Category Archives: Search Engine Optimization

The Rise Of Visual Social Media

BLOG POSTS BECAME FACEBOOK UPDATES AND TUMBLR POSTS, WHICH SHRUNK TO TWEETS AND FINALLY TO INSTAGRAM OR PINTEREST. HERE’S HOW SMART BRANDS ARE NAVIGATING THE NEW VISUAL SOCIAL-MEDIA ERA.

Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have ushered in visual marketing as the breakout trend for 2012. When it comes to their products, businesses are learning to show, not tell, and visual content sites are fueling our desire for beautiful photography and sensational design. Two years ago, marketers were spreading the maxim that “content is king,” but now, it seems, “a picture really is worth a thousand words.”

“Blogs were one of the earliest forms of social networking where people were writing 1,000 words,” says Dr. William J. Ward, Social Media professor at Syracuse University. “When we moved to status updates on Facebook, our posts became shorter. Then micro-blogs like Twitter came along and shortened our updates to 140 characters. Now we are even skipping words altogether and moving towards more visual communication with social-sharing sites like Pinterest.”

This trend toward the visual is also influenced by the shifting habits of technology users. As more people engage with social media via smartphones, they’re discovering that taking a picture “on the go” using a high-resolution phone is much less tedious than typing out a status update on a two-inch keyboard.

2012 study by ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most. Forty-four percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media. Pictures have become one of our default modes of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to every day.

Detavio Samuals is the EVP and Director of Client Services at GlobalHue, one of the nation’s top market advertising agencies. He explains that pictures are a bit like movie trailers for written content–they provide a snippet of what an article, brand, site or other piece of content is about, so that you can quickly decide if it’s what you wanted or not.

“Pictures have also become a short form way of communicating lots of information quickly and succinctly,” says Samuals. “The need for publishers to get to the point quicker than ever came about as humans became more pressed for time and content became more infinite. For publishers, it was evolve or risk losing their audience, and the only thing shorter than a tweet or post is a picture.”

So what does all this visual stimulation mean for brands?

Fashion designer Kahri-Anne Kerr uses visual social media sites like Pinterest and Facebook to market her Kahri collection. In the fashion world, visual fantasy sells product, as customers need to see the cut of a garment on a model and feel as though they could make that item work in their own wardrobe. “When I post pictures on Facebook, they get the most feedback of all my posts,” says Kahri. Visual media is a great way to share more about what inspires the designs, as well as linking to your online store and straight product shots.”

“I am just getting into Instagram, which I use to give a personal look at the person behind the label by taking shots around my studio and in my everyday life.”

Designer paper/analog brand Moleskine has harnessed the power of visual media to create one of the world’s most active, prolific, and creative online communities. Their visual content strategy focuses on user-generated content: They create large-scale projects that users participate in by posting their own images and videos.

A popular campaign called What’s In Your Bag? had users update pictures of the contents of their bags into a Facebook album. The project generated thousands of likes and comments as readers looked at the contents of other bags (which included Moleskine notebooks, naturally), and shared photos with their friends.

Inspiring fans to create and spread images, customize their notebooks, organize online competitions, and otherwise engage with the brand on a creative level has set Moleskine apart in its highly specialized market.

Search engines now rank content based on social conversations and sharing, not just websites alone. Brands can use visual content on their social media to increase engagement and inspire sharing and viral marketing. The rise of platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, and Facebook’s multimillion-dollar acquisition of the latter, shows how visual content is becoming an increasingly important force for communication online.

Brands that can rock visual media will find themselves market leaders.

Re-Blogged by 5j Design –  original article by Ekaterina Walter is Intel’s social media strategist. Follow her @ekaterina.

Facebook Campaigns

5j Design is excited to announce a brand new project available to those who are looking to maximize their Facebook influence. This project is called “Campaigns”. We provide customized Social media campaigns focused on brand awareness, visual impact and network presence.

  • Social media is the #1 online activity.
  • People spend 1 out of every 6min online on social media.
  • Facebook accounts for 1 out of every 5 pageviews on the internet worldwide.
  • Facebook has 845 million monthly active users.
  • 50.3% of the USA population is on Facebook.
  • 57% of Facebook users are female, 43% are male.
  • The average time spent on Facebook per visit is 20 minutes.
  • 250 million pictures are uploaded daily.
  • 2.7 Billion “Likes” every day.

IS YOUR BUSINESS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA?

Facebook has become a place where people, businesses and causes have become one. People have always relied on their friends for recommendations from what to buy, where to go and what’s new. These conversations are happening on Facebook! People want to connect with their favorite businesses and share it with their friends.

So whats in a campaign?

  • Step 1 – Setup – We will setup and or update a Facebook page for you.
  • Step 2 – Design –We will create custom graphics and a landing page for special deals.
  • Step 3 – Advertising -We will design a custom ad and advertise your page on Facebook for 6 weeks.
  • Step 4 – Branding & Promotions – We will layout 6 weeks of promotions to help generate likes, talk, and shares.
  • Step 5 – Evaluation & Review – After the 6 week campaign we will give you a review of the campaign, who you reached and what worked best.

Here are some recent Facebook Campaigns we have done:

Facebook is growing and businesses need to take advantage of this market. Building relationships with customers and reaching new people is important to the success of your business. Facebook and 5j Design can help! We can help you and your business reach new customers, interact with existing clients and help with influence on Facebook.

If you are interested in starting a Facebook campaign please contact us today: jake@5jdesign.com or zach@5jdesign.com

 

Lazy Eyes :: How we read online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re probably going to read this.

It’s a short paragraph at the top of the page. It’s surrounded by white space. It’s in small type.

To really get your attention, I should write like this:

  • Bulleted list
  • Occasional use of bold to prevent skimming
  • Short sentence fragments
  • Explanatory subheads
  • No puns
  • Did I mention lists?
Advertisement

What Is This Article About?
For the past month, I’ve been away from the computer screen. Now I’m back reading on it many hours a day. Which got me thinking: How do we read online?

It’s a Jungle Out There
That’s Jakob Nielsen‘s theory. He’s a usability expert who writes an influential biweekly column on such topics as eye-tracking research, Web design errors, and banner blindness. (Links, btw, give a text more authority, making you more likely to stick around.)

Nielsen champions the idea of information foraging. Humans are informavores. On the Internet, we hunt for facts. In earlier days, when switching between sites was time-consuming, we tended to stay in one place and dig. Now we assess a site quickly, looking for an “information scent.” We move on if there doesn’t seem to be any food around.

Sorry about the long paragraph. (Eye-tracking studies show that online readers tend to skip large blocks of text.)

Also, I’m probably forcing you to scroll at this point. Losing some incredible percentage of readers. Bye. Have fun on Facebook.

Screens vs. Paper
What about the physical process of reading on a screen? How does that compare to paper?

When you look at early research, it’s fascinating to see that even in the days of green phosphorus monitors, studies found that there wasn’t a huge difference in speed and comprehension between reading on-screen and reading on paper. Paper was the clear winner only when test subjects were asked to skim the text.

The studies are not definitive, however, given all the factors that can affect online reading, such as scrolling, font size, user expertise, etc. Nielsen holds that on-screen reading is 25 percent slower than reading on paper. Even so, experts agree on what you can do to make screen reading more comfortable:

  • Choose a default font designed for screen reading; e.g., Verdana, Trebuchet, Georgia.
  • Rest your eyes for 10 minutes every 30 minutes.
  • Get a good monitor. Don’t make it too bright or have it too close to your eyes.
  • Minimize reflections.
  • Skip long lines of text, which promote fatigue.
  • Avoid MySpace.

Back to the Jungle
Nielsen’s apt description of the online reader: “[U]sers are selfish, lazy, and ruthless.You, my dear user, pluck the low-hanging fruit. When you arrive on a page, you don’t actually deign to read it. You scan. If you don’t see what you need, you’re gone.

And it’s not you who has to change. It’s me, the writer:

  • One idea per paragraph
  • Half the word count of “conventional writing”! (Ouch!)
  • Other stuff along these lines

Nielsen often sounds like a cross between E.B. White and the Terminator. Here’s his advice in a column titled “Long vs. Short Articles as Content Strategy“: “A good editor should be able to cut 40 percent of the word count while removing only 30 percent of an article’s value. After all, the cuts should target the least valuable information.”

[Ed. Note: Fascinating asides about the writer's voice, idiosyncrasies, and fragile ego were cut here.]

He’s Right
I kid about Nielsen, but he’s very sensible. We’re active participants on the Web, looking for information and diversion. It’s natural that people prefer short articles. As Nielsen states, motivated readers who want to know everything about a subject (i.e., parents trying to get their kid into a New York preschool) will read long treatises with semicolons, but the rest of us are snacking. His advice: Embrace hypertext. Keep things short for the masses, but offer links for the Type A’s.

No Blogs, Though
Nielsen may be ruthless about brevity, but he doesn’t advocate blogging. Here’s his logic: “Such postings are good for generating controversy and short-term traffic, and they’re definitely easier to write. But they don’t build sustainable value.”

That’s a debatable point. My experience has been that a thoughtful blogger who tags his posts can cover a subject well. But Nielsen’s idea is that people will read (and maybe even pay) for expertise that they can’t find anywhere else. If you want to beat the Internet, you’re not going to do it by blogging (since even OK thinkers occasionally write a great blog post) but by offering a comprehensive take on a subject (thus saving the reader time from searching many sites) and supplying original thinking (offering trusted insight that cannot be easily duplicated by the nonexpert).

Like a lot of what Nielsen says, this is both obvious and thoughtful.

Ludic Reading
Nielsen focuses on how to hold people’s attention to convey information. He’s not overly concerned with pleasure reading.

Pleasure reading is also known as “ludic reading.” Victor Nell has studied pleasure reading (PDF). Two fascinating notions:

  • When we like a text, we read more slowly.
  • When we’re really engaged in a text, it’s like being in an effortless trance.

Ludic reading can be achieved on the Web, but the environment works against you. Read a nice sentence, get dinged by IM, never return to the story again.

I suppose ludic readers would be the little sloths hiding in the jungle while everyone else is out rampaging around for fresh meat.

Final Unnecessary Thought
We’ll do more and more reading on screens, but they won’t replace paper—never mind what your friend with a Kindle tells you. Rather, paper seems to be the new Prozac. A balm for the distracted mind. It’s contained, offline, tactile. William Powers writes about this elegantly in his essay “Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Why Paper Is Eternal.” He describes the white stuff as “a still point, an anchor for the consciousness.

Thanks

By

The Google Challenge

When was the last time you Googled your product, service or  business? Well if it’s been awhile or if you never have, give it a shot. Click this link (opens Google.com in a new window) and google your service or product. Like what you see? Are you on the first page? The second? The third? Statistics show people typically don’t go past page three in their search results before they try something else.

If you didn’t make the top three pages you are missing out on some seriously sweet “free ad” space. Great google search placement can be a lot of work, but it’s not rocket science. One of the key pieces to getting a great site ranking is having other web sites link back to your site or domain name. If you don’t already have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, the link back to your site should be reason enough to jump into the social media pool.

We could go one and on about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and tips, tricks and techniques, but we just wanted to plant a seed today. Start with googling yourself and go from there. If you’re a do-it-yourself type, check out this download-able SEO started guide from Google for some great starter info. Don’t like your results and don’t have time to learn more? 5j is hear to help. Give us a shout, we’d love to teach you more and score you some of that “free ad” space.