Social Balance: How to Choose the Right Social Media Channels for Your Business

There are a lot of social media channels out there, but just because they exist doesn’t mean that your business should be active on it. Companies can sometimes spend way too much time, effort, and advertising budget on social channels that just aren’t right for them.

Social Media Channels: Where to Begin, Anyway?

With so many social media channels in existence today, it can be difficult to decide which selection or spread might be the best one for your brand. Here, we’ll list some of the most popular social media channels in 2019 with businesses, and (more importantly) discuss how they work to best for businesses.

Facebook

The classic. Facebook has been around long enough at this point to boast friendships on it lasting — at least — ten years. As far as social media networks go, Facebook can proudly label itself the gold standard of the social media community, because its primary goal is just that: building a community.

Source: https://www.musicalamerica.com

Any business that wants to see any life at all online quite simply needs to have a presence on Facebook. Through ads, mentions, and engagement to a full-blown marketplace, Facebook has skyrocketed in relevance since its inception. Over the years, Facebook’s explosion has created a myriad of opportunity as well as risk. The biggest risk for businesses, though (beyond not creating and maintaining an active profile) is relying on it as a lone vehicle to increase their web traffic.

  • Great for: An up-to-date and well-maintained Facebook page is the first step to establishing legitimacy for any business. At its best, it is a vehicle for online and physical business traffic and is effective for businesses of almost all sizes to build awareness of their brand, as well as establish relationships with their online community.
  • Pitfalls: The popularity of Facebook and the recent changes to its algorithm affects what users see in their feed. Marketers need to be strategic about what they post and when so that their business is well-positioned to reach as many users as possible.

Instagram

It’s almost impossible these days to have a product or service on the market that isn’t in some way marketed through Instagram. And can you blame it? Audiences are intensely visual, and this is a fact that is increasing over time.

Source: https://www.instagram.com

Instagram relies on this as a method to reach a wide range of audiences. Its newest feature, IGTV, is ever expanding their reach to new levels, in an attempt that rivals even YouTube as it makes its move to position itself as a competitor to streaming giants like Hulu and Apple TV. The strength of Instagram is that it is a fantastic way for businesses to build brand awareness and generate leads through storytelling and real engagement with its audience.

  • Great for: Great for very visual products and services, but also is a great opportunity for marketers to be creatively strategic, as there are so many ways to get creative about showing your brand in action.
  • Pitfalls: Traditionally, it was difficult to make conversions through IG, because the options for direct sales were limited. Things are changing now, as businesses are finding ways around this through the use and continued development of add-ons that make Instagram feeds instantly more shoppable.

Twitter

Twitter has long made its mark in social media by being the long-running voice of the people. Businesses have come to rely on Twitter as a great way to get audiences involved in their brand’s day-to-day marketing voice. Twitter functions a lot like the voice of a brand and is able to provide near to constant communication with an audience.

Source: https://www.twitter.com/calacademy

The way Twitter functions allows users to be involved in the day-to-day discourse of trusted figures and brand ambassadors, so Twitter has established itself as a reliable and accessible brand voice over time. This has been expanded even more recently as Twitter has extended its trademark 140 character limit to encompass 280 characters. It seems like a small feat, but in actuality allows for everyday users become reliable brand ambassadors themselves for businesses or causes.

  • Great for: Businesses that need to share news, specials, and rapidly changing information with their clients. Serves also as a great vehicle to mobilize their audience to share brand-specific information with other users.
  • Pitfalls: The sheer volume of tweets on Twitter make it entirely possible to get your message completely lost along the way, which means it never lands where your target audience is most likely to see it. That makes strategic timing and planning of tweets crucial so that your messages don’t end up being, well, just noise.

Snapchat

Snapchat isn’t just for kids. Savvy marketers know that even though there are many SM channels that utilize the smart features that Snapchat originated, like disappearing stories and the ubiquitous filter technology, Snap just keeps growing!

Source: https://www.snap.com

In 2018 alone, Snapchat was slated to generate over $1.2 M, from advertising and branded content. And those trends show no signs of slowing. What’s the secret behind Snapchat’s success? Well, it’s highly visual and makes use of users’ shrinking attention spans. And for younger users that are saturated with the contrived ads they’ve grown up with, it can be an incredibly effective tool to see branded content in use in an authentic way, by people they can relate to.

  • Great for: Authentic marketing, targeted to a younger audience. This is perfect for larger businesses that have highly visible content, and products or services that can be seen in use.
  • Pitfalls:  Snapchat doesn’t currently have the capability to allow users to like and comment on each others’ rapidly disappearing content. So for now, influencers and representatives have to rely on their perceived influence, as it doesn’t foster the more personal engagement that users can find with other social media channels. And as advertising is available through Snapchat, it can end up being costly for smaller to medium-sized businesses.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a goldmine for audiences that are looking to get inspired. Try to remember a time before you’ve heard the term “Pinterest-style (wedding/party/living room).” It’s nearly impossible. That’s because this highly visual platform is an effective tool for users to curate their online experience by selecting highly visual content that helps them to create a series of mood boards featuring their favorite photos and products representing a common theme or idea, and all according to their taste.  

Source: https://business.pinterest.com

This means that they are more likely to be looking to purchase items or products that they find once they have been added to their curated collections. Why is this huge for businesses? Pinterest utilizes nearly every stage of the traditional marketing funnel to build interest, build relationships between the community of users and the businesses, and to lead potential customers to make purchasing decisions.

  • Great for: It’s great for products because often users want to create a custom list to shop from and Pinterest’s idea boards make products accessible and easy to shop.
  • Pitfalls: Pinterest has a weakness, and which is that it is all too easy for businesses to create spam that erodes user trust over time. Marketers need to be strategic about maintaining links about available products so that users can rely on them, and businesses can maintain credibility.

Finding the Balance in Social Media Presence

With so many options available, how do you know which is the right choice for your business?

Let’s take a look at a few steps that will help you determine some deciding factors to choosing the right option for your brand.

Step 1 – Figure out your goals for social media

This may be the most important step in any marketing strategy. At what part of the marketing strategy are you hoping to reach your audience? Determining whether you are trying to build engagement, or actively convert leads into returning customers will be your first step in deciding which social media channel is right for your business.

Step 2 – Define your target audience

Who do you want to engage with your brand? It’s so tempting to get ambitious here because it’s natural for businesses to hope to court as wide an audience as possible. But your best strategy here is to build a marketing persona and market to your target audience strategically.  Putting some research into who they are, what they would like, and what their needs are will help to determine an effective social media strategy.

Step 3 – Figure out where your target audience (and competitors) are operating online

What’s your audience doing online? And who (or what?) are they engaging with while they are there? This takes the strategy of defining your target audience to the next level. Using analytics tools, and A/B testing will help you to determine what SM channels your target audience (and competitors) are engaging with and will give you a clearer picture of how to narrow down your focus, and strengthen your social media strategy.

If you are trying to get your brand out there to reach your audience, you’ve got to know who your audience is, what they are looking for, and how to work with where they are looking online! Knowing the strengths and downfalls of the most popular social media channels will be the first line of attack in determining how to create an effective social media strategy.

If you need help determining how to best position your business in the ever-shifting market on social media, don’t be afraid to reach out. We stay on top of the latest in social media trends so that you can do what you do best!

Co-Marketing Strategy for a New Age: Dunkin’ and Dove are Teaming Up

Co-Marketing Strategy

In the history of great co-marketing campaign duos, we’ve seen a handful of truly memorable collaborations over the years. From Uber and Spotify’s long-term relationship to power customer music picks on rides to marketing BFFs Red Bull and GoPro’s record-setting adventure videos, it can feel like these match-ups were meant to be; but, there’s always a team behind the magic… some deciding process that sets the wheels in motion.

Now, Dunkin’ and Dove Hair are teaming up in what we’d categorize as an “unlikely” co-marketing effort. No judgment over here, though – we are actually super impressed! Anytime the marketing teams from these respective companies get together and come up with something tailored and special to reach out to new audiences, it’s incredible the types of ideas that can come up.

In their campaign together, Dunkin’ and Dove are working together for National Coffee Day (9/29) to engage with on-the-go (mostly female, woot!) consumers, offering up the chance to win a year’s supply of coffee and dry shampoo. Like we said… coffee and dry shampoo aren’t typically things we’d combine in our minds. But, for this campaign’s purpose, we think it’s absolutely brilliant to target busy women who need to get their caffeine and hair-do on every single day.

Here’s what Marketing Dive had to say about it:

The Dove x Dunkin’ collaboration may seem like an odd pairing, but the brands are embracing the “running on coffee and dry shampoo” message that has become a slogan on apparel from Aéropostale and across Etsy. The campaign is part of Dunkin’s newly announced rebranding that drops “donuts” from its name and focuses on reaching on-the-go consumers with coffee, in an effort to compete with Starbucks.

Calling the coffee and dry shampoo combo the “ultimate life hack” — and the sweepstakes to win a year’s supply of the products — could resonate with consumers and give the brands a social media boost, as many social media users often already post and share photos about their hectic lives. Younger consumers, especially millennials and Gen Z, appreciate how-tos or “life hack” content that helps them live more balanced lives. Partnering with celebrities, who will share their own tips, will also broaden the campaign’s reach.

The pop-up styling café is part of a trend that more brands are embracing to engage with consumers in real-life settings to build brand awareness. Experiential events typically resonate with younger consumers who appreciate unique, branded experiences and the ability to try new products. The events often give brands a social media boost, since they usually feature interesting visuals that inspire attendees to snap photos and selfies to post on social media.

What are your thoughts on this co-marketing partnership? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

Watch This Space: How IGTV is Changing B2B Marketing in a Big Way

IGTV B2B marketing

Via TechCrunch

Even if you have been taking a well-deserved vacation in 2018, you probably heard about the big changes that have hit Instagram in the form of it’s newest feature: IGTV. Instagram’s fresh video feature is changing the way B2B marketers and influencers alike reach their audiences, and we’re taking a look at exactly how it’s done.

Imagine yourself as a millennial (or really, anyone born after 1982), who is just waking up, or waiting for your morning commute to work or to class, and you have about 10 minutes to watch one of your favorite shows. How likely would you be to check your mobile device for a quick check-in to your favorite channel? We’re willing to bet the likelihood is huge. In fact, in 2016, smartphones replaced TV as the most watched device by millennial users.

Even if this demographic doesn’t fit you, the reality is that for the highest number of mobile users born after 1982, this is exactly the case. The growing majority of people who have access to devices (68 percent of all adults, to be exact), are forgoing traditional TV platforms nearly altogether, in favor of streaming services and user-generated content. And those cable TV bundle packages? They are racing toward extinction.

IGTV B2B marketing

Via Android Police

This presents a giant shift, as Instagram’s new feature–which functions as a home feed addition or as its own stand-alone app–provides nearly constant access for marketers to reach their target audiences. What makes this feature an even bigger opportunity? The fact that, just like its  1 minute and 15-second video predecessors, content that gets shared on IGTV channels are interactive: users can like, react, comment, and share. It’s the brand promotional gift that keeps on giving.

Your job? Making content highly watchable. But how can B2B marketers do that, especially since paid advertising isn’t available yet? And what kind of content is ideal for marketers to share?

Well, there are two components to this. Think form and function.

  • Form: Making incredibly engaging content
  • Function: Making sure that content is formatted in optimal, highly shareable ways.

Let’s Talk Form

What kinds of ways are B2B marketers connecting with their brands’ audiences? The crucial thing here is staying creative, and showing the human side of the brand. At the heart of social media, people are looking to make a connection.

Worried that your brand doesn’t have a “face”? Don’t be. There are plenty of ways businesses can get creative about the kind of content they are broadcasting on IGTV to connect with users in a variety of ways.

This might be through:

  • Tutorials
  • Reviews or unboxings from influencers
  • Product demos
  • Team or staff highlights
  • A “day in the life” video series
  • Short series featuring the product or service in use

The possibilities are actually wide open! The key here is to stay creative. Engaging content is shareable content, and users are more likely to interact regularly with brands they connect with.

Let’s Talk Function

Since we’re assuming that your content is a home run, let’s talk about how to format it so that it works within the parameters of IGTV.

In order to optimize viewership on IGTV, the important things to remember are…

1. Capture videos in portrait form. Contrary to the square ratio that is optimal in a typical IG feed, filming in portrait mode allows for channels to fill the screen, and function as a real channel does. Dig deeper, to find the actual specs to help you, but the important thing to remember is to keep it vertical.

2. Think through your bio. The first two lines of the bio will be visible on the channel, so be sure that it captures what you really want to say, and that featured products or services are really well represented.

IGTV B2B marketing

Via Brit + Co

Looking Ahead: Reaching IG Users with Paid Ads

Currently, there is no real capability for paid advertising on IGTV, but that could change in the near future, says Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s CEO:

“There’s no ads in IGTV today… [but it’s] obviously a very reasonable place [for them] to end up.”

Your best bet? Start thinking ahead about how to incorporate the possibility of paid advertising in your digital marketing future. No doubt, the future will be here sooner than you think.

So what are you watching? Or more importantly… what do you want people to see? Get some tips on how to master social media marketing through Instagram and other channels. Then, let us know how we can help you be great!

When Using Hashtags on Social Media How Much is Too Much?

What once was a telephone button has now become a social media phenomenon, I’m talking about the #hashtag. Or in simpler terms, a pound sign followed by a keyword, used for categorization across social media platforms. While it may seem like a simple concept, there is a lot that can go into choosing which ones and how many to use. You need to find a balance.

So, how many are too many?

Research shows you should absolutely be using hashtags.

What began on Twitter has now spread to Facebook, Instagram, and even Google. If the extensive use alone is not enough to convert you to a user, consider this: if you create a hashtag for your company (ex: #companyx) and a user sees and remembers that tag, they can type “#comanyx” into Google and be taken directly to your website. It works the same on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. If a customer wants to check out your social media, they can again type in “#companyx” and head over to your content tagged with that hashtag. A hashtag immediately expands the reach of your tweet beyond just those who follow you, to reach anyone interested in that hashtag phrase or keyword.  

Hashtags On Twitter

There is no question hashtags are beneficial, but the question remains how useful? Using a hashtag within your Tweet is said to generate two times more engagement than Tweets without any at all. Twitter themselves confirmed that there is a significant advantage in implementing them. Think about it; you could go from 10 to 20 retweets by merely adding a # or 2. But according to research conducted by Buddy Media, 2 is the limit. After 2, the amount of engagement you receive decreases by 17%.

Hashtags on Instagram

Twitter is not the only platform where people use hashtags. Instagram is another hotspot for individuals and business alike to share their photos marked with #tags. Unlike Twitter, more hashtags on Instagram are a good thing. In fact, the highest interactions generate when a caption contains 11+ hashtags – this data is from users with less than 1,000 followers. That means this is excellent news for small businesses or those new to this form of social media. In other words, this could be your new best friend when trying to grow your social media presence.

Hashtags on Facebook

While Instagram and Twitter are the biggest users of hashtags, we cannot neglect to mention Facebook. The implementation of hashtags on Facebook started back in 2013. Since then, they just have not gained as much traction as Twitter and Instagram. However, you might be thinking that if they work on Instagram and Twitter than they should work on Facebook too? Not necessarily. Sadly, for you avid hashtag users, research indicates the use of hashtags has a more negative than positive impact. Data shows that as you increase the number of hashtags, you decrease in the number of iterations. So, for Facebook, my suggestion is when in doubt do not hashtag.

So how many is #toomany?

Well, for Twitter no more than 2, Instagram it would be far past 11, and Facebook; well, just stay clear of hashtags on there. The key point to take away, however, is that hashtags are not something to be afraid of. They are a useful tool that anyone looking to build their brand on social media should take advantage of. Just remember these guidelines when you find yourself in a hashtag frenzy.

Want to chat more about hashtag strategy, or how to handle social media marketing overall? Check out our blog or get in touch with us!

5 Tips and Tricks for Personal Branding on Social Media

personal branding

Not that long ago you probably were sitting at your desktop computer on a website called MySpace.com, creating an account with the handle @iloveponi3s with a friend request from some guy named Tom. Fast forward to the year 2018. You probably have a variety of accounts on several different platforms, with more professional usernames and are still trying to figure out who Tom is. Much like you and I, social media has evolved tremendously since 2004. Facebook alone has seen a jump from 1 million to 2.2 billion monthly users. Because of this astronomical number, companies have gotten smarter and started funding marketing and advertising campaigns solely for social media.

While companies are using social media to market themselves, so are individuals. Your social media accounts can be considered an extension of your resume or profile. Here are some tips and tricks to successfully building your personal brand:

1. Pick Your Top 3 Platforms

With new social media networks emerging every day, trying to join all of them can be overwhelming and time-consuming. A good rule of thumb is to choose three platforms to focus your efforts on based on a few criteria:

1) A platform on which people you want to connect with are engaging.

2) A platform geared toward your particular brand (more visual, writing-heavy, etc.).

3) A platform that helps you accomplish your social media goal. 

Once you have decided which social media platforms best suit your needs, update them with current information and delete the others you have chosen not to work with.

Make this decision based off who you are trying to reach. If it is future employers, then ask yourself: what are they most active on or who is their target market? Using this tip will allow you to easily convey your message using the platforms that best suits your needs

2. Delete the Red Solo Cups

Consider all of your accounts extensions of your resume. I know partying is fun, but when making a post you should ask yourself questions similar to this: “Would I want my grandmother seeing this?” If the answer is no, then your potential boss probably doesn’t want to either. This does not mean refrain from posting pictures from social gatherings; it just means alcohol or other explicit activities should not be the focal point of the post or picture. On Facebook, if you are really wanting to show a group of friends a picture that may not be appropriate for your boss, create a Facebook group between you and your friends. There, you can share all types of pictures, memes, and videos without having to worry.  If you are curious as to what classifies as “inappropriate for work” check out this article on CNN about 10 people who found that out.

3. Share Posts About Your Interests

If we continue with the extension of your resume theme, future employers will be interested in knowing who you are as a person. They will want to know how they can relate to you or how your interests align with their company. So, for example, if you are a huge Game of Thrones fan, share occasional posts or articles about it – your boss could also be a fan, and it could be a bonding moment for the two of you to talk about.

4. Share Updates Regularly

Keeping your content current is very important. On a site like LinkedIn, potential employers look for information such as a college degree, previous employment, skills, etc. If you switched your major after Sophomore year from Biomechanical Engineering to Business Analytics, potential employers need to know this information. If it isn’t up to date, you could be getting messages from NASA versus Walmart. Keeping the content current will only increase your chances of being attractive to all potential employers. This article gives you four steps to follow when updating your LinkedIn profile based off where you have been and where you want your career to take you.

personal branding

4. Curate Your Own Content  

Yes, while sharing posts made by others is important, creating your own content is just as, if not more important. You must show that you are an expert in the areas you are claiming. For example, if you had an Instagram account that was intended to show off you as an interior designer, posting pictures of inspiration houses in which you had no part in helping decorate does not build credibility for YOUR design skills.

Finding the perfect balance between the two is key. Sharing personal photos is still very important. If you are trying to brand yourself as an interior designer don’t just post pictures of homes, show people that you have a life outside of your career. People like to feel connected to the accounts they follow and this will only help to increase your following with the interest in you and your design.

Here are just a few examples of content you should be sharing to really increase user engagement

– Practical Ideas: posts related to what you are trying to brand/promote. Depending on what you’re trying to do, this would include… ideas/tips on how to brighten up your fashion style, home decor, travel, etc.

personal branding

– Motivational: These types of posts are to get your followers more engaged in your page, to get them to “like” you. Spreading a little motivation or inspiration is sure to put a smile on their face. You could even start a weekly trend “#MotivationMonday” to start your followers week off positively. A great way to implement these types of posts is through the use of “stories” on Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram. Stories allow for a quick 10-second view of a post, this way you don’t have to mess up the aesthetic of your page.

– Moments in Your Personal Life: Brag about yourself, share a tender family moment, or just a photo of something you think your followers would enjoy seeing that is more personal.

personal branding

– Content: Lastly, content to help build your credibility. This should be the majority of your posts. This is where you show off to your followers what you do best. If you ’re an interior decorator you show off that house you designed, a real estate agent share your listings, fashion influencer your cute new outfit, whatever shows you doing your best you.

5. Study Influencers

YES! PEOPLE ARE GETTING PAID TO POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA! PAIIIIDDD!!! Wouldn’t you like that to be you? Study the popular page, it won’t take long until you stumble upon a user that has over ten 10K followers. Look at what they are doing and use it as an inspiration. If you like certain aspects of the account that you see, you can integrate them into your own page while still being original. For example, on the platform Tumblr, accounts will use consistent filters. By that I mean all of their photographs will have the same kind of color schemes or noticeable gradients to them. Or, if it is a more textual based platform like Twitter, their posts will have a consistent tone of voice.

Check out multiple accounts and gather ideas about things you like and even things you don’t. Find what works for you and what will make you feel like you are accurately representing yourself and your brand. Here are some influencers I follow:

Instagram:

@doyoutravel is a great account for the wannabe adventurer.

Love interior design? Check out @beckiowens  

Want a combination of fashion and travel? Check out @isabellath this girl might live the coolest life ever.

Twitter:

Brooke Hammerling, @brooke, is a PR maven who’s account is a perfect example of a balance between professional and personal content on Twitter.

Big on business? @fredwilson is a businessman, venture capitalist, and blogger who actively uses Twitter.

Facebook:

@galmeetsglam is a great Facebook fashionista to check out.

One of the 1984 Apple marketers @guy is the person to follow if you’re fascinated by the tech world.

Creating a personal brand on social media is not a cake walk. It requires a lot of thought, attention to detail, and research. It is not about what you look like, it is about who you are, and what your beliefs, goals, interests, and aspirations are. People will be drawn to you on social media the way they are drawn to you in person if you have accurately represented yourself. With time and dedication, you will have your pages up and running successfully before you know it. Just remember to keep this advice in mind along the way.

Have any first-hand tips for building up your personal brand online? Let us know in the comments below!