Web Strategy

CDG is looking for volunteers for user testing during the week of September 4th. We’re looking for female volunteers who are politically engaged and interested in women’s/feminist issues and social justice. We are seeking at least 2 participants under the age of 30 and at least 2 participants between the ages of 35 and 50. The test will take no longer than 1 hour, and will be conducted remotely; you’ll need access to a phone and to a computer with Internet access. We will schedule a time that is convenient for you, but the tests must be conducted during business hours between September 4 – 7.

You will receive $25 for your participation. If you or someone you know interested in participating, email Elizabeth@cdginteractive.org or call 202-872-9500 for more details. 

LightningThe recent severe thunderstorm event (aka the derecho) that raced through a large swath of the Midwest and Northeast on June 29 left millions without power--and very unhappy about it. Many of them took to social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, to express their displeasure with their utility companies. (Just check the accounts for @pepcoconnect or @domvapower for a sampling of customer sentiment.)

Responding to unhappy customers on social media is always challenging, but that challenge is magnified in a crisis or other severe event. Even if you’re not a major utility responding in times of natural disaster, any business would do well to be prepared to respond if a crisis hits. That’s why you need a crisis communications plan for your social media accounts.

Here are 5 tips for using social media platforms as part of a crisis communications plan.

  1. Respond quickly. If you wait too long after someone mentions you on Twitter or posts on your Facebook page, it looks like you aren’t paying attention or don’t care. No, you can’t spend 24 hours a day monitoring your account, but respond quickly when you are, and let followers know when the account will be unmonitored.
  2. Be authentic. Don’t just give the same canned response to negative comments; vary it so your account doesn’t seem like an unfeeling robot.
  3. Be polite. This can be a tough one, especially if thousands of people are venting virtual invective at you, but as with ordinary customer service, responding in kind will only escalate the communication. Keep it simple and keep it calm. “We understand you’re frustrated and we’re working quickly to resolve the situation.”
  4. Be transparent. Give us much detail as you can, as soon as you can. Once followers realize you aren’t trying to keep information from them, they’ll be more understanding.
  5. Have an end game. How will you continue communicating after the crisis passes? What will you share with customers to let them know how everything was resolved and what you plan to do to prevent or mitigate such an event in the future?

Remember, too, that your social media universe doesn’t just consist of Twitter and Facebook. If you have a YouTube channel, check for comments there. Ditto for other profiles your company has, such as on LinkedIn or Yelp. Don’t be afraid to call for help, either. If the level of response becomes too much for you or your team, augment your resources with a communications professional who can not only provide additional people power, but the experience to respond appropriately and quickly.

If you don’t know how you’d respond to a crisis, or who would be on your incident team, you need a social media crisis management plan. CDG Interactive can guide your brand through the process, from pre-incident preparation to response management and coordination to post-incident conclusion. Contact us today.

LightningThe recent severe thunderstorm event (aka the derecho) that raced through a large swath of the Midwest and Northeast on June 29 left millions without power--and very unhappy about it. Many of them took to social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, to express their displeasure with their utility companies. (Just check the accounts for @pepcoconnect or @domvapower for a sampling of customer sentiment.)

Responding to unhappy customers on social media is always challenging, but that challenge is magnified in a crisis or other severe event. Even if you’re not a major utility responding in times of natural disaster, any business would do well to be prepared to respond if a crisis hits. That’s why you need a crisis communications plan for your social media accounts.

Here are 5 tips for using social media platforms as part of a crisis communications plan.

  1. Respond quickly. If you wait too long after someone mentions you on Twitter or posts on your Facebook page, it looks like you aren’t paying attention or don’t care. No, you can’t spend 24 hours a day monitoring your account, but respond quickly when you are, and let followers know when the account will be unmonitored.
  2. Be authentic. Don’t just give the same canned response to negative comments; vary it so your account doesn’t seem like an unfeeling robot.
  3. Be polite. This can be a tough one, especially if thousands of people are venting virtual invective at you, but as with ordinary customer service, responding in kind will only escalate the communication. Keep it simple and keep it calm. “We understand you’re frustrated and we’re working quickly to resolve the situation.”
  4. Be transparent. Give us much detail as you can, as soon as you can. Once followers realize you aren’t trying to keep information from them, they’ll be more understanding.
  5. Have an end game. How will you continue communicating after the crisis passes? What will you share with customers to let them know how everything was resolved and what you plan to do to prevent or mitigate such an event in the future?

Remember, too, that your social media universe doesn’t just consist of Twitter and Facebook. If you have a YouTube channel, check for comments there. Ditto for other profiles your company has, such as on LinkedIn or Yelp. Don’t be afraid to call for help, either. If the level of response becomes too much for you or your team, augment your resources with a communications professional who can not only provide additional people power, but the experience to respond appropriately and quickly.

If you don’t know how you’d respond to a crisis, or who would be on your incident team, you need a social media crisis management plan. CDG Interactive can guide your brand through the process, from pre-incident preparation to response management and coordination to post-incident conclusion. Contact us today.

Christmas ornamentsThe weather's warming up, and it's time to start thinking about summer vacation, barbeques, and . . . the holiday shopping season.Yes, you read that right. It's not even June, but you should already be thinking about your end-of-the-year holiday strategy.

More than ever, that strategy needs to include a smart and efficient use of mobile platforms. Shopping in general is becoming more mobile-centric, and even more so during the holidays, when shoppers want to make the most efficient use of their time and dollars. If you (or anyone other decision-makers in your company) need convincing that mobile is a must this holiday season, consider these facts:

  • Up to 65% of consumers confirm store hours and location, prices or product availability using their mobile phone before even heading to a store.
  • 52% of US consumers use their mobile phones to search for information such as product reviews and competitive pricing while they are in the store.
  • Mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop search by 2016. This trend has led Google to launch a new smartphone-specific crawler to return search results targeted for smartphone users.

If you don’t already have a mobile strategy in place, the time to begin planning and executing for mobile is now. Otherwise you’ll discover that it’s too late to be ready when the holiday shoppers should be lining up at your store (virtual or otherwise).

And of course, "mobile strategy" is not just a fancy way of saying "mobile website." Yes, a mobile-optimized website is a good start, but it comprises only part of a comprehensive mobile strategy. An effective mobile strategy will include a variety of tactics, such as:

  • Optimizing your listings in review sites, Google Places, location-based social media (such as FourSquare)
  • Testing new search strategies for the smartphone crawler as people search differently on their phones than on their desktop computers
  • Creating mobile-specific PPC in addition to search optimization efforts
  • Using mobile-specific functionality such as click-to-call and geo-targeting
  • Incorporating QR Codes or short URLs in off-line channels to help customers find your mobile presence

If you need help getting "mobile-ized" for the holidays, contact CDG. We'll help you assess the behavior of your current mobile visitors, set goals, develop and optimize your mobile strategy and measure your success.

Photo Credit: Joe Buckingham on Flickr

Christmas ornamentsThe weather's warming up, and it's time to start thinking about summer vacation, barbeques, and . . . the holiday shopping season.Yes, you read that right. It's not even June, but you should already be thinking about your end-of-the-year holiday strategy.

More than ever, that strategy needs to include a smart and efficient use of mobile platforms. Shopping in general is becoming more mobile-centric, and even more so during the holidays, when shoppers want to make the most efficient use of their time and dollars. If you (or anyone other decision-makers in your company) need convincing that mobile is a must this holiday season, consider these facts:

  • Up to 65% of consumers confirm store hours and location, prices or product availability using their mobile phone before even heading to a store.
  • 52% of US consumers use their mobile phones to search for information such as product reviews and competitive pricing while they are in the store.
  • Mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop search by 2016. This trend has led Google to launch a new smartphone-specific crawler to return search results targeted for smartphone users.

If you don’t already have a mobile strategy in place, the time to begin planning and executing for mobile is now. Otherwise you’ll discover that it’s too late to be ready when the holiday shoppers should be lining up at your store (virtual or otherwise).

And of course, "mobile strategy" is not just a fancy way of saying "mobile website." Yes, a mobile-optimized website is a good start, but it comprises only part of a comprehensive mobile strategy. An effective mobile strategy will include a variety of tactics, such as:

  • Optimizing your listings in review sites, Google Places, location-based social media (such as FourSquare)
  • Testing new search strategies for the smartphone crawler as people search differently on their phones than on their desktop computers
  • Creating mobile-specific PPC in addition to search optimization efforts
  • Using mobile-specific functionality such as click-to-call and geo-targeting
  • Incorporating QR Codes or short URLs in off-line channels to help customers find your mobile presence

If you need help getting "mobile-ized" for the holidays, contact CDG. We'll help you assess the behavior of your current mobile visitors, set goals, develop and optimize your mobile strategy and measure your success.

Photo Credit: Joe Buckingham on Flickr

With all of the sexy new upstarts in the social media space (ahem, Pinterest), it’s easy to forget about the stodgy older kids on the block—specifically, MySpace.

“MySpace? People are still on MySpace?” That was the reaction from one of the participants in CDG’s social media roundtable earlier this week. “That’s the most surprising thing I’ve heard in a while,” she said.

It’s true, MySpace is creaky and aging, and to be honest, its long-term prognosis just might be terminal. But it’s not dead yet. As recently as last November, MySpace attracted nearly 25 million unique visitors; that's more than Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest.

Comscore_stats

It’s also worth noting that those 25 million people are disproportionately young and diverse and less affluent than the general population. According to a recently released Pew Internet study on teens and social media, MySpace—along with Twitter—is one of the most racially diverse social media networks. It’s most popular among Latino teens: 35% of Latino teens who are active on social media have a MySpace account, compared with 22% of Caucasian teens. Also, MySpace accounts are more prevalent among social-media-using teens whose parents did not attend college.  Thirty-two percent of those teens have a MySpace account, compared with just 18% of teens whose parents have at least some college experience.

These statistics are worth considering not because MySpace’s influence is likely to increase. Truthfully, unless there’s a drastic shift in the social media universe, MySpace will never again touch the dominance of a Facebook or a Twitter. But in 2012, ignoring MySpace altogether can work against you—particularly if you are trying to reach a niche audience that still has a significant presence there; for example, Latino kids between the ages of 13 and 18.

The larger moral of the story? Although things change at lightning speed, be sure to keep your eyes on the entire social media landscape and not just what’s emerging on the horizon.

For more guidance on social media channels and tactics, check out PowerUpSocial.com, CDG’s new resource about social media for business.

With all of the sexy new upstarts in the social media space (ahem, Pinterest), it’s easy to forget about the stodgy older kids on the block—specifically, MySpace.

“MySpace? People are still on MySpace?” That was the reaction from one of the participants in CDG’s social media roundtable earlier this week. “That’s the most surprising thing I’ve heard in a while,” she said.

It’s true, MySpace is creaky and aging, and to be honest, its long-term prognosis just might be terminal. But it’s not dead yet. As recently as last November, MySpace attracted nearly 25 million unique visitors; that's more than Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest.

Comscore_stats

It’s also worth noting that those 25 million people are disproportionately young and diverse and less affluent than the general population. According to a recently released Pew Internet study on teens and social media, MySpace—along with Twitter—is one of the most racially diverse social media networks. It’s most popular among Latino teens: 35% of Latino teens who are active on social media have a MySpace account, compared with 22% of Caucasian teens. Also, MySpace accounts are more prevalent among social-media-using teens whose parents did not attend college.  Thirty-two percent of those teens have a MySpace account, compared with just 18% of teens whose parents have at least some college experience.

These statistics are worth considering not because MySpace’s influence is likely to increase. Truthfully, unless there’s a drastic shift in the social media universe, MySpace will never again touch the dominance of a Facebook or a Twitter. But in 2012, ignoring MySpace altogether can work against you—particularly if you are trying to reach a niche audience that still has a significant presence there; for example, Latino kids between the ages of 13 and 18.

The larger moral of the story? Although things change at lightning speed, be sure to keep your eyes on the entire social media landscape and not just what’s emerging on the horizon.

For more guidance on social media channels and tactics, check out PowerUpSocial.com, CDG’s new resource about social media for business.

Clean_currentsCDG has a history of providing interactive solutions across a broad spectrum of dynamic industries. Few industries today are more dynamic than the energy sector.  With the advent of deregulation energy companies—and their consumers—face the challenge of understanding how energy consumption is changing, evaluating options, and exercising responsible choices. Mike Koch, CDG's Director of Business Development and owner of Firefly Farms takes a look at what’s on the horizon for the energy industry and discusses how interactive media can help bring the picture into focus.

I am a small business owner, interactive marketing professional, capitalist, and committed environmental protectionist.

Over the last few months, these sometimes conflicting passions have led me to educate myself on an industry that touches our lives and wallets virtually every moment of every day: energy consumption. 

One of the big questions consumers are asking themselves is: “How can I ensure what I consume is locally and sustainably produced?”  Witness the resurgence in our local food markets.

Framing that question around energy consumption, I started to wonder how many of us as consumers even wonder where we derive the electric current that literally powers our lives.  (Is it generated from oil? coal? wind? nuclear reactors? natural gas? Where is it generated?  What is its impact on our environment?) How many of us don’t bother to ask the questions, and simply take for granted that the lights will go on and the devices will recharge?

Educating Consumers Online

The energy industry is a heady, politically-contentious sphere where long-held monopolies fight for survival and consumer behavior is hard to change.  As one of many Maryland business owners who recently testified in the Maryland State Legislature regarding proposed Marcellus Shale Drillinga.k.a. “fracking”I’ve witnessed this contention first-hand.

However, in many states these energy markets are actively being restructured to increase competition and consumer choice.  With active deregulation at work, residential and business alike need to understand our options and how to exercise the power of choice.

Continue reading "Looking at Energy: Choice, Responsibility & Connection" »

Clean_currentsCDG has a history of providing interactive solutions across a broad spectrum of dynamic industries. Few industries today are more dynamic than the energy sector.  With the advent of deregulation energy companies—and their consumers—face the challenge of understanding how energy consumption is changing, evaluating options, and exercising responsible choices. Mike Koch, CDG's Director of Business Development and owner of Firefly Farms takes a look at what’s on the horizon for the energy industry and discusses how interactive media can help bring the picture into focus.

I am a small business owner, interactive marketing professional, capitalist, and committed environmental protectionist.

Over the last few months, these sometimes conflicting passions have led me to educate myself on an industry that touches our lives and wallets virtually every moment of every day: energy consumption. 

One of the big questions consumers are asking themselves is: “How can I ensure what I consume is locally and sustainably produced?”  Witness the resurgence in our local food markets.

Framing that question around energy consumption, I started to wonder how many of us as consumers even wonder where we derive the electric current that literally powers our lives.  (Is it generated from oil? coal? wind? nuclear reactors? natural gas? Where is it generated?  What is its impact on our environment?) How many of us don’t bother to ask the questions, and simply take for granted that the lights will go on and the devices will recharge?

Educating Consumers Online

The energy industry is a heady, politically-contentious sphere where long-held monopolies fight for survival and consumer behavior is hard to change.  As one of many Maryland business owners who recently testified in the Maryland State Legislature regarding proposed Marcellus Shale Drillinga.k.a. “fracking”I’ve witnessed this contention first-hand.

However, in many states these energy markets are actively being restructured to increase competition and consumer choice.  With active deregulation at work, residential and business alike need to understand our options and how to exercise the power of choice.

Continue reading "Looking at Energy: Choice, Responsibility & Connection" »

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