Cintia Miranda

Cintia Miranda

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The U.S. Department of labor reports that about half of employers with at least 50 workers offer some kind of company-wide wellness program. Many of those businesses, though, cite employee engagement as their biggest challenge to success. While social media can be a controversial topic in the workplace, it offers huge potential for community connection and helps create the motivation your employees need to make healthier lifestyle decisions.  

What are the benefits of a social wellness program? 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 18:09

Five creative ways to use Instagram video

According to Digiday, nearly half of all mobile traffic now involves online video. Social media platforms are scrambling to keep up with this exploding trend and with the recent addition of video to its popular image-based network, Instagram promises to become a forerunner in the movement.

Instagram currently hosts about 150 million users, uploading over 40 million images every day (DMR). Videos posted to Instagram, however, generate twice as much engagement as photos (Simply Measured).What's more, Instagram integrates easily with Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, so that videos shared on Instagram can potentially reach a much wider audience. All of these facts provide great incentive to look into Instagram's new video feature (if you haven't already) and to start thinking about how you can utilize all that creative potential for your brand.

Tuesday, 04 March 2014 17:41

Rethinking your website

Websites are an absolute in any online business marketing strategy. More people than ever are using the internet as part of their everyday lives, and the ability to search, explore and act at the touch of a button has changed both the ways users look for information and the ways users look for information and the ways they make purchasing decisions. Web-savvy customers choose to educate themselves about the best solutions to their challenges. They search for information when they want it and how they want it and without some kind of online presence, they're almost certain not to find it from your business. 

The good news is that in such a fast-paced, customer-centric arena, a well-integrated website can be a huge marketing advantage. Even if your website isn't visitors' first impression of your brand, it's still a central resource tying together all the traffic from your blog, social media, and paid advertising. A successful website engages visitors, educates them and persuades them to become invested customers and it does this by combining key elements of design, content and SEO to create a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy backed by a great user experience.  

If you are a member of your local chamber of commerce, you have probably seen a positive change in your business. Although it takes time to get involved with your local chamber, making the commitment provides many benefits for you and your employees.

If you've considered joining your local chamber but put it off, you may have done so for a number of reasons. As a business owner, you may fear that your hectic schedule will prevent you from attending events and getting the most out of your investment. You may also be under the impression that your business has to be a certain size in order to join. In reality, though, most chambers provide a wide, flexible range of events and opportunities that support businesses of any size. Whether you are the sole worker staff of your business or you employ over 500 workers, becoming a member of your local chamber of commerce can offer a big list of advantages. 

The digital business arena certainly has its benefits. It's quick, convenient and universally accessible, and let's face it: it's where trends are happening. While online networking is a big part of relationship-building nowadays, however, it's far from the whole picture. Face-to-face interaction still offers a host of real, unique advantages which businesses shouldn't be too quick to dismiss. 

These days, consumers don't go online; they are online, all the time. With continuous connectivity, the distinction between consumers' online actions and their real, geographic behaviors is rapidly blurring. Marketers need to be aware of how 'living in the moment' is changing audience expectations and driving a bigger demand for convenient, personalized services. 

Mobile networking puts users in a perpetual marketplace. They have instant access to a universe of digital information, and they're able to make decisions with the touch of a button. As a result, they're less tolerant of unsolicited or irrelevant messages. To score real returns from this dynamic arena, businesses need to focus less on promotion and more on discovering and providing the information consumers value most on a personal level.

Every marketer knows the value of positive press, especially in the digital universe. Customer voices are a robust influence for online consumers (CMS Wire notes that about 80 percent of social media users make buying decisions based on posts from family and friends, or brands they trust). In an increasingly mobile market, brand advocacy is rapidly changing from a public relations bonus to a fundamental marketing tactic.

The surge in mobile technology means consumers are now constantly connected to the digital market, making purchasing decisions with the touch of a button (and with a shorter attention span). The recent push toward paid social media content, too, will undoubtedly create stronger niche markets across a range of platforms. To cut through all that digital noise, personal brand advocacy is becoming a crucial tool; it's real, valuable information consumers want to share with others, and so it's also information others will want to see. So how does a brand become worthy to be talked about and referred to others? Here are few tips to get your wheels turning:

2013 ushered in a series of big changes to social media marketing. Facebook, Twitter and other networking platforms have made major adjustments to their content promotion guidelines more specifically, they've redefined how users can see and share content and opened new advertising opportunities for better promotion. Whether for good or for bad, these updates will have marketers scrambling for new strategies to keep up a solid impact. 

The concept of paid advertising on social media isn't groundbreaking, but it's really taken off in recent months. Facebook introduced its Promoted Posts feature last year, which lets users drastically boost the visibility of their posts for a small fee. Similarly, Google encourages +Posts, regular posts that can be run as display ads on any of Google's 2 million Display Network sites (essentially giving advertisers access to the entire Google web as their own branded stream). And after going public in November, Twitter now also needs to find a way to keep investors happy. Thus, select users can sponsor 'promoted tweets' including videos and photos that show up in user feeds, trending topics and 'Who to follow' boxes. 

When push comes to shove in a tight economy, many small businesses opt to trim down their marketing budget or to cut marketing out of their business plan entirely. Contrary to popular belief, though, a marketing budget isn't a luxury; it's an essential investment toward reaching your business goals. A precise marketing budget, with clearly defined spending strategies, ensures that your efforts make the greatest impact for the resources you have and for that reason, it's an indispensable part of a successful development plan.

A steady customer stream 

A formal strategic marketing plan can seem daunting if you've never developed one before but don't panic! Even if you haven't thought too deeply about your priorities for next year, there's still time to work out a solid plan that clearly defines your business goals and lays out the pathways to reach them. In fact, though a successful marketing plan is never rushed, getting started can be as simple as answering a few questions.

Where are you?

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