Are you ready for the Mobile Web?

January 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

MobileAccording to the International Telecommunication Union, there are 5.3 billion mobile phone users worldwide. Of those, nearly half a billion are accessing the mobile web – with this figure expected to double by 2015. Even more compelling, 25% of the mobile web users in the US don’t use their desktop PCs to access the Internet anymore. It’s no wonder that many experts agree that the mobile web will one day overtake the desktop web, especially when you consider mobile phones currently outnumber PCs 5:2.

Mobilizing your web efforts opens up a myriad of issues and challenges that are unique to this relatively new medium. In10sity can help your team navigate this uncharted territory as we have for many of our other mobile clients. From mobile apps to text messaging, we can help.

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Future Trends: Top 10 HTML5 Websites & Resources

August 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

HTML5For some of us, HTML5 is a big deal. For most of us, when we hear anything with HTML in it we go, “huh?” Well, I don’t blame you. If you’re doing your job and your nose has been to the proverbial grindstone, you shouldn’t know anything about it. That’s our job here at In10sity!

HTML5, as briefly mentioned in this previous article, is the next evolution of HTML or “Hypertext Mark-up Language” which has been used on every webpage since the dawn of the Internet. Over time, HTML has expanded to include derivatives and add-ons such as XHTML, DHTML, CSS, Javascript, AJAX, and Flash. What was once a simple language used to catalog and search academic and scientific documents has turned into somewhat of a programming language. Naturally, HTML and its cousins are starting to buckle under the weight  and demands of our increasingly e-commerce driven mobile universe we live in. As the lady in the infomercial says, “There’s got to be a better way!”

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Beginning of the End of the Personal Computer?

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

WOW! Only 30 seconds!!

It’s hard to believe I’m writing this article as I never thought I would see the day when the PC would become the senior citizen of our hardware community. Some PCs are enjoying their golden years such as the hip granddad known as the Apple Macintosh (he prefers being called “Mac”). He has such cute grandkids, too: iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Other PCs aren’t enjoying their twilight years as much. Old Hewlett-Packard (“HP” thank you very much) isn’t doing so well considering two of his grandkids, the rambunctious TouchPad and his little sister, the Pre smartphone, just got killed. Things are so sad with HP that he is considering suicide.

Well, suicide might be a little dramatic, but HP has been considering spinning off its PC division in light of declining profits.
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Format War! Who will win? QR Code versus Microsoft Tag

July 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

QR Code vs Microsoft TagAh! Another format war. I love it!!! That is, when I pick the right format early on. In the late 70′s when I was a kid, I remember my Dad coming home with an amazing contraption known as the Video Tape Recorder. It was a Sony Betamax and I felt so superior to all my friends whose parents purchased a lower quality VHS. Well, that was short lived. Then came the Mac in 1984. Short of Apple’s recent amazing comeback, it would seem I was stuck with the wrong format again. Thank goodness I picked Blu-ray over… er, I can’t even remember what the other HD format was called.

Picking the right format is a big deal in business because you can invest a ton of time and money into something that, if your pick flops, leaves you holding the bag as they say. Clients have been posing a new question to us recently: which of the new bar code technologies should we pick? On one hand you have the QR Code. QR is short for “quick response.” On the other hand you have Microsoft’s Tag technology. Both enable people with smart phones to read these codes, which will then load additional information regarding a piece of real estate, golf swing, product, or whatever else is being advertised.

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Small Business Social Media: Bridging The Gap 2011

July 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Looking over a new infographic courtesy of the great minds over at Edison Research and Constant Contact, it strikes me once again that the specter of social media continues to spook small businesses. One wonders if small business owners believe that it’s too expensive to run a local social media campaign, or perhaps that it doesn’t really work, or there’s just not enough time.
Bridge The Gap 2011

The first hypothetical is false. Many of the tools needed to run a successful social media campaign locally for small businesses are free. These can be anything from a WordPress blog, to a Twitter feed or Facebook Biz Page, a Flickr account for photos, a list of current customers to reach through your email service, and a well thought-out Google Businesses Entry (which will link directly from Google Maps). There are many more tools out there, but fortunately, the ones that are most effective with the highest traffic are free.

The second hypothetical is debatable because it has the most variables. Successfully beginning a small business social media campaign really depends on what you want to get out of it. If you merely want to keep your regular (and potential) customers aware of new items and/or services, maintaining a blog that’s paired with a Flickr or Photobucket account is easy. These often benefit small businesses like vintage clothing shops, bakeries, used car dealerships, and even professional photographers.In this way, you can post things that people are allowed to comment on, allowing you to begin a conversation with your (hopefully expanding) customer base.

Stepping up to social media tools that require getting people to follow your daily activity, such as Twitter and Facebook, is slightly more labor intensive and tricky. You can get people to “like” or “follow” your small business, but can you get them to interact? These services also become more effective when you understand specific features like targeting, hashtagging, photo tagging and more. These services are usually less about conversations than they are about cross-promotion, and making it easy for your friends or followers to forward updates to others. A well-managed Twitter campaign can do wonders for building a broader customer base when combined with Living Social or Groupon services. Just make sure you do the math before you get behind.

The third hypothetical can be true for small businesses who are new to social media and networking. There are many tools you can use for social media, and many have their own specific ways of synchronizing with other tools. How do people new to SocMedia know which URL shortener has better stat tracking, or what photo service has the best way of ranking by keyword on search engine results? Is Tweetdeck better for Google or Bing results? Does Flickr make it harder to link photos to your Facebook page than Photobucket? Finding out these kinds of things for sure can take weeks or even months. And even still, you may need help deciphering the data once it comes to you.

So perhaps the best way for small business to begin using social media is to get busy in small ways. It could be anything from a blog on a network that’s easy to find that can be updated once a day or week. It can be a Twitter feed that demands you spend a few minutes a day adding friends – after a few weeks of this, things can really begin expanding. Working for a professional marketing firm, my company shot-callers understand how easy it is to get underwater with social media tools. Once you begin using these tools, if you notice that your initial expectations are met, add another stage or another email campaign; anything that operates on a new network stream that has different eyes on it. If your expectations aren’t being met but still wish to find and engage new customers, consider hiring a professional firm for social media campaigns.

And last, but most importantly – you may decide to use social media, but understand it’s not about you; it’s about listening to your customer’s needs and having a public conversation about it. So, in social media, just like in your store or on your web site – make sure the time your customers spend on your social media channels is worth it. Make them special offers, treat them well for referring new customers, anything else you can think of to get the conversation moving.

Politics and Social Media – Examples of Genius and Stupidity

June 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

As time ticks along, social media continues to prove itself as a game changer in how we think about the Internet. Crazy IPOs, such as LinkedIn’s, are a precursor for what we can expect when Facebook and Groupon go public. Do we have another stock market bubble on our hands? Absolutely! But that isn’t the main thrust of this post. Social media is here to stay, isn’t a fad, and is reshaping the way we communicate, create brands, and interact with customers. This is especially true in the wild wooly world of politics. If politicians think they were in a fishbowl before social media then they ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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Progressive Insurance, Shazam, and the Audio QR Code. What was the point?

June 8, 2011 § 4 Comments

I was watching TV last night and during a Progressive Insurance commercial (you know, the one that has Flo in it) and a Shazam logo came up on the screen. For those of you who don’t know what Shazam is, it is a really neat technology that can automatically identify audio and tell you what is playing. This can be quite useful if you are listening to a song and you don’t know who the artist is or what album the song is on. Just pull up the app and, SHAZAM!, it will pull up the song title, artist, and album cover. From there you can explore similar artists and more.

So, what does Progressive Insurance have to do with this? Part of me is still trying to figure this out. As the commercial rolled on, I pulled out my trusty iPad, opened the Shazam app, and had it listen to the commercial. All this has to be done in 30 seconds, which is a challenge all by itself. Anyway, like a technology miracle, Shazam identified the commercial and up pops a picture of Flo on my iPad. The problem is, that’s all I got. I was left with a feeling of, so what? Unless there is something I missed, there was absolutely no value delivered to me at that point in the engagement. They had me. Then they lost me.

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