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    Interactive Marketing Insights from SXSW 2012

    Last updated 2 years ago

    At this year’s South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, TX, thousands of marketers, developers, and digital strategists met for a marathon of learning sessions, networking opportunities, and glimpses into what brands from large to small are doing in the digital realm.

    On Saturday, we were excited to kick off the week with ReachLocal’s own Mike Merrill and Tiffany Monhollon speaking to a standing-room only crowd about local marketing. The session, titled “Your Marketing Sucks: Why You Need to Think Local,” offered 10 practical tips that marketers – from independent local businesses to large, national brands – can use to incorporate local into their online marketing strategy. Here are some of the top tweets and highlights that attendees shared from the session:  

    • “So simple - we are all local. We live somewhere, so #market to us there w/ an integrated strategy.” – Amy Daniels, amedaniels
       
    •  “Search engines are the number 1 source of online information on local businesses for local consumers. Requires strategy.” – Evan Schmidt, @e_sosh
       
    •  “45% of marketers not geo-modifying their paid search = local fail.” – Steve Agganis, @sagganis
       
    •  “88% of those who look for local info on a smartphone take action within a day.” – LindsayVaughn, @lindsayvaughn
       
    •  “More and more search has local intent. Are you thinking about that in your marketing?” – Victoria Harres, @victoriaharres
       
    •  “67% consumers would not purchase a product/service after reading 1-3 negative reviews” – Elysa Rice, @elysa
       
    •  “Host events to invite local influencers and get to know them”  – Andrea Dunbeck, @acdunbeck
       
    •  “Local marketing includes local reputation management/monitoring” – Andrea Dunbeck, @acdunbeck
       
    •  “100% of all people live somewhere! Quote from #sxlocalchat . Obvious but shows the importance of local brand identity!” – Wayne Edmiston, @wayneedmiston 

    You can download the session handout from SlideShare to learn more.

    SXSW Soundbytes

    With hundreds of sessions packed into the five days of the Interactive portion of SXSW, there was a little something for everyone – and a diverse array of topics and speakers from across the globe. Some of our favorite topics focused on social media insights, mobile marketing and innovations, and how the future of technology may impact user experience, customer expectations, and marketing. So, here are few of our favorite soundbytes from the week.

    Social Media Insights
    Many sessions offered insights into social media tools, direct from company experts, as well as practical applications from industry thought leaders. Here are some social media insights that attendees shared on Twitter:

    •  “Over 50% of Google+ conversations are private #sxgoogle+” –Mariam Shahab, @mshahab
       
    • “Google views search as the moment of commercial intent." That's my ah-ha moment.  #Sxgoogle+” – @marlajono
       
    • “Google has no intent to inject ads into Google+ photo albums like Facebook does. This isn't a time for commercial intent #sxgoogle+” – Mariam Shahab, @mshahab
       
    • “The art of social marketing is the art of making your customer do the marketing for you! #sxecommerce” – Erik Eskedal, @eskedal 
       
    • “Tweets are not copyrightable, and that's because of length - 140 characters isn't enough to fully express an idea. #SXipsm”  –  Catherine K. Nodurft, @catherinekaram

    Social Media & Customer Service
    In one panel focused on social media and customer service, experts shared insights and advice on using the social media tools to connect with your audience beyond just broadcasting messages on another digital channel.

    •  “In 2011, 79% of consumers sharing poor customer experiences online were ignored: http://t.co/579XsMWY” – Bryan Person, @bryanperson 
       
    • “Fundamental social question: Do you just want to sell stuff or do you want to own the culture & conversation of your category? #sxcustserv” – John Harris, @netharris
       
    •  “Try not to delete content from users, unless it is incredibly offensive or illegal. Otherwise it adds fuel to the fire #SXCustServ” – Luis Benitez, @lbenitez
       
    •  “Tremendous power in posting answer on page. The rest of community sees transparency and into brand culture” #sxcustserv” – Alina Cowden, @alicowden

    Mobile Marketing
    The future of mobile was a huge topic that many different sessions touched on, from how new technological advances will help innovation in the space to the different implications these changes will have in users’ lives. Here are a few quotes from one popular session on mobile:

    • “Instead of me telling Foursquare what I'm doing, Foursquare is now telling me what I SHOULD be doing” #SXsmartpush” – BonnieSashin, @bsashin 
       
    • “Users make systems what they are. Create apps to inspire & then let them drive it. Solve real problems #sxsmartpush” – @hy_connect 
       
    •  “Defining battle in the next few years on where data lives, what you can do w it, how can it be accessed #SXsmartpush” – Dan Nieves, @dannieves

    Future Technology & Innovation
    Many thinkers and thought leaders shared their ideas on the future of technology, offering a glimpse into interesting applications for the future.

    •  “What's next? Interfaces disappear & your actions are reduced. Technology runs in the background letting you get back to life. #SXAmberCase” – @firehouseagency
       
    •  “Your  phone will become a remote control for reality #SXAmberCase” – Niketa Patel, @niketa
       
    • “The companies that are not willing to let people fail are not going to innovate #sxunc”  – Elysa Rice, @elysa

    These tweets are just a small portion of the SXSW Interactive experience this year. To learn more about all the sessions, check out the online schedule.

    Did you have the chance to make it to Austin for Interactive this year or follow along with what attendees were sharing online? If so, tell us about your experience in a comment!

    Introducing the ReachSearch Video: Get Leads from Search Engine Advertising

    Last updated 2 years ago

    Getting more leads is a top priority for any local business – yours included – and it’s that much more challenging now that consumers are searching for local products and services online. ReachSearch, our leading search engine advertising solution, helps you capture consumers at the exact time they’re searching for your products and services, whether on the Web or on their mobile devices.

    In the latest ReachLocal video, we provide an in-depth look at ReachSearch. Take a look to discover how our technology and service team work together to bring you more customers.

    Here are a few key takeaways:

    • ReachSearch is a unique combination of technology and service experts certified in search engine advertising that build and execute your custom plan
    • ReachSearch reaches consumers on 98% of the places they search, including Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Ask, and local directories like Superpages, Citysearch, and more
    • Our Conversion Based Optimization technology works behind-the-scenes, 24/7 to drive more performance for your budget
    • ReachLocal is a Google AdWords™ Premier SMB Partner with experience running hundreds of thousands of campaigns for businesses just like yours

    But that’s not all. Watch the video for yourself to discover exactly how ReachSearch works, and what all it can do for your local business. 

    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media marketing, and more as a blogger for ReachCast and ReachLocal

    ReachLocal Welcomes Microsoft and Nero Veteran as Chief Product Officer

    Last updated 2 years ago

    Today, we’re pleased to announce that product development veteran Kris Barton has joined the ReachLocal family as our new Chief Product Officer. Kris will be responsible for the development of our new products as well as the ongoing optimization of our core online marketing products, including ReachSearch™, ReachCast™, and ReachDisplay™. Also, as we expand internationally, Kris will oversee the deployment of our product suite in different markets.

    Kris comes to us from Nero, where he served as Chief Operating Officer of the multimedia software company. Prior to Nero, Barton held key product positions at Microsoft, overseeing the product development efforts for the MSN online properties including MSN.com and MSN network channels. In addition, he has experience in product at Omniture and Novell Corporation.

    We’re proud to welcome Kris to the family, and we look forward to working with him on our product roadmap. 

    A Guide to Facebook Timeline for Small Business Brands

    Last updated 2 years ago

    This week, Facebook announced a major change to how brands – including small businesses – can use Facebook to share their stories on the site. Facebook Timeline has been rolled out to individual user profiles, but now, businesses will also have the new look on their pages. As of this week, businesses can turn on Timeline; otherwise the changes will be automatically rolled out to all pages on March 30. But before you turn on Timeline, it’s important to understand all the changes that are coming.

    So, what does Facebook Timeline for brand pages mean? We tuned into Facebook’s recent live marketing event on what’s new with Facebook for brands, so here’s a rundown of some of the major changes you’ll see.

    Updated Layout, Experience, & Page Content Types

    The first thing you’ll notice when visiting a business page using Timeline is the new look and feel, characterized by the use of two images featured prominently at the top of the page. There is also a new layout for business information and page apps, a new interface for content posted to the page, and new types of content that can appear on your business Timeline.

    Here’s an overview of these elements.

    Cover Image – This is a large, banner-style photo that is prominently featured at the top of your page. This 851 x 315 pixel image is intended to set the visual tone and identity of your page and should showcase the life of your brand. For example, a cupcake shop might show a colorful photo of a display of cakes or pastries in this image. One thing to keep in mind with the cover image is that you cannot add promotional text such as offer information, business hours or locations, or other calls to action. This type of content should be displayed in the “about” section of your page or in a status update.

    Profile Photo – This image is a small, square image that is basically the profile photo for your page. This photo will show up as your business image when fans see content posted in their feeds. Facebook recommends to use your brand logo within the profile picture, and to keep it simple. This image will be displayed as small as 30x30 pixels in some portions of the site.

    Updated About Section & Placement - The “About” section has a new placement below the cover image rather than in a sidebar. This will showcase a business description for brands or the address and contact information for local businesses. It links to a more in-depth About page containing more details about your business.

    Page App Placement & Changes - Next to the “About” section is a place to feature different page apps your business may be using. This is also where the number of “likes” a page has is displayed. A local business can use page apps like maps, videos, events, and offer landing tabs to promote content that’s not displayed directly on the Timeline. Four app modules are featured on the page, along with a dropdown so users can easily navigate to other apps.

    Another change related to apps is that you can no longer select a tab or app to be the default landing page whenever a Facebook user visits your page through the site. However, you can still link visitors to your apps or landing pages from places like your website, emails, or even from Facebook ads.

    Timeline Content Layout – The content posted to your page also has a new look and feel that’s similar to the Timeline look that has rolled out to user profiles. The layout is two columns of content that are divided by a line, combined with the ability to outline historical content in the format of milestones, like company founding, product launches, and other interesting company information. A floating timeline shortcut allows users to navigate easily to prior years to learn more about your business and see old Facebook activity from your brand.

    Content Types – Now, the content shown on your page Timeline will also be different from the previous iteration of a brand’s wall. The default setting for content shown on your Timeline includes your page’s posts as well as posts from page fans and random users (those who have not “liked” your page but mention your business in a post). Plus, your page will pull in content about your business that has been posted to user’s Timelines, not just posts added directly to your own Timeline. Brands do have the ability to adjust this default setting under the “manage permission” option and can select an option that only allows posts from the brand and its fans to show up on the Timeline until the post has been reviewed by an admin.

    Friend Activity Feature – There’s a new place where “friend activity” is showcased on your page. Previously, this was a sub-tab, but it’s now front and center, just below the About section of your page. This feature will show visitors to your page the activity their Facebook friends have taken with your brand, such as likes, check-ins, and other brand-related content activities.

    New Content Labeling & Feature Options

    In addition to these look and feel changes, there are also some changes with how Facebook admins can interact with and feature content on their Timeline.

    Pinned Content  - A page admin can now  pin a native post to the top of their page so that fans can see the featured content above the fold for up to seven days, or until new content is pinned. Only one post at a time can be pinned at the top of the page, and the pinned content is marked with an orange flag.

    Allowed Content – Page admins will be able to mark content posted by users to the page as “allowed” content, allowing it to appear on the brand’s Timeline.

    Starred Content – You’ll also be able to mark content as “starred,” which will feature that prominently on the page in a double-wide layout, bringingit more attention on your page Timeline.

    Back-dated & Milestone Content – Now, brands will be able to back date content in order to post items to the history of your brand’s Timeline, along with the ability to designate some types of content as “milestones” which will be featured prominently in the Timeline interface.

    New Private Messaging Option Between Fans and Brands

    Another new feature Facebook is launching with Timeline is the ability for fans to reach out to your business privately through a message that your brand can respond to privately. This enables a user to initiate a private exchange with a brand for a variety of purposes. Messages may only be initiated by users or fans, not from the business; however, this opens up a new opportunity for customer help, inquiry, and support.

    New Admin Panel & Reports

    In addition to these changes, the admin panel and reports for Facebook page administrators is also changing. This feature will aggregate all the data about your page and its performance together and is also where you will be able to access messages from your fans. This panel will feature details about users who like or tag your brand in a post in addition to the new “likes” your page has received so you can easily look at who your new users are. Also, the Facebook Insights information will all be available from this admin panel.

    With one month to get ready for these changes, now is the time to be start thinking about how to get your business page ready for the March 30th automatic rollout of Timeline. It’s more than a matter of simply enabling Timeline and updating your business images. It’s important to understand what all these changes mean for your business, from customer service to page management to overall strategy.

    Has your business switched to Timeline? What are you looking forward to with the new changes, and what are your concerns? Share your thoughts in a comment, and stay tuned for more information on Facebook Timeline for small business brands. 

    About the Author
    Tiffany Monhollon shares practical tips and insights about reaching consumers across the web. Follow her on Twitter and Google+

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    ReachLocal Experts to Speak at SXSW and Industry Conference

    Last updated 2 years ago

    March is a busy month in the online marketing industry, and ReachLocal is making its footprint with speakers at two key industry events in the upcoming month: South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas, and the Crittenden Multifamily Conference in Dallas.

    First up is South by Southwest, where Mike Merrill, Director of Marketing, and Tiffany Monhollon, Senior Manager of Content Marketing , will share the stage during the interactive portion of the conference, which takes place March 9-13. Their session, Your Marketing Sucks: Why You Need to Think Local, addresses how all businesses – from SMBs to national brands and agencies— can market their business to local consumers.

    Later in the month, Justin Mink, Director of Multifamily, will address fellow multifamily marketers at the Crittenden Multifamily Conference on March 20. Mink will be speaking and moderating the session Web Presence Optimization: Building & Reaching New Residents Online, which will help attendants understand:

    • What changes to the Web mean for property marketers
    • How current and potential residents are really using the Web
    • How Web Presence Optimization encompasses more than search engine marketing
    • How to think holistically and creatively about online marketing, resource allocation, and lead attribution

    For more information on upcoming ReachLocal events, visit our Facebook Events Calendar. To learn more about ReachLocal Multifamily, check out their website or blog

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