How to Test Responsive Designs for Free: “Stop resizing that browser, you’re gonna wear it out!”

“Stop resizing that browser, you’re gonna wear it out!” How many times have you heard that one? Well okay, maybe not so many times, but if you develop responsive design web sites, you know what I’m talking about: with every DOM or CSS edit you’re dragging that browser edge back and forth, testing your changes and looking for anything broken.

Ultimately, most of this effort is an attempt to emulate the screen size of different devices.

If you’re doing corporate development, you may have a variety of devices provided by the company to test on. Where I work we have an iPad, iPod, one or two other tablets, laptops and desktops. If you don’t have that luxury, you have to use whatever is at hand.

In my home we have two different laptops, two different Android devices, a Kindle and a Nexus 7. These are the devices I use to test my freelance development, but clearly this isn’t an exhaustive collection. No iOS devices at all, and although I’m a bit of an early adopter, I don’t plan on buying every new phone/phablet/tablet as it hits the market.

So what is a developer to do? Thankfully, there is a growing number of browser-based tools available that emulate the screen sizes of a wide variety of devices. Different tools come with different feature sets and varying levels of utility, of course. We’ll look at several of them here.

Read the full article at www.webdesignerdepot.com by Steve Ralston, a web development professional in Waterloo, IA.

 

Erika Kirsten Beck is the founder and president of Ryder Media Consultants which designs, develops and implements custom social media business strategies and campaigns that create awareness for an organization’s products or services. She specializes in social media strategy development. Follow her on twitter: @RyderMedia. Like her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RyderMedia.

49+ Ways How Businesses Can Use Social Media to Increase Visibility and Traffic

1)      Social Bookmark Links – Improve sharing by incorporating social bookmark links to your most important web pages and/or blog posts.

2)      Social Profiles – Build buzz that leads up to the holidays by using your social profiles. People often only start as holidays are happening. Start early and build up the buzz to the holidays in your social profiles.

3)      Good Content – People want to share compelling, inspiring, educational and valuable content. Produce great content which are interesting and it will automatically be shared virally online.

4)      Writing Blog Content – Content is crucial to kickstart a successful social media campaign. Write blog content that is catered for your target audience and what your community wants to know about. Here’s how to create a blog that matters: http://startablogthatmatters.com

5)      Branding – Use social media to enhance your branding. Design a seasonal branded image to match across all social networks and the company site.

6)      Be consistent – Update your content regularly and consistently. People tend to keep coming back to a site if they know that the site is frequently updated with new content.

7)      Craft Compelling Headlines – When promoting your content on social media networks, craft headlines that interest people such that they want to read the rest of your article. You could take up a copywriting course to learn more about writing compelling headlines: http://www.copywritingsupremacy.com/

8)      Evaluation and Measurement – Track and measure social media ROI by analyzing how it performs compared to more established channels or advertising methods. Compare the quality of traffic they drive to your website and the conversion rates.

9)      Metadata and Tagging – Metadata is data which is a description of the characteristics of a piece of information. Tags can be terms or keywords that are assigned to particular resource. Tagging and incorporating other metadata can help improve searching and measure the spread of information.

10)  Popular Lists – ‘List’ posts tend to get passed around online very quickly. An example will be the “Top 50 ways to make money online”.

11)  Combine Social Media with Traditional Marketing – Include social media profile addresses on printed advertising materials like brochures, fliers, newspaper ads, etc. Discover how to fully utilize social media here: http://www.thesocialnetworkingacademy.com/

12)  Retweet Buttons On Blog Posts – Locate and install WordPress plugins that enable you to place a Retweet button on your blog at the top of all your posts.

13)  Community platforms – Build up community platforms like forums, fanpages, groups and etc. around real communities of shared interest and keep the conversation going.

14)  Microsite – Build a microsite that encompasses all of your social and overall marketing efforts. This site can contain a hyper-focused campaign as well.

15)  Facebook Share Button – Locate and install WordPress plugins that enable you to place a Facebook share  button on your blog at the top of all posts

16)  Be Careful When Using Hashtags On Tweets – Studies have found that hashtag-stuffing caused 5% fewer click-throughs.

17)  Facebook Like Box – Add a Facebook ‘like box’ near to the top right side of your blog / website. In this way, people can ‘like’ your Facebook page even while they are on your blog / website. Here’s how to get more Facebook Likes: Http://doubleyourlikes.com/

18)  Having More Followers Than Following – Having more followers than following on your Twitter account enhances your Twitter influence and thus adds to your Twitter account’s SEO potential. Here’s a software that automates your Twitter marketing: http://twittenator.com/

19)  Posting Useful Content – Avoid aggressively pushing your products or services on your social profiles although it may be the holiday season. Rather, post useful content on your social profiles and think about how to help the people on your network to get through the busy holiday season. In this way, people tend to trust you more and like you more hence increasing the chances of them converting to buyers and customers.

20)  LinkedIn Share Button – Locate and install WordPress plugins that enable you to place a LinkedIn share  button on your blog at the top of all posts. Here’s how to master LinkedIn Marketing: http://www.linkedinfluence.com/

21)  Online Community – Build a substantial online community by asking for feedback, offering prizes and giveaways, and actually saying “thank you” for their interactions, mentions, and contributions of good content.

22)  Advice And Tips – Give advice and tips on your topic’s challenges. You can do this by providing short tips on Twitter (using a branded hashtag). After which stream these tweets into a dedicated Facebook tab, and expand on these tips by creating tutorial videos for YouTube.

23)  Blog Commenting – Make a connection with influential bloggers in your niche by commenting regularly on their blogs and posts.

24)  Benefit-oriented Content – When writing a blog post, share about the problems that your product or service is able to solve. No one actually cares about what is your product or service and their features, they are more interested in what your product or service can do for them.

25)  Conduct Polls – Research by polling people about what are the biggest challenges they face. After which, look at how your own product or service can help them and communicate that to them.

26)  Tell Stories – Marketing is like storytelling and your customers are just like the characters in the story. Craft content that motivates your customers or readers. Let their actions, wants, and needs drive the story.

27)  Influential Bloggers In Your Niche – Find which bloggers are most influential in your niche and learn how they got their influence through their content and social media efforts. Imitate and implement.

28)  Creating a Personable Image – Post and share photos of your company parties, or your participation in charitable events. This brings the company to a personal and amicable level with your readers and customers. People nowadays value that personal touch.

29)  Email Subscribe – Make usability of your website easy for people. For example, simplify the process it takes for someone to subscribe to your updates via email. You can use an autoresponder account like: http://www.aweber.com

30)  Show Some Discretion In Sharing – Being personal draws people to you but there is a need to show some discretion when doing so. Always stay professional and positive in the portrayal of your online social profiles. Avoid depressing tweets, vague tweets, humblebrag tweets and etc.

31)  Audio And Video – Create a short series of audio podcasts or video podcasts as content marketing. Here’s an excellent video software: http://www.thetrafficplayer.com/live/

32)  Think Long Term – Create content for the long term and envision keywords with next year in mind. This is so that your subject can enjoy ‘longevity’ with your readers.

33)  Guest Post – Write to influential bloggers in your niche and request to do a guest post on their blogs. Craft an agreement that encompasses them to provide a link back to your blog.

34)  Answer Simple Questions – Think about these questions: Who am I speaking to? What do they want from me online? And cater your content accordingly.

35)  Talking About The Weather – People like to talk about the weather where they are at. So, pay attention to the weather where your customers are located and sensitively consider this when posting content.

36)  Social Media Subscribe Buttons – Place social media subscribe buttons such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. in a visible place on your website / blog so that readers can follow you on your social media networks.

37)  Tweeting Blog Posts – When you publish a new blog post on your website or blog, post several tweets of that post and track the conversions of different times and keywords you use. In this way, you can evaluate what times of the day, which keywords are optimized for conversions. (Note: Please take note to include tweets that are of value and non-promotional in between these blog post tweets.)

38)  Flickr and/or YouTube Groups – Build media for your events by experimenting with Flickr and/or Youtube.

39)  RSS Subscription Button – RSS feeds is a powerful medium to push your new blog posts to people in their ‘Google Reader’ accounts or other reader accounts. Hence, provide a subscription button via RSS so people know that your blog or website is updated and new contents are published. Here’s how to unleash the power of RSS: http://relatedrssplugin.com/cb2/

40)  The Secret Of Retweets – Tweets referring to the author himself or herself have been shown to get fewer retweets than other information. Hence, share more relevant and good information that is not about yourself. Retweets drive traffic to your blog posts and can boost SEO. Start generating quality content on Twitter that helps you connect you with more followers.

41)  Staff Blogs – Get your staff to start personal blogs on their personal interests. This is so that they can have a feel of what it would be like to promote, drive traffic to a particular website and etc.

42)  Fine-tune Your Strategy – Test out different techniques on different social networks and determine what type of content your readers are responding to.

43)  Blog Updates On Facebook Page – Once you have published new blog posts to your blog, update it to your Facebook ‘Page’. There are programs that do that for you automatically, ie. Networked blogs

44)  Social Media Campaign Plan – Plan out an integrated social media promotion project that incorporates blogging, use of commercial social networks, and a face-to-face event to build leads and drive awareness of a product or service.

45)  Thematic Pictures – Post interesting and cute pictures that revolve around a theme and share it on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook etc. For example, Halloween theme – Pets in Halloween costumes.

46)  Ask For A Response – After posting cute thematic pictures on your social network, start a conversation with your followers by asking them questions relating to the theme. For example, what their best Halloween costume was as a child, and ask them to share a photo as well.

47)  Facebook Page – Share content and links on your Facebook page that will make your fans want to share and like your updates. Here’s a course that will help you master Facebook marketing: http://fbinfluence.com/

48)  Measuring Social Media Metrics – Take a step back and think about why you are tweeting this information, or why you have a Facebook Page. Is it because you want sales? Then measure conversion rates. Is it for market research? Then monitor trending topics etc. Here’s a software to track social signals: http://socialmetricspro.com/v1/

49)  Live Videos – Conduct live interviews, online talk shows and etc. with uStream.tv and Mogulus, or Qik on a cell phone. Such sessions become viral very fast.

50)  Contests And Competitions – Create competitions or contests on social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook etc. to conjure up buzz surrounding your company products or services. Here’s a software that helps unleash the full power of contests: http://www.contestburner.com/

Erika Kirsten Beck is the founder and president of Ryder Media Consultants which designs, develops and implements custom social media business strategies and campaigns that create awareness for an organization’s products or services. She specializes in social media strategy development. Follow her on twitter: @RyderMedia. Like her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RyderMedia or  http://klout.com/#/RyderMedia.

Bed Bath & Beyond: Their Facebook “Like” Ask And Why It Fails

I received an email from Bed Bath & Beyond this morning with the subject header – Like our FB page? Give it a thumbs up! I don’t know who is in charge of their social media strategy but I think they need some unsolicited advice.

1. As a national brand you should not assume everyone you are emailing inherently knows that FB is an abbreviation of the word, Facebook.  Don’t alienate potential customers by assuming their world is your world.

2. You are asking me like your page so “we” can be connected” and “join the conversation” and so I “don’t miss a thing” but the reason why many consumers flock to the social presences of companies is because they offer tangible benefits such as coupons and discounts. There is no incentive to participate other then to talk… about water filters? Bedding? Not a very tantalizing offer.

The findings of a survey recently conducted by Market Force – a worldwide leader in customer intelligence solutions queryied more than 12,000 consumers in the US and UK, they wanted to see how consumers engaged with varying industries – retail, restaurant, travel, entertainment and financial businesses to be specific, via the big dogs of social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

The findings revealed that 78% of respondents said the posts by companies they follow on social media impact their purchases.

One can assume all of these brands who directly impacted the 12,000 respondents were offering a truckload of freebies, coupons and other various promotions in an attempt to directly influence purchase decisions. If Bed Bath and Beyond wants to run a successful social media campaign they need to give more per “like” and not just ask without anything in return.

Erika Kirsten Beck is the founder and president of Ryder Media Consultants which designs, develops and implements custom social media business strategies and campaigns that create awareness for an organization’s products or services. She specializes in social media strategy development. Follow her on twitter: @RyderMedia. Like her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RyderMedia or  http://klout.com/#/RyderMedia.

6 QR Code Mistakes You’re Making and How To Fix Them!

Over the past couple of months the folks at QRlicious had the privilege of watching and helping people create marvelous and intriguing QR code campaigns for everything from donation drives to enhanced product labels. Unfortunately, during this same time span they’ve also been victims and witnesses of the many poorly executed QR code campaigns that seem to be lurking around every street corner. You know the ones – small, black and white, scanning takes you to a full blown flash based website… Frankly, it’s embarrassing to the whole QR code industry. QRlicious has identified the 6 most common QR code  biggest mistakes you can make and how to avoid them!

Problem: Too small to scan!
Solution: Make it loud and show it proud! You want people to see and scan your QR code so don’t be afraid to amp up the size a little! Too many people are printing QR codes smaller then an inch or two and half centimeters. This can create many problems when trying to scan in low lighting and if your QR code has a lot of information (like a vCard) then it might not scan at all! Yikes! So make sure you are printing and displaying your QR codes as BIG as possible!

Problem: Ugly black and white QR code!
Solution: Chances are you know the solution to this and a good amount of you have probably already fixed this by getting yourself a custom branded QR code from us! Branded QR codes help you gain the trust of your audience and it gives them an idea of what they are in for when the scan your QR code. Customizing your QR code also helps you stand out from black and white QR crowd, which is going to become more and more important as adoption continues to rise among businesses and consumers.

Read the full article at Qrlicious.com

How Wells Fargo Tracks Twitter Interactions

In this video I interview Kimarie Matthews, vice president of social web for Wells Fargo.

Kimarie shares how Wells Fargo uses Twitter to improve customer support. You’ll also discover how she documents Twitter interactions to monitor customer sentiment and uses the data to develop a business case for social media investment.

Watch the full video interview at SocialMedia Examiner

How Verizon Uses QR Codes For Marketing



How LinkedIn Changed The Way I Do Business

As I’ve built my business, two digital tools have been invaluable: my blog and LinkedIn. In terms of the latter, everyone asks me the same question: Have I actually gotten business directly from LinkedIn?

The short answer: Yes. My participation on LinkedIn does bring in queries and the revenue from it is small but growing.

The longer answer: Yes, but your active involvement on LinkedIn is equally important in building your brand and making connections that can improve your business. Do those things, and the revenue will follow. My targets are B2B companies, an audience where LinkedIn shines: B2B companies favor LinkedIn over Facebook and Twitter, according to a recent study (though the gap is closing).

By Jeannette Paladino, Write Speak Sell, Writer-in-Chief. Read more.