retailers but clearly the way of the future.  

The social shopping site, Blomming, launched recently and is essentially a more social-fied Etsy, allowing users to create their own shops and promote their products on Facebook and their own blogs. For the enterprise-sized brands, Social Annex has a range of social commerce solutions from discovery to engagement and analytics, but with fees ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 and no in-stream purchasing options yet.

It seems every day, new players are entering the ring of social commerce. It’s only a matter of time before we see which ones will come out on top, or if more financial institutions will follow AMEX’s lead and incorporate social purchasing options. Eventually, we won’t call it “social commerce” but simply: commerce. 


Facebook Personal Analytics by Wolfram Alpha

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Wolfram Alpha has continued its expansion into the data analytics space with analytics for FacebookWolfram Alpha is a “computational knowledge engine” developed by Wolfram Research. Most recently, Wolfram Alpha has released a way to let Facebook users use personal analytics to get a detailed picture of their social media data, including activity, post statistics, check-in statistics, app activity, photo activity and a detailed analysis of your friend network. Right now, the report is a pretty straightforward analysis. This is just the start of Facebook personal analytics, Wolfram said more features will be added in coming months. When accessing Wolfram Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook for the first time, you will be prompted to authenticate the Wolfram Connection app in Facebook, and then sign in to Wolfram Alpha. After that, Wolfram Alpha will generate your report from the data it can get about you through Facebook. Best of all, it is free!

When you type “Facebook report” at or access the “Facebook report” through Wolfram Alpha Facebook Analytics, Wolfram Alpha will generate your “Facebook report” which will be broken into a number of sections, with all sorts of data and information about your activity on Facebook. 

Here’s an example of the report by Stephen Wolfram:

 Full Scan


Below, an example of the gender distribution report:

Gender Chart


Below, an example of different friend and interest graphs:

FB Array


Below, an example of friend hometown distribution:

 Friend Hometowns


Below, an example of the friend age distribution:

Friends Age


 Below, an example of a chart showing activity over time: 


Wolfram Alpha has allowed anyone to explore the power of analysis and now gives you the power for all sorts of Facebook personal analytics.


Screen shots have been sourced from: Wolfram|Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook