All Posts by Stephanie O'Brien

12 Social Media Experts Share Their 2018 Predictions

Today social media is a part of our culture. It is how we connect and keep in touch. It has brought the world closer together, started revolutions and changed the way that brands engage with their audience. Today brands connect on a more personal level, armed with a greater understanding of their audience demographics, they can adapt their brand persona to win the hearts and dollars of their target market.

With 81% of American adults on at least 1 social media platform, the reach of social for businesses is not to be underestimated.

What's in Store for Social in 2018?

Calling on experts for insight, influencer marketing was a top topic brought into the discussion. Influencer marketing, of course, is not new in the social strategy mix but its importance is only set to increase for the year ahead.

With the growth of new technologies, you can also expect to see VR & AR integrating into social campaigns, creating unique experiences for consumers.

The popularity of video shows no signs of slowing down but the main key is high-quality content. With the quality of content increasing by the day, sub-par efforts will not cut it if you want to be noticed.

Beyond the trends, what's most important to take from social is the data. These platforms come with a mountain of data gold to help you learn about your audience, thus adapting to best appeal to their needs and desires. Do not forget to analyze, learn and adapt in order to stay ahead.

Our Experts Insight on The Future of Social

Name: Joe Sinkwitz

Credentials: CEO of Intellifluence, a platform designed to maximize commerce over social media for brands and agencies. 

Joe has been in digital marketing for over 20 years and continues to see a year-to-year jump in opportunity for brands. 

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

The answer, unfortunately, is it depends. It depends on who your buyer persona is and where those that influence that buyer persona exist online because you aren't just selling directly to one individual, you're convincing individuals to sell for you, where the approach occur as organically as possible. Couple that need with the reality that certain networks are more favorable for certain types of media: if you're in the fashion, cosmetics, or any other highly visual industry then you'll want to make sure you utilize a visual first network (think Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest). However, what if your end buyer personas aren't actually on those networks? You'll need to bridge the gap with influencers that can help to transcend your message to those areas where your buyer personas actually are spending their time online. It may sound complicated, but it really isn't. By hyper-focusing on your buyer persona and graphing out the positives and negatives of different networks, you can easily figure out where your resources are best spent.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

One of the biggest changes that much of the social and influencer industries are waiting for is disclosure; the FTC has already indicated that they'll be paying a keener eye due towards influencers due to the rapid increase in transactional volume that has been occuring. While today it is possible for a business to run an entire campaign without disclosure, facing little consequence, those days are fast coming to an end. Fear not though; according to the data we've collected from brand campaigns run through our network, we find no discernable drop off in conversions when proper disclosure is made on an influencer advertisement. Thus, while there is going to be a mad rush to ensure disclosure rules are met, it won't hurt your bottom line. 

Name: Brieanna Scolaro, LMSW

Credentials: Director of Community Relations at Behavioral Associates - a for-profit mental health company in NYC. 

As one of the companies major strategists, Brieanna coordinates all of Behavioral Associates online and social media marketing campaigns. 

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

Businesses should truly understand their target audience and get into the psychology of their daily lives. After you understand your target population, you will become more effective in understanding how to reach them (what platform) and the messages to be sending.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

In 2018, we will continue to see a shift towards Instagram and Snapchat marketing for 30 and under, with the older generations continuing to further dive into Facebook. However, companies should push from content into more video style marketing - as Youtube has been one of the fastest growing marketing channels. In addition, with the new development of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, there is a new door open for marketers in these realms. 

Marketers and other program coordinators should aim to further incorporate principles of psychology and human behavior into their strategies. We need to continue to develop new ways of reaching people, quickly deploying rapid testing, monitoring impact, and not being afraid to adjust our plan based on what we are seeing work or not work. A good social media campaign is one that speaks directly to the needs of your audience and explicitly uses benefit-first language.

Name: Logan Rae

Credentials: Entrepreneur, marketing & business development coordinator. Partner and Marketing Director, Bacon Box

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

2018 marketing focuses should be focused on algorithms, make sure your digital efforts are providing the proper content to the right audience. It’s often we see companies with mismatching agendas show up on social media searches. It’s great that your company is being seen however running a campaign efficiently is not based on impressions. If you want conversions focus on providing relevant content, not just getting your ad seen.

Another trend to look out for in 2018 are professionally produced video advertisements and testimonies. Creating short, direct content utilizing influencers is a good way to reach new clients, convert sales and retain your audience.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

Depending on the final changes net neutrality regulations will bring we will potentially see less small businesses utilizing internet services to deliver content. Right now there is a battle between political and legal agencies. In the coming weeks we will see how this will shape the reach of social media marketing. 

Name: Dr. Liz Gross 

Credentials: Thought-leader, data-driven marketer, and researcher with nearly a decade of social media marketing experience. She founded Campus Sonar, a specialized social listening agency for higher education. Liz is a frequent presenter at conferences like SXSW and is a published author on the topic. 

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

Businesses should realize that social media is much more than a marketing and engagement tool; it's a source of business intelligence. By doubling down on social listening (finding and analyzing public online conversations on platforms like reddit, Twitter, blogs, and discussion forums), business owners can conduct cost-effective market research, competitive analysis, and media relations. Consumers are having unprompted online conversations every day that should inform product development and marketing strategy. The value of listening for this purpose is undisputed.

Marketers should stop focusing on likes, followers, reach, and engagement rate. In 2018, if businesses want to move the needle they must tie social media strategy to business objectives. Whether the objective is driving website views, generating leads, or driving individuals to purchase, social media can impact business outcomes measured in dollars, not likes.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

All the major platforms are moving to the story format. At the same time, the content is looking more raw - with stickers, free-form drawings, and on-the-fly filters. Brands will be forced to tell their larger story through unpolished micro-moments, and string those moments together through serialized content (such as podcasts, daily Instagram stories, short webisodes, etc..) or they will lose the attention of consumers. 

Name: Jake Pacheco

Credentials: Founder, RedCapp

RedCapp is a content management platform. RedCapp creates monthly content packages for users business social media accounts. 

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

Going into 2018, social media will once again be driven with the main 5 - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Snapchat is also going to a focus especially with their app redesign coming, but aside from geo-filters, many businesses, especially small business may not find much value in the app.

Content is king and in 2018, brands and businesses should focus their social media efforts on creating the highest quality content for their customers and audience. Marketing, especially on social media is all about storytelling. Content such as info-graphics, quotes, blog snippets, promotions, product explainers, all work towards telling your brands story and tying your website, product/service, and social channels altogether.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

For 2018, we will once again usher in more video content just as we have seen the past couple of years. Social media is also becoming more and more competitive with more business and posts every day, so original and creative content will become more and more valuable, while brands that do not create high-quality content will be left behind. You can also expect to see the continued growth of influencer marketing, both micro and macro. More businesses will adopt influencer marketing to reach new audiences and engage better with their existing audience. 

Name: Mike Stricklin

Credentials: CEO and founder of Pluginz LLC. Partner of SUATMM LLC, Lead Marketing in The Bee Token (Cryptocurrency startup) 

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

It really depends on the product or service you are selling. For products, we are noticing a huge push by Facebook to feature videos onto newsfeeds. That's basically all you see now. Pictures and links aren't being shown to potential buyers anymore. They want to keep people on Facebook for as long as possible, and videos are the way for them to do that. Another great tip is to cross promote with big influencers who can get your product (or service) out to more people than you would on your own, or who can hit a totally different demographic than what you have. There are thousands of reviewers and bloggers out there who are desperate for something new to talk about. Sometimes just sending them a product or telling them you would share their video/blog post / etc is good enough! Remember that THEY also need YOU to keep growing their followers as well. For the Bee Token, we do a lot of social media contests to get our community active and sharing our coin, and we also reach out to a lot of podcasters who would like to interview our CEO. We make sure to follow similar companies or projects in the cryptospace, and tag companies or venues, or people we collaborate with. This gives them a nod on our end, and could possibly get them to re-share our posts to their followers. I'm a huge believer in doing as much organic advertising as possible without having to spend too much money. If you have a great product or service, the world will do all the advertising for you.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

I think companies (who sell products) will be moving all of their focus into Amazon as a sales driving machine. There are very few websites that can even come close to competing with the number of active customers that Amazon has. I think most companies would do well to focus as much of their advertising budget into Amazon ads. There is an untapped goldmine that people don't realize is at their fingertips. Create as many keywords as you possibly can and us a software program (I use MyPPCPal) and let it run your advertising for you. You aren't looking to make a profit on the sales you get from sponsored ads. The purpose is to grow your products listing on Amazon through these ads, gain reviews, and get the ads shown on facebook and all other social media outlets. From there, your listing will grow exponentially organically and you will notice a huge push in organic sales that don't cost you a dime.

Name: Alicia Wiedemann

Credentials: Chief Client Officer at 

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

Social video should be a main priority for 2018 for marketers and business owners as video accounts for 70% of online activity this year, and Facebook predicts to be almost all video by 2020. Facebook and YouTube are leading the charge for video (with the launch of Live and Watch), and Instagram stories and Snapchat are growing.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

Paid social spending will increase—70% of media companies said they would increase video spending in 2018. eMarketer reports that social network and spending surpasses $21 billion, accounting for 25.5% of digital ad spending. It is predicted that by 2019, social spending will increase to 31 billion, 29.4% of digital ad spending. No longer just an awareness play, social video has been shown to influence purchase decisions, and even drive last-click sales. But with this growth comes challenges. Marketers will need to strategize around video length, placements and which social platforms to invest their ad dollars.

There will also be an increase in paid support and influencer marketing, especially as more people understand the limits to organic reach. Advertisers will adopt and invest in influencer programs, as there will be an increased shift away from celebrity endorsements.

In addition, from a channel perspective, you'll see: increased adaptation of Pinterest, who will continue leading the charge around visual search functionality and the evolution of the marketing capabilities and tactics that can be leveraged in Snapchat, Instagram and LinkedIn. 

Name: Lee Esposito

Credentials: Principal of Columbus, Ohio-based digital PR firm Lee Esposito Associates

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

One area in which business owners and marketers should focus their social media efforts is Instagram. Instagram continues to make it easier for brands to gain, reach, and engage with followers while at the same time customizing feeds. For example, Instagram Stories allows marketers the luxury of quickly posting videos or images that might not necessarily work within a highly curated feed, but still tell their brand's story in an engaging way. Instagram will continue to roll out features to help business owners and marketers build brands, such as allowing users to follow a hashtag and archiving low-performing posts.

All the signs point toward Facebook Marketplace becoming a one-stop shop, from house hunting to online yard sales. Marketplace offers a stronger sense of security than scandal-ridden Craigslist because it links back to a user profile, putting a face on the seller and on the buyer, even showing mutual friends. And since October, Facebook Messenger users have been able to send and request payments via PayPal, removing the need for a cash exchange when meeting face to face.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

One change we can expect to see is having more emphasis placed on social media conversion strategies, whether it's followers signing up for a newsletter or some other desirable website action. Measuring reach, impressions and engagement will begin to take a back seat to tracking a targeted conversion rate for a brand's social media efforts.

Name: Cynthia Johnson

Credentials: CEO & Co-Founder of Bell + Ivy, social media influencer with 1M+ Followers 

Cynthia has received numerous accolades including:

Top 20 Digital Marketing people to follow by Inc. Magazine. 

Top 50 marketers on SnapChat by Mashable. 

Top 12 Female Entrepreneurs that Inspire by Darling Magazine.

Top 20 people in SEO by Guardian. 

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

Business owners and marketers should focus their social media efforts on creating a cohesive community with their followers and to improve the interoperability of information between all their channels. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have such a massive following and the potential to be an impressive channel to sell and promote a product, message and/or brand. Relatable, relevant and timely content throughout these platforms will create a genuine community of followers that enhances their brand identity which then creates more brand loyalty.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

Changes we can expect to see in social media marketing in 2018 is an increase in user-generated content. This directly relates back to the concept of building a community within your social media channels and becomes a powerful tool to increase user engagement to represent a well-rounded and trusted brand. Another change we can see is an increase in influencer marketing vs. traditional advertisements. Humans trust humans and word of mouth marketing is one of the most affected ways of marketing, especially when it is from a trusted source. YouTube is an example of a powerhouse that effectively utilizes influencer marketing. According to Think with Google, six out of 10 YouTube subscribers would follow a Youtuber/influencer's advice regarding what to buy or a specific brand over a celebrity. 

Name: Divya Menon

Credentials: Founder/Consultant, Bad Brain

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

In 2018 we will see many platforms thinking more about the advertiser's needs. From Facebook to Reddit, platforms are ramping up to meet expectations and fill-in gaps. The most important focus this year should not be on a single platform or a brand or content strategy, but in strategizing your strategy. What that means is work on the analytics and research process to find which metrics you need and what formulas you require to distill those facts into a strategy. Platforms are shedding more light on their audiences so advertisers can tighten everything from attributions to segmentation. If you have not paused to catch-up on the litany of new metrics and offerings being proffered from social goliaths, take this year to do so -- speak with your reps, spend time testing new types of inventory, and understand the breadth and depth to which you can now dive into your audience and communication.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

Facebook will continue to set the bar for data richness, but we will see them testing the efficacy of new video inventory against maintaining the integrity of their video platforms. While Facebook works on creating new avenues for advertisers, we will see other platforms add more backend features, like Twitter trying to provide more data -- a key requirement for most of us to part with our advertising dollar.

One hope I have is that platforms will work harder to provide a more pleasant experience with advertisements on mobile -- less accidental clicks, less forced-views. I think many of us in advertising are crying out for the quality click; gone are the days where we just want blind traffic. These steps that many platforms are taking, while building out data for us, don't necessarily address the issue of creating invested users (cough, Twitter, cough).

Name: Erin Ledbetter

Credentials: Sr. Vice President, Carusele // Research Triangle, NC 

Formerly Vice President of Community Management at Ignite Social Media, Erin oversaw content strategy and content development for brands like P&G, Chrysler, and ConAgra Foods. Today, she leads strategy and production at Carusele, a new kind of marketing company that develops and distributes influencer content with the precision of a media buy. Under her leadership, Carusele has produced award-winning work for clients like Walgreens, Revlon, Nestle, and Hallmark.

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

It’s time to shift our thinking on content from disruption to interception. Brands who focus on disruption ultimately produce content that entertains. It’s great for engagement but crummy for driving business KPIs. Instead, brands should focus on intercepting consumers with content that tells them why they should care. This requires a deep understanding of how your audience engages on social media but brands that spend the research time upfront so they can develop and distribute timely, customer-centric content will see an impact on more than just vanity metrics.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

Consumers are getting savvy to the fact that many social influencers are only endorsing products because they’re paid to do so. That said, the industry isn’t going anywhere. Even with a slight decline in consumer trust, influencers are still trusted by millennials more than any other type of brand marketing content. For brands to succeed in this space next year, they’re going to have to start treating influencers like real partners through long-term ambassador programming. At Carusele, we’ve seen engagement rates on influencer content increase as much as 400% after one of our clients switched from ad-hoc influencer campaigns to an ongoing ambassador approach. 

Name: Lacey Creaser

Credentials: Digital Strategist at Jackson Spalding.

Lacey has over 12 years of digital/social experience working with big brands like Kimberly Clark and Starbucks. Jackson Spalding was founded in 1995 with a vision to be the most trusted and respected marketing communications agency. The agency today has over 150 full-time employees in Atlanta, Athens, Ga. and Dallas offices.

Where should social media efforts be spent in 2018?

Go narrow and deep on social. Brands should focus on a concentrated social media strategy supporting overall business objectives. It's hard for any brand to offer unique content across multiple platforms. Choose content themes and platforms that offer the most engagement opportunities for your specific audience segments. I​​​​t's important to only engage on platforms where you can fully invest and measure value. A brand can often dilute its own efforts on the most impactful platforms when trying to keep up with every new trend, platform and tactic introduced. A written strategy to follow, optimize and report against is a great way to amplify the right efforts.

What’s in store for social media in 2018?

You got to pay to play and go even bigger with video. As algorithms are continually updated, it is increasingly difficult for brands to stand out from the crowd. To reach your audience and keep their attention, you must pay to play and then offer content that will keep them engaged and coming back. Video is the most preferred way to receive information. If a brand is not creating quality video content, their message will most likely not resonate with their audience.

Master your Social in 2018

Whatever your business, you not only need to be on social, you need to be nailing it with a killer strategy.

To learn more about how social media can help your business, give us a call on 917-633-6518, drop us a line in the comments below or check out our website. Here you can browse for news on social media marketing, including how brands are using influencer marketing to grow their business.

12 SEO Experts Share Their 2018 Predictions

SEO, when done well, can be a formidable power in your marketing strategy. Implementing an SEO strategy is low cost, increases traffic and increases your ROI. Not to mention it builds your brand credibility through higher visibility and higher ranking.

If you have a business online, there is no way you cannot be aware of the benefits of SEO. What you will have also realized is that SEO is not as simple as it may seem. With ever-changing algorithms to pander to, being an expert in SEO is a full-time job requiring endless research and professional development to stay ahead of the curb and keep your business in the spotlight.

Predictions for the Future of SEO

So what does the future have in store? We interviewed 12 SEO experts to get their insights on what is coming in 2018, as well as their top tips to master your SEO efforts.

The news that everyone is talking about is Google's change to their search index; they are going mobile-first.  This news broke about a year ago, but it is just now that they have announced the commencement of this migration with a handful of sites now converted to the mobile-first index.

Optimizing for mobile must be a top priority for 2018. Beyond mobile, optimization for voice search is another hot topic that businesses and marketers must get on top of if they wish to be found by Siri or Alexa.

Here is what our experts have to say:

Mastering SEO in 2018

Name: Derek Hales

Credentials: Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Modern Castle. SEO professional, serial entrepreneur, and content marketer.

Immediately post-college Derek began working for iCrossing, one of the most respected SEO agencies in the country. There he lead SEO strategy for two Fortune-10 companies and a number of other Fortune-100 companies. He has launched 3 major self-funded content platforms in his career. The first, a video game guide site that peaked at 50,000 unique visitors/day (90% organic). His second,, a platform on all things sleep, that grew from 0 to 1,000,000 page views per month over a 3 year period (85% organic). Derek's most recent project is, which he expects to follow similar trends to his previous sites. 


Predictions for SEO in 2018

Over the years the importance of mobile has gradually grown. However, I believe in 2018 we are going to see the importance of mobile optimization reaching new heights. Google has been talking about their mobile first index for quite a while now. At this point, it seems an almost guarantee that it will launch in 2018. It won't be good enough to simply have a responsive design. The larger experience and user engagement will become more critical than ever, but especially with how the experience and engagement are felt on mobile devices. To that end, I think we'll see page speed optimization become more important. Page weight, server response times, server hardware/architecture, DNS routing, HTTP requests, CSS, JavaScript, browsing caching, and more, it all needs to be optimized. Every millisecond counts in a world where mobile is first, and mobile engagement is just as important as the content experience.

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

Make sure you cover all of the essentials. First, build a strong foundational platform that allows for complete and robust site-wide and page level optimizations. Second, build exceptional content that consumers want to engage with and share. Build something you yourself would share. Third, promote your content. Share it with others who would be interested. Once you've got the basics taken care of then focus on how those elements are incorporated into the world of mobile. 

Name: Thom Craver

Credentials: Senior SEO Analyst for CBS Interactive, managing all the CBS News properties, including 60 Minutes, Face the Nation and 48 Hours.

A seasoned Web developer since 1993, Thom is a technical SEO and digital analytics veteran with nearly two decades of SEO practitioning. From system administration to coding to marketing to measurement, few have the full 360-degree view of modern day digital marketing.

In 1997, Thom started his first Web consultancy, New York Web Works, and never looked back. His career has included time at several renowned digital marketing agencies and hundreds of consultancy clients both large and small in nearly every vertical. 

Predictions for SEO in 2018

Schema will continue to evolve and grow in importance in 2018. As personal assistants and voice search gain popularity, watch for new markup that will allow site owners to control what the assistant will read back to searchers. Google's recent move to include Google Assistant on devices running older versions of Android is a reversal from their previously announced plans for the product. This indicates an inclination to grow voice search for the future.

Trust will become increasingly important for publishers. The newly proposed publishing principles schema mimic The Trust Project  core trust indicators. To this end, citation-style linking out of your site to relevant content will also become a differentiator. The quality of those outbound links will likely weigh more as a ranking signal, as will compliance with The Trust Project as it gains momentum. Additionally, watch for new Google UI indicators to highlight trusted content. 

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

For 2018, focus on getting basic SEO elements right. Have quality content, straightforward site architecture, speed and mobile-friendliness mixed with quality, relevant schema. Be careful not to overdo it. Google Search Console warns sites with needlessly abundant schema code. While schema continues to be important for Google's AI machine to learn, it's important to use it wisely and appropriately.

Google continues to grow their AMP teams. Using AMP can provide a great mobile experience, and traffic gains from AMP carousels can be huge. But ensure your site's AMP and canonical content match. In February, Google will start penalizing you if it doesn't. 

Name: Wes Marsh

Credentials: Director of Digital Marketing, Solodev

Wes has 10+ years of experience marketing for businesses.

Predictions for SEO in 2018

In 2018, expect RankBrain to continue leveraging user interactions like clicks, dwell time, bounce rates, and deeper clicks into the website as part of their machine learning to use context over content for rank determinations.

SEOs will also have to optimize for voice search as Google rolls out their mobile-first index. Not only does your content need to be optimized for voice search, but your overall mobile UX will be critical to your rankings. This will include responsive designs, the size of your tap-targets as related to UX, site speed, and more.

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

The biggest tip I have for marketers and business owners is to think of your site in the way Google does: Is this site the best possible website for users? If it's not, then make the changes needed to enhance your site to deserve a top rank. That means your content covers the topic searched (length), uses other relevant terms to the primary keyword (LSI Keywords), is useful to others (b/c they don't bounce off and they stay on the page), and it offers a great mobile experience. Google's mobile-first index will bring a major shift for SEOs to where mobile sites are now considered the primary version of the site - even with a responsive design. This makes sense since we know over 60 percent of all Google searches are coming from mobile devices and that number is only projected to grow. 

Name: Cari Bacon

Credentials: Director of Project Management - SEO at SEO Inc

Predictions for SEO in 2018

Having a site that is not considered secure will make it obsolete. Some search engines have already placed warnings next to search results for unsecured sites (http), but in 2018, you may not even be in the search results.

Voice search will take over. We have already seen mobile searches overcome desktop in some verticals, and with the digital assistants, I fully expect to have voice search to have an even more of an impact.

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

Get your site secure! And make sure all of the URLs are redirected correctly.

Use how to, and what is the type of questions on your site, with useful and concise answers. This will help with voice search results. 

Name: Joe Sloan

Credentials: Marketing & Communications Coordinator for Advice Me​​​​​dia, managing SEO efforts for 

Predictions for SEO in 2018

Three large trends that I believe will be very influential over 2018 are site security, responsive design, and quick answer rankings.

Site Security - with Google's recent announcement that they will be displaying sites that are unsecured moving forward, one has to believe that site security and https will continue to play a larger role in search engine rankings.

Responsive Design - besides the influx of new devices that can connect to the internet, from phones, tablets, desktops, to watches your site will need to work on any device. But more importantly, with Google continuing to provide the quickest answer, they have now started to show a small window into websites on Google Maps on tablets instead of opening your site directly. These trends will continue and show that your site will need to work in any window size, not just with specific devices in mind. Also, AMP pages are going to continue to become more important for clients with significant blog traffic to continue to rank well.

Quick answer rankings - this has been very hard to track, but we have seen certain success with clients that show up for rich snippets answers but we are uncertain how this affects traffic positively or negatively. But the biggest piece that will need to be tracked closely is how quick answer rich snippet content correlates with voice search traffic. Also, Google recently announced they are increasing the average meta description so having SEO best practices in place to make sure Google can pull the relevant information will be crucial.

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

Content is king. If your customers are asking you the question they are asking Google. Ensure you have educational content for customers no matter their buyer's stage. 

Name: Damon Burton

Credentials: President of SEO National, a consulting company and UtahSites, a web design company. 

Predictions for SEO in 2018

In 2018, mobile will be increasingly important which means your website must be responsive to display content correctly and quickly.

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

The best things business owners can do to master SEO in 2018 is to start by optimizing their website for select keywords to improve search rankings, attract more readers and convert them to customers using these steps: 

  1. Verify your rankings- Search your designated keywords on Google or use a tracking tool like Advanced WebRankings to determine where your webpages rank and find areas where you can improve. 
  2. Use alternative keywords- Try the Google Keyword Planner
  3. a thesaurus or your competition to find alternative keywords you can add to your website.
  4. Diversify- Ensure your keyword targets are referenced throughout the entirety of your website and not just on the landing page. Repurpose content using articles, videos infographics and more to show your site is diverse and a well-rounded resource for your keyword targets.
  5. WordPress plugs- If you are using WordPress, I highly recommend using plugins to speed up your website's load time and help search engines more easily find your content. Some of the most effective include Yoast SEO and W3 Total Cache

Name: David Mulqueen

Credentials: Project Manager at Odd Dog Media

David executed an SEO campaign this year that won the 2017 Landy award for Best Local SEO Initiative. 

Predictions for SEO in 2018

I don't see SEO changing in 2018. The fundamentals of backlinks, content, site architecture, on & off site items etc. are going to play just as important of a role as they have the last few years. I do predict a decrease in CTR's to websites from local business listings. Google has made Google My Business listings extremely user-friendly so people can contact business owners for appointments or questions without even visiting a website.

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

My top tips for business owners is to get comfortable with your GMB page and learn how to take advantage of it's components. There have been some great features released in 2017 i.e. posts, appointments, text messaging, FAQ's and it's going to really important to use that technology to help persuade new customers into your place of business. 

Name: Jonathan Alonso

Credentials: Digital Marketing Manager for uBreakiFix

Predictions for SEO in 2018

Before 2018 rings into a new year, Google is already making a big shift into mobile first indexing, which will impact a large portion of sites that are not mobile responsive-ready. Focusing on optimizing your site for mobile including technical specifications like speed, meta tags, content and user experience will help in making sure there is no drop in traffic and at the least remain consistent on mobile.

Other than mobile with the new push of AI in search and the evolution of Rankbrain, Google is looking for sites that meet the needs of its customers and users. 

Criteria include: Is it answering the user's question? Is the site fast enough on mobile platforms? What options does the user have? How close in proximity is this business to the user? More than ever before, Marketers need to focus on their site, content, and technical SEO in 2018 more than ever before rather than focusing on trying to rank for specific keywords.

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

Focus on your user experience within your website. How can I get my traffic to convert on mobile? What content do I need to answer my customers questions within relevant pages? Being focused on your customers first and business second will help you increase the opportunists for more SERPS.

Dig deep into understanding your FAQ's, What are customers asking? How can you best answer their questions? If it is price based, Create a comparison table between you and your competitors. If it is a how-To create the content on how-to for your product, or best practice in the forms of lists, numbers, data so it can be informational for your customer and gain/win that trust from your earned traffic.

This will help in winning higher funnel customers in the research phase that will convert later when making a purchase decision.

Name: Sommer Sharon

Credentials: Entrepreneur and Owner of Sleigh Consulting, a digital marketing company specializing in SEO. 

Sommer has 14+ years experience working in online marketing.

Predictions for SEO in 2018

Google will roll out its mobile-first search index, combining the mobile and desktop indexes into one with the index crawling the mobile version of a page first. This also means Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is going to become even more important in 2018. Google will encourage more structured data mark up in 2018, as part of improving the user experience. And search engines will also favor meta descriptions written for voice results as between 40-55% of people (according to Google) use voice search daily.

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

  1. Mark up your content in structured data using

  2. Keep creating great content (content and authority will stay king).

  3. Optimize your content for voice results. The general recommendation is to read your copy out loud to make sure it sounds conversational.

  4. Have a mobile site that uses AMP, and make sure your structured data, alt tags, meta descriptions, etc. are setup the same as on your desktop site. 

Name: Justin Knott

Credentials: President, Intrepy Healthcare Marketing

Predictions for SEO in 2018

I believe two of the major predictions and changes in 2018 for SEO are the increase in mobile first indexing for SEO and the continued, accelerated growth of voice search. With Google already beginning to institute mobile first indexing for websites, businesses are going to need to start looking at their website's overall SEO strategy, UX/UI mobile design, site speed and integrating AMPs pages in early 2018. Secondly, utilization of voice search will continue to grow in 2018 causing businesses to need to adopt a more fluid, natural long-tail search query strategy for SEO. When people search utilizing voice they tend to search in complete statements, example: How do I change a car tire? vs change car tire.

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

A tip for businesses in 2018 to master SEO in a particular industry or vertical is to focus on a well thought out, researched-based content marketing strategy. Once you have established processes and procedures for producing high quality, long-form content and the proper distribution channels take advantage of software like Google Analytics to evaluate and adjust your strategy for maximum effectiveness. 

Name: Lacey Creaser

Credentials: Digital Strategist at Jackson Spalding.

Lacey has more than 12 years of digital/SEO experience working with major brands like Kimberly Clark and Starbucks. Jackson Spalding was founded in 1995 with a vision to be the most trusted and respected marketing communications agency. The agency today has more than 150 full-time employees throughout the United States. 

Predictions for SEO in 2018

Mobile and voice search will lead the way. More than half of mobile searches are conducted on a mobile device. If your website and content are not optimized for mobile indexing and user intent, you could be skipped over for the ones that are. This is your chance to push beyond competitors by making your website and content mobile-friendly and responsive, fast loading, and driven by the user's needs.

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

Old SEO tricks are out and user-driven experiences are in. Shortcuts just won't work anymore. Google wants the best for its users and you should, too. Understand user intent, then create content they will care about and a user experience that matches their desired journey. Spend time identifying user need states and the gaps in industry conversations online. Then, to be successful, spend your time creating quality and crawlable content, coupled with a solid website experience with a mobile and voice search component. People want responsive design, fast page load times, easy to digest content and localized convenient search results. Given them what they want, not what you want. 

Name: Winston Burton

Credentials: VP of SEO, Acronym

Winston Burton joined Acronym in 2014 with over ten years of experience in search marketing. Prior to joining Acronym, Winston was the VP of SEO at Havas Media, one of the world's top ten global ad agencies. He started the SEO practice for Havas and built the practice to include clients such as Choice Hotels, Fidelity, Exxon, Volvo, and Marc Jacobs. Winston spearheaded SEO strategy, including content marketing, mobile, link building, and all technical areas of SEO. Winston's career also included the SEO Manager role at Rosetta and time at Zeta Interactive. 

Predictions for SEO in 2018

SEO is going to continue to shift towards mobile and increasingly queries will be from answer box and voice search, while structured data will also be important - and is a good way to send information to search engines in a way they understand. Speed and user experience will also be critical.

Top tips to master SEO in 2018

To maintain and/or increase your visibility for 2018, brands must do the following:

  1. Create high-quality content that is not only relevant, but useful in the moment of need and meets end user intent at all stages of the increasingly fragmented user journey.

  2. Consider using AMP or other technology to make sure you have a fast-loading website that provides a great experience across all devices and platforms.

  3. You should use structured data to provide search engines with the information they need to better understand what's on your site to maximize clicks, visits, and conversions.

  4. Have a sound content strategy with content that answers questions and ranks in position 0 (the answer box) to dominate answer box and voice search queries. 

Experts in SEO

At Spooky Digital, we live and breathe Search Engine Optimization. Not an algorithm changes without our knowledge, allowing us to be nimble and continually delivering the best results for our clients.

If you want to speak more about an SEO plan for the new year, give us a call on 917-633-6518 or visit our website for more information about SEO.

6 Experts Share Their Predictions For New Technology in 2018

With the New Year around the corner, we wanted to take a look at new tech and how it is going to impact businesses and marketers in 2018.

It seems the speed at which technology is moving is increasing pace year on year, with 2017 holding quite a few highlights and 2018 promising to follow suit.

2017 saw continued advancements in new tech like Artificial Intelligence. Facial recognition technology is improving, new chatbots have been created for brands across the globe, and in more shocking news, an artificially intelligent robot called Sophia has been in the headlines after being awarded citizenship in Saudi Arabia.

Here is What the Experts Have to Say

With the scope of technology so broad, it is near impossible to be across it all. So what better way to gather insights than to reach out to experts across the country for their thoughts on what new technology business owners and marketers need to adopt or keep an eye on in 2018, as well as the major changes we can expect from new tech in 2018.

Our 6 experts cover everything from Virtual Reality to Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, all the way through to Blockchain Technology and Crypto Currencies, advising you on how these technologies will impact business and what you need to get on top of to stay ahead.

New Technology to Watch in 2018

Name: Kevin Conner

Credentials: Founder and CEO of BroadbandSearch.

BroadbandSearch provide unique technology that helps customers choose a cable/ISP provider. We've become experts in technology trends as a result. 

New technology to adopt or keep an eye on in 2018?

For 2018 virtual reality is the most pressing tech we'll want to adopt. The PS4 (which already has some of the world's cheapest VR access) will drop in price, and as a result, we'll see even cheaper access to VR. This is exactly what happened with the PS3 and Blu-ray.

Google Daydream will also be promising as it expands its audience. Mobile-friendly content will become VR friendly content for every website out there.

Predictions for 2018?

HBO already released a Westworld VR experience. It is very possible for them to release another with the new season, or even hook Game of Thrones viewers with something new.

In these early stages of new VR technology hype, a minimal effort can bring maximum gains. Do not neglect the possibilities of VR. Early adopters are sure to prosper. 

Name: Kathryn M. Kosmides

Credentials: Director of Marketing at SummitSync in New York City. 

New technology to adopt or keep an eye on in 2018?

This coming year is about adopting new technologies that help to quantify marketing spend and leaving the flashy technology to the wayside until the basics are solved. We've even pivoted our entire company to focus on the need of marketer's to measure and maximize their return on events.

Quantifying marketing spend continues to be a problem for companies of every size and it, along with technology to solve advertising fraud, will be at the top of many marketer's minds going into the new year.

Predictions for 2018?

The sexy technology like machine learning and artificial intelligence will challenge the roles of average employees while bolstering high-performing team members - especially in roles like sales and marketing. We're now able to send personalized messages at scale with ease, so I hope the entire industry steps up and focuses on providing real value instead of inundating people with ads and brand-first messaging.

Name: Caroline Buck

Credentials: Director of Product Marketing at Wizeline

Wizeline is a software development and product company in San Francisco which was recently featured in TechCrunch. Prior to Wizeline, Caroline worked in Product Marketing at Yahoo. 

New technology to adopt or keep an eye on in 2018?

I think we will see continued investment in and adoption of chatbots and other conversational UIs. Businesses should adopt a chatbot that works for their specific business objectives, with the common goals being round-the-clock customer support with faster resolution time for maximum efficiency.

Chatbots can engage where a business’ users are - web, Facebook, mobile, Alexa, etc. - through text or voice. Customers expect a digital support experience wherever they go, and businesses will need to integrate chatbots into their solutions to keep them engaged and happy.

Predictions for 2018?

I think we will see improvements in how “human” it feels to converse with a chatbot or other conversational UIs. It’s still early to tell what role chatbots will play in people’s lives, as most bots today are fairly constrained in what they can do well.

In the year or so ahead, we expect there will be improvement in language processing and conversation flows that will make bots feel more natural while remaining efficient. Forrester predicts that in 2018, businesses will realize that AI requires work to not just launch, but to maintain and improve for true integration into their strategy for customer satisfaction. 

Businesses and marketers will be able to optimize their time and resources, thereby enabling their customers to do the same while using their services. It’s worth saying that bots will not be able to replace humans by any means, but there is a massive opportunity for bots to make our lives better by enabling us to do more with our time. 

Name: Matt Gorsuch

Credentials: Targeted data provider and marketing strategist for building materials suppliers.


New technology to adopt or keep an eye on in 2018?

Artificial Intelligence.

Predictions for 2018?

Capability to identify actual people - by name, email, address, social media, phone number - who are actively in market for whatever it is you're selling, and target your marketing spend to just those people, slashing marketing cost.

2018 will be the year of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. In the marketing world, look for People Based Marketing to move from early adoption towards wider mainstream use. What is “People Based” marketing? The short answer is that this is Data Driven Targeting at scale: A computer takes all the data from search engines and social media sites, and using machine learning software, combines it to identify patterns and predict consumer buying behavior. By now we’re all used to companies using their own in-house data to present related offers, or advertisers using our browser behavior to re-target us with related ads. What’s different now is that exchange agreements allow for data sharing and pattern identification to be conducted across the entire internet. What’s most interesting to us as marketers is that the problem of “identity” has been solved. As consumers we are no longer anonymous. We have the technology to identify by name, email, social media profile, and mailing address, precisely those people actively looking to buy what we’re selling. We are no longer limited to demographics and keywords to improve our targeting. We can focus our resources on only our highest quality prospects, without spending money broadly advertising to anyone not actively in the market for our product. The savings can be significant: Using this data we have seen up to a 90% decrease in CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) in many markets.

Name: Kristine Neil

Credentials: Owner & Creative Director, Markon Brands

New technology to adopt or keep an eye on in 2018?

Businesses should keep their eyes on voice search and the devices that make it possible. Voice search truly changes how consumers get information and ultimately how they find out if your business has the product or service they need.

Predictions for 2018?

The ability for voice searches, across products, to recall accurate, timely information is only improving and as it does, its use will continue to increase. This begins to erase the idea of competing to reach page one of Google and instead pits brands in a race to have the best ready-made answer to possible search queries. It’s all about embedding timely, comprehensive information about their business online so that Siri or Alexa can use that information to fulfill their mission of answering their user’s question.

Name: David Peterson

Credentials: Head of Marketing at The Bee Token. Founder & CEO of 

New technology to adopt or keep an eye on in 2018?

Mobile social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram will continue to be huge in 2018. We've seen huge engagement through our Instagram channel, and will continue to spend more advertising dollars on mobile in 2018. In addition, we've seen a huge push towards videos on Facebook, a video will get us anywhere from 10-20x the engagement and views as a picture of the same product would have. So I would recommend moving towards video if you haven't done so already.

Predictions for 2018?

As far as major changes I see blockchain technology and cryptocurrency as having a major impact on businesses and marketing this coming year. I believe these new technologies will gain more mainstream adoption in 2018 and we will see many businesses start either accepting cryptocurrency in one form or another, or implementing blockchain technology into their own existing business models.

Getting Ahead of Tech in 2018

While it's tempting to jump onto all the latest tech, it is most important to realize that the basics are always your bread and butter. If you haven't got the foundations of your marketing and business plan solid, then no new technology is going to change the fate of your business. 

Adopting new technology takes time and financial investment. Look carefully for platforms that will compliment your businesses marketing activities, adopt when it is practical and ensure that you work with partners who can advise you on where best to invest your time and budget. 

Our team can work with you to analyze your business and advise on what is going to work best for you, not just what is on trend. Contact us today on 917-633-6518 to see how we can help.

7 Yoga Studio Owners Share Their Best Marketing Ideas

When it comes to marketing, not all tactics work for all industries. There are a variety of factors, from the audience to budget restrictions and offering that will influence which strategies are going to get the highest results for your business.

With roughly 36 million American's practising yoga, it has never been more popular, and studio competition has never been more fierce.

As with any competitive industry, marketing is essential to making your studio stand out and guaranteeing your loyal customers continue to return. 




Community Weigh In

Our team at Spooky Digital are experts in yoga studio marketing, we help studios to grow their brand, improve visibility and most importantly, increase revenue and ROI for their marketing efforts. We provide clients with insight on how to market their yoga teacher training and get the most out of their investments. But who really wants to hear us bang on about how we can help?

The Yoga community is large and united, with similar experiences that can be learned from when it comes to what has and has not worked in their marketing efforts.

For the most part, the studio's agree that social and email marketing are the most powerful tools in a yoga studios marketing arsenal, while print mediums have dropped in popularity due to the low and hard to track ROI.

Enough from me, here are our yoga studio representative with more on what is working for them:

Yoga Studio Marketing Ideas That Works

Name: Gretchen Lightfoot

Studio: Goorus Yoga Studio in Pacific Palisades, CA

Goorus Yoga Studio has 40+ yoga and fitness classes each week, as well as weekend workshops and teacher trainings.

What marketing methods are working best for you right now?  

Our best marketing methods are:

  1. LA Yoga Magazine
  2. Facebook
  3. Instagram
  4. NextDoor

We are fortunate to have LA Yoga Magazine in our community and I frequently submit event listings to them which get published in the hard copy of the magazine or in their weekly email blast. They gave us a really nice spread when we opened the studio and recently used our space for a location shoot where we received credit as a contributor. We've just started experimenting with paid advertisements for our teacher trainings and a few select events, and we are excited to see what unfolds.

Facebook and Instagram are helpful because of their reach into neighboring communities and beyond. I primarily handle all of the studio's marketing and I try to "friend" as many of our clients as I can so that we can keep them in the loop regarding schedule changes, upcoming workshops, and the like. Likewise, I follow many of our clients on Instagram as well as strategic partners or potential partners. Following and friending are just the first step, however; interaction is crucial. I typically post daily, but occasionally experiment with downtime (3-4 days at most). We have dabbled in paid ads on Facebook on several occasions and will continue to do so as our budget grows.

NextDoor is a social media environment much like Facebook, but it restricts your interactions to your immediate neighbors. I frequently post our events and class announcements there, but have also created a special "Yoga in the Palisades" group where I can have more of a regular dialogue with our yogi friends in the neighborhood. This has been helpful especially when marketing our beginning and kids yoga events.

What methods did you give up on?

While I still use Twitter and Yelp, they haven't proved as fruitful for our marketing at Goorus. We are slowly starting to use Google+ a bit more and are taking a "wait and see" attitude there.

Name: Anita Perry

Studio: YogaAnita

YogaAnita provides yoga instruction in private sessions, group sessions, schools, and corporate environments. The business is active in community events, and is available to support community causes.

What marketing methods are working best for you right now?

The best form of marketing is word of mouth. I like to cultivate and retain as many of my students as I can, and my efforts extend to reaching out personally through newsletters and emails, I solicit suggestions from the students and always remind them that the class is for them, and anything I can do to help I am there for them.

The second best form of marketing I use is social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The third form of marketing is keeping my website up to date and writing relevant blog posts on asana and reflection pertaining to a yoga lifestyle. I have also written a book (Yogaminute) to help people not within my local area learn about the advantages of incorporating a yoga practice into their lives.

What methods did you give up on?

When I was first starting out, I gave away my services for free and had many promotions to earn free classes. Through I will still be available for community causes, I realized that free services does not attract committed students; only good, honest customer service will show customers that you care. 

Name: Nathania Stambouli

Studio: SoulPlay Yoga

SoulPlay Yoga are in the business of providing high quality, extremely varied yoga classes. Where many Los Angeles based studios have a specialty like Vinyasa Flow classes primarily, they specialize in offering a wide range of classes including kids' yoga, restorative, slow deep stretch, BandzYoga (yoga with resistance bands), vinyasa flow, yoga for kids with special needs, therapeutic yoga for injury rehabilitation and more.

What marketing methods are working best for you right now? 

Marketing methods that are working best for us right now are offering a significant discount to our Groupon members who wish to stay on as full-priced customers in the future - it's working well in converting members who would otherwise just jump from Groupon to Groupon. We are offering all of our members 2 free guest passes to bring friends who have never been here for free. Once those guests come in, we send them an email with a special discount off of our 2-week unlimited trial which is working well to get them signed up for that offer. Word of mouth tends to be our best marketer! We offer an amazing experience to our members on-site - create a totally non-pretentious place to practice and get to know our members personally - all of those things make it so they refer their friends and family without hesitation.

What methods did you give up on? 

We are doing away with magazine advertising like print ads in yoga-related publications - there's just no bang for the buck. We are also doing away with spending hundreds on Facebook and Instagram ads that get a lot of clicks but very little follow-through. 

Name: Kelly Kostecki, Owner

Studio: Om On Yoga

Om On Yoga is a yoga studio and fitness boutique located in Richmond Virginia.  We offer vinyasa style yoga classes from the beginner to the advanced student, as well as, in-depth workshops, special events, and 200 & 300 Hour Teacher Training.  We also handcraft yoga retreat experiences around the globe, pulling together students both near and far.  Lastly, we run a full fitness boutique that offers the area's most exclusive selection of fitness athleisure apparel, eco-friendly gifts, beauty products, and accessories.  These are also sold online at

Our Mission is to empower individuals to aspire to an even greater life for themselves through the transformational power of yoga.  

What marketing methods are working best for you right now?

Currently, we have a multifaceted marketing approach including an online focus where we tailor Google advertisements and SEO to reach our target clients.  In addition, we have a comprehensive content strategy that includes social media where we are active on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, as well as, an online blog and email marketing.  We round that out with personal touches through in-store promotion and printed media.  

What methods did you give up on?

We have let most magazine advertisements go along with our focus on Twitter.  Return on investment in these areas was simply not where we needed it to be and we truly believe in maximizing and honing our efforts.  We strive to concentrate on what makes the most impact in peoples' lives, which we believe is empowering individuals to lead a more balanced life through yoga and wellness. 

Name: Lauren Hanna

Studio: Sonic Yoga

Sonic Yoga is a 5 star Google rated studio based in NYC. They have just celebrated their 16 year anniversary.

What marketing methods are working best for you right now?

Our marketing efforts include Google AdWords & FB advertising as well as our Sandwich Board postcards and word of mouth!

What methods did you give up on?

We gave up on print advertising and yelp.

Name: Cara Bradley

Studio: Verge BodyMind

Verge BodyMind is a yoga and meditation center in suburban Philadelphia. We’ve been in business for over 13 years. We offer weekly yoga and fitness classes, workshops, yoga teacher training, retreats, and meditation series.

What marketing methods are working best for you right now?

Mass emails are working best. But we are very intentional about what we send.

A. We send content-based emails every Sunday evening. They can include short blog posts, videos, podcasts and other helpful information along with a list of our upcoming programs. Twice a month these Sunday emails are sent to our full email list and twice a month they go only to students active for the past two years.

B. During the week we will send a targeted email to a smaller group of students based on a specific workshop or program that is coming up.

What methods did you give up on?

We gave up on print advertising a few years ago.

Name: Ajita Patel, Owner

Studio: Sanctuary Wellness Center and Yoga Studio

The Sanctuary is a complete holistic wellness center and yoga studio based in Tustin California. In addition to daily yoga classes taught by certified yoga teachers and yoga therapists, the center offers Ayurvedic consults and Pancha Karma therapies in its Ayurveda Clinic as well as massage and therapeutic body treatments from all eastern and western traditions in its SPA.

What marketing methods are working best for you right now?

Positive word-of-mouth and Yelp reviews are our most effective customer acquisition tools.  We have also found postings on the social media platform Meetup to be effective to build our awareness and drive customers to our studio.  We advertise on Facebook and Instagram as well but unless significant budget is put behind paid social media campaigns, they do not provide the same results as other channels.  Nevertheless, organic social media campaigns such as informative postings of our yoga teachers on these social media channels (Facebook and Instagram) bring awareness to their knowledge and the quality of yoga classes they teach at our studio which build loyalty of our current students while further promoting word-of-mouth.

What methods did you give up on?

Direct mail, using coupon discount services like Groupon. The return on investment of these marketing methods was very low.




Experts in Yoga Marketing

What's most important is to realize that every business is unique and you should work with an agency that can look at your business and create a plan that works for you.

Here at Spooky Digital, we specialize in marketing for the fitness, martial arts, and yoga industries. We can show you how to increase your marketing ROI and achieve these results fast. Contact us today on 917-633-6518 to see how we can help, or visit our website to learn more about Yoga marketing.