Industry Blogs

Facebook Testing Influencer Marketing Search Engine

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Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore Facebook testing a search engine for influencer marketing, Instagram’s new Mute option, and other breaking social media [...] The post Facebook Testing Influencer Marketing Search Engine appeared first on .

Alexa Flash Briefings: What Marketers Need to Know

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Want to reach people regularly via their smart speakers? Wondering how Alexa flash briefings work? To explore how marketers can benefit from Alexa flash briefings, I interview Chris Brogan. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers, business [...] The post Alexa Flash Briefings: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on .

How to Create a Facebook Ad With Business Manager

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Want to use Facebook for advertising? Wondering how to create your first Facebook ad using Business Manager? In this article, you’ll learn how to create a Facebook page post ad using Facebook Business Manager. #1: Set Up Facebook Business Manager If you don’t already have a personal Facebook profile, creating that profile is your first [...] The post How to Create a Facebook Ad With Business Manager appeared first on .

Adobe to Acquire Magento Commerce

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SAN JOSE, CA – Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Magento Commerce, a market-leading commerce platform, for $1.68 billion, subject to customary purchase price adjustments. The addition of the Magento Commerce Cloud will enable commerce to be seamlessly integrated into the Adobe Experience Cloud, delivering a single platform that serves both B2B and B2C customers globally. The Magento Platform brings together digital commerce, order management and predictive intelligence into a unified commerce platform enabling shopping experiences across a wide array of industries. Adobe is the leader in designing and delivering digital experiences through content and data. At the core of every great experience are content and data, which enable the consistent, personal, intuitive experiences consumers have come to expect. Commerce is also integral to the customer experience. Consumers and businesses now expect every interaction to be shoppable – whether on the web, mobile, social, in-product or in-store. Magento brings Adobe Experience Cloud digital commerce enablement and order orchestration for both physical and digital goods across a range of industries, including consumer packaged goods, retail, wholesale, manufacturing and the public sector. The Magento Platform is built on proven, scalable technology supported by a vibrant community of more than 300,000 developers. The Magento partner ecosystem provides thousands of pre-built extensions, including payment, shipping, tax and logistics. This level of flexibility gives businesses the ability to quickly ramp and iterate their commerce capabilities for their unique business needs. Current Magento customers include brands like Canon, Helly Hansen, Paul Smith and Rosetta Stone. Adobe and Magento share joint customers including Coca-Cola, Warner Music Group, Nestlé and Cathay Pacific. “Adobe is the only company with leadership in content creation, marketing, advertising, analytics and now commerce – enabling real-time experiences across the entire customer journey,” said Brad Rencher, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Experience, Adobe. “Embedding commerce into the Adobe Experience Cloud with Magento enables Adobe to make every moment personal and every experience shoppable.” “Adobe and Magento share a vision for the future of digital experiences that brings together Adobe’s strength in content and data with Magento’s open commerce innovation,” said Mark Lavelle, CEO, Magento. “We’re excited to join Adobe and believe this will be a great opportunity for our customers, partners and developer community.” Upon close, Magento CEO Mark Lavelle will continue to lead the Magento team as part of Adobe’s Digital Experience business, reporting to executive vice president and general manager Brad Rencher. The transaction, which is expected to close during the third quarter of Adobe’s 2018 fiscal year, is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. Until the transaction closes, each company will continue to operate independently. About Magento Commerce Magento Commerce is a leading provider of cloud commerce innovation to merchants and brands across B2C and B2B industries. In addition to its flagship digital commerce platform, Magento Commerce boasts a strong portfolio of cloud-based omnichannel solutions that empower merchants to successfully integrate digital and physical shopping experiences. Magento Commerce is the #1 provider to the Internet Retailer Top 1000, the B2B 300 and the Top 500 Guides for Europe and Latin America. Magento Commerce is supported by a vast global network of solution and technology partners, a highly active global developer community and the largest eCommerce marketplace for extensions available for download on the Magento Marketplace. More information can be found at About Adobe Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit

Inspur Releases InCloud OpenStack Version 5.5 at OpenStack Summit Vancouver

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VANCOUVER, BC – Inspur, an OpenStack Foundation Gold member, today released version 5.5 of its InCloud OpenStack cloud operating system at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. The software, widely used in the financial services, securities and enterprise sectors in China, offers new capabilities in large-scale services delivery across multiple availability zones and geographies, accessibility and ease of management, stability and scalability, and intelligent operation and maintenance. The newest version of InCloud OpenStack adds: Features for large-scale deployments. InCloud OpenStack 5.5 can support multiple data centers across multiple regions. In one implementation, Inspur achieved an OpenStack deployment with around 1,000 nodes in a single region for a non-telecom customer and a total of more than 1,400 nodes are in production. InCloud OpenStack offers one-click deployment and graphical resource layout via containerized images that are independent of the host operating system. Resource arrangement is managed visually with system templates or a custom drag-and-drop template. Unified management of diverse compute types. InCloud OpenStack 5.5 offers unified management of virtual machines (VMs), bare metal instances, and containers on the same platform. Resources can be adjusted in parallel to achieve integration and sharing of cluster computing, storage and network resources to reduce operation, maintenance and management costs. Multi-region support. The switch from test deployment to large-scale production deployment presents challenges for OpenStack operators. To achieve large-scale data center delivery capabilities, InCloud OpenStack 5.5 optimizes multi-region management to achieve division and separate management of large clusters. All regions use the same set of Keystone systems to resolve the system bottlenecks caused by cluster expansion. Layered security. InCloud OpenStack adopts a layered security enhancement design to better secure the cloud platform from the dimensions of the hypervisor system, VMs and user access. It adopts Inspur’s security sector governance products to reinforce the hypervisor and VM layers. Disaster tolerance. InCloud OpenStack 5.5 offers disaster recovery capability that spans multiple data centers. A current InCloud OpenStack deployment covers three data centers in two regions. The solution provides disaster tolerance for dual center, dual active capability within 150km in the same city and remote data center recovery. The solution uses Inspur’s proprietary network facility, centralized storage facilities and cloud management to guarantee business continuity in terms of data, network and business operation for customers. The solution can effectively help customers save costs, increase operational reliability and achieve efficient failure management with one-click visual failure switching solutions. “The growth of OpenStack in China is impressive,” said Jay Zhang, vice president of Inspur. “Over the next five years, we expect a CAGR of 40 percent for this market segment. Ongoing development of standardized APIs and excellent heterogeneous resource management and programmability are key drivers in the thriving OpenStack ecosystem, and Inspur plans to maintain and expand its OpenStack leadership, taking full advantage of this growth trend.” Inspur is a leading innovator in open compute and open technologies, and major proponent for OCP, ODCC, Open19, OpenStack and Openpower foundations. Inspur strives to build a design base and then to customize and meet efficiency standards. Meanwhile, Inspur will contribute to those communities by providing access to technologies through open source sharing, and to assist the convergence of fellow communities and open source applications. “Inspur is a Gold member of the OpenStack Foundation and has been throwing investment year upon year participation in OpenStack.” Said Jonathan Bryce, executive director at OpenStack Foundation, “We move forward the community with contributions from companies. Inspur has dozens of developers who contribute to different projects in OpenStack and has worked to build OpenStack appointment in China which is one of the fast-growing markets.” About Inspur Inspur is a leading global provider of cutting-edge data center and cloud computing solutions, aspiring to deliver continuously more innovative and efficient solutions to meet rapidly growing technology demands. Working with over 1,000 enterprises around the world, Inspur delivers top-tier quality and performance, energy and cost efficiency, and purpose-built solutions to specific workloads and data center environments. Inspur is a Gold member of the OpenStack Foundation. For the most-recent public release—Queens—Inspur’s upstream contributions have doubled over the previous version, Pike. Also, Inspur is a silver sponsor of Apache Software Foundation and a member of both the Linux Foundation and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

Supermicro Announces New Cloud-Scale Enterprise Systems at OpenStack Summit 2018

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VANCOUVER, BC – Super Micro Computer, Inc. (NASDAQ: SMCI), a global leader in enterprise computing, storage, networking solutions and green computing technology, today announced that it is offering proven cloud-scale, enterprise system configurations including the multi-node BigTwin and SuperBlade along with a 1U Cloud Storage system at the OpenStack Summit 2018, booth B9. These proven Supermicro cloud system configurations have already been deployed across the entire range of datacenter environments including cloud service providers (CSPs), media streaming, e-commerce, social, telecommunications, semiconductor, OpenStack, artificial intelligence (AI), content delivery networks (CDN), and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). These systems are cloud optimized for scale-out, high performance at maximum density and software defined storage. “Supermicro is helping enterprises accelerate their time to deployment by offering proven cloud system configurations that have already been deployed at scale in large cloud datacenters,” said Charles Liang, President and CEO of Supermicro. “For rack-level optimization, Supermicro Rack Scale Design 2.1 (RSD 2.1) manages racks of disaggregated servers, storage, and networking and is tightly integrated with other datacenter management software layers such as OpenStack using the Restful Pod Manager APIs that enable end-to-end cloud infrastructure deployment. When enabled with Supermicro RSD 2.1, our 1U all-flash NVMe storage system with 32 hot-swap NVMe SSDs can share up to a half petabyte of high-performance storage with up to 12 hosts simultaneously. These 32-drive systems have already been deployed at many datacenters including one of the world’s most successful automobile companies.” For Scale-Out Cloud applications, Supermicro’s latest four-node 2U BigTwin system leverages shared high-efficiency power supplies and large shared cooling fans to not only reduce power consumption per node but also reduce datacenter A/C costs delivering substantial TCO savings. The SuperServer 6029BT-HNC0R offers a flexible, cost-effective, dense and easy to service infrastructure platform for scale-out cloud deployments. When highest density and lowest cost are the priorities, Supermicro’s 4U SuperBlade® with 14 dual Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor server blades and dual 10G switches based on Intel® Ethernet is the best choice. In addition to saving rack space, the SuperBlade drastically reduces the number of cables required making it easy to deploy and service. With an open management interface, the SuperBlade is non-proprietary and provides the utmost in flexibility and cost savings. Lastly, for Cloud Storage, Supermicro’s 1U storage server (SSG-6019P-ACR12L) supports 12 hot-swap 3.5″ storage drives and four front-access 7mm NVMe or SATA SSDs. Occupying just 1U of rack space, this storage server provides a powerful dual Intel Xeon Scalable processor platform with high capacity storage, perfect for data analytics and object storage applications. These Supermicro cloud-scale systems are based on the Intel® C622 chipset and come standard with integrated dual 10G ports per node to provide highly reliable, cost-effective, power efficient and fast 10Gb Intel Ethernet network performance. With support for add-on cards and Supermicro’s flexible SIOM network modules, these servers can be also equipped to support 100/40/25G high-speed networking options. Visit for more details. Supermicro’s cloud solutions validated and tested with software from the leading open source technology providers can be found at Showcasing a breadth of platforms to address a wide range of OpenStack workloads, Supermicro’s exhibits include the new all-flash NVMe 32-drive 1U JBOF, top-loading 45-bay 4U storage system, and 4-node 2U BigTwin™ system along with the new 48-port 25G SFP28 Ethernet switch and a 52-port 1G layer 2 switch. About Super Micro Computer, Inc. (NASDAQ: SMCI) Supermicro® (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology is a premier provider of advanced Server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and Embedded Systems worldwide. Supermicro is committed to protecting the environment through its “We Keep IT Green®” initiative and provides customers with the most energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly solutions available on the market.

Black Box Introduces Portable Micro Data Center for Tactical Edge Locations

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PITTSBURGH, PA – Black Box (NASDAQ:BBOX), announced the release of Acuity™ Micro Data Center. As a premier systems integrator and technology products innovator, Black Box has been solving mission critical information availability problems for both the public and private sectors for over four decades and is a trusted solution provider for information and communication systems convergence for the Department of Defense (DoD) and federal agencies. As a technology exchange partner with the DoD and other Federal agencies, Black Box continues to drive innovation which enables us to do more with less equipment, manpower, and time. From more than four decades experience of successfully fielding mission critical infrastructure and solutions we are now able to streamline tactical edge deployments while expanding application capabilities and resiliency. Black Box Acuity combines best-in-class technology with mobility and efficiency to ensure readiness in a single form factor portable enough to fit into a commercial airline overhead storage compartment. Acuity delivers mission-critical capabilities such as data security, ease-of-use, and superior voice, video, and messaging functionality in a weight of only 30 lbs. The ruggedized, agile solution is designed for mobility and security with removable cards (just pull and go) to maintain integrity in emergency situations and in a variety of terrains. “The design of the Acuity edge solution ensures complete agility within the system,” states Ken Kincel, Product Director of Edge Data Solutions at Black Box. “Acuity not only provides speed and efficiency but delivers substantial cost savings compared to current systems where it can take days or weeks to get emergency data center services up and running.” With Acuity, one person can set up and deliver critical communications, applications, and information anywhere in the world in about two hours. In the case of a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or harsh operating environments, this increased efficiency can be lifesaving. Equipped with a full data center suite, Acuity enables Unified Capabilities (voice, video, chat, and presence), identity management, session migration, load balancing and failover, secure vector routing, micro/hyper-segmentation, virtual network function (VNF), replacement for multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and VPN, centralized management (automation and orchestration), open standard/architecture, secured voice gateway, Windows active directory services, Exchange 2016 and Outlook, and private and public cloud services. “The Acuity Micro Data Center can be outfitted and customized for a myriad of applications and operating systems,” says Jeff Murray, Senior Vice President – Government Solutions. “The core system is equipped and configured to offer complete voice and data communications in a DIL environment with access to applications as predefined by the mission leaders for each environment. Acuity is not like any other product on the market as it delivers a Capability out of the gate.” Acuity delivers the best solution for virtualization, security, bandwidth, communications, and flexibility. All equipment meets unified capabilities requirements (UCR2013) and is MIL-STD_810G certified. Units can be networked for scalability to support more than 50 users to offer high performance in a small footprint. To learn more about the Black Box Acuity Micro Data Center solution visit: About Black Box Black Box (NASDAQ:BBOX) is the trusted digital partner. With more than 40 years of experience connecting people and devices, we are dedicated to helping clients embrace the intelligent edge and enable their digital transformation. Our award-winning products and extensive service connect you with your customers, your team, and the world. Every day, our customers trust us to design, deploy, and manage their digital needs including retail IoT solutions, healthcare, and mission-critical control room infrastructures across commercial enterprise and governmental organizations. With a global presence and extensive team of technical experts, we make digital transformation possible whether at one location or hundreds.

ServerCentral Expands Managed Backup & Recovery Service with Recover Anywhere

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CHICAGO – ServerCentral introduced its Recover Anywhere managed service powered by Veeam Backup & Replication (part of Veeam Availability Suite). Recover Anywhere is a fully managed service that enables customers to use any infrastructure or cloud platform as the restore point for their applications, data and servers. That means customers can restore data on-demand to their on-premise infrastructure, a ServerCentral Enterprise or Private Cloud, a Managed Amazon Web Services (AWS) solution, or another other cloud provider. “People often neglect recovery. But backing up is just one part of the equation, it doesn’t do you much good if you can’t recover,” said Tom Kiblin, VP of Managed Services at ServerCentral. “We want organizations to be as confident in the recovery as they are in their backup. RTO/RPO shouldn’t be unknowns or even variables. They should be certainties.” Everything accessible to everyone, 24x7x365, is now the minimum business requirement and Recover Anywhere is designed to keep customers always-on, regardless of their application architecture or cloud platforms. With Recover Anywhere, ServerCentral’s Managed Services team works with customers to guarantee their recovery time and point objectives (RTO and RPO) are defined and met on an application by application basis, and that their destinations for recovery and restore can meet the changing nature of their business. “Hybrid cloud environments are the norm today, but the increased criticality and sprawl of data introduces new challenges to maintaining an always-on digital experience,” said Matt Kalmenson, Vice President of Sales and Service Provider Sales, Americas, at Veeam. “ServerCentral’s approach to availability goes beyond backup, leveraging intelligent approaches to data management and the managed service expertise needed to make Hyper-Availability a reality. We are pleased to have ServerCentral as a partner in our effort to solve the key challenges of our joint customers.” The Recover Anywhere service includes: Complete configuration & administration by ServerCentral’s Managed Services experts Backup, retention and restore processes and schedule designed around customer requirements Support for applications, data and complete server environments Quarterly review of backup and retention schedule and processes Annual testing of application, data and server restore processes Recover Anywhere is part of ServerCentral’s Managed Backup & Recovery Service portfolio, all of which are configured, administered, monitored, and supported by the ServerCentral Managed Services team. ServerCentral works with customers to understand their data protection needs and configure the service parameters to support their unique business, financial, and technological requirements. Customers can adjust the frequency of backups, retention policy, encryption methods, data locations and restore processes to fit these requirements. About ServerCentral ServerCentral provides managed IT infrastructure solutions for leading technology, finance, healthcare, and e-commerce companies including Basecamp, ABN AMRO, Vizient and Shopify. Since 2000 we’ve architected, deployed, managed and scaled mission critical solutions across our global data center footprint – including North America, Europe, and Asia. Whether it’s cloud, managed services, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), or colocation, ServerCentral designs the optimal solution for each client. Learn more by visiting us at or contact us at +1 (312) 829-1111, or follow us on Twitter @ServerCentral.

How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Event

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Does your business host an event or conference? Wondering how to use social media to build awareness for an event? In this article, you’ll discover how to use social media to keep your event top of mind with your audience. #1: Choose the Social Platform Best-Suited to Promote Your Event Before your event, you can [...] The post How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Event appeared first on .

Next10x 2018: Mastering the Changing Digital Marketing Landscape Highlights Recap

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On May 9, 2018, Stone Temple presented the second edition of its Next10x digital marketing conference in Boston. This year’s theme of “Mastering the Changing Digital Marketing Landscape” was explored by some of the top marketing speakers in the United States. Throughout the day attendees learned not only what they should be doing to be competitive in online marketing today, but also how to be ready for the massive changes already impacting digital marketing. Here are some highlights and takeaways from the day. Stay informed about Next10x 2019! As SLOW as Possible: A counter-intuitive approach to driving meaningful results by slowing down, creating less Ann Handley – MarketingProfs Ann Handley opened the day with a content marketing keynote that urged us all to “go slow” with much of our marketing efforts. While there are times when reacting quickly is critical, rushing everything out the door is a bad idea. We’ve been taught that more and faster are always better, and maybe even essential to win at marketing. However, Ann’s research shows that we’re often creating too much and only skimming the surface. Attention to detail matters a great deal, and should never be rushed. Ann urged us to focus on three areas in our content efforts: Smarter reflection Better quality Honest empathy (with our audience) How AI Will Change Marketing Forever Chris Penn – Brain+Trust Insights Chris took us into the future of artificial intelligence in marketing, along with glimpses of how it is already a reality today.  He told us we need to embrace artificial intelligence because of these Four V’s: Volume: The amount of data generated daily is increasing exponentially. Variety: An incredible diversity 0f activity happens every minute on the internet. Velocity: We’re on target for 75 million news stories in 2018. Veracity: Need for increasing accuracy and verified trust of information. Chris’s solution to these challenges is cognitive marketing, marketing that learns using artificial intelligence and machine learning. He went on to help us understand what AI is, and what it isn’t, as well as the basics of machine learning.  Then he showed us how AI in marketing already powers content creation, conversations (chatbots), split-testing, reverse engineering search, content distribution, and analytics analysis. In the future, Chris said, many current marketing tasks and skills will be replaced by automation, so he recommends all marketers develop AI and machine learning skills.  The Social Shift: Pivoting for Success in a Time of Shrinking Reach Larry Kim – MobileMonkey, and Greg Jarboe – SEO-PR Anyone doing social media marketing in 2018 agrees: it isn’t as easy as it used to be. Increased regulations, crackdowns on automation, and ever-shrinking organic reach are just a few of the daunting challenges in social now. In our first panel of the day, video marketing expert Greg Jarboe and chatbot tool entrepreneur Larry Kim (founder of Wordstream) gave us strategies to triumph in a time of challenge. Greg Jarboe walked us through how classic organic social marketing for brands is not a great career choice, unless you know how to create content that generates massive engagement. (Hmmm, another reason to go slow, right Ann Handley?). For that reason, Greg urged us to focus on video, and in particular to take a new look at YouTube (which he reminded us is a social network, even if most people don’t think of it as one). He left us with four main takeaways: Buy more digital advertising, especially using video. Create remarkable content. On YouTube, pivot from views to watch time as your primary metric to improve. Collaborate with influencers and creators. Next, Larry Kim opened our eyes to the opportunities Facebook Messenger represents right now. Messenger apps have actually surpassed social networks in terms of active monthly users. Facebook’s Messenger app offers some particular marketing opportunities because of the ease of integrating chatbots. Messages sent via Facebook Messenger chatbots get a response rate that is 7 to 8 times that of email marketing. There are now a number of tools, including Larry’s own MobileMonkey, that make it easy to create customized Messenger chatbots that can handle everything from capturing a lead to setting an appointment to creating a subscription list for future message blasts. Here’s Why Live!  Eric Enge and Mark Traphagen – Stone Temple After lunch our audience experienced a journey to Middle Earth, er, Middle Search, that is, via a live version of our award winning Here’s Why digital marketing video series.  Here’s Why always features a humorous skit introducing a serious discussion of a digital marketing topic. In this live episode, Gandalf challenges Frodo to take the One Ring that rules search, enslaving SEOs to black hat practices, and cast it into the fires of Mt. Hack. Then Gandalf became Eric and Frodo reverted to Mark for a chat about some of the most disruptive areas of search marketing coming our way. Search Marketing’s Evolution: 2018 and Beyond Rand Fishkin – SparkToro Rand Fishkin shared data about how large Google’s market share really is, pegging it at nearly 90% here in the US (if you include Google Images, YouTube, Google Maps, as well as Google search). The good news for SEOs is that the most accurate data indicate Google search continues to grow. There is bad news for SEOs as well, however. Even though search continues to drive more traffic than other marketing channels, it still tends to get a lower proportion of marketing budget than things like paid search (PPC). Also, Google seems determined to provide directly more and more of what used to be the low hanging fruit of SEO (basic informational queries such as flight times).  He emphasized that understanding user intent in search queries is now more important than ever in ranking on search. Google is investing a significant amount of machine learning effort in this and is dynamically adjusting results to better match user intent based on what they are learning. More about this in Eric Enge’s keynote below. Rand then covered 5 Big Shifts in SEO: Page One is available to many, but dominated by a few. Two years ago just 16 companies dominated Google’s results. Today nearly all of them rank even better for even more keywords. How to fight back? Become a brand. Go hyper-niche. Use barnacle SEO (create better resources for topics dominated by the Big Guys) On-Page SEO is now 75% intent, 25% keywords. Keywords still matter, but these days they’re just table stakes to the game. There is a lot of evidence that Google is getting better all the time at sniffing out the real user intent in a query and directing those users to the best resource match.  Domains inherit and pass topical authority. Even though Google says websites per se do not possess any authority score, Rand thinks that’s a semantic game. He sees too much evidence that brands can carry tremendous authority for certain associated topics. So it may be more important for brands to concentrate on building authority around topics important to them than by the more traditional means of link building.  Links still work, but they aren’t alone. Rand cited search user behavior on site, your amount of coverage and virality, and overall engagement as important signals. We need to learn to influence searchers who don’t leave Google. For example, if a review site gets the featured snippet for a query that relates to your product, you should work hard to rank well on that review site. Or try to be the source for search features like featured snippets or product carousels. Giving Your Vision Voice: Designing the Right Voice Experience for Your Brand Emily Roberts – Amazon Alexa Voice usage is on the rise. Emily Roberts, Senior Manager of Marketing and Partners for Amazon Alexa, provided great data on how voice usage is continuing to increase dramatically. Amazon believes voice is the next major disruption in computing. The ability of machines to understand human speech accurately is increasing exponentially.  Marketers can take advantage by learning to build Alexa Skills and using Alexa Voice Services. Four out of five Alexa users have now engaged with a third-party skill. Our own experiments with building an Amazon Skill and an Actions on Google App have provided great initial results. This is an area of great opportunity for those who choose to pursue it. Debunking Myths and Examining the Value of AMP Stone Temple CEO Eric Enge led our AMP panel speakers Demian Renzulli of Google, Mats Tolander of Stone Temple, and Josh Parrish of WompMobile in a lively discussion about the viability of AMP today. They showed us that: AMP drives huge performance AND sales gains (75% increase in conversion rates!) for your business It can pretty much replicate any site features, so the idea of a stripped-down AMP site is really a myth today It iss easier to implement than you probably think it is (complex site features requiring only 25 to 45 lines of code!). Enterprise Case Studies: The Good, the Bad, and Lessons Learned Kathleen Steinmetz of Arrow Electronics and Chanelle Harbin of ABC: Basic SEO still matters a ton. Led by moderator Brian Weiss of Stone Temple, Kathleen and Chanelle both illustrated how basic SEO work can bring huge results. Kathleen illustrated how SEO hygiene doubled their SEO revenue in the course of one single year. Chanelle discussed great case studies that showed how using schema, old fashioned link building to convert mentions into links, and an AMP implementation brought them strong results. The Rise of Trust-Centric Marketing Eric Enge, Founder and CEO of Stone Temple Eric Enge’s closing keynote talked about the role that trust plays in digital marketing today. Lining up with Ann’s and Rand’s comments on understanding your audience and user intent, he shared many examples of how businesses are scaling rapidly as a result of concentrating on building such trust. Eric wrapped it up by illustrating how this plays out in your SEO and content marketing strategies. Overall, it was a great day full of valuable insights. If you’re interested in receiving information about Next10x 2019, you can sign up to get updates here.

How to Use Facebook Group Units to Organize Your Content

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Do you want to organize the content and resources available in your Facebook group? Wondering how the Units feature for Facebook groups can help? In this article, you’ll discover how to create and use units in Facebook groups. #1: Set Your Facebook Group Type to Social Learning Facebook recently added a new group type option [...] The post How to Use Facebook Group Units to Organize Your Content appeared first on .

Hivelocity Introduces Instantly Deployable AMD EPYC Dedicated Servers

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TAMPA, FL – Hivelocity, a global provider of dedicated servers, cloud hosting, colocation and managed services, announced today the addition of AMD EPYC to its line of Instantly Deployable Dedicated Servers. Hivelocity currently offers 20 unique server configurations which deploy in minutes at their data centers in Tampa, Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York City. Customers with more than a few minutes to spare can custom configure their servers with thousands of customizable options and same day deployment. “For the last decade plus we have offered Intel Xeon servers exclusively to our customers. When AMD introduced it’s new line of EPYC processors we were skeptical. It is no secret that AMD has let down our industry before with previous attempts like Bulldozer. Not only have the EPYCs not been a disappointment, they have truly blown away our expectations. We have early adopter customers using EPYCs for months who are telling us they have gone from maxing out their previous Dual E5 Xeons to about 25% load on their new EPYCs,” according to Hivelocity’s COO, Steve Eschweiler. “We asked a 3rd party to run some bench mark tests on these AMD systems to provide customers with an unbiased impression of their performance. The results of these tests can be found at” Hivelocity provides high-performance data center services to thousands of customers from over 130 countries since 2002. In September of 2017 Hivelocity completed the acquisition of Rack Alley, an IaaS provider with data centers in Los Angeles. AMD recently conducted a case study on Hivelocity which can be found at –…h-AMD-EPYC.pdf

Rackspace Acquires RelationEdge to Broaden Application Services Portfolio for Customers

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SAN ANTONIO, TX – Rackspace® announced it has acquired RelationEdge®, a full-service Salesforce Platinum Consulting Partner and digital agency that helps clients engage with their customers from lead to loyalty by improving business process, leveraging technology, and integrating creative digital marketing. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications like Salesforce® are a growing component of many companies’ digital transformation journey. With this acquisition, Rackspace expands its ability to be a preferred partner for managing a customer’s complete application portfolio through continuous transition to modern technologies, including SaaS applications. Rackspace has built one of the industry’s broadest portfolios of IT services and expertise across applications, data, security, and infrastructure. “We have acquired RelationEdge in response to the growing demand we’re hearing from customers,” said Gerard Brossard, EVP and general manager of Rackspace Application Services. “Enterprise and midmarket companies are increasingly deploying SaaS applications to enhance business processes across many departments, from sales and marketing to customer service, operations, HR, and finance. These applications are powerful, but also complex to implement and costly to continually keep up-to-date. RelationEdge further extends Rackspace’s unrivaled portfolio and expertise to help companies navigate and operate in the world of ever-changing IT.” “The line between managed services and professional services is blurring. Enterprise customers want a trusted advisor who can help them navigate their end-to-end digital transformation journey as they adopt next generation SaaS environments” said Michelle Bailey, Group Vice President, General Manager and Research Fellow, IDC. “Rackspace’s acquisition of RelationEdge addresses this enterprise customer need and fits the evolving company strategy to be a leading IT services provider.” Based in San Diego, CA where it was founded in 2013, RelationEdge has since opened offices in a dozen cities across the U.S. It is a growing and profitable business with 125 employees. Rackspace intends to operate the business with considerable independence under its current leadership and the RelationEdge brand, which is well known and respected among Salesforce’s leaders and customers. “We are very proud of what we’ve built,” said Matt Stoyka, RelationEdge founder and CEO. “We’re also excited about what we still can achieve in this fast-growing market by joining forces with Rackspace. The two companies are a great fit culturally as both differentiate themselves through exceptional customer service. RelationEdge’s Process First, Technology Second® approach perfectly complements Rackspace’s approach to provide unbiased expertise across all leading technologies and to deliver the best-fit solution for each customer’s unique needs.” “We are happy to see Rackspace and RelationEdge come together,” said Kori O’Brien, Senior Vice President, North America Alliances & Channels at Salesforce. “RelationEdge has been a valuable partner in the Salesforce ecosystem. The combination of RelationEdge’s unique process-first approach to solving business problems, and Rackspace’s transformation and technology expertise, will allow both companies to provide greater service and solutions to fuel customer success.” Both companies are privately held, with Rackspace owned by affiliates of certain funds of Apollo Global Management, LLC and certain co-investors. RelationEdge was owned by its founders, its regional market leaders, and Tide Rock Ventures. Financial details are not being disclosed. About Rackspace Rackspace is a leading provider of IT as a service in today’s multi-cloud world. It delivers expert advice and integrated managed services across applications, data, security and infrastructure, including public and private clouds and managed hosting. Rackspace partners with every leading technology provider, including Alibaba, AWS, Google, Microsoft, OpenStack, Oracle, SAP, and VMware. The company is uniquely positioned to provide unbiased expertise on which technologies will best serve each customer’s needs. Rackspace was named a leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Managed Service Providers, Worldwide and has been honored by Fortune, Glassdoor and others as one of the best places to work. Based in San Antonio, Texas, Rackspace serves more than 140,000 business customers, including most of the Fortune 100, from data centers on five continents. Learn more at About RelationEdge RelationEdge is a Salesforce Platinum Consulting Partner and Digital Agency that helps companies implement, customize and integrate Salesforce, and provides ongoing services and support to continually adapt the platform to meet changing business requirements. RelationEdge uses marketing and technology to get from lead to loyalty. For more information, please visit

VSS Invests in QuadraNet, a Full-Service Data Center Provider

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NEW YORK, NY – VSS, a private investment firm, today announced its investment in QuadraNet, a full-service data center provider that offers managed services, both private and public cloud solutions, IaaS deployments, and traditional colocation and IP transit services. QuadraNet’s services span across the United States in well-known peering-exchange locations, including: Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, and New Jersey. Along with physical presences in each of these locations, they also offer services out of various “virtual Points-Of-Presences” (POPs) allowing streamlined service deployments in other locations, such as New York, Virginia, Missouri, Arizona and overseas in Amsterdam. QuadraNet was founded almost two decades ago in 2001 by Ilan Mishan. As the company grew, they became a dedicated provider in geographically diverse bespoke services, known historically for their competitive offerings in the colocation marketplace. From single-server rackspace offerings, cabinet space (fractional and full cabinets), all the way to fully tailored private suites that are built out of compliance and client requirements. Additionally, QuadraNet is well-known in the marketplace for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions; now available both in a traditional fashion as well as with virtualization options that provide clients with unwavering flexibility when it comes to delivering the right solution for the specific service role and performance requirements. QuadraNet’s long-standing history has always been intrinsically involved in the bandwidth and IP Transit marketplace. Through the relationships formed organically over time with all the major carriers in their strategically located data centers that are well-known peering-exchange points, QuadraNet effectively leverages their relationships and history to provide unparalleled Layer 2 IP Transport and Layer 3 IP Transit solutions to their clientele through the most popular and sought out carriers in the market, both domestic and international (e.g. Equinix, Zayo, Coresite, Telefonica). Lastly, an increasing amount of QuadraNet’s growth has been driven by their focused efforts expanding from the SMB space into offering high-quality Enterprise Solutions; deployments that are completely architected for meeting the higher-availability requirements and compliance requirements of a wide-range of enterprises and industries. “We look forward to working with the VSS team, leveraging their experience in IT and cloud services to propel QuadraNet’s growth,” said Ilan Mishan, CEO of QuadraNet, further elaborating, “VSS’s investment will be key in expanding geographically and providing our clients with even higher levels of service and satisfaction.” Trent Hickman, VSS Managing Director, added, “QuadraNet has grown impressively and we see a terrific opportunity to assist them in further expanding their reach and deepening their penetration of existing markets. We are thrilled to partner with Ilan Mishan and the strong team he has built over the years. We’re excited to leverage our experience in their next phase of strong growth.” VSS has over 25 years of experience in the IT services sector, with prior investments including Coretelligent, a provider of comprehensive IT and private cloud services; Hostway, a provider of web hosting solutions; and IT-Ernity, a provider of mission-critical managed hosting services in the Netherlands. About VSS VSS is a private investment firm that invests in the information, education, healthcare, and tech-enabled business services industries. VSS provides capital for growth financings, recapitalizations, strategic acquisitions and buyouts to lower middle market companies and management teams with the goal of building companies organically as well as through a focused add-on acquisition program. VSS makes privately-negotiated investments across the capital structure and has the ability to invest in situations requiring control or non-control equity, mezzanine securities and structured equity securities. About QuadraNet QuadraNet, Inc. is a full-service data center provider headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, California — one of the most well-regarded peering-exchanges locations. Their data center locations include the cities of Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, and New Jersey. QuadraNet’s exclusive services and large portfolio of services, all engineered and optimized with their proprietarily developed Intelligent Monitoring Platform (IMP) include infrastructure as a service (IaaS) deployments; colocation and data center space of all sizes; both managed services and remote hands services; public and private cloud service offerings; bespoke enterprise-architected solutions, and traditional dedicated services and IP Transit services that have high-capacity backbones world-wide.

How to Build a Facebook Ad Funnel Using Customer Testimonials

Social Media Examiner -

Wondering how to create more effective Facebook campaigns? Have you considered including customer success stories in your Facebook ads? In this article, you’ll learn how to create a Facebook ad funnel using case studies and customer testimonials. Why Use Case Studies and Testimonials in Facebook Ads? In Facebook marketing, people often make the same mistake: [...] This post How to Build a Facebook Ad Funnel Using Customer Testimonials first appeared on Social Media Examiner.

Why Google’s View of Your Keyword Relevance Matters – Here’s Why #167

Stone Temple Consulting Blog -

In some ways, getting ranked in Google search is like being a contestant in our imaginary “Who Is Most Relevant?” game show. It’s often not enough just to build a single great page with the “right answer.” You have to show Google that your site is relevant for the topic in which you want to rank. In this episode of our popular Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Stone Temple’s Eric Enge explains one way to assess whether or not Google is likely to see your site as relevant for a topic, and how to calculate your chances that you might rank well for a keyword from that topic. Don’t miss a single episode of Here’s Why with Mark & Eric. Click the subscribe button below to be notified via email each time a new video is published. Over a half million views on YouTube! Subscribe to Here’s Why Resources See all of our Here’s Why Videos | Subscribe to our YouTube Channel An Easy Way to See If Google Thinks Your Webpages are Keyword Relevant Do You Have a Shot at Ranking for That Phrase?  Transcript Mark: Okay, Eric. Let me throw a hypothetical at you. But it’s a situation I know happens all the time. Eric: Okay, I’m ready. Mark: Say I decide I want to rank for a certain keyword, and I’ve never before shown up anywhere high in search for that keyword. So I create a new page targeted at that keyword. Should I expect now to have a chance at ranking for it? Eric: As I think you already suspect, it’s not really quite that simple. Google has to decide if your site is worth ranking that keyword. And just having a new page might not be enough. Mark: Well what does it take then? Eric: It takes a careful analysis of what you and your competitors already rank for. First step is to pull data on the keywords ranking well for your own site. Here’s what that looks like in SEMrush: But you could use any of the tools that provide you this kind of keyword data. Now let’s say you want to rank for the keyword “manufacturer’s blue widgets.” You’ll want to pull ranking and search volume for any keywords that you’re already ranking for. How to tell if you have a shot at ranking for a competitive keyword.Click To Tweet Mark: And then see how I’m stacking up against my competition? Eric: Yes, that’s right. And as you see below, the picture doesn’t look good for you. That’s your site on the left, and your top two competitors right next to it. Mark: Well ouch. I mean, they’re both already on page one for my “manufacturer’s blue widgets” target term, and they’re ranking well for lots of related terms. Eric: Right, while your site doesn’t rank at all for your target. But even worse, the related words that do rank for you only rank when searchers include your brand name with them. Mark: So I don’t have much chance here, do I? Eric: Not as things stand, but it’s possible for you to turn this around. How to Rank for a Competitive Keyword Mark: How? Eric: Well, it won’t be easy or fast, but you need to Set out a dedicated content plan to create lots of high-quality content around all different aspects of “manufacturer’s blue widgets.” You’d also want to work hard to win opportunities for relevant, legitimate links to those pages. And it wouldn’t hurt to get your audience talking about you around that topic on social media, forums, and elsewhere. The goal of all that is to get Google to see your site as legitimately relevant for “manufacturer’s blue widgets.” If you begin to rank for a number of blue widget non-branded terms, then over time it will become easier to rank for more. But I have to emphasize “over time.” With how your competition is doing, this won’t be a quick and easy fix. How to rank for a competitive keyword when your site has little-to-no authority for the topic.Click To Tweet Mark: So what if I’m already pretty relevant for that general topic, but I’m still not ranking for new target keywords. How do I win that? Eric: I explained the strategy for that as well as some tips for doing cost versus opportunity assessment for these types of situations in my column for Search Engine Land. Don’t miss a single episode of Here’s Why with Mark & Eric. Click the subscribe button below to be notified via email each time a new video is published. Subscribe to Here’s Why See all of our Here’s Why Videos | Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Are There Any Good Free Website Heatmap Tools?

Grow Traffic Blog -

Heatmaps are excellent tools for optimizing your website in ways you might not otherwise think to do. If you’re not sure how they work or how they can help, read on; if you already know, skip ahead to our heatmap recommendations. How Heatmaps Work Heatmaps in various forms are used globally. Some literally use heat tracking to monitor activities of people or even organs within a person, medically. More often, a heatmap is used to monitor activity. The more dense the activity in an area, the “hotter” the area is. Foot traffic across a college campus can be monitored, vehicle traffic throughout a city can be monitored, and so on. On a website, a heatmap monitors cursor and/or screen activity. Most simple heatmaps monitor clicks. Each click on the site is one data point. The more clicks there are on a specific area, the “hotter” that area is. Many heatmaps, then, will look much like the examples on this page. English language readers start at the top and read down, and start at the left and read right. Thus a heatmap for Google’s search results will have the largest density of activity – the heat – in the upper left of the page, with the most clicks on the first result. As you progress to further results, the ads to the right, and other page elements, heat density drops. There are some drawbacks to heatmaps, primarily based in the assumptions one makes about data. You can read more about those on the example page I linked above, as well. We’re not super concerned with the drawbacks of heatmaps in general, though. If you’re going to use a heatmap, you’re going to need to understand how they work well enough to actually interpret the data, and doing that will depend on the software you choose to use. On a technical level, a heatmap is generally a script that runs on a page, tracking aggregate data about clicks on the page. Some are more sophisticated than others, but they all generally just monitor user session information, to help you get an idea of how users are using your page. Using Heatmaps to Improve a Site Google doesn’t necessarily use heatmap data, but imagine a scenario where Google looked at the heatmap of a search results page and found that a huge proportion of users were clicking on the second result in preference over the first result. Since the general human behavior is to click the first result, and Google tries to serve results in an order with the most useful pages first, you would think that the first result would be the best. If the majority of users are clicking the second instead of the first, it indicates an issue with the first. Google could then investigate and find out if the first result is a broken link, is somehow hidden or inaccessible, includes text that makes users not want to click, or otherwise is broken in some way. This is the kind of implementation you can use on your own website. A heatmap will allow you to see where users are clicking. You can find usability issues and lost opportunities with heatmap data. For example, imagine if you have a top bar navigation that has four options, and then a graphic that advertises another service on your site. If that graphic is not a link, you might discover that a lot of users are clicking on that image hoping it will be a link, only to discover that it’s not. You can capture all of that user intent by making that image a link, and more fluidly capture user behavior. Conversely, if you have three links in a piece of text, and you find that virtually no one clicks the third one, you might investigate why. Maybe it’s too small of a link, maybe it’s not an interesting call to action, who knows. The point is, you know users aren’t clicking it, so you can look into what the problem might be. In any case, this post isn’t meant to dive into ways you can use heatmaps, I’m just giving you a few examples. Many of you came here because you already know the value of heatmaps, and you want to know if there are any good free options. So, let’s discuss the options available to you. Free Versus Paid Heatmap software is often sophisticated and complex, by necessity. Think of how many dynamic elements are on a page. Heck, check out this page and then mouse out of it. You see that pop-over? My heatmap would show a large spike of activity where the X on that box is, as people click to close it. If the heatmap software snapshots the page without that pop-over, I might wonder why a ton of people are clicking on whatever is under that X at the standard resolution. I might misinterpret that data. A good heatmap app will be smart enough to show a session replay rather than just static data, and can show when data is associated with specific dynamic elements. Free heatmap apps are generally going to be less sophisticated. You know how it goes; any app, the more features it has, is going to be more valuable and thus can charge more. There are exceptions, for apps that have alternative means of payment, but those aren’t necessarily the norm. Should you use a free app or a paid app for your heatmap? That’s up to you and the data you think you can get out of it. If your site is generally static rather than dynamic, and if you don’t need advanced session replay features or dynamic tracking or heatmap split testing, you can probably get away with a free heatmap. If you have a complex setting and need specialized monitoring, you might only find it with paid apps. The Gold Standard Before getting into free options, I have to mention that the gold standard is Crazy Egg. Crazy Egg is probably the single best website-based heatmap in the industry. They have all the features you could want; session tracking, snapshots, recordings, split testing, compensation for dynamic elements, and more. Of course, they’re priced accordingly. Their basic plan, with a limitation of 20,000 monthly pageviews, 100 snapshots, 100 recordings, and limited data storage, is $30 per month. For larger volumes, you need higher tiers of plans. They have a 30-day free trial, though. If you’re interested in using a heatmap, I recommend starting with Crazy Egg. Implement their system on the free trial and gather data to figure out whether or not you can learn anything new or make new observations with the heatmap data. If you find that there’s nothing really novel that you didn’t already know through analytics, or if you find that you don’t have sufficient traffic to make a heatmap worthwhile, you can drop it. If you find that you can make decent use of heatmap data, you can drop Crazy Egg and find a different free heatmap. And, of course, if you really like what Crazy Egg does, you can move on to paying for a plan. Free Heatmap Apps Since you’re here looking for free options for heatmaps, I have to tell you, they aren’t going to be top of the line. They’ll be functional and fine, but any free app is going to have some kind of drawback. I’ve done my best to point those drawbacks out as I recommend these below. Smartlook is the first option. They have a variety of types of data monitoring, including specific user session recording, aggregate heatmap data, event tracking, and sales funnel tracking. They have paid plans, but they also have a free plan which is limited but large. Specifically, they will track up to 100,000 visits per month, which is fairly high for a free plan. Of course, as I said, there are always drawbacks. Smartlook’s drawbacks are in the breadth of saved data. They only allow limited recordings, only three heatmaps, limited analytics, and only three days of data history with their free plan. If you check the data regularly and save it externally, such as with screenshots for your heatmaps, it can work fine. However, it’s not a ton of historical data to compare, and even their paid plans don’t offer much in the way of extended data history. They also have no split testing features or other forms of tracking. MetricBuzz is a second alternative. It has website tracking, but it relies on scripts hosted on third party sites, which can be a gigantic issue for some sites. Running scripts from third party domains can be a security issue and can have conflicts with some SSL certificates, as well as running afoul of script blockers. You also run the risk of the third party script doing things you’re not sure of, and you have to read through the script to make sure you trust it. That said, it’s a truly free tool, at least as far as I can tell. Frankly, I’m not sure I’d personally use it, but I don’t see anything overtly scummy about it. Give it a shot and feel free to report back; if it’s nasty, I’ll remove it from the list for sure. is a limited free heatmap option you can explore. The free plan has no time limit, though of course it will endeavor to get you to convert to a paid plan if it can. You get your on-site click heatmap, with adaptations for responsive design and even real time data. You do NOT get conversion tracking, technical support, or template analysis from the company. You’re also limited to one site, and you can only track up to five pages on your site at a time. Data retention is up to six months, which isn’t bad, as far as these things are concerned. They also cap at a million monthly pageviews, which is huge for a free package. Worth noting is that has their own WordPress plugin, if you’re using WordPress as your CMS. You can see the plugin here and decide if it looks good for your uses. ClickHeat is a very simple click density heat map. It’s 100% free and 100% unlimited, but also very simple. The reason for this is that it’s an open source tool; you can read the script and even adapt it if you need to. They have the code available on GitHub, where you can clone it, download it, or otherwise make use of the code. The downside of course is that it’s a fairly simple script. If you have a dynamic page with a lot of moving elements and static elements, your click data won’t necessarily be accurate. It also has no individual session tracking, session playback, or other advanced features. For simple pages that want click data, it’s great. For others, it’s too simple to be of value. HotJar is another of the great heatmap apps, on par with Crazy Egg. They have a free version, but it’s extremely limited. You can only make limited reports, and while you have a year of data storage and unlimited users, you can only collect data from 2,000 pageviews per day. To put that in comparison, that’s 60,000 or so per month, smaller than most other apps out there. On the other hand, the free plan is not restricted in what data it will access. You get your click heatmaps, your motion heatmaps, your scroll maps, and can even download and share maps. Visitor recordings are fine too, though again, you don’t get too many reports at a time. Still, it’s worth looking into. Do you know of another FREE heatmap option? I know a lot of other options have free trials, but I’m not really interested in recommending free trials over free apps here. If you know a free app, let me know in the comments and I’ll check it out. The post Are There Any Good Free Website Heatmap Tools? appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

Facebook Rolls Out Three New Features for Stories

Social Media Examiner -

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore New Facebook Stories features, YouTube Music and YouTube Premium, and other breaking social media marketing news of [...] This post Facebook Rolls Out Three New Features for Stories first appeared on Social Media Examiner.

Crisis Planning: How to Publicly Respond to Business Problems

Social Media Examiner -

Want to be prepared for problems in your business? Wondering how to plan a public response to any issue? To explore when and how businesses should respond publicly to a crisis, I interview Gini Dietrich. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s [...] This post Crisis Planning: How to Publicly Respond to Business Problems first appeared on Social Media Examiner.


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