Author : Kristine

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white papers business writing

White Papers and Your Business

White papers can help promote and grow your business if well written and used correctly.

First, what is a White Paper? According to Wikipedia:

“A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body’s philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.”

In business, white papers are typically marketing or sales tools used to help educate, persuade or showcase specific products or solutions one company can provide another. White papers can also be used to generate sales for organizations when used as a “lead magnet” on social media, your company website or through targeted web advertising. Beyond these basic guidelines, there are no real rules around what a “white paper” should be called, contain or formatted. There are several options around presenting the information your company may want to provide and CoSchedule has a great how-to guide on White Papers that can also help you break down how to present your information:

White Paper or other format options from CoSchedule

If you don’t have the talent or bandwidth to create your own white paper, then there are plenty of other companies and contractors out there to help you.

Here are three important tips to keep in mind when authoring a white paper for your business:

Know what your potential customer is looking for

What keywords are your target audience typing into search engines that your company can help with? This is the primary question to answer when generating any content that will be housed on the web – from your website, to social media topics, to white papers. If you are going to help a customer solve a problem they are having – then be sure to title your offering with the terms they are searching for.

Your white paper should address the issue your potential customer is looking for in a factual, non-sales way while establishing your businesses expertise on this topic.

Have a strategy for the white paper

Now that you have written one, how are you going to utilize and promote your white paper (or case study or guide or whatever you want to call it) to help your business grow? Develop a strategy to promote it’s content around your website, social media feeds, blog postings, company newsletter or any other marketing and sales channel that will help reach your potential customer.

After someone has requested your white paper, establish a follow-up plan of who and how you are going to reach out to them with emails, newsletters or phone calls.

Provide Content in Exchange for Information

Grow your potential customer database and gain insight into who your potential audience is by asking specific demographic information as a part of receiving the information you are going to share (name, company, title, revenue etc). This will continue to help refine or reinforce who your customer base is for the white paper you have written.

With today’s technology, any business can write and utilize a white paper to help grow their business. Contact Social Thrive today to see how we can help you put your next white paper to work for your company.

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black friday shoping cyber monday marketing

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: Your Holiday Marketing Plan

The Holiday shopping season has kicked off! Advertising around Black Friday and special on-line deals for Cyber Monday have already hit the airways. The National Retailers Association expects consumer spending to increase by 4.1% over last year and now is the time to take action for your business to have a successful holiday season!

Last year saw a substantial increase in money being spent on-line on Black Friday with foot traffic in-stores down 2%. in 2017, overall dollars spent was up from the previous year. More money was spent on Cyber Monday in 2017 ($6.59 billion) than the $5.3 billion rung in on Black Friday indicates that retailers have to be prepared for both on-line and in-store sales this entire season. Last year, major retailers opted for steady on-line ads throughout the holiday season with spiked spending around Thanksgiving and Christmas on other media outlets. Here’s how you can prepare your business with a plan for the holidays.

Holiday Marketing Plan

  1. Have an active on-line ad campaign strategy. Retailers should have a plan mapped from mid-November (pre-holiday sales) to early January (closeout sales). Depending on the size of your operation and where your customers are located, a targeted on-line campaign can help increase website traffic and sale conversions.
  2. Ensure your website is mobile-responsiveMore than 46% of total on-line holiday sales in 2017 was done on mobile devices – so your site has to be prepared for them!
  3. Utilize email to reach your current customers early and often! A holiday email campaign can be an effective tool to drive customers to your website or location. It is also less costly to drive your current customer base than spending money on ads to acquire new customers.
  4. Optimize your social media channels. Ensure that you are encouraging customers to check out your website, highlight sales and specials with enticing social media posts.
  5. Update your website with keywords. Search engines will be crawling websites for terms that shoppers will be “looking” for over 45 days in advance. Update your website terminology, create “teasers” about what’s coming for the holidays and create content that will support your email, social media and ad campaigns.

Need help with a social media strategy for your business? Social Thrive can help you!

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On target marketing message

Is Your Online Marketing Message On-Target?

You have a website.

You have several social media channels you post on.

You have an email list that you send out regular communications to.

But are you reaching the people your business needs to talk to in a way that they connect with?

Who is your target audience?

A well-defined target customer is essential in any marketing activities so make sure you have the follow documented;

  • Demographic details – age, gender, geographic location, work or role, economic traits, education level – focus on the factors that are going to help you hone in on your prospective customer
  • What problems are they facing that you can help solve? Your business offers solutions to your customer issues so having solid demographic information paired with what your customer is challenged with will help you hone your messaging to reach your potential audience.

After you have this defined, communicate it to your entire team and continue to confirm it through customer surveys.

How does your customer consume information?

Knowing the on-line behaviors of your target audience is a part of understanding your ideal customer and will impact where you focus your marketing efforts. You should be using Google Analytics and other means to track how customers heard about you to refine your marketing plan going forward.

Social Media

Based on your customer demographics, you will want to invest in specific social media channels vs. ALL of them. Here are a few things to think about:

Email Marketing

Sending emails to current and prospective customers is still an important part of your overall marketing strategy – even if it results in less action than 10 years ago when our Inboxes were less cluttered. Research shows that people still read emails from companies if it is relevant and interesting, so while it may not lead to direct action when you send the email out, it keeps your brand “top of mind” so that people know who to reach out to when you become relevant.

Is your messaging consistent?

Your company has all kinds of digital and printed assets – but do they look like they all come from the same company?

Ensure that your banding remains consistent across platforms (website, social media channels or brochures and business cards) with appropriate logos, naming conventions with cross-links to all of your other platforms. By referencing all of the different ways customers can interact with you, they are given a choice as to how they want to consume information about your products or services.

Marketing messaging is an important part of Social Thrive’s customer strategy and we would love to talk to you about yours!

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snapchat hacks 2017

The Newest Snapchat Hacks You Can’t Do Without!

In late 2015, Hootsuite declared social video to be the top trend of 2016. This trend has only continued to grow, with the other networks, platforms like Facebook and Instagram having recently introduced real-time stories to their portfolio of products. Nevertheless, Snapchat continues to be the platform of choice for sharing real-time stories. We’re here to share some of the best classic and brand-new Snapchat #hacks. Read on to learn more!

1. Simultaneous filters – You’re able to up to add up to three filters simultaneously. Once you’ve applied a color filter, hold down with one finger and swipe to add up to two more. For example, you can apply the black-and-white color filter, a location filter, and a time filter all at once.

2. Geo-filters – Creating your own customized geo-filter for personal or business use is super easy! Head to the Geo-filters section on the Snapchat website to create a geo-filter from a series of templates or download the template toolkit to design your own filter using your favorite design program (we suggest Canva for those with little experience). Remember the 2017 social profile image dimensions, a Snapchat geo-filter’s dimensions are 1080 x 1920! Visit Snapchat’s Submission Guidelines or the blog below to learn more.

3. Group chat – Anyone can create a group Snapchat the same way you’d create a private message. A group snap can include up to sixteen users and messages remain available for twenty-four hours. However, messages will immediately disappear for any user that leaves the group!


4. Stickers – Use your own photos to create customized stickers! Snap a photo and then tap on the scissors tool in the upper right-hand corner (just above the time feature) to cut an image and create a sticker. Then share your Snap as you normally would.


5. Snapcode – Create a customized website Snapcode of a website by heading to: Settings > Snapcodes > Create Snapcode. Once you’ve created a code, share it with friends through the app.


6. Custom Stories – Snapchat recently announced a new Custom Story feature. A group of friends can individually upload Stories to create a unique group story. Users can invite friends from anywhere in the world to participate and Snapchat will create a 1-block geofence so that nearby users can participate as well.

Any hacks we’re missing? Let us know and share them in the comments!

Sources:
• Mashable Snapstory
• Snapchat

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profilepic

2017 Image Sizes for Social Media Profiles

When it comes to posting images on social media, size matters.

Image sizes most definitely play a role in the effectiveness of a social media post. Most social media networks require a square image for profile pictures. Adjusting the dimensions of a profile image is relatively easy. It is a bit more challenging, though, ensure sure that the size of your cover and header photos are correct.

Don’t worry – we’re here to help! Check out our guide below to help you navigate the changing landscape of optimal profile images.

Facebook: Use a logo or image that represents your brand as your profile picture – this image will be viewed across the social network. A more creative image is ideal for the cover photo and will only be visible to people who visit your Page. The optimal dimensions of a shared image are:

  • Profile picture: ≥ (Greater than or equal to) 180 x 180
  • Cover photo: 828 x 315
  • Shared image: 1200 x 630

Twitter: The maximum image size for a profile photo is 100 KB and a header’s is 10 MB. Your profile picture appears everywhere on the network, so choose wisely – first impressions count! Use the cover photo space to incorporate a creative image applicable to your brand. You may share up to four (4) images (max size of 5 MB for photos and 3 MB for GIFs) in a tweet.  Twitter will resize these images, as necessary, as long as a 2:1 ratio is used. This size will effectively fit in followers’ streams.

  • Profile picture: 400 x 400
  • Header photo: 1500 x 1500
  • Shared image: 440 x 220

Instagram: By nature, Instagram is a visual medium. Keep text to a minimum and keep the focus on visuals and photos. All images are square, with an aspect ratio of 1:1

  • Profile photo: 110 x 110
  • Shared image: 1080 x 1080
  • Photo thumbnail: 161 x 161

LinkedIn: The network has recently undergone a massive change in layout. The new optimal cover photo dimensions are listed below. The dimensions of the new cover photo are wide, so resize appropriately.  If need be, create a photo with an outside border. This will look better than stretching the image wide. In addition, the ideal image size for a shared links is 150 x 80.

  • Profile picture: 400 x 400
  • Cover photo: 1536 x 768
  • Company logo: 100 x 60
  • Shared image: 550 x 375

Google+: Although the Google+ profile picture displays as a circle across the network, the optimal dimensions listed are those of a square photo. Take note of the way your photo displays once updated and make adjustments accordingly. Also, keep in mind that shared images may appear in Google search queries related to your post or business.

  • Profile photo: 250 x 250
  • Cover photo: 1080 x 608
  • Shared image: 497 x 373

Pinterest: The ideal pin has a width of 238 pixels and scaled height to match. Expanded pins have a minimum width of 600 pixels. Use larger images for more engagement (more likes or re-pins). Only width is fixed, allowing height to be scaled up.

  • Profile picture: 180 x 180
  • Board cover photo: 214 x 100
  • Pin size: scaled height x 238 width

YouTube: The optimal channel cover photo dimensions vary across the platforms on which YouTube will be viewed. The optimal size for a desktop and television display (2560 x 1440) vary from the optimal size for a tablet (1855 x 423) or a smartphone (1546 x 423). Use this space to share what kind of content your audience should anticipate to view on the Channel. In addition, YouTube is a video sharing site, with an optimal 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.

  • Channel icon: 800 x 800
  • Channel cover photo: Varies

Tumblr: Choose an image that represents your brand, as the profile picture is visible across the networks – next to the ‘Follow’ button on your profile and as a thumbnail, site-wide. Images up to 10 MB are allowed, except GIF’s (maximum size of 1 MB). In other words, Tumblr has the capability to use very high-quality images.

  • Profile picture: 64 x 64 
  • Image post: 500 x 7501280 x 1920 maximum size

Snapchat: All photos taken in the app are 1080 x 1920. Custom geo-filters must be created in this size to be applied properly on a photo taken within the app. Visit our post on creating a custom geo-filter to learn more about the process.

  • Geofilter: 1080 x 1920

Lastly, while optimal profile picture and cover photo sizes are important, there are still other sizes to keep in mind. This post from Hubspot features a great infographic with an in-depth explanation of the optimal sizes of all visuals for each network. We suggest re-sizing your profile picture to fit the ideal square dimensions of each platform. Also, we recommend creating a different cover image for each network, as those dimensions vary greatly.

We’ll talk more about Snapchat in our next post, but keep in mind that your geo-filter should fit within the above dimensions of 1080 x 1920. Also, the layouts of the profiles may change soon. We advise you to keep an eye out for the latest updates and how they affect you.

Sources:
Make a Website Hub
Constant Contact