Happy New Year from Out-Smarts

2011 has been an amazing year for Out-Smarts, and 2012 is shaping up to be even better. We’d like to thank our friends, clients and business partners for all their support and help this past year. It sounds cliché, but we really couldn’t have done it without you!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our blog posts this past year, oh faithful reader. Stay tuned in 2012 as we help you navigate the never-ending changes and happenings in social media and internet marketing.

Now get out there and celebrate, it’s New Year’s Eve!

Happy Holidays from Out-Smarts

Santa continues to make great use of social media this year, what a modern man!

As usual, NORAD is doing a great job of tracking Santa’s efforts as he does his last minute preparations for the big day. You can follow NORAD on their website,  Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

If you’re doing some last minute shopping but still want to track Santa’s progress, there’s an app for that. Organize your holiday shopping list and follow Santa with the Santa Claus Tracker, or use the Santa Tracker 2011 to track Santa, read  his blogs, text him, or show your kids if they’re on the nice list. You can even track Santa’s progress through NORAD using Google Maps.

Want to read about the history of Santa? Check out his Wikipedia page.

The good news is, Santa seems to have tightened up his security since last year’s Wikileaks fiasco when his naughty list went public.

If you’re not sure your letter to Santa made it to the North pole, post it to Santa’s wall on his Facebook page and read other people’s wish lists.

Happy holidays to everyone that followed us this year. Now go eat, drink and be merry these next few days, we’re going to be doing the same!

Benefits of YouTube for Business

YouTube is not to be ignored; it’s now the second largest search engine after Google. It’s easy to see why YouTube has been so successful, think about it – many people would rather learn about something by seeing it rather than by reading about it. Watching a video seems like infinitely less work than reading an article. Beware though, people have short attention spans. Your videos should be maximum 3 minutes long or risk losing viewers halfway through the video. Here’s why you should get over your fear of the camera (or enlist an employee):



Like most social media tools, creating a YouTube channel is free. All you need is a gmail account and you can create a channel and start uploading videos.



If you feel Google Adwords and Facebook Ads are getting too expensive for your budget, or you’d like to broaden your advertising reach, YouTube offers paid advertising and is generally less expensive than both Google and Facebook. With YouTube, there’s two types of advertising, 1. Within YouTube search, you can bid on the keywords you feel users would enter into the search bar to find your video. When users search these keywords, a thumbnail and description of your video appears in the results. 2. Promoted Videos run on the right hand side of a YouTube page (similar to paid advertising with Google), and can be set up through Google Adwords.



Google owns YouTube, they’re bound to put an emphasis on video in the organic search results if an applicable video is available online. Try a search yourself, there’s a good chance you’ll find relevant videos in your results. To take full advantage of the SEO benefits of video, remember to tag your videos with relevant keywords and terms you think people would use to find your video online.



Make a video funny or creative enough to catch the eye of the online world (no pressure!), and it could go viral; resulting in your video being seen by thousands of people. The exposure for your brand is priceless.


Demonstrate Expertise

Informational videos about your industry, or videos showcasing why you offer your customers a superior product, are a great way to showcase your knowledge online. Giving away great tips online gives potential clients a teaser of how good you are at what you do, and can translate into them contacting you for more information.


Humanize Your Business

The stuffy, corporate business model is out. People want to get to know the people behind a brand, and a great way to do that is through video. If you’re camera shy, find someone within your company that isn’t. Or, if you’re a one person show, you can post a powerpoint or slideshow video and narrate it as you go.  And, don’t be afraid to show off your personality!

Measure your effectiveness

One of the challenges of marketing offline is the difficulty in measuring the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns.  If you put up a billboard downtown, it’s difficult to tell how many customers you acquired because of it. With YouTube, you have access to Insight reporting which quantifies views, demographics, popularity, and the community surrounding your YouTube presence.


Website traffic

The end goal of social media is driving traffic back to your website and to convert fans of your online content into customers and clients. When you’re active on YouTube and posting videos, commenting and rating others’ videos, sharing, etc, you generate interest in your channel. If you’ve included links to your website in your channel and the description sections of your videos, you can drive traffic to your website and increase your chances of making a sale.


Need help setting up a YouTube Channel for your business? We’re great at it! Contact us for more information.


QR Codes Are Every Where But Do They Work?

QR codes (or Quick Response codes), those little black and white squares that look like crosswords, are appearing everywhere: in magazine ads, on product labels, on bus stops, you name it. If you scan them using your smart phone you are taken to a related webpage (without having to type in the URL). I blogged about them a year or so ago and have watched with interest as they proliferate.  Marketers love them but are the really resonating with their intended audience?  I decided to find out.

According to a recent Comscore report, 14 million Americans scanned a QR code using their mobile device in the month of June.  So people are using them but it is interesting to note that the main demographics were males aged 18-34 in the high income bracket – so be cautious in using these if your target markets differ from these.  Another recent report in this CNN article in the US surveyed students and only 2 out of 10 even knew what a QR code is.

QR codes are a great marketing tool in theory but using them is far from a seamless experience.  In the last week I scanned several QR codes and have been frustrated by the lack of compatibility between the QR scanner on my phone resulting in the appearance of error messages rather than taking me to the enticing, targeted websites I expected to see.  Of the 10 or so codes that I scanned only one worked seamlessly to launch the intended web site – the rest I gave up waiting on and couldn’t be bothered to download another barcode app that would work.

Here’s an example: I ate out recently and saw this QR code being used in at the MAC Shack in Kerrisdale so in my quest for QR knowledge, I decided to scan it to find out what my prize would be.  Sadly I never found out because the app failed to launch properly, I ended up frustrated, annoyed and hungry for more.  It didn’t put me off my mac cheese thankfully (nothing could) but it did give me some food for thought.

In this case, I only wasted a few minutes tinkering around trying to get it to work but for the marketer who devised this campaign, their time in putting this together was rendered useless (I’m assuming that I wasn’t the only one that tried to scan it in vain). There are far better ways to build your audience (tried and tested ways) that work.   Not only that but from a marketer’s perspective when your audience is expecting something and they don’t get it (or it fails to work), what does that say about your organisation.  It’s all about the optics.  If you can’t get it right then why bother wasting your audience’s time.

Sources in the telecom industry tell me that the next generation of phones will be able to scan these automatically so the problem of unstandardized apps may go away but in the meantime, marketers should give close consideration to their audience and to making sure that their QR codes work seamlessly with as many of the readers as possible.  Otherwise, it might be better to consider more tried and tested methods to grow your community.  Don’t get me wrong, the potential for QR Codes is huge and one day they will be a marketing tool that you can’t ignore but for now not so much.