2014 in Review | The Challenges, Triumphs, Headlines & Technology that Connected Us the Most

At the end of each year, Google, Facebook, Bing, Spotify and some of the other movers and shakers of the world as we know it today release their “best of” or “top of” lists, giving us a clear picture of what the world searched for, tweeted or downloaded in the past year. In 2014, some headlines, technology and apps connected, moved and entertained us more than others. As we look forward to making 2015 amazing, let’s not forget to reflect on the year that passed.

Facebook’s “Year in Review”

In 2014, Facebook users posted about:

1. The FIFA World Cup

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The 2014 FIFA World Cup captured the attention of Facebook users more than any other event in Facebook history. The all-time highest-scoring semifinal in the Brazil v Germany game and other standout matches drove millions of conversations.

2. Ebola

ebola-outbreak-2014

When Ebola started to appear outside of Africa following an outbreak in March in Guinea and the neighboring countries, the world took an interest. The outbreak, which claimed thousands of lives so far, is the most widespread in history and organizations including UNICEF and International Red Cross are working together to contain and stop the zoonotic disease.

3. Robin Williams

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On August 11, 2014, American actor and comedian Robin Williams passed away leaving behind a huge legacy. Fans and public figures from around the world including friend and comedian Billy Crystal paid tribute to the Academy Award winner. His death also prompted many conversations regarding mental health.

4. The Ice Bucket Challenge

Pioneered by Chris Kennedy, the Ice Bucket Challenge is campaign that went around the world between June and September this year and catapulted Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) into our lives. The movement raised more than $100 million in donations. Famous faces who embraced the challenge include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Bieber, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and David Beckham. Here’s a video that shows the CEO’s of Facebook, Apple, MS, Google & Amazon taking the #IceBucketChallenge. Enjoy!

5. Conflicts and Humanitarian Crises

In 2014, the world saw its fair share of conflicts and crises. From the actions of Boko Haram to ISIS attacks against civilians in Kobane to crisis in Crimea & Ukraine and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that lasted 7 weeks, Facebook users responded quickly to traumatic news. The conflict in Gaza drove the most conversations. The year 2014 also marked the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.

Peshawar-Attack-2014

And just as we were bidding a happy goodbye to 2014, Taliban militants stormed an Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan firing on school staff and children. 145 lives were lost including 132 school children between 8-18 years of age. Social media was flooded with messages of grief, condolence and solidarity to remember the kids who died in this ghastly terrorist attack.

6. Malaysia Airlines MH370

MH370

When Beijing-bound international passenger flight Malaysia Airlines MH370 carrying 239 people disappeared in the early hours of March 8, 2014, people around the world took notice. 9 months later, the mystery remains unsolved. On July 17, 2014, the airline again appeared in the headlines and conversations on Facebook when another flight MH 17 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam crashed, having been shot down, near Torez in Ukraine killing 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

7. Sporting Achievements

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2014 started with a bang when the Seattle Seahawks destroyed the Denver Broncos at the Super Bowl XLVIII. Other sporting events that trended this year besides the World Cup include the Winter Olympics, the Champions League Final and the Indian Premier League. The 48th Super Bowl, which was played on February 2, is 4th on Facebook’s “Top 10 Lists” for US topics.

Here’s a Look at Facebook’s Year in Review Video

 Google’s “Year in Search 2014”

In 2014, people around the world made trillions of searches and these searches say a lot about us. We searched for:

1. Sports

James-Rodriguez-Luis-Suárez-Ángel- Di-María

Like on Facebook, the 2014 FIFA World Cup was the most searched sporting event not only in the past year but also in history. The top trending players were James Rodriguez, Luis Suárez and Ángel Di María. The world also searched for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in which Russia, the host nation won an impressive 33 medals and the 48th Super Bowl played in New Jersey, USA.

2. Headlines

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In 2014, people searched to make sense of headlines including facts and fiction about Ebola, the mystery and conspiracy theories surrounding the disappearance of flight MH370, political and humanitarian crises around the world and global news including the trial of Oscar Pistorius and the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, USA.

3. Famous Faces

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Jared Leto, this year’s Academy Award winner for Actor in a Supporting Role dominated search in 2014 ahead of co-star Matthew McConaughey who won the award for Actor in a Leading Role for the same movie: Dallas Buyers Club. The World Cup also saw Colombian footballer James Rodríguez shine for the first time on the world stage. Searches for the winner of the Golden Boot grew more than any other player of the tournament. Last but not least, Conchita Wurst, born Thomas “Tom” Neuwirth became a global superstar overnight when she won the 59th Eurovision Song Contest in May earlier this year. Here’s the video of her award winning performance for the song “Rise like a Phoenix”.

4. Science & Technology

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In 2014, Apple, Samsung and Nexus dominated search in the mobile technology category. Searches for certain products also spiked including ‘wearable tech’ (clothes and accessories that allow users to track and measure their movement, sleep patters and other parameters), lightweight HD cameras, remote-controlled flying vehicles (or consumer drones) and mobile apps with the purpose of helping people get or stay active. Another technology and science related topic that drove a lot of searches this year is robotic space probe Rosetta that successfully reached its destination- Comet 67P on November 12, 2014.

5. Pop Culture

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And finally, let’s talk movies and shows that conquered search the past year. Between Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, it’s nothing short of a fight to the death. Both are giant shows with huge global audiences. Jon Snow of Game of Thrones was this year’s second most searched character behind The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper.

Frozen-movie

Movie wise, the highest grossing animated movie of all time and the winner of three Oscars- Frozen was 2014’s most searched movie on Google ahead of Interstellar and Divergent. Jennifer Lawrence who was 2013’s golden girl is still driving the most searches beating big names like Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio although the former stole the search headlines for a while around the time of the Brangelina wedding. The top search was for Angelina Jolie’s wedding dress by Luigi Massi of Atelier Versace.  Here’s a look at Google’s Year in Search 2014 video:

Wrapping things up, 2014 was a year with challenges, triumphs and moments that affected us all. We saw new beginnings, extended frontiers of knowledge, witnessed courage and said goodbyes. As we approach 2015, let’s reflect on what we achieved in the past year and build on that to make 2015 awesome.

7 Ways to Reward Your Email Subscribers and Build True Customer Loyalty

When it comes to email marketing, many startups are so focused on gaining new subscribers that they fail to address another important matter: Retaining the ones they already have. This is counter productive because according to Marketing Metrics by author Paul W. Farris, it’s far easier to sell to existing customers than it is to brand new prospects. But how can you build true customer loyalty via email marketing? How can you get your subscribers to open your emails each time?

customer-loyalty-reward

If you want to keep your subscribers eager to receive your email notifications and away from the unsubscribe button, you have to treat them as people and not credit cards. Most subscribers abandon ship because the list maker starts getting greedy, either spamming their emails or not delivering the value they promised. This is going to drive subscribers away. The process of building customer loyalty has a lot to do with caring about your customers and thinking about their needs.

7 Ways to Keep your Subscribers Happy

1. If you made any promises, keep them

A lot of work can go into getting people to sign up for email newsletters. If you promised them something in return- freebies or a 30-day course to help them increase their social media ROI, you need to fulfill these promises. Make sure to act before it’s too late. It takes a lot of convincing for people to sign up on lists but less than a few seconds to hit the unsubscribe button.

2. Don’t be Random

Usually, people sign up on lists for a specific reason. So don’t be random about the newsletters you send out. Be specific about your list so you can craft emails that subscribers will be eager to open each time. In essence, send out nothing that’s too “everything-under-the-sun”! Give your subscribers what they signed up for.

3. Timing is Important

When it comes to email marketing, moderation is key. With too many emails too often, you run the risk of exhausting your list; Too little too late and people may not even remember why they signed up to your list in the first place. A general rule: Keep the frequency at one email per week. Of course you are free to do some experimentation to work out the frequency that’s optimum for your niche.

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How to Manage Your Social Media Marketing Like a Pro

Over the last couple of years, we’ve all seen the importance of social media skyrocket for businesses.

  • Facebook has over 1.19 billion active users monthly. This means that if Facebook were a country, it would have been the world’s third largest with 3.5x the size of the U.S population.
  • 1 in 5 young adults aged between 18 and 24 use Twitter daily.
  • Between 2011 and 2013, LinkedIn experienced a 105% growth.

It’s safe to say that the need for businesses to get their social media marketing right is only going to get stronger over time.

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Social Media Marketing 101

1. It all starts with picking the right types of social channels

Most marketers have limited time and resources to invest in social media. This makes deciding where to focus your social media energy an increasingly important decision. The thing to remember is that not all social media sites are created equal. Three things will determine which network you should sign up for.

  • Your business objectives and goals
  • Your customer demographic
  • The type of product and/or service you offer

For example, if you run a website that sells beauty products, you will be sharing a lot of image-based content. This makes Pinterest an ideal social site. It also has a more women-skewed user base.

2. Publishing and Sharing Content

Many marketers limit their social media content to promotional updates. This won’t help you build trust or a community around your business. You need to broaden the scope a little. In addition to the occasional promotional update, try other types of updates including:

  • Adjacent content. This includes content relevant to but not exactly about your business that may interest your audience.
  • Joining conversations. Social media is all about interacting and communicating with people online. Take an interest in the conversations happening around you and jump in if you have something of value to add.
  • Non-promotional company information. It’s always a good idea to humanize your brand on the social media sites. Let people in on what’s happening behind the scenes like if you’re doing any volunteer work or if you’re having a Christmas lunch for your employees.
  • Humor is subjective and it’s not always acceptable so this type of post can be tricky. If you’re not sure about what you’re doing, it’s always better to put safety first. Remember that a joke is supposed to be funny. Not awkward. Not inappropriate. And not painful.

Then of course, how often you should update your social media accounts is another important consideration. The bad news is that there is no best practice that’s set in stone. The best frequency for making updates will depend on what’s appropriate for your business, the best practices in regards to the social channels you use and your audience. You will need to experiment to know what works best for you.

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Enhance Your Social Media Marketing With These 10 Browser Extensions

It’s amazing how a lot of the things that we do repeatedly can be automated. And it’s even more awesome that apart from us, marketers can benefit from that. Today we are going to talk about 10 browser extensions that were designed for social media marketers.

1. Buffer

buffer-browser-extension

Buffer is a social media management tool. It allows you to share stuff you find to your friends and followers. It also allows you to schedule things to be shared for later.

Now you don’t even have to open a new tab to sign in to do that; you can just download the extension for your browser. It’s available on Chrome, Safari, Firefox here.

2. Evernote

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Sometimes we find something to share while we are on the go, but we might not want to share it right-away. This can happen when for example, you’ve just shared something else 2 minutes ago.

In those instances, Evernote Web Clipper might come in handy. This tool allows you to collect things you find on the web on the go, right from your browser window. It’s available on Chrome, Safari and Firefox here.

3. Instagram for Chrome

instagram-for-chrome

With a rating of 4 out of 5 stars based on 10,000+ reviews, this Chrome extension certainly deserves a mention on this post.

The Instagram for Chrome extension allows you to do almost everything that you can do in the Instagram official app, without ever leaving the browser window that you are using. Comment or like photos or browse your friends any time you want, right on the same screen. You can download it here.

4. Riffle by CrowdRiff

Riffle-CrowdRiff-browser-extension

This nifty tool turns you into an instant Twitter-user analyst. It gives you an in-depth insight on a bunch of useful data, like the:

  • Retweets to tweet ratio
  • Favorites to tweet ratio
  • Top hashtags
  • Top mentions
  • Top URLs
  • Average tweets per day
  • And more…

It allows you to see who is really important in the Twitter community (so basically, who you need to actually spend your time on to produce real results). Get this mini-detective for free here.

5. Ritetag

Ritetag-browser-extension

What if you could get the perfect hashtag for your tweet? A lot of people seem to fail miserably when it comes to the use of hashtags. They either use something that has been used to death or words that are a little bit too… “unique”.

Ritetag is like a hashtag-good-ometer. It tells you how well a hashtag is performing right now. It’s available on Chrome, Safari and Firefox here.

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