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  • 5 Ways to Get More Engagement on Social Media Right Now

    Facebook’s algorithm has been changing – and it’s all anyone who cares about social media marketing seems to be talking about!

    (Well, that, and all of the major social media PR crises and data privacy issues that have seemingly dominated the news cycle.)

    For marketers – and brands who rely on Facebook to reach new audiences, retarget their existing clients, and build up loyal followings – Facebook has long been king. Next to Google, it’s the largest digital marketing platform by a wide margin, soaking up more attention (and ad dollars) than just about anywhere else on the internet.

    As such, many businesses who want to expand their outreach online find themselves having to play by Facebook’s rules, even when it comes to marketing on other social networks, like Twitter and Instagram. And those rules just seem to keep changing.

    The Ever-Changing Facebook Algorithm

  • 5 Ways to Improve Your Brand Awareness on Social Media

    5 Ways to Improve Your Brand Awareness on Social Media

    No matter what your line of business, social media marketing (SMM) is a low-cost, high-reward way to connect with your audience online, leading to increased traffic to your site and - with a little skill - a slew of brand-new leads.

    But besides just reaching out to new users, spreading your message on social media can be a great way to connect with users and customers on an emotional level. Creatively telling your unique brand story and forging real relationships are the backbone of effective social marketing; they turn customers into friends and partners, creating brand awareness and loyalty that are invaluable for your company.

    Here are five surefire to ways to boost your brand awareness with social media:

    1.) Have a Strategic Focus

  • 5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Activity With Smart Automation

    5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Activity With Smart Automation (Source: Adapted from Pixabay Public Domain Image)

    Social media is an elusive form of marketing for many in the business world. You understand the importance of an online presence and getting active on the social media world, but achieving results is another matter altogether. Do you automate, or do you strictly post when inspiration strikes?

    While there is no universal agreement (as social media great Seth Godin opts for a pure distribution channel approach, while purist Dan Shure vows never to automate), Copyblogger recently released some helpful ways businesses can use automation with these carefully constructed guidelines to maintain a human element to your social media activity and generate interaction. Here's the scoop.

    1. Remain Connected

  • 5 Ways to Start Using Streaming Video for Your Marketing

    5 Ways to Start Using Streaming Video for Your Marketing

    The landscape of social media is changing – away from text posts and updates and to GIFs, autoplaying clips, and, above all, live video.

    We may not be heading to a textless future just yet, but that doesn’t mean that video isn’t here to stay; views on social media are up across the board, and Facebook is making a massive push to prioritize streaming video content on users’ feeds – and spending a pretty penny advertising it, too.

    Is your brand ready to keep up? Like Snapchat and Instagram before it, live video is a major step forward – but one that lines up with the core tenets of digital marketing that we’ve always taught to our clients. The medium is changing, but the message doesn’t have to.

    Here are five easy, low-pressure ways for your brand to start putting live streaming video to work right now:

    Give Viewers a Peek Behind the Scenes

  • 5 Ways to Take Control of Your Facebook Page

    5 Ways to Take Control of Your Facebook Page (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Can you remember a time before Facebook? We’ll give you a second.

    It’s getting harder to do, isn’t it? What was once a fun online novelty has become an omnipresent backbone of the internet ecosystem, with roots that spread out and impact commerce, entertainment, communication, and every other facet of the digital landscape.

    So, we’re going to go ahead and guess that you’re familiar with Facebook, and probably that you’re already using it for your business.

    Here’s what you may not realize – most of us are barely scratching the surface of what we can do to refine, streamline, and customize our Facebook experience. The network that boasts a huge ROI for advertising and that is rapidly changing the way we talk about SEO also offers a slew of customizable tools for brands that are well worth exploring.

    Social media is a vital way for your brand to stand out, to create leads, to bolster your reputation and create your positive narrative. So when it comes to your Facebook page, don’t just settle for the basics – take control. Here are five easy ways to get started:

    1.) Create Powerful, Custom Images

  • 6 Inspiring New Ways to Create and Share Data

    6 Inspiring New Ways to Create and Share Data

    Thinking visually is key to the art of content creation. Just consider the facts! Most humans only remember about 20% of what they read, but 90% of what they see. People on Facebook and Twitter much prefer posts with visual content: engagement on tweets with images is well over 100% higher than on tweets without, while Facebook posts with images see twice the engagement as posts without.

    And this knowledge hasn’t been lost on marketers; more and more digital marketers have been shifting their attention to image, video, and infographic creation. Indeed, according to stats from the Content Marketing Institute, 55% of content creators planned to prioritize creating visual content in 2016, and a full 73% of content creators are aiming to create “more engaging content” in the months ahead.

    Don’t let your marketing efforts get left behind! Drive up engagement and increase your brand loyalty with these six creative ways to package and share your content:

    Infographics

  • 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 Landing Page Flaws That Damage Your Conversion Rates

    7 Landing Page Flaws That Damage Your Conversion Rate (Image Source: Flickr CC Commons)

    You have put a significant amount of work into developing your business. You've invested in a responsive website, you've started your presence on social media, and you're on your way to generating leads with an inbound marketing campaign.

    Your leads are captured when people find value in the content you present them on your website. In turn, they share with you similarly valuable information about themselves: their name, their email address, their company, and more.

    ...provided, of course, if your landing page is up to snuff.

    Landing Page Basics

    A landing page is a page designed for your prospects to land on, get interested about the product you offer, and give you information about themselves which you need to create a first correspondence with them.

    (Note that landing page is not synonymous with home page. Business owners can, and often should, have multiple landing pages. You can have separate landing pages for separate promotions, multiple landing pages for the same promotion.)

    Landing pages are where you make or break your lead generation goals. These pages alone can persuade (or dissuade) your users to fill out the form and create a lead. The placement of your images, the length of your descriptions, and the wording in your titles directly affect your ability to convert customers in the future.

    Unfortunately, many companies often fall victim to these 7 mistakes, recently displayed in an infographic by Quick Sprout (also shared by Hubspot). Here's how you can optimize your own landing pages.

  • 7 Ways to Increase Your Landing Page Conversion Rate

    If 2015 is your year to gain more customers, chances are you've looked to your company website in an effort to see where you can pull in new leads (and, ultimately, convert those leads into new customers).

    Where many businesses fall short in this effort comes in the form of a sub-par landing page.

    Why, what is a landing page, you ask? Oh, my young Padawan, you have so much to learn. A landing page is home base for your company webpage. It will likely be the first thing a prospective client stumbles upon when searching for your business. It serves to capture the interest of your leads, and warm them up to the idea of your product/service before filtering them through to your sales pages.

    This being said, your landing page is a place of finite, specific detail. No one item should be left on your landing page without undergoing intense scrutiny. Size, color, call-to-action buttons, photos, text, branding... every element on your landing page should have strategic backing.

    Set your foundation with strong forethought, test, tweak, and repeat. It will take some time to learn what works.

    There are some fundamental building blocks, recently outlined by Hubspot, which will help you go through your revision process with some clarity. Here are 7 ways to create a landing page with a high conversion rate.

    1. The Two Consistencies

    There are two key areas in which you will need to strive for consistency: presented information and user experience.

    First, presenting consistent information is essential. Any inconsistency that a prospective client comes across is a major turn-off. Pricing, claims, name spelling, locations, phone numbers, and any other text claims must be consistent. Anything else will bring a major blow to your credibility - and believe us, a prospective client isn't going to spend time searching around your site for the "right" information. They'll just close your window altogether.

    Secondly, user experience should be consistent across the board. If you are constantly changing website elements, or your website elements differ from page to page, you'll experience drop-offs.

    2. Change, But Slowly

  • 8 Website Turn-Offs That Discourage Customers

    8 Website Turn-OffsBusinesses everywhere put forth ample amounts of effort to get customers to their website. Search Engine Optimization is pursued, keywords are researched, quality content is written, and more.  But what about page abandonment(measured in "bounce rate")?

    If customers aren't staying on your website once you get them there, however, there's a bigger problem at hand.

    Once your prospects land on your website, you want them to be encouraged to click through your pages and engage in your content by reading a blog, filling out a form, or maybe even buying something.

    In other words, attraction is only the first step in your inbound marketing game - lead conversion is the essential second step. If customers are dissatisfied with your website once they get there, your work to get them there will be entirely wasted.

    So, what things turn customers off of your website? Here are 8 top turn offs, originally outlined in an Hubpost infographic.

    1. Bad Navigation

    The problem:

    Having bad navigation design is one of the best ways to frustrate your visitors. Complex or inconsistent navigation makes it difficult for visitors to find the information they're looking for.

    Avoid scattering navigational elements around different portions of your website, linking navigation within large bodies of text, or use elements that are in any way unclear (like a link simply titled "other" or a linked image that does not obviously serving a purpose).

    The solution:

    • Group navigational links together in a central area
    • Aim for logical, intuitive, easy to understand links in terms of language and location

    2. Too Many Ads

    The Problem:

    It's a given that customers do not appreciate advertisements. This notion is compounded by having too many obtrusive ads in one area, particularly ones that pop up over the browser window, flash, and fill the entire browser window.

    The Solution:

  • A Look Back on Google Algorithms and their Impact on SEO

    Do you remember how Google search was back in the late 90s?

    If you don't, it isn't really that surprising. Google has come a long way since then, especially in terms of its search algorithms.

    In the beginning, getting your website to rank highly in a Google search comprised of a simple two steps:

    1. Saturate your pages with as many keywords and trigger phrases as possible
    2. Accumulate inbound links - The more, the better.

    As you probably already know, the Google search algorithm has evolved quite a long way from its primitive beginning.  Keywords and links are no longer the full name of the game - value, on the other hand is.  "Hacking the system" (i.e. keyword saturated content that has little to no actual value to readers) has been effectively avoided as Google's algorithm has improved.

    Google has endeavored over the years to find new, more effective ways to deliver high-value, high-quality search engine results. Starting in 2003 with "Boston", Google users started seeing these algorithm changes labeled with names. In recent memory, you may recollect mention of "Panda", "Penguin", and most recently, with "Hummingbird".  Google has recently endeavored to have their searches pull up high-quality content that effectively serves as an answer to a question.

  • 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 Organic Traffic With These 5 Smart SEO Tactics

    Despite what you may have heard over the years, SEO is still here to stay.

    In fact, in an era of inflated marketing budgets and boundless technical innovations, the art of maximizing your presence on search engines matters more than ever.

    The long and short of it all is that SEO is still vital for spreading the word about your business, particularly if you’re trying to connect with local audiences. It’s one of the most consistent ways to drive traffic to your site, increasing your brand’s visibility and helping to generate warm leads over time.

    But – and, we know, there’s always a “but” – just thinking about SEO won’t make it start producing results for your brand. Instead, you need to understand SEO – what it does, how it works, and what types of audiences it will bring to your site.

    For one thing, it’s vital to understand the type of audience driven to your site via search engines – which digital marketers call organic traffic. In simplest terms, organic traffic refers to the volume of visits to your site that come through queries on search engines.

    And now, more than ever, it’s important to recognize that your organic traffic consists of hyper-local audiences, mobile users on the go, and people looking for quick solutions to complex problems. These are all users prime for conversion – if you know how to help guide them into your funnel in the first place!

  • 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…

  • Breaking Down an Apple Keynote Address: 3 Lessons for Marketers

    Breaking Down an Apple Keynote Address: 3 Lessons for Marketers (Source: Cropped from Flickr User Mike Deerkoski)

    The black stage. The mammoth presentation screen. The speakers striding confidently back and forth, clickers in hand. The massive crowd of rabid fanboys and girls and the thousands of reporters and developers watching along at home.

    We guess you already know what we’re describing: An Apple keynote event.

  • Client Success Story: FourStar Wealth Advisors

    FourStar Wealth Advisors is a Registered Investment Advisor firm headquartered in Chicago, with advisors located in offices around the country, including Massachusetts and Nevada. FourStar Wealth Advisors takes an independent and client-focused approach to wealth management and financial planning, helping their clients define what is most important to them and then formulating the strategies that are suited for their needs, whether they are accumulating wealth or investing for income, solidifying a retirement plan, or devising a distribution approach that meets their  lifestyle and legacy goals.

    Our Mission 

    FourStar Wealth Advisors is a next generation wealth advisory firm, focused on using new and innovative technologies and finding creative ways to communicate with their clients. FourStar came to Geek Chicago looking for a modern site that spoke to their independence and their commitment to industry-leading innovation. 

  • Could Social Messaging Apps Replace Email Marketing?

    social messaging apps replace email marketing?

    Earlier this year, Facebook announced that its Messenger service had cleared a major benchmark, reaching 1.2 billion monthly average users (MAU); this probably shakes out to anywhere from 400 to 600 million daily active users (DAU) for the messaging and chat service.

    That’s a huge deal. For context, those numbers dwarf the DAU rate for Instagram Stories and Snapchat by a wide margin, for instance, positioning Facebook Messenger highly within the social chat space. 

    Of course, Messenger is still massively overshadowed by major email platforms; it is estimated that we collectively send more than more than 200 billion emails a day, at a rate of about 2.4 million emails a second.

    That’s also a huge deal. And yet the fact remains that for marketers, Facebook Messenger is increasingly looking like a welcoming new frontier, while email has lost some of its luster.

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).