Watch Out Vine, Instagram’s New Video Feature

Yesterday Facebook announced that their popular photo sharing app Instagram will soon give it’s users the ability to shoot 15-second video clips and share them with the world. So where did they get this idea? Who knows whether they we already thinking about it but Facebook no doubt felt pressure from Twitter’s wildly successful video app, Vine.

Vine, which was bought by Twitter in 2012, is a video app that allows users to record 6 seconds of video simply by touching the screen. One of the coolest features is that when you let go it stops recording – when you touch the screen again it starts – giving users the ability to create stop motion type videos and stitch together clips of video into a 6-second mini movie.

Instagram’s new video feature is reported to allow 15-seconds of video, but with slightly different capabilities. First, it will not auto-loop like Vine does. This might be a nice change from my Vine feed in which I hear the repetitive, sometimes creepy voices of “Viner’s” that I am following, over and over. It will also give you the option to turn auto-play off all together – eliminating the risk of being forced to watch your friends cat “purr” in 10 different tones.

It is unsure if the Instagram video feature will allow stitching together multiple clips, as Vine does, but we can assume it will. And yes, creative Instagrammer’s can still add an array of filters to their videos as they do for their still images.

Happy sharing!

Content Marketing Will Pull People To Love Your Business

Quick, can you give me the definition of content marketing? If not, you need a lesson ASAP before even thinking about marketing your business online. Content marketing is exactly what it sounds like – it is content (whether text, photos or video) that is produced by people, and marketed or advertised to other people. If it’s really good content then it might be shared organically by others – thus spreading the word about your brand.

This is what marketing on the internet is all about. Bringing people into your world and showing them what your thinking, doing, liking and interested in – because if you happen to be sharing things that improve their lives, they will keep coming back for more.

Mark my words; if you are not doing some sort of digital content marketing right now, your business will be drowned in the sea of information online. Why? Because that’s THE only reason people use the Internet – to get information. If you aren’t providing people with some sort of value to your brand, they will forget you.

Technically, content marketing has been going on for hundreds of years via newspapers, letters, notes, etc. Basically, it’s selling people on your ideas; but today it has a much stronger meaning because there is so much information being produced by the second.

How much information exactly? Here is a little infographic we made to put it all into perspective.

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Top 3 Reasons That Your Website Needs A Re-Design

Now I don’t want this to sound like a pitch (damn, I should have changed the title) but Good Monster comes across oodles of businesses that refuse to give their website a much needed re-design, or at least a face-lift.

We can understand the resistance to spend money; but in an age when 97%[1] of adults use the Internet to do research on a product or service before they make a purchase, a website is definitely not something that should be brushed aside.  Consumers and professionals these days expect that a leading business in an industry should have a well designed, easy-to-navigate website that they can engage with on some level. We attribute this resistance to a few things.

The Problem: 15 years ago when a business was thinking about developing a website, it was something that they were going to do once and not have to worry about again. People could go onto their desktop computer, find out the hours of operation, get the phone number for the business, and then call them on their landline. That was the purpose of a website.

The Change:  With 273 million people in North America and 2.4 billion people worldwide [2] getting their information and doing research online, people have developed a certain expectation that any reputable company will have an engaging, informative website that is easily accessible from any device.

#1 | My website is not easily viewed on a mobile device

We have become comfortable with the fact that the Internet is a part of our daily life. People’s expectation for any professional company’s website is that they can find what they need, when they need it, from anywhere that they need to access it. A website that is not responsive to the screen dimensions of a desktop computer, a smartphone and an iPad, will turn away its mobile visitors pretty much immediately.

Now, making your website accessible for mobile visitors doesn’t always mean a complete redesign of your website. Sometimes there is the option to just develop a simple mobile version that mobile users will see.  If you’re on a shoestring budget this might be the way to go – but for companies that want to engage as many people as possible, it is important to align all of your digital platforms to effectively brand your business.

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#2 | A visitor cannot easily connect with my business in 1 click

The biggest shift in online visibility is the explosion of social media. Social media is now the most important platform for companies to attract people’s attention online – people who will spend actual dollars if they get a good impression of a brand. Search engine optimization is still very important to drive traffic to a website, but social media is the digital queen of influencing people to buy. It allows people to share and refer their online friends to check out things that they like.

So you can see why it is so important for you to make it easy for visitors to like, share and engage with your social media platforms. You need to make sure that your social media links are front and center on both desktop and mobile devices – and make sure they are pretty, so people want to click on them.

#3 | A visitor cannot see my most important benefit in less than 5 seconds

Think for a moment about what the MOST important piece of information that you want a viewer to know about your business. Now think about or look at your website – is this information the first thing that they see? If your answer is no, then you need to redesign your website, period. The average time spent on a webpage is about 33 seconds [3] so you better make sure that the most important message can be found quickly and will make a big impact.

A decade ago websites shifted from being a static “menu” of a businesses offerings – to an interactive home, where users can get up to the minute information about the brand and engage with them. If your website does not have a clean modern design which is viewable on all devices and easily navigated to provide answers to visitors and engage their attention – then it’s time to get an upgrade and start getting business from your website.

[1] http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nearly-all-consumers-97-now-use-online-media-to-shop-locally-according-to-biakelsey-and-constat-87221242.html

[2] http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

[3] http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-215_162-5037448.html