Networking Organizations We’re a Part of: North Shore Chamber of Commerce

This month we will highlight North Shore Chamber of Commerce as one of the networking organizations we’re a part of. This organization is the largest business organization in our region and the most influential at that. It was established in 1918 and currently has more than 1,500 businesses and professional firm members of all sizes, different industries and occupation.

As a business located in the North Shore, we have been a part of this organization for 8 years, which qualifies us to attest to all the great benefits this organization has to offer.

One of the great benefits, which we have enjoyed, is being a part of the North Shore Business to Business Expo. This is a 2,500-person conference and exposition that features close to 100 exhibiting companies and speakers. Some other benefits include:

Executive Breakfast Forums where over 225 business leaders attend the breakfast to network with others and listen to important community speakers.

Speed Connections is similar to well-known speed dating. Here, attendees with other business professionals for 6 minutes at a time to network.

North Shore Business Journal is where all business issues, events, programs, and new member listings are published. This is prime location for business promotions, especially since thousands of North Shore businesses and firms are a on it.

Human Resources Employment Issue Workshops are available for the HR department of their member businesses. These are monthly discussions of issues that impact local businesses.

New Member Campaign is a great feature for all new members. Here you get to meet new professionals, get sales training, develop relationships while building your membership, win prizes and getaways, and-most importantly- gain exposure.

As a North Shore Chamber of Commerce member, you get many networking opportunities, exposure to firms in the area, referrals to your company, advocacy for your business, and education and training to help progress your business.

Among these, there are many more benefits that come with being a member of this organization. If you would like to learn more about the organization and where to sign up to become a member, visit here

How to Advertise on Instagram

Have you ever scrolled through your Instagram feed and liked a really cool picture just to notice 5 seconds later that it was a sponsored post? This is part of what makes advertising on Instagram a much better than other social media platform’s advertising.

Instagram’s first advertisement appeared on November 1, 2013 in the U.S. and later expanded to the U.K. that September. Like mentioned above, what makes Instagram advertising better is how they look like regular photos, making them feel less invasive. Many times users don’t realize that the photos are ads until they look above the picture to find the “Sponsored” mark on the top right corner of it. Another cool thing is that users can actually like the picture or decide to follow the company’s account in order to see everything they post on their feeds.

If you were not already aware, Instagram is the fastest growing social media site around the world. There are currently over 400 million members of the site in the 18-early 30s age group, which is perfect for targeting teens and young adults. According to, the Instagram per followers engagement rate is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter.

One of the first companies to advertise on Instagram was Ben & Jerry’s when their new flavor Scotchy Scotch Scotch was released. They generated 4 advertisement pictures in eight-day-periods and made it so each user would see 3 of these ads on their feeds. After this was done 9.8 Million U.S. users were reached, there was a 33-point increase in ad recall, and 17 percent of users became aware of the flavor and associated it with the company.

Now, having a sponsored ad on this site can be pretty costly and, at the moment, only brands with a “successful Instagram following” are chosen to advertise anyway. If you can’t afford to advertise on Instagram, yet, or don’t fall under that category, do not be discouraged! Having a public Instagram account for your company with amazing photos can be a great start for advertisement. If you don’t know where to start, here are some ideas from sponsored advertisements:

  • Tell a story about your product. Because Levis has been around for many generations, they shared photos of their older products that were handed down to newer generations by family members.
  • Share “personal photos” of customers or employees using your company’s products/service and give them a shout out! Ben & Jerry’s shared photos of customer eating their ice cream and tagged them on the photos.
  • Do behind-the-scenes look of employees working on your products – like packaging it, creating it, putting it together – or providing service for your customers. This helps give customers incite on your company’s culture.
  • Be inspirational by sharing photos of cool adventures. Adidas did this by sharing photos of people wearing their gear on a hike, rock climbing, and more.
  • Think outside the box if your company is about providing service rather than products.

The Power of Taglines

images-4Short catchphrases or slogans known as taglines,  are all around us.  Despite a prediction in AdWeek in 2013 that the “tagline is dead,” taglines have continued to be a critical part of successful marketing strategies.  Let’s look at the basics of taglines:  what are they and what role do they play in your overall marketing plan?

What is a tagline? Tagline Guru defines a tagline as a succinct phrase, situated under or alongside your logo, that communicates a single but powerful brand message designed to resonate strongly with an intended audience. Taglines are also referred to as slogans, mottos, strap-lines, and end-lines. While taglines may take a lot of effort to create and market, they should be easy to remember and sometimes even sing!  We have all probably gotten a tagline stuck in our heads and repeated it continually.  That is a successful tagline!

What is the objective of a tagline?  A tagline is an important tool in branding your company. Taglines accomplish several things including:

  1. Convey your brand’s qualities and character.
  2. Express the meaning of your organization’s vision or mission.
  3. Emphasize a key differentiators or competitive advantage.

Why is a great tagline important for your company?

  • Some brands are recognized by their tagline.  This customer recognition will lead to higher sales and more conversions. A catchy tagline will help consumers remember your brand when it comes time to purchase.
  • Taglines are a communication tool that helps your products/service differentiate itself from the competition and highlight key benefits in a short phrase.

Take this abbreviated tagline quiz to find out how much taglines have impacted your life.  This quiz comes from Tagline Guru.

In 1979, AT&T unveiled a new tagline, “Reach out and _______someone.”
(a) hold; (b) call; (c) touch; or (d) hug

General Electric introduced a new tagline in 1981, “We bring _________things to life.”
(a) good; (b) great; (c) bright; or (d) new

“You’re in good hands” is a tagline used by which of the following insurance companies?
(a) State Farm; (b) Allstate; (c) Met Life; or (d) Prudential

Whose tagline is “That was easy?”
(a) Office Depot; (b) Home Depot; (c) Costco; or (d) Staples

Which company is known as the “King of beers?”
(a) Miller; (b) Pabst Blue Ribbon; (c) Budweiser; or (d) Coors

answers: 1-c 2-a 3-b 4- d 5-c

Creating iphone videos for web sites

If you manage a web site that creates educational webinars, video casts, video blogs or video “how-tos”, you have probably thought about how to create, and share your video productions.  With the ever-increasing digital abilities of the iphone, it is no wonder that many people are producing their own videos right on their own phone.  Here are a few tips and app recommendations for any of you who enjoy making your own masterpieces for your business web site via your iphone.

  • Audio – If your needs only include a basic video blog the Apple Voice Memo app works just fine. If, however, you are looking for optimum audio, you may want to invest in a Mini iphone microphone.  This will give you a quality volume and clarity.  Read More.
  • Lenses – Invest in a few iPhone external lenses if you want to create pictures/videos that don’t look like an iphone took it.  By purchasing  fish-eye, macro, telephoto and wide-angle lenses a whole world of cinematic effects.
  • Retouching Apps – There are apps that let you crop, alter colors, reduce the “noise” in a photo/video and basically take a normal shot and make it look pretty darn cool. There is an entire page of apps at the app store but many favor Photogene. For video editing a favorite is iMovie.  Once you have created the final version of your masterpiece, you can download directly to your site or publish directly to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, or CNNiReport.  For more resources on creating and posting your own videos follow these links.

Game Your Video



Search Vs Display Advertising

In the world of advertising, most companies spread the budget around to many channels to attract the targeted consumers. . . including: tv, print media, and of course internet advertising.  With a vast majority of Americans buying (and researching online before buying) it is no wonder that internet advertising has tipped the balance of most marketing budgets.  Online marketing is a bit more measurable than say, tv advertising since millions may be spent on one commercial and a company will have no idea how many customers purchased as a result of that commercial.  Let’s look at two such advertising techniques online and see how they can translate into brand awareness and ultimately purchases.

  • Search ads– Search Advertising is a method of placing online advertisements on Web pages that show results from search engine queries. Through the same search-engine advertising services, ads can also be placed on Web pages with other published. Search advertisements are targeted to match key search terms (called keywords) entered on search engines. This targeting ability has contributed to the attractiveness of search advertising for advertisers.

One of the major benefits of search ads are that they are the most measurable form of online advertising, thus allowing a company to see the return on their investment.  Search ads can translate directly into clicks (which are quantifiable on metrics) and purchases by placing a product before the consumer at the exact moment they are making a purchase.

  • Display Ads – Display advertising is graphical advertising on the World Wide Web that appears next to content on web pages, IM applications, email, etc. These ads, often referred to as banners, come in standardized ad sizes, and can include text, logos, pictures, or more recently, rich media. Targeting by behavior and demographics in this type of advertising allows for fantastic targeting of your audience.  Metrics such as impressions and clicks help track the performance of this ad.

Display ads—such as banner ads on websites—are much more visible but are less likely to translate into direct clicks. By raising brand awareness, however, display ads may contribute to a consumer’s eventual decision to click on a search ad. Thus search ads get much of the credit, according to Google, for the  sale, but the display ad may have driven the consumer to the company to begin with.  Used in combination search and display ads can help raise brand awareness and put your product in the path of your desired consumer!




SEO Plugin for WordPress

WordPress “out of the box”  is technically wonderful but adding plugins can customize and improve your WordPress experience.  Last month we looked at the Events Calendar Plugin for WordPress.  This month we are discussing how to improve your SEO by fully optimizing your WordPress site using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin,  Ranked 4.7 stars out of 5, this plugin was written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects.

According to, this SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere. Writing better content is easier with this plugin as well.  It allows a preview of what your post or page will look like in the search results, whether your title is too long or too short and your meta description makes sense in the context of a search result. In addition this plugin checks Page Analysis for example on: images in your post and whether they have an alt tag containing the focus keyword for that post.

Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin has the most advanced XML Sitemaps functionality in any WordPress plugin. Once you check the box, it automatically creates XML sitemaps and notifies Google & Bing of the sitemaps existence. These XML sitemaps include the images in your posts & pages too, so that your images may be found better in the search engines too.

Local Searches

Remember when using the Yellow Pages was the way to look up business information – especially addresses and phone numbers? That seems like eons ago.  In fact most people would be hard pressed to find a Phone Book in their house anymore.  With the ease and access of search engines on our mobile devices the hunt for local business has changed completely!  So let’s look at Local Searches: what they are and why they are so important for your business.

What are Local searches? Local search is when someone ‘searches’ the Internet for a local business or service. If your company does business locally, whether it’s through an actual storefront or some other means, you will want to optimize your local visibility. Keep in mind that in order to do this, you’ll need to make sure that your website is optimized for local search. Searches with local intent are more likely to lead to store visits and sales within a day.

Why is getting listed locally so important? New Google research says that 50 percent of mobile users are most likely to visit a store after conducting a local search, while 34 percent of consumers on tablets or computers will go to a store. And Google says these people are ready to buy once they are in a store, as 18 percent of local searches lead to sales, compared to 7 percent for non-local searches. Find more statistics about local searches in Google’s Research. 

How to get listed locally. Google’s local search results can be seen in Google Maps and as localized results in universal search. You can create a free local business listing on Google+ by logging in and navigating to Create a Google+ Page, but first you’ll need a Google Account. Google My Business is Google’s new unified interface designed to make life easier for local businesses as well as brands to be better found within Google. It’s a big, huge change. Other search engines provide similar tools to make it easy to find your company when entering a keyword and your city/town. or state. Add a new listing at Bing Places for Business or Yahoo’s at




Key Word Tools

Key Words!  Choosing the right combination is absolutely crucial to a successful SEO. A keyword is a word or search term(s) that someone types into Google, Bing, Yahoo  or any other search engine when they’re looking for information online. When given the right combination of key words –  the search engine will direct users to information relevant to their search and ultimately to your site. So how do you choose those oh-so-important words so that they are relevant without being too broad?

  1. Back to Basics – Ask your customers what key words they used to find you online.  Or better yet, try finding yourself online through simple searches.  You will quickly see what page your company is found on and what key words work best at getting you a higher ranking. This is fairly old school but a good place to start.
  2. Add Location Based Keywords – When looking for products and services in a specific area, search engine users will usually include their location in the search.  For example Boston, MA.  You may want to consider adding location-based keywords to all of your pages, since traffic from other locations isn’t going to be very much help to you.
  3. Use Key Word Tools – Here are some great online tools to take the guesswork out of deciding on Key Words!
  • Google Ad Words Keyword Tool Your company can insert one keyword, multiple keywords, or even your website address, and Google will then return a list of related keywords along with simple metrics to gauge how fierce the competition is around each one and how many searches it gets on both a global and local search level.
  • Hub Spot Software or Google Analytics This tool will allow you to identify which organic search terms are already driving traffic to your website. These keywords will provide a good baseline of core keywords.


Now that you have some tools to discover your top key words for SEO , get out there and start discovering your best keywords for your growing company!

Responsive Web Design

In this age where everyone has a desktop, laptop and hand-held device it is becoming impossible to keep up with the endless resolution and screen sizes of each one.  For many websites, creating a website version for each resolution and new device would be impossible, or at least impractical. So what is the solution to our growing need for web design?  Responsive Wen Design of course!

Smashing Magazine talks about Responsive Web design as: the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. As the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities. In other words, the website should have the technology to automatically respond to the user’s preferences. This would eliminate the need for a different design and development phase for each new gadget on the market.  But responsive Web design is not only about adjustable screen resolutions and automatically resizable images, but rather about a whole new way of thinking about design.

Now with something called Flexible Design we can make things more flexible. Images can be automatically adjusted, and we have workarounds so that layouts never break. While it’s not a complete fix, the solution gives us far more options. It’s perfect for devices that switch from portrait orientation to landscape in an instant or for when users switch from a large computer screen to an iPad.

Consider Responsive Web Design to optimize viewing, ease of reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices.

The Importance of Hashtags

Overwhelmed by the pace of technology changing and all the buzz words associated with all of it such as: social media, mobile ready, and the ever present Hashtags?  You are not alone.  Let’s take a look at one term – Hashtags, why people use them and why they are important.

A hashtag is the number symbol (#) used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet or post.  It was originally created on Twitter by users to categorize messages.  Now many people use the hashtag symbol  before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet or post to categorize it and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.

Why do people do this?

  • A hashtag is simply a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic.
  • To make it easy to click on that phrase to see all other Tweets marked with same term.
  • To follow a trending topic on social media.
  • To help clients, or potential clients find your relevant topic on social media.

Where do hashtags work?

Hashtags work on Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube and more. If you create a hashtag on Facebook and direct that post to Twitter, the hashtag will also work on Twitter.

How are they useful to business?
By creating keywords that are important to your business objectives, you can discover information you might not have found otherwise and others may find you. You can find Facebook pages, for example, that you want to connect with.