iPhone 6s: Is it worth upgrading?

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Apple recently launched their newest generation of iPhone with the release of iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in September. Last January I upgraded from the iPhone 4 to iPhone 6. So far I have really enjoyed most aspects about the iPhone 6. Of course, nine months after I upgrade, Apple releases the newest versions of iPhone. I always enjoy the latest technology, but I rarely rush to the store to buy a new phone because it is the newest generation. When the 6s and 6s Plus launched, I asked myself, is the new phone really worth the upgrade? Maybe it’s because I am still under contract for my current phone, but I quickly came to the conclusion that I am not ready to upgrade (look how long it took me to upgrade from 4 to 6!)

I am sure the extra features would be nice, but at this point, the extra cost is not worth it for me. Consumers who upgraded from 6 to 6s, there are a few new features that might make their investment worthwhile. The 6s (and 6s Plus) include: 3D Touch; a feature that can detect how much pressure a user is applying to the screen, thereby opening up new avenues for user interaction. As Yoni Heisler explains, there are 10 more reasons consumers should upgrade to the 6s.

As I mentioned earlier, price was also a consideration for my unwillingness to upgrade. The 6s starts at $649 and is too “rich” for my blood. Based on images, there are very little differences in size between the 6 and 6s. Steven Max Patterson does a great job of explaining why the upgrade is not worth the investment.

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As tempting as an upgrade might sound, I would carefully examine the pros and cons to purchasing a new and more expensive phone. For most of us, the reality is we do not really need an upgrade to take care of our everyday needs.

Ask me one year from now if I need an upgrade and I might have a different answer, but for now, I will not be running to my nearest Apple store to fork over my hard-earned money.

Are you considering an upgrade to the 6s or 6s Plus? If so, why?

Thank you. Ryan

Elements that may help your video become viral

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Is your video good enough to go viral?

For many content marketers, producing great content involves the use of video. Trying to create video that has an opportunity to be viewed by thousands of people can be difficult and exciting at the same time. The mark or “holy grail” of good video these days is whether or not it has the ability to go viral. Many marketers and agencies work long hours to produce a video that will go viral. Sometimes it happens by design and many times it occurs by accident.

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If you are a marketer that wants a video to go viral you may want to consider these tips:

  • Marketing: The video will not likely go viral unless the designer puts in the work to gain exposure. Use social media channels and other media outlets to build an audience. Bloggers or celebrities with influencers are people to target when looking to get the video seen my people that might share with their friends.
  • Timing: Monday or Tuesday are very good days to release a video. Most often, people at work have some time to view short videos on their newsfeed or social channel.
  • Brevity: Keep the video short. Thirty seconds is an ideal amount of time for a video. Anything beyond two minutes in length is too long and may not draw an audience.
  • Compelling: Is the video compelling? If there is nothing special about the details (music, storyline, images, etc.), chances are the video is not good enough to be shared and viewed by millions.
  • Story: Tell is a good story with a beginning, middle and end. Humans are captivated by great storytelling. If the story has a unique twist or provides shock value, there is a chance people may want to watch. Nothing trumps a great story. Be memorable and deliver a great story!
  • Title: The story might be great, but if the title is not enticing, no one will give it a chance. “Hey did you see the video of ____?” This could open eyes and draw interest. The shorter the title the better. Long titles are not typically engaging.
  • Perseverance: Do not immediately give up efforts if the video does not gain significant traction when posting to a few social channels. All it takes is the right target audience and the video could go viral within a day or two. There is not a perfect science, but working hard can increase chances.

I always welcome comments or different perspectives. Thank you. –Ryan

Do you experience social media overload?

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Whenever the topic of social media is discussed, one of the biggest questions asked by colleagues and friends is: What social media tools do you use?

With each passing year the social media landscape increases users and finds new ways to grow. It’s hard to find someone these days that does not use at least one form of social media. In fact, most people are using three or more social channels. I engage in three social outlets (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and enjoy using all of them — especially Twitter and LinkedIn. While I am not opposed to using Google Plus, Instagram and others; I found there are not enough hours in the day to manage that many accounts and properly engage with friends and business associates.

The advent of social media is the best thing that ever happened to businesses. However, time management and execution on the most effective social channels is crucial for businesses looking to reach customers and expand potential opportunities. Dr. Deborah Osgood has great advice for small business owners who might feel confused or overwhelmed with the number of social media options. Osgood says, “Always remember, social media marketing is about engaging. In order to do this, you can’t spread your time too thin between multiple channels. It is always better to start off with one or two accounts that you can manage properly, and then expand later as you grow.”

This is great advice for business owners looking to start small and grow big. There are so many men and women who launch a new business and feel they have to be all things to everyone. Typically, this theory backfires and businesses become a master of nothing which is a disservice to loyal customers. Organizing the proper objectives, strategy and tactics will make the process easier when thinking about social media and how it will grow a business or personal brand.

Brian Fanzo does a nice job in this video of talking about what social tools to use and how to select the right one.

I am always happy to hear thoughts and comments. Thank you. -Ryan

Does greater technology equal less privacy for consumers?

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Everywhere we look these days, technology seems to be in our faces and playing a significant part in our everyday lives. Whether a person is searching for information on a smartphone or watching a movie on a tablet, the appetite for technological advances is increasing in the digital age.

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The more technology companies design amazing products and services, the more consumers demand the latest electronic devices to make their lives easier.

The ‘Internet of things (IoT)’ is a topic that is driving the conversation about privacy and security issues. ‘Internet of things’ is defined as the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity to enable it to achieve greater value and service by exchanging data with manufacturer, operator and/or other connected devices.

No one wants to experience a security breach, similar to Target or The Home Depot; however, consumers are hardly naïve and understand portions (perhaps significant amounts) of their data are captured for companies’ marketing purposes. As ‘Internet of things’ becomes more prevalent, the issue of protecting individual privacy becomes a greater concern and more difficult.

With this said, does the average American really care if certain aspects of their information is captured from 20 minutes of surfing the Internet?

There are already electronic devices that speak and listen to certain directions (Siri, iPhone) from human voices. As the electronic devices begin to understand humans likes and dislikes (some of this already is happening), privacy concerns will grow larger. On a certain level, it can be argued that many people will not care about privacy issues as long as their bank account is secure — unfortunately, things can go wrong anywhere.

According to epic.org, control can be lost if someone hacks into the smartphone or computer acting as a remote for the other devices.

As the graphic above indicates, consumers (47 percent) realize that smart devices are collecting data.

One thing is certain, technology will continue to grow by leaps and bounds and consumers may have to accept a new normal in terms of privacy.

I appreciate all comments and feedback. Thank you.

Is Facebook’s ‘dislike button’ a big deal for digital marketers?

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Social media platforms are constantly changing and so are the users who desire various options. Recently, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said his company is working to integrate a ‘dislike button’ on the site to accompany the ‘like button.’ Zuckerberg discussed consumer’s eagerness to have an alternative button that expresses sadness or emotion about certain stories or events. Zuckerberg said, “What they really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment.”

Does the potential addition of a ‘dislike button’ really make a big difference to digital marketers across the world? One of the many reasons digital marketers use social media (Facebook, etc.) is to encourage consumers to engage with their products and services and share them widely.

When a friend or potential customer ‘likes’ an image or message from a company, I do not automatically assume that person will purchase a given product. It’s nice that people “like” a business page or comment, but often times, that is where the engagement stops.

It’s difficult to make sweeping assumptions about the ‘dislike button’ and what it may or may not signal for e-commerce and digital marketers. It may serve as a better option to have the ‘dislike button’ because it will provide another form of instant data for businesses to measure and discuss.

Instead of getting caught up in “likes” and “dislikes,” marketers should focus their online efforts on attracting “shares” and the following objectives:

  • How often do your Facebook fans engage on your wall?
  • How many conversations did the Facebook wall or custom apps bring?
  • Is there an increase in traffic to your website or product pages coming from Facebook?
  • Who are the people that liked your page? This is important because Facebook likes can be purchased and are being bought left, right and center.

Whether or not the ‘dislike button’ serves as a difference-maker for digital marketing is still uncertain. Whatever new widget Zuckerberg decides rollout; it may provide a harsh dose of reality for some businesses and individuals.

The faint of heart may not enjoy consumers displaying their “true feelings,” however; businesses owners who have thick skin may see Facebook’s updates as an opportunity to learn and grow.

What is your technology preference of choice?

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Laptop or tablet?

Throughout the last year and a half, this question (laptop or tablet?) has entered my mind while attending business meetings and traveling. Admittedly, I am still using a laptop PC that I purchased in 2010 and it seems to work well for my personal and business purposes. I enjoy each technology for their different functions. When I am working on my graduate studies and other research, I prefer using my laptop computer. When I am surfing the Internet, I enjoy the flexibility of a tablet.

Advantages of laptops

There are many advantages to using a laptop computer versus a tablet. Writing, editing, uploading or downloading files is faster on my laptop computer. These tasks are very possible on a tablet, but the process goes much faster on a functional laptop. One of the best aspects of laptops I enjoy more than tablets is processing power – laptops perform faster and can multitask more effectively than tablets.

Laptops also can easily handle common table uses such as Web browsing and media streaming, and can go significantly further with the use of simple data entry, photo and video editing. Since this is the time of the year when kids (and adults) go back to school, the debate between laptops and tablets is often discussed. A local newscast talked about this topic and brought up several great points.

Advantages of tablets

If you are on a tight budget and looking to save money, the modern tablet may be the preferable route. The modernization of tablets has come a long way. Consumers can purchase a keyboard that attaches to the tablet. My mother has an iPad that has a keyboard and it is much easier (for me) to type faster. I really enjoy the keyboard option and I know travelers enjoy this function as well. As Tony Bradley explains, here are five ways tables are better than laptops or smartphones.

  1. Portability
  2. Functionality
  3. Less Cumbersome
  4. Battery Life
  5. Flexibility

I did not discuss smartphones, but in many ways they act as a smaller version of a tablet (iPad or Kindle).

Final verdict

I enjoy both technologies, but I am ready to upgrade my laptop when my West Virginia University IMC program is finished. Then the question becomes, do I stay with a PC or convert to a Mac? This is a discussion for another day!

 

What innovations are organizations leveraging to build lasting customer relationships?

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Spending the most money on research and development does not always guarantee success for businesses. Instead, finding new and innovative ways to reach consumers and react to their needs can often times be the key to unlocking financial success —not to mention building brand awareness. Based on my business experience, there are many different ways organizations can use innovations, but three of them come to mind: Content marketing, sharing and building compelling video and behind-the-scenes access.

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Content marketing: This relatively new marketing approach has fast become a popular vehicle for driving messages and building brands from the inside out. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly—defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Companies who innovate and create original content to build and target an audience are on the right track to expanding their messages. This process can be as simple as a team of marketers writing content about a product or service and posting a link on a social media platform of their choosing.

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Sharing visuals: Video is one of the most popular forms of content marketing in 2015. It is not uncommon to hear about videos going viral on a daily/weekly basis with the explosion of social media. Many companies have a video department that generates new content that is posted online (YouTube, website, etc.) for consumers to view. As Chris Trimble explains, online video is the future of content marketing.

Behind-the-scenes: Showing consumers how the proverbial soup is produced is not always the most popular choice by CEOs, but it does show customers truthfulness and transparency. Sometimes this includes video evidence from a plant manufacturing products or it can involve images of private meetings. In the past we have received an image of President Obama during a crucial decision. Here are several great examples of brands making the most of their social media expertise.

Does your company engage in any of the mentioned content marketing practices?