What Value Do Brands Add To Social Media?

In 2014, we were talking about the necessity of brands being on social media. “We need to be part of the conversation online! We need a social voice!” were sentences that I’m sure were bandying their way around a number of executive boardrooms.

In 2015, brands realised that in order to appeal to their (human) consumers, they needed to come across as human themselves. We moved away from copy-and-paste responses and added a personal touch across communication on social media, signing off with names or initials to show that there are people behind the screens.

Now, however, it’s 2017 and we’re seeing brands mourning when celebrities die. They show solidarity to movements. They stake a political claim.

For some brands, this makes sense. For others the link is more tenuous. For the most, it’s non-existent (see above).

But in all cases, we need to be asking — what value does this add for my followers?

Your followers are your consumers, and they are savvy. They know you’re in the social media realm to market to them. They know that what you are posting is always, even if not overtly, an advertisement. You may not be writing “buy this now!” but what you’re asking your consumer to do is spend some of their attention span thinking about you.

So why waste that opportunity by posting something like this?

(Put into context — Dorothy Perkins tweeted that the day after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union 52% — 48%, so there was a high chance the majority of their consumers were not, in fact, feeling it that Friday…)

Consumers are flooded with online advertisements. It’s estimated your average consumer views between 500 and 5,000 advertisements in a single day (although the exact number remains fiercely debated).

With organic social, you may get one opportunity to make an impression on an existing or prospective customer with what you post online. You have less than 8 seconds to stop their thumb scrolling past you and onto the next brand.

So make the most of that time.

The best brands and individuals on social media are the ones that add value to their followers. They enrich the user’s experience of the platform by adding insight and information that your reader otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.

A great example of this is news outlets on Twitter, a platform where they perform exceptionally well. When a story breaks, live updates are posted on Twitter not just by the reporters, but by people who are there. It boils down to value — news companies bring something valuable to the party.

So, how can you ensure that you’re adding value to your consumer with what you post on social media?

Each time you go to post, ask yourself three questions:

1. What’s the purpose of this post?

2. Who cares about this post?

3. Why will they care?

Let’s take the Dorothy Perkins example used earlier.

What’s the purpose of this post?

I would assume this was a scheduled post, intended to piggy back on the almost-guaranteed trend of #FridayFeeling.

But it was a white noise post — words for words’ sake. Often disguised as a ‘brand awareness’ post, or a ‘presence’ post, the white noise posts are pointless both for the person writing it and the person reading it. There are no links, no calls to action, nothing to make me want to engage with the post. The purpose, it seems, was to fill an empty schedule slot.

Which makes it difficult to answer Question 2…

Who cares about this post?

At the time, this tweet actually got some attention — mainly because of its catastrophic timing. But let’s assume it was posted when it was originally intended, some benign Friday. Who cares about it? Who sees it as they are scrolling and pauses for this type of post?

Or perhaps more pertinently, who wants a clothing brand asking them how they feel? (Answers on a postcard please…)

Which means it’s impossible for us to answer Question 3…

Why will they care

— because they most probably won’t.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all text-only posts are white noise, or a waste of time. You can use text-only post to build on your brand’s persona to great effect. But the posts must have a purpose and therefore value for your consumer — even if that value is just “it will make them laugh”.

As someone who manages social media content, I have certainly been guilty of the ‘low value’ post. Or perhaps even the ‘no value’ post.

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your own brand that you forget that whilst you may think this cake gif is brilliant for #NationalCinnamonBunDay, your followers don’t care. They’re just wondering what on earth a comedian is doing tweeting about pastries.

So look at your social media pages and have a think. Be your own analyst, get 50 weeks deep in your own content and ask yourself ‘what value is this bringing my followers? Who cares about this content? Why do they care?’

And make social media a more enriching place to be.

A shorter version of this post originally appeared on Medium.com
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How To Write A Killer Guest Post Pitch

If you read our previous blog, you’ll know that guest posting is the quickest and easiest way to drive new traffic through to your blog/website.

New traffic = more subscribers = more fans = more money.

(At least that’s what most marketing manuals will tell you.)

But what they don’t tell you is how to write a great pitch for a guest post.

Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’ve written something that spells out the meaning of life. If you can’t sell it, no one will read here.

So here’s our step by step guide to getting your guest post secured:

1. Subscribe to their blog

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Think about it. If you had someone telling you how awesome your blog was, and then you realise they don’t even subscribe, you’ll be pretty peeved.

So once you’ve selected your list of targets, go through and subscribe to them all. You want them to know you’re serious – and invested – in the success of their blog. That’s going to sound a whole lot more convincing coming from someone that actually follows it.

2. Make it personal

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Nine times out of ten, someone will have their name somewhere on their website. Use it. Addressing the email personally will mean it’s much more likely to get opened, if not read. “Hey, Tanya” is so much better than “Hey there” or (even worse) “To Whom It May Concern.”

Never start a pitch email with that, because whoever is reading it will automatically decide it probably doesn’t concern them.

3. Show them how good you are

Include some links in your pitch that are the best possible examples of your tone and writing style. You want to wow them with the quality content you’re creating, so send them your 2 or 3 best pieces of work.

If you’re lucky enough to have featured elsewhere already or have been interviewed, include one of these as a third link underneath your own work.

4. Don’t go into too much detail

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They will want two things. One of these things is a title, and the other is a reason why their readers are going to open that blog in the first place. This does not mean you have to send them the blog in its entirety.

What you should do is include a little 2-3 sentence outline so they know where the blog post is heading, like this:

How To Blog: A post focusing on the common pitfalls most bloggers make and how to avoid them. Your readers will walk away knowing how to write killer blog posts that bring in more traffic and convert that into paying customers.

I mean, sounds like a blog you want to read, right?

Right. That’s exactly what they want.

5. Track the emails you send

Gmail has some great extensions that you can download that track whether or not your email has been opened. Streak is awesome because it tells you when your email was viewed and when it was opened. It also keeps tabs on how often someone visits the conversation so you can see exactly what’s happening once you’ve sent your pitch into cyberspace.

6. Set up a chase system

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Now that you’ve sent your emails, you don’t just want to sit there and wait.

No.

Like a flower, you need to tend to your precious pitches by watering them every now and then. Or, at the very least, following up with an email a week later.

People are busy, so you don’t want to harass them, but a simple chase email 7 days later is more than acceptable.

If your chase email doesn’t get a reply, you can cut that time in half and email again 3 or 4 days later.

So here’s what your chase schedule should look like:

  • 7 days – send initial chase email if no open
  • Send another chase 4 days after first chase
  • Send a final chase 7 days after previous chase
  • Send new email 14 days after last email

7. Follow up

You don’t want to nag them. After all, you’re asking for a favour, essentially, even if you’re creating awesome content for them.

So you need to keep your follow up emails short, sweet and to the point.

Make it easy for them to come back to you with a one word answer, a simple yay or nay reaction. Because we all have way too many emails and never enough time:

Hey Tanya,

Appreciate you must be super busy, just wanted to see if you had a quick yes/no based on my previous email?

I can get started on it straight away and wouldn’t need anything from your side at this point – other than the OK!

Thanks so much, hopefully catch up soon.

8. Follow through

You’ve promised them the world – or at least a great blog post – so make sure you follow up and keep your word. Deliver on time, deliver with photos and deliver to whatever specifications they ask for (Google Doc, HTML or otherwise.)

Don’t fall at the last hurdle!

Have you got any tips you think we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!

Why You Need To Be Guest Posting

So you’ve got a blog. Or perhaps even a whole website. And you’re using it to build your brand, build your audience and try and get your fans engaged.

But who’s reading your blog? Who’s looking at your website?

If you get a lot of repeat visitors, but not a lot of organic, new traffic, chances are you need to cast your net out a bit wider.

So now the big money question: How do I get new people to come and visit my blog?

The answer is what is always is: good quality content.

But if your blog is already full of lots of great, valuable content and it’s still not attracting the amount of new traffic you want, then you need to start thinking outside of the box.

Or, thinking inside another very exact box: Guest Posting.

What is Guest Posting?

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Guest posting is when you give someone else some of your content to host on their blog. That’s right. You write a killer post that’s going to get tonnes of engagement and then you give it to someone else.

Why would you do this?

Because they then send your awesome blog out to all of their hard-earned subscribers and BAM. You’ve suddenly got a whole new pool of readers for your content.

Add into this that they’ll backlink to your website (which literally just means they will link back to you) meaning you’ll have a new funnel of traffic coming straight through to your blog.

This is especially good if their website has a higher domain authority to yours. A domain authority is basically a measure of how awesome Google thinks your site it. It’s based on how old your website is, how popular it is and how big it is. You can use a tool like Moz to figure out what you DA is, and what the DA of your targets are. A rule of thumb is this: always seek out websites with a higher DA than yours for guest posts.

How Do I Start Guest Posting?

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Chances are, you already write some content. So you already know how to write witty, engaging blogs that people like to read. Which is great, because this is half the battle.

Now you need to start this process:

1. Seek out potential guest post opportunities

Think about what your fans might search for, or wider interests your fans might have. After all, you’re trying to appeal to a wider audience.  Let’s say, for example, that you talk a lot about marketing, but you’re also a keen traveler. So you could look up traveling blogs as well as marketing blogs, and start making a list of some of the biggest ones.

2. Make a thorough list

You’re going to want to do a few guest posts, ideally, so it’s good to keep a list. My list looks something like this:

Site Name Domain Authority Amount of Traffic Summary Blog Post Idea Blog Post Pitch
Best Blog Ever 31 125k They blog about blogging How To Write Great Blogs Hey (Name),

Etc.

You can use a tool called Moz to find out what the Domain Authority of a website is. You can also use a website called SimilarWeb to figure out how much traffic it gets.

Then you want to write yourself a little summary. This is basically a quick summation of what the website is about and what kinda things it talks about. It serves as a self-reminder, so when they reply you can check back at your notes and remind yourself this is the cat blog, not the dog blog (so no terrier jokes anyway they are terrier-ible! 🤣).

3. Come up with a great idea

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Arguably, the hardest part. Have a quick scan of their blog and see what kinds of posts they’ve covered already, because it’s no use you writing something that’s a carbon copy of something they already have. I don’t mean you need to trawl through every post, just check the titles. See what kinds of topics they talk about and have a think about what you can contribute. The key is that whatever you write has to bring value to their readers.

4. Write a killer pitch

This deserves a lot more of a detailed look, which is why we’re going to cover it in the next post. Needless to say, after you’ve put all the effort into selecting your targets, figuring out their domain authority and done the research on their blogging styles, you don’t want your pitch to let you down.

Check back next time for our post on How To Write A Killer Guest Post Pitch.

5. Hit send… and get ready to write

You need to be able to turn your content around quickly. So it’s no good pitching a piece of work you know it’s going to take you months and months to pull together. Keep it within your realms of expertise, something you could knock together in a day – or less – and make sure they know that they have very little (or even better, nothing) to do at their end.

5 Social Media Tools That Will Save Your Life

Social media is a black hole for time.

You can spend hours pouring over the same 10 videos and you barely even notice the clock ticking.

When it comes to running your own social media, however, time is a huge factor. Because the more time you spend on social media, the less time you’re spending actually doing what you do (unless you’re a social media maven. You do you.)

Given that most creatives are time poor, so we’ve pulled together a list of 10 social media tools that will save you time and effort. Meaning you don’t have to spend your life flicking between apps. Yippee!

The best bit is… they’re all free!

Buffer

Buffer is an awesome scheduling tool that allows you to post Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts at a later date.

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With the free version you can link up to 3 accounts and schedule up to 10 pieces of content.

There’s also a handy content inbox where you can follow your favourite blogs (*cough*) and schedule to share their content online with a simple click. You can also link your own blog and re-share old content as well as broadcasting new content.

Audiense

Audiense figures out when the best time for you to Tweet is. What’s even cooler is that it then links up to Buffer, and gives you a handy schedule.

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This means you know all of your planned tweets are getting sent at exactly the best time for people to like, comments and share them.

Not only this, but it lets you search for people to follow (to grow your community) and also tells you who isn’t following you back (meanies.)

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Hootsuite

Hootsuite is great if you’ve got loads of different accounts and you want to keep them all in one handy place.

It offers the same service as Buffer but also includes a handy reply function – meaning you can keep track of all your conversations, all in one place!

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Hootsuite also allows you to target subsets for channels like your Facebook page.

Social Mention

Ever wondered what people say about you online? Googling is so 2014 – you need Social Mention. It’s a eal-time platform that searches across the whole of the social interweb and organising it into a handy list for you. Influence is measured by Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach.

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Not only this, it gives you a score for positive vs negative sentiment and your overall influence.

Pretty great if you’re trying to manage your brand or someone else’s.

Iconosquare

You know that 31 people liked the picture of your breakfast. But do you know how many more likes you when you use Mayfair, instead of Nashville?

Iconosquare delves deeper than your ex into your instagram and analyses your posts, measuring the type of post vs the level of engagement.

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If you’re monetising Instagram or even just using it to help build brand/personal awareness, this is one for you.

Now you’re fully armed – fly, my social media mavens, fly! (And let us know if you think we’ve missed anything.)

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email: info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

5 Mistakes You’re Probably Making on Social Media

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Social media. We know the deal here, right? Some tweets. Some likes. A few dozen comments and a gif for good measure.

It’s not a top secret recipe.

And yet – nearly everyone is guilty of the following social media fails. How many do you clock up?

1. Selling on purpose

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We all have something we want to sell. Whether it’s tickets to our next show or even just that jumper you bought off Ebay months ago and have never worn, we’re used to seeing sales messages on social media.

If you’re using social to build awareness of yourself and your brand however, you need to try and avoid the hard sell.

Why?

Because people don’t like following accounts where they think they will get sold to all the time. It’s not fun for them (I mean, how passionate can someone be about a 20% discount on lawnmowers? Hmm?

2. Not secret selling

So here’s the secret. You sell. But you do it in a more roundabout way with some personality, fun and intrigue thrown in for good measure. Have a look at these two tweets:

Guys! Please buy tickets and come and support me on stage, www.ticketlink.com, it would be great to see you all.

Vs.

First dress rehearsal today! How’s my makeup looking for [insert production name]? http://www.ticketlink.com *With relevant image attached*

Which of those two tweets would you be more likely to click on?

The second one, right?!

Show us why we should come and see your show rather than ordering us to buy tickets!

3. Information broadcasting

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This is a fancy way of saying ‘talking at people all the time on social media and never actually having a conversation with them.’

This happens when you view social media as a checkbox exercise. You log on, post your tweet, log back off and continue with your day/week/year. Wrong! You’ve just put something out into the world. If Sally from Rochester has decided to reply to you with a salsa dance emoji, then you need to engage with Sally (not salsa-ing, well maybe if that’s what you enjoy) and at least say thanks for the interaction.

Remember, you’re here to be social with people, not just yell at them from the safe confines of your laptop.

4. Ignoring the wider conversation

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So back to Sally from Rochester, you need to engage in other conversations as well, not just the ones about you.

Get involved in topics you’re interested in (and that are on brand), but also show interest in other people and events in your industry. Being an active member of the wider social community will mean you get exposed (not like that) to new people, who in turn will get to find out about you. Win!

5. Posting natively (ohhh some social media jargon)

This is a mistake people make especially with Twitter.

‘Posting natively’ means logging onto twitter, clicking ‘write tweet’ and then typing it out there and then and clicking ‘tweet’.

“But how else would I post?” I hear you ask! There are a bunch of social media schedulers (watch out for the post on this) and tools that make it a lot faster for you to post online with the added bonus of being able to track all the good clicks and comments you get. Plus you can post on more than one site at the same time and view it all in the same window.

Magical huh?

So those are our top 5 social fails. How many did you get?

 

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email: info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

Coping with Snap Maps: A Guide to the New Update

A new day, a new app update. Most of them don’t attract quite as much attention as Snapchat’s recent upgrade though.

Snap map allows people to see your location. It’s a bit like “find my friends” except slightly creepier as strangers can pinpoint your location to the metre. IMG_3778

It’s been all over the news in relation to concerns that Snapchat aren’t doing enough to protect under 18’s – their biggest user. Picked up by national and local press, parents are being warned to educate themselves on the privacy issues it might cause for their children.

Age aside however, it’s an update that potentially spells trouble for individuals who use Snapchat as one of their content channels, too. Why? Because you’ve spent however many weeks or months asking strangers on the internet to follow you on snapchat and now they can actually follow you on snapchat.

How to find the Snap Map

I thought I had been immune to this update. I couldn’t see any icon saying “map” and thought – phew! Dodged that one!

Not so.

Turns out you access the snap map by opening your camera and then pinching the camera screen, like you’re trying to zoom out.

Snapchat describes it helpfully as “like this 👌

BAM. Welcome to Snap Map.

Enabling Ghost Mode

This is actually pretty simple the first time you log into snap map. You tap ‘Only Me’ and your figure will come up like a little ghost. Nice.

If you panicked when you opened it for the first time, you can tap the little cog button and go into your settings to manually slide ghost mode on. Stealthy.

Finding your friends on the Snap Map

You have to be mutual friends to see each other’s location. Snapchat says “by default, only friends you’ve added on Snapchat can contact you directly or view your Story.”

Of course if you’re using Snapchat as a way to grow your followers, chances are you’ll have a lot of friends, so the selection tool will be quite handy.

You can also tap on their chats and it’ll come up with their location (because WhatsApp’s ‘last seen’ wasn’t stalker-y enough for us.)

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Cool features of Snap Map

Once you get past the creeped-out stage though, Snap Map is pretty awesome! You can swipe around the map and double tap into hot spots (marked like a heat sensor, the ‘hottest’ regions are red and show the most activity) and then find out what people are posting to their Story in that location.

I mean, the first thing you’ll do is probably check out Snaps in your area (I literally pinpointed my road in London and watched a story about someone complaining about the loudness of their next door neighbour’s dishwasher) but you could also see what’s happening in – I don’t know – Sweden.

Pretty cool, huh?

 

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email: info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com

Penguin chats: Designer Jennifer Hamley

Here at Penguin in the Room we love supporting fellow female entrepreneurs and business women! We spoke to designer and business owner Jennifer Hamley about her design inspiration and being nominated for an award only three years into her business!

 

Jennifer Hamley

What do you think a handbag should be?

Great question, I think a handbag means something different to everyone. To a few it’s just a thing to tote stuff around in, but to most the bag you choose to carry everyday means much more.

I’ve had women describe how different handbags make them feel. It can be a status symbol, but more often than that, the handbag we choose for a given day or occasion puts us into the mindset of who we want to show up as.

I believe that a handbag should fill you with confidence. It’s something that you carry with you closely wherever you go so it needs to support your busy daily life, as well as make you smile with pride when you catch a glimpse of it.

Why did you redesign the handbag?

I took a close look at how women’s lives have changed in recent years and added features that support that.

The handbag world is full of great design, but with more of us working remotely; occasionally at home or in cafés, on the road or in a hot-desking environment, we need to carry our work and tech with us. I design handbags around the tech that we need, and offer organisation so that we can carry less whilst being more productive.

It is also important for the bag to be beautiful, because who wants to carry an ugly bag when we spend so much of our lives working!?

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Why is your new design for the Independent Handbag Designer Awards more than just a bag?

I can’t help feeling that the category was designed just for me! The nomination is for the ultimate cutting edge #GirlBoss bag (& sponsored by Nasty Gal, I’m a big fan!) I’m passionate about designs that do a lot for us, that carry what we need and keep us organised so that we can get on with our lives – and also about designs that let us express ourselves and help us feel confident and fabulous. I designed this bag to be worn different ways to suit what you are doing, to be soft and light weight so that it can carry a little or a lot. It’s a bag that is ready for anything! 

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What’s the best thing about being your own boss?

My favourite thing is meeting all the amazing supportive women (and some men!) that are doing similar things. I felt lonely at first and didn’t know where to turn, but when I found these support groups WOW! (and they are EVERYWHERE!), – they blow me away every day with their knowledge, generosity and friendship.

What’s been the biggest challenges of running your own business?

I often struggle with the amount of things that need doing to running a business. I honestly thought that a serious business woman did it all herself! I was wrong – real business women DELGATE! They surround themselves with people that are better at the little things so that she can focus on the big picture.

Having a business coach and, again, my support group help me to stay on track

What piece of advice has been invaluable in your career?

I was told once that ‘If it’s possible in the world, it’s possible for you’ and it has been my mantra ever since. That has helped me when I’ve not known what to do, or where to learn something. It really helps me to work things out, because if someone else did it, there is a way!

What’s next?

I’ll be jetting off to New York on the 14th June for the Independent Handbag Designer Awards where I am a finalist in the ‘Cutting Edge bag by Nasty Gal’ category that I mentioned before. The awards ceremony will bring 45 designers together for a night of cocktails, connection and couture! Until then I’ll be spreading the word about my design and liaising with my manufacturers to get it into production!   After that I’m away in Asia researching new materials for an upcoming vegan collection, then talking to retailers. It’s an exciting and busy year!

 

penguinPenguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is a group of creatives with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping our way into the arts industry and helping other creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.

Contact us any time for penguin chats via email:info@penguinintheroom.com or Facebook.com/penguinintheroom or waddle over to our website: www.penguinintheroom.com