Category : Blog

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From Drive to Thrive! Boston Social Media Provider Rebrands to Social Thrive and Grows to Full-Service National Digital Agency

From Drive to Thrive! Boston Social Media Provider Rebrands to Social Thrive and Grows to Full-Service National Digital Agency

Boston, Mass. – September 2018– Social Drive, a digital marketing and advertising agency, has revealed its new brand name, Social Thrive. The change celebrates the agency’s record six-year growth and its progression from a social media providerto a full-service online partner. Social Thriveoffers a robust suite of digital services such as SEO services, website design and development, social media marketing, inbound marketing, reputation management, online advertising and paid search for businesses.

“Our new identity reflects our evolution. Social Thrive is more integrated and offers clients greater capabilities with a team that is adaptable to market challenges and collaborates for the best results,” said Social Thrive’s Co-Founder Aubrey Burke. “The new name remains true to our core tenets and prepares us for the future.”

Founded six years ago, Social Thrive serves over 51 active clients and organizations in Greater Boston, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York. It works with B2B and B2C companies, restaurants, nonprofits, mobile app developers, and commercial and residential real estate developers. The agency maintains a bi-coastal presence with offices in Boston, New York City, and Palo Alto to support clients and business visionaries who are changing how people work and play. Social Thrive’s lengthy team experience includes working with well-known start-ups started by Harvard and MIT grads, plus with news aggregators like AOL and the Huffington Post.

“We’ve built a unique culture that’s both team-oriented and ultra-productive,” said Social Thrive’s Co-Founder Kristine Resendes. “Our agile team has a passion for our industry and offers an unparalleled wealth of knowledge and dedication. Additionally, we will never put our clients in a ticket queue or make them speak to phone prompts. This separates us from our competitors – and for our clients – it is a huge differentiator.” Moving forward, Social Thrive plans to expand its client portfolio and increase its local community relationships.

Established in 2012, Social Thriveis Boston-based online marketing and advertising agency offering a full suite of digital services for companies that desire to makea digital presence with measurable behavior and ROI. Its powerhouse team works with brands nationwide and maintains a Boston office with bureaus in New York and California. Social Thrive’s capabilities, leadership and dynamic personality are available on its website, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,Google+, and LinkedIn.

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LinkedIn Branding

Using LinkedIn for Company Branding

LinkedIn is considered the “professional” networking platform that can help you build your business with leads and recruitment (as Social Thrive has stated previously). But did you think of LinkedIn as a branding platform? Probably not.

LinkedIn recently announced it’s Top 10 Company Pages of 2018 and the winners span different industries, but they all have taken advantage of LinkedIn’s platform to assist them with their branding efforts.

Use of Logos / Branded Imagery

Your company’s page allows you to not only add your logo to the profile picture and background, but you can also add posts or articles using imagery that complements your website or other forms of advertisement. By doing this, your audience make the visual connection with your brand.

Use of Video

You can now embed video into your posts, articles and on your company home page. This is something brands and companies have been clamoring to do for years! Use of video to engage potential clients is now a standard across ALL social media channels (finally!) Keep it brief though as most experts agree that 30 to 60 seconds is the average watch time for on-line social media videos. LinkedIn has not yet started inserting advertising into their videos so you won’t have your message interrupted either.

Publishing Company News

Not all of your potential clients are subscribed to your email list, so posting company news on channels that potential customers will see (besides your website) is important. LinkedIn is also a great way for all of your employees to “share” company news in a professional way to increase your social reach. Again, LinkedIn Top Companies all used the platform successfully to disseminate important news, bringing their audience closer to their mission and messaging. It’s the one channel where it’s OK to boast about your business’ success.

Leveraging Your C-Level Talent

By having your executive team author posts, articles and other content on LinkedIn, your company will have a larger social “reach” in terms of the number of eyes on your brand, but it also showcases your company as a leader in your industry. Great for engaging potential clients but also reaching potential new employees as well!

Showing the culture behind the company

Beyond informative stats and articles, LinkedIn can also be a place where your company showcases your company’s culture, mission and activities “behind the scenes” that support it. Employee volunteer opportunities, donation drives, events, awards or a “day in the life of” show followers what goes on at your company in a human way. It’s also a great way to attract potential employees if they connect with your culture messaging before they even apply for a position.

LinkedIn is positioning itself as a premier networking and recruitment platform so be sure to position your company’s page with a cohesive branding strategy! PS – if you’re not already following Social Thrive’s LinkedIn what are you waiting for?

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Social Media

Customizing Your Message to Your Social Media Audience

Your business has several different social media channels – but that doesn’t mean you should be posting the same content on each of them! Different social media platforms attract a variety of users so you should have individualized strategies for each with how, when and what you post on each.

Instagram

This channel has over 1 billion account users on it and is considered a prime platform to reach 18-30 year olds globally. Since purchasing it in 2012, Facebook has rolled out significant updates to this mobile app to help businesses see demographic data of followers and post performance. This platform is primarily visual with more time being spent by users on their Stories and IGTV function (newly launched long format video function) every day. It has even surpassed Snapchat usage.

Infographic: Instagram Stories Blows Past Snapchat | Statista

So what should you be posting on Instagram for your business? Stories about your company with a look at behind the scenes, employee spotlights or insights into your business culture tend to trend very well in popularity. Stories can be a combination of video and photos shared during working hours, Monday through Friday – one of the busiest times for Instagram traffic.  Don’t forget to add #Hashtags and use Emoji’s wisely in your posts & comments!

Facebook

Facebook has been adopted largely by the 30 to 65+ crowd over the past 5 years giving this platform the largest social media footprint globally with over 2 BILLION users. Many businesses adopted this platform and with the advent of Facebook Business Pages, have great insight into post performance, audience and other key performance indicators. With recent changes to Facebook algorithms, some business are finding it harder to reach their customers with their posts being served to an average of only 2% of their followers.

Video is now favored by Facebook over regular, static posts and it also has a Stories function as well. While FB Stories is not as popular as Instagram’s, any video post will be served up to followers more frequently than other posts within the normal news feed. Facebook is also a great platform to post static announcements and events! Facebook’s event spin off “Local” app is quickly being adopted by businesses to promote webinars, special events or sales with Facebook’s geo-targeting capabilities. Utilize Facebook for important company events, post videos (again behind the scenes or LIVE events are popular), integrate some #Hashtags and again include a few Emojis for best results.

LinkedIn

Considered the “professional” virtual networking platform. LinkedIn is a great source for B2B business building and recruitment. LinkedIn was purchased by MicroSoft in 2016 and has since made several other acquisitions to become an important recruitment tool in the business world. So what should you be doing on LinkedIn?

On your personal page, you should be reaching out to new connections on a regular basis to grow your network. Giving and asking for skill endorsements as well as recommendations are important to increase your profile’s credibility. Additionally, posting articles and news feed items that your connections like or comment on raises your profile’s visibility.

On your Company page, posting articles will again raise the profile of your page. Ask people to follow it via your personal page and monitor the insights available on the company page. What are people liking / commenting on? Continue to serve up content that will attract more followers. Making it a mix of other content sources and original content (like from your website’s blog!) will again help your company’s overall SEO.

Google+

When coming up with a marketing strategy, working to boost your company’s social media profile and boosting your company’s website SEO can be accomplished by utilizing Google+. Who uses Google+ still? Well, there are some die-hard communities that still utilize this platform, like Social Media Professionals, but when Google looks for search results for your query, it likes to look at its own properties first – like Google+ and Google My Business. By posting on Google+, your content is going to be picked up on relevant searches before other external sources. The content doesn’t have to be different from items you are posting on other social media platforms either – you just need to post it!

Bottom line is, a majority of Americans are now engaging on-line everyday with one or more social media platforms. Having a specific strategy to reach your specific audience is crucial in today’s busy Social Media realm. Reach out to Social Thrive today to get started on your social media strategy plan!

 

 

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Blog Writing

5 Important Tips in Writing Your Company Blog

Writing a blog for your company is now considered an important factor in helping customers find you.

How? People turn to the web to help them solve problems. You will want to create blog entries that will help solve your potential customer’s issues, but also help with search engine optimization (SEO) to bring you to the customer with their search query.  Here are the 5 items to keep in mind when writing:

1 – Go for Quality vs. Quantity: Before changes in search engine algorithms, writing frequent blog posts would increase the likelihood of your website being served up on internet searches. Today, Google and other major engines are rewarding content generators on the quality of the information being produced and its relevancy to what people are searching for. Whatever posting schedule you come up with (monthly or bi-weekly for instance) stick with it so your readers know what to expect and when, as consistency is important in keeping your website visible with your readers.

2 – Timely and Relevant: Writing about topics that your readership views as important (and valuable enough to share) is also critical to getting your blog noticed. It will also establish your area of expertise and been seen as a credible source of information. Brainstorm a list of items that are relevant to your customers and then look at what are “hot topics” going on in your industry or the larger marketplace that could impact your customers – then blog about it!

3 – Keep Your Audience in Mind: Search engines look at overall length, how hard or easy it is to read, type of language used and how many times you use the keyword in the post to help in relevancy ranking. While long format postings tend to do better with search engines, put yourself in your reader’s shoes; Are they super busy? Then be brief or utilize bullets to make your key points visible. Do they want in-depth explanations and technical details? Then make it longer. Writing for them will help you reach your ideal client.

4 – Continue to evaluate what is working: Look at what posts got comments, likes / shares, links or clicks through to your contact form. Conversion from information seeker to customer is an important ROI of your website’s performance, so monitoring and measuring it on an on-going basis is important.

5 – Integrate your blog into your larger marketing strategy: Include your blog in your social media strategy by posting it in your different channels, use relevant posts in printed materials for prospective customers and use your blog to announce company events or information.

Need some help with your company’s blog? Contact Social Thrive about how we can help you come up with a plan!

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B2B

B2B Challenges

Business-to-Business companies have many of the same challenges Business-to-Consumer entities do; Establishing a brand, staying ahead of the marketplace and customer loyalty are key to successful B2B operators.

Establishing Your Brand

B2B companies have to overcome the normal obstacles of establishing a brand and creating a market for themselves without many of the advantages of other “consumer brand” companies have. Companies don’t know that they need your product or service. Not only do you have to establish what you do and why you do it, but you have to appeal to other businesses as to how it will benefit from them. Do most companies recognize new technology or market innovations that will benefit their business? Not necessarily. Successful B2B companies, like Salesforce, appeal to businesses on the basis of fueling growth. Creating strong messaging and successful case studies around why your company will help another’s business is the key to carving out your market share.

Technology Changes

Technology has also fueled innovation at a dizzying pace. It is difficult to keep up with the latest trends or new competitors to the marketplace. Consistently evaluate your offerings to stay relevant: Assess competitors, stay current with industry trends and evaluate customer demands.

Customer Retention

Working with your current customers to retain them is also key to making your B2B business more successful than most. The costs involved in retaining a customer is 5 to 6 times less than finding a new one, according to Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company. By retaining current customers and using them to talk about successes in working together, you will attract new customers.

 

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Social Media Policy

Social Media Policy: What Every Employer Should Give Their Employees

Using social media to promote your company is an important part of doing business today. Outlining the rules of engagement for your employees on social media channels to protect your brand and reputation within a policy guideline is also a business necessity.

A Social Media Policy doesn’t have to be a detailed document, as demonstrated by the adidas group, but it should include guidelines around your company’s official accounts and how employees should conduct themselves on their personal accounts.

Rules Around Your Company’s Official Social Media Accounts

  • Specify who is responsible for managing posting and interactions on your company’s official social media accounts. This could include customer service departments, HR, IT and public-facing executives.
  • Give specifics about how employees can share important company news and what they can share. Utilizing your employees to spread your company’s messaging on social media is a great way of increasing your web presence. 
  • Specify what company logo images should be used by employees. This will keep the look of your social media presence consistent.
  • Remind employees of the usage of stock images and how to obtain permission prior to use on the internet.

Employee Personal Account Conduct

  • Define what behaviors will result in disciplinary action. Without specifying what activities are prohibited, your company may not be able to fire an employee for misconduct.
  • Give employees a course of action if an issue arises with an interaction – do they call HR? Or Marketing?
  • Remind them that company issued technology are the property of the company as is all information and usage on those devices, including social media sites or apps.
  • Outline potential security risks associated with using social media platforms along with best practices to avoid potential virus infection or security breaches. Again, give employees next steps on whom to contact should they detect any issues.

Social media platforms are constantly evolving.  Your policy should be continually assessed and updated annually. Additionally, there are different laws globally governing what companies can or can’t do around monitoring or enforcing policies with employee social media usage or monitoring. You will need to consult with your legal department on what applies to your company’s operations.

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Open SIgn

Where Do Your Customers Come From?

Where do your customers come from?  If you answer this question with anecdotal evidence and not hard numbers, then it’s time to start looking at ways to track the answer.

Why is monitoring your traffic sources so important? Assessing your on-going advertising is key in ensuring your business is spending marketing money where it contributes the most revenue growth.

What are the different ways to find out how your customers found you?

  • Ask at time of sale – “How did you hear about us?” should be a part of your checkout process and RECORD their answer! This can be in-person or through the electronic form they complete on your website. Train your sales staff to include this question in their customer service dialogue. Make recording the answer as simple as possible, like a tally sheet at the register or, for a website, a single drop-down menu or check box to ensure you get an answer!
  • Survey – Send a quick inquiry to your current or former customer list with an incentive for them to complete (like a coupon good for their next visit!) to get the answers you need AND drive traffic back to you.
  • Google Analytics – Anyone with a website should have Google Analytics set-up to see what sites are referring traffic to yours. Is it social media sites?, organic searches? or links from other websites? Google will tell you just about everything.
  • Coded Advertising – If you do a direct mailing, print or media advertisement (such as social media, TV or Radio) with an offer, then have a code on it to track how many people respond by utilizing that unique code or link.
  • Tracked Phone Calls – If you have customers calling, tracking where they got your number from is often a forgotten piece of the puzzle. Phone call tracking systems can record how customers found your website (paid search, free search, social media, referral sites etc.) by giving them a unique number to call and many integrate with Google Analytics to give you timely conversion information.

All of these different ways of measuring where your customer traffic is coming from will help you spend marketing money effectively and keep tabs on your customer base.

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Instagram

How to Use Instagram for Your Business

It’s no secret that Instagram can help get your business noticed on social media. What tends to elude some businesses is how. With over 700 million active accounts on Instagram and more “Story” users than Snapchat, creating an Instagram feed that is going to help your business can seem daunting, but it can be an important tool if you can clearly show your audience why you are on this platform.

1 – Clarify your Purpose

Are you going to raise brand awareness, drive sales, increase website traffic, or engage customers? Being clear on the intent of the company’s Instagram account will help keep content focused and consistent. Keep in mind that Instagram’s demographics tend to run younger and they are looking for a specific experience when going on this site: something positive, authentic, and identifiable.

Start with crafting a candid bio blurb and use a profile photo that is consistent with your website and other social media platforms. Optimize your profile by including as much pertinent information as possible. Be sure when doing this to include a link to your website to drive traffic to your company’s designated page which you can track in Google Analytics.

You will need to know how to develop content for your profile vs your Instagram Stories. Keep in mind it’s not only why you use one over the other but how. With a 24-hour view-ability, the biggest differentiator are that Stories are more timely, personal and “on the go”. They can be video and images like regular Instagram posts, but can be interactive with fun overlays like polls and live hashtags. Instagram posts themselves should be much more planned and formatted within a cohesive visual theme.

The latest Stories Highlight function lets you pin any one of your Stories to your page and lets people click within your bio to view it if they happened to miss it within your Story itself. Think of it as your own video message waiting for people to see when they want to learn more about your company!

Instagram’s Insights function will also help you understand follower demographics, what stories get “likes”, profile visits or website clicks.  Then you can refine your messaging guidelines based on what is getting “likes” or comments.

2 – Help your Customer Find You

Since Instagram uses an algorithm to serve up content vs. serving it up in chronological order, it is important to make your posts more “visible” to users by using different tools within the app:

  • Geotags: For traditional “brick and mortar” businesses adding your business location to your posts will help people locate you, they can “check in” when they visit you and search for posts in their current location. You can also “re-gram” their posts (also known as User Generated Content or UGC) should they use your geotag.
  • Connecting to other Instagrammers: Just like in Twitter, the ‘@’ symbol is how you tag others within your post caption or Story. Be sure to engage with users on their pages too!
  • Hashtag: Adding hashtags to your post caption can also help you reach a larger audience. It could be a trending hashtag or something specific to your brand. The more the better; but remember only have a few hashtags within the caption and create a comment under your post with an additional 20 hashtags. It keeps your original post clutter-free.

3 – Tell your Company’s Story

Moving beyond regular photo posting, Instagram Stories was introduced in 2016 and has become more popular than Snapchat. The Stories function can be a collection of up to 10 photos or short videos, highlighted at the top of the Instagram home page.

As with regular photo posts, being clear on the intent of the “story” is important.  Popular business stories include:

  • Giving followers a “Behind the scenes” look at work
  • Sharing your company’s culture to help people understand why your business is more than just a place to work
  • Highlight customer stories with your followers – positive feedback or suggestions you will be implementing based on customer input
  • Show how-to clips on the amazing things your company does
  • Utilize these nifty Instagram Hacks and take advantage of some of the additional stylistic features Instagram offers to make your content pop even more

These video insights into your business can also be done with a LIVE broadcast using Instagram.  Real-time broadcasts are a great way to promote events, celebrations or capture news as it is happening. Instagram will also ping your followers each time you go live with a “catch it before it’s over” urgency. This is a major perk to utilizing the LIVE feature.

4 – Starting Ads

Just like in Facebook, you can advertise on Instagram, but you can utilize features specific to Instagram, like Stories, to promote your business. Instagram does give you the streamlined capability to manage your ads simultaneously on both Instagram and Facebook. This framework includes four options to display ad content (Photos, Videos, Carousel or Stories).  There are also lots of ways to target your audience including location, demographics, interests, behaviors and more!  These precise ways of targeting people means you don’t need a huge budget for ads. Analyzing results to see who you are reaching is important to refine your message or ad spend.

Knowing your audience and how to reach them is key to being successful on a social media platform. Instagram for Business is positioned to help companies reach their target audience and backs it up with data, too! If starting out your company on Instagram seems daunting, remember that’s what Social Drive is for!

#doyouinstagram? #instagood

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mubariz-mehdizadeh-427362

Gifts for the Techno Geeks

It’s not too late to find some last-minute gifts for the techies in your life!

Here are some of our favorite suggestions from around the web:

  • Tune in anywhere with Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth 360 Portable Speaker to listen to their music or podcast. Or they could record one with this Snowball USB Microphone.
  • Instead of typing queries into Google, just ask the Google Home Typing is SO 2017!
  • Know someone with a tough commute? Make it easier with the gift of Audible books that they can listen to while driving.
  • Is your bestie like the nutty professor who keeps misplacing things? Get them a tile 4-pack and they’ll never lose their keys or phone again!
  • Have a budding scientist who enjoys brewed beverages? This pint glass will fill their heart with joy (and smug self-satisfaction).
  • The gamer in your life will wear this t-shirt all weekend long while playing. Maybe you can get them a back-up shirt as well. Or something for them to play on like the new Nintendo Switch. Make sure they stay hydrated!
  • Just in time for the new Star Wars movie, help your friend deck the halls with festive R2-D2 lights. More of a dark side fan? We’ve got that covered too.Star wars
  • When all the shopping is done, how about a gift for yourself like a pair of Noise Cancelling headphones 🙂
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Person working on computer

Social Media Legal Matters and Copyright Questions Answered

We can all agree that Social Media channels are among the most informal spaces for users and marketers. With that comes a much more relaxed attitude about certain things, including Copyright, Trademarks, and other legalities. We often receive questions from clients regarding these topics and so we decided to lay it out on our blog.

Often times clients confuse what’s OK for individual users to post on Social and what’s LEGAL for business to post.

There really is no right answer, and we are not lawyers, but we can offer up some best practices and rules of thumb to help keep you on the safer side. Any look on Google for “answers” (because well it’s 2017 :P), most “answers” you see are very confusing and far more complex and in-depth than most marketers and business owners expect or would like. Here are the top three concerns we often talk about with clients:

  1. Trademarking Logos
  2. Stock photos
  3. Music

Trademark

Trademark laws typically cover anything that might be used to identify a company, so of course, most logos are created entirely for this reason, which means logos are generally protected under Trademark Laws. You might ask why larger companies don’t use the TM or R symbols across their platforms and the answer is simple, a large company known by millions is not going to have as many people trying to steal their logo or use their logo in an inappropriate way. For much smaller companies that may not be the case which is why our research leads us to one thing: be proactive, adding the TM or R symbol to your logo is a great way to help prevent others from using your logo.

Photos

“If it’s on the internet it’s fair game.” We hear this a lot. While in many cases using images you don’t own on Facebook is common, given credit to the owner of the image is always recommended. Anytime you are using someone else’s image you are using property that THEY own, not you. However, DO NOT, in any case, use any image you don’t own on a business website. Even with giving the owner credit, this could get you in big trouble. Be sure to purchase or get written consent before publishing images on your website. The biggest distinction is to think of it this way: if you’re using someone’s creative property to sell or make money (whether in an ad or on your website (a place of business), and the person can sue you. Unless there is a Creative Commons License stamped on the image, it is royalty-free, or you have paid for a stock image, you do not have rights to those images.

If asking for permission or buying the image is not an option, there are plenty of great FREE stock photo websites.  One royalty free website we can confidently recommend is Unsplash. Facebook also has a massive stock library of photos free for you to use if you are advertising on their platform. *OR* be original and create your own custom images. It’s the best way to 100% avoid any issues with Copyright laws and is the best way to personalize your brand!

Music

Another common concern we hear about is using or creating videos with music. Facebook is going to much greater lengths to control what videos are put out on Facebook and many of you have probably run into this in the past with YouTube already. If you try to create a Facebook Live video and Facebook bots hear copyrighted music they will stop your video immediately.

Just like images you use on your pages, you must have rights to the music you use. Ways to avoid running into an issue like this would be by getting your music through websites such as https://audiojungle.net/ or the YouTube music library if you’re on YouTube. It might not be as great as your favorite Beyoncé single but in the long term, it can prevent any potential lawsuits.

While this topic is complex and ever-evolving, we believe some of the best practices we listed above will help you to steer clear of any legal troubles you could come across. Knowledge is power, here is a link from the government to learn more about copyright and copyright laws. If you have further questions about topics we didn’t cover in this blog, just reach out to us!