Let’s Get Live With Live Streaming Video Platforms

Posted on November 21st, 2012 by admin Categories communication

Have you ever had an in-store event and wish your customers in another location could have participated too? Now such an event is possible with streaming platforms that let your event go live with a webcam and a internet connection. Here we introduce to the two biggest platforms.

I Stream, UStream
According to their website, USteam is the fastest growing and largest live streaming platform. One of their claims to fame is President Obama used their platform during his 2008 campaign. Set up you custom channel and use UStream on everything from your smartphone to a webcam to encoders.




UStream four plans for customers to choose from. The first plan is their free service which is ad supported. The next three plans are paid plans based on the amount of video storage you would like and the number of ad free video you want. Don’t know how many viewer hours you need? UStream has a handy calculator that helps find your best plan.


And You’re Livestream


Livestream is similar to Ustream in that you can use anything from your smartphone to a webcam to encoders to live stream your video. Livestream differs because they also provide
live Blogging tools, so you can submit text, photos and video. Start chats with your viewers and easily be able to moderate the conversation. Once you sign up, you are immediately given a live event page on the LiveStream website. Embed it into your website, Facebook, and Twitter.





Worried about your on-the-go users? The live event page is mobile ready so it can go wherever it needs to. Livestream has three kinds of plans, which are all ad free. The first is free and includes a one month archive. The basic plan has an unlimited event archive and viewers are not required to login. The premium plan includes live embedding along with an unlimited event archive and other features.


Have you used a live streaming platform before? We’d love to hear about! Please tells us in a comment below about your live streaming experience.

Hello Mobile

Posted on October 10th, 2012 by admin Categories Campaigns

It seems like everyone and their mom has a smartphone or tablet these days. According to a Pew, 55% of people who own cell phones use their phone to go online. With this increase in the number of mobile internet users, the need for mobile websites also has jumped. Here are some ways to take your website into the mobile frontier.


For those of us who aren’t tech savvy, Samantha Murphy, a tech reporter for Mashable, suggests using bMobilized. bMobilized is a do-it-yourself tool that converts your current website to a mobile version for just $5 a month. Simply type in your domain, click “Mobilize” and ta-da mobile site!





Don’t want to pay the monthly upkeep? Tech Republic’s David Gitonga suggests adding plug-ins to your current desktop site. Gitonga also suggests looking at Dudamobile, a free website that creates your mobile site in just one click. Dudamobile also automatically syncs your mobile site to your desktop site.


We hope the sites will help you go mobile! If you’ve been able to convert your website to mobile, let us know what tools you used!

Summer 2012 Internship: Digital Marketing Intern

Posted on May 9th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Interns

 The REFUGE Group, a rapidly growing integrated marketing strategies firm, is looking for a Houston resident who is proficient in and an active user of digital and interactive media.  The ideal candidate will be creative, self-motivated, have excellent written and oral communication skills, and will possess a positive and professional approach when working with a variety of people.


To perform well in this internship you need to enjoy using and have working knowledge of social and news bookmarking sites as well as understand the power of a social media presence for brands and products.  Students working toward a college degree in marketing, advertising, communications, public relations, or journalism are preferred.       
Job Description:

 ● Learn how to create and maintain an effective marketing campaign across all interactive media including client websites, Google, Facebook,  Twitter, YouTube and blogs

 ● Learn the nuances of client management from sitting in on meetings to hands on account administration experience 

See the principles of marketing in action for both interactive and traditional marketing

Contribute to our clients’ and our own social networking initiatives, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube updates and maintenance.

Explore new digital communication mediums, including blogging, podcasting, mobile applications, etc.

Proactively create and maintain online conversation. 

Ensure all technical aspects of the websites are functioning correctly and offer solutions as they arise

Track, analyze, and report the results of marketing campaigns

For the right candidate, there is an excellent opportunity to grow with the company.  This is an unpaid internship (application for school credit encouraged) for a minimum 15-20 hours per week at an office in the Washington Corridor/Memorial Park area.  Please provide resume and cover letter citing examples of social media usage to acormierhill@refugemarketing.com. If you would like additional information, please feel free to email or call Alexzandria Cormier-Hill at (713) 528-0200 x 103.

Are QR Codes a Thing of the Past?

Posted on March 14th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Branding

Not yet. There’s a lot more life left in these Quick Response images than we choose to give them credit for. Just when we thought that these square, geometric data-boxes with confusing uses were beginning to phase out, small business owners began adopting them. And to think they began as a car-tracking device.
QR code uses are definitely expanding. Lately, restaurants have been adopting them to lead customers directly to menus and online ordering pages. In the case of Manny Rai, Lakewood business owner, QR Codes outside his Wine & Beer business are helping him attract business from curious passersby’s. 
They’re clearly still a novelty in the small business arena, largely because small business owners still need to catch up to the trending technologies and understand how they’re going fit the latest fad into their own big picture. Fair enough.
Scan or Click ;)
Click or Scan! Either way, you’re in for a pleasant surprise!
But with greater adoption comes greater responsibility. And a need for better design. Without a doubt, QR Code designs could use a design overhaul and anything to add more aesthetic appeal would be an improvement, especially rounder edges. It’s finally time to soften the look of the semi-ubiquitous QR Code.
Black and White: Classic or Passé?
In the case of QR Codes, we’re voting for passé. Black and white geometry on a 2-dimensional surface doesn’t extend its appeal too much further beyond op art from the seventies. If you’re trying to draw an audience in, trying swapping out the black and white default for a white background with multiple colors or a color gradient. As long as the foreground is has a dark enough contrast from the white, there should be no trouble with scanning it.
Creativity is KEY. This QR Code just might take the cake!
Which bring us to the next factor to consider. Test your QR Code before releasing it to the market. If it doesn’t organically intrigue people or draw them in, or if it leads to an irrelevant web page, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. 
How have you used QR Codes to launch your campaigns or raise awareness for your organization? Let us know in the comments below!


Customer Service in a Web 2.0 World

Posted on March 8th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Customer Service

With marketing and social media gurus advocating a 24-hour turnaround time for customer service requests – and some organizations following this advice – keeping up can very quickly go into overdrive. Especially since not every small business has the resources to dedicate to monitoring their social media channels around the clock.


It’s a harried world and burnout is always looming with our constant connections. However, timely and effective management of service requests aren’t as out of reach as we might think. We’d like to offer a few suggestions to help you get started. 
1. Get Acquainted Get to know who your customers are, what channels they frequent, how much time they spend there and exactly what they’re saying about you. Your demographic will most certainly be comprised of a mix of people who engage and interact and those who silently follow just to stay updated. Once you know where they are, tailor your customer service structure to pay more attention to meet the voices where they are.
2. Be Discerning When people come calling online, it’s not necessary to drop everything to respond right away. Twitter followers, especially, seem to expect very quick responses to their queries (and complaints). It’s an easy trap to fall into, but it’s important to take a moment to understand the level of urgency with each request. If the request can wait a while, then it’s perfectly okay to let it simmer. 
3. Stay “Traditional” and flexible. Because social media channels are more economical and elicit a much faster response and metrics, there’s no reason for traditional media outlets to be ignored or left by the wayside.  You can expend a lot of effort in humanizing your presence online, but very little replaces actual human contact and a live person handling customer service interaction.