IMA 501 – Maria Greco

LIFINDS HOMEMaria Greco

Website: www.lifinds.com

ABSTRACT

A website/mobile app which offers local coupons based on your search or location. Coupons to be presented via phone to eliminate paper coupons.

 

Mission Statement
1. What would your thesis actually accomplish, how and why is this necessary?
2. What will it look like?

3. Please provide links to sites that you find visually appealing and how would you use these capabilities?

1

LIFinds’ mission is to provide Long Island, Queens and Manhattan a web experience that will enrich their daily lives by offering access to money saving virtual coupons they can utilize in their daily lives. These coupons will be used virtually (shown to merchants via phones). This will allow and promote for a GREEN form of advertising.

The website will also allow for an interactive experience by offering visitors the ability to create personal accounts which will offer them the opportunity to participate and engage the website as an entertainment portal. Visitors to the site will be able to create an account which will allow them to save coupons they like and write reviews on merchants they have visited. The free membership will also allow for visitors to engage in blogs, forums, food reviews, recipes and articles. Users can save favorite blogs, articles and recipes in their profiles for later exploration.  Their profile will allow them to sign in through Facebook or email. They will be able to upload their photo for a personalized experience. A mobile app will enhance this user experience by allowing members to have access to coupons, recipes and more at any time wherever they are. The mobile app will allow users to pull up relevant coupons based on their current location as well as basic search routes.

Businesses will also be able to create a business profile. Here, they will be offered to advertise their coupon/business on the site. They will be guided through the proper forms to fill and picture uploads to begin creating their ad and read through the proper contractual forms that they will check off to demonstrate compliance. Businesses will have the ability to pay through a payment portal on the site. The ease of use and coupon updates will offer business users a smooth interface and user friendly experience. Businesses will also be able to see how many members “save/like” their coupons and read through their reviews. This will allow for businesses to directly read/see the results of their advertising and possibly find ways to improve and or change in order to gain a larger client base. A business will also have the ability to offer us recipes and write blogs that will allow readers more vehicles that will lead to their coupon.

LIFinds is a green approach to advertising/entertainment. If necessary, people can print coupons for those who are not web or mobile app savvy. This website is important as will allow consumers from any given area access to a plethora of reviews, forums and information relevant to their hometown/area. As we continue to move to a virtual age, LIFinds will allow users to quickly get the information they seek. Consumers won’t have to spend time looking for coupons, cutting them, or remembering to use them. They can search instantly as the idea sparks. As for businesses, they will be able to advertise at a fraction of the cost of print with a higher return and user engagement rate. They will be easily able to upload any ad changes without waiting, when it is convenient for them.

2,3

The website will look stylish, yet simple. A Clean white or light background with the images/ads/category boxes popping with color. This website will work seamlessly whether using a computer or iPad or other device. The top scroll down navigation will allow for easy access to find the necessary pages. In order to keep with an updated site, the left hand nav. bar will be eliminated, allowing more room for visual prompts (For top nav. idea, see only the Work |Live |Play |Learn section on the following link, I like the way it gives you options under each category clearly http://www.workinthetriangle.com or the top nav. of http://www.shabbyapple.com/ I like the simplicity of the latter). You can easily read and then choose your option or explore them all.

Beneath the top Nav bar, the top of the body will present a slide with smaller images below of articles, recipes, whatever is headlines for the week. This will engage/attract users to keep them on the site. (see yahoo.com for main article large image, and you can click on other story and large image turns to the item click, that idea with a large type more like www.starz.com  , instead of schedule on bottom, that would be article/story preview. This should be kept visually attractive and changing to keep people interested and draw them in.

The website will include forums with different categories. I like the look of the following forum, it shows user pictures and looks cleaner than some others I’ve seen. http://forums.thenest.com/categories/bnotb

For the app, I like the way food spotting uses a picture as the location marker for the specific business. I would like to incorporate this style in the app. Using the ad pic as the marker on the map. (http://www.foodspotting.com/find/best/Salad/in/Greenvale-NY-USA)

When people click on the coupon page, I would like the header to remain the same. The page could look similar to http://www.shabbyapple.com/c-7-dresses.aspx  but no left hand nav, shorter images and 3 to 4 to a row.  In comparison to Groupon, the actual coupons should not have text below, maybe just an image, the company logo, and say for example 20% off (most text hidden in meta tags to allow for visually enhanced experience). When user clicks on any given coupon, they come to a page with the large image on right, on left a map with address and contact below that. Here, members can save coupons they like for later and share on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest,  among other social sites. Below all this information, users can leave reviews. On the right side of the page, possibly have a right hand nav with other coupons strategically placed vertically reading, other coupons you might be interested in or other search for these, or something along those lines.

These are some ideas on the layout, but there will be many different options and pages to consider as this will be a very large site. All will have a similar, user-friendly, visually stunning layout with easy accessibility to all links. Most articles, recipes, and other material will ultimately link them back to a coupon through methods of suggestions.

FLOWCHART501 LIFINDS_mockup_webpage

 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Media is a necessity in today’s instant access, virtual world. With so many users on many different social media platforms, businesses need to jump on board and utilize the multiple ways of showcasing and advertising their business. The social media platforms I would like to utilize for LI FINDS are FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, YOUTUBE,  FOURSQUARE, MYSPACE, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, and I will always be on the lookout for growing sites that could further expose my business.

In looking at some highly successful pages that utilize some of the above named social sites, I would try to model their successful pages.  Some include:

https://www.facebook.com/cocacola

https://www.facebook.com/burtsbees

http://www.linkedin.com/company/adobe

Some great sites I would want my business mentioned in are:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/

http://www.nytimes.com/

http://bestof.longislandpress.com/

 

 

Below are some interesting articles that relate to social media.

 

 

Why Facebook Marketing is important in promoting businesses nowadays?

May 23, 2011 at 6:03am

 

 

Transformation of communication ways

 

Do you realize the ways that people acquire information have been changing significantly overtime? In the old days, they mainly obtained information from newspaper, radio and television. These sources, however, are quite limited because they only work well locally. Although these traditional media of communication are still being used, the internet world has quietly emerged as a new and more effective way of information flows.

 

With this, our way of communication changes from one-way to two-way. For example, the newspaper as a traditional communication tool provides news to the public only in one direction without a mechanism to collect feedbacks. In a two-way communication mode like through Facebook, people can acquire information as well as conveying their own comments at the same time. This can make a big difference in social impacts because it effectively facilitates exchanges and interactions among people and thus contributes to making information flows more globalized and influential in the real world.

 

Users’ behavior

 

This trend is kind of metamorphosis which allows companies to make good use of social media such as Facebook to promote themselves. Nonetheless, at the same time they also need to be sensitive to Facebook users’ preferences and behaviors in order to do a good marketing job through the Facebook platform. It must be recognized that nowadays people are not passive anymore by satisfying with just absorbing information as given, but they also prefer to be able to interact with other people or giving out their own views on the internet – reflecting perhaps a subtle way to achieve self-actualization.

 

A good example of this can be seen on Wikipedia which has become so popular due to active participation of readers in inputting their views and information. In other words, if your online marketing is not good enough, people can choose not to look at your page. Therefore, companies need to change their marketing mindset by fitting in well with Facebook users’ needs, rather than insisting on the traditional ways of marketing focusing on the hard-selling mentality. In short, “creativity” and “knowing well your potential customers” are crucial to successful Facebook marketing in this new era.

A recent study by University of Florida on undergraduate and graduate students is informative as it reveals the preferences of young people on Facebook. The results showed that most are okay with business page but feel annoyed by straight advertisements. With this observation, companies should put more effort on their Facebook page instead of spending a lot of money on advertisements.

 

Differences between Facebook marketing and traditional marketing

 

What are the main differences or characteristics of Facebook marketing as compared with traditional marketing? The answer is that the former is more focused on content sharingand creating a viral marketing effect. It is not that kind of face-to-face marketing anymore. Therefore, traditional ways of marketing would not be effective enough. By making good use of Facebook marketing techniques, your target customers base can be expected to grow much faster in this new world.

 

It is observed that Facebook users tend to enjoy content sharing. For example, they like to post their own recent photos or share information about the good restaurants they have tried. Since social networking works to connect people, giving good comments or recommendations by Facebook users to their friends on Facebook would be a more effective way to promote. Trustworthy recommendations tend to have stronger positive effect than normal advertising. This would further create a viral marketing effect as good messages are passed on from one person to another by word-of-mouth along a chain. Therefore, in order to become successful in Facebook marketing, companies should promote their products, services and brand-names by building trust among their target audiences on the Facebook network, and goodwill would then be created and spread out easily.

 

Ways to improve your page

 

There are many ways to make your Facebook pages more attractive and attention-catching. For instance, using Facebook applications to decorate and promote the pages among fans is a good way to make your pages unique. There are many ready-to-use applications available online like the ones created by WeBuzz. You can also design your own promotion strategies such as devising campaigns and organizing contests by using WeBuzz’s applications. These easy-to-use applications are useful and helpful even for those non-technical users.

 

For more information, please visit http://www.webuzzapp.com/.

 

 

The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014

With new social networking platforms appearing from behind every corner, it can be hard to know exactly where to commit your time and resources. And as we move into the latter-half of 2013, it’s important to look ahead to where social networking is going, and how we can get on board.

As I think about the trends in social media so far this year, I’ve compiled a list of my predictions as to where we’re headed as we inch towards 2014.

1. Investment in Social Media Will Become a Necessity, Not aLuxury

While I’d argue that investing time and resources into a social media strategy is most definitely a necessity in 2013, I believe the tipping point in public sentiment from ‘should have’ to ‘must have’ will occur in 2014.

Businesses are already coming to terms with the need to integrate their social media efforts with their content strategy, and are seeing the impact of social media in terms of lead generation, referral traffic, and revenue.

As businesses see these very real and measurable benefits, I believe we’ll see a move away from assigning social media tasks to existing employees, and see even more companies hiring social media strategists or full-time social media managers.

The benefits of social media are many, but they include:

  • Improved social signals (which are a factor in the search ranking algorithm).
  • Company branding
  • Improved brand awareness
  • Word-of-mouth advertising
  • Increased customer loyalty and trust
  • Improved audience reach and influence

Social media is also one of the three pillars of SEO.

2. Google GOOG -0.83%+ Will Become a Major Factor

While Facebook FB +2.87% continues to lead the pack in terms of number of active monthly users (1.15 billion at last count), Google+ is quickly gaining steam, and in fact, now has the second highest number of monthly users (343 million).

With Google using the platform to collect personal information (think demographics, location, etc.), Google+ should no longer be thought of as ‘just’ another social network. It’s increasingly proving itself to be an integral part of Google’s grand scheme in terms of SEO, social signals and providing a more personalized search experience. This is especially apparent with the importance of Google Authorship, which I project will be one of the key components to Google’s search ranking algorithm by the end of 2014.

I believe that businesses who are finding themselves spread thin with their social media efforts will increasingly turn to Google+ as the closest thing we have to a ‘one size fits all’ social network.

As Google+ moves towards even greater integration with other aspects of the web – as they’ve already done with their foray into local search – I think we’ll see its growth skyrocket, both in terms of business and personal use. For information on how to start using Google+, read “How to Breathe Life into Your Google+ Profile.”

3. Image-Centric Networks Will See Huge Success

We’ve seen a consistent trend in 2013 toward sharing through image andvideo, rather than text-based content. Visual content will increasingly become a critical piece of any solid content strategy, and social networking site Pinterest will continue to shed its reputation as a ‘women’s only’ network and become an integral part of retailers’ marketing strategies.

Other image-based social media sites like Slideshare, Tumblr, Path, and Mobli will continue to grow, and businesses will need to become more mindful about the ‘sharability’ factor of photos on their websites and blogs in order to derive significant benefit from their social media content marketing efforts.

4. We’ll Witness the Rise of Micro-Video

It seems that writing 140 characters and taking 3 minute long videos is becoming too tedious for many of us. Micro video to the rescue!

With the emergence of micro video apps like Twitter’s Vine and now Instagram’s video sharing feature, we’re seeing even more movement toward real-time video sharing. And not just any videos; with Instagram allowing 3-15 seconds per video, and Vine allowing precisely 6 seconds, users are even more likely to create and share videos from their smartphones.

It will be interesting to see if and how these bite-sized pieces of content will change the playing field when it comes to video-based social media.

5. Foursquare Will Decline Sharply

With stale traffic numbers, and significant difficulties raising capital in 2013, Foursquare continues to struggle its way towards 2014.

With other social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offering location-based features, it seems like only a matter of time before Foursquare folds and their users are absorbed into these other networks.

6. MySpace, Love it or Hate it, Will Grow

With their radical makeover and re-branding efforts earlier this year, MySpace appears to be getting its second wind. Offering an iPhone app that allows users to network, receive private messages, and listen to their own personalized radio station, MySpace seems to be on track for growth in 2014.

I don’t see MySpace ever again competing in the same space as Facebook or Twitter, but it will be interesting to see how the network grows among bands and music-lovers.

7. LinkedIn Will Become a Major Player for B2B Business Growth

Still holding steady as the #1 social networking site for professionals with 238 million users, LinkedIn isn’t just sitting on its heels. With the launch of itsInfluencers program, LinkedIn is positioning itself as not only another networking site, but as one of the largest sources of content creation and curation for professionals.

As it grows and attracts even more users, the advantages of being “linked in” will become enormous for B2B marketers. For a guide on how to use LinkedIn for Marketing, see my article “The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Marketing.”

Final Thoughts

Facebook and Twitter show no signs of imminent decline, but it will be interesting to see how they innovate to keep up with the growth of Google+ as well as image and video-based networks.

With social media behemoth Facebook turning 10 in 2014 (has it really been that long?), they’ll continue to focus efforts on mobile, and on offering advertisers opportunities to better target their ads. And while Twitter continues to be the golden child amongst B2B marketers, I’m curious to see if and how the rise of Google+ will impact its market share.

While most business owners are aware of the necessity of having a social media strategy, I believe 2014 will be the year where a majority will finally understand the necessity to commit the necessary time and resources to their social media efforts. I’m excited to see which up-and-coming networks grab a share of the market, and which have already run their course. If you’re a business owner looking to build your social media presence, I recommend this article: “How to Determine Which Social Media Network Fits Your Business.”

Which social networking sites do you think we should be watching? Which do you think are on their last legs? Let me know in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter @JaysonDeMers for more insights, predictions, and expertise.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Media is a necessity in today’s instant access, virtual world. With so many users on many different social media platforms, businesses need to jump on board and utilize the multiple ways of showcasing and advertising their business. The social media platforms I would like to utilize for LI FINDS are FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, YOUTUBE,  FOURSQUARE, MYSPACE, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, and I will always be on the lookout for growing sites that could further expose my business.

5 Lessons from LinkedIn’s Top Company Pages

posted on DECEMBER 10, 2013

As we approach the end of the year, we always see lists of top this and best that for 2013. Today’s list comes from LinkedIn. It’s the “top” – meaning most inspiring and engaging company pages as voted on by LinkedIn members.

The 10 companies comes from a range of industries; 4 are tech related but still represent different aspects of the industry.  The biggest surprise is that only a few are strictly business to business companies. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them and see what we can learn from each of them.

Adobe gets high praise for proper segmentation. Rather than cram everything into their company home page, they created individual pages for their Marketing Cloud product and their Creative Cloud product. This way, they can customize the message to suit the needs of two different customers.

LinkedIn praises employment company Apple One for their bold, intriguing photos. But on closer examination, I noted a strange incongruity. The LinkedIn posts link out to very helpful articles elsewhere on the internet, but the photos don’t come from those articles. They come from other places – sometimes competing places. For example, a ZDnet image used to promote an Inc. article. Odd. I give them credit for putting the credit on their images but wouldn’t it be easier to just use the photos that go with the article?

Commonwealth Bank sprinkles direct questions into their posting schedule such as “do you prefer cubicles or collaborative workspaces?” People love responding to simple questions, especially when there are specific choices. That question received 33 comments while their normal blog post links average 1 or none.

Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts reels them in with aspirational photos and videos that make you want to book a room right now. The fact that Michel Volk was Appointed General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora isn’t very exciting (sorry Michel) but when it’s accompanied by this image and there’s 7 inches of snow outside your window, it’s going to catch your eye.

NPR makes great use of the list. 6 Ways to Do This. 10 Best This and Thats. 4 Things You Don’t Want To Do Again. Lists deliver a lot of information in short, bite-sized bits so they’re very attractive to the average reader. They know that when they click, they’ll be able to skim and get out quick with at least one nugget of information.

So there you have it. To keep people coming back to your LinkedIn page include bold, aspirational photos. Ask simple questions. Divide up your audience so you can focus and then teach them something with a short and snappy list.

What’s your secret to LinkedIn success?

 

 

 

More info on GOOGLE+

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/3-successful-google-pages-and-why-they-work/

 

One comment

  1. Patrick · October 23, 2013

    Maria,

    This is a very popular idea and one whose time has come. Some of the models you need to look at are Groupon and GroupGifting and many others. The idea of online clip book or basically a Pennysaver is the mailing list and the subscribers. These deals need to be out there everyday. The site also needs to be updatable by users not just by administrator. WP is perfect for this. So basically you have 2 ends working here. The community of vendors and the buyers or end-users.
    this is good for traffic and a self-sustaining model. Once you have it built making sure it stays up and updated with technology and new areas is key lots of work but good stuff.
    Take a look at something also like Etsy and Craigslist or Angie’slist.
    Kind of similar quality also Yelp. WP is really a great hosting CMS package for this. You will need a secure server for this as well but not unreasonable or undoable. Today big differences in setting up shop.
    You may also want to consider drop ship scenarios. Is a big market and only getting bigger.
    Good stuff.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s