16 Days of Activism against abuse

first_imgImagine if, for 16 days, there was no rape, no child abuse. The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign challenges South Africans to declare a truce on violence against women and children – and, ultimately, to make it a permanent one.South Africa joins the global 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign in 1998. (Image: South African Government, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)Brand South Africa reporterImagine if, for 16 days, there was no rape, no child abuse. The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign challenges South Africans to declare a truce on violence against women and children – and, ultimately, to make it a permanent one.For the 16th year, South Africa is taking part in the global 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, which runs from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) through to International Human Rights Day on 10 December.With the theme “Count me in: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward”, the campaign will be officially launched by President Jacob Zuma in Reiger Park, Ekurhuleni, on 25 November.While the campaign runs only for 16 days each year, its objectives are reinforced by a year-long programme and a national plan to combat abuse.South Africa is still home to high levels of violence against its women and children, despite a world-renowned Constitution and a legislative overhaul that safeguards women’s and children’s rights.The government, business, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations and the media are all participating in the drive to increase awareness of the negative impact of violence and abuse on women and children.The campaign also aims to:Challenge the perpetrators of violence to change their behaviour.Involve men in helping to eradicate violence.Provide survivors with information on services and organisations that can help lessen the impact of violence on their lives.While the campaign runs only for 16 days each year, its objectives are reinforced by a year-long programme and a national plan to combat abuse.What you can doSouth Africans are urged to support the campaign by wearing a white ribbon – a symbol of peace – during the 16-day period to symbolise their commitment to never commit or condone violence against women or children.Other ways of supporting the campaign:Speak out against woman and child abuse. Encourage silent female victims to challenge abuse, and ensure that they get help. Report child abuse to the police immediately. Encourage children to report bullying behaviour to school authorities.Men are critical partners in the fight against the abuse of women and children. Men and boys are encouraged to talk about abuse and actively discourage abusive behaviour.Families must stick together to create a safe environment for women and children.Parents and adults can make sure that children are not exposed to inappropriate sexual and violent material.Volunteer some of your time and energy in support of a non- governmental organisation or community group working in your area to help abused women and children. Use your life skills and knowledge to help support victims of abuse.Donate some money to organisations working to end violence against women and children by making a contribution to the Foundation for Human Rights. Tel: 011 339 5560/1/2/3/4/5.Engage in online dialogues such as the Cyber Dialogues organised by Gender Links which provides a platform to share issues and experiences and offer solutions, with experts participating in the online chats. Gender Links also offers way for you to support recent survivors or gender-based violence. See the online pledge form.Get connected with important contacts and information published on www.womensnet.org.za.Seek help if you are emotionally, physically or sexually abusive to your partner and/or children. Call the Stop Gender Based Violence helpline on 0800 150 150.Report illegal guns to the police – according to the International Action Network on Small Arms Women’s Network, women are three times more likely to die violently if there is a gun in the home.Join a community policing forum (CPF) or community safety forum (CSF) to help fight crime in your area. For information on how to join, contact your local police station.Rhetoric and realitySouth Africa, according to non-governmental organisation Gender Links, needs to close the gap between the “rhetoric of gender equality” and the “reality on the ground”.Gender Links says the country has made impressive strides in recognising the roles and rights of women and children.The Constitution recognises gender equality as the cornerstone of South Africa’s democracy, and new legislation – such as the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act and the Domestic Violence Act – have been lauded for enforcing the rights of women.But more needs to be done. “Changing laws can be swift,” says Gender Links. “Giving them effect, and changing the mindsets that often render them ineffective, is a much more demanding task.” Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.,Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.,Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Evans Powhaton Century Farm history laced with triumph and tragedy

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The year was 1950 and there was excitement in the air on Powhaton Farm in Champaign County. The farm was one of the host farms for the National Plowing Match, sponsored by the National and Ohio Plowing Matches and the National Association of Soil Conservation Districts. It was the first “National” held outside of Iowa.Nearly 75,000 people visited the farms for the three-day, standing-room-only event that garnered headlines in newspapers around the state and nation for weeks prior to and after the event was held. The show even featured a test plot with the astounding goal of 300-bushel corn in 1950. The National Plowing Match was so noteworthy for the farm and community in Champaign County just south of Urbana that a historic marker stands to commemorate the event.That was a big day for Richard Evans in the same year he took over the family farm founded by his great-great-grandfather, Isaac Evans Jr., who had come from Virginia in 1812. Isaac’s father, at the same time, purchased land that is now home to the city of Urbana.President James Madison signed an original land grant deed to Isaac Jr. for one-quarter section for the 160-acre farm in Urbana Township of Champaign County. In 1830, Isaac received another patent deed for 161 acres adjoining the original portion of the farm.“Isaac purchased the land for $2 an acre. He had three years to pay it at 6% interest,” said Sue Evans, Isaac’s great-great-great-granddaughter and the daughter of Richard. “It was unsettled land and they probably had a single-bottom plow pulled by a horse. They had to clear trees and build a house. I am amazed at how they could do what they did. They raised corn and wheat and had cattle. A colonial farm was very self-sustaining. They raised their own food and had their own orchard. That was what they did for survival.”Land next to the original farmstead was home to a wool carpet mill and cider mill, general store, blacksmith, shoe shop, and doctor’s office in a small village named Powhaton, founded in 1847.“The next generation was William Strode Evans and he had one son, John Will who was my great-grandfather. John Will Evans married Melissa Jane Roberts who grew up just down the road in Clark County. John served in the Civil War. He farmed with his father and taught in a nearby one-room school. They had two sons, my grandfather, William Edgar, and Charles. Charles went east and opened a restaurant in New Jersey. William Edgar stayed on the farm. He was known as Ed,” Evans said. “My grandfather was known for being hard working and kind. He had one child, my father, Richard.”Richard’s life that followed was the familiar tapestry of farm life with threads of joy, tragedy and hard work woven together with a few unique things as well. The Plowing Match on his farm was undoubtedly a highlight in his farming career, but certainly not the only one.Richard’s mother (Ed’s wife) died when Richard was seven.“His mother kept him at home from school an extra year. She went to Grandview Hospital in Columbus to have surgery. My father sat on the front porch steps and watched his mother leave, looking happy and smiling. She had not been ill, but she did not survive the surgery,” Evans said. “So from then on, he grew up with just his father who never re-married. As you can imagine, they were very close.”At that time the farm was a Jersey dairy and they grew corn, wheat, oats and hay. They added a corn picker and a three-bottom plow — great advancements during this time. Richard grew up involved with every aspect of farming during that era. Richard graduated from Urbana Local High School and went on to the Ohio State University College of Agriculture to fulfill his boyhood dreams.“From the time he was a small boy, he told everyone he wanted to be a scientific farmer when he grew up, but he couldn’t pronounce ‘scientific’ and it always came out ‘scienticky,’” Evans said. “In 1930 he started college and came home every weekend to help his father on the farm. He was at OSU with Jessie Owens. Grandpa was injured, though, during dad’s senior year and he dropped out of college to come back to the farm and help. He really believed in education and always finishing what you start, but he put his goal aside and came back home and farmed.”Side-by-side the father and son farmed, growing closer all the while. Richard married and started a family. Then tragedy struck again.“My dad was plowing and my grandfather was behind him working ground with a disk and a spike-toothed harrow when a storm came out of nowhere and they started to bring the equipment in. My grandfather was driving the tractor over freshly-plowed ground standing up and he was hit by lightning and fell off the tractor,” Evans said. “My father looked back and saw the equipment circling. It had run over my grandfather three times before my father could stop it. He was 75 when he was killed. My dad was 38. I was 6.”After that, Richard continued the tradition of his forefathers farming the land. The dairy transitioned into a registered Hereford beef operation.“My father spent his life dedicated to soil conservation. He was an original board member of the watershed conservancy district and he was involved in all of the ag organizations,” Evans said. “My brothers left home after high school. One went into the Navy and was reported missing in 1961 during the Cuban Bay of Pigs Invasion, which was an unimaginable tragedy for our family. And my other brother has owned and operated a hunting and fishing resort in Ontario, Canada during his career. He now owns the farm adjacent to the bicentennial farmland. My mother passed away when my father was 80 and he continued to do all of the farming of nearly 500 acres by himself until he was 89, at which time he went into a crop-share program with a neighbor.”It was then he decided to attend to some unfinished business — his college degree.“In 2001 he visited the dean’s office at Ohio State where he was presented with a file folder containing his transcripts from 1930 to 1934. They discussed where his credits from nearly 70 years earlier would fit into today’s curriculum and he enrolled in classes at OSU to finish his degree work. Everyone else was using a laptop, and he had a yellow legal tablet,” Evans said. “He took classes one at a time, earning straight As, but then he was injured in a car accident and was unable to finish the remaining courses to complete his degree.”The accident finished his college career, but it was not the end to his interest in agriculture.“After the accident when he was in the hospital trauma center I visited him and the first thing he said when the ventilator was removed was, ‘How are the grain markets doing?’ I told him corn was at $7.42,” she said. “He immediately wanted to sell a Dec contract and asked for my help to accomplish the sale.”Evans had married a broadcaster and, for many years living out of the area, had come back regularly to help on the farm as she could from her home in Virginia.“When I retired it was my intention to come back here and be with my dad. He died three weeks before that happened at the age of almost 97. Dad and I were really close,” Evans said. “He always kept me updated on everything that was happening on the farm.”Upon returning to the farm in 2009, Evans beautifully remodeled the farmhouse — the third structure on the same foundation since the farm was founded in 1812. She is also in the process of refurbishing an old train boxcar brought to the farm in 1901 to store grain.At 72, Evans meticulously cares for the property on her own and farms the 300 acres of land on shares, marketing the grain herself and jointly making input decisions with the neighbor who farms it. She hosts a monthly “Grain Girls” meeting with a group of women farm owners and managers who meet to learn and improve their grain marketing skills. She sits on the foundation board for Clark State College that has been dramatically expanding its precision ag program in recent years. She also manages a scholarship her father started for agricultural students from Champaign County attending the Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.She feels very privileged to live and work on her family’s bicentennial Powhaton Farm.“I have a son and daughter, and they will take this over when I pass on through a generation skipping trust. Neither farms. My daughter is an architect and my son is in law enforcement, but I feel very confident that they will keep the farm and continue the legacy. I have six grandchildren. I keep encouraging them to not ever let it go,” Evans said. “Every day when I wake up and look out this window, as far as I can see is land that has only ever been farmed by my family. I am grateful for my ancestors. They were upstanding, hard-working people who loved the land and cared for it. This is a rare situation, and I realize how fortunate I am. It is humbling. There is no better life, but it is not an easy life. My father instilled his work ethic in me and the desire to keep this going. I stand on very broad shoulders.” John Will and Melissa Jane Evans were Sue’s great-grandparents. They were the fourth generation on the farm. His name is written in the train boxcar (J.W. Evans Aug. 8, 1901) being refurbished on the farm. The original deed for the farm is signed by President James Madison. This is one of the original barns. This is inside the train car being restored on the farm. Evans meticulously cares for the present-day property Richard Evans, Sue’s father, was know for his efforts in conservation on the farm.This painting depicts the first home on the farm. This is a painting of the first home on the farm. Sue Evans now owns the farm. She is the great-great-great-granddaughter of the founder Isaac Evans, Jr.last_img read more

No new car, but Apple is definitely working on autonomous vehicle OS

first_imgFor Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A… Related Posts Tags:#Apple#Autonomous vehicle#driverless cars#Internet of Things#IoT#Self-Driving#WWDC17 Tim Cook recently opened up on one of Apple’s most highly anticipated projects: autonomous cars. For the first time, during an interview with Bloomberg Television, Tim Cook revealed that Apple has been working on autonomous systems. This includes the type of autonomous technology powering self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles.This doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple is anywhere close to announcing a product. Furthermore, working on autonomy systems does not mean there will be Apple branded cars rolling down the highway in the foreseeable future, either. The word “systems” is very important.See also: Apple receives permit to test self-driving cars in CaliforniaApple could realistically license its autonomous system to existing manufacturers like Ford, Kia, GM, and others that they could use to add the technology to their vehicles. Apple already does something similar with its CarPlay system, adding Siri and making available additional app functionality from the driver’s iPhone.Hardware, software…or both?Then again, Apple has long been known for creating closed, all-inclusive systems that include hardware and software in one package. An actual Apple-branded vehicle designed from the ground up by Apple’s team is not totally out of the question, but reports nearly a year ago indicated that Apple was focusing more on software than hardware.Apple has been rumored to be working on this technology for quite some time. In April, it received a permit to test self-driving vehicles in California. The vehicle Apple was using to test its technology? A Lexus RX450h SUV. This puts Apple in good company, as both Alphabet’s Waymo and Zoox are using the same model in their road tests.It’s hard to say exactly when Apple will have something worth announcing to the public. Autonomous vehicles are hard, and companies like Google (now Waymo) have been working on them for nearly a decade.In the Bloomberg interview, Tim Cook referred to autonomous systems as “the mother of all AI projects,” saying it’s “probably one of the most difficult AI projects to work on.”center_img Ryan Matthew Pierson Break the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and… 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle…last_img read more

Carnival Cruise Lines Releases a Restrictive New Social Media Policy for Travel Agents.

first_img Social Media Topics: Originally published Dec 16, 2009 11:46:00 AM, updated October 01 2019 According to Tnooz, a travel industry news site, Carnival Cruise Line is introducing a new social media policy in 2010 that prohibits partners from using any Carnival trademark or intellectual property on social media websites including Facebook, Twitter, Linked in – without prior written approval.  This new change is being rolled out January 1, 2010 alongside a policy baring third party bidding on search terms.Carnival’s Policy Prohibits Travel Agents From Using Its Trademark on Any Social Networking Website or Blog. The new social media policy prohibits any travel agency from sharing Carnival’s trademark on “any profile, account, page, or post on a social networking website (including by example, but not limited to, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) blogging website (including by example, but not limited to BlogSpot.com, WordPress.com, etc.), Video Website (including by example, but not limited to YouTube, etc.), or any other website operated by a third party, directly or indirectly controlled or posted by Travel Agency (“Social Media Website”). “Travel Agents May Share Publicly Available Carnival Specials, But Should Seek Written Permission to Share Carnival Videos & PhotosAlong with the policy, a Carnival Cruise line spokeswoman, Jennifer de la Cruz, issued a statement articulating the intent of the new policy. Explaining that partners are allowed to represent the Carnival specials within social media as long as that information is publicly available.  “The intent is simply to try to ensure that our agency partners are working with us in how they represent the Carnival brand within social media. If an agency wants to tweet about a publicly available Carnival special, they are free to do so.  If they want to upload Carnival assets such as video, photos and other content, they need our approval. The objective is to simply ensure that our trademarks are being used in a coordinated and on-brand manner.”Some Inbound Marketers might find it unusual that Carnival is seeking written permission to share content that Carnival has created, including videos and photos. One of the cornerstones of Inbound Marketing is to create remarkable content that people (including partners!) want to share online and make it easy for them to do so. Is This New Social Media Policy Too Restrictive? While it’s understandable that Carnival would want their partners to be transparent about the relationship they have with the Carnival online, it seems a little out-of-touch for them to only allow partners with written permission to share Carnival content through social media (especially when they could potentially just share customer uploaded photos from YouTube & Flickr). Perhaps this was Carnival’s intention, but I wonder if this restrictive policy might prevent partners from sharing materials through social media at all. Pete Caputa, Manager of HubSpot’s Partner Program believes Carnival’s policy may be too restrictive, too. He says,“While I understand why Carnival has banned their partners from using the Carnival brand name on social media sites as a way to prevent partners posing as Carnival representatives, I hope it is not the only thing that governs how their partners interact with prospects and customers via social media. Though at HubSpot we don’t want our partners to position themselves as HubSpot and abuse our trademark, we do want to encourage them to continue experimenting and leveraging social media. We especially encourage partners to share any relevant content on our website with their followers (as long as they aren’t posing as HubSpot).”As the adoption rate of social media continues to climb, there is no doubt that more businesses’ will start trying to formalize the way that their partners communicate through social media. However, it’s important that you articulate effective ways of communicating online with your partners and invite them to share your remarkable content within their network, rather than exclude them from it.  Update: Tnooz is reporting that a Carnival spokeswoman is going to update the 2010 policy so it’s not as “far reaching.” Video: How to Use Social Media for LeadGenerationTeach your partners the right way to communicate with social media. Download the free video and learn how to leverage Twitter, Facebook andother social media sites to generate leads andcustomers. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: A Puppet’s Holiday Duet #HoHoHubSpot

first_imgBaby, It’s Cold Without Inbound MarketingRebecca: I really can’t stayUnicorn: But baby, it’s cold outside
Rebecca: I’ve got to go awayUnicorn: But baby, it’s cold outside
Rebecca: This evening has been …Unicorn: You need inbound marketing
Rebecca: … So very niceUnicorn: I’ll make your website optimized
Rebecca: My mother will start to worryUnicorn: Beautiful, what’s your hurryRebecca: My father will be pacing the floorUnicorn: Let’s go write one blog post more
Rebecca: So really I’d better scurryUnicorn: But my mane is soft and furry
Rebecca: Well maybe just a half a drink more Unicorn: Let’s check our lead gen while I pour 

Rebecca: The neighbors might thinkUnicorn: Baby, it’s bad out there
Rebecca: Say, what’s in this drinkUnicorn: Cold calls and ads out there
Rebecca: I wish I knew howUnicorn: To check your analytics now
Rebecca: To break this spellUnicorn: Your conversion rates, they sure look swell
Rebecca: I ought to say no, no, no, sirUnicorn: But our bounce rate is getting much lower.Rebecca: At least I’m gonna say that I tried Unicorn: Our marketing is giving me pride
Rebecca: I really can’t stayUnicorn: Baby, don’t hold out
Together: Baby, it’s cold outside Holiday Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:center_img Hu, the HubSpot Unicorn, is known for many things. First and foremost, he is known for his constant need to get his mouth washed out with a bar of soap. But more importantly, he is known for his ‘coming to light’ moment this holiday season, finally stopping the spread of those awful marketing myths and embracing inbound marketing.What most people don’t know is that Hu is also an amazing singer. How else do you think he gets all the ladies? So to celebrate the season, Hu and HubSpot’s very own Rebecca Corliss decided to duet an updated holiday classic in order to spread marketing and holiday cheer. The lyrics are listed below the video so don’t hesitate to sing along! Happy Holidays from HubSpot and the HubSpot Unicorn!  Originally published Dec 12, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016last_img read more

Google+ Status Updates Now Appearing in Organic Search Results

first_img Originally published Dec 22, 2011 6:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Technical SEO Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Since the debut of Google+ business pages just over a month ago, the following discourse has repeated itself in the inbound marketing world:Question: “Why should my business have a Google+ account in addition to all the other social networks we’re currently present on?”Answer: “Well, it’s Google, so you can bet they’ll be integrating these brand pages into organic search results.”Now you can literally stop betting on it! Finally, Google is amalgamating Google+ updates into its search engine results in two ways:1. Brand Page Updates in Organic Search ResultsWhen searching for a certain keyword or phrase, status updates are now appearing from actual brand pages. For example, when searching ‘HubSpot brand,’ a photo upload on the HubSpot Google+ account from November resulted on the very first page. Marketing Takeaway: This is huge, and it makes a big case for why your brand should create a Google+ business page and start sharing content there ASAP. If you already do, be sure to optimize your status updates. While your updates should be unique, interesting, and have a clear voice reflective of your brand, they should also be search engine optimized. Just as you include certain keywords in your blog posts to help them rank well in Google without taking away from the overall quality of the post, you should do the same for status updates on Google+. This will help you leverage your Google+ presence to increase traffic to your site from Google search, and well, will help you get found online!2. Personal Page Updates in Organic Search ResultsWhile company page updates are appearing in results, so are posts from other users (via their personal accounts) as they mention a brand and/or search term. For example, upon searching ‘Marketing Grader,’ a status update from HubSpot CTO Dharmesh Shah’s personal Google+ page is displayed as a result.Marketing Takeaway: Create valuable content to share via your Google+ business page that other people will be inclined to share. When a user shares a piece of content straight from a brand page by clicking the ‘share’ button under the post, the original text of that post is transferred over, as well as the commentary the user provides. This means that by creating valuable and optimized content, people who share a status because of its value will unknowingly help your ranking because of the keywords weaved into the original update. Pretty nifty, huh? What do you think of this Google+ integration? Can you think of any additional ways to take advantage of this?Image Credit: sasagg.pixnet.net Topics:last_img read more

Who Should ‘Own’ Social Media at Your Company?

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: It’s a common debate in many businesses. Just who should be responsible for managing my company’s social media presence? Sales? Marketing? Customer Service?Do you want our perspective? How about all of the above? For most companies, social media management is a function of the marketing department, but there is a slew of social applications for your customer service and sales teams, too. Wouldn’t your sales team like to know if their assigned leads were asking questions about your products on Twitter? And aren’t customers constantly flocking to social media to complain about or seek help with products and services? In fact, according to a study from Booz & Company, 75% of marketers using social media identify customer service as a primary use of their social media platform. That being said, only 26% of respondents in the same study describe customer service as a department responsible for contributing leadership to social media strategies.Let’s be honest. The old adage, “too many cooks …” needn’t apply to social media management. Marketing, Customer Service, and Sales can all have a hand in your business’ social presence, and it doesn’t have to be a headache. You just have to know how to organize it. So let’s discuss how you can create a social media management function that everyone can take part in — and profit from.Identify Your Contributors Let’s be clear: just because you shouldn’t limit social media management to only one department, doesn’t mean you should have a million hands in your accounts. As I emphasized a few sentences ago, you have to know how to organize it, and part of this organization involves designating a few key players. So before you move on, identify who these key players are from each department. Ideally, you’d have one or a few people (depending on the size of your organization) from each department who are responsible for helping to manage your company’s social presence.You should also assign one or two point people from one department to manage your company’s overall presence. Because the marketing function of social media requires a lot of content creation/sharing and frequent updating of social accounts, you’ll probably want your marketing department to ultimately drive your company’s social presence. These social media managers will oversee the day-to-day operation of your social media accounts, as well as implement and carry out any social media marketing promotions. Essentially, these people will field and ‘outsource’ any sales or customer service/support-related queries that pop up in social media to the designated sales and customer service contributors.Choose the Right ToolsFor social media collaboration to work smoothly, you’ll also need to implement the right tools. Otherwise, the “too many cooks …” adage will start to apply. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available that enable you to manage social media collaboration among multiple contributors. When you’re evaluating social media management tools, you’ll want to look for tools that give you the ability to do the following:Schedule updates for the futureSet up filters to monitor your business and keywordsMonitor multiple social networksSupport multiple collaborators Assign specific social media updates to your collaborators for follow-upBONUS: hooks up to your marketing software for closed-loop social integrationHootSuite, for example, is a third-party social media management tool that enables you to do all of the above. It even now integrates with HubSpot’s marketing software to give customers the ability to monitor their leads’ activities in social media, and better use social media for lead nurturing — a huge win for Marketing and Sales.Now let’s dive into each of your social media contributors and the roles they should play in social media management.Marketing’s InvolvementAs we mentioned, your marketing department is likely to have the most proactive social media involvement, as marketing’s main use-cases for social media are promoting marketing content and offers, and engaging fans and followers. Be sure your marketing point person is sufficiently balancing updates about offers, educational content, and content that engages (e.g. questions, visual content, etc.).It’s also Marketing’s job to work with other teams’ contributors to be sure everyone has the opportunity to share the messages and updates that are important to those teams. For example, the customer team might want to share news of an upcoming webinar specifically meant for customers or announce the launch of a new customer-only email newsletter that customers can opt into receiving. To make this more efficient, have your point people create a sort of social media editorial calendar for the social networks you’re participating in. Fill it with the marketing content and offers you plan to promote, leave some open spots for other team’s messages, and give them access to the calendar so they can add their desired updates. To make this seamless, set a deadline each week for when submissions need to be made, and then schedule the content on a week by week basis.  And as the point person/people for your company’s social media engagement, your social media manager(s) will also be responsible for monitoring mentions of your company, products/services, and industry terms. Make sure your point person routes questions to the appropriate social media collaborators in Customer Service and Sales as they arise. If you’re using HubSpot’s HootSuite integration, for example, and the point person notices that a lead in the HubSpot Contacts stream is asking a question about your product pricing, you might assign that update to your sales team collaborator who can either follow up directly or loop in that lead’s assigned rep.Customer Service’s InvolvementAccording to eMarketer, 46% of customers want to solve a problem when they’re engaging with a brand on social media, and 39% are looking to give feedback about a product or service. No wonder it makes total sense for customer service to have significant involvement in your business’ social media presence. That being said, using social media for customer service communication doesn’t go without its challenges. In fact, we’ve highlighted 7 of these such challenges and how businesses are tackling them in this past blog post. And while there are certainly challenges, that shouldn’t deter your customer service team from getting involved. After all, who is better trained and capable of handling a disgruntled customer or answering a nitty gritty product question — your marketing team, or a customer service rep? Do we even need to answer?Any customer service reps who are collaborating with your social presence should be at the ready to answer questions or respond to customers that your marketing point people can’t appropriately handle on their own. Whether your customer service team is using the same social media accounts, replying via a dedicated “Help” account, or contacting the customer through another method such as email (all are acceptable options, depending on your business), the customer service social collaborator should be following up in a timely manner and providing the most helpful assistance manageable. Furthermore, these contributors should be collaborating with the point person to communicate important customer-related updates that pop up unexpectedly, such as software outages or maintenance.Sales’ InvolvementLet’s not forget about Sales, folks. Your sales team is chatting it up with potential customers all the time, and knowing how to use social media to help them be more effective in the sales process can be a very valuable sales tool. And besides just responding to social media assignments from your marketing point people, your sales team should proactively be using social media to prospect as well as prepare for sales calls, follow ups, and nurture their assigned leads.If social media participation is new to your sales team, train them! Teach them how to locate their leads in social media to conduct some research in preparation for sales calls. Some marketing software, like HubSpot, may even show your sales team their lead’s social media account information, if available. Does the lead have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or another social network or community popular for your industry? Once the sales rep has identified them, have them scan the lead’s information and updates on these social media sites. Encourage them to learn about the lead’s interests and pain points and strategize about how they can leverage these insights on their sales calls. After they’ve been in touch, Sales can even use social media as another way to keep in touch with and nurture their prospects by sending leads links to helpful content and looking for opportunities to answer their questions so they stay top of mind.What other social media collaboration tips would you share? Should other departments be involved in social media management? If so, who? Originally published Jun 19, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Social Media Marketerslast_img read more

How to Audit Your Website for Improved SEO and Conversions

first_img Originally published Apr 23, 2018 10:41:04 PM, updated October 30 2019 Topics: Conversion Rate Optimization What Is a Website Audit?A website audit is an examination of page performance prior to large-scale search engine optimization (SEO) or a website redesign. Auditing your website can determine whether or not it’s optimized to achieve your traffic goals, and if not, how you can improve it to increase performance.When was the last time you gave your website a checkup?Download Now: Free 8-Week Conversion Rate Optimization PlannerIf you’ve never before audited your website, it’s been a while since you have, or you’re planning a website redesign in the near future, use this post as your go-to website audit checklist to make sure your website is primed for maximum SEO and conversion results.Keep in mind that in most cases, you’ll probably want to pair up with someone with a technical brain for this, whether that be someone in your in-house IT department or an outsourced party.The Benefits of a Website AuditBefore we dive into the things you should be keeping an eye out for as you’re auditing your website, let’s review some of the benefits of doing one. Here are some of the top benefits from a marketing perspective:Website Performance OptimizationWebsite audits usually evaluate a site not only for its content, but also for its technical performance.As a result, an audit will give you a chance to inspect the robustness of your website’s technical framework and infrastructure, assess how friendly your website is to search engines, and determine how easy it is for users to navigate and intuitively find content on your website.Search Engine OptimizationBy conducting a website audit, you’ll be able to identify any missed SEO opportunities and remedy any misguided or poorly executed SEO pitfalls (e.g. keyword stuffing, exact match anchor text links, etc.) throughout the content of your website.It will also allow you to re-focus your SEO efforts on users first and search engines second. This will safeguard you from constantly chasing changes to search ranking algorithms, meaning you won’t be applying misguided practices just to show up in the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).Conversion Rate OptimizationThirdly, website audits enable you re-evaluate the effectiveness of your website in terms of lead generation and conversion. As a result, you’ll be able to spot any previously overlooked opportunities to convert visitors into leads so you can add relevant CTAs, as well as identify deficiencies in your landing pages so you can optimize them to boost conversions.As you can see, assessing both the content and technical aspects of your website will open up opportunities to drastically improve the traffic and conversions your website generates.The 4 Assessments to Make When Auditing Your WebsiteLet’s talk about how to pursue each of the three benefits above, and what you should specifically be checking for in this four-part website audit.But first, enter your website into HubSpot’s Website Grader — this will give you a general overview of your website’s strengths so you can gauge your focus on each of the assessments that follow in this article.How’d you do? Got an idea of which website audit benefits you need the most? Here we go.1. Website Performance AssessmentIn the first part of your website audit, you should be focusing on how users navigate your website — from your homepage, to blog posts, to landing pages, and any related content in between.Make a list of the pages on your website and ask yourself the following questions to evaluate them for optimization opportunities: Is Your Website Optimized for Maximum Usability?The more visitors you can attract to your website, the more opportunities you’ll have to generate leads and, ultimately, customers. But only if your website performs well.As I’m sure you can imagine, just having a website does not guarantee results. As part of determining the overall efficiency of your website, your audit should check to make sure your site is designed with your visitors in mind. The design and overall navigability of your website should correspond with what a person would come to the site to seek out, such as more information on a business-related topic, resources, product/pricing information, testimonials, etc. This will largely depend on your individual business.The main goal here is to make it easy for people to get to the information they’re looking for. As a result, you’ll likely see conversion rates improve on their own.To audit your website for usability, consider the following:Are all the main value propositions of our business easily accessible via our main navigations/menu items?Do we have a simple yet intuitive website design and page layout? Make sure pages aren’t too cluttered; littered with ads, CTAs, or links; or void of internal links altogether.Are your conversion paths and/or shopping cart or checkout processes intuitive? Are there a ton of distractions along the way that could be creating friction for your site visitors?You might also consider doing some user testing with members of your target audience to ensure you’re effectively surfacing the content they’re looking for, and that they find it easy to navigate to the parts of your website they’re interested in.How Is Your Website’s Overall Speed?Are there excessive page sizes and/or long page load and server response times? Does your site go down frequently? Site speed can be impacted when image files are too large or HTML and CSS needs to be cleaned up, all of which can drastically improve your site speed.Ultimately, fast-loading and optimized pages will lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions. To quickly check a web page’s load time, download MozBar, a toolbar by Moz that you can attach to your browser for simple page analysis every time you visit a website.2. SEO AssessmentOptimizing the performance of your website is crucial to holding onto visitors, but the above question isn’t the only one you should be asking. You should also audit the content you’re publishing to ensure it’s actually solving your visitors’ problems.Is Your Website Content High Quality?As you evaluate your content for quality, think about it from your target audience’s perspective. Did this information leave me satisfied? Did it answer all of my questions? Does it give me all the resources relevant to this topic? Do I know what to do next?Keep in mind quality content should appeal to the interests, needs, and problems of your buyer personas; be interesting and well-written, provide valuable, thorough and detailed information about a particular topic; and leave the reader with next steps (such as calls-to-action, links to resources, etc.).If you’re still not sure if your content is high quality, evaluate it with this checklist:” How to Tell if Your Marketing Content Is Actually Valuable.”Is Your Website Search Engine Optimized?Make sure all your web pages are following on-page SEO best practices. To audit your content for on-page SEO, conduct a keyword analysis in which you do the following:Consult your analytics to review keyword performance. Which keywords are giving you the biggest gains in traffic and leads?Assess how well you’re factoring keyword performance into your content strategy. How much relevant content are you adding to your website to target those keywords?Review basic on-page SEO elements like URLs, page titles, meta description, and copy. Make sure keywords are included where relevant.To help you conduct an on-page SEO audit of your content, read the “Step-by-Step Guide to Flawless On-Page SEO,” which also includes a free downloadable on-page SEO template to keep you on track.3. Conversion Rate AssessmentWhile high-quality, search engine optimized content is a great way to boost your traffic numbers, it’s what happens once those visitors are on your website that really counts. Unless of course, you don’t care about conversions (ha!).Is Your Website Optimized for Lead Generation and Conversions?This is where optimized calls-to-action (CTAs), marketing offers, and landing pages play a major role in the performance of your website. Not only do they offer you opportunities to capture visitors’ information so you can follow up with leads, but they also keep your visitors engaged with your content and your brand.To audit your website for maximum conversion potential, ask yourself the following questions:How many marketing offers do I have in my content arsenal to gate behind landing pages?Do I have a variety of marketing offers that appeal to all my different buyer personas?Do I have any landing pages/conversion forms on my website to begin with? How optimized are those landing pages?Do I have conversion opportunities for visitors in varying stages of the funnel?Am I using calls-to-action effectively? Am I missing opportunities to include calls-to-action on various pages of my website?To learn more about CTA selection, check out our post, ” How to Select the Right CTA for Every Page on Your Website.”4. Technical AssessmentOnce you’ve addressed the three primary goals of a website audit, it’s time to loop in a developer or someone from your IT department for a technical evaluation. You could also hire an outside agency — just be sure to do your homework first.Keep in mind that there may be some carry-over from the three assessments above — website performance, SEO, and conversion rate. The technical evaluation, however, addresses all three to maximize the user experience (UX).Here’s what you should be looking for in the technical assessment stage of your website audit …Is Your Website Design Responsive?Does your website have a responsive design? Meaning, is it a mobile-friendly website? The usage of smartphones to access the internet is only growing. As of 2017, mobile devices account for half of all web page views worldwide. As a result, websites must be compatible with that growing demand.For more on mobile compatibility, check out our “Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering Mobile Marketing.”Is Your Website Error Message Free?Are response code errors popping up all over your website where there shouldn’t be any? Calling out 302-, 404-, and 500-level response codes can be useful to tell users that something’s wrong.However, having this happen is also an indication that someone isn’t cleaning up broken links and, as a result, leading users to dead ends. Find those error messages and clean up your broken links. Tools like Google’s Webmaster Tools or Xenu’s Link Sleuth can be very helpful for this.Are Your Website URLs Optimized?Does your site have URLs of excessive length due to keyword stuffing? Do they contain session IDs and/or include tons of dynamic parameters? In some cases, these URLs are difficult for search engines to index and result in lower clickthrough rates from search results.Learn more about SEO-friendly URL syntax practices in this helpful post from Search Engine Land.Does Your Website Have Too Much Flash or JavaScript?Identify areas of your navigation that are entirely Flash or JavaScript. Search engines have challenges reading and accessing these, which could prevent your site from getting indexed.Furthermore, these elements present problems from a usability perspective. Visitors are often looking for a very specific piece of information when visiting your site; if they have to sit through a 10-second visual introduction before they can find your hours of operation, you’re going to have a pretty frustrated visitor on your hands.Is Your Site Structure Optimized for Search Engines?We already talked about site structure as it relates to accessing content and usability for users, but it’s also important to make sure your site structure is optimal for search engines. If pages on your site are not internally linked to from other pages on your site, those pages are less likely to be indexed.Learn more about effective site structure for SEO in this Moz article.Are You Defining How Your Web Pages Are Crawled and Indexed by Search Engines?This can be done through various methods that include everything from robots files and tags, to sitemaps. These measures are a way for you to guide search engines toward your website’s most useful content.Robots Files or TagsThe robots meta tag lets you utilize a granular, page-specific approach to controlling how an individual page should be indexed and served to users in search results. These tags should sit in the section of a given page.The robots.txt file, on the other hand, is a text file that allows you to specify how you would like your site to be crawled. Before crawling a website, search engine crawlers will generally request the robots.txt file from a server. Within the robots.txt file, you can include sections for specific (or all) crawlers with instructions (“directives”) that let them know which parts should or should not be crawled.Public and XML SitemapsYour website should also have public and XML Sitemap files. The public sitemap is one that users can access to review the pages of your site, like the index of a book.The XML Sitemap is for search engines to review pages that get added to your site, all in one place. The usual location of a sitemap.xml file is www.domainname.com/sitemap.xml. The XML Sitemap is something every website should have; it offers an opportunity to tell Google and the other search engines what pages on your site you want to be crawled and indexed.While search engines don’t guarantee they will abide by your sitemap, anecdotal evidence has proven time and time again that XML Sitemaps help provide insurance that your pages are found, and found faster — especially if your sitemap(s) dynamically update your new web pages.Are You Defining Canonicalization of Content?The canonicalization of your website content is the final major technical consideration to make. To gain more control over how your URLs appear in search results, and to minimize issues related to duplicate content, it’s recommended that you pick a canonical (preferred) URL as the preferred version of the page.You can indicate your preference to Google in a number of ways. One such way is to set the Canonical Tag (rel=”canonical”) in an HTTP header of a page. Be sure to have someone check that the Canonical Tag is properly implemented across the site by making sure it points to the correct page, and that every page doesn’t point to the homepage.It’s important to establish an audit framework early on. Ask yourself questions ideally centered around gauging “How am I doing?” These questions may also include things like, “How does this compare to others, especially my competitors?”Website audits aren’t easy, especially if you’re not totally tech-savvy. For additional resources, check out this article by Distilled, which highlights a list of tools to use as you conduct your technical audit; as well as this complete site audit checklist by SEER.I also recommend passing the Google Webmaster’s Guide along to anyone implementing this kind of work. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Create a Google+ Event [Quick Tip]

first_imgGoogle+ has a slew of amazing features and hidden gems that may or may not come in handy in your marketing, but Google+ Events are definitely one feature that every business should consider taking advantage of. Whether your company is hosting a webinar, industry conference or event, employee BBQ, happy hour, hackathon, or something else… Google+ Events can help you get the word out and amplify the reach of your event.One of the biggest benefits of Google+ Events is the fact that anyone using Gmail or Google Calendar will easily be able to add the event right onto their calendars. With just the click of a button, all the information and details about that event will populate in their calendars. What a time saver! Furthermore, the event will automatically be added to the Google Calendars of anyone who is already in the Circles you invite.What’s more — these events are fully customizable, and you can invite entire Communities at the same time.So, what do you say? Are you ready to get started? Great! Let’s run through the steps for setting up an event on Google+.How to Create a Google+ EventStep 1: Click on the ‘Events’ TabNo matter which section of Google+ you’re looking at, if you’re logged in to your company account, you will see a sidebar on the left-hand side of the page. This sidebar includes options to select Home, Profile, Pages, Hangouts, Communities, Events, Photos, and More. In this scenario, you’ll want to click on the ‘Events’ tab, which is listed as the sixth icon from the top.Once you’ve clicked on the ‘Events’ tab, you’ll be directed to a page that will guide you through creating your event. The images you see are various options for event cover images, and above these you’ll see a bold, red button that says ‘Create Event.’ Step 2: Click ‘Create Event’Once you’ve clicked on the ‘Events’ tab, you’ll be directed to a page that will guide you through creating your event. The images you see are various options for event cover images, and above these you’ll see a bold, red button that says ‘Create Event.’Step 3: Fill in Your Event InformationOnce you’ve clicked on the red, ‘Create Event’ button, an event template will pop up where you can add your event information. Is this event a Google+ Hangout? Is it a webinar? A live talk for employees at your company? Be as specific and explicit as possible, and make sure you fill out every form as best you can. Tip: It’s best to include both a start and end time for your event so folks using Google Calendar can add the event to their calendar without any question about the event’s end date. Once you have sizing down pat, upload your image, and test it out. Keep in mind that you should leave some white space open in the bottom left corner, because on the final event page, this space will be taken up by your event’s title, as you can see in the image below: Voilà! You’ve successfully created an event for your business on Google+. Once the event is over, you still have the option to communicate with folks who attended through the Event page. This is a great place to upload photos of the event, give any updates about next year’s event, etc. Have you ever created a Google+ Event? What types of events will you try this with? Step 4: Customize Your Event’s Cover PhotoTo customize your event, click the transparent grey, ‘Change Theme’ button in the bottom left corner of the current cover image you see (see image above). Once you’ve clicked this button, you’ll be brought to a page that shows you a variety of options for your Google+ Event’s cover photo — all provided by Google. Email Inbox Tips Step 5: Add More Details Via the ‘Advanced’ TabBut wait … there’s more! To add even more information to your event, under ‘Event Options,’ click ‘Advanced.’ Remember those “advanced” fields I mentioned earlier? See how the URL showed up in the bold, ‘Official Website’ section of the event description?The Final Product:Your final Google+ Event page will look something like this:And when the event is shared in a Google+ Community or on a Company Page, it will look something like this: Here, you can add a URL and other details for your event: Here’s how you event might look in edit mode up until this point: center_img Of course, if you’re a DIY design whiz, you’ll probably want to upload your own cover photo. Creating a cover image that’s unique to your company and your specific event is a great way to differentiate it from any other created by the people you’re following. Consistency is key here. Don’t believe me? Check out these 15 businesses we admire for consistent, stellar branding. They’ve got it down to a science, and it really makes an impact.To upload your own cover photo, choose ‘Upload’ from the list of theme options: Step 6: Invite GuestsOnce you’re satisfied with your event, you can start inviting guests. Depending on who the target audience for your event is, you can add specific Circles, Communities, email addresses, or simply make the event public on your company page. Once you’ve added the names of the people you think would be most appropriate for this event, click the green ‘Invite’ button. Remember, the beauty of Google+ Events are that they automatically get added to the Google Calendars of the people in the Circles you invite. Once you’ve published your event, the description will look something like this: Originally published Apr 6, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated October 01 2013 Some social networks will allow you to choose a photo of any size, and will resize it to fit the dimensions of the cover photo. But because the cover photo for Google+ is so long and narrow, you’re going to have a hard time using a pre-existing image without resizing it. Your best bet is to create a custom image that’s exactly 940 pixels wide by 280 pixels tall. By clicking ‘Advanced,’ you’ll be able to notify people that this is a Google Hangout, an on-air event, or provide a URL where people can learn more about the event. This is particularly important if your official event registration is located elsewhere, which will most likely be the case.To add a URL, click ‘Show Additional Fields.’ Don’t forget to share this post! 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Generating Leads on Twitter Just Got Easier: Get Started With Lead Gen Cards

first_img Originally published Aug 30, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Twitter Marketing A few months ago, we told you that Twitter was testing out Lead Generation Cards. The bad news was that it wasn’t rolled out to everyone … until now!Yesterday, Twitter opened up its Lead Generation Cards to everyone. You get a Twitter Lead Generation Card! And YOU get a Twitter Lead Generation Card! Leads for everybody!We wrote about the news in great detail back in May, but let’s go over it again real quick for those who missed it the first time.What Are Twitter Lead Generation Cards?Well first, what are Twitter Cards? Well, you know when you expand a tweet and you sometimes see some multimedia content sitting below it? That’s a Twitter Card. You’ll see it on Twitter.com, or in Android and iOS applications. The Lead Generation Card is a way to use Twitter Cards to generate leads directly within a tweet. (Bear in mind, these occur only within Promoted Tweets.) It’s a great way to generate new contacts because the user’s information — name, email address, and Twitter username — are all automatically pulled into the Card.  All users have to do is click ‘Submit’ on the Twitter Card.Why Is This Cool?Well, because it makes generating leads on Twitter easier. Mashable shared some interesting data on how Twitter Lead Generation Cards are performing for some companies. “In a case study quoted on Twitter’s blog, outdoor gear and apparel company Rock/Creek saw a 4.6% engagement rate and generated more than 1,700 new email contacts in one week by using a Card within a Promoted Tweet.”Its offer? Win a free pair of sandals if you share your email address. See how this could apply to, ohhh I don’t know, a whitepaper? Yeah — me too. Twitter will also offer specific analytics that show you leads generated, your spend, and the cost per lead for any campaigns you run with Twitter Lead Generation Cards.How Do You Set Up Twitter Lead Generation Cards?If you’d like an in-depth, step-by-step tutorial, we’ve already written one out for you — you can access it here. Here’s the truncated explanation for those people in life who don’t like to read the instruction manual. ;-)Register your business with a Twitter ad account.Set up a CRM end point integration so you can keep track of your leads generated from Twitter Cards in your CRM. This is the list of CRMs Twitter integrates with — HubSpot is one of them.Create your Twitter Card by going into the Twitter Advertising Interface. Once logged in, you can find Cards under “Advertising” in the top left corner of your screen.Once you hit “Create New Card,” insert a Card image, a description of your offer, and a call-to-action.Then, you’ll need to submit a few URLs so Twitter knows where to send users that engage with your Cards.Then you’re done! Now … go get started with some Twitter lead generation, eh?Are you excited for Twitter Lead Generation Cards? Do you think they’ll help you generate more leads on Twitter?Image credit: Rosaura Ochoa Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more