1. #SocialMedia Guru’s Wanted!

    Do you love sharing moments on Snapchat? Does your typical #WorldCup2014 party revolve around live tweeting #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave? Do you spend vacations in Hawaii Instagramming the view? Have you found success from a LinkedIn search? Then Epic Web Studios in Erie, PA is looking for you!

    The Social Media Team at Epic Web Studios is searching for someone who can keep up in this fast paced, ever changing, digital market.

    The ideal candidate will:

    • Be a fast learner
    • Be able to familiarize themselves with the voice of our clients
    • Want to become Google AdWords Certified
    • Develop and implement social media strategies and plans that are integrated with an organizations strategic goals
    • Monitor Social Media groups, trends, tools and applications
    • Know SproutSocial, HootSuite, and Facebook’s scheduling process
    • Set, track, and report on meaningful metrics to evaluate success
    • Assist other departments with writing/editing content for the web
    • Participate in social media training opportunities to stay current with the latest trends and developments in Social Media

    Every candidate must be:

    • Hungry for success
    • Goal-oriented
    • Personally organized
    • Hard-working
    • Strong communicators
    • Flexible
    • Self-motivated
    • Willing to commit to an environment of growth, with a fast-pace and multi-tasked mindset.

    With social media becoming a bigger market for opportunity than ever, your talent will not go to waste.

    Apply to be part of our team today!

     
  2. 3 Tips to Overcome Your Social Media Fears

    Social Media is exploding. What started out years ago as simply social networking, has turned into digital advertising, media marketing, and so much more. When Epic Web first opened its doors, it was a Web Development company that sold social media as an added package. Today, it sells Social Media as its own entity. However, many organizations and companies face a “Social Media Anxiety” –a fear of creating a social presence for their business. Here are tips on how to alleviate your social anxiety:

    1. Use Social Media as Your CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

    Take the time to learn the benefits social media engagements have your business. Some fear social media, as it is a direct way to receive customer complaints and insults. They fear they will say the wrong thing and will tarnish the image they have set up for their brand.

    HOWEVER, it’s imperative to humanize your brand. Just like stopping at the customer service desk in the physical world, social media users are expecting to engage with your brand and receive responses from another human being.

    You would be surprised how much a person’s tone can change after a representative reaches out to them over social media.

    2. Use Discovery on Platforms to Re-Strategize

    As stated in a previous blog post, social media is the best marketing research tool right now. Engagements and interactions bring your customers’ needs into the light. When you are writing your strategic plan for the next quarter or year, you can base your next big move with social media’s help.

    Your customers are chatting about products and brands right now all over the internet. Observe who they’re talking about and mirror that campaign as best you can with your own products/business. Analyze how other companies and organizations handle customer service and make a list of how you can do it better.

    Not only will your customer’s suggestions and responses be  of help to your market research, but your social media insights can help you determine who you should be selling for. Run various campaigns and see what works for your clients, and use those analytics to re-strategize.

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    3. Engage with Your Customer’s Frequently

    The most important thing you can be doing on social media is actively engaging with your fan base. Whether it’s answering complaints, responding to suggestions, or plain old thanking your customers – show your customers that you appreciate their support! Chances are if you are actively engaging with them, they will encourage others to try out your business as well.

    Your customer’s are your biggest promoters. Their involvement on your social media can do wonders for your business. Show your gratitude by hosting giveaways for your top fans, which in turn will bring more clients to your business. If you help them out, they are likely to help you out too.

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    Though it seems like an intimidating place to be, social media benefits are really great for your business/organization. If you’re not engaging online, you are already losing potential customers. Don’t get left behind, take the plunge into social networking today.

    If you’re still fearful of social media, contact Epic Web’s Social Media team. They will talk you through your digital marketing stress, and fit you to the next level of social media advertising.

    Adele Stewart is a Digital Media Strategist at Epic Web Studios, a web development & strategic planning firm in Erie, PA, and Public Relations blogger

     
  3. Is Facebook Replacing Old Marketing Tools?

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    Advertising has become more digital in the last few years, making qualitative research tools like focus groups merely an image of the past. However, marketing technology firms haven’t lost sight of the concept. The usage of Facebook engagement has become more a prominent tool in social media advertising.

    According to a recent SocialCode article, if an ad campaign is created to evoke as much interaction as possible, it will wind up targeting a small group but at a high frequency. A recent article explains that a more successful campaign would focus on reach and frequency, the two variables that are used to measure the success of TV campaigns.

    The US marketing technology firm SocialCode recommends using engagement to test which ads work the best. The company’s SVP of marketing Max Kalehoff, explains that the “threshold rate of engagement is around 2-5%.” Kalehoff recommends putting money behind it and making it a promoted post. This increases engagement 1%-4%, justifying spending in return.

    According to Facebook partner Datalogix, 99% of offline sales in fact came from people who had seen ads on Facebook and did NOT engage with them.

    When you think about it, Facebook Ads are just digital billboards. When you optimize a campaign for clicks (CPC), you are limiting its potential to be seen by everyone who “passes by.” Optimizing for engagement ads essentially target people advertisers know that people will “like” or “comment” on. But when it truly comes down to marketing, are you inevitably targeting the audience that are going to buy your product or attend your event?

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    For example, there’s a billboard for a pair of sunglasses that you pass every day on your daily commute to work. Maybe you saw it Monday morning and completely erased it from your mind. However, every day you pass by it and finally by Thursday morning you’ve committed to memory that you are going to get those sunglasses after work.

    That’s it. No engagement involved. No stopping in the middle of the street yelling, “Wow! I love these sunglasses! I’m going to buy these sunglasses!” No tagging it with a thumbs up sign. Just plain old accomplishing goals and a nice Return on Investment for the sunglass company.

    How is this anything like a focus group? Focus groups are usually a small group of people who are guided through discussion by a moderator, and observed by their answers. This helps marketers decide the audience in question for their product, event, post, etc.

    CPMs bring the right people to your page, often times from the comfort of their own home or office. From there, you can easily uncover any insights and gain leads on who you should be targeting your posts to.

    So what do you think? In terms of CPC vs CPM – which do you find to be the most useful in terms of your marketing research tools?

    Adele Stewart is a Digital Media Strategist at Epic Web Studios, a web development & strategic planning firm in Erie, PA, and Public Relations blogger. If you’re having difficulty understanding how to optimize your Facebook advertising, contact Epic Web’s Social Media team today! 

     
  4. The Future of Social Media

    by Adele Stewart

    When I was 15 years old, I received my first invitation from a college friend to join The Facebook. I thought it was an odd concept - after all, I had been using Myspace for the past few years and it was nothing but good to me.

    I was soon surprised to see my loyalties to Myspace faltering, and my dedication to Facebook growing with every new friend request I accepted. 

    I joined a group for my incoming college class, and was able to connect with the circle of people I am still able to call my good friends. I met my college roommate on Facebook months before moving in together, which gave us the opportunity to scope each other out, and decide if we regretted our decision to let the university pick our roommate (I have never once regretted it).

    From Facebook, I moved on to platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogspot (now Blogger), Wordpress, Tumblr, and even Instagram. I always wanted to be a part of the next big thing in social media, so it’s no wonder that I had to stop and reflect on Mark Schaefer’s most recent article on Vocus, reflecting on The Future of Social Media.

    Here is what Mark Schaefer had to say about the next big thing:

    It will be small

    I think one significant trend is “small.” Six second videos on Vine. Infographics replacing dense blog posts. Pinterest as nuggets of visual candy.

    The reason is simple. People have so many options to consume content that companies are “chunkifying” it into easy to consume pieces to get it through the limited pipeline to our brains.  Look for platforms to emphasize short-form content.

    It will be dazzling

    Following this theme that it takes something special to get through the information overload, there is also a niche on the other end of the spectrum — make it dazzling. Look at the recent Chipotle restaurant juggernaut where they are spending millions on lush animated videos and Coldplay songs to sell their burritos. Their latest effort garnered 4 million views in a week. A Dazzle Channel would work.

    There will be an element of intelligent curation

    I love those dazzling videos but I’m too busy to take the time to find them. And I’m tired of the same types of content being suggested to me by my limited number of friends. I want content to come to me, not just tailored to my tastes, but to challenge me and push me beyond the comfort zones set by search algorithms. I don’t want to see content that gets the most votes. I want the curation to know me better than I know myself.

    It will efficiently and quietly gather personal data

    The economics of social media are simple. It is driven by two things, and two things alone — collect more personal information that can be transformed into targeted advertising opportunities, and create provocations that will tempt people to spend more time on your site so they can see those ads.

    To the extent that a new application can accomplish one or both of those goals, it would be a rich take-over target for one of the heavies.

    It must dominate a niche

    I am often asked what will overtake Facebook. We don’t need another Facebook … or Twitter or LinkedIn. The ones we have work just fine. Every hot new property has created a unique and independent niche instead of trying to topple the big players. The strategy on the social web is to find that niche, scale, dominate … and then figure out how to make money.

    It will be video-oriented

    While video consumption is huge, the amount of true innovation has been stagnant (for reasons well-articulated recently by Will Overstreet). This area is so ripe for change and growth that I predict there will be some real breakthroughs in the next 24 months.

    It will be wearable

    Of course Google Glass and the next wave of wearable technology will change everything. What will content and apps even look like when the Internet surrounds us like the air that we breathe and the entire world is a display screen? Read more…

    Social Media is changing every day, whether everyone supports it or not. It’s become a vital part of communication and marketing, and I only hope to see it expand more in the upcoming future. 

    I will be ready when the next big thing social media rears it’s head - will you?

     
  5. The 6 Things I Learned as a Social Media Intern

    By Amanda Cuteri

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    As the end of my final semester of college approaches, my internship at Epic Web Studios is coming to a close. Looking back, I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to dabble in social media campaigns before making my way into the workforce. I have learned plenty in the past few months, but here are my top ideas I can take away from this experience:

    1. LinkedIn is more than posting your resume online.

    A couple of weeks ago, Epic co-owner David Hunter was standing in the middle of the social department going on an impromptu rant about the fact that LinkedIn is one of the most crucial and underrated social media platforms today. Dave went on about connections, groups, discussions, networking and how playing up LinkedIn is the easiest way to get ahead in your field.

    About 5 minutes in, his lecture started to feel like a real-life “subtweet.”

    My LinkedIn account is beyond sub-par (if you want to be nice about it). A few hours ago, if any potential employer were to stumble upon my page, they would find out my name, that I’m a student at Edinboro and that I (maybe) live in the Pittsburgh area. But since Dave’s speech, I’ve been working on it.

    Truth is: LinkedIn always scared me.

    Working here and managing clients’ LinkedIn accounts helped me to conquer that fear. I now realize that LinkedIn is there to help users discover more about their profession, through other professionals.

    Being interactive on LinkedIn not only makes you stand out to potential employers, but it gives you a chance to educate yourself.

    Contrary to a soon-to-be-graduate’s belief, LinkedIn is not just one big, cut-throat job pool.

    2. You’re only funny when you’re not trying to be

    Most of my days at Epic were spent sitting at my desk, coming up with creative content for clients. What I’ve learned is that all of the one-liners and puns that had me cracking myself up didn’t usually go over as well with the clients’ audiences. Every joke that I was positive would have people slapping their knees usually fell flat, with only a handful of Likes or Retweets. It was almost as if they were all saying, “Good try, Amanda.”

    It was always the things I didn’t expect that would provoke the best reactions. Once, I came up with about six solid, well-crafted tweets for a client. As I was scheduling them, I threw in a couple of fillers that I didn’t think too much about, just to spread things out. Once all of the tweets sent out, my fillers got way more attention than my 140 characters of brilliance.

    At first I got really upset, but then I realized it’s like real life. People can tell that you practiced a one-liner too much when you literally recite it. The same is translated through text on the internet.

    You can’t over-think things.

    3. People love holidays

    Nothing brings people together like a random holiday. Have you ever met anyone that would refuse to celebrate National High-Five Day? National Waffle Day? National Give an Intern a Piece of Chocolate Cake Day? (Act like you didn’t believe that one for a second! But really, if you want to participate, let Emily and me know.)

    People love a good reason to celebrate, and if you’re the one reminding them that there’s a reason to, they’re likely to remember you.  So yes, random holidays get the people going.

    4. If there’s anything people love more than holidays, it’s cats.

    Or wiener dogs. Or bacon wrapped… anything.  

    5. Ask and ye shall receive

    Crowd sourcing is one of the key tactics that journalist are taught to hunt for, when looking for stories.

    Likewise, good marketing develops from customer feedback.

    Thankfully, we’ve grown past the times of man-on-the-street interviews and now social media can help us to strike up a conversation with anyone we want.

    Asking a question is the easiest way to evoke any sort of interaction from followers. It’s likely that if people are passionate about something, they’re going to put it out there. Do you want to know what your audience’s favorite ice cream is? Go ahead and ask them. You just redesigned your website and you wonder if your customers like it? I’m sure they’ll tell you.

    I’ve also learned that you don’t always have to ask the question to get an answer. With search engines, if people are talking about your company, you’re going to find out about it.

    6. People appreciate being heard

    Often times, people have made the comment that social media is “not your diary.” And that’s true.

    Social media isn’t your diary; it’s your soapbox.

    One of the biggest joys I’ve taken away from this internship is seeing how excited users get when one of our clients responds to them. People enjoy knowing that their voices have been heard and that somebody cares enough to join them and create a conversation.

    Because really, a status with no interaction can sometimes feel like you’re giving a speech to an empty room.

    There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that your efforts - no matter how small - got through to someone else, and knowing that even in the biggest market, your efforts aren’t going unnoticed.

    I never understood the hype when our clients interact with their fans until a few days ago. One of my favorite authors growing up tweeted at me, and I literally ended up doing cartwheels down the hallway. It was then I realized how crazy social media is.

    Here I was, talking with a big name author, across the country, about untangling necklaces - it’s weird, I know, but would this have happened 20 or even 10 years ago? Probably not.

    When it comes to social media, the medium may have changed, but the messages are still the same.

    People want to talk, we just need to join the conversation.

    Amanda Cuteri is a Social Media Intern at Epic Web Studios - a web development & strategic planning firm in Erie, PA - and a recent Communications graduate.

     
  6. Why Intern at Epic Web Studios?

    By: Emily Hanisek

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    On my first day as an intern for Epic Web Studios I was invited to sit in on the Monday morning staff meeting. I remember listening to co-owner of Epic Web Studios, David Hunter, pump up the staff about keeping up with SEO, crawling, Google analytics, mockups, and other website development related terms. My head starting spinning, because I wasn’t familiar with those words nor did I know exactly what he was talking about. However, with the instruction of my advisor - Angela Kelly - and some good old research, I now have a full understanding of many keywords used in the website development industry. I feel confident that I could easily teach someone else about what I have learned.

    Not only do I have a handle on the language of website development, but I also gained hands-on experience by helping build websites. During my time at Epic Web Studios I learned how to write content for websites so that it would reach a higher Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking. This taught me how to be more creative with my writing to improve the SEO while also keeping the content flowing and informative for the reader. I learned how to navigate and utilize Epic’s own in-house Content Management System (CMS) or backend of a website. Each customized detail in the CMS taught me the importance of SEO such as working on Meta descriptions, creating well-written headings, browser title bars and utilizing the SEO Toolbox for keyword density tools.  

    Although my internship position was content development, I also had the chance to observe and assist with the Social Media department. I was able to learn about different types of posts and campaigns that work to involve social media audiences. Utilizing social media to promote a business or company is fairly new, but still has rules and guidelines to it. I learned why it is so important for a business to have a good social media team, like Epic Web Studios, that knows what they are doing.

     For the duration of my internship at Epic, I gained a great amount of experience and knowledge about the process of website development. I learned about the importance a good website can play on the success of a business and was able contribute in the process by piecing together each essential component of a website. I was able to work on various types of projects and learned great tips and insights from Epic Web Studios’ trained staff. Overall, I am so thankful for this opportunity to intern at Epic Web Studios. From this experience I will take away knowledge of website development as well as some great memories. I recommend interning at Epic Web Studios to all of those who are eager to learn and who are looking for a great experience with a professional website development or social media team. Thank you again to the wonderful Epic Web Studios staff for this chance to grow and learn.