Nokia is back — and it’s back with a vengeance. The Finnish company finally launched its first Android-powered smartphone, the Nokia 6, but we’re expecting to see a lot more action this year. While the new devices won’t be made by Nokia, they will follow the company’s design guidelines and will retain the brand name.

HMD Global will be manufacturing these devices exclusively. We originally thought there would be up to four new phones in 2017, but rumors suggest there will actually be as many as six or seven. The rumors come from Malaysian distributor Avaxx, which said Nokia will aim to launch phones in all price ranges.

What’s more, these devices may not be as far off from release as previously thought. A tweet dated May 28 from the official Nokia Mobile account reads: “We plan to release our upcoming Smartphones worldwide before the end of Q2 2017. (June) Stay tuned for updates.”

Here’s everything we know about Nokia’s 2017 Android phones so far.

Nokia 9

A Geekbench page for a device listed as “Unknown Heart” popped up on May 25, and some believe it could represent the Nokia 9. The company’s next flagship has been linked to the “Heart” moniker, and the specs would definitely indicate a top-tier device. According to the listing, the phone could have as much as 8GB of RAM.

Now, these kinds of benchmarks are common in the run-up to the launch of a highly anticipated phone and are hardly confirmation of launch hardware. Even if this is the Nokia 9 we’re looking at, it could be a pre-production unit built to test higher RAM capacities. While 8GB of RAM might sound like overkill, many flagships in China are packing considerably more memory than we’ve ever seen in mobile devices before, and it’s not that much higher than the 6GB found in some phones on the market right now.

Earlier in May, a device believed to be a prototype Nokia 9 was leaked by French Android news site FrAndroid. The phone in these images is clad in a boxy blue case to conceal as much about its exterior as possible, but images of a spec sheet and the rear camera stack give us some clues about the handset.

What we can see is that there’s a rectangular fingerprint sensor on the front, situated between two hardware buttons in what looks to be a rather thick bezel. At the back, the silver camera housing shows two lenses, each believed to be 13 megapixels, as well as a flash and possibly a laser autofocus window. From these shots, the design seems quite underwhelming — but keep in mind, if this is indeed the Nokia 9 we’re looking at, it’s a preproduction unit that may not be entirely representative of the device’s final form.

What about the internals? According to a rundown of specs listed on the device, we’re looking at a 5.3-inch QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) display, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. FrAndroid mentions separately that the phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip and runs Android 7.1.1. Other shots show both USB-C and 3.5-millimeter headphone ports.

Back in April, a sketch of a device claimed to be the Nokia 9 obtained by Nokia Power User gave what we thought, at the time, was our first look at the company’s upcoming flagship. The design appeared to follow the example of LG’s recently released G6, particularly in its edge-to-edge display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and slightly rounded corners. It’s important to note we cannot verify the authenticity of the drawing.


Around the back, we see a series of vertically arranged cutouts for what would appear to be dual cameras, a flash, and potentially a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.

This leak followed another report from Nokia Power User that indicated the Nokia 9 — not the Nokia 8, as initially believed — will, in fact, be HMD’s flagship for 2017. Early on, there was confusion about the name of Nokia’s range-topping device, though now it seems the Nokia 8 is lower on the pecking order.

According to Nokia Power User, the Nokia 9 is believed to feature a Snapdragon 835, along with a hefty 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. A 22-megapixel rear-facing camera and 12-megapixel front-facing camera are also rumored.

Perhaps most interesting is the claim that the Nokia 9 will reportedly offer an iris scanner, bringing its security features in line with Samsung’s new Galaxy S8.

The same report also notes that the device will be the first to offer the “Nokia OZO audio” enhancements, so it should be pretty good in the sound department. Last but not least, the report suggests the phone will have a 5.5-inch QHD display.

Nokia 8

To date, speculation around the Nokia 8 has been just that — speculation. Now, however, rumors are a little more solid. According to recent reports, the Nokia 8 will be launched alongside the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 at some point in June. There’s no word yet on a specific launch date. The report, which comes from India Today, also highlighted that the device will likely come with a Snapdragon 835 processor and a 23MP rear-facing camera.

Previously, the Nokia 8 was listed on Jingdong, or JD.com, for pre-sale. The listing did not state exactly when the phone would go on sale officially, but it did list a price of 3,188 yuan, which equates to around $463. It is worth noting, however, that the images listed are very similar to a concept design that was released earlier, suggesting that it could in fact be a fake listing.

In addition to the leaked sketch of the Nokia 9, Nokia Power User shared a similar image of the Nokia 8. The two devices appear to be very much alike from the outside, with the only major differences being the larger bezels surrounding the Nokia 8’s display, and the front-facing fingerprint sensor. The screen still spans from edge to edge, but the rounded corners are notably absent. It is worth noting that the phone pictured here looks very different from one that surfaced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January that was also believed to be the Nokia 8, seen in a video below.

Other rumors from Nokia Power User directly contradict information we originally heard about the phone. While the Nokia 8 has been rumored to feature a flagship-spec processor like the Snapdragon 821 or Snapdragon 835, new reports indicate that instead it will feature a much more midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 660.

A YouTuber, however, uploaded footage of alleged Nokia devices powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 and 835. The device was at Qualcomm’s booth at CES 2017, and the chipset manufacturer reportedly asked people not to take videos or photos of it. The YouTuber, whose account is named Total Tech, didn’t comply.

Before we take a look at the video — it should be noted that we can’t verify this information, and the devices do not have any “Nokia” branding, so we’re casting a heavy dose of skepticism here. The YouTuber says Nokia and Qualcomm “have been working together on the Snapdragon 835 and the 10 nanometer process for the chip with Samsung for a while, according to inside sources, and Nokia has been their hardware reference provider for the 821 and 835.”

Again, we can’t verify these insider sources’ claims, and whether or not Nokia has been in partnership with Qualcomm. Total Tech claims the device in his video is the upcoming Nokia 8.

The video shows the difference in camera stabilization between a Snapdragon 821 processor and the Snapdragon 835. Total Tech says both devices are the Nokia 8 with the two processors — the one with the Snapdragon 821 will come with 4GB of RAM, and the Snapdragon 835 variant will have 6GB RAM.

Both allegedly also feature electronic image stabilization, a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, MicroSD card support up to 256GB, 64GB and 128GB internal storage options, dual front-facing speakers, and LED notification lights.

Total Tech also says the Nokia 8 will have a 24-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization, as well as a front-facing camera with 12-megapixels — it’s unclear if this applies to both models.

What’s interesting is the back of the device, which Total Tech briefly shows in the video. There’s a large camera, like the one found on the back of the Lumia 1020 Windows Mobile device. That camera packed 41-megapixels and featured Carl Zeiss optics — it’s quite possible the partnership could come into play again.

Nokia 7

Fresh rumors indicate that Nokia is also working on a Nokia 7 handset — filling in the gap between the Nokia 6 and the so far only rumored Nokia 8. According to rumors from Nokia Power User, the Nokia 7 will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, and it may feature a 1080p display and a metallic body.

That’s pretty much all we know about the Nokia 7 at this point — but we’ll update this article as we hear more.


Nokia 6

The Nokia 6 is the company’s first Android smartphone, which debuted late last year. It packs some pretty decent specs — including 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and the “latest version of Android.” On top of that, the device boasts a 16MP rear-facing camera, and an 8MP front-facing camera — all for only $245.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news — the device comes with a somewhat disappointing Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, and it’s only available in China.

Nokia 5 and Nokia 3

Nokia’s presence at Mobile World Congress in February included three devices, two of which were the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 3. Don’t expect flagship specs, though, as the two Android 7.0 Nougat smartphones will have lesser hardware than the Nokia 6 to hit lower price points.

The Nokia 5 features a 5.2-inch screen with a 1,280 x 720-pixel resolution, and is powered by the same Snapdragon 430 processor but with 2GB of RAM. The rear camera will pack 13 megapixels, but the rest of the specs are expected to match the Nokia 6. It’s why the device costs only 189 euros, or about $200.

The Nokia 3 will be the runt of the litter and will only cost 149 euros, or $158.

Built by HMD Global, designed by Nokia

It won’t be Nokia at the helm of the forthcoming devices’ development, technically speaking. HMD Global, a Finnish company co-founded by former Nokia executives Arto Nummela and Florian Seiche, acquired the rights to the company’s mobile brand from Microsoft in May. HMD has a contract with FIH, a subsidiary of iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, and under a strict licensing partnership, follows Nokia’s design and hardware guidelines in exchange for access to the company’s extensive patent library.

In recent years, the company has struggled to gain a foothold in the high-end mobile market. Following the company’s adoption of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system in 2011 and its acquisition by Microsoft in 2014, sales of its handset suffered — shipments in 2013 alone were down 22 percent year on year, according to Strategy Analytics.

Following Nokia’s divestiture from its parent company earlier this year, things haven’t looked much better. In April of last year, thanks in part to lower-than-expected smartphone shipments, it announced 900 million euros in downsizing measures — a plan which in part involved the layoffs of 1,400 staff members in Germany, 1,300 in Finland, and 400 in France.

Despite the Finnish company’s woes, though, it’s setting its eyes on the future. It teamed up independently with Foxconn to produce the N1, an Android-based tablet. It dipped its toes in virtual reality with the Ozo, a $60,000 professional-grade 360-degree camera. And it acquired French fitness device company Withings last year.

“We have been reinventing ourselves for 150 years using this amazing brand,” Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia’s consumer Nokia Technologies division, told Digital Trends in June. “We’re starting to focus on people’s happiness and health in a way that wasn’t possible before because the technology wasn’t possible before. You can expect some really surprising products in the next year or two directly from this company as we turn a new chapter.”

Article originally published in July 2016. Updated on 05-31-2017 by Adam Ismail: Added tweet from Nokia Mobile.

Source: This article was published on digitaltrends.com by Kyle Wiggers

Categorized in Others

If you’ve ever tried to build classic flat pack furniture without that special screwdriver, you know how important the right tool can be. For social media managers, knowing the right tools and the best apps can make all the difference between a successful campaign and a mediocre one.

With countless new apps being launched every day, it can be hard to know which ones are worth using. To help you with that, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites below. Tap a name to jump to the description or continue reading for the complete rundown.

Top social media apps for marketers

1. Pyrus

2. Bear

3. Pocket Casts

4. Hootsuite Enhance

5. DuoBook

6. Headspace

7. Boxer Pro

8. Into

9. Daycap

10. Confide


Free on the App Store
Coming soon to Android

You can’t afford an inefficient workflow when you’re managing a team. Pyrus makes sure you don’t have to.

The Pyrus app is a team communication tool for real-time messaging, task delegation, and approval flows. It keeps you updated on your team’s tasks and progress with an integrated search feature.

The Pyrus app allows for increased collaboration with chat and quick file-sharing. If you’re on the go and without internet access, Pyrus enables offline functionality. For social media managers this means the most streamlined processes yet.  


Free on the App Store
Free for Mac

You never know when your next content idea will strike, but with Bear at least you know you’ll have a place to keep it. Bear is an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing writing and note-taking app that will also help keep you organized.

You can hashtag your notes and content to link them together and easily find them in the future. Bear’s Advanced Markup Editor allows for clear editing and sharing options so you can collaborate easily across teams. 

Pocket Casts

$5.99 on the App Store 
$3.99 on Google Play

Podcasts are a go-to source of information for many social media marketers. But with so many great options, it can be a struggle to find and keep track of all the great programs out there. Thankfully, Pocket Casts exists. The app has been called the best podcast app for both iPhones and Android devices—and for good reason.

The Pocket Casts database includes any podcast you could ever want, with over 300,000 unique shows. These are sorted by featured, trending, and most popular, so you can easily find something new.

With advanced playback features, you can trim silence and add volume boost to help reduce background noise. Other features like intuitive queues and syncing options make Pocket Cast a must-have.

Hootsuite Enhance

Free on the App Store

Instead of cluttering your smartphone with a different app for every function, choose an all-in-one solution for your visuals. Hootsuite Enhance lets you source stock images from a comprehensive library, edit these images with quality tools, and share the images to your social media networks.

Time is money for social media managers, and Hootsuite Enhance saves you both (did we mention it was free to download?). 


Free on the App Store

Most of the social media managers I know have multiple books on the go at any given time. If you struggle with focusing on and completing one book, the DuoBook app can help.

DuoBook saves your place and lets you easily switch between reading an eBook and listening to an audiobook. If you get sick reading in a moving vehicle or are driving, the audiobook format lets you catch up on your book—perfect for social media managers on the go. 


Free on the App Store
Free on Google Play

Social media never sleeps. If you’re a social media manager, you know this better than anyone. The expectation to be “on” at all times can lead to burnout, stress, and an unhealthy work-life balance. The Headspace app works to quiet the mind and sharpen your focus with guided mindfulness meditation.

With Headspace, busy social media managers can choose how long they want their sessions to be.

Boxer Pro

Free on the App Store
Free on Google Play

If “Inbox Zero” is your goal, Boxer Pro is the app for you. The innovative email, calendar, and contact manager helps you tackle your inbox more efficiently.

Busy social media managers can take advantage of features like “Quick Replies” to set and send canned responses. The “Email Like” feature will save you even more time, allowing you to quickly acknowledge a sender’s message when it doesn’t require a more thorough response.

With customizable features like the ability to specify your swipe gestures (to complete functions such as delete, archive, spam, etc.), Boxer Pro sets itself apart from the email client crowd. 


Free on the App Store

Endorsements and partnerships with influencers allow you to reach new networks and a broader audience. But finding these influencers can be difficult.

The Into app helps solve this problem by connecting businesses and brands with agency-represented influencers that include popular bloggers, social media industry leaders, celebrities, and models.

Influencers themselves can use the app to discover endorsement and sponsorship opportunities in their area. 


Free on the App Store

Coming up with new content every day is a common challenge for social media managers. The Daycap app provides a fresh way to generate engaging visual posts. Daycap creates a GIF of the photos you’ve taken over the course of a day.

You can then add locations to your GIFs, and easily share them to Instagram. Use Daycap to create and share GIFs of behind the scenes content, event highlights, and employee profiles. 


Free on the App Store
Free on Google Play
Free for Mac and Windows

Messaging apps are must-have tools for many social media managers, but sometimes security and privacy are overlooked.

The Confide app provides end-to-end, military-grade encryption along with disappearing and screenshot-protected messages.

While Snapchat users have found ways to get around the screenshot issue (such as taking a photo of a Snap with another device), Confide’s patent-pending reading experience unveils only a sliver of each message at a time and ensures the sender’s name is not visible.

The right tools can make the job of a social media manager much easier. Better processes and greater efficiency lend more time to working on what matters—creating engaging content and building online communities.

Author : Dara Fontein

Source : https://blog.hootsuite.com/best-social-media-apps-list/

Categorized in Social

Each year I have the honor of observing business trends as a keynote speaker and business advisor. For the fourth consecutive year, I am pleased to share the top business trends that leading companies embrace to drive success. Some trends are in their infancy, and others have become part of the mainstream. These patterns emerge regardless of company size. Feel free to take a look at my past predictions using the links at the bottom of the article. Here are my predictions for the Top 10 Business Trends That Will Drive Success in 2017.

1. Subject Matter Experts Become The New Rainmakers

Subject matter experts who understand and can help guide the sales process drive growth in top performing B2B companies.

Consider three different buying personas: an order taker, a salesperson, and a subject matter expert (SME). The order taker merely takes an order, and provides a price and delivery schedule. That function can be easily performed by Amazon (often with better results).

Of the remaining two personas, which one would you want to encounter as a customer? Would you want the person with a mission to sell something to you, or the expert who you might be willing to pay to meet with because of their deep expertise?

When I present these options to executives, they often resist the notion of meeting with a salesperson, but would willingly meet with the SME to gain insight.

Whereas you can hire new salespeople right out of college, SMEs can be harder to scale. However, most organizations have a stable of SMEs who currently do not play a role in growing revenue. The best organizations offer integrity-based sales training to build a sales culture within the organization and empower the SMEs as keys to growth.

Businesses used to throw bodies at sales goals, and accepted that most of the people would fail. With SMEs, businesses place a premium on proper lead qualification and narrow focus on the right opportunities to make efficient use of scarce, yet highly effective resources. SMEs won’t tolerate wasting time pursuing bad opportunities.

2. Crowdfunding Validates New Products

When you think of crowdfunding, you might envision films or artisan leather wallets. To the surprise of many, globally crowdfunding is trending to surpass venture capital by the end of this year.

According to crowdfunding and marketing expert Clay Hebert, “Smart companies are using crowdfunding to not only raise capital, but to validate products before making substantial investments in product development.”

Smith & Bradley, Ltd., a U.S.-based tactical watch manufacturer has launched seven Kickstarter campaigns to validate new designs for their line of watches. Five of the campaigns received market validation. The other two didn’t make the cut.

“When we wanted to produce our first watch, we used crowdfunding to raise the funds needed to go to market,” co-founder Ryan Bradley said. “What we didn’t realize was that we had also discovered a way to validate the market for a product before we went into production. Now, each new product idea has a crowdfunding component to validate the market. Based on the velocity or success of the crowdfunding effort, we shift our resources to meet market demand.”

Bradley still spends his days as an attorney, so staying focused on the right designs keeps their business operating at peak efficiency.

Big companies are capitalizing on this trend as well. GE Appliances created and funded FirstBuild, a "global co-creation community and microfactory" in Louisville, Kentucky to "harness the brainpower of the maker movement to change the way major home appliances are conceived, designed and manufactured." FirstBuild uses crowdfunding to validate new home appliance product ideas. They've already successfully crowdfunded Opal, a nugget ice maker and Paragon, an induction cooktop, on Indiegogo, both of which you can now buy through their website.

Before launching Paragon, FirstBuild assumed the killer feature was sous vide, a popular method of immersion cooking at a specific temperature. But as they engaged their community, they found a significant group of passionate consumers who also wanted to improve how they cooked using other methods, from warming to deep-frying. So they pivoted to include these features in the product design, positioning and marketing. When they launched on Indiegogo, Paragon was almost 600% funded, raising over $360,000. More importantly, they validated the product with over 2,100 backers.

From watches to washing machines, using crowdfunding for product validation allows any company to engage and learn from a small and passionate user community earlier in the process, speeding up time to market, and reducing both the cost and risk of new product innovation.

As Hebert often reminds companies and startups, “The best focus group in the world is the market itself.”

Hebert offers a guide to determine if your idea is right for crowdfunding.

3. Sales And Content Marketing Become Fully Integrated

As customers and buyers continue to do more online research, top performing organizations continue to integrate sales and content marketing. The goal is to ensure that when customers search for risks, challenges, and implementation strategies associated with your solutions, they will find your content to address their questions.

When I purchased my Tesla, I did research online, and scheduled my test drive the same way. The Tesla consultant coordinated the test drive and helped me select the right options (in many cases talking me out of features I didn’t really need). I then completed the purchase form online using a tablet in their store in a shopping mall. Ultimately, I placed the final order via Internet browser, from home.

Tesla provided articles and videos to help educate me as a consumer, and build trust surrounding the purchase. Through its marketing, Tesla established an innovative brand that helped me conclude that they have a long-term vision and position for the company.

As Marcus Sheridan teaches, top companies engage their front-line sales teams to identify topics for content marketing, and the content marketing team helps sales professionals to effectively use content in the sales process.  

The people at SalesMango also have an interesting take on this concept.

4. Video Becomes Essential

According to a recent Forbes study, video is becoming a critical source of information for executives:

  •  More than 80% said they are watching more online video today than they were a  year ago.
  •  Three-quarters (75%) of executives surveyed said they watch work-related videos on  business-related websites at least weekly; more than half (52%) watch work-related  videos on YouTube at least weekly.
  •  Overall, 65% have visited a vendor’s website after watching a video.

Hubspot’s Consumer Behavior Survey confirms this trend. Over half (55%) of users say they consume an entire video, compared to 29% for blogs and 33% for interactive articles. If you want your entire message to be consumed, video tends to be the preferred medium.

Early in the days of television, advertisements were highly effective because the platform was relatively new. Using video to run ads today is a waste of effort. However, providing video as a source of valuable content to address issues or answer questions helps the consumer to feel like they know you better than if they had just read an article.

When you combine deliberate production with technology, video can provide great flexibility. Based on the user’s interests and other details you know about them, you could assemble a video on the fly addressing the user’s specific questions by pulling various snippets of video content. The video snippets are then assembled into one seamless video message.

5. New Collaboration Tools Require Rethinking Email

Collaborative tools like Slack are replacing email for internal communication. Started in 2013, Slack surpassed 4 million daily users in October 2016. Though this does not mean that companies will abandon email all together, it does change how you need to think of email. (Lee Gomes wrote a nice piece about Slack)

In an organization where internal and external communication happens within email, you can count on the fact that most users will spend much of their day with their inboxes open on their desktops.

Organizations using tools like Slack for internal communication might have less need to have their inboxes open throughout the day. Instead of spending eight or more hours with their inboxes open, it could shift to less than one hour. At that point, the only emails will be from external sources. With professionals spending less time in their inboxes, you’ll have even less time than before to make a positive impression with your email communication.

So, how do you reach your B2B audience if they are not paying attention to email? Smart companies will use precision targeting with Facebook and other social media tools to capture the attention of potential customers who shift to platforms like Slack, and start to pay decreased attention to email. Valuable content will attract, and self-serving hype will repel customers.Look for video-based Facebook targeting to grow substantially in 2017.

Top 10 Business Trends That Will Drive Success In 2017

6. Brick And Mortar Stores Without Expertise Disappear

Brick and mortar stores that merely offer merchandise without expertise or curation will continue to suffer.

Nordstrom gives fashion advice. Home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot offer education. But why does Costco work so well? Costco customers have come to believe that the retailer curates a narrow set of the best products at a great price and stands behind them with exceptional service. If they offered 15 alternatives for a given need, they’d fail. By curating quality and delivering value, they build trust.

Brick and mortar retailers that let you find things on your own will continue to lose market share to Amazon and others. If you have to discover the products on your own, it’s easier to do so online. USA Today reports on vast numbers of traditional retailers closing stores. If you look at the stores listed, they all fit the model of retailers that offer products without expertise. The Balance shared similar information.

7. Subject Matter Experts Get Sales Support

With a shift in subject matter experts (SMEs) to grow revenue (Trend #1), organizations understand that SMEs might not have the ideal professional or interpersonal skills to drive the buying steps for customers. Without proper support and training, SMEs could miss opportunities. However, customers still prefer to work with SMEs over traditional salespeople.

Top organizations recognize that SMEs often have broad roles in the organization. Their time is valuable, and you cannot afford to have them work inefficiently. This means three key components drive SMEs’ success:

  1. Build and reinforce skills to understand the sales process to better appreciate how customers make decisions and how to “sell” with integrity;
  2. Deploy sales support professionals who manage proposals, track details, and ensure continuity with clients who are primarily serviced by SMEs; and
  3. Implement automation tools to keep important tasks from falling through the cracks and ensure focus on the right opportunities.

The sales departments will evolve to support SMEs. Top organizations surround SMEs with resources and tools to help manage follow-through, assign tasks, and track progress. This support network prioritizes follow-through based on rules, and ensures that the organization can be responsive and proactive at the right times. Tools like Salesforce, Contactually, and Infusionsoft provide dashboards and notifications to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

8. Narrow Segments Capture Attention

When you go to the doctor, you don’t want a diagnosis most people get, you want the report for you and you alone. In a restaurant, you don’t want what most people would enjoy, you want to order exactly what you feel like eating. Marketers and sales professionals are reaching the same conclusion.

You can tell when you get a mass-generated email or see generic content marketing articles. Even if the topic may be of interest, you’ve been conditioned to ignore generic messages. Whereas automation had been used for delivering the same message to thousands at a time, innovative companies have embraced automation for one-to-one messaging.

In his bestselling book, Ask, Ryan Levesque illustrates how to segment your list, and how companies across industries have followed his approach to grow their businesses at incredible rates with narrowly defined segments.

Levesque says, "One of the biggest fears I hear entrepreneurs express in segmenting their market is that their different market segments are too small to be worth addressing individually. So they rely on ‘one-size-fits-all’ products and messaging. But the reality is when you try to be all things to all people, you end up being nothing to nobody. Companies, both big and small, that are adopting a segmented strategy are thriving more than ever in today's marketplace."

This goes beyond inserting the recipient’s name at the top of a message. Rather, by asking the right questions and knowing their interests, market leaders tailor content to exactly what each recipient wants.

The same way Netflix and Amazon suggest products you might like, the best companies are delivering content and communication tailored to your preferences.

9. Recurring Revenue

Companies continue to shift from single, up-front payments for products to recurring revenue for a service. Financial markets reward predictable, recurring revenue. Whether it be monthly or annual, smart companies recognize that recurring revenue with a high renewal rate demonstrates perceived customer value. High renewal rates become an incredible marketing message.

Look for innovative vendors to waive long-term contracts and put their money where their mouth is. When sellers either feel a need to lock you into a long-term agreement or get payment up front, they are implying that you might find a better alternative. If the vendor assumes the risk of delivering and maintaining value by not requiring the long-term commitment, then the customer will reward the seller with more trust.

Just look at what John Legere did with T-Mobile. They went from being on the verge of disaster to thriving by removing contracts and listening to customers.

If you give your client the choice to renew or leave every month, then you’ll have your finger on the pulse of your market.

10. Millennials Groomed For Leadership

Millennials now represent the largest segment of the U.S. population, according to Pew ResearchJust like past generations, millennials will emerge as the next set of managers and executives. Top performing companies will work to magnify their strengths and build systems to compensate for their perceived deficiencies. This same evolution has happened in past generations, too.

According to Brad Szollose, cross-generational leadership expert in NYC and author of Liquid Leadership, “You can’t put someone in a leadership role assuming they have the skills to lead, only to train them 10 years later. If you want Millennials to succeed, invest in their leadership development today.”

The Bersin by Deloitte report predicts the most disruptive year ever. They highlight, “This year, more than 3.6 million company chiefs are set to retire as younger professionals ascend to managerial slots. Companies are busy planning this transition in order to cope with the massive loss of boomers.”

Millennials represent the largest generation of our time, as illustrated in this Goldman Sachs report. Of special note is how millennials are more inclined to embrace fractional or shared usage versus purchasing. Over 55% said that they either had no plans to purchase a vehicle or were indifferent. Many feel that using services like Zipcar or Uber when they need transportation is more convenient.

This notion aligns well with the shift to recurring revenue models for businesses going forward (Trend #9).

It’s Your Turn

How do these trends get you thinking about changes in your business? What trends do you think should make the list?

Author : Ian Altman

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/ianaltman/2016/12/06/top-10-business-trends-that-will-drive-success-in-2017/#6f0752f74132

Categorized in Business Research

Last year was a transformative and exciting year for the Internet of Things as we saw almost every industry invest in the IoT.

Consumer products -- such as wearables and connected electronics -- make up a large part of the market, but IDC estimates that more than 80 percent of IoT spending through 2020 will be on such things as B2B applications.

The Internet of Things will also create a self-learning environment that will drive digital disruption in the physical world. The IoT will allow new business models to emerge, along with new work processes, productivity improvements, cost containment and better customer experiences.

Here are the top five trends in the IoT in 2017:

1) Cognitive Computing: Connecting things with unique IP addresses has been possible for over a decade, but the commoditization of sensors, processors and memory now makes it viable to make everyday things not only connected, but also intelligent.

Cognitive computing is increasing the amount of data to enable sensors to diagnose and adapt to their environment without the need for human intervention. Another huge advantage of cognitive IoT is the ability to combine multiple data streams that can identify patterns and give much more context than would be otherwise available.

Although making sense out of dark data is paving the way to revolutionary ideas and technologies, it requires a cognitive approach that can effectively handle increasingly large inputs, while generating meaningful output. Programmable systems thrive on prescribed scenarios using predictable data, and their rigidity can limit their usefulness when addressing the ambiguity and uncertainty of IoT data.

Cognitive systems, however, are not explicitly programmed. Rather, they learn from interactions with people and from experiences with their environment. In doing so, they become able to keep pace with the complexity of the Internet of things, identifying data correlations that would otherwise go unnoticed.

2) Security: As we rely on connected devices, security must be considered. All participants in IoT ecosystems have a responsibility for the security of their devices, data and solutions. This includes device manufacturers, application developers, consumers and businesses.

According to our latest POV on cognitive security for the Internet of Things, IoT security requires a multi-layered approach. From a device point of view, security should be considered at the blueprint level that starts with design and development and keeps hardware, software and data secure through their entire life.

The same approach applies to any security analyst or operations personnel responsible for IoT solutions. To enable the full potential of the IoT, security challenges must be addressed through a combination of interoperability and good design. Take a proactive, not reactive approach in designing security features that will result in better products and solutions.

3) Blockchain is playing a major part in the IoT by enhancing security, making transactions more seamless and creating efficiencies in the supply chain by building trust, reducing costs and accelerating transactions.

Blockchain for IoT can transform the way business transactions are conducted globally through a trustworthy environment to automate and encode business transactions, while preserving privacy and security for all parties in the transaction. IBM Watson IoT Blockchain uses blockchain capabilities and enables information from the IoT devices to be used in transactions.

4) APIs, or application programming interfaces, serve as a bridge to connect useful information and plentiful data to the Internet of Things, making the IoT useful by connecting many disparate things into a powerful network.

Internet of Things devices would be useless without APIs. By exposing data that enables multiple devices to be connected, APIs provide an interface between the "Internet" and the "things" to reveal previously unseen possibilities. In the year to come, APIs will play a key role in monetizing the Internet of Things.

5) Platforms that have the right elements can provide tremendous value by linking the IoT endpoints to the applications and analytics needed to generate business outcomes.

An IoT platform must connect devices, collect data, handle thousands of vendors, dozens of standards and must be able to scale to millions of devices sending billions of messages. To deliver value beyond the basics, it must add cognitive computing, security, privacy and insight, among other things. With these capabilities and the supporting technology advancements, an IoT platform becomes the means for a company to transform its business.

The recently published report, "The Forrester Wave™: IoT Software Platforms, Q4 2016" assesses how the leading IoT platforms stack up based on current offerings, strategy and market presence.

While these five trends may play a major role in IoT in 2017 and beyond, new developments that we aren’t currently thinking about will likely emerge in the next year: the IoT is evolving so rapidly that there is always something new.

A version of this story ran on IBM's Internet of Things blog on Jan. 3rd.

Author : Chris O'Connor

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/ibm/2017/01/23/here-are-the-top-five-trends-to-watch-for-in-the-internet-of-things-during-2017/#79662fb928ae

Categorized in Internet of Things

There’s a big difference between being busy and being effective.

For most of my early entrepreneurial journey I often found myself spending hours at my computer only to look at the clock mid-afternoon to realize I hadn’t really accomplished anything.

It turns out this is a common thing for entrepreneurs—entrepreneurs work63% longer than the average employee, working an average of 52 hours a week.

If you feel like you are always working but not advancing in your career one successful entrepreneur has a solution. He says there’s three skills he mastered to build his business to 7-figures in annual revenue in just two years. If you can master these skills, you’ll be able to put an end to “busyness” and advance your career in a fraction of the time.

Meet John Lee Dumas, founder of the daily business podcast for entrepreneurs “Entrepreneur on Fire,” which gets 1.2 Million monthly listens and generates 7-figures in yearly revenue. Entrepreneur on Fire has featured distinguished guests like Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Tim Ferris, and was awarded ‘Best of iTunes.’

This week on Unconventional Life, Dumas shares the three skills every entrepreneur needs to master to advance their careers in 2017.

Photo courtesy John Lee DumasPhoto courtesy John Lee Dumas

Dumas says he can relate to feeling challenged in the early days of his entrepreneurial journey. When he first launched Entrepreneur on Fire, he had no experience with podcasting and had been told by his mentors it was a bad idea.

Though the odds were stacked against him, he saw a need for daily content for entrepreneurs and wanted to fulfill that need. “I wanted more content, fresh content every single day waiting for me and I didn’t understand why it didn’t exist so I decided to be the change I wanted to see in the world,” says Dumas.

Roughly four years later, Entrepreneur on Fire has become one of the most listened to and valued podcasts by entrepreneurs. Dumas has released over 1,500 episodes, which collectively have over 43 Million listens.

Dumas accredits his success to three key skills—productivity, discipline, and focus. He says these skills are the horsepower behind execution and separate those who follow through from those who don’t.

In mastering these skills, you can be sure you’ll be able to conquer anything in your path. Below, Dumas shares his tips to master productivity, discipline and focus.

1. Operate In Your Genius

Being productive is effortless when you enjoy what you do and you’re good at it. Dumas calls this your “zone of genius.” You can uncover your zone of genius with a simple 5-day exercise. Draw a line down the center of a blank piece of paper and label the left side, “things I enjoy,” and the right side, “things I’m good at.” For ten minutes each day, write down as much as you can on each side. Repeat the exercise for five days in a row.

2. Own Your Strengths

“We have way more weaknesses than we have strengths,” Dumas says. “The problem is people spend their time on all those weaknesses trying to be ok at something they’re crappy at. Nobody wants ok, you might as well stay crappy.” Forget your weaknesses; identify what your natural strengths are and work on developing them to a level of mastery. You’ll work your “discipline” and “focus” muscles in the process.

3. Outsource

You can free up a tremendous amount of time and energy with outsourcing. Check yourself by calculating your “hourly wage,” or the amount of money you make divided by the hours you work. If your hourly wage isn’t what you want it to be, consider hiring someone to do simple things like website maintenance or responding to emails that aren’t an effective use of your time.

4. Put The Blinders On

Those who try to do too many things at once rarely get anything done. Select one project you want to see to completion and make it the sole object of your focus until it is complete. Eliminate distractors and execute your project with laser-like focus for maximum productivity.

5. Plan

Your goals can feel overwhelming and unattainable when you don’t have a concrete plan of action to achieve them. Determine what your goals are and create a realistic plan with daily action steps that will take you to your goal. In creating your plan, make sure your roadmap is guaranteed to work. You don’t want to waste your energy doing things that don’t produce results. Your plan should give you confidence and peace of mind that every single day you are making progress and are certain to arrive at your goal.

6. Stick To A Routine

Routines are a great way to establish structure and hold yourself accountable to your best work. Dumas says he starts every day with running, meditation, and journaling to put himself in the frame of mind he needs to be successful. Maybe your daily routine involves coffee and rejuvenating breaks. Design a framework that will enable you to do your best, day in and day out. For even greater structure, check out Dumas’ Mastery Journal designed to guide you to productivity, discipline and focus in 100 days. 

Author : Jules Schroeder

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/julesschroeder/2017/01/23/3-skills-every-entrepreneur-needs-to-advance-their-career-in-2017/#58209aa47c21

Categorized in Business Research

Any good marketer knows to keep an eye on the future to stay ahead of the curve on new trends, emerging marketing channels, and other fresh ideas to deliver brand messages. With 2016 in the rear-view mirror and 2017 flying down the pipeline, now is the time to start examining what the New Year is going to mean for marketing.

Here are six marketing growth strategies to help your small business succeed in 2017.

Marketing Growth Strategies for Small Businesses

1. Mobile-Centric is the Name of the Game

Over the past couple years, we’ve seen mobile overtake desktop in usage and search. As a result, there was a big push in 2016 for small businesses to ensure that their web pages were optimized for mobile browsing. This mobile friendly attitude was the first step towards being mobile-centric, but that journey is not over.

Mobile-centric involves a lot of technologies and platforms, some of which are still emerging and only now being utilized for small business marketing purposes. The following are all mobile technologies that a small business should begin implementing into their content-based strategies.

Mobile Apps: If you do anything mobile-related in 2017, then get a mobile app. If you don’t already have one, check out this list for detailed reviews of affordable DIY app builders. Small businesses have been slow to build apps for their brands because of the high price point of mobile development. However, there are now a lot of inexpensive, yet effective, options that can allow your company to propel itself into the mobile-centric world of 2017.

Mobile Payment Services: Consumers are increasingly adopting mobile pay services like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. They want to be able to pay with a simple tap on their mobile device, whether they are in your store or shopping online. From a marketing standpoint, you not only want to offer this service (or risk missing out on possible revenue), but also advertise that it is a viable payment option.

Mobile Only Apps: Many of the top downloaded apps are what are known as mobile only apps, meaning they aren’t available on desktop computers like Facebook and Twitter. Apps like Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat and others are rapidly growing in popularity. They present an exciting and new channels for small and large businesses alike to market themselves on. 2017 will undoubtedly offer more of these mobile-only apps, so keep an eye out.

2. Email Marketing

Email marketing is by no means a new trend, but it makes the list because of the severely misguided viewpoint that it is an “old school” tactic and no longer relevant. The data shows the exact opposite; email marketing is one of the most ROI-positive strategies out there.

The people that make the false claim that email marketing isn’t effective are the ones that aren’t using it correctly. This tactic is all about providing audiences with relevant, valuable and helpful information (think DIY guides, links to blog content, industry news, etc.). It is not designed for jamming sales pitches down consumers’ throats.

3. Data Informed Decision Making

A lot of people refer to this trend as a push to become data-driven. But, there is a lot wrong with that concept. It suggests that companies should plop their big data / analytics tools at the helm of the ship and let it steer all of the decisions. Most organizations, especially small ones, lack the high-end, sophisticated big data tools and existing data culture that make a real data-driven approach possible.

Even with these tools, the risks are very high. Data doesn’t always know best. Companies should be pairing their data-born insights with the existing knowledge and opinions of their team members. This approach yields the safety and best results that doesn’t require you to overhaul your IT department.

4. Video Content

It is easy to understand why consumers prefer to receive content-based marketing messages over ad-based ones. Advertisements are often interruptive while marketing through content is informational, entertaining and engaging. When you consider that approximately 60 percent of consumers prefer to watch content, instead of reading it, then the power of video marketing becomes immediately apparent. Video content will continue to build momentum and audiences will be looking for it more in 2017.

5. Expert Blogging

Your small business may already have blog content that is regularly published, but how good is that content? Blog content for marketing became a popular means to get noticed on search engines thanks to SEO practices. In this quest to be seen, a lot of organizations became more concerned with their SEO than the actual quality of their content.

Now, audiences are starting to take notice that there is a difference between valuable blog content and not so important writing. If your content isn’t informative and exciting to read, people aren’t going to stick around. 2017 is poised to be the year that brands invest in bringing their digital writing to the next level, which may mean hiring an “industry expert” to create higher caliber blogs.

6. Better Social Media Practices

This trend is in the same realm as blogging in that it is something that almost everyone is doing, but very few are doing well. Specifically, they aren’t getting the most out of their social media data. Even if you are creating high-quality content and regularly responding to comments, questions and complaints, you may be missing out on a lot of valuable information.

Social media platforms are a significant contributor to big data because there are a lot of engagements on these services. Customers are practically handing you a road map to running your business more efficiently and providing a better customer experience. Thus, you should be actively listening and collecting social media based data.


There’s a reason that the biggest section is about becoming mobile-centric. That’s the premier trend for 2017; everything that comes after mobile is just icing on the small business marketing cake. Not to mention that many of the following patterns are hugely affected by mobile (think about how often you check your email, watch videos and check social media on your phone). When it comes to providing value to consumers and retaining them as long-term, brand loyal customers, it all starts with how mobile-centric your small business is.

Author: Andrew Gazdecki
Source: https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/12/small-business-marketing-growth-strategies.html

Categorized in Business Research

Our cast falls short on members but stays big on insight this week when Matt and Min join together to break down powerful information in the worlds of design and marketing. Together, they look at some more future trends, changes to Google search, and more!

  1. 2017’s Design Trends [1:45]
  2. YouTube in Google Search [10:20]
  3. Sourcing Your Content [12:05]

2017’s Design Trends

This week, Min revisits the 2017 trends to lay out some insight into the world of design, from an actual designer! Together, her and Matt look at popular trends from colors and layouts of websites, to navigation and user experience in just about everything!

  • “I’ve been seeing a lot of hype around conversational interfaces lately in the design world. People just want to feel like they’re really talking to someone.” -Min
  • “There’s also a big trend for websites to be smarter in predicting what their users want, think Amazon but in a lot of other websites.” -Min
  • “2017 is going to be a year of trying to make things easier for mobile users. Think UI and UX, little things like pulling the screen down to refresh it or simplified navigation” -Min
  • “Personally, I think virtual reality is going to have the biggest effect on design as a whole, it’s throwing so many designers for a loop.” -Min

YouTube in Google Search

Recently, someone discovered some changes to the mobile search results from Google that could have a huge impact on SEO in the future. To get a deeper look, Matt breaks down the changes and talks about what it could mean to the industry and businesses that want to utilize this powerful tool!

  • “As we all know, Google is the largest search engine but the second largest is actually YouTube.” -Matt
  • “A user found that when he searched certain things that videos from YouTube would be listed first and they would auto play like they do on Facebook.” -Matt
  • “By making videos auto-play without sound, it forces designers to edit text onto the videos that have dialogue or information share verbally.” -Matt

Sourcing Your Content

The number one question our host Matt gets asked when he’s talking with people about digital marketing is, where should you get your content from and how much of it should you curate? Matt takes some time to dive into just that, to answer all those questions so you don’t even need to ask!

  • “Personally, I like to adhere to a an 80/20 rule if you’re just starting out on social media. Post 80% of curated content and 20% of original content.” -Matt
  • “For small business who don’t have time to create lots of content, starting small is great until you’ve got a good que of built up material.” -Min
  • “It’s okay to update older content, just put in your sub header that you’ve updated it. Google likes it, your viewers like it, everyone likes it!” -Matt



Author: Matt Curtis
Source: http://www.business2community.com/podcasts/2017s-design-trends-youtube-google-search-sourcing-content-podcast-01758797#AwMw6U4Bjw36YX2F.97



Thanks to Siri and, more recently, Amazon Alexa, most people are familiar with AI-powered personal assistants, yet few utilize them. That’s unfortunate, as AI personal assistants can perform many actions that save you time, including getting quotes for rides, sending messages, checking the weather and your email, making lists, and scheduling tasks. If you’d like to experience this yourself but you don’t have an iPhone and aren’t in the market for an Echo, try out one (or all) of these AI assistant apps for Android.


If you’re familiar with Siri or have ever used a chat bot to perform a task, you’ll have a good idea of how Ozlo and most of the apps below work. With Ozlo, you can ask questions and, depending on the question, view results directly on your phone, where they can then be further refined to include specific things.Upon first launching the app, you’ll be asked to give Ozlo your zip code, a necessary step so that it knows which weather forecast to report and similar things. From there, you can type a message to Ozlo the same way you’d peck out a text message to a friend. The assistant always suggests a couple dozen things from which you can choose, such as figuring out where to eat for dinner.

You can ask the app many of the same things you could with, for example, Siri or Alexa. For example, you can ask what movies are playing nearby and get a list. Or, to be more specific, you can ask what time a particular movie is playing nearby and receive a list of theaters with showtimes. The topics are vast, and include things like finding recipes, viewing the news, and ordering an Uber car.There are some limitations, though — you can’t use it to send someone a message, for example, and its ability to manage your schedule is pretty much non-existent. The app also requires you to type your questions and requests rather than speak them. The app is free to download.


You’re likely familiar with Cortana by now, particularly if you’re running Windows 10. The app that was once reserved for Windows Phone is now available to download onto Android devices, bringing the same assistance found on desktop to your phone or tablet. Cortana has more abilities than Ozlo, and indeed ranks up near the top of the AI-powered assistants list.

Cortana doesn’t just provide you with information, but can also help manage your days and help perform actions you’d otherwise need a couple hands to do. One example is scheduling meetings — with Cortana, you can schedule your planned meetings and she’ll then know how to handle them.Cortana can also be used to send someone in your contacts a message. You can, for example, say something like, “Cortana, text John Doe,” followed by your message. If you’re frequently on the receiving end of packages, you can also ask her when your packages are arriving, and she’ll scour your email to find the info for you.Perhaps the biggest limitation is that you’ll need to have a Microsoft account to sign into the app, and the email functionality will be limited if you don’t use Outlook.


If you’re not a fan of Microsoft and you find Ozlo too limited, you may enjoy SoundHound’s Hound personal assistant app instead. Hound can be used hands-free by saying “OK Hound,” followed by your question. The company says you can speak naturally with its app, and that includes using natural phrases rather than clunky collections of keywords.

Users can use Hound to send text messages and make phone calls, and to perform searches in the form of questions. You can ask where the nearest cafe is, for example, and get a suitable response. The assistant supports GPS and navigation related requests, can order an Uber ride, find and book hotels, set alarms, calculate figures, present movie showtimes, and more.

Dragon Mobile Assistant

Nuance’s Dragon software is perhaps most popular for its voice to text abilities, and few know about the company’s foray into the world of mobile personal assistants. Dragon Mobile Assistant is, relative to its competition, a fairly sophisticated app. You can perform many of the things listed for Hound and Cortana, as well as submit posts to Facebook and send tweets using the app.

The personal assistant can likewise help manage your schedule via things like setting reminders for events and adding appointments to your calendar. You can then later ask about any appointments you have going on that day to get a reminder. The company says its app learns your “voiceprint” so that it will only accept spoken commands from you and no one else.The app also supports what Nuance calls an ‘Attentive Mode,’ which wakes the assistant up and has it listening even if your device’s screen is turned off. This is particularly useful while driving or sitting at your desk. Like the apps listed above, Dragon Mobile Assistant is free to download.


The personal assistant app Jarvis has proven popular, and that popularity is likely due in part to the household name associated with it. Who doesn’t like asking Jarvis to do something for them? Plus the app uses the kind of voice you’d expect to be associated with a virtual assistant named Jarvis, adding to the fun.As far as practical usage goes, Jarvis can hold its own amongst the best of the AI-powered personal assistant apps. Jarvis has access to your phone’s functions, speeding up certain rote tasks on your behalf. You can, for example, ask Jarvis to turn on your device’s flashlight or to open Chrome. Just as well, you can ask Jarvis to play a particular song and to do so over Bluetooth.

The app also has support for setting alarms, sending messages and making calls, and relaying information like your device’s battery status and the local weather. Unlike some other personal assistant apps, Jarvis can perform unique actions: you can, for example, link a reminder to a specific contact so that you see the reminder only when you call them or get a call from them.You can control Jarvis via a Bluetooth headset if you use one, set both nighttime and office hours to avoid interruption, and you can use him from your Android Wear smartwatch. The personal assistant is also quite witty, and has more than a couple wisecracks and fun responses to your less serious questions.While Jarvis is free on Android, it does include a small on-screen banner ad. You have to pay a bit over a dollar to get the ‘Mark II’ upgrade.


This is a small slice of the personal assistants currently available for Android, but they’re a collection of the highest-rated ones, and many of them offer the same features. Certain apps are more useful for some users than others, however. Ozlo, for example, can only be used by typing, and so it isn’t terribly useful for young children. Jarvis can be used with a Bluetooth headset, and Cortana can search your Outlook email account, assuming you have one.

Author: Brittany A. Roston
Source: https://www.slashgear.com/top-ai-personal-assistant-apps-for-android-2017-09471259

Categorized in Internet Technology

Are you prepared for the rise in voice search? Columnist Sherry Bonelli discusses how voice search will impact local businesses.

There’s one thing that remains true about SEO: it’s always changing. One of the big changes that we’re experiencing now in local SEO is the increasing popularity of voice search. Voice search used to be a novelty — now it’s a necessity, especially when you’re on the go with your smartphone or tablet.

If you’re a local business, how do you optimize your business for this new personal assistant-type search? Here are some tips.

Voice searches are on the rise

According to Google, 20 percent of searches on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches. The total number of voice searches overall is actually much higher when you take into account personal assistants like Amazon’s Echo (aka Alexa), Google Home (a direct competitor of the Echo), Siri and Cortana — tools that are solely based on voice recognition.

Why the uptick in voice search? First, using your voice to search is getting more accurate. Not too long ago, voice recognition simply wasn’t accurate. In many cases, it was more frustrating than helpful. Now, according to the KPCB Internet Trends 2016 report, the accuracy rate of voice search is up to 92 percent. That’s a huge improvement. As voice recognition becomes more and more accurate, the capabilities of voice search will expand, and consumers will reap the benefits as its popularity continues to rise.

Another reason voice search is becoming more mainstream is that these new devices (like Alexa and Google Home) are bringing voice search to the everyday consumer — and are actually living in your home. (If you tried to find an Amazon Echo to purchase around Christmas time, you know what I’m talking about. There were none to be found.) Consumers have more voice recognition technologies to choose from, and there are sure to be more on the horizon.

So, if you’re going to stay ahead of local search, you need to start thinking about voice search as you optimize your site — starting now.

Optimizing your local business for voice search

Many people use voice search to get information about local businesses they want to go to. They might say something like, “Where is the best pizza restaurant in Chicago?” (Now that’s a tough one!) In this case, you’d want to make sure that you optimize the content on your pages for “best pizza restaurant in Chicago.” Adding natural language to your site’s content will only help you with voice search results.

Another way to add natural language to your website is by creating Q&A pages — using words and phrases that people actually speak (versus words they type into a search box). Make these Q&A pages more conversational in tone, and the keyword phrases you use will probably resonate more with a person performing a voice search.

You also need to make sure that it’s easy for the search bots to crawl your site and know what your business is about. This can increase the chances that your content will show up in response to a voice search question. Make sure you submit your sitemap to Google and Bing. Additionally, start incorporating microdata, schema, rich snippets and so on. These little pieces of code give the search engines even more information about what your business is all about.

If structured data still scares you a bit, check out Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, where you can see the different kinds of content you can mark up. It will also walk you through the process and make sure you’re including the right HTML on your site.

Now, if a person uses the common local search phrase “near me,” then your on-site optimization probably won’t impact the results much. Instead, the device will look at where the user is physically located when they perform the search and pull up listings that are on Google My Business, Bing Places for Business or other online directories. That’s just another important reason to make sure your business is claimed and optimized — and that your listings are accurate with regard to your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP).

Also, when you’re setting up Google My Business or Bing Places for Business, be as specific as you can when you pick your business category — that can increase the odds of showing up on voice searches that are targeted to your local niche.

In addition to Google My Business and Bing Places for Business, you also want to make sure that your online business directories (aka citation sites) are accurate as well. For instance, if your old address is listed on Yelp, and your new one is on Citysearch, the search engines won’t know which address is the correct one and will be less likely to pull your business up in voice search results.

Small changes: start today

Voice search doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your entire SEO strategy or the content on your site, but it does mean that you’re going to need to make some subtle changes that can help make you more successful in the voice search world.

First, consider the intent behind a voice search. Mobile voice searches will use natural language, which means long-tail keyword phrases are more important than ever. So start brainstorming about what naturally spoken questions may be asked about your business, product or service.

There are some helpful tools that make this brainstorming process easier. Try Answerthepublic.comStoryBase or Question Samurai (developed by the makers of the great SEO tool, Market Samurai). These tools give you some great natural language keyword phrases that you can incorporate into the content of your site.

Another trick is to take a look at your analytics. Google’s Search Console reports show you what queries are bringing people to your site. At this time, you can’t tell if the search query came from voice search or the good old-fashioned way — but the way voice search is going, that may change. Regardless, you can get some good ideas based on how people are finding you right now.

One final thought

Since most voice searches are done on mobile devices, you MUST have a mobile-friendly site. If a person does a voice search, goes to your site and has a bad experience, you’ve lost! This not only impacts that individual searcher, but a high bounce rate because your site is difficult to use on a smartphone can also (indirectly) negatively affect your rankings on Google. Go mobile, if you haven’t already.

What are your thoughts on voice search? Are you preparing now? I’d love to hear what you’re doing to make your site more voice-search-friendly.

Author: Sherry Bonelli
Source: http://searchengineland.com/essential-voice-search-strategies-2017-267054


Categorized in Search Engine

Nothing may have had as bad of a year as the Internet.

The Internet has been hit with an onslaught of criticism and suffered several setbacks in 2016: from relinquishment of American control over web address management, introduced surveillance measures in the United Kingdom, social media backlash for users’ hate speech and terrorist affiliations, to censorship and fake news.

The Obama administration let a contract with an American corporation expire at the very end of September, so that a central portion of Internet governance control could be handed over to an international bureaucracy.

Now countries like China, which have vastly different perspectives on freedom of speech than America, will have a say in how Internet addresses will be managed.

In October, a large portion of websites were shutdown for the majority of the Northeast in America. Now that power has been shared with other countries, such attacks could be harder to overcome and thus could become a severe and regular problem for America’s internet infrastructure, which is absolutely critical for a number of things like the country’s electoral process, national security and commerce.

The U.K. passed a surveillance bill in November that significantly expands the government’s spying powers, namely over the Internet. The Investigatory Powers Bill is considered so expansive, it’s informally called the “snoopers’ charter.” The European Union’s top court ruled the measure was illegal because it calls for the “general and indiscriminate” retention of people’s online web traffic, but it remains to be seen if the ruling will ultimately matter.

“The U.K.’s new Investigatory Powers bill sets a chilling precedent for surveillance and online free speech in the West,” Ryan Hagemann, technology and civil liberties policy analyst at the Niskanen Center, told the The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Americans should definitely be concerned about the expansion of surveillance authorities in Europe, especially with the rising tide of ethno-nationalism and right-wing populism throughout much of the continent.”

Tech platforms like YouTube and Twitter have engaged in censorship by removing accounts such as ones associated with the alt-right — going against the companies’ usual mindset of being absolutely for free speech.

In fact, there are a number of instances of Silicon Valley burying conservative news, from Facebook’s trending list, to Google’s search engine.

These same tech companies have been sued over the past year by a number of people, including the family members of the victims of the Orlando Night Club shootingthe Paris attacks, and Palestinian bombings. The plaintiffs in these cases argue that tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are complicit with terrorists because such evildoers use the platforms they offer, thus providing “material support.”

Several legal experts and lawyers told The Daily Caller News Foundation that such legal actions are unsubstantiated and misguided because of multipleexplicit laws already on the books.

“Those lawsuits are going nowhere. Service providers can’t be held liable just for providing accounts to bad speakers who would use the accounts to convey bad messages. See, e.g., Fields v. Twitter,” Eugene Volokh, professor at the UCLA School of Law, told TheDCNF.

Yet, several parties are still suing these tech companies, potentially harming the sanctity of freedom of speech on the Internet.

Along with first amendment concerns, there were heated battles between law enforcement and tech companies over encryption, which touches upon the Fourth and Fifth Amendment, amongst other principles.

The FBI demanded that Apple unlock the iPhone 5c of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two San Bernardino shooters. A federal court at the time agreed and ordered that Apple do so, which CEO Tim Cook said would require creating a new technological tool.

Cook called it “unprecedented” and “chilling” since “building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a back door. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”

Cook states that if it had created such a tool, encryption, the process of encoding data so only the authorized parties can see it, would have been compromised, thus significantly harming people’s online privacy.

And there’s the fake news dilemma, where people are worried that uncorroborated stories are becoming too available for people to see on the Internet. People have called on Facebook to fix the problem since it’s a social media platform where news is disseminated.

Mark Zuckerberg named Snopes, a media outlet, as one of the entities that will help them in labeling stories as “fake news.” This will likely lead to subjective censorship of conservative viewpoints, since Snopes almost exclusively employs people who are left-leaning.

So while the bleakness for the Internet in 2016 was fairly apparent, what does 2017 have in store?

While Hagemann says its always difficult to make predictions, he thinks because of “the battles over encryption here in the U.S., the passage of the Investigatory Powers bill in the U.K., and the year-end focus on fake news, the Internet isn’t the electronic frontier it used to be.”

“The reality of politics and policy have crept into cyberspace. I think 2017 will be the year the last vestiges of cyberfrontier life finally wither away,” Hagemann explained.

So as the Internet becomes increasingly pervasive in society, so too will the questioning of its role.

“In the end, the Internet is just a reflection of the real world, warts and all. In the short run, I’m sure we’ll continue dealing with issues like fake news, terrorist recruitment through social media, and concerns over government surveillance. In the long run, however, I’m definitely optimistic for the future of humanity, in both the real world and the world of atoms,” Hagemann concluded.

Author: Eric Lieberman
Source: http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/01/2016s-assault-on-the-internet-was-brutal-will-2017-be-worse

Categorized in Internet Technology
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