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Twitter and the Algorithm-Based News Feed

Twitter and the Algorithm-Based News Feed

Web code sample

Did you hear that? It was a collective groan from the Twitter community.

Twitter recently announced that as early as 2015 we could be seeing a new algorithm derived newsfeed. What does that mean? It means that the tweets in your newsfeed will no longer appear in reverse chronological order. Instead of seeing the newest tweets first, your newsfeed will instead feature what an algorithm deems to be the most relevant tweets according to your interests.

Speaking at the Citi Global Technology Conference in New York on September 3rd, Twitter CEO Anthony Noto said that the change in philosophy is because arranging tweets according to time “isn’t the most relevant experience for the user.” His solution? Develop an algorithm to better relay interesting content to users.

This isn’t a new concept. In fact, Facebook introduced a similar system a few years ago. If you’ll remember, the Facebook timeline was once very similar to Twitter. You were treated to updates as soon as they happened. To some people, the new Facebook timeline is great; to others, not so much.

Good or bad, the changes to Twitter are coming, and you are going to need to adjust your branding strategy. All that info we’ve released over the years concerning the best times and days to post or schedule tweets? Toss it out, because what matters now is sharing content that is most relevant to your target audience.

This is going to be tricky. Over the years, Twitter has been outstanding for breaking news and getting info out fast. So what do you do when there isn’t a guarantee your followers are going to see your post when you want them to? Our recommendation is to zero in on content marketing.

There are still a lot of people out there guilty of flooding your timeline with empty offers and regurgitated articles. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to share news and events that interest you, it only means that you need to work on targeting. Who do you want to see this? Is it important and/or relevant to your business? Is it a quality piece?

Who knows, maybe the new Twitter algorithm changes are going to be great, maybe it will spur a rise in new and improved digital content. Stick with us as we all work to navigate the upcoming Twitter changes!


Photo – © adrian_ilie825 – Fotolia.com

#Hashtag your next Event

#Hashtag your next Event


Back in July we talked to you about How to Step Up your Hashtag Game and this week we wanted to take it one step further to teach you how to hashtag your next event.

As we’ve talked about before, hashtags are great for branding. But do you know what they are even better for? Organizing an event. Not only will it help get the word out, but it will also help you get a handle on just how much buzz has been generated. You can now track hashtags across the most significant platforms in social media. That includes: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.

It’s simple. All you have to do is come up with a #hashtag to brand your event. We recommend keeping it short and simple, something that will stick with the event’s participants and attendees.

As an example, let’s say we here at AIMS decided to throw a conference for insurance marketers. We know that we need a hashtag that isn’t already in the rotation, so we’ll go with #AIMSConference. It is specific to the event and easy to remember.

In order to get the word out to those attending our event, we start the branding process early. That means #AIMSConference is featured prominently on the event website, invitation and confirmation emails. It is also a good idea to start using it as you plan the event. That way, you can share your progress with your followers and keep the hashtag fresh in everyone’s minds.

At the conference (or whatever your event may be), there should be a reminder for everyone to hashtag their photos, tweets and videos with #AIMSConference.

When it’s all said and done, you can sit back and review your event through the eyes of the hashtag. People tend to be far more vocal on social media than they are in real life. This then, will be a great way to evaluate your event: Did people have a good time? What are the positive reviews? What are the negative reviews? What can you do next time to make the event better?

You might not always like the answers you get, but at least you’ve developed a baseline and can better develop your event in the future. Or, the outcome will be positive and you can bask in a job well done! Odds are the truth will lie somewhere in between.


Photo – © zakokor – Fotolia.com

Insurance Marketing: Why do scare tactics work?

Insurance Marketing:

Why do scare tactics work?

fear word in wood type

Fear appeal is an attempt by the marketer to induce feelings of anxiety or fear in the consumer so that they are more inclined to purchase their product. Sometimes the campaigns are nuanced and feature more innuendo than an overt message of doom and gloom. Others, yeah, they really are just doom and gloom. Sound familiar?

It should, because scare tactics work. That is why we see so much of it in insurance marketing. Actually, with just one look around the insurance industry, you could say that we’ve cornered the market on fear appeal. That’s what happens when your business is built around preparing for loss.

But we aren’t the only ones using fear appeal as a basis for marketing. Just ask the CDC about its efficacy. Their anti-smoking campaign has been incredibly effective. Rolled out in 2012, it has been estimated that 1.6 million Americans have since attempted to quit smoking with 100,000 succeeding as a direct result of the campaign.

What they found is that people don’t so much care about the images they see, so long as they don’t have to experience them first hand. Once they get it in their heads that the ramifications of smoking are real and applicable to their everyday life, only then do they make an attempt to change their ways.

As insurance marketers we can take that theme and incorporate it into our campaigns. Instead of telling people “Your house is going to burn down, you need homeowners insurance” we can say “Hey, this is what happens when a home is lost due to fire; this is how difficult the recovery process is, and it can happen to anyone.” The difference between the two statements is subtle, but it is important for effectively communicating your message.



Photo – © Marek – Fotolia.com

Google Analytics for iOS App now Available

Google Analytics for iOS App now Available


Google Analytics is one of the industry’s top tools for tracking traffic on your website, and until recently there was not an app available to be able to use it on your iPad or iPhone. But the times they are a changin’ and you can now download the Google Analytics app from the App Store.

This is great news for the Apple users out there! Just like the Android App before it, the iOS version allows for real-time tracking of visitors to your company’s website, and all from the comfort of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

So why should you use Google Analytics? Here are three reasons:

Get to know your audience.

Analytics allow you to get to know your audience. Who is visiting your site? Where are they located? How long are they staying? Which platforms are they using to access your site? Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to adjust your strategy to better cater to your clientele.

How are visitors finding your page?

As we’ve already stated, analytics not only track who is visiting your page, but also where they are coming from. Do you send out a lot email blasts? This tool will help you determine whether or not that strategy is working. Or maybe you have gone the paid route and advertise on Google, Yahoo or Bing. Google Analytics will help you determine just how effective these campaigns really are by tracking the influx of traffic to your site.

What works on your site?

So now that the audience is there, what are they doing? Analytics will help you figure out what works on your site and what doesn’t by monitoring each page’s interaction with users.

So what are you waiting for? Go get that app!



Photo – © Marek – Fotolia.com

5 Ways to Step Up your #Hashtag Game

5 Ways to Step Up your #Hashtag Game

3D Hashtag


Hashtags are a big deal these days, you see them everywhere – Twitter, Instagram, football fields and heck, people are even naming their babies Hashtag! Who knew the ‘#’ sign would blow up the way it has?

While it might seem sometimes that hashtags have jumped the shark, they still serve a vital purpose in social media. Did you know that once you hashtag one of your tweets, Google + or Facebook posts, it is available for absolutely anyone to see? We’re not just talking your followers, we’re talking everyone! The moral here? Think before you hashtag.

So without further ado, check out our list of 5 ways to step up your hashtag game!

#Hashtag Tips

  1. Use only 1-3 hashtags per tweet, each of which has a maximum length of 1-2 words.
  2. Only use relevant hashtags. One trick we see people using is to hashtag their tweets with whatever the latest trend is, only for that hashtag to have no relevance to the topic at hand. Really, it is the equivalent of spam. Don’t be a spammer.
  3. Don’t limit your hashtag use to just Twitter! Using hashtags on Instagram, Facebook, and Google+ will help you reach a wider audience.
  4. Do use hashtags to strengthen your brand. At AIMS, we like to hashtag our tweets with #implementnow. It is quick, it is simple and it is easy. Have a question for us – or a comment? Hashtag it #implementnow and we are sure to see it. Something as simple as that is great for branding, as it becomes associated with your business.
  5. Don’t hashtag every word. It really won’t help you establish a brand, and to be honest, it is really quite annoying. Your goal should be to engage your followers, not turn them away.





Photo – © kuklos – Fotolia.com


They’re baaaack! The Importance of Long Tail Keywords

They’re baaaack!

The Importance of Long Tail Keywords

search engine optimization

SEO is ever changing, ever evolving, but sometimes what goes around comes back around. Which is why we are now seeing the reemergence of the long tail keyword as a common SEO practice.

How are long tail keywords different from a normal keyword? For starters, they are longer and more specific, which makes them perfect for those of you looking to optimize your website to generate more local traffic. Think about it: There are MILLIONS of ‘Insurance’ websites out there, but not nearly as many ‘Auto Insurance Oregon’ and even fewer ‘Teen Auto Insurance Portland’.

Of course, you don’t want to get too specific with your long tail keywords or else nobody is going to find their way to your site. For the insurance agents out there that make up the majority of our clientele here at AIMS, we recommend that when updating your business insurance pages you optimize at the state level. That means if you are located in Pennsylvania all of your commercial auto insurance page is headed with ‘Pennsylvania Commercial Auto Insurance’ and the content itself should be populated with 3-5 of the same long tail keyword.

Personal insurance pages however should be more location specific, so ‘Philadelphia Life Insurance’ instead of ‘Pennsylvania Life Insurance’. The best way to look at it is that there are more individuals than businesses, so you need to be even more specific when trying to draw in one of the many individuals out there. Businesses on the other hand are more likely to shop around, so even if you are located in Philadelphia, a Pittsburgh business may be just as willing to insure with you so long as your rates are competitive.

Remember, SEO is just one part of your search engine ranking. To get higher up on Google search results list you must also produce quality, fresh content on a regular basis and have a user-friendly design.

Good luck!


Photo – © Artco – Fotolia.com

Thumbs-Down to Too Many Thumbs-Up Stock Photos

Thumbs-Down to too many Thumbs-Up Stock Photos

We all know that a thumbs-up is the international symbol of approval (hello, Facebook!), and it is showing up in more and more stock photos. It doesn’t seem to matter what we search for, we ALWAYS find at least one. Really, any topic, any time.

The problem with these photos is that they don’t always inspire confidence. And to be honest, they can be pretty cheesy. So we thought this week it would be fun to share with you some of the thumbs-up photos we come across each week. Check them out below, as well as our first thoughts when we saw them!

Searched for: Health Insurance

Portrait female doctor giving thumbs up, hospital background
© pathdoc – Fotolia.com

Our thoughts: Nothing says, “I got this” quite like a doctor giving you the double thumbs up.

Searched for: RV Insurance

© Lisa F. Young - Fotolia.com
© Lisa F. Young – Fotolia.com

At first glance: Oh look, thumbs up in front of an RV! Of course I can trust them! Their RV must be the best!

Searched for: Motorcycle Insurance

© Monika Wisniewska - Fotolia.com
© Monika Wisniewska – Fotolia.com

At first glance: Oh man, this is just not good. First of all, I searched for “motorcycle insurance” and she’s not even wearing a helmet? Sorry girl, we just can’t return the thumbs-up to you.

Searched for: Life Insurance

© bsilvia - Fotolia.com
© bsilvia – Fotolia.com

At first glance: So, thumbs-up for an empty life insurance folder, huh? Even she doesn’t look too sure about this.

Searched for: Teen Driver Safety

© Kurhan - Fotolia.com
© Kurhan – Fotolia.com


At first glance: Sorry sir, you are most certainly not a teen driver, and not even a thumbs-up can assure that you are. Actually, I may trust your safe driving skills less because of this. Nice try though.

So there you have it. A small sampling of the thumbs-up we deal with every day.


Why Social Media is like owning a Pet

Why Social Media is like owning a Pet

Illustration with glamour Poodle dog

You don’t just buy a dog and not feed it or take it on walks. (Well, some people do, but that’s a whole other rant.) The same thing can be said for Social Media. Do NOT set up a social media account if it is not something you are going to take care of! Like a pet, it is something you need to pay attention to, feed and play with on a regular basis.

Why? Here are four reasons:

4 Reasons Social Media is like owning a Pet

1. Social media needs to be fed

As any pet parent would know, nutrition is important and social media accounts are hungry. Their favorite food? Fresh content. Without it, you can’t expect your social media accounts to grow big and strong.

Social media is dependent on interaction between users. After all, aren’t we all just searching for that illusive retweet or social network share? If you can’t engage your followers, you can’t grow your brand, and you can’t get clicks if you don’t have anything to say.

2. Social media accounts need to go for ‘walks’

Walks are important for pets. Not only are they a great form of exercise, but they also play a major role in socialization. Social media is similar in that you really need to get out there and meet the neighbors, so to speak, so that you can get feedback on how your social media branding is being received.

Is it interesting? Are you getting clicks? Is your content being shared? These are questions you can get answered by engaging with other users, or better yet, by networking with others in the business. Just like pet owners at the dog park share their experiences, you can share yours with others in a similar situation. Conferences are a great place to do so!

3. Social media needs grooming

Social media is like a show-dog; it needs grooming. You can’t just put it all out there and hope that people are going to engage. You need to entice them.

How? By wrapping it up in a pretty package. That may mean mixing it up – add pictures to your blog posts, tweet an interesting video, share relevant materials. Sometimes, that may even mean cutting down on your posting.

I know, we just harped on the importance of feeding your social media accounts, but it is possible to go overboard. Have you ever followed a company on Facebook or Twitter only to be bombarded with a litany of advertisements or overt marketing messages? Yeah, it’s off putting. Knowing where to draw the line is important.

4. Sometimes social media needs to be ‘fixed’

You know the signs that your pet needs to be fixed, right? They may be a little over zealous or territorial, perhaps even aggressive. So you take them to the vet and get it taken care of. The same thing needs to be done for your social media accounts.

How do you know your accounts need to be fixed? Let’s start with the most obvious one: You have no interactions. Another? You are losing followers. If ever there was a sign that you are doing it wrong, then that is it. Now, we all lose followers, but if you are losing at a higher rate than you are gaining, it is a problem.

Recognize the signs and get it fixed.




Photo – © Annykos – Fotolia.com

Is working from home right for you?

Is working from home right for you?

Working from home vector with desk and office equipment

Working from home isn’t right for everyone. There are a lot of people who need the structure that office life provides – having somewhere to go and be held accountable on a daily basis. But if you’re like me, then working from home is the dream.


Now, I run my own business, and if something doesn’t get done, I’m the one who has to answer for it. Which is fine, I understand my position and what I’ve gotten myself into. For some though, that is too much pressure, not to mention all the distractions (Oh, I’ll just do a quick load of laundry…no wait, the cat needs to be fed first…but now we’re out of food and I need to make a grocery run..).


When I talk to others out there about working from home, one of the biggest concerns I hear is that people are afraid that it will be too hard to separate work from home life. But do you know what? That is the least of my concerns, and do you know why? Because I’ve set boundaries.


Here are a few rules I follow when working from home:


  1. Set working hours and abide by them.
  2. No work is allowed outside of the office – and especially not in the bedroom.
  3. Get dressed every day. That might seem kind of like, duh, but really, it is important to get up, take a shower and get dressed as though you are going to the office.
  4. Take a lunch break. This is also a duh, but I like keeping to a schedule. Not only that, but it is important to take that time to decompress.
  5. TAKE WEEKENDS! I will admit, sometimes I do work on the weekends, but only when it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, I make sure that I take a few days to myself.


So what do you think, could you follow these rules? Do you already work from home and have a few tips to add?



Photo – © vectorfusionart – Fotolia.com


The Great Email Signature Debate

The Great Email Signature Debate

Modern communicationsAdding your signature to an email is a great way to help establish branding. The problem however is that a lot of people out there take it too far. They want to make themselves seem accessible, so much so that that they become too accessible.


We here at AIMS value our quality of life, and often times that means disconnecting for a bit, be it a few hours or even, heaven forbid, an entire weekend (holidays included). But if you are listing every possible way to contact you on your email signature then you just might run the risk of losing that little bit of personal freedom you do have.


Not only that, but it can really come off a little bit desperate. It’s like you’re back in middle school PE lined up waiting to be picked for a kickball team and you’re that kid bouncing around in the front row begging to be chosen.


So how do you balance accessibility without seeming overly eager in your email signature? Here are a few tips.


What to Include:

As a general rule, your email signature should never be longer than the email itself. So keep it short.

  • Your name
  • Your business name and position within the company
  • The best way to contact you (work phone, email)

You may also include a SMALL logo and your business address if it something you are comfortable sharing (i.e. work from home).


DON’T do this:

  • Include personal handles for social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.), your business social media handles are okay if kept small
  • Personal phone number – Unless you like having your clients waking you up at 4 a.m. (Don’t have a business phone number, get one for free from Google.)
  • Quotes, inspiring or otherwise – Remember, keep it concise
  • Make your entire signature an image – Yes, it will look exactly how you would like it too, but if it won’t load on certain browsers or devices it is useless



Photo – © Ronald Hudson – Fotolia.com