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    Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

    Stylish Business

    Posted on: March 16th, 2012 by Cormack Consultancy. No Comments

    Recently I have browsed through Pinterest boards (trying not to get too distracted by the magnificent photos they have there), looking for any Latvian person or enterprise using Pinterest in the way I would love it. And I found a great example, which is Creative Latvia.

    Creative Latvia is an online shop which sells clothes and accessories made by Latvian designers. However, it is not simply the online-shop, it is a hub for all talented and creative Latvian designers, and for those who are interested in fashion. Their blog, Pinterest boards, and Facebook page all make an impression of highly elegant company, where every image, blog or Facebook post are done with a real flair and a subtle but rather unique style.

    Their Pinterest boards have pictures with the items from the shop, but also with those repined from other users. When I browsed through them for a minute or two, I immediately got a feeling I want to buy something new for this springJ. Well, I guess that is a perfect message whish should be sent by a designer shop. Boards are filled with the pictures of different topics (cafes, style, cute kids, summer, etc), but all of them seem to be carefully selected and to fit one particular (very fashion-oriented) mood.

    I also looked through their blog, which is rather simple yet nice. Blog posts are easy to read and not overcrowded with information. I liked this one, about Clara Zetkin Style. The posts are usually filled with pictures and short pieces of text, so it is very easy to get the general idea. Fashion and style is everywhere again :) .

    In short, when all social media platforms of one brand are unified with one style and idea, then grasping it becomes very intuitive and easy thing to do. This is important thing to remember for any business, from a café to consulting company. Only when people immediately start feeling your style and way of thinking, they can relate themselves to you and, maybe, become your most loyal clients.

     

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    Social Media in Russia: different dimension again

    Posted on: February 23rd, 2012 by Cormack Consultancy. No Comments

    It seems like social media in Russia is a place for opposition to express its political views. And the closer it gets to the elections (4th of March), the more anti- and pro-Putin activity we see there. One of the most active platforms is of course blogosphere, where numerous bloggers from both sides attract thousands of readers. However, hackers from Anonymous have recently hacked the mailboxes of the 2 leaders from pro-Kremlin youth organization Rosmolodezh; and the leakage of emails revealed some unexpected facts about how the agiotage in blogosphere is being created. Kristina Potupchik, the press spokesman of the organization, was also responsible for attracting and remunerating people (simple users as well as quite famous bloggers) who wrote posts, comment, and discussions supporting the existing ruling party. Corruption also flourished there; judging by the content of emails which is now in the news, some people were complaining that they did not get any money, although it was planned in the budget. For example, blogger Ilya Varlamov should have been paid 400K Rubles (8.6K British pounds) for his 2 blog posts about Vladimir Putin and United Russia, but he didn’t get any money. However in the interview to BBC he claims that he never writes pro-government or “paid for” blog posts.

    The opposition, however, uses social media more like a place to inform people about the upcoming protest events, as well as to inspire people to demand the fair election procedure during the 4th of March. The closest event will be on the 26th of February, when protestants plan to make a huge live circle around Kremlin. The web page is in Russian, unfortunately, but you can see the map which indicates the place where the protestants will stand. Here is an article from Moscow Times about the event.

    Now it is about 1.5 weeks until the elections and we are really interested in how the events will develop further in social media as well as in official press.

    Related blog posts:

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    Blogs to add to your RSS

    Posted on: January 25th, 2012 by Cormack Consultancy. 1 Comment

    If you decide to follow social media news, you will find loads of blogs dedicated to it, but it might be difficult to choose which ones are worth reading. We decided to introduce you several blogs, which, in our opinion, are definitely worth adding to your RSS, and which will not overcrowd it with dozens of posts per day.

    Danny Brown blog. It has quite a famous blog with a lot of awards and truly interesting content. In every blog post you can see the personality of the author, be it a case-study, or a blog post with his opinion. Blog posts are not long (we are too lazy to read long texts), and often have a summary of main points made as a piece of advice, as in this one, about the first impression. I especially like short and sharp blog posts which apply an idea from a quote or another article to the area of social media or business in general, e.g. this one, “The Only Thing That’s Dead Is Your Crappy “Everything Is Dead” Meme”.

    Problogger. If you are a blogger or have a company blog, here you will find loads of great advice for your blog and simply for any kind of writing. The articles are organized as lists, and are very easy to read and skim through. Often they are quite funny and sarcastic, like this one, 13 Steps to Being the Worst Blogger on the Planet.

    Simply Zesty. This is a blog of social media agency with the same name. You can spend really a lot of time browsing from one article to another, as they write on very different topics, from gadgets to creative campaigns. Personally, I like a lot blog posts about different viral campaigns launched by the companies around the world.

    Social Media Today. This blog is written by contributors from marketing and PR companies all over the world, so the range of topics is really wide. The writing style is always good, so it doesn’t take much effort to find a relevant article in the amount of new ones by quickly skimming the headings. For example, now I quickly spotted 2 articles which are of interest to me: Community Manager Burnout and Why Twitter Isn’t Working For You.

    Dan Zarella blog. This is perhaps my most favorite blog. Dan Zarella combines social media analysis with quantitative methods of research, and produces excellent and very reader-friendly articles and infographics. Unfortunately he doesn’t write often, but each article is always worth taking a look at. For example the last one: What are the Best Times to Blog?

    What are your favorite blogs? Do you read them regularly?

     

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    Democracy is in action

    Posted on: December 12th, 2011 by Cormack Consultancy. No Comments

    We have written a blog post about a famous Russian blogger Alexey Navalny, and his battle against the corruption among Russian governmental authorities and corporations, which is largely done by the means of social media. Today we want to share more insights on it, in the light of the elections in Russia. In the country where there is only one independent elections observer organization, social media’s role gradually started to shift from providing entertainment to spreading the information which otherwise would be shut by local media and press.

    The parliamentary elections which were held a week ago showed that the governing party United Russia this time barely won a half of the votes, 49.5%, comparing with the last election’s result of 64%. Being fed up with the ruling party, which failed to deliver its pre-election promises, the population decided to fight against it with its own means. Being sure that the new elections will be falsified, Navalny in his blog provided very clear instruction on what should each responsible voter do in order not to let United Russia to win as many votes as possible. As the blog post is in Russian, here I will translate the main points:

    • Personal appeal is the most effective way of agitation! Choose at least 5 people who take your opinion seriously and ask them to vote for any party, but not United Russia
    •  Print any of the anti-UR posters and put them around your house, when you go for a walk in the evening
    • Send via Skype and emails any anti-party videos. There are plenty of them in the Youtube.

    The instructions were quite popular. The blog post generated more than 2000 comments, 1000 of shares in Facebook and more than 2500 in Vkontakte, as well as 480 Tweets and 407 “+1” in Google+.

    Moreover, there was announced a contest for a best song against the United Russia party, and the prizes were not bad: the first place got 3600 EUR! The page with the contest got 18.5 millions views in a several weeks.

    The voting process also wasn’t overlooked by the social media activists. There were numerous abuses recorded, which included the filling in the ballots for the absent voters, and so called “carrousel”, when large groups of people vote in different places with the fake documents. While the Western newspapers and independent observers were writing about these videos, the president Dmitry Medvedev denied their legitimacy and described the elections as “honest, fair, and democratic”. Meanwhile, there is a Youtube channel devoted to the cheating in the elections recorded by various volunteer observers. This video tells the story how the ballots appeared to be filled in before the official beginning of the elections (turn on the interactive English subtitles under the video on the right, if you look from the Youtube page):

    The next one is unofficial video shot in one of the schools, which was a voting place. In the beginning of the video someone holds a pack of ballots, seemingly just removed from the ballot box, and stacked neatly one on top of the other, as if being put all by one person (and all were marked for United Russia).

     

    “Democracy is in action”, said Mr. Medvedev after the initial results of the voting were announced, when United Russia had just under 50% of the votes. Perhaps the population of Russia gives this phrase a rather different meaning, when flooding social media with the blogs, videos, comments, and campaigns against the ruling party.

     

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    Creating Social Media Marketing Schedule

    Posted on: November 21st, 2011 by Cormack Consultancy. No Comments

    Ok, let’s imagine your business has a couple of social media accounts already. And you invited all of you clients and have quite a good number of followers. Now the main thing is to get used to managing your accounts regularly and always to send the right messages to your audience, which reflect the services and values of your company.

    There are 2 types of bad social media management practices out there:

    First is the “Collector” type – the accounts that exist only for collecting followers, usually these accounts never follow or like you back, there is no real value in them, because the authors are obsessed with the number of followers, not actual socializing and content creation.

    The second is the “Lazy” type – the account that was created and set up just because of fad and popularity of social media. These accounts operate for a short time and after just start to fade out due to lack of updates.

    Even a decent social media business page can exhibit a bit of both types of management. Just think about it: of course, deep inside our mind, everyone would like to have thousands or hundreds of followers…No matter, how valuable and attentive readers they are. So every company Facebook page, or Twitter account has some followers which are inactive and stay there only for the sake of numbers. And, let’s face it: sometimes people are lazy to constantly update the pages’ profiles, let alone reading relevant news and commenting your friends and followers.

    But if you try to create an internal schedule for yourself and stick to it at least for a week, the things will start to be much easier! It’s like doing morning gymnastics. The first two weeks you can’t stand it, but later you cannot wake up without it.

    Scheduling is the key

    You will need only a speck of time, 2 times per day in the morning and afternoon, to participate regularly in the life of your social media accounts:

    • Check Twitter and respond to any relevant tweets (use #hashtags to find them).
    • Check LinkedIn for new comments and discussions in the groups that you follow.
    • Scan Twitter followers for relevant conversations you can join.
    • Check your Facebook business page for questions to respond.
    • Scan Google Alerts for mentions in the internet and respond as appropriate.

    Schedule your updates with the help of software like Hoot suite and Sendible and gather feedback:

    • Monday: Schedule Tweets and Facebook posts
    • Join trending conversations and search for new content to join.
    • Respond the Blog comments during the week
    • Friday: Gather feedback and traffic information from Blog or Website.

    Some tips and tricks that can aid in SM management:

    • Create Twitter lists to filter your friend flow and help yourself in easier search of information
    • Scan and join LinkedIn questions and discussions that appear in networks that you are connected with.
    • Sent LinkedIn invitations to clients when beginning working with them
    • Ask for LinkedIn recommendations after successful work with your clients.
    • Add media content like Photos and Videos – this always attracts more audience.
    • Keep an eye for new social networking aids and networks to be savvy enough and reachable everywhere (by the way, do you have a Google+ Page?)

    Of course every company’s social media activity must be tailored to its needs, but following these simple steps will enable you to create a successful image and will help you to be always up to date with the latest news happening around your company’s social media space.

     

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    What Goes Together Like Salt and Pepper in Blogging?

    Posted on: November 15th, 2011 by Cormack Consultancy. No Comments

    While Cormack Consultancy has been blogging for a couple of months already, we decided to write a blog post where we will summarize the most essential tips on blogging. In short, the two main things which should always go together are Content and Keywords. They say content is the king, which is undoubtedly true, but it is also important to get noticed in today’s huge amount of blogs. Thus, we will share some valuable advice on keywords management as well as content creation. First, let’s start with the content creation and more simple things like formatting:

    1. Make it scannable. Sadly, blog visitors almost never read the entire blog post! So make the job as easy for them as possible.
      1. Make lists
      2. Use formatting to draw attention to the main points!
      3. Heading and sub-headings
      4. Don’t bury your main point, express it in the first sentences of the blog post.
      5. On average, readers stay around 96 seconds in your blog. So the blog posts shouldn’t be long, otherwise you will scare people away, as no one wants to read tens and tens of text lines.
        1. Write at least 250 words, but not more that 1000
        2. The main thing: you should write enough to comprehensively cover your topic and then stop.
        3. Link Like Crazy: link your post with relevant web pages. Give reader some hints where else could he go after reading your post.

    The more difficult part is to create a valuable content. The most important points  here are:

    1. Be useful to your reader. Identify the needs and wants of your target audience (by the way, Captain Obvious says that it requires deciding who is your target audience first J). Try to solve at least one of the needs with your blog.  And don’t write that “the key to losing weight is eating less and exercising more”.
    2. Write in a conversational personal manner, without being wordy.
    3. You need a GREAT headline
      1. 50/50 rule: spend half of your time writing, and half creating a headline
      2. 6 Useful questions to ask yourself about the headline.
      3. Make a research of the topic before writing! Maybe you will find something interesting, for example, the smell and taste of pizza can raise the sex drive in men.

     When you created your blog and have some 5-7 nice blog posts, it is important to ensure that not only your friends will read them, but also those people who google for the information related to your blog or business. So, you have to link your blog to the relevant keywords, and there is a magnificent tool which shows you what people actually do look for. Again, what would we do without good-old Google? Google AdWords Keyword Tool shows you the ideas for the keywords, as well as the amount of monthly global and regional searches (if you are interested in a specific region), and competition. Competition is the amount of advertizers bidding on each keyword relative to other keywords, i.e. how popular it is to use this keyword. Naturally, the more businesses use the particular keyword, the bigger chances you have to get lost among them. So try to chose the ones with lower competition, but still relevant. Here is what I got for Cormack Consultancy blog:

    After you have carefully selected the keywords, you can turn to this excellent instruction by Social Media Examiner on how to install a needed plugin into your blog and enjoy being a SEO expert for your own business.

    Maybe you have your own proven tips for successful blogging that you can share?

     

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    A Thorn In The Government’s Side

    Posted on: October 11th, 2011 by Cormack Consultancy. 4 Comments

    This blog post is dedicated to the Russian blogosphere LiveJournal, which is quite an interesting example of social media platform. While Russian media is not being a perfect example of free press, a new platform for expressing opinions is emerging, which is the blogosphere. In Russia, the most prominent blog platform called LiveJournal (LJ) is currently one of the most influential opinion shapers in Russia. As a result, it seems that the government started to attack the LJ in order to silence some of the loudest voices.

    Alexey Navalny’s blog, called by the Time magazine “a thorn in the government’s side”, is the 3rd most popular blog in the whole LiveJournal, with more than 50 thousand subscribers. It is the platform for uncovering the corrupt and seemingly legal actions of the government and big companies of Russia. The  most famous revelations include:

    1. The illegal action of Transneft, the state oil transport monopoly, during the construction of the pipeline East Siberia – Pacific Ocean, which cost around $4 billion for Russian tax payers.
    2. Embezzlement of $150 million by the officials of the Russian state-owned bank VTB.
    3. The massive “expenses for charities” of Rosneft which do not reach any charities.

    Navalny has a great influence among the politically active Russians. He was named the “Private Individual of the Year 2009” by the newspaper Vedomosti.

    However, not everyone admires the corruption-fighter. At the end of April 2011 a cyber attack, the first of its kind, hit Navalny’s blog as well as several other popular blogs in the Russian blogosphere. Interestingly, it happened just after Navalny had drawn huge public attention to Transneft’s case. This obvious coincidence did not remain unnoticed, and the ideas that the attack was initiated by the government began to spread. It seems possible that authorities tried to shut the powerful bloggers, such as Navalny, who, in turn, is “poking them with a sharp stick”.

    The most recent attack was at the end of July. Although even the blog of the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, was down for several hours, the public opinion still agrees that the attack was initiated by the Kremlin. While the Internet community remains upset and lost, Navalny and his followers claim that they are not going to move to other platforms. Taking into account the repetitiveness of the attacks, as well as their obvious targets, I am sure that soon the Russian governmental authorities will have to explain these actions in front of the voters, or take more actions in order to prevent them.

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