3 Places You Can Use Emojis, and 3 Places You Can’t

Posted by | Just For Fun, Social Media | No Comments

emojis

With the recent rollout of emojis for Twitter’s desktop version and the addition of Yelp’s emoji search function, it’s safe to say that emojis are becoming an integral part of the Internet landscape. And even though world-class companies like Twitter and Yelp are hopping on the emoji train, there are still some platforms that remain completely emoji-free. Want to know if your salsa dancing lady or red stiletto heel will show up as the emoji it was intended to be as opposed to a little black box? Read on for a list of pro- (and anti-) emoji platforms.

Pro-Emoji

  • Smartphone. From sending song lyrics using exclusively emojis to speaking in code with your bestie, the uses for emojis on your smartphone are practically endless. They allow us the freedom to express emotion without having to worry about spelling mistakes or embarrassing mispronunciations (because, grammar is hard). 
  • Twitter. It’s no surprise that Twitter for mobile has been emoji friendly for quite some time. New to the game, though, is emojis for Twitter on the web. Earlier in April, Twitter announced that they would no longer discriminate against the tiny picture characters that we love so much.

Emojis

  • Yelp. That is right; you can now use emojis to search on Yelp. Simply type in a picture of your favorite food and voila, your favorite restaurant will appear right before your eyes. It’s practical magic, it’s everything you’ve ever wanted, it’s innovation at its finest. Okay, maybe not. But it is pretty awesome.

Anti-Emoji

  • Across Smartphone Operating Systems. iPhone users have access to emojis. Android users have access to emojis. All is right with the world! Right? Wrong. What happens when the aforementioned bestie isn’t using the same operating system that you are? As it turns out, you may have trouble getting your emoji message across.
  • Embedded Tweets. Creating emoji-laden tweets? Easy. Embedding emoji-laden tweets onto your blog? Well, that’s a whole different story. Currently, emojis only show up as black and white boxes when embedded onto a website or blog, but we’re assuming that Twitter will resolve this in the near future.

emojis

  • Google. If I can search using emojis on Yelp, then I want to search using emojis on Google. That is all.  

Looking for an extra pair of eyes to help you stay on top of the latest social media trends? Contact Lindsey Groepper to learn how your brand could benefit from our emoji expertise. 

Changes to Google+ – What The Hell Happened?!

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For anyone who loves the underrated social media platform that is Google+, you might notice some changes to the page. Last week, Google quietly implemented some major alterationss to the site. Gone are the days of measuring engagement by the number of followers of a page. Introducing a new way to gauge the exposure of you content – Google+ Page Views.

Google veteran Eddie Kessler explains that the new Google+ page view analytic is “the sum of your profile, post and photo views since October 2012.” Kessler also explains that with a simple change in the setting tabs, users can opt out of using this information.

New Google+ changes

Though Facebook utilizes page views for organization/business pages, this change to Google+ makes it the first of the major social media platforms to utilize this type of analytic data for both personal and business pages. Twitter has likewise been in the test stages of using more analytic data for personal Twitter accounts, and rumor has it that the days of Twitter measurement will focus less on retweets and favorites, and more on tweet-specific views and shares.

Measurement of activity on Google+ has been difficult for content creators since its inception in June 2011. The “Ripples” feature, a part of Google+ that visually describes the reach of a user’s content, is aesthetically pleasing, but not very reliable in terms of analytics. The change to Google+ page views is a more realistic estimate of engagement on Google+.

That said, it is important to keep that word “estimate” in mind. The help page from Google explains that “view counts may not be exact, and they may not be updated in real time.” More details are covered in a Google+ post from company architect Yonatan Zunger.

An additional change to Google+ includes a reevaluation of the nearly omnipotent “+1” button. Though you can still “+1” pages, there is less focus on “+1” for content since the new views feature allows you to gauge content engagement.

What are you thoughts on the newest changes to Google+? Do you think the number of views from a Google+ post are relevant, or even accurate? Let us know in the comments section below, drop us a line at the BLASTmedia Google+ page, or visit BLASTmedia’s Facebook!

Chow Down: BLASTmedia Pinterest Pitch-In

Posted by | BLASTmedia, Social Media, The BLASTmedia Team | No Comments

Pinterest party recipes
We challenged our fellow BLASTies to whip out their computers, put on their creative culinary thinking caps, and throw down for the BLASTmedia Pinterest Pitch-In!

Being the digital savvy agency we are, we love – no, obsess – over all things social. The only thing I can honestly say we might love equally (if not more) is food. Meshing our admiration for a crafting culinary concoctions with our experience and appreciation for this virtual bulletin board resulted in the best company pitch-in to-date!

So cue the drumroll please! Here is a snippet of some of the recipes that became BLASTmedia pallet approved:

  • Turtle Cheesecake Dip via Grace Williams – This dip has it all! Chocolate, caramel and a whipped topping. Yum! Went quite well with a Vanilla Wafer.
  • Pizza Monkey Bread via Anna Julow – Need we say more? This was a crowd-pleaser. Half stuffed with pepperoni and half stuffed with a veggie mixture.
  • Lasagna Stuffed Shells via Kiersten Moffatt- A  lasagna filling stuffed inside pasta shells topped with a tomato sauce.
  • Spinach Dip via Kathleen Blotsky – A classic party side, you will not be upset with this easy and delicious dip.
  • Is cooking not your forte? That’s ok! Why not assemble a vegetable owl tray? Jacqueline Simard mastered that one. It was just as well received as Brian Walker’s delicious chocolate cake.

Name your best Pinterest taste treat!

Best Free Stock Photography Sites (Without the BS)

Posted by | BLASTmedia, Digital Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Best Free Stock PhotographyIf you’re a designer, blogger, or digital marketer of any kind, you’re likely familiar with the process of sorting through terrible stock photography. If you’re not familiar with the process, just know that it sucks.

Here’s the problem. First, the well-known stock photography sites are expensive. Like, really expensive.  Unless you’ve been #blessed with an unlimited budget for your imagery, you won’t find anything at a decent size without it looking very… stocky.

So besides the iStocks of the web, are there not cheaper options? Yes. There are. Too many, in fact. Some quick googling will reveal hundreds of sites for “cheap stock photography.” Many even claim to offer “free stock photography.”  Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is, mostly. More often than not, you’ll find “free stock photography” that:

  • Isn’t actually free (rude)
  • Buried in not-free libraries (time-consuming)
  • Requires attribution (not an option in many cases)
  • Is terrible

There are some free, beautiful little needles in this very large haystack, however.  I trudged through the garbage and found what I believe to be the best options. You can use the photos from all of these sites for personal or commercial use (yes, even ads) without having to credit the photographer. And they’re pretty.

  • unsplash.com – 10 images added every 10 days
  • gratisography.com – new images added weekly
  • littlevisuals.co – (provide email) 7 hi-res images zipped up in your inbox every 7 days.
  • deathtothestockphoto.com – (provide email) 10 images within a certain category emailed monthly
  • nos.twnsnd.co – vintage images from the public archives, but curated and awesome
  • picjumbo.com – extensive library organized into categories
  • freephotodb.com – includes a search function, which is unique to similar sites
  • getrefe.tumblr.com – collection of free user-submitted mobile photos (not your typical iPhonography)
  • splitshire.com – just a dude sharing photos, helpfully broken down into categories
  • thepatternlibrary.com – this is cheating a little since they aren’t photos, but it’s a collection of cool free patterns

Do you know of a site that should be added to this list? Comment below!

We Don’t [April] Fool Around with Client Coverage

Posted by | Blastmedia Clients, Client Successes | No Comments

Coverage Blog April 2

We’re not joking around about this client coverage! See how BLASTmedia has been helping out client this March:

  • Forget to turn off the lights when you’ve rushed out of the house? Connected by TCP, a product that allows you to control your lights from your smartphone, was highlighted on Fox News.
  • Ibattz Mojo Refuel battery case was featured in Men’s Health piece on 10 Gadgets that Make Your Life Easier.
  • Our attention spans are shrinking, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be effective in our email marketing. Check out Emma, covered by Entrepreneur.
  • “It’s not about the pace, it’s about the race!” Brian Nohe, president of SMS Audio, details their entrepreneurial strategy for their audio and accessories brand in Entreprenuer.
  • Looking for a great way to cancel out all that office noise? SMS Audio was featured in a roundup for the best noise canceling headphones in Men’s Journal.
  • How safe is your personal online information? Wiley Publishing and author of “Carry On,” Bruce Schneier, were featured in April’s print issue of Money Magazine. Check out an excerpt below to learn how to create a safer password:

photo 4

Want to learn how BLASTmedia can help secure top-tier coverage for your product or service? Contact Lindsey Groepper today!

Media Mondays: Integrating PR with Paid & Owned Media

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BLASTmedia-MediaMonday-Template

Media Mondays are back! For this upcoming Media Monday on April 14, we will show college students and recent graduates BLASTmedia’s bread and butter: executing integrated campaigns for our clients. You may ask yourself, what’s an integrated campaign? (Glad you asked!) Let me break it down for you:

Here at BLASTmedia, we execute hyper-targeted social advertising across a multitude of platforms. Through this refined approach, we can reach our client’s specific target demographic with the right message that won’t get lost in the noise.

BLASTmedia’s PR experts work around the clock to get media coverage for our clients. This PR service is considered earned media because we’re actually going out and earning that coverage and building relations with editors at top-tier publications.

Our social media management and content marketing experts focus on creating meaningful relationships with a client and their customers through social media and blogging. This is called owned media because we own the results, there is (wo)man power behind the tweets and social engagement.

But, let’s not forget our creative services, which as the title suggests, mans the awesome branded content for our clients. These creative assets could be YouTube videos, infographics, bite-sized shareable images, and social branding. Simply put, the BLASTmedia creative team produces awesome things across the web.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, well dang that’s a lot! And it is, but each of these services (paid, earned, and owned) lend themselves to integrated campaigns to ensure success for our clients. Proper keyword targeting on Twitter and engagement with key social influencers could lead to PR coverage that is then promoted through Facebook advertising. Just as a stellar YouTube video could be pitched and turned into PR coverage and then go viral across social platforms.

Now, why does this matter to you? Well, let’s say you’re a PR student who has an interest in social media. Executing integrated campaigns allows you to hone your PR skills while thinking about the bigger picture success for your client, incorporating social media, paid media, and creative services.

We’d love to tell you more about our success with integrated campaigns and what it means for the PR space. College students and recent graduates are invited to attend a short presentation and Q&A session at the BLASTmedia office on April 14 at 4:30 pm. Please RSVP by April 11 on BLASTmedia’s EventBrite. We look forward to seeing you then!

What do Wikipedia, Lil Bub and BLASTmedia have in common? The Combine!

Posted by | BLASTmedia, Marketplace Chatter, PR Industry, PR tips | No Comments

The Combine speakers
We’re big supporters of the startup scene in the Midwest, so we were thrilled when BLASTmedia was asked to present a public relations workshop at The Combine. For those of you playing at home, The Combine is a 3-day event for startup entrepreneurs and technology-minded folks that focuses on the 4 Cs: community, culture, capital, and code. Headlining this year’s event is Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, and celebrity cat Lil Bub. Oh, and BLASTmedia!

Kim Puckett and myself will be leading a session titled, New-School PR Techniques That Even the Busiest Startup Entrepreneur Has Time For. In what’s sure to be an action-packed session, Kim and I will provide some tactics that busy entrepreneurs can use to immediately start driving media coverage. We’ll also walk through the basics of an awesome pitch and will help folks write a pitch angle for their company. We’re also leaving time for people to pick our brain for some free PR advice… just don’t tell Kelly.

Learn more about The Combine and get your hands on tickets to the event! Also, our friends at The Verge are offering a discount code. Do you have any PR advice for startup entrepreneurs that we should share? Leave a comment below and we’ll include it in our session!

BLASTmedia Employee Spotlight: Brittani Hensel

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Brittani Hensel

As if the five members of the BLAST team who are currently engaged to be married isn’t enough, we went ahead and added another.  BLASTmedia would like to formally introduce the newly-engaged member of our PR team, Brittani Hensel. Learn more about Ms. Brit here:

  • Hometown: Marion, IN
  • College: Indiana University
  • Favorite Childhood Memory: When I was a girl and all of my cousins were still small, every holiday we’d get together for big holiday celebrations. There would be well over 20 people in my grandmother’s house and we’d exchange gifts, have a big meal and all the cousins would play together. To this day, those were my favorite holidays. We don’t do them anymore because we’re so spread out and most of us have in-laws and larger families to celebrate with, but I miss them dearly.
  • Favorite Meal: Someone once asked me what I would subsist on if I could only choose three foods for the rest of my life. My three choices are and always will be sushi, cheese and cheesecake. I can’t live without them. (But maybe not together.)
  • First Job: Book Layout Designer – I took Microsoft Word documents and created interiors for books. It’s actually quite an art!
  • Favorite Indianapolis Neighborhood: Downtown is probably my favorite. Although I haven’t done much exploring of the perimeter, I’ve always loved the city feel. I live in the Greenwood area though, and I love it there.
  • Music Picks: It’s pretty eclectic! I have everything from Skrillex to Led Zeppelin to my personal favorite, Incubus. Music is one of my most favorite things, so I’m really big on exploring new artists and genres. I’m a firm believer that music is what your feelings sound like, so I find it just another way to express myself!
  • Most Embarrassing Moment: I think the most embarrassing moments (in my adult life) include meeting people that I’ve met before, and then having that person point out that we’ve met on more than one occasion. One of my downfalls is faces and names, so it’s likely I’ll remember your face but completely botch your name.
  • Favorite Blog: I’m a huge sucker for the What Should We Call Me Tumblr blog and Gawker. Those are my go-to blogs if I’m looking for a good laugh or an interesting take on news.
  • Hobbies: I play the guitar and I love to read. If I ever have any free time at all, my nose is probably in a book or in front of my Kindle.

Be sure to check out the new BLASTmedia website if you are interested in learning more about how our PR, social media, paid media, and creative teams can help grow your business!

BLASTmedia is Dublin’ Over Our Amazing Client Coverage

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Amazing Client Coverage

While St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, BLASTmedia is Dublin’ over from our amazing client coverage.  Check out these recent highlights:

  • Want disaster recovery services for your smartphone? Wired.com reviewed ProtectCELL for their protection plans after putting a phone to the test through a blender.
  • TIME featured Bruce Schneier in a piece of on how to choose a strong password.
  • Forbes highlighted mobile collaboration suite, Moxtra, informing Google, WhatsApp and BBM to ‘watch out.’
  • ZDNet discussed beer management system, SteadyServ, and how the company is tying their mobile app to ‘The Internet of Things.’
  • The Indy Star ran a feature on Indianapolis-based cloud computing provider, Bluelock.
  • Enterprise mobility management company, Moka5, was highlighted in a Tech Republic article on avoiding IT resource drainage.
  • Phosphor’s Touch Time smartwatch was reviewed on popular tech site Gizmodo.