Since its launch in October 2010, Instagram has grown into one of the most popular social media platforms to date, quickly turning into a “must-have” for businesses of all calibers.  As of March 2014, Instagram announced record-breaking numbers, topping out at 150 million active monthly users. Out of those 150 million monthly users, 70% log in at least once a day. With those kinds of numbers, it was only a matter of time before businesses started taking notice. As an avid Instagrammer myself, for my personal account @kristi_bee, for my dogs (yes, my dogs have an Instagram) @bensonandlexi and for Zion & Zion @zionandzion, I have learned the do’s and don’ts of Instagram through research and trial & error. Perfecting the art of Instagram is certainly no easy task, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll wish you had been an active user all along!
 
Not too long ago, Content Management Systems (CMS), were a novelty around the web and not every developer was comfortable building websites that had this kind of functionality. Being able to edit or add content, images, videos and pages through a CMS was an “extra” for anyone who had the time and money for it. That is no longer the case. The web is growing exponentially through an infinite spectrum of web ready devices, making it enjoyable for everyone. Websites aren't static anymore, they are “web applications,” which means they do things; they’re social, and they communicate with their users. The bar is higher now for anyone building for the web and people expect more than just a static site with three pages and a contact form. Most importantly, they expect a way to easily maintain and expand their site without needing any experience with code.
 
Recently Google AdWords has given marketers new ad extensions that we can use to assist in our paid search marketing. Ad extensions are a great tool in paid search because they add value to our ads without any extra cost. Each ad extension serves a different purpose for different marketing strategies and should be used if it aligns with your conversion goals. Here is a list of active ad extensions and some ad extensions that are in Beta.
 
Essentially, hand-lettering is the process of drawing letters, by hand of course. Most of the time, lettering is needed for custom logotypes. In addition, posters, t-shirts, greetings cards; the list goes on and on. Lettering to me is almost a lost art. In this day and age of computers and everything becoming more automated, lettering seems to get lost.  That’s why clients love custom lettered logotypes, because it’s the handcrafted aesthetic and knowledge that their logo is unlike any of their competitors (if done right).
 
For some businesses, the temptation to save time and effort by purchasing a website template can be hard to resist. An employee’s sister’s roommate says she can give you a brand new website for $50 and a 2 liter of Caffeine Free Diet Cherry Shasta. Sounds like a steal but what is the real cost? What you receive may, and I mean MAY, look acceptable but they've stolen the entire creative process away from you leaving you with a dry, empty husk of a website that is virtually identical to hundreds of other websites out there that is likely doing you more harm than good. Not enough to dissuade you from mailing it in? Here are a few more things to consider.
 
Have you ever wondered how so many businesses are attracting new audiences? Creative video content is how. Creating unique and engaging video content using motion picture and animation in order to tell a quick and engaging story allows you to sell your pitch in a fun and enjoyable way, also known as an “explainer video.” Explainer videos are short videos that show the customer a problem, followed by the all important solution. Explainer videos can also show a product, followed by how this product or solution will benefit the viewer.
 
Understanding why the creation of unique and quality content is important for your business begins with understanding the true meaning of “content.” When people hear the word content, their minds tend to visualize long white documents filled with tiny black words. Sure, that is content, but that is not all that content entails. Everything on the Internet is content and as anyone can tell, there is MUCH more than long white documents filled with hard to read words flowing through cyberspace. Content is defined as: something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any various arts. Websites, FAQ’s, blogs, videos, photo galleries, forums, social media sites, comments, and everything else that makes up the Internet is content. (Yes, that even includes adorably cute cat videos).
 
One of the biggest challenges in advertising media planning and buying is determining what is working, and what is not. How does that famous quote by John Wanamaker go? (with apologies for its overuse)
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
When digital advertising was new, traditional media buyers observed, but with the exception of possibly accepting some “added value” banner ads as part of a radio or print buy, were slow to embrace budget shifts away from the tried-and-true. Observation quickly moved into defensiveness, as digital media planners were showing up to meetings with analytics. Data. Action plans on how and why to shift budgets that were irrefutable based on the numbers. They knew which “half” was working, while traditional media planners were still working off the same audience estimates and assumptions used for decades.