Amazon Debuts Spark, a Social Network for its Customers

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Amazon is doing al it can to bring in more sales with the launch of Spark, the eCommerce king’s very own social media site for shoppers.

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 2.12.12 AMSpark is a cross between Instagram and Pinterest, featuring a feed within its Amazon app to showcase products that are available for purchase.

“Spark is a place to discover things from people who share your interests,” reads Amazon’s description of the service. “Whether you’re looking for inspiration for home décor or seeking advice for the best long-distance running shoes, Spark makes it easy to discover — and shop — stories and ideas from a community that likes what you like.”

Amazon will create a feed of personalized content after Spark users select their interests. They will be able to see content from other Amazon customers with similar interests. Shopping is as easy as tapping on product links or photos with the shopping bag icon.

Only Prime members will be able to contribute to Spark or interact with other users.

Spark, which currently is available only on the Amazon App for iPhone users in the U.S., can be accessed by tapping the main menu and then ‘Programs and Features,’ followed by ‘Amazon Spark.’  Although there is no compatibility for Android as yet, Amazon said users should “stay tuned.”


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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Smarp vs. GaggleAMP vs. PostBeyond: Which is Tops for Employee Advocacy?

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Employee advocacy programs have been on the rise in recent years alongside other popular marketing modalities like influencer marketing and customer ambassadorship.

Google Trends’ data reveals that demand for information about employee advocacy has yet to peak.

Employee advocacy refers to a potent strategy whereby an organization leverages its workforce to share company and industry updates through their personal social media channels. It’s a win-win situation, since it allows the employer to grow awareness and reach for its brand while positioning the employees’ personal brands as authoritative figures within their niche.

Proving the efficacy of such programs, a study from Hinge Research Institute clearly displays the benefits that employees receive from their employers’ advocacy initiatives:

  • 87 percent of employees see growth in their networks
  • 68 percent feel that it helps their careers
  • 50 percent generate new business leads

On the business end of the survey:

  • 79 percent enjoy boosted visibility
  • 49 percent see increases in Web traffic
  • 33 percent experience brand loyalty lift

And these are just a few of the rewards that came from implementing such a program. Don’t forget that employees who are more engaged also tend to be more productive for the organizations they serve.

If you’re ready to implement an employee advocacy program, you’re going to need a stellar platform to successfully manage the effort.

Smarp, GaggleAMP and PostBeyond are three of the most recognized and applauded tools in the field. How do they stack up against each other, and which one reigns supreme?

To answer that question, we put these tools head-to-head in a trial to determine the winner. Here’s what we uncovered.

Smarp

Smarp is a powerful Web tool and mobile app that enables employees to discover and share content across internal teams and external networks.

The relationship between employee advocacy and employee engagement is complex, and Smarp’s user experience wisely emphasizes both fronts, as they can each help to boost the other. Interface-wise, internal communication is a focal point of the tool, as it helps to engage an increased number of workers, who are all the more likely to become rabid advocates.

Smarp’s intuitive newsfeed-style design feels reminiscent of social media websites, so the learning curve is minimal and feels quite natural for users.

Content from this newsfeed can be anything from corporate updates to intriguing industry developments. This content can be posted by managers and employees alike, which allows companies to develop a vast repository of industry information which employees can use to educate themselves and their audiences through sharing the posts. Content can also be filtered by topics to help employees drill down into what matters most to them.

Under this model, if an employee wants to become an expert in a specific field, Smarp can help them do that by focusing on only specific posts relating to that topic.

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Additionally, users can schedule to share posts at a later time, archive posts and bookmark with within the tool.

Smarp promotes employee sharing through a gamified system that allows managers to set a point value for shares across various social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Weibo, Xing and WeChat. While Smarp does support sharing publicly published content by copying the source URL for pasting into the channel of the sharer’s choice, keeping it limited allows the team to focus on certain channels instead for spreading efforts too thin.

(Outside of sharing to these sites, Smarp also allows users to share posts internally with one another; these are not posted to any site and stay solely within Smarp, unless otherwise enabled by an admin.)

Users are scored based on their number of shares and how well those shares performed in their own networks.

The points employees earn can then be used as a means to top the leaderboard, earn rewards put forth by management, or even to donate money to various charities.

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These types of gamified features can often result in a sense of friendly competition that heightens employee engagement even further.

Additionally, users can comment on the various “sharables” to spark an internal dialogue among the team.

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On the backend, managers are able to view a robust set of data points and analytics to determine which employees are sharing most, how impactful their efforts have been, and even how their social activity ties in to the company’s revenues.

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In addition, stakeholders who may not have permissions to enter the company’s intranet can gain access to relevant information that might not be available to them otherwise.

All in all, Smarp is an intuitive, user-friendly, and powerful application for engaging employees, growing a brand’s visibility and awareness, and transforming a company’s workforce into a crew of industry influencers.

Smarp is perfect for companies that:

  • Want to take internal communications to the next level;
  • Encourage employees to become specialized experts;
  • Aim to understand how the program impacts the company’s bottom line;
  • Manage multiple teams that need to co-ordinate with each other.

Now let’s take a look at the competition.

GaggleAMP

GaggleAMP is a comparable tool to Smarp, with a few key differences.

Like Smarp, GaggleAMP enables employees, managers, friends and followers to access the platform to share or repost content published by the company as a means to reach a more sizable audience and build authority among workers.

People are grouped together into gaggles (get it?) and relevant content is then served.

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The interface of this application feels more like a to-do list than a social newsfeed, but members can easily click to share on the designated social network, pass on promoting, or schedule to share it at a later time.

This interface can seem lacking, however, due to the fact that posts can’t be tagged and grouped to let employees dig into certain topics.

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Much like Smarp, GaggleAMP also touts gamified elements such as assigned point values per action, leaderboards, and managerial rewards.

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Where GaggleAMP sets itself apart is with automatic sharing features and a wide an array of actions that can be served to employees. This platform doesn’t limit its sharing to just Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but instead extends its offerings to include Instagram, Google+, SlideShare, MailChimp, YouTube and other platforms.

Unfortunately, this wide range of actions can feel underutilized on GaggleAMP’s antiquated design that often serves up a clunky experience. Furthermore, the lack of an internal communication features makes the aforementioned perk feel all the more underwhelming.

In the analytics department, GaggleAMP does a good job of breaking down activity within the platform. Unfortunately, it falls short in tying these metrics back into how the activity actually impacts the company overall.

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Additionally, tasks are broken down by engagement types as well; employees could be asked to like, share, subscribe, follow, comment, watch, and take part in other actions.

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Ultimately, GaggleAMP is a worthy adversary to go up against Smarp’s toolkit, but its use cases are more limited.

GaggleAMP is a good fit for employers that:

  • Want to drive a wide range of specific social media actions;
  • Plan on leveraging a wider variety of social platforms;
  • Don’t need any “social intranet” functionality for internal communication.

PostBeyond

PostBeyond is another popular solution for increasing a company’s reach through employee engagement and advocacy.

Through this platform, managers are able to upload content for employees to easily share across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The interface is stylish, simple and reminiscent of the “masonry” card layout leveraged by Pinterest. Anyone who frequents Pinterest will find themselves right at home in PostBeyond.

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Through this UI, employees can immediately share content with their audiences or schedule posts to go out later.

Managers can pin a post that holds extra significant value for the company to the top of the feed, to ensure that everyone sees it.

Employees can also recommend content they think would be useful to their colleagues – and their colleagues’ audience members – through the suggestion module. This can also be accomplished with the service’s Chrome browser extension.

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The platform, however, does fall short in a couple of departments.

Firstly, there is no internal communications feature. This means that the focus is on employees connecting with their social audiences and not with each other.

Additionally, PostBeyond has no content tagging abilities. This makes finding specific pieces of content and articles on particular topics tricky. Because of this, employees cannot effectively drill down into specific subjects to develop their reputations as experts in a certain field.

One of the best aspects in PostBeyond, though, is that managers can send out e-mail updates to their team with various pieces of content that can be published directly from the e-mail. This can be a significant time saver when employees are already spread thin.

Managers can also gain valuable insights on how these shares are impacting the brand by setting earned media values for various engagements across social platforms.

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When it comes to analytics, PostBeyond uncovers the company’s top performers, displays various social engagement metrics, identifies where geographically people are engaging with the content, reveals which networks are most active and boasts other powerful insights.

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These kinds of observations can result in a more refined, targeted, and effective marketing strategy for any brand.

PostBeyond provides the most value to brands that:

  • Aim to target Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn;
  • Seek streamlined employee engagement via e-mail;
  • Wish to grasp how employee engagement benefits a brand through an “earned media” comparison metric.

The Verdict

These three tools are similar to one another in many ways. However, while both PostBeyond and GaggleAMP do tout some impressive features, the win overall goes to Smarp.

GaggleAMP can feel like an outdated version of itself that operates awkwardly and un-intuitively; this provides for a mediocre user experience on both the manager and employee sides of the tool.

PostBeyond’s lack of internal communication features makes the tool seem more incomplete than its competitors.

With these aspects in mind, Smarp’s streamlined and intuitive interface is much more appealing and user-friendly than the alternatives.

Moreover, the gamification elements on Smarp are stronger and more engaging. When it comes to analytics, Smarp also provides a more robust and in-depth dataset that allows managers to dive deep into how the social activities of employees are impacting the company in various ways.

But the real takeaway here is that you can’t lose with employee advocacy. If deployed well, and using a professional-grade platform as your sharing hub, employee advocacy programs can have dramatic impact on your brand’s visibility and social proof.

Help your employees grow their personal brands while boosting your brand’s social profile. There’s arguably no stronger marketing modality than word-of-mouth.


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Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

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How to Start a Blog: A Step-By-Step Guide

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If you have ever wondered how to start a blog, you are in luck because that is exactly what I am going to show you today.

Twenty minutes is all you need to start a blog, and you DON’T need any knowledge of HTML, coding, or graphics design. When you decide to start a blog, and begin to look into everything involved, you may become frustrated or overwhelmed. The best thing to do is start fresh and break up the steps into a more manageable process.

Blogging is quickly becoming one of the best and most popular outlets of communication. A blog allows you to share information, share ideas and spread knowledge to a large audience of people and you can customize your blog in any way you see fit in order to become noticed and gain popularity in the niche of your choosing.

Blogging allows you to become a better writer, a better person, and you can even make money in the process if you follow all the steps and dedicate your time and resources to your success.

I will walk you through the whole process in a moment, but first, let me tell you my story…

Four years ago, I didn’t know the slightest thing about how to start a blog. Greatly excited by the prospect of creating a blog of my own, I went ahead to register my first blog domain name.

Then, I became confused. I didn’t know what to do next. I struggled for 18 days, invested time and energy to understand the new “blog,” checking Google for stuff like “how to create blog” without grasping anything.

To read the remainder of Richard’s article, please click here.


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Translation and Localization of a Business

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There is no doubt that language services are big business, more so today because of globalization. Businesses must explore new markets outside their home country to remain competitive. Because global consumers speak different languages and have their own set of customs, habits and beliefs, the demand for translation services continues to rise.

Statistics included in the Common Sense Advisory (CSA) 12th annual global industry report revealed demand for language services and other related technologies continues to grow. According to the report, the annual growth rate is 5.52 percent, while the global market for technology and language services in 2016 would be more than US$40 billion. Their prediction is that by 2020, the market will reach US$45 billion. Through 2018, the projected growth rate annually is 6.5-7.5 percent.

Translation

Translation is the commuting of the text of a source language into its equivalent in a target language. Although translation services have been ongoing for many years, this is a type of service that usually works away from the spotlight. People who know about the business are mostly those that require document translation.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeastern United States in October 2012, it brought focus on an otherwise hidden industry – language services, which include translation, interpreting and localization. People realized the value of this type of service, as Lynda Callis, a sign language interpreter, stood beside NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to dramatically explain what the mayor was announcing regarding the severity of the natural calamity. More people realized how vital language services are during emergency.

The translation industry is very active. Statista did a research to study the industry revenue from 2008 to 2015 and projected the revenue up to 2020. In 2008, the total revenue of the translation and interpreting industry was 2.2 billion. In 2016, it reached 3.61B and the projection for 2020 is that will go down slightly to 3.5 billion.

Localization

Localization, or L10n, a numeronym given by the industry, is a more specialized process. It is not just about word translation. It is about contextual adaptation of texts. Exploring, developing and competing in the world market means presenting your company, brands, products and other things in relation to dealing with consumers in their own language. This is what globalization encompasses. Globalization comprises two components, internationalization and localization.

You have to carefully plan for localization because this is part of your investment. First you have to go through internationalization. This is the preparation and planning stage to support the product that you have designed for the global market. This is more product-centric because you focus on the product for global consumption. All the language- or country-specific content and cultural assumptions are separated from the product, so that information can be easily adapted to target audiences.

After internationalization comes localization. This is the phase where the product is adapted to the target market. It covers four main issues: linguistic, cultural and business, physical and technical.

Testing and quality assurance should be done after each phase, to ensure that the product performs properly and the quality expectations of the clients are met.

Value of language services in business

Businesses going global realize that penetrating new markets require more than just advertising and promotions. Because most of the new and emerging markets speak a language different from yours, acceptance could be difficult if you do not speak to them using their language. The premise is simple: you cannot sell in English if your consumers are non-English speakers. This is where localization comes in.

For B2B, communication becomes faster and understanding among parties becomes efficient with translation. But for global marketing, translation is not enough. You have to apply a holistic approach. You have to think about how different cultures will receive your marketing messages.

Why is this so?

It’s because people make their own purchase decisions and in the international market, non-English speakers opt to buy products that speak their language. The majority of online purchasers also prefer to shop from multi-lingual sites instead of sites that are only available in English. English may be the language of business internationally, but the playing field is different when it comes to purchases.

You gain a competitive edge when you have your website localized and all brand/product-related paraphernalia transcreated into the target languages. If your direct competitors are translating, you have to make your brand standout. Translation and localization will help you improve your relationship with your target market, as you will be tailor fitting your business to them.

Keep in mind that you need professional language services when you opt to translate and localize your brand. This is to ensure that your translation is of the highest quality, and the translation will remain consistent for your brand’s persona and your global content.

Understand that translation and localization are not similar and you have to learn the difference to be successful in your global marketing. Business translation is important because this helps make foreign partners and other companies at ease with your brand. Localization on the other hand goes further than translation.

Localization means completely understanding the values, nuances and behaviors of each target culture. In doing so, you adapt all your digital content and marketing efforts to the community. This could mean changes in payment options, in the selection of colors and fonts, and even the use of images. Because you are dealing with international consumers, you have to make sure that your products appeal to them and provide answers to their needs in their own language.

What do you gain from localization?

Localizing your website, and your brand’s information, including its marketing and promotional materials is an important investment for businesses that want to penetrate the international market. It’s an investment that will provide you with several benefits.

  • You will realize more sales as your website talks to your target audiences in their own languages. You also develop brand loyalty as localization shows your consumers that you care. Your product and your company also gain additional value as you show respect to your new markets, as you consider the peculiarities of their language, their history, traditions and culture.
  • Localization and translation boost your business expansion. Localization allows you to be competitive in the local market. Local consumers appreciate your efforts you to reach out to them.
  • Moreover, your company reduces the risk of creating faux pas in cultural and functional content. Cultural content include shapes, sizes, styles and colors, graphics, icons and images; societal values such as relationships, power and values, as well as societal codes, which include symbols, myths, rituals, etiquette and humor.
    In China for example, red is a favorite color but they avoid the No. 4 because of their superstitious beliefs. Most Westerners prefer text-based and simple web layouts while Indonesians prefer website with various interactive features and graphics. You cannot use images of females wearing sleeveless shirts if your target is the Middle East.
  • When you localize, you also have to consider functional content, so you can make the changes based on what your consumers are used to. This includes contact information, phone numbers, and time and date formats. You also have to change geographical references, measurements and weight, as well as language, product descriptions, product reviews and linguistic content.

Translation versus localization

When you have your website translated, you only change the original or source language or your web content, including apps, eBooks, multimedia and text into a target language. Technically, website translation is making your content available in another language.

When you do localization, you go down to a more personal level to connect with your target consumers. You adapt your Web content and everything else for local or regional use. The content of your website is modified to conform to the cultural preferences of your target market in their native tongue.

Thus, it can be surmised that your website’s effectiveness and quality to reach your global consumer target cannot depend only on translation. You provide your customer with a quality online experience that’s specific to their needs. You bridge the language barrier with translation and you refine your message and supplement the language, functional and cultural expectations of your global market with website localization.

Things to keep in mind

You’ve learned the importance of translation and localization for global business. You also learned the difference between translation and localization. But there are still more to keep in mind. Localization takes careful and detailed planning. Aside from your web content, you have to transcreate (recreate) your marketing and advertising campaign messages to maximize their cultural appeal. Transcreation preserves the emotions of your creative marketing content in the local context.

Other things that you have to decide on include how best to handle the content of user-generated forum, your technical and legal information and your marketing copy. Ultimately your decision should focus on what will fit your target market the best.

It is crucial that you work with a professional language services provider (LSP) that offers various services and has subject matter experts knowledgeable in your industry. They should be involved in the planning stage of the localization process. You must come up with a localization strategy together with your LSP. This approach streamlines the localization process for seamless integration. The LSP knows the industry’s best practices, therefore, you’ll be able to control costs, plan the delivery and reduce the production complexity and ensure that you’ll have quality content tailored to your target markets.

If you are just starting and want to go global in the future, keep in mind that brand images, like your company name, logo, imagery and taglines may not translate well in another language. Some changes might be necessary.

Translation and localization for business require understanding all the concepts involved in turning your website for local consumption. The efforts you put into it should keep your core messages intact, Localization and translation mean the capability to market your brand to a wider audience in their own language and earning the respect and loyalty of your target markets in return.


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Bernadine Racoma is a senior content writer at Day Translations, a human translation services company. She has notable fondness for things related to technology, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs. She is also an advocate and mother to seven successful children.

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Google App Gets Updated Feed Experience With Focus on Personalization

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Google is launching an updated feed experience in the Google app that places the emphasis on personalization for every user.

Google app feed updateFormerly known as Google Now, the app uses machine learning algorithms to anticipate what you want to see. The updated feed, which is coming to both the Android and iOS apps, will offer up articles, videos and other forms of content that have been selected based on your interests and search history.

Your feed will reflect your interest level in the surfaced topics as well. For instance, if you are a fitness buff with a casual interest in art, your feed will reflect that. If a topic you are not interested in surfaces, you can simply tap on it in your feed or visit your Google app settings to remove it.

The updated feed also gives you the ability to follow topics, right from Search results. Tap the new ‘follow’ button next to search results like movies, sports teams, music and famous people, and you will receive updates and stories about those topics.

Topping each card is a header enabling you to search that topic on Google with a tap. The update, which is available today to Android and iOS users in the U.S. and is rolling out internationally in the next couple of weeks, is designed to make the Google app your go-to for both browsing and search.

The changes to the feed build on what Google launched for its Android app in December, with cards organized into a feed that kept you current on your interests and a section for your upcoming personal information.


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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How to effectively combine online and offline lead generation

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We have two primary forms of leads: online and offline. This article talks about how to combine online and offline marketing for more efficient lead generation.

In today’s world we are mostly narrowing in to online leads, thanks to the Internet essentially opening up the entire world for us to peruse. But offline leads should still be a factor we consider moving forward.

Looking at the two it is easy to see that online leads are going to be the more important source of generation. It produces the most, after all.

That isn’t an excuse to ignore the harder work involved in offline lead curating, as that will ramp up your marketing benefits by leaps and bounds. Especially in terms of B2B interaction – something that we should all be trying our best to take advantage of.

Bringing offline and online lead generation together

Finding ways to combine offline and online leads isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds. Actually, the two really help the other to succeed.

Here are some ways you can start making each work for the other, making your marketing strategy more effective than ever before.

Online lead generation helps more informed offline marketing decisions

Cold calling has got too old. Online marketing has turned the things around: These days you can make sure your lead is ready (and even waiting) for your sales call. Here are a few examples of how your online lead generation efforts can lead to more “offline” deals.

Leadfeeder lets you identify companies behind your website logs and provides you with detailed contact information for you to build that connection further. Normally, a combination of online and offline relationship building works best. For example, you can engage with the lead on social media and then bring that connection offline by giving them a call.

Leadfeeder

Offering free downloads or a free product prior to getting in touch could be even more powerful. For example, at Internet Marketing Ninjas, we give away free case studies and whitepapers and have a nice private dashboard where we can see what exactly was downloaded by a particular lead. This helps our sales team to put together a more targeted proposal before giving this lead a call.

Giving away freebies (free services or products) is another effective option here, and it can be less work than you may think. As an example, SE Ranking allows marketing companies to install a lead generation widget for visitors to request a free report. The free report will be generated, white-labeled and sent to the prospect automatically by SE Ranking and as a result you have a qualified lead with no work done (apart from attracting that visitor with your content).

From here on out, you can get in touch with the customer by phone and hopefully get a deal:

Seranking lead generation

Salesforce provides more ways to qualify your leads automatically before you reach out to them offline. Once leads begin to respond to nurturing efforts and their scores increase, you can automatically assign them to sales for follow up.

Salesforce

Use social media listening to better under understand your customers

Social media provides a lot of opportunities for businesses to understand their customers better and thus build their offline lead generation strategy accordingly. What questions do your customers ask on social media? What do they think about you or your competitors? How can you design their offline experience to serve them better?

Brand24 is one of the most powerful social media listening platform allowing you to find online leads, identify where to promote your products and find customers before they find you. It provides one of the most powerful sentiment analyses on the market – and lets you snatch leads from your competitors by being the first to engage with their unhappy customers.

It also integrates nicely with Slack allowing your whole team to better engage with social media leads more efficiently (and learn more about your customers too!).

Brand24

Make your offline marketing materials link to your online assets

Let’s say you create a stack of physical brochures that you are giving out at a trade show. You don’t want to make people work to find you online… make it easy for them! Or maybe you have business cards to give out. Your website should be right there, easy to see, the URL clear.

Businesses have been utilizing this marketing tactic for ages now. Yet, many of them still need a reminder. Here’s an old Mashable post encouraging businesses to design social-media-friendly business cards, for example.

Canva is an easy way to design online marketing materials which you can also re-use offline:

Canva

Social media pages are also a great inclusion, as it ties in all your sources of leads nicely. If you give out other promotional items, such as pens, magnets, keychains, etc., make sure they also reflect your online presence.

Start looking for community outreach opportunities

Recently there was a local art fair put on downtown in my city. The booths were mostly local companies and artists, but among them were some huge names in the telecom, financial and medical business. They were giving away free items, holding contests and answering questions from people visiting their booths.

I have seen these same brands at other community events such as library gatherings, unveilings, and charity auctions. All of them promoted those appearances heavily online ahead of time and used the chance at being face to face to take photos and run social media contests. It is great PR.

To get you inspired, here’s a neat example of an “offline” event utilizing Twitter marketing: in 2015 Pubcon organized “Pregame Twitter Tailgate Party” contests, giving away prizes for the best tweets promoting the conference.

Online tools provide a great way to organize and funnel those leads before you reach out to invite them to become part of your competitor. I use Salesmate to organize leads that integrate well with my favorite online apps:

Salesmate apps

Get to those conventions on social live feeds

This is my favorite tip on this list. Social media sites like Youtube, Twitter and Facebook allow you to livestream. So the next time you are at a big convention or floor show, make sure you are showing your followers.

Hype up a hashtag to follow for a couple of weeks in advance, take questions or run interviews and show your followers what is going on. It is a great way to catch some attention where otherwise you might have been ignored. Plus it shows people at the convention who you are, as well.

There’s a great guide over at Convince and Convert on how brands are using streaming video for conference marketing. As an example, Nissan streamed the launch of its 2016 Maxima at the New York auto show and Dunkin Donuts summer music effort across seven platforms, including Periscope and Spotify.

Beautiful together

Online and offline lead generation are not at odds. They are a chance to combine your efforts for greater value! Start including both in your marketing campaigns and you will be amazed at how much more productive those efforts will be.

Have a tip for combining online and offline leads? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Bixby Arrives in U.S. for Galaxy S8 Users

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Samsung Bixby is finally coming to U.S. users.

Bixby, Samsung’s digital assistant, was released today for Galaxy S8 and S8+ users in the U.S.

Bixby, which Samsung has described as a rival for Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana, is available only to U.S. and South Korean users of Samsung’s flagship Smartphones, thus far. The digital assistant is available in Korean and English so far, although Samsung has promised to release more languages in the “near future.”

U.S. Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners must download an update to access the latest version of Bixby.

Samsung has described Bixby as the answer to ease of use, with its own dedicated button on the side of its handset.

“Confusion around activating a voice interface is a barrier we have removed to make it feel easier and more comfortable to give commands,” Samsung Software and Services executive vice president and head of research and development Injong Rhee said in a blog post.

“For example, instead of taking multiple steps to make a call – turning on and unlocking the phone, looking for the phone application, clicking on the contact bar to search for the person that you’re trying to call and pressing the phone icon to start dialing – you will be able to do all these steps with one push of the Bixby button and a simple command.”

Rhee said Bixby will offers users “a deeper experience” than its voice assistant competitors because it will be able to support practically every  task an application is capable of performing via touch commands.  Users will be able to utilize Bixby at any time and it will comprehend the current context and state of the app being used, permitting users to seamlessly carry out the current work-in-progress.  It will also enable users to change their mode of interaction at any point.

Making it easier for users as well will be Bixby’s ability to understand and comply with incomplete commands. It will ask users to provide more information if necessary and “take the execution of the task in piecemeal.”

Check out Bixby in action in the video below:


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