Sunsetting Our Legacy Platforms

Dear Friends,

For the past two years we have been working diligently on the new Our goal has been to unify the functionality of our existing platforms and create a social sponsorship ecosystem designed to bring more value to our creators and advertisers. I am pleased to announce that we are ready to begin sunsetting these legacy platforms starting today. If you are currently using SocialSpark, Sponsored Tweets, PayPerPost, IZEA Media, FanAds, Pinable Ads, Featured Users, or Staree this transition will affect you.

By the end of September of this year all opportunities will flow exclusively through and our IZEA Exchange Network Partners. If you would like to continue to monetize your social connections or run campaigns you must sign up at

Thank you for all your support over the years. We look forward to building this ecoystem with you as this space continues to evolve.

Ted's SignatureTed MurphyFounder/CEOIZEA, Inc


Twitter's Reflection on 2013 [Video]

2013 was 365 action-packed days of ups, downs, smiles and frowns…and, of course, hashtags. Whether you were tweeting about your favorite lad from One Direction, reacting to Miley’s risqué romp onboard a wrecking ball, or mourning the loss of Cory Monteith, Twitter was there to provide you with the perfect forum to say exactly what was on your mind (in succinct, less-than-140-character installments).

Image courtesy of: donkeyjacket45 via photopin cc

Twitter has managed to sum up the highlights of 2013 into a one-minute video. Of course, included in the montage are a number self-congratulatory Twitter accomplishments, including the fact that the social media platform now boasts 230 million active users who generate roughly 500 million tweets each day. They also give a “shot to the arm” to their new 6-second video feature by stating that 40,000,000 have used it.

Once you make your way through the self-directed love fest, viewers are afforded the chance to revisit some of the hottest stories and trending topics of the past twelve months. Here are the global events that made Twitter’s video time capsule.

Image courtesy of: Steve Rhodes via photopin cc

While new parents around the world were sending 75,805 “it’s a boy” and 24,186 “it’s a girl” tweets, all eyes were turned towards the Royal family and the greatly anticipated arrival of a new prince. Perhaps, we should have been more concerned with the devastatingly low number of females conceived…or the lack of excited tweets generated by their births. But we weren’t. In 2013, news stories and chatter in the Twitterverse were all about Prince George.

Image courtesy of: NASA Goddard Photo and Video via photopin cc

Astronaut Karen Nyberg sent thumbs tapping out tweets when she posted a picture of the deadly Typhoon Haiyan as seen from 230 miles above Earth. The November typhoon left the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia ravaged, destroying everything in its path and killing over six thousand people. Tweeters around the globe expressed their condolences, offered prayers and reached into their pockets to send financial support.

Image courtesy of: guano via photopin cc

In the world of sports, Bostonians found cause to celebrate as their Red Sox won the 2013 World Series at Fenway Park, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6. While winning the World Series is a major feat in itself, this occasion was particularly auspicious as the Red Sox had not won that title on their home diamond since 1918. And, in a city that had witnessed a horrific bombing during the Boston Marathon earlier in the year, it was nice to have a reason to celebrate.

Image courtesy of: Smithsonian’s National Zoo via photopin cc

And animal lovers around the world fell in love with Rusty the red panda. When Ashley Foughty spotted him wandering around a Washington, D.C. condominium area, she knew something was wrong. Right away she snapped a few photos and used Twitter to send them to the National Zoo. Unbeknownst to her, Rusty had escaped his compound and was the subject of a frantic search. Before she knew it, she was catapulted into stardom, starring in a segment of E! Entertainment Television and being featured in national newspapers. And, to everyone’s relief, Rusty was safely returned home.

The past year has been filled with tweet-worthy moments – wins, losses, cheers and tears. As 2014 unfolds, see if you can spot the big stories. Who knows, you might find them featured in next year’s installment of The Year on Twitter.

What big events were you surprised to find missing on Twitter’s video?

About the Author: Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger. She has written on a plethora of topics including social media marketing, blogging, and You can follow her at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.

Fitting Social Media Strategies Into Your Busy Schedule


Life can be hectic. Instead of scrambling and wondering how you can possibly implement your social media strategy, why not work to take advantage of the inopportune times? You’ll be amazed at how productive you feel when you squeeze something important into a small window of time.

Here are five suggestions for implementing your social strategy, when the window seems small:

Schedule Social Posts for When You’ll be Driving

By 2020 it’s estimated that the average American will spend 41 hours per week in traffic, according to InterCall’s What’s A Traffic Jam Worth infographic. That’s the equivalent of a normal work week. If you’re looking to maintain a level of production in these off hours, try scheduling posts and tweets for when you’ll be in the car. Remember, experts recommend that your avoid using your smart phone while you drive.

Use Video Conferencing Instead of Travel

If you don’t need to be stuck traveling, then don’t. When you eliminate unnecessary trips, you create a window for productivity that didn’t otherwise exist. You can always video conference from the office, and then use your down time around the meeting to utilize your social media strategy.

Take Care of Business Before You’re on the Plane

Another classic inopportune time is while on the plane. It can be really inconvenient not having access to your electronic devices. Remember, airports are all about the wait. Arrive a little early if you can. Use the downtime to interact with your audience. And now, many airlines offer in-flight Internet access, allowing you to stay connected at all times.

Schedule First Thing in the Morning

Are you wall to wall with meetings on certain days? Do you have significant projects that are all-consuming and require vast amounts of attention?  As a business owner, being busy usually means business is doing well. Remember that properly implementing your social campaign is likely to only take a few minutes. Go ahead and spend the first ten minutes of your morning scheduling your posts or tweets. Once you’re done, you can return to the business at hand.

Take Work Breaks

When you sit at a desk all day long, working on the same intensive project, it can become difficult to concentrate for long periods of time. Every half hour to hour, it may be beneficial to take a short break. In that break, you can post on your social platforms or engage with your audience.

Matthew Brennan_HeadshotAbout the author: Matthew Brennan is a marketing writer based in the Chicago area. He regularly writes about content marketing, blogging and engaging with audiences. He has been published on ProBlogger, Soshable and Business2Community. Connect with Matthew on his website, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+.



Be Consistent On Social Media

When your company or brand first takes the plunge into social media, it can seem like a big blank canvas. What is your purpose for using websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+? What do you want to achieve?shutterstock_136434854

Update Your Expectations

You’re probably looking for more business or traffic, but it’s important to keep in mind that those both do not happen overnight. However, when you finally do get that first wave of exposure from people that are interested in your company or brand, it can become quite addictive to try and broaden your audience.

In order to grow your audience, you have to expose yourself at the right time and to the right people. Social advertising is so much different than other forms of online advertising, which is something you need to remember when you choose the content you post socially. If you post the wrong thing, it could have damaging effects.

I know this is an old story, but let’s call upon the lesson learned in the tale of the tortoise and the hare. Many businesses want a social media campaign that races off right away, like the hare. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best way. It’s definitely more beneficial to be the tortoise, reaching a larger range of people over a sustained time scale.

Timing is Everything


Identifying the best times to post your content and scheduling accordingly is a great way to stay consistent and effective. Below are the best times to publish social media content:

  • Facebook – From 10 am to 4 pm on Monday through Thursday
  • LinkedIn – From 7 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 6 pm (before and after business hours)
  • Twitter – From 1 pm to 3 pm on Monday through Thursday
  • Google+ – From 9am to 11am any day

You want to make sure you have a time for your audience to check back regularly and see fresh content. You also want to ensure that they will want to share it, so make it unique,  relevant and consistent.

A great tool for scheduling is Hootsuite. You will need to adopt a tactic to suit your audience, so keep an eye on your traffic to determine when they visit the least/most.

Social media marketing is tricky –  it can be one of the easiest things you can do to improve your brand’s presence, but can also be the easiest thing to do incorrectly.

headshot-1About the Author: As a writer of all things digital, from web design to social media, Thomas has a passion for being online. A recent graduate of Communications, his aim is to help other businesses grow their online presence and audience.

7 Tips to Marketing Your Business Online and Offline

As a small business owner just starting out, how do you go about getting your name out there? This is a problem that many young companies face, but luckily in this day and age there are many things you can do to make your business visible to your target customer group. From local marketing to spreading your online presence, here are just some tips on how to get started:


It’s very important for a company to have a strong presence both physically and online. With online, the first thing you need to do is create a well-designed website that will make customers want to return again and again. Once you have this, you need to work on optimizing your search engine visibility through search engine optimization (SEO). A well-optimized website or blog will help people to find your site easily and result in brand familiarization.

Social Networking

Social networking has revolutionized the way business is conducted online. With Facebook and Twitter, it can be as simple as promoting an insightful blog post, quirky tweet or special offer that people will want to share. You could even put together a YouTube video to appeal to your client base and share on your social networking sites. From just one action, you can increase the awareness of your company a hundredfold.

shutterstock_132896552Email Marketing

You may be wary of employing this strategy, given the feelings most people have about junk email. However, the key to successful email marketing is to use it selectively. Send out messages only to relevant people and include something that will be useful to them, such as special offers or promotions. People generally only get annoyed with marketing-related emails when they are describing products or services that are of no interest to them whatsoever. A great way to establish a database of engaged followers is to have an area on your website that allows people to sign up for regular newsletters and promotions.

Share Your News

Whether you have a new product to launch, have hired a new influential team member, won an award or are hosting an event, you should write press releases to share your news. This reminds people that you are still a key player in the industry, and it’s a great opportunity to bring traffic to your business, website and social networking profiles.

Attend Exhibitions

The importance of networking when you are trying to get your company’s name out there cannot be stressed enough. One of the easiest ways to meet potential clients on a one-to-one level is to attend industry expositions. These are the perfect opportunity to create a strong impression and set up meetings, as well as showcase your best products.

Before you attend, make sure that you have the right marketing materials for each event. These could include business cards, brochures or pop-up stands with your company logo and some strong graphics.

Sponsor Community Projects

shutterstock_129614771Find out about local community or charitable causes, and offer your company’s assistance. This could be in the form of sponsorship or by offering your products or services for free. In addition to the satisfied feeling you’ll have for doing your part, your link with these projects could help you build a positive reputation and trust within your local client base.

Write Articles

If you want to get your company’s name out there and build a reputation as a thought leader in your sector, write some informative articles and post them on your website or relevant blogging sites. Rather than posting constantly, it’s best to write only when you have a topic that is insightful and helpful to your followers. You can also post links to these on your social networking profiles to create more traffic surrounding your article and company.

About the Author: Chris Jenkinson is a UK-based marketing consultant writing for Pop Up Stands UK.


Promote Your Business & Entice New Customers With Google Offers

shutterstock_79453732Business owners looking to reach new customers, support existing ones and promote their business should consider Google Offers, an online tool that can increase your website’s visibility and set you apart from your competitors. Google Offers helps you promote discounts on your products and services in a similar way that Groupon and Living Social do.

How Google Offers Works

You sign up with Google Offers to promote your online storefront, and your customers get valuable offers and discounts from Your customers click your storefront ad using Google’s Get Offer and View Offer buttons, which enable them to secure discounts for immediate or future purchases, directly from their desktop or mobile device. Customers can also subscribe to daily offers via email.

Google Offers, Desktop or Mobile

Customers can download the Google Offers app to their desktop or mobile device, and the app will notify your customers of valuable deals on your products and services. Here’s a clip that demonstrates how customers use the app:

There are numerous benefits to mobile and desktop applications that support business marketing — offers a varied list of business sectors in which marketing-based apps can promote businesses and offer competitive tools. These business sectors range from retail and wholesale companies to automotive, healthcare, personal care services and more.

Google Offers as a Marketing Strategy

By integrating Google Offers into your business’ marketing plan, you’re accessing an enhanced marketing tool that directs customers to your website. Your customers enjoy easy credit/debit card payment options, and you can increase customer loyalty with dedicated communication and regular discounts on your products and services. Google Offers helps you increase your visibility and target specific customers in a competitive market, and you’re supporting customer demands for service-based business, while competing in a service-based infrastructure.

shutterstock_114439639Get Started

For an introduction to Google Offers, visit the Google Offers for Business page and watch the short video. From there, select the Get Started button to request a PIN for your business listing and create an offer (it may take a few weeks to receive a PIN).

Your customers can visit Google Offers and other Google sites to find your deals. Your customer merely clicks your offer and then saves it. They then have the option of printing a voucher or loading the deal to a mobile device. A button is available so the customer can subscribe to daily emails for future offers for your products and services. It’s that simple!

About the Author: Jules Carlson is a mom and business consultant from the West Coast who loves to Rollerblade with her dogs.

Planning and Executing Small Business Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is one of the latest and most effective Internet marketing methods used by small businesses. According to a survey conducted by Mediabistro, 73% of small businesses are using social media for marketing.

If you are planning to start social media marketing, this post will guide you on how to start, plan and execute a social media marketing campaign for your small business.

Plan Well Before You Start

There are around 200 social media websites available with 58 million active users every day. Choose the platform that is best suitable for your business. Research the platforms your competitors are using and determine which ones have a high concentration of your target customers.

Facebook and Twitter are the best choices for B2C businesses. According to The Social Skinny, 77% of B2C businesses have acquired customers on Facebook.

However, according to Hubspot, LinkedIn and Twitter are the best choices for a B2B business, citing that 65% of leads come through LinkedIn alone.

Execute Properly

It is very important to execute social media marketing effectively in order to leverage the benefits of social media to the fullest.

Make a point to always be active and maintain a consistent presence on your social media websites. Allocate time and try to follow a schedule. If you’re short on time, hire an expert to manage your business profile. According to Manta, 18% of small businesses are taking third party help to manage their social media marketing.

It’s also important to share quality content and educate customers and visitors about your products and services. Additionally, it is crucial to put an emphasis on keeping followers engaged. You can do so by asking questions, conducting relevant polls, hosting giveaways, and offering deals, discounts and vouchers.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Social media marketing may not give immediate results, so don’t expect results the moment you start.
  • Social media is a two-way communication vehicle. Rather than promoting yourself, engage the customers and interact with them.
  • Videos and real images of your business or products/services attracts customers and helps them visually familiarize themselves with your company.

The key to a successful social media campaign is to be consistent. Regardless of the social media platform you are using, make sure that you are regularly sharing something that is useful to your target audiences.

About the Author: Nancy R. Jones is a writer and blogger for Marvist Consulting LLC, which offers small business Internet marketing services. Since its establishment in 2005, Marvist’s SEO services have earned the goodwill of clients, with its uncompromising commitment to business values and delivery of expert services.

Strategic SEO for Businesses [INFOGRAPHIC]

With the seemingly endless and continual parade of algorithm updates being churned out by search engine juggernaut Google, it is more important than ever before to make sure your search engine optimization (SEO) strategies and techniques are as finely tuned as possible. Your company’s online presence can be propelled to new heights or swept under the virtual rug based on how well your SEO is performing. Whether you are intimately familiar with SEO tactics or you only have a basic understanding of the general concept, there are a few things you need to make sure to include in your website’s optimization methods.

There are five critical aspects of SEO that you will want to incorporate within your website. These aspects are vital to tailoring your site to become and remain positioned to achieve successful rankings, as well as establish longevity in the virtual world.

Obtaining Quality Links

The days of getting as many links as possible are long gone, and the emphasis in linking is now on getting quality links. The best links come from reputable and authoritative sites that provide information or products and services that are either in the same industry as your company or would enhance your own offerings when paired together. You can also obtain quality links by establishing yourself as an expert in your niche, posting valuable content in blogs and having that content shared and linked back to.

Google Authorship

When you provide content, claim it. By asserting your authorship over content, you can obtain more Google+ attribution and significantly impact your page ranking in a positive way. You can also create a Google+ profile for each author under your purview or establish one primary profile for all authors. Determining authorship over content helps in establishing yourself as an expert or authority regarding industry-related or niche-specific matters.

Establish a Canonical URL

A canonical URL is a primary landing page or website location that takes precedence with a search engine over other pages when very similar or identical content can be reached through multiple URLs. For example, if your landing page can be reached through several different URLs based on different keyword combinations in the page title, but you want the search engine to recognize and rank only one of those pages, the URL you want attention paid to is your “canonical” URL. To set a canonical URL, you need to add the appropriate HTML code into the other webpages so the search engine crawlers will evaluate and rank the pages correctly.

Microdata & Schema

By using the HTML tags strategically in your page’s design, you can more accurately provide information to search engine crawlers regarding what your website is offering, promoting or providing. This type of information can then result in your site being delivered to searchers in a more specific way, as well as provide you with better ranking placement through more accurate evaluation of your site by the search engine.

Responsive Design

Responsive design is a means of modifying the code for your webpages so they display differently (and correctly) from device to device. This is primarily targeted at the use of mobile devices to access the Internet, and can be achieved with manipulations of your webpage’s HTML. Whether your site visitors are accessing your webpages via desktop computer, iPad or a variety of smartphone models, your website will still display properly on screens of any size and resolution.

When making sure these five components are included in your SEO strategy, you are taking steps to enhance the visibility of your website through improved rankings with search engines. These five simple strategies are easy to implement and will help leverage your online presence in a more positive way.

About the Author: Monique Torres is a senior writer for Act-On Software with nearly 20 years’ experience in all things (okay, a LOT of things) direct marketing, particularly in the technology industry. Her passion and focus are B2B communication and the dynamic multi-channel evolution.

Know the Facts: Photo Sharing and Security

Photo sharing services like Instagram and Flickr, as well as social sites like Facebook and Twitter, are very popular among teenagers. Over 80% of kids in middle and high school have a mobile phone (a majority of those are smartphones with Internet access and apps available to them like Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook and FaceTime), so it is becoming very important to teach kids how to be good “Digital Citizens.”

However, many parents might not even realize their kids have these accounts, let alone what kind of pictures they are sharing. We have all learned that whatever you post online is permanent, with it being nearly impossible to completely erase any offending posts or images from the Internet. Once photos are online, even if you have disabled the download feature on sites like Flickr, users can still screenshot images. What will they do with these seemingly innocent images?

Additionally, there are many heartbreaking stories of teenagers’ lives being ruined by sexting. What many kids don’t realize is that, even though they are sending a picture to someone they think they can trust, they are assuming it will stay between the two of them. Unfortunately, it is incredibly easy to forward the picture to many people at once, making this a risky choice. Sexting is a real and scary issue that many kids don’t fully understand.

How can you protect yourself and your kids’ photos online?

  1. Frequently check the privacy settings on photo sharing sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to make sure only your friends, or even just a close group of family and friends, can see the images. Don’t post unflattering or potentially embarrassing photos of your friends or kids online, and ask other family and friends to take down any inappropriate images of yourself and your kids.
  2. Sexting has become a big problem with kids. It’s considered a federal offense to have or post nude or semi-nude photos of children under 18 anywhere, even if it’s an underage person making the post (you technically own the mobile device or computer, so you will be at fault). Talk to your kids about the responsibility that comes with owning a mobile device with a camera installed, and about immediately deleting inappropriate photos received from other people.
  3. GPS technology on Facebook, Instagram and other social networks can include the location of a picture, which can put kids in danger. Be sure to disable those features and educate your kids about the risks of “checking in” themselves or other people on social media sites.
  4. Adding a popular hashtag “#” to a photo post makes the image viewable by anyone viewing the hashtag. Most users don’t realize this, so make sure you inform your teens of the risks.
  5. Managing multiple sites and changing privacy settings can be difficult. But there are programs and Internet security services that can help you keep yourself and your kids protected online. For example, Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security provides a privacy scanner that identifies privacy settings that may leave your personal information publicly available and vulnerable to identity theft.

About the Author: Shannon McCarty-Caplan is a Consumer Security Advocate at Trend Micro. Shannon has over a dozen years of experience helping consumers and businesses find the security solutions they need to protect their families, privacy and critical data. On most days, you can find Shannon tweeting or blogging about security issues impacting women and families or geeking out on the latest new tech toys. Shannon resides in Chicago and spends her free time volunteering for two non-profit organizations, studying foreign languages and traveling with her husband.