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Selfie-Mania: The New Narcissism?

Selfies. Acts of shameless vanity self-captured with a smartphone. So popular they’ve recently landed their own dictionary definition. Via Miriam Webster 2015: “an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.” Selifes inundate our social media channels and our newsfeeds- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it. There’s the duck face selfie. The bathroom selfie. The gym selfie. The bed selfie. The car selfie.

Is all this selfie-mania merely playful fun? Or, is it indicative of underlying anti-social personality traits? A recent Ohio State University study suggests the latter.

 

Selfie-Study
In this recent study, 800 men between the ages of 18 – 40 were asked to fill out an online survey, indicating their photo posting habits on social media outlets, such as Facebook. The questionnaire addressed specific behaviors, for example: do you edit your photos prior to posting? Then, following this targeted questionnaire, the men were asked to fill out a second standard psychological test – used to assess self-objectifying behaviors, narcissism, psychopathy, and other anti-social behaviors.

To clarify these terms: “objectification” refers to being overly focused on one’s personal appearance; outward appearance determines one’s sense of self-worth. “Narcissism” refers to an over-inflated self-image, extreme self-centeredness and a grandiose view of oneself. While “psychopathy” involves a lack of empathy and highly impulsive behavior.

Through the combination of these two tests – the linkage between selfie-posting behaviors and anti-social personality traits were carefully assessed.

 

The Verdict on Selfies
After reviewing and assessing the two questionnaires side by side – the verdict rang in on selfies. There does in fact prove to be a direct and obvious correlation between the frequency and quantity of selfie-photos posted–with personality disorders like narcissism and psychopathy. In the specific breakdown, posting more frequent photos correlated with both narcissistic and psychopathic traits.  Actually ‘editing’ the photos before posting was associated solely with narcissism. The timing of posts– ie: posting photos immediately without any editing– is indicative solely of psychopathy.  The study’s lead author Jesse Fox sums it up: “That makes sense because psychopathy is characterized by impulsivity. They are going to snap the photos and put them online right away. They want to see themselves. They don’t want to spend time editing.” Fox continues to conclude that editing the photos indicates higher levels of self-objectification. He states, “With the growing use of social networks, everyone is more concerned with their appearance. That means self-objectification may become a bigger problem for men, as well as for women.”

 

Analyzing the Results
The results of this analysis doesn’t automatically peg these selfie-posting men as psychopaths or narcissists. However, it does indicate that they scored higher than others in these anti-social traits, while still falling within the normal range of behavior. Still, this is a ‘danger zone.’ As our dependence to social media continues to grow – these unhealthy behaviors are at risk of growing along with it.

Interestingly, a similar study has not yet been conducted on women – who, generally, tend to surpass men in their selfie-posting quantity and frequencies. As selfie-ism continues to pervade our social media channels – more of these speculative, analytical tests are certain to follow.

 

Social Media on a Whole
Taking a look at social media on a whole – there have already been previous studies conducted that also indicate a correlation between excessive social media usage and low self-esteem or narcissism. On the spectrum of low self-esteem, some individuals may feel worse about their own lives, as they are continually comparing themselves to their “friends” depicting their lives in positive- even boastful- ways. We all know the type. The perfect family, the perfect job, the perfect home, the exotic vacation selfies. It can give one a warped view of reality- thinking that everyone is living vibrant, rich lives- which is often a misrepresentation.

On the narcissism spectrum, this self-inflated image can come through having an exorbitant numbers of social media “friends” or “followers”– and believing that is a direct reflection of reality. When, in fact, these types of social media relationships can be anything but truly “social.”

This rapidly growing trend of smartphones, equipped with cameras, put the realm of social media right at our fingertips. Checking our email, being inundated by status updates, hearing the immediate ‘ping’ of a new message – makes social media a constant and tireless part of our

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Video-sharing: A How –to Guide for Online Businesses

Adding video to your internet marketing strategy shows creativity. By adding a new medium of content delivery, you can highlight your capabilities in an easy, dynamic medium.

A quick look around on YouTube shows you just how easy it is to capture, upload, and share video content. If the kid who recorded his cat hanging from a ceiling fan can do it, so can you.

What you need to share videos

The most difficult part of the video-sharing process is planning your video’s content—the technical process is that easy.

Google, Yahoo, AOL, and MSN offer video options, as do video specific sites (i.e. YouTube, MetaCafe.com, Blip.tv, Veoh.com, Break.com, and DailyMotion.com).

You need a recording device: camcorder, video function of a digital camera, camera phone, or webcam. Select your device wisely to ensure high resolution and quality. You will also need a computer with an internet connection. A broadband connection will be the quickest.

You can share your video on the internet with or without video-editing software.

If you do not have video-editing software, you can use the direct recording function on sites like YouTube and Blip.tv. This necessitates a one take recording from your webcam. You can rather purchase a webcam equipped computer or buy an external webcam. Using this method gives your video a vlog or ‘video-blog’ feel.

This is an easy way to start sharing video; you can also use it as practice.

Steps to use direct recording to share your video

First, connect your external webcam to your computer using the attached USB or FireWire cable. If you have a built-in webcam, then turn it on. Focus your camera and turn it to the right angle or position.

Second, find the direct recording section of the website. These sites are user-friendly and name things intuitively. For example, YouTube calls their direct recording page ‘Quick Capture.’
Start recording.

After you finish, the site will automatically compress the video to it’s specifications. Be sure to title your video and add easy to search tags.

How to import a video from editing software

Once you have recorded your video, import it to your computer.

Video software is easy to find and use. Some common professional options are Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, or Final Cut Pro.

These video-editing software options offer flexibility and creativity by giving users the ability to combine clips, add slides, transitions, and music—giving your video a more professional feel.

When you are ready to upload your video, use the Export function to compress the video. The export menu will offer you resolution, frame rate, and file type options. Windows.avi, QuickTime, .mov, and .mpg are common video file extensions. Keep in mind recommendations your upload site of choice may have. For example, YouTube specifies a file size limit of 1GB and a length of 10 minutes and recommends a MPEG4 format, with a 640×480 resolution.

Login to the site and follow the directions to upload the video.

As with direct recording videos, it is important to title and tag your video with keywords to ensure your video can be searched and used as part of your marketing strategy. Get started today developing your vlogs and see how popular your website can become—and it can become popular practically overnight, in some cases!

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Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days, a book review by Mark Bove’

Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days – Book Review

By Jay Conrad Levinson and Al Lautenslager

Any business that is interested in staying in business also needs to have specific tactics for marketing. This is one of the most important ideals to develop in order to be effective in what you are promoting. The book Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days is one that allows those in business to have specific attacks for marketing their business effectively. These tactics are not only shown through throwing ideas out, but by giving you, as an entrepreneur, a 30 day calendar of guerrilla marketing plans to enhance your business. Following is the break through of the 30 days for marketing offered in the book.

Day 1: The first step to take is preparation. This means that your mindset needs to be prepared and ready to build prospects and ideas that are related directly to marketing. Day 1 includes everything about developing the right mind in order to work towards success with the tactics that can be used.

Day 2: The best way to reach the end is to start at the end. Day 2 involves setting the goals, vision and ideals that you want in order to achieve your marketing goals. These should be realistic, prioritized and broken down into action steps to get over possible difficulties.

Day 3: When you gain knowledge, you gain power. This is what Day 3 is all about. You will learn about your competition, research the possibilities, understand your target markets and test out products or services in order to find the potential.

Day 4: After you gain the knowledge and know your research, you can define a target market. Knowing where to aim is half the battle in learning to compete as well as finding those who would be interested in what you have to offer.

Day 5: Position your opening statements in order to draw the right attention. This means that you have to be able to reach your target market by identifying yourself, what you offer, the benefits and values.

Day 6: Find your niche. One of the benefits of being an entrepreneur is that you don’t have to reach everyone. In fact, you don’t want to. Finding your specialization in the market will help you to focus even more on getting the potential customers you want.

Day 7: Now that you have the knowledge, the beginning of implementing it is through planning. Day 7 includes building your marketing plan and strategy for success. The idea is to keep it simple, focused, with a vision, and with the ability to implement action.

Day 8: This day is about creating advantages that your customers will gain through your strategy. You want to think about how your customers will gain from choosing your business over others.

Day 9: Create an identity. This doesn’t mean that you need a logo or image. Instead, identify who you are as a business, what your abilities are and what makes you special.

Day 10: Day 10 is about getting the word out. In order for your marketing plans and strategies to be a reality, it takes learning how to use marketing communication essentials in order to build the correct approach to letting others know about your business. This includes building creative plans, action plans and marketing steps.

Day 11: Advertising is the next step in building your business marketing plan. This doesn’t mean going out on a limb to state what your business is about. Instead, it is finding a message, finding ways to reach your market and knowing all of the components that fulfill the idea of an ad that can truly reach those you want.

Day 12: Not only should advertising be done through specific portals, but also by letting others know about your business. Building networks of individuals that you can create a relationship with is your next step to keeping your marketing substantial.

Day 13: Once you have built individual relationships, why not step it up a notch? Connecting with other businesses through the use of fusion marketing and building alliances that support other businesses as well as yours can help in building your network and marketing.

Day 14: Another combination to add to your marketing is direct selling. This is a simple way of letting others know what you have available through contacts and building a relationship that results from the sale.

Day 15: Preparing for other options in marketing can also be included. Day 15 teaches you how to work on using the telephone for your sales.

Day 16: Everything you market should be seen in writing. Having printed sales sheets, brochures and collateral that represent your identity correctly are just as important with your sales.

Day 17: Move the print into one more step with a stamp for marketing with direct mail. If you are going to do this, be sure to focus on providing a complete mailing message.

Day 18: One of the most powerful marketing tools happens at this point, which includes radio, television and cable TV. Understanding the alternatives for promotion on this particular level will help you to move into a target market in your locality that has been looking for your identity.

Day 19: The next step is to focus on marketing hooks, which enables you to move your potential customers into action and into your business.

Day 20: No matter what your level of business is, never forget to keep everything about reaching others. Public relations allow you to do this by spreading the news of your business to the community through media means.

Day 21: If you want to continue to be in business, make sure you have an outline of how you will stay. A marketing calendar that will show you when to implement new markets, how to do so and the cost will help you to take the steps needed for your marketing plan.

Day 22: Using alternative marketing can also be part of the attack plan for success. Using coupons for discounts, contests for the community and speeches for the public can help to peak the interest of your expertise and your business.

Day 23: Of course, a marketing plan is never complete without online marketing. This introduces web sites, communication through e-mail and search engines.

Day 24: The idea of online marketing is so large, that it continues into two days. Understanding how to use online content tools for consistent communication can help enhance your business marketing plan.

Day 25: Getting recognized in the public is another step to success in the market. Trade shows and expos are some of the best ways to do this and to get a large amount of customers from the opportunity.

Day 26: In the relationship building sector of your business, it is always good to keep it continuous through newsletters. This serves as a friendly reminder to your customers and with the right look, it can help you to keep your image in their minds.

Day 27: Of course, all of the planning and marketing tools will need to have cost and budgeting related to them. It will be important to analyze everything that you are going to do and to find the cost that it will take to do so. Make sure that this is flexible and works with you.

Day 28: Now you have your plan, or your ‘blueprint.‘ Day 28 is your beginning to taking these steps and putting them into action for your market.

Day 29: Once you begin to understand your market and can implement your plan, you have the ability to grow. This day is going back to looking at the long term and finding ways to think about how to reach your overall objectives through change and new implementations.

Day 30: The end of the 30 days is recognition that it is more than 30 days. Now that you have a plan, it is easy for you to begin to move towards continuous success. Building relationships, ideas and prospects for a better business is your key to being able to be a part of the guerrilla market.

The Importance of E-Mail Marketing, by Mark Bove’

These days it seems that social media and other facets of search engine marketing are gathering up all the headlines and thus all the hype. But before any of that stuff ever existed there was something else that did and it still does today; e-mail. E-mail marketing is an often overlooked gem when it comes to driving traffic to your website. No matter how great your website may be doing traffic wise, the fact is that e-mail marketing can help it do even better. This is by no means a new concept as e-mail marketing has been going on for many years but it seems now that marketers are rediscovering its importance.

E-mail marketing is quickly gaining popularity because it is so easily traceable. In fact the results are so obvious that those that market using e-mails are under the microscope far more than those using other methods. Perhaps it is for this reason that e-mail marketing is showing absolutely no signs of slowing.

In June of 2009, StrongMail Systems surveyed some 1,000 business about their future plans for marketing. The result of the survey speaks volumes. Of the 1,000 surveyed, 42% plan on increasing their marketing budgets for the full year of 2009. Of those 81% said they intended to increase their e-mail marketing budget. The proof is in the pudding; e-mail marketing is rapidly gaining momentum. But why is this?

Along with being so easily traceable, e-mail also represents a real bargain to business owners. There are no printing costs, envelope costs, stamps cost, or standing in line at the post office as occurs with a typical direct mailing campaign. With e-mail you only write one boy of text and a few clicks later it goes out to as many recipients as you see fit, but that isn’t even the entire story.

One of the main reasons that e-mail marketing is enjoying the growth that it has is that all consumers seem to rely on e-mail and vendors are getting better at enabling web pros to turn their services into integrated communications platforms. This leads to a fast success rate in which marketers find themselves in need of a navigator. That navigator comes in the form of different e-mail service providers, or ESPs for short. The way these ESPs are selected is by marketers using several methods to form a decision.

While there are other factors to consider before you choose an ESP here are the most basic requirements:

Recipient Priority: This has to do with permission-based marketing and each ESP may be different at this. No matter what you should always have a validation process by a double opt in process. This may seem like an obvious point, but many vendors don’t get this point and therefore have a poor response to their efforts. When ESPs support the priority you place on the recipients properly a better environment for results usually follows.
Reporting Priority: This allows for a per campaign data access of such important things as opt out, SPAM complaints, and click through rates. Only by reviewing these factors can you better understand how good your e-mail list actually is. Having such detailed reports allows you to adjust your strategies if need be.

Basic Feature Compliant: This is the ability to correctly and rapidly make individual e-mail campaigns that can be previewed, tested, and have SPAM checks in place. Other basic features are the ability to schedule delivery and set up auto-responders. If your ESP doesn’t have these very basic features then perhaps you should be looking elsewhere.

Advanced and Forward Thinking: It is critical that your ESP is always on the cutting edge of advances in relation to e-mail marketing. If your ESP is doing a poor job of communicating this to you then again you may be I need of a different ESP vendor.

The future of e-mail marketing is now. Even now e-mail marketing gurus are getting together and collectively coming up with new and innovative ways in which to effectively target different markets and are coming up with strategies that will be the wave of the future. The many different advances that are happing now are a bit confusing to many but if you ensure that you are with a worthy ESP that knows the game and the future of the game then you will always be able to take advantage of this ultra important segment of search engine marketing known as e-mail marketing.

Formulating the Right Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Strategy for You, by Mark Bove’

When you consider what type of pay-per-click (PPC) campaign you are going to do you first have to have an objective in mind. Because there are different strategies that can be employed with PPC you need to know exactly what your goals are before you ever give your first bid. There are two questions you absolutely must answer before you begin your PPC campaigns:

1. What is your budget for your campaign?

2. What time frame will be given to determine the effectiveness of the campaign?

By answering these two questions first you will be able to better know what type of PPC bidding strategy you should use.

There are three PPC bidding strategies that are often used and each can be broken down into selection of keywords, strategy for bidding, and objective of the strategy.

Here is how the three break down:

Branding or market exposure: Your ultimate goal here is implied in the name; getting as much exposure for yourself as possible. This strategy will have you going after potential customers that may not know anything about your products or services. The hope is that once you attract their attention that they will indeed be interested in what you have to offer. This strategy grabs users when they are in their research phase of the buying cycle and are getting general information on whatever it is they are eventually going to buy.

Selection of keywords: With this strategy you want to focus on a wide range of keywords in order to gain the most exposure possible for yourself. Focus on keywords that receive the most traffic, which are also referred to as the head of your list.

Strategy for Bidding: in order to properly employ this strategy you have to bid high. How high? High enough that your keywords are at the top of the list so that your business name and your ad are seen as much as possible when a basic search is conducted.

Objective of the strategy: This strategy is done to gain you some notoriety and is not meant to be anything more than a short term strategy that is developed over time into a more measurable strategy in terms of your ROI. This type of strategy is great for the initial break through into the search engine results pages (SERPs) but will prove too costly if used too long.

Conversion or ROI Strategy: This strategy focuses on getting the highest possible number of conversions or clicks throughs and will hopefully show an effective ROI for all of your keywords. To accomplish this you must take great care in selecting keywords and need to be constantly refining your keywords to ensure a high ROI.

Selection of keywords: With this strategy you will give much focus to long tail terms that will help to qualify your potential customers before they ever get to your website. This is done by targeting keywords that generate a high number of conversions.

Strategy for bidding: This requires some effort on your part. You have to figure out which keywords are giving you the most bang for your buck or the highest ROI. After you figure this out you can bid higher for the keywords that are returning more and less for those that are underperforming.

Objective of the strategy: You want to generate as many conversions or click throughs as possible with this strategy. By constantly monitoring and adjusting your keyword bidding you can accomplish your goal without too much trouble.

The sales cycle strategy: This particular strategy actually takes a little of each from the first two strategies. Here you use both broad and targeted keywords to attempt to capture users in every phase of the buying cycle.

Selection of keywords: Because you are attempting to get the users at every stage of their buying cycle, your keyword selection will of course be very broad.

Strategy for bidding: Bid lower on the more general terms that a potential customer might use when they are just beginning their search and bid higher for keywords that are going to have a high conversion rate because it is what the potential buyers will actually be looking for. This is a three tier bidding approach. For example, you will bid lower on the keyword lawnmower because it is a very general term. You would then bid a bit higher for a self-propelled lawnmower as the person conducting this search is more definite on what they want. You would then bid the highest for a keyword like John Deere self-propelled lawnmower because a person conducting this search knows exactly what they want.

Objective of the strategy: This strategy is designed so that you will have visibility to a potential customer no matter how detailed they get with their search or regardless of what stage of the buying cycle they are in.

Regardless of which strategy you choose to go with you need to be sure that you are constantly optimizing and enhancing your campaign. You can try one or all of the strategies here, just be sure that you are not wasting your time and money by not following your ultimate goals and your overall business plan.

Local Search Means Business, by Mark Bove’

Yellow Pages has released a comScore that shows local searches that are interesting and also shows how customers are using it to do searches for things online.

Local searches increased by a near 58% in 2008 alone. This is better than the original 21% that was recorded during the same time. Suddenly the Yellow Pages as well as other local searches began to see an increase in business directories as they went into double digits in the year 2008.

A study also proved that an amazing 75% out of 100 keywords that were searched for on the internet were not branded. Even so, consumers continued to purchase from online retailers and other sites throughout the year 2008’s fourth quarter.

You may be wondering what this means.

Shoppers Choose Convenience

In the olden days, customers would rather travel around and go to stores than to buy online. Times have changed and studies have proven an increase in online searches. People are living with less time on their hands and have time is now becoming limited for most consumers. Shoppers now want the convenience of being able to shop anywhere, anytime, 24/7 and the internet offers just this. Shoppers are now shopping online even if the store is located right around the block.

Increase in Local Searches Leads to Higher Information Demands

While there are many debates about which companies will succeed and which ones will fail in the online marketplace, older stores will have competition. Stores will need to come up with new strategies on how to stay above the rest. Current research has come to show that as local searches begin got increase so will the demand for local information that is accurate.

Business Comes From Local Searches

Local search has been shown to be more about sealing the purchase rather than browsing and searching for options. Even though most online customers are not completely sure of what they want specifically, the IYP searches have increased and e-commerce is at a high-rate. This means that customers are more apt to buy and their search will end in successful purchases.

Any of the above listed are solid debates for many businesses that are local and this also highlights online profiles of local businesses. If today’s hyper-local pattern moves along at a high rate as it is, there are going to be many businesses that will ignore the online market. This makes no difference and also does not matter what niche or size it occupies.