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  • 7 Dangerous Digital Marketing Myths It's Time to Rethink

    7 Dangerous Digital Marketing Myths It's Time to Rethink (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    For as long as brands have turned to the internet to reach and retain new audiences, there have been skeptics pushing back against digital marketing.

    From social media scoffers to web development foot-draggers, we’ve seen – and converted! – them all. Now it’s your turn. If you subscribe to one of these seven digital marketing myths, you’re losing valuable reach and business opportunities by the day.

    Let’s get debunking! It’s high time to stop saying that:

    1.) “Digital Marketing Doesn’t Have a High ROI!”

  • 7 Free Visual Tools to Pump Up Your Social Media Marketing

    Words are great. We love words here at Geek Chicago. And we believe that text is always going to be an essential part of the digital ecosystem. But you can’t forget the images!

    You may have heard of the following statistics before:65% of us are visual learners and90% of the information transmitted in our brains is visual. These numbers don’t lie... and they have a great deal to do with creating successful social media marketing campaigns!

    Visual tools can help to bump up your reach for your ideal audience. And adding amazing images to your social media marketing campaign is easier than you might think! Even for those of us without design backgrounds, there are apps and tools that make creating visually focused content approachable and effective.

    While there are many paid programs and tools out there, oftentimes the free tools can help your brand just as well. These can take the form of online and desktop sites, or in app form for your phone.

  • App of the Week - Legend

    Ready to transform yourself from a texting amateur to a certifiable legend? There’s an app for that!

    For anyone who’s ever wanted to gussy up plain text for Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, or even just your intra-office SMS thread or Slack channel, the Legend app is a great place to start.

    The app allows users to easily add style and animation to any message imaginable. Just write your text, select an animation style, and the app will do the rest, turning your blah copy into a short, sweet, visually stunning multimedia piece. Even better, you can personalize your new animations with custom photos or your favorite emoji.

  • App of the Week - Lego Life

    App of the Week - Lego Life (www.lego.com/en-us/life) 

    If kids could build their own social network, they’d probably make it out of Lego, right? Well, turns out, one already exists – and it’s won a ton of praise as, perhaps, the first social network built for kids that’s totally “safe” and 100% a title="New Tab] WIRED: "How Lego Built a Social Network for Kids That’s Not Creepy"" " " ">"not creepy.”

    If the little geek in your life loves building with those iconic bricks, then you may want to take a look at Lego Life, the free app that allows budding architects and designers to share their creations, get free blueprints from other users, and stay entertained with a variety of free games, quizzes, and videos featuring iconic Lego characters, including NINJAGO, Batman, and more.

  • Are Fake Twitter and Facebook Accounts Affecting Your Experience?

    Social media’s foundational value is right there in its name. “Social.”

    It’s a word that we use all the time, but it has some heavy connotations, when you really think about it. It suggests person-to-person connection. It suggests real engagement. It suggests authenticity.

    So… where has all of that gone on social media?

    Will All the Real Accounts Please Stand Up?

    “Fake News” was one of the biggest buzzwords of 2016 and 2017. Fake social accounts and fabricated web content, disseminated across social media, may well have played a large part in influencing the outcome of an American presidential election.

    But it goes beyond that. In testimonies before Congress, representatives for Facebook and Twitter both estimated that a significant portion of the accounts registered on their networks are fake. Facebook estimates that as many as 60 million accounts – that’s 2-3% of the company’s 2 billion regular visitors – are fakes. Twitter estimates that 5% of its 330 million users are “false accounts or spam,” which equates to 16 million profiles.

  • Are We Heading For an "All Video" Future? Not So Fast.

    Are We Heading For an "All Video" Future? Not So Fast. (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

    Scroll through your Facebook or Twitter feeds or click around on any news platform, and it becomes clear that video is having a major moment. And if some prominent industry insiders, like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and international vice president Nicola Mendelsohn, get their way, streaming video won’t just be a flash in the pan – it will be the defining feature of our digital future.

    As Mendelsohn said recently at Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women” international summit, Facebook may well be “all video” within five years’ time. As she explained:

  • Are You Handling Social Media Complaints the Right Way?

    Are You Handling Social Media Complaints the Right Way?

    “I want my money back!"

    "Take your business somewhere else!" 

    Nobody likes to hear things like this, but in the age of social media, it’s an everyday reality, often, for even the leaders in a given field. 

    Today, every customer has the ability to share their thoughts, concerns, and complaints instantly across a number of social channels, from Yelp to Facebook to YouTube. But rather than seeing this as a barrage of negativity, we would argue that it’s a remarkable opportunity to highlight your brand’s trustworthiness, reliability, and superior customer service.

    Building relationships with your client base is a core aspect of online reputation management, and addressing users’ complaints, concerns, and questions on social media is one of the most important ways to do this.

    But how successful is your brand at handling social complaints? To find out, ask yourself these five important questions:

    1.) Am I Locating All of My Mentions?

  • Are You Suffering From Platform Overload? Here's What to Do

    Are You Suffering From Platform Overload? Here's What to Do

    Facebook has a proven track record of getting marketers a great ROI. Twitter is where all the media tastemakers hang out.

    But hold on – want to attract a young audience? Better get on Snapchat. Or Instagram. But don’t count out the power of social video on Vine or YouTube. Or the reliably engaged, eager audience that still make lists every day on Pinterest.

    Is your business already communicating on Slack?  Do you have employees who are active Redditors?

    We could go on, but we think you probably get the gist by now: There are a ton of social platforms available to brands and marketers in 2016. So many, in fact, that it can be overwhelming, even to the experts.

  • Boost Engagement With These New Visual Content Tools

    Boost Engagement With These New Visual Content Tools

    We’ve written before about the importance of visual content on social media. It’s one of the best ways to boost your readers’ engagement with your content, hopefully leading to higher rates of sharing and clickthrough.

    But though pictures and static visuals can be effective, we’re always looking for other types of visual content to add flair to our social marketing campaigns.

    With some help from Social Media Examiner, here are four visual tools that will help increase your engagement on social media:

    1.) Create Quizzes With Apester

  • Boost SEO and Increase Traffic by Reviving Old Content

    Boost SEO and Increase Traffic by Reviving Old Content

    Your website’s blog should always be updating with new, relevant content. But what about those old articles, the ones you’ve sort of let slip through the cracks over the months? Do they still have value?

    Short answer: Yep!

    Longer answer: With some tweaks, these old posts can be some of the most effective content on your site.

    Think of older posts as veterans with important experience under their belt: They’ve already been indexed by Google and are generating traffic, while also coming in with social shares, proof, and outside links.  This makes a difference, giving these older pieces of content a major leg up over a completely new post, which has to start from scratch and claw its way up in Google rankings.

    The even better news? It doesn’t take that much effort to refresh and revamp your old content. Whether you’re trying to elevate an underachieving blog post or boost a star article’s search rankings from good to great, here are five surefire strategies that will help you dramatically increase your traffic by reviving older content:  

    1.) Refresh and Enrich the Content…

  • Digital Marketing for Digital Nomads


    If you’re reading this from a coffee shop - while you also have spreadsheets, sales reports, or your personal portfolio open in other tabs at the same time - you might just be a digital nomad.

    Today, technology has made it easier than ever to get work done without having to tether yourself to a traditional office. Digital suites, Skype, task managers, messaging apps like Slack - all of these innovations have made it possible for people, and perhaps even entire businesses, to work without having to ground themselves in place.

    For some people, this means getting to work from the comfort of home. For others, it means making stops at a shared office space, or the classic coffee shop. And for still more, embracing the life of a digital nomad means truly hitting the road, working and traveling all at the same time.

    Our friends over at Hubspot have a great article spotlighting some digital nomads turning work into a vacation,available here. One big takeaway from that read, for us Geeks, was this: Embracing the traveling lifestyle and combining it with work can be an amazing opportunity, one that leads to increased productivity and more “moonshot” thinking. But it can also mean having to make sacrifices - when it comes to time and when it comes to budget.

    But here’s one sacrifice you shouldn’t have to make:digital marketing.

  • Digital Marketing for Financial Professionals

    Digital Marketing for Financial Professionals (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    With 69 million Americans banking online, and more than half of all Americans paying at least one bill online per month, there can be no question that the financial industry now lives and breathes on the internet. Whether you’re a planner, strategist, advisor, service provider, or any other financial pro, it’s time to make sure that you’re ready to thrive in the digital ecosystem.

    The first step? Bring your digital marketing campaign – including web development, social media, retention marketing, and content creation strategies – up to snuff. 

    Before we move on, let's first dispense with some reservations and myths about digital marketing that some of our financial advisor friends and colleagues have pointed out to us. Above all, it's important to bear in mind that FINRA and other regulatory agencies prevent financial advisors from marketing their accomplishments. From copyright to CAN-SPAM, we know the importance of keeping digital marketing on the right side of the law! But also know that while you may be unable to discuss, for example, specific returns, or guarantee a client's successes - check out FINRA for the exhaustive regulations - there are still plenty of things professionals can and should share, like the benefits of planning at all, or the importance of understanding all of the options available in the marketplace. 

    Ready to capture fresh leads and position yourself as a thought leader in your field? Here are the five keys to digital marketing success for pros in the finance industry:

    Meet Your Audience Where They Live and Work

  • Digital Marketing for Healthcare Professionals

    Digital Marketing for Healthcare Professionals (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Healthcare is complicated, and marketing it seems like it would be even tougher. We’re talking about a multifaceted industry, one that includes actors ranging from hospitals and private practices to insurance providers, from pharmaceutical companies to medical device manufacturers, all bound by plenty of complicated regulations: HIPAA compliance, FDA restrictions on marketing, and the ongoing effects of the Affordable Care Act.

    With all of these variables and parties taken into consideration, it’s no wonder that “the healthcare industry as a whole tends to lag behind other industries when it comes to marketing by about two years,” according to HubSpot.

    So, whether you’re a healthcare provider reaching out directly to “payers and patients” or a medical company trying to reach physicians, shareholders, or advocacy groups, digital marketing is the key to a successful, healthy future.

    Here are five key elements of digital marketing to keep in mind for your healthcare brand:

    1.) Build a Functional, Responsive Website

  • Digital Marketing For Law Firms

    Digital Marketing For Law Firms

    There are more than 91,000 lawyers registered in the state of Illinois. And, according to LexisNexis, 76% of people looking for lawyers last year used the web to do so. When you put the two together, it's easy to see why law firms need a digital marketing strategy. Here's what to keep in mind when developing a site and blogging for your practice

    Write With Your Audience's Perspective In Mind

    Most law firms rightfully want to boast about their stacks and stacks of credentials and experience. While most attorneys have certainly earned some bragging rights, the focus of your practice’s digital marketing strategy should be showing support to your potential clients. Further, the ethics rules and guidelines governing an attorney's advertising, solicitation, and marketing limit what the law firm can or should say - and it varies by state.

    When someone searches for a lawyer, they’re essentially looking for help in solving a problem. Recognize that. Use your credentials as a way of showing how you’ll be the biggest source of help. In this case, being the smartest person in the digital room means being the most helpful, by giving out high quality content marketing materials - for free. Be mindful, of course, that your content could be interpreted as dispensing legal advice. With that in mind, write and edit cautiously, and/or be sure to always add the appropriate disclaimers. 

  • Digital Marketing for Nonprofits

    Digital Marketing for Nonprofits (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Nonprofits and charity organizations have led the charge on so many amazing causes and campaigns over the years. We have the tireless work of nonprofit crusaders to thank for so many things, from cleaner water and air to safer streets.

    But how will these important organizations continue to do their essential work in a marketplace increasingly defined by shorter attention spans and tighter budgets? The answer is digital marketing.

    Here are five ways that nonprofits can put the power of the internet to work for their marketing, helping to drive in donations and increase outreach without breaking the bank:

    1.) Take Advantage of Unique SEM Opportunities…

  • Digital Marketing for Politicians

    Digital Marketing for Politicians (Source: Commons Wikimedia)

    Whether you’re a local alderman or the President of the United States, every politician needs to have a solid digital marketing strategy. As more and more Americans – including your constituents – spend more and more of their time online, it’s important to keep up.

    For many voters and constituents, your online face is the first one they’ll see; it’s important to give your community an online presentation that demonstrates just how knowledgeable, engaged, and experienced you truly are.

    "Now, more than ever, every elected official and candidate needs a professional digital presence to stay connected to voters." - Kelly Dietrich, GetElected.com 
    GetElected.com

    Your updates, your achievements, your photo opps: In 2016, all of these need to live online and be easily accessible to the curious citizens in your community. Here’s what politicians need to know about digital marketing:

    Be Engaging, Get Conversions

  • Digital Marketing for Real Estate, Architecture, and Interior Design

    In the fields of real estate, architecture, and interior design, appearances and aesthetics play a big part in the final product. Whether it's an entire building or just one room, you only get one chance to make a lasting first impression.

    The same goes for digital marketing!

    Putting a digital marketing strategy in place is one way to enhance and share the appearance of yourself or your firm in the minds of your next clients.

    By producing content that speaks to specific audiences, bringing in visual media that represents the unique view of your firm, and building an engaging website, real estate agents, architects, and interior designers can use digital marketing to secure leads and demonstrate their professional finesse.

    Ready to build your brand’s digital home – and reach your next batch of paying clients? Here’s what home professionals need to know:

    1.) Handcraft a Dynamic Website

  • Digital Marketing for the Hospitality Industry

    Digital Marketing for Hospitality Industry

    More than a third of all Americans have plans to travel more than 50 miles from home in 2017, according to AAA. Of all of those people planning to travel, a full thee-fourths "say resting and relaxing is very or extremely important to them,” according to a study from the Associated Press.

    And among those travelers, hotels and motels remain the most popular type of accommodation by a wide margin. Despite the rise of short term vacation rentals, 45% of vacationers plan to use hotels, according to the AP.

  • Do Social Marketers Really Know How to Put Data to Work?

    Do Social Marketers Really Know How to Put Data to Work?

    We’ve talked before about the importance of monitoring your social media analytics. Understanding how your social marketing campaigns are operating can give you an enormous insight into what to do with them in the future, in order to maximize their efficiency and help you attain your unique social goals, whether that’s increasing engagement, capturing leads, or refining your brand narrative.

    But it’s important to realize that the raw data generated through social media goes beyond mere “likes” and “shares;” instead, your social marketing is yielding valuable information that you can apply to every aspect of your digital marketing.

    Using social media to “listen” for potential clients, for instance, is a highly effective way to define – and reach – your brand’s ideal audience; monitoring the performance of different Facebook Ads and spend can help you refine your approach to copywriting, and even your overall brand messaging.

  • Does Your Department Need a Content Strategy?

    It’s time to separate “content” and “content marketing.”

    Because, while they often get lumped together, it’s important to realize a fundamental truth: Content is a vital and valuable tool for every single part of your business.

    Traditionally, content marketing is thought of as the cornerstone of all inbound marketing strategies. Essentially, the thinking goes, you create and distribute unique, branded content in order to cultivate a situation where your potential customers come to you. In the end, this helps you generate more traffic and hotter leads – with a fraction of the effort and at a fraction of the cost of more traditional marketing methods.

    We’re not here to tear into content marketing and its role in inbound; in fact, it’s our bread and butter here at Geek. We know full well that content marketing works.

    What we’re here to say today is that it’s important to consider all of the other ways that you can put content to work for your organization, at every level of your company and at every step of the buyer’s journey.

    Because, you see, content isn’t just about marketing. It’s about sales. It’s about retention. It’s about client management. It’s about PR. It’s about recruiting. It’s something that every department can use to their advantage, starting right now.

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).