The Difference Between Social Media Monitoring and Measurement

by Eric Melin, Spiral16 Manager Marketing & Communications

Companies today have a wide array of options when it comes to web and social media monitoring and measurement. Once you have collected all the relevant data for your brand or online market study, though, that’s when the real challenge begins.

What do you do with it?ruler at angle

The answer to that depends on the specific use that you gathered your online data for in the first place.

Are you doing a basic brand management study where you are looking for all mentions of your brand? Are you comparing your online presence to that of your competitors? Are you tracking a particular marketing campaign or product introduction? We quickly found out a few things:

more on:

The look of the emfluence Marketing Platform

The look of emfluence is even more friendlier and sophisticated. How did emfluence’s 8-year-old application called the Marketing Platform get this updated look? It all began with a usability study called the Flow Pack. Similar to a heuristic evaluation, FluidUI’s Flow Pack scored and commented on 60+ app traits. We covered everything from aesthetical appeal to consistency in error messaging.  We also looked at the top navigation to see if it‘s telling of what’s under each menu item.

After a walkthrough on our findings emfluence’s design, development and support teams went to work, so to unveil the new UI  (user interface) at an email marketing summit in Las Vegas.

The results

  • Sophisticated UI reflecting advanced functions
  • Cleaner look with fewer distractions
  • Hi-lighted key assets and features
  • Better defined calls to action
  • More focused work area, minimizing user errors

Straight from the user
The new interface is great. So easy to navigate and of course aesthetically pleasing. Should be a very easy transition if there is one at all! – Emily, Boulevard Brewing Company

Let FluidUI help you wow your users. Call today to schedule a FlowPack, 816.561.2315.

Getting to Know the emfluence Marketing Platform

by Jessica Best, emfluence marketing manager, emfluence.com

The emfluence Marketing Platform is a web-based application that helps clients create, schedule, deploy and track their digital marketing campaigns. Born in Kansas City in 2003, emfluence is a full-service digital marketing agency, built around the success and growth of the emfluence Emailer, now called the emfluence Marketing Platform. Branded templates capable of drawing in data from any live data source and built-in pURL (personalized URL) functionality puts emfluence at the top of their class as an Email Service Provider.

The Platform includes capabilities for email marketing, social media marketing like Facebook and Twitter posts and landing page creation and management, all without the help of an IT person. With advanced marketing functionality from segmentation to variable blocks of email content and an expert account and support staff, the new look of the emfluence Marketing Platform now matches their sophisticated reputation in the industry. Using the emfluence Marketing Platform, marketers can manage and measure their digital marketing campaigns to maximize their digital marketing ROI. http://www.emfluence.com/marketing-platform/email-marketing

Fixing Failing Apps and Sites

Let’s look at why your apps and sites may fail and how we can fix them. We’ll start with the informative article ‘Why Software Fails’ by IEEE, a technology association. Then we’ll look at the intriguing video based on the article, ‘The ROI of User Experience’. This ‘quick sketch’ video, by Human Factors International, shows us how to fix and prevent some of the failures.

First from the IEEE article some alarming stats on IT and its downfalls:

artist drawing an illustration on the ROI of UX

The ROI of User Experience - 6 min video

  • $1 trillion dollars is spent worldwide per year on IT
  • up to 5% of a company’s total revenue goes to the IT group, 10% for financial and telecommunications companies
  • 15 % of projects are abandoned due to hopeless inadequacies
  • programmers spend 50% of their time on rework
  • the time of fixing an error after development is 100% more costly than fixing it before development

Now let’s look at 3 of the top 12 reasons why IT projects can fail, that are directly due to UX (user experience) inadequacies. These reasons are:

  1. badly defined requirements
  2. poor communication between developers, users and customers
  3. stakeholder politics

And how does UX solves these, with:

  • stakeholder interviews
  • user research
  • user testing
  • user centered design

How about a case study from the video that illustrates UX in action? Let’s say you’re part of a global non-profit micro lending organization for small businesses, whose website has a searching and donating UI (user interface) that is confusing and hard to use.

  • so if 50 of your customers a day are abandoning before donating because of the poor user experience and on average each user donates $50
  • thus, you are loosing $2500 a day or $912,000 a year
  • to solve the issues you spend $50,000 to fix the UX and $50,000 to rewrite the code based on those user experiences, thus spending $100,000 improving the user experience
  • it will only take 40 days to recoup your investment, giving you $812,000 more for lending power

Besides saving money here are some other measures of ROI (return on investment):

  • conversion rates on actions you want users to take
  • increased form completion
  • decreased in abandonment
  • decreased in calls to the help desk
  • reduced training
  • increased usage of app
  • saves user time
  • saves development time, reduces errors

The video ends with a quote by Albert Einstein “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

And I’ll end with “So how can I help your app or site succeed?
video: The ROI of User Experience, 6 min

article: Why Software Fails

E-myth Revisited

by: Art Gangel,  Business Consultant

The book E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber is the most important business book you’ve never read.e-myth revisited and author Michael Gerber Gerber was one of the progenitors of the business systems movement of the late 80’s and 90’s, and his words ring just as true now as they did then.  Why do most small businesses fail?  How can I motivate my employees?  How do I prevent my business from consuming my life?  These questions and more are answered in this provocative and readable book.  The focus of my practice is on the spiritual, which is why I resonate so deeply with this book.  Gerber demonstrates how your business is merely a reflection of you.  He gives the reader credit for wanting “something more” out of life, and shows in concrete terms how to use your business to deliver not just dollars, but meaning.  I’m currently re-reading it for the fourth time, and it’s still challenging me in new ways.  If you own your own business or if you are a decision maker in a large business, The E-myth Revisited is a must-read.

For more useful information about running your business or life, follow Art on Twitter at “@ArtGangel” or check out my website www.groundworkcoaching.com .

IT & Powder Puffs

Do you want to think outside of your company’s box? How about revolutionizing how customers perceive your products and services? Then hire consultants who think differently. pink powder puff sitting on top of a laptopIf you are a technical company who wants to tailor your products to your users, hire non-technical consultants who see your products as your users do.

Hire someone with a powder puff approach. Someone who thinks, looks and acts differently from you and wins over your team with gentle insights rather than trampling over their efforts. A person without the company baggage, who like a compact case travels lite and applies a formula that is seamless to your skins. Thus, giving your users transparency in what they do. A powder puff consultant can give your technology a whole new face-lift.

Search Lessons Learned from the JCPenney Story

by Corey Morris – emfluence SEO Expert, emfluence.com

Google monitors search engine optimization tactics for websites of all sizes, including major brands like JCPenney. The company’s SEO vendor had the entire JCPenney product line averaging a rank of 1.3 – page 1 results, between 1st and 2nd place out of hundreds of thousands!google search page on dresses

Unfortunately for the JCPenney brand, the methods used by the SEO vendor fell under the umbrella of what Google calls “black hat” tactics, a term used to describe any search optimization activity that unfairly pushes a site’s content higher up the search results than that content deserves. The vendor was immediately terminated.

The lesson here is to thoroughly vet your search vendor’s tactics and practice, and to monitor the results of their efforts periodically so you don’t get caught off guard. As a result of this incident, JCPenney’s average rank fell from 1.3 to 52. For searchers, that’s page six, which basically means the JCPenney product line is invisible to users of Google search.

emfluence uses all “white hat” best practices to drive client’s search results closer to the top. Contact an emfluence SEO expert at expert@emfluence.com for a review of your search settings.

Are You Mobilized?

Mobilized is more than carrying a phone, it is capitalizing on the moment. To improvise here and now and not wait until … or hesitating because … . It is seeing the possibilities and putting them into action..women in yoga position balancing on a cell phone

Let the moment, the surroundings and the people within reach define the outcome. Opportunities exist in the moment, though often our minds are closed to them for we are thinking about yesterday, what might be tomorrow, or chatting on the phone with those not present.

For example, you want to make a sale to the CEO, though you are now talking to the manager. Well that manager knows how best to approach their CEO; that manager has most likely worked for other CEOs too. That manager also knows the company’s product/service and you know the most about your offerings, so make the moment by having a worthwhile exchange. Make the most of who you’re with. By doing so you will never be bounded by people, place, time, or who is at the other end of the phone. You will never have a wasted minute. You’ll be only mobilized to make the most of the moment.

A Better UI and Idea in I5 Minutes

Your most effective meeting on user interface design is the one where you show your boss or client what you can do. clock with exposed gearsRather than telling them, or stating what you have done for others, demonstrate what you can do for them. We have helped prospective clients improve their design and usability at the first meeting, before agreements are made and contracts are signed. We have even helped others via email links and screen shots. We believe in intuitive interfaces for all and have benefited from this. Nothing will turn your boss or client into a believer quicker than solutions to their needs.

Everyone wants improvements and everyone has 15 minutes. Go on, show them what you can do.

Tech Poems

The Net
Loosely woven
Though continuous
A pattern of voids
More gaps to fall through
Than structure to uphold

The Webcomputer screen with web in background and BANG in foreground
Strands connecting
Stringing from place to place
We delight in its structure
Delicately Interwoven
Steadfast mechanism
Not something we can hold, nor touch
Only something to be caught in.

The Next Big Thing
It’s here.
The next big thing.
No longer do you have to wait.
To wonder. To ponder.
There is no learning curve.
No accessories. No expense.
In fact it has always been here.
The big bang is back.
You are here.
It is here.
It is now.

– Poems by SusanaB, more at SusanaB.net

Usability Comes In Packages

We package our usability assessments with all the bells and whistles. Want a task analysis? It’s in there. How about a visual of what it could look like? It’s in there. How about … well here is what you get:

Fluid’s Flow Pack:
gift box in orange wrapping

  • Tasks Analysis: A review of your top 10 tasks and their flow
  • Heuristic Evaluation: We score and comment on 80+ variables, from visuals to error prevention
  • Recommendations: Written with visuals
  • Next Steps: Quick fixes, resources, timeline, etc.

Fluid’s Flow Pack, don’t leave your server without it. Sample >


Shop Your Competitors

Tis the season to be assured you are differing yourself from your competition. How so? Well, gather around and I’ll show you … with this new high level multi-tasks score sheet. The sheet looks at website content, functions, etc, – all good little elements that you dream about.
Orange gift bagRate yourself, rate your competition; and then comment on what is being done and how you can do it better. Download it now for free, no batteries required.

Don’t have time? Got to get Weii for little Johnny and that Hogwarts game for Suzie? Or are you looking for an automated scoring package? Well hire FluidUI to be your secret shopper. We live to surf and score. Our automated scoring package comes with visuals of what the competition is doing and introduces elements neither of you have thought of. It will lite-up your up for many months to come. Call now …. 816-561-2315 .. for this limited time offer.

Intuitive Interfaces for All!

Is this a believable statement? Can a company help deliver intuitive user interfaces for all? That means for web, software, cells, anything with a screen. Why yes we can, if we believe and join forces. It’s like when Jony Ive of Apple designed these shells for the iMac that were colorful, curved and translucent. They reminded you more of Life Savers candy than a computer.  Gummy Users in Lifesaver candy colorsThe trend crossed industries and the next thing we saw were these colorful, curved and translucent trash cans on store shelves. In 2009 there were 500+ User Experience Professionals in the Silicon Valley area and that number is growing, everywhere. So yes, intuitive interfaces for all can be a reality.

It’s about having a passion, initiating or being a part of a movement around that passion and setting new standards. The more impossible standards drive the most passion and belief. No one wants to have a passion for the possible, it is too easy to achieve. And what better passion to have than the usability of technology?

Intuitive interfaces for all is about caring and sharing. What could spread quicker and benefit all then by making the www platform easy enough for your mom to use and the children of Africa? Accessibility then takes on many more meanings. Intuitive interfaces for all!

It’s all about setting a standard for that one little impossible idea and then caring enough about it to share it with others.   We all have that little engine that could and still can.

KC Software Corp. Got Satisfaction, and then some

A Kansas City software corporation chose FluidUI to help introduce desktop software into web and mobile, for a new healthcare segment. Our understanding of usability, the industry andWeb and mobile software for healthcare the application were spot on. We reduced page architecture by 15% and skipped the refining phases for design and UI code, because we got them right the first time. Also, we stayed within budget.

The specialist at FluidUI provided clean looks and code for an application that was simple and straightforward. Why load up on the latest and greatest bells and whistles, when users can already achieve their needs in seconds? It’s all about the users. We set out to please the users, thus pleasing our clients with users’ return business. It becomes an all around winning situation – I mean winning application. Let us create another one for you.

Usable Facts

Here are some simple, though often overlooked practices that users prefer for websites and software:

  • Heading sizes: 16-24 points (1-1.5 em) most commonOrange character scanning books
  • Body font sizes: 12 points (.75 em) most common
  • Best color for links: blue
  • Search boxes: ideal size is 18-24 characters
  • Graphs & charts: should be used as well as data values when data is important to the reader and/or the organization