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In a recent post on it's Mobile Ads Blog, Google shed light on an important issue facing online companies.  The search giant conducted a study of over 1000 smartphone users in the United States and came to a decisive conclusion: mobile-friendly websites are more important than ever.  The most interesting statistic is that 61% of users said that they’d quickly move onto another site if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site.  This means that if your site is not optimized for the mobile format, you are giving away customers to your competitors at an alarming rate.  Here are more conclusions from the study: 74% of users are more likely to return to a site that is mobile friendly, thus creating brand loyalty and increasing customer engagement 96% of consumers say they’ve encountered sites that were...

In a recent interview on Good Morning America, the CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey announced a re-design of the popular micro-blogging social media platform.  Although the change is almost completely design-related and doesn't affect capability, it helps Twitter in achieving it's goal of being come more visually-oriented.  The main focus of the change is adding a cover photo style-like image at the top of every brand and person's Twitter profile.  In addition, it showcases more prominently the brand's three most recent photos.  Here is an overview of the changes as well as a step-by-step guide to changing your header photo: Twitter Change is completely aesthetic, no operational changes. Unites Mobile and Desktop Platforms Makes Third Party Apps (hootsuite) less desirable for advertisers because their APIs won't be able to access the cover photos To update to new format: Step 1: Log in to Twitter, and click on the...

In a move to make in LinkedIn more visually appealing and more in line with other more popular social networks, the business-oriented social media site has included a cover-like image to the header of their pages.  Here is a more comprehensive guide to the aesthetic changes: All in all, the changes you'll see will affect only the design of the Company Page. In other words, no new features will be added; just the look and feel will be different. Here is a general overview of the biggest changes you'll notice: More prominently featured page elements, such as Company Updates and the Products & Services sections of your page. The ability to add a cover-style image that represents your company/brand to the top of your page. The availability of Company Pages on iPhone, Android, and iPad apps. A new look for the Career Pages section for select Company Pages. A more obvious, prominently...

In a recent infographic posted by Mashable, a study shows 50% of consumers value a brand's Facebook page over their website.  The study surveyed 1000 social media users about how they use Facebook to interact with brands.  The conclusion of the study was that Facebook's brand pages are more valuable than ever.  Perhaps even more revealing was the finding that 77% of users claimed to have saved money from "Liking" a brand's page.   Here are some additional conclusions, as illustrated by the attached infographic: 87% of those surveyed "Liked" brand pages on Facebook 82% of those who "Like" pages think it is a good way to interact with a brand Out of those people 35% feel brands listen to them more on Facebook than they do on their websites 69% of users have liked a brand because their friend did The biggest motivator for users...

In a recent post in Social Media Today, the author delves into the subject of how to make your company more social.  Social media is not a trend, it is the wave of the present (and future) and therefore isn't going anywhere anytime soon.  It is up to your company to stay with the times and embrace social media, or risk the consequences of getting left behind.  Although you might be into the idea of becoming a more social brand, you will inevitably run into a number of obstacles.  Here are a few steps to help you find your Social DNA. Find an upper level executive that is on board with social, or at the very least is willing to experiment with the idea. This will be easier than trying to convert those that are sorely against the idea, and will make...

In a new post, Social Media Today has shared an infographic from Prestige Marketing Inc., showing how to effectively use Email marketing.  Many companies have abandoned email marketing in favor of social and digital marketing.  This post shows just how valuable a well-made email campaign can be in conjunction with the aforementioned methods.  The fact of the matter is that many customers still prefer e-mail promotion to other formats.  Here are some highlights from Social Media Today's post: Basic E-mail Marketing Stats 64% of potential customers prefer professional e-mails as opposed to 8% that prefer promotional social media posts When a consumer makes a purchase through a marketing e-mail, they spend 138% more than those who do not receive offers through e-mail Best Practices: Subject Lines Keep it under 50 characters and include a special offer, this increases open rates by 50% 85% of users rely on subject line when...

By Pooja Desai Patel The Spark Growth team would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the survivors and victims of Hurricane Sandy. Much of our NY team was directly impacted by the storm but thankfully, we are all unharmed and now fully with power. It is amazing to see how cities and towns have come together during this challenging time. We want to personally thank the tireless and heroic first responders, fire-fighters, medical staff, volunteers, emergency care teams, neighbors, friends, families, and countless others for their love and support. The majority of us prepped for Sandy based on the information that we saw in the news via our televisions and computers. But, with the widespread power outages and thus, the lack of access to pertinent information, what are the best ways to stay connected during a massive storm like Sandy? For most of us, the primary source for information was our smart phones, for as long as the battery and internet lasted. While some cell towers were down and out, many were still functioning. Facebook and Twitter were the two main information hubs that people were using to get and send updates. Here are a few tips for all cities, towns, and news stations to keep their residents and viewers informed before, during, and after the storm:

Every Olympics always proves to have its own set of surprises. But even before the opening ceremonies for this year’s games begin tonight in London, NBC has announced changes that will drastically change the viewing experience for millions. Since 1964, when NBC first began broadcasting the Olympics, organizers have pre-recorded events and waited to broadcast them until prime time in America. Yet this year, NBC has partnered with Twitter and plans to use the social media to serve as the official narrator of the games as it broadcasts all events live, both on television and online. The partnership between Twitter and NBC Universal will involve a dedicated team that will centralize all Olympic related tweets. Twitter will be the center for all the action, and will be integrated into NBC’s broadcast. NBC will promote the site with various promotional clips as...

While you may be eager to grow your fan base on Facebook and Twitter, promise us you'll follow this golden rule. DON'T buy yourself fans and followers! Trust us, it's much better to have a smaller fan base of loyal customers than a large group of people who could care less about your brand and who won't pay attention to what you have to say. When measuring success on social media, many people immediately think to look at number of Likes or Followers.  But the true measure of a successful social media presence is engagement and reach. How many people are you reaching with your social content, are people finding the information valuable, and are they engaging with it? This article from socialmediatoday.com gives us three main reasons why you shouldn't buy fans. 1. Numbers aren't everything: Most of the followers that you can purchase are...

Searching for content on Twitter just became much more efficient. Twitter's 'simpler search' has improved users' search experience and its full realm of features will be available to users over the next few weeks. While some of the features may seem long overdue, including autocompletion and spelling correction, other features like "Results From People You Follow" may help boaden your Twitter arsenal. 1. Search Autocomplete: We're not sure why Twitter hasn't always had this feature. This will certainly speed up the search process. 2. Spelling Corrections: While you didn't have to be a spelling bee champion to find what you were looking for, now Twitter is offering to lend a helping hand by offering suggestions for misspelled words rather than just a blank page. 3. Related Suggestions: Now Twitter does some of the thinking for you.  When you search a term, it will...