Will Instagram keep stealing traffic from television? New features like the question sticker seem to indicate that it may do so! 

Twitter made asking questions to live TV anchors possible years ago, but now Instagram seems to be stealing the thunder by providing a TV like atmosphere and a live Q&A feature.

The feature is part of Instagram's end-of-year 2018 goal to make our connections "deeper."

How does the feature work? Instagram describes:

To ask a question and have it answered Live, go to someone’s story and respond to their questions sticker as you normally would. If they go Live to answer, you’ll see “Q&A” in your stories tray. Join the Live video and you’ll see the question they’re answering at that moment. If you want to ask more questions while they’re already live, you can go back to their story to ask a question and it’ll appear in their questions list. People going Live can also share photos and videos from their camera roll to their Live video, so you can see behind-the-scenes content from the creators you love.


If you need a better tutorial, check out this description from Tech Boomers. Here's their video:

So how is this useful for business owners? Question stickers are another way to build excitement around your brand, product launch, or offer. For influencers, they are also a way to prove your expertise in your field in order to gain more followers.

If you have expertise in a particular arena, Instagram questions are the ideal place to prove your knowledge and grow your following. Instagram accounts are growing in value, with some larger accounts earning $60,000 or more per sponsored post.

Check out your competition on Instagram. It may be that no one is using Instagram properly and that you can grow an audience quickly in your niche with little competition.

Don't wait to start growing an Instagram following for your business or expertise. Who knows how valuable these accounts may be in the future?

If you need advice on developing an Instagram account, reach out to us. We don't like to brag, but we manage accounts for international brands. We can offer businesses both strategic planning and creative solutions to make their Instagram accounts stand out from the crowd.

Above all, don't be afraid to have fun on Instagram! Many of Instagram's users comment that they look to the platform to see happy, loving and positive messages. Stay positive and supportive on Instagram to win followers' loyalty. 

If you're looking to grow your following on Instagram, message Cote Media today! 

Instagram recently launched a new countdown feature for stories, and it's an excellent tool for business owners to drive more traffic to their website or location. With the new countdown tool, you can let your audience know how long until a particular event and raise excitement for it. Planning a big sale? Use the countdown feature to generate more enthusiasm for customers to start thinking of your 50% off merchandise!
What's really, really cool about your countdown timer? People can choose to get reminders about the event so they remember to attend!
Instagram describes:

Add a countdown sticker to your story by selecting it from the sticker tray after taking a photo or video. Name your countdown, add an end date or time and customize the color before sharing to your story. After you’ve created a countdown, it will be available in your sticker tray to reuse in new stories until the countdown ends. Your friends can tap on your countdown to follow or share it to their own story; anyone who follows or shares your countdown will get a notification when the countdown ends. The countdown sticker is available globally on iOS and Android – you can learn more about it in the Instagram Help Center here.
How do you use the countdown tool? It's easy!
  1. Post your photo or video in the story feature.
  2. Select the add a sticker button on the top
  3. Choose the countdown sticker
  4. Select the Month, date, and year
  5. Name your Event
  6. Send to your story
Ideas for the Countdown Tool for Businesses
Grand Openings
Opening a new location? Why not announce it online with a countdown to the grand opening? This way your customers can receive a reminder for when it's the big day!
Website Launches
Launching a new website with a cool feature? Announce it with the countdown tool so your followers can know when they can see your cool new site!
Probably the most obvious use for business, a sale is the perfect reason to use the countdown tool! Marking your products down to 50% off? Let your followers know when the day is they can save!
New Product Launches
Adding a new product to your line? Your customers will look forward to finding the item if you give them a heads up in the story feature!
Special Events and Guests
Is a celebrity stopping by your business to meet with your customers? Are you having a demonstration? Share the news with your followers well in advance and watch them flock to your business on the special day!
Raising money to support a charity? Let your followers know the deadline so they remember to donate!
Have a great idea for the countdown tool or have you already used it? Have you seen a business using the countdown tool in a unique way? Share the story in the comments below so we can share with our readers.
Cote Media is always on top of the newest developments in social media for business. If you're looking for a social media manager, message us today!

That’s the question isn’t it.

According to a new report from the founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com, the results are a mixed bag:

While 90 percent of marketers now say that social media-related marketing is important for their business, nearly 25 percent are still in the dark when it comes to measuring its effect, according to the third annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Michael A. Stelzner, founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com.


Knowing whether your online marketing is working for your bottom line is what’s important. Companies can have all the flashy facebook and twitter pages in the world but if customers aren’t following the links and buying something, it’s kind of pointless. Style is one thing but style without substance is, unfortunately, an all-too-common occurrence for small businesses. It also may be one of the biggest reasons why small businesses are hesitant to “justify plowing resources into something that you’re not sure is working”.

At Cote, LLC we work with your web team to determine whether your online ad dollars are translating into exposure, sales and both. There are several different ways to do this depending on your company’s web sophistication and we can tailor our approach to any of them.

One of the six key takeaways from the Stelzner study is that company’s are considering outsourcing their new media marketing:

Twenty-eight percent of businesses plan to outsource part of their social media marketing efforts in 2011. That number has doubled since last year’s report when 14 percent said they outsourced such tasks as design and development, content creation and analytics to others outside the company.

Cote, LLC can accomplish this either way and often without you spending a new dime on marketing. We can train your people to accomplish this effectively or we can do it for you. Again, new media marketing is not a one-size-fits-all game as many of the larger marketing service providers would have you believe.

Read the points from the study and give us a call. We’ll see what fits for you.

Cote, LLC…New Media Marketing for the rest of us”

Poo Monkey helping outWho knew!

Econsultancy have worked with SEMPO to create a State of Search Marketing Report 2011, which has revealed some interesting findings into the trends of PPC, SEO and social media marketing amongst companies using agencies across 66 different countries around the world.

The survey showed that the number of businesses using in house digital marketing services fell.  Specifically, SEO fell from 51% to 44% between 2010 and 2011, whilst PPC services followed this trend with 47% of businesses dealing with this in-house in 2010 compared to 38% in 2011. Regarding social media, the number of companies using in-house social media services also dropped from 62% of companies in 2010 compared to 55% of companies in 2011.

What is interesting is that a growing number of companies are looking to outsource their digital marketing needs to agencies, as opposed to bringing these activities in house. Are these signs of austerity measures? The need for SEO, PPC and social media services are imperative for branding and increasing exposure online. Therefore companies and businesses are setting aside budgets to allocate for this, and it seems the ROI from agencies is much higher than within an in house marketing department.

Well of course they’re outsourcing their needs, the business is as specialized as any other and it just makes sense to do so.

I don’t know how to fix a leak in the plumbing (even though I probably should) so I hire someone that knows how to do that. New Media Marketing isn’t about just foolin’ around on Facebook and Twitter anymore, if it ever was, so most companies are going to want to find someone to make it work for them.

Our goal here at Cote, LLC is to do just that for small businesses…make it work for them.

We don’t offer cookie-cutter solutions to your new media marketing problems. We sit down and figure out exactly what your goals are and exactly how to achieve them.

The best part, often, for most businesses is that we can usually accomplish this without your having to spend a single new dollar on marketing.

Download a sample of the “State of Search Marketing” HERE and browse for yourself.

When you’re ready, give us a call or send us an email and we’ll get to work.

Just make plays.

We love data. Data makes the world go ’round as far as we’re concerned here. You could listen to a thousand marketers give you a thousand reasons why you should pay them to do your SEO and New Media marketing and all of it could be complete bunk at the end of the day.

But show a small business owner the numbers and they’re more likely to take you seriously.

Allbusiness.com recently heralded a survey study conducted by Marketing Sherpa that found the following:

MarketingSherpa, a research firm and publisher of marketing know-how, recently released and presented the results of their Search Marketing Benchmark Report that included 2,200 survey respondents and reviewed best practices to improve search and social media marketing integration. The key finding of the survey per the Company is “search and social media have incredible synergy”.

The survey showed that 64 percent of the organizations surveyed do indeed integrate social media with search engine marketing, with those organizations in the strategic phases being much more likely to integrate the two. Also, the report indicates that social impacts organic search performance where “search marketers who integrate social media achieve a 59 percent better rate of conversion”. This is far from insignificant. In fact, it’s quite significant.

That’s the point, isn’t it? Of the nearly 600 million Facebook users, for example, not all of them are your potential consumers, despite the fantasy pronouncements of many New Media marketers. It’s building, solidifying and increasing that ROI that matters. The successful shopkeeper of old who came out from behind the counter to meet, greet and assist his customers in any way he could laid the groundwork for today’s succesful online marketing.

What’s new is old again.

Come out from around your New Media network counters and meet, greet and assist your online customers with the same zeal and enthusiasm as your Grandmother did. Answer their questions, make them smile and they’ll remember to tell their friends about you when it comes time to make their decisions about purchasing a product.

If you’re a small business that’s hesitant about getting your feet wet in the global splash pool that is New Media, give us a ring and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.


It sounds so simple:  The key to effective social media marketing is connecting with your customer.

But some businesses mistakenly believe that means the literal connection – the Twitter “follow”, or the coveted Facebook “like”. They think just getting the customer to click that button in the first place is the goal.

As we’ve pointed out, that’s actually just the beginning.  Keeping that connection – and engaging your customers with a human voice – is the key to using social media to successfully develop your brand. And while we hate to say “We told you so…” (Who are we kidding? We love to be right!)

MediaPost has an interesting piece on New Jersey-based Snack Factory, one of the fastest-growing snack companies in the country. Despite a nationwide recession, they saw sales grow by 15% last year. And while their success is driven by hard work and a quality product, their tagline “Rethink Your Pretzel!” applies not only to their snack, but their social media presence.

Their Facebook page, for example, offers everything from recipes and the occasional coupon… to humor. They’ve picked up over 60,000 fans in a matter of months, a fact their VP of marketing attributes to the brand’s “voice”.

“We engage consumers with a fun brand personality… For instance, we posted humorous ‘updates’ and comments around the royal wedding, which generated large numbers of fan postings and new fans. We’re not just constantly selling the products, which endears the brand to consumers.”

Their Twitter campaign is even more interesting. Their team members spend part of each day monitoring tweets for keywords like “snack”, “pretzel”, or “hungry”. They contact prime tweeters and deliver Pretzel Crisp samples.

“These tweeters of course then tweet about how cool it was that Pretzel Crisps just brought them free bags of our snacks, and how good they are, and those positive messages are reaching hundreds of thousands of their followers.”

And what about the all-important ROI?

“…dollar for dollar, we’re finding that social media is the best investment, because once a consumer ‘likes’ us, we can continue to engage with and market to that person, at very small additional or incremental cost… We don’t have the marketing budgets of the biggest brands, but we’re producing extremely cost-effective results through strategic social media efforts.”

Remember what we’ve told you? Answer their questions, make them smile and they’ll remember to tell their friends about you when it comes time to make their decisions about purchasing a product.

And we get it… we do. Not every business can dedicate team members to monitoring tweets for keywords, or keeping enough of the human element in your Facebook page to make people actually “like” you, not just click the dang button. Small businesses have work to do!

That’s where we come in.

Contact Cote LLC today to learn how we can take you past the initial connection (there’s that button again!) to the kind of engaged, human connection your customers, fans, and followers will reward with loyalty and recommendations to others.

That”s more or less the highly misleading headline from today”s @WSJ.

Dare we say it, but the Journal is just slightly behind the curve here as almost everything in their article has been well-known in the SMM community for over a year. Obviously sponsored stories and ads are part of a well-rounded, effective Facebook marketing campaign, so where”s the news?

Effective social media marketing has never been “free.” Rule #1 of social media marketing for business is that you can not run your business and an effective SMM campaign at the same time. Once business owners understand that the question then is simply one of determining the most cost-effective method of implementing their campaign. (Outsourcing is really the only way to go, but we”ll leave that for another day.)

The trick here, of course, is figuring out how best to have your free content on Facebook mimic the paid advertisements and reach a similar number of consumers.

That”s what we do for our clients every day.

We”d tell you how we do it, but then we”d have to kill you. And nobody wants that.

Here”s the article:


For advertisers on Facebook Inc., the free ride may be coming to an end.

When the social network filed for its initial public offering on Wednesday, the spotlight shifted from the site”s exponential user growth to a metric that may have more bearing on its market value: ad sales.

For years, many advertisers simply set up shop for free on Facebook, displaying their brands to users who “liked” them. But to see how Facebook now hopes to turn many of those advertisers into paying customers, look at how it convinced Omaha, Neb.-based retailer Gordmans Inc. to stop relying on free Facebook marketing and to start spending on a new kind of Facebook ad called “Sponsored Stories.”

Facebook”s explosive growth attracted Gordmans to set up a free page on the site as a virtual hangout to have conversations with customers. “The cost was the time it took to build the content and post it,” said Veronica Stecker, Gordmans” media manager. The retailer didn”t pay a dime to Facebook.

But last year, as Facebook added more components to its site, and users shared exponentially more content with friends, Gordmans” free messages started getting drowned out, said Ms. Stecker. “There is simply more competition,” she said. These days, she rarely even finds unpaid Gordmans posts in her own personal News Feed, the home page that displays status updates from users” friends, she said.

Gordmans isn”t alone. According to a new study by Portland, Ore., marketing firm BlitzLocal LLC, between June 1 and Dec. 31 of last year, unpaid displays of marketing posts to users, which the industry calls “organic,” decreased 33% among its more than 300 clients. “Content that used to live for a day may now live minutes in a user”s News Feed,” said Dennis Yu, chief executive of BlitzLocal, which analyzed some 5.7 million posts.

Amid this shift, Facebook last year unveiled a new ad format, dubbed Sponsored Stories, which requires marketers to pay for exposure for their posts—including some they might once have gotten for free.

“Over the past couple of years, Facebook has started to make it more challenging to appear in the News Feed,” said eMarketer Inc. analyst Debra Williamson. “If Facebook wants to derive more revenue from big brand advertisers, they want to be in that News Feed where everybody”s eyeballs are.”

Getting advertisers to pay is a critical challenge for Facebook as it becomes an online media company. In its IPO documents, Facebook reported $3.71 billion in revenues in 2011, mostly from advertising. Ms. Williamson says that is nearly $500 million less than she expected.

Facebook declined to comment.

Ms. Stecker from Gordmans, who had already begun buying traditional Facebook display ads to attract more “likes” to her page, decided to give Sponsored Stories a try last spring.

Here”s how it worked: Once a user “likes” Gordmans, the retailer can pay to have posts rebroadcast to the user, and his or her friends. It recently sponsored a story that asked fans to “show your local Gordmans the love,” by casino online participating in a vote for their favorite store.

This type of ad is unique to Facebook, because it essentially creates a word-of-mouth campaign en masse. Facebook executives argue that a recommendation from a friend is more trusted and worthwhile than generic ads on TV.

Still, Facebook lists as a risk factor in its regulatory filing that ad products like Sponsored Stories are “experimental and unproven.”

“Facebook is placing a major bet on Sponsored Stories,” said Jed Williams, an analyst with BIA/Kelsey. “The News Feed has been the long unchartered territory where [Facebook CEO] Mark Zuckerberg would not take [marketers]. That is not by accident. That is a more powerful unit than slapping banner display ads.”

So far, Sponsored Stories have worked for Ms. Stecker, generating click rates of up to four times those of traditional Facebook ads. The “show your love” sponsored story, which ended on Thursday, was seen by 118,000 Facebook users. The reach of a unpaid story is usually 16,000 to 20,000, Ms. Stecker said.

“It was a smart business move on Facebook”s part to charge for premium placement,” said Ms. Stecker. “Advertisers will spend money on advertising, it is our job; the question always is—is the juice worth the squeeze?”

Whether, and why, free exposure on Facebook is drying up is a debate among some social media marketers. The News Feed displays relevant information to users based on an algorithm called “EdgeRank,” whose formula is closely guarded by Facebook, but incorporates factors like how much users interact with a given post.

Some who have noted the shift said they haven”t detected that Facebook is intentionally ratcheting back free exposure to raise more revenue through sponsored stories. “There is just more “stuff” and Facebook has to apply a higher-power filter,” said BlitzLocal”s Mr. Yu.

Regardless, many ad agencies said it is becoming increasingly important for marketers to invest money in Facebook ads if they want to get the most use out of it.

At Gordman”s over the last year, Ms. Stecker”s Facebook ad budget has grown by about 15%, and now a third of it goes to Sponsored Stories, up from zero a year ago. She declined to reveal dollar figures.

Facebook ad prices, and particularly Sponsored Stories, are generally lower than other sites, she said. But they”re also on the rise: In its regulatory filing, Facebook said the average price per ad grew 18% in 2011 compared to a year earlier.

“For us, Sponsored Stories are the most feasible form of advertising on Facebook,” Ms. Stecker said. “At least for the next year, we don”t plan to go anywhere else with that budget.”

Still, she”s not yet convinced it is going to play a big role. “We still don”t have a huge correlation between Facebook fans and return on investment in an actual sales in store. Until that metric becomes a lot more solid, I don”t think our company or other brands are going to be full-fledged into Facebook advertising.”

—Suzanne Vranica contributed to this article.

via Mashable and Scribd.

For those of you with the time to read 213 pages, here it is.

Facebook IPO filing (click to download)

Little self-congratulatory note here. Our photo from Zucotti Park, looking onto Broadway, at the New York Football Giants Victory Celebration today was published by the Giants:

Here’s a few more:

We don’t really know what to say: (via Mashable)

What’s supposed to be an innocent celebration of love has, to some, turned into a day of dread due to loneliness or pressure to buy the perfect gift. In light of this, Tumblr users have been flocking to a site called Occupy Valentine’s Day.

“Celebrating love and romance is a wonderful thing, but it shouldn’t depend on buying certain products for the perfect experience (hello, romantic industrial complex) or on your gender, sexuality, race, class status or marital status,” the site states.

So we’ll just say this:

Lighten up folks.