Don’t Forget About Your Copy

Let’s face it. We live in a very visual world. We’re bombarded by images all damn day, whether it be advertising or content we actually want to see. Especially when it comes to social media and internet marketing, we’ve embraced … Continue reading

If Online Marketing Were to Pick The Next Republican Presidential Candidate…

One of the reasons why President Obama won the 2008 election was because of his campaigns mastery of social media and online marketing. The Obama campaign embraced these two forms of marketing, creating a winning online strategy that appealed to Millennials especially. Four years later, have Republicans caught up in terms of marketing their campaigns effectively online? The top two candidates on the Republican side right now are former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Which campaign has the best online marketing strategy? Let’s put the two campaigns head to head and find out.

Let’s analyze Romney and Santorum’s brands in terms of their online marketing efforts. We’ll focus on three categories: social media impact, website engagement, and website SEO and inbound links.

Social Media Impact
Facebook: Romney’s Facebook page has a whopping 1,509,746 “likes,” versus Santorum’s meager 164,906. This is a HUGE difference!  Also, Romney has almost 80,000 people talking about him on Facebook whereas Santorum has just over 41,000 people talking about him. Also, Romney’s page, powered by digital media company Thismoment, just looks a lot better than Santorum’s

Twitter: Again Romney has more followers, with 360,155 versus Santorum’s 153,375. Surprisingly, though, Santorum has actually tweeted about twice as much as Romney in total. Santorum has been tweeting an average of 5.4 times a day for the past week, which is impressive compared to Romney’s 1.4 average tweets per pay during the same period. Tweeting more often allows Santorum to be more engaged with his audience as well as more informative. He often retweets posts by his followers and keeps them up to date on the latest happenings with his campaign. Romney does the same thing, just much less frequently, which loses him points. Over the past eight weeks, however, Romney has been gaining both Facebook “likes” and Twitter followers at a much faster pace than Santorum

YouTube: Again, Romney has more subscribers than Santorum with 5,008 versus 2,914. Romney also has more channel views and more total upload views.

Overall, it’s possible that Santorum might have slightly more social media engagement with his followers, but there’s no denying that Romney has more followers in every category and is therefore the clear winner in terms of social media impact. Romney also has a higher Klout score (77) than Santorum (66).

Winner: Mitt Romney

Website Engagement
Website engagement measures how users interact with a website. Website owners want users to be able to easily navigate a site and find information they are looking for. In terms of our two contestants, I would assume they would also want users to stay on their site for as long as possible, researching the candidate’s platform, clicking multiple pages, and donating to the campaign. They also need a site that effectively communicates their political message to visitors.

When visiting Romney’s website, visitors are asked to provide their email address and zip code before even entering the actual website. Obviously this is to grow Romney’s database, but it doesn’t fall in line with the permission marketing concept that businesses are beginning to follow. Upon entering both the sites, they look very similar. Both sites make it easy for visitors to find each candidate’s bio and the issues they stand for, as well as donate money.

From a design standpoint, Romney’s website definitely looks better than Santorum’s, though. Santorum’s site does the job, but it doesn’t look like he’s put as much money into it as Romney has.

Winner: Mitt Romney

Website SEO & Inbound Links
SEO and inbound links are very important to a website because they determine how high up on a Google search the site will appear. It will be hard for a website to be on the first page of a Google search without many inbound links to the site. It also tells us how popular the website is in the vast sea of the World Wide Web. While SEO is probably not a major concern for these presidential candidates, whoever runs their website is probably very concerned with SEO.

A Google search for “Santorum,” for example, provides links to many anti-Santorum sites on the first page of Google. Santorum’s actual website isn’t even the first website on the page, it’s third! The fourth website is called “Spreading Santorum,” and has the quote, “The frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex” visible right underneath the link to the website. I’m sure Team Santorum is not very pleased about this; they obviously need to work on their SEO.

According to HubSpot’s Marketing Grader tool, Romney beats Santorum 91 to 66. Marketing Grader is an assessment tool that analyzes a site’s entire marketing funnel and compares it to another site. When looking at inbound links to their websites, Romney wins with 3,828 inbound links versus Santorum’s 1,566. Romney also has 10,800 pages indexed by search engines while Santorum only has 1,460.

Romney’s site has a blog that publishes new posts every three hours on average. These blog posts are being shared an average of 75 times on Facebook and 38 times on Twitter. Santorum also has a blog but new posts are created much less frequently.

Winner: Mitt Romney

If the next Republican presidential candidate were to be picked strictly on the basis of online marketing, Romney would be the clear winner. He beats Santorum in all three categories; Team Santorum needs to step up their efforts if they want to pull ahead on Super Tuesday.

The Year of Tech IPO’s: From Groupon’s Success to Renren’s Disappointment

As you have probably noticed, over the past year there has been a lot of news surrounding tech IPO’s. New companies like Pandora and LinkedIn have made HUGE splashes with their IPO’s in recent months. It seems like every month a hot new company goes public, but these IPO’s aren’t always pretty. Today I’m going to talk about some recent tech IPO’s, how they are doing now, and some future IPO’s that investors are about to bust a nut for.

The biggest tech IPO’s of the year include: Demand Media (online media/content farm company), Zipcar (membership-based car sharing company), Renren (China’s largest social networking site), LinkedIn, Yandex (Russia’s largest search engine site), Bankrate (personal finance company), Pandora Media (online radio), Zillow (online real estate database), Skullcandy (headphones), and yesterday, Groupon.

Groupon has been trying to go public for a few months now, and ended up being the biggest tech IPO since Google went public in 2004. Groupon offered 35 million shares total at $20 each, and as of this morning the company is worth almost $13 billion with shares sitting at $26.11. The IPO was a huge success for the company, even though there is a lot of skepticism about its future. One thing is for sure though, the IPO made a lot of investors happy. Like many IPOs, there were a lot of people who became millionaires and even billionaires overnight just because of the IPO.

For Groupon’s IPO, check out this Business Insider list of lucky people that made a lot of money as shareholders. The biggest winners include Starbucks’ Howard Schultz who got $50 million, Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz’s venture capital firm got $92.2 million, and Groupon CEO Andrew Mason’s stake is now worth a whopping $1.2 billion.

Even though most of the recent tech IPO’s have initially been successful, a majority have gone downhill since. Demand Media went public in January with a debut price that was 33% higher then the share price of $17, valuing the company at more than $1 billion. Today however, the shares sit at just $7.47. Renren, basically the Facebook of China, was said to have a spectacular IPO in May with shares surging 28.6% above its $14 IPO price. Today Renren share’s are down to a dismal $5.74.

There are some companies who have kept their value, though. Since LinkedIn’s huge IPO in May, where shares closed 109% above IPO price, they now sit at $81, just below the IPO price of $83. Today Pandora is also doing all right, with shares just a few cents below the IPO price of $16. Real estate database company Zillow is still doing really well, with shares staying almost $10 above the IPO price of $20, but still way under the debut price of $57.

The chart below shows 25 recent hyped up IPO’s and how they’re fairing. “Pop” refers tothe jump from the offering IPO price to the debut price. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Overall, it’s not very pretty after the initial offering. In terms of the average of the 25 above companies, shares have slipped 31% from their opening price.

The successes of some of these companies in the beginning of the year triggered an IPO race with many tech companies, but since seeing disappointments such as Renren’s, a lot of companies have backed off or are waiting until later for an IPO. Of these companies, the most notable is of course Facebook, which plans to go public next year sometime. Also there’s Zynga, the Facebook game company that could have an IPO this year, Living Social, Groupon’s biggest competitor, next year probably, and Twitter, which will probably wait until 2013.

It has definitely been an exciting year for tech IPO’s, I think it’s amazing how a company like Groupon or LinkedIn can be worth BILLIONS in such a short period of time. This is the land of opportunity, and there’s money to be made out there, but just because a company debuts way above the IPO price doesn’t mean it will stay there. We’ll see how long Groupon CEO Andrew Mason stays a billionaire. My guess? Not very long…

Feel free to leave any questions or comments below!

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How To Land An Internship In College

1.   Solidify Your Online Presence
You need to have a strong personal brand online that will represent you if employers Google your name or do any online research about you. This means that your Facebook needs to be clean and somewhat professional. You should have a LinkedIn account that shows your past job experience and also has recommendations for your work. To make your personal brand even stronger, start networking with professionals on LinkedIn and Twitter. Start a blog that talks about something related to your major. Connect with other bloggers and be an active member in the online blog community. When applying for a job, blog about something related to that job, this way if the company reads your blog they’ll know you’re serious. Google yourself and see what comes up.

2.   Network
Network, network, network! This means networking online through social media, offline at school, at work, at the bar, at career fairs, and basically ANYWHERE you go. You never know when you’ll meet someone that could help you get an internship, now or in the future. When meeting people, if you exchange contact information, make sure to follow up with that contact. This means emailing them and saying, “it was nice to meet you,” if you have nothing else to say.

3.   Attend Career Fairs
College career fairs are great for finding internships. Where else can you go where there are a large number of businesses looking to give YOU internships? Use them! Look up a list of companies that will be attending the fair, research those companies and create a tailored resume for each of the ones you are interested in. Get the contact info for the HR reps and follow up with them by email right after the fair.

4.   Hit The Online Job Boards
There’s always websites that will be offering internships. Check out your university’s online job board or career website, local job listing websites, and craigslist.

5.   Seek Out Companies You Would Like To Intern For
If you’re looking for an internship in a specific field, don’t be afraid to seek out companies you would like to work for, especially if they are smaller, local firms. Find out who to contact from their website or LinkedIn and try to connect with them. See if you know anyone who has contacts at the company and see if they can help you out. At the very least, email them your tailored resume and cover letter and let them know you would like to be an intern for their company.

6.   Perfect Your Resume
Make sure your resume is perfect. Attend resume workshops and get as many opinions as you can on your resume. Ask professors and professionals to take a look and make sure it’s the best resume it can be before submitting it to employers.

7.   Kill The Interview
Once you get an interview, prepare for it as much as possible. This means researching the company as if you had to write a report on it. Have questions ready for your interviewer. Also prepare for common questions you might be asked, such as “tell me about yourself,” or situational questions. If you are asked to talk about your past work experience, explain your accomplishments, your experiences, what you learned, and ALWAYS tie it back into how your past work experience will help you at that company if you are hired.

8.   Follow Up
Send a thank you email to the person who interviewed you. In the brief email, include a thank you, and a statement on why you would be perfect for the job that includes something you learned from the interview. Close the email with a “I look forward to hearing from you” statement and a professional signature that includes your personal website if you have one.

9.   Never Burn Bridges
In the event that you are not hired, don’t take it too hard on yourself. If you receive this bad news in an email, respond to the email thanking them for the time. Ask them to please keep you in mind if another position is open, and then keep them updated in the future as you gain more work and college experience.

Please share any questions, comments or other tips below!

How Trends Go Viral With Social Media

Social networking has made our world better, period. There are those who disagree with this of course, but Gen Y has embraced social media to the point where it’s not going anywhere, it’s now a part of our culture. There are so many great aspects of social media, especially how easy it’s made communication. It has made our world even flatter. It’s also good for business, at least for those businesses who realize its impact and embrace it, and then leverage it to their benefit.

Today I’m focusing on “social networking trends,” as the International Business Times calls them. These are trends that spread throughout the world, because of social media. Case in point: planking.

Supposedly Tom Green invented planking before it was even known as “planking,” in 1994. It didn’t really take off until it was started in either England or Australia about 11 years ago, though, depending on who you talk to. But Facebook is the number one reason it has spread and turned into a craze. Plankers name their plank, and upload to Facebook.

My taxi plank from last weekend

Then there’s “Bro’s Icing Bro’s,” which started and spread because of YouTube. There was a rumor that icing was actually a marketing campaign started by Smirnoff, but Smirnoff of course denies this. In any case, it no doubt boosted sales of Smirnoff Ice as every bro went out to buy 12 packs to screw over their friends.

With these new online social tools that we have, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc., these fads can spread and an incredible rate and EVERYONE can participate. The newest social networking trend is called “owling,” where owlers get into the owl pose and take pictures of themselves. Personally I think owling is stupid as shit, I much prefer planking. The coolest new trend is called “leisure diving,” though. Leisure divers are caught in a casual pose as the dive into pools.

So what’s the next social craze? Who knows, but whatever it is, if you actively participate online you’re sure know about.