Tag : marketing

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How to Market Your Brand Through a Crisis covid 19

How to Market Your Brand Through a Crisis

It’s no secret we are in uncharted territory with the spread of COVID-19. Now more than ever, business owners and consumers alike are taking a hard look at the way they used to live and operate in their day to day. While so much of life as we knew it has halted, you may be wondering how to appropriately market your brand through a crisis?

Let’s discuss the ways in which you can remain helpful and positive:

Allow for Questions

In uncertain times there will be a lot of questions. It’s no secret people always find comfort in those who take the time to hear their questions and supply them with answers. Is your business is equipped to handle any questions your customers have? You can do this by training your Customer Support staff in areas you believe need the most attention. It’s also so important that answers are consistent across the board. Having all of your team on the same page will ensure uniformity and less room for confusion between consumers.  How important is Customer Service? 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service. If you are able to remain open, honest, and helpful your brand will retain business.

Accommodate As Much As Possible

In a crisis or a situation that shakes people from their norm, there is nothing more important that accommodating their requests (within boundaries). Sometimes something as small as a 10% discount or coupon code can really make someone’s day and gain a sale you wouldn’t have otherwise had. If you are a brick and mortar location, try onboarding products online for an ecommerce approach to supplement sales for the time being. If the thought of have an ecommerce site is daunting, keep in mind the additional platforms such as Amazon and E bay, to ensure you are accessible online to some degree. The best part about migrating your merchandise to an online platform is that you never have to close! The number one reason people shop online is that they’re able to stop at all hours of the day. There are so many ways to ensure your consumers feel taken care of when times are hard. Get creative!

Transparency is Key

As we’ve discussed in the past, personalization is king. Consumers want to learn more and more about the character behind the brand. Talk to your audience as if they are all close friends. Let them know how your business is being affected and how that can potentially affect them. If your business has no plans to change during the crisis or has plans for huge changes, let your loyal customers know. 87% of consumers surveyed say that personally relevant branded content positively influences how they feel about a brand. Sharing is expected these days, don’t let your brand be left behind with your audience hearing crickets.

Be a Helping Hand

Become a resource. This is a great way to ensure your brand is useful in the chaos a crisis can bring. Survey how you can help and give your audience the resources they need most. If a consumer remembers how dependable you were in trying times, they will be sure to remember you when everything is back to normal.

Your Message Matters

Communication is so important in scary times. It is crucial to remember the importance of a relevant, meaningful message than to post just for the sake of posting.  Consumers invested in your brand want to hear from you. Any way you can make life feel normal in abnormal times will make a difference. Have the owner of the company address your audience directly with a mission statement about moving forward. Have different staff members give updates and even share personal stories of how they’re coping. Include tips and tricks of how your audience can pass the time in a productive manner. Consider what customers need and want to hear from your organization to best help your brand while dodging potential risks. If you can make your consumers feel not so alone you will create a sense of community and gain reputability.

Feel Good, Feels Good

You can never go wrong with a feel good story especially when times seem a little daunting. The most comforting part of any crisis is that there are always people willing to help. Sometimes, it’s great to break up consumers’ news feed by reminding them there is always help around the corner. Highlight local heroes that are doing amazing things to help out around the community, highlight ways people have donated their time or funds to help out local businesses/shelters. Put a smile on someone’s face. It’s a great reason to be top of mind.

While we find ourselves in unprecedented times now, there are always positive ways your company can make the situation a little brighter. If your brand is remembered for being the calm in the storm, it will take you far with consumers; long after the situation has resolved itself. There are appropriate ways to market your brand through a crisis and Social Thrive is always here to help. Please contact us if we can assist you in any way.

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Useful Marketing Tactics

5 Marketing Tactics to be Thankful For

It’s time to baste the turkey while giving thanks for all we have! While you’re at the table, don’t forget to give thanks for the digital marketing tactics that allow your business to thrive.

Here are 5 marketing tactics we’re thankful for this season:

Targeting/Retargeting

Because targeted display ads ensure exposure to the right audience, this tactic is one of the best ways to spend your marketing dollars. Targeted ads are, on average, almost twice as effective as non-targeted ads using the information we know about consumers based on their online behavior. Because the goal is to serve your ad to the ideal consumer, you can select specific demographics, locations, and behaviors. Retargeting serves your ad to an individual who was previously on your site. By serving retargeting ads, your brand is giving a friendly digital nudge to remember your services and products. Studies show website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are more likely to convert by 70%.

SEO

Did you know Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average? That equates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Populate organically across search engines by utilizing Search Engine Optimization to enhance the ranking of your products and services. Using quality content, relevant keywords and link building, SEO can be a huge asset when it comes to gaining exposure.

Really Social Social Media Marketing

Consumers have made it loud and clear they are looking for a more personalized user experience. Because of this, social media remains a powerful marketing tool, allowing consumers to choose which brands they follow. 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media over one they do not. Social media marketing not only reminds consumers consistently of your products but also allows your brand to engage directly with loyal followers through comments, messaging and reviews.

User-Generated Content

With all the technology we have today, word of mouth is still one of the most powerful tools in marketing. User-Generated Content provides word of mouth with a modern twist. This type of marketing can be presented as reviews on a product or website by a happy customer or even by an influencer who uploads photos and videos of their experience to their social media following. 84% of millennials report that user-generated content has some influence on what they buy, which makes this one of the best ways to reach an audience at little to no cost.

E-mail Marketing

An effective e-mail marketing campaign is an ideal way to reach a large number of people in a personalized manner. Did you know e-mails with personalized subject lines generate 50% higher open rates? Your brand can easily send e-mails to keep consumers up to date with company happenings, product launches or to wish them a happy birthday. The more personalized you get with your message, the better.

If you’re looking to implement some of these marketing tactics into your strategy, Social Thrive can help! Contact us today to get started.

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2019 trends

Social Media Marketing Trends in 2019

Depending on how you look at it, social media marketing (SMM) has been evolving for more than 20 years. Ever since the 1997 launch of the very first social media site, Six Degrees, marketers have considered how (or if) they can use platforms to engage target audiences. For the first decade, SMM was primarily organic, as marketers tried to connect the way we do with personal friends. It still works to a degree, if done correctly, but in the last 10 years paid advertising has taken hold and continues to grow.

Yes, SMM presents opportunities for brands and businesses, but also tough challenges. The many platforms evolve independently, with changing algorithms, technologies, audience behaviors and preferences, and the occasional government regulation. That pace can be head-spinning, at times occurring abruptly or within a short span of months

Of the many resources that help us understand the SMM landscape, one of the most insightful is the 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, directed by Michael Stelzner, co-founder of Social Media Examiner. The longest-running study of its kind, this 11thannual edition surveys how more than 4,800 marketers worldwide—representing all industry sectors and organizational sizes—currently use or plan to use social media.

The 2019 report is available to download, and we’d like to share here some of the interesting trends that it reveals, as discussed by Michael Stelzner on the Social Media Marketing Talk Show…

Facebook is trending down for the first time in five years. In 2013, Facebook was the most important marketing channel for 52% of survey participants, steadily rising to 67% in 2018 before slipping back to 61% this year. Why? Stelzner suggests that almost all organic activity is being repressed, perhaps in response to Facebook’s privacy and politics concerns of the last few years. According to 77% of survey participants, the platform is getting more complicated and providing diminishing returns on the effort.

Instagram continues to grow. In 2015, only 2% of marketers said it was their single most important marketing platform. Since then it has climbed respectively to 4%, 7%, 10% and now 14%, earning a rank only slightly above LinkedIn. Moreover, 69% plan to increase their use of Instagram. Marketers are especially interested in the popular Stories feature (reportedly, 100 million are consumed each day). Yet they are also still learning that Stories require well-planned, consistent, attention-getting content. Time will tell whether organic content continues to be effective on Instagram, or whether algorithms shift, pushing marketers to rely increasingly on paid content, as they have on Facebook.

Live video is weak, and will remain so without planning and investment. Much like Stories, the effective use of Facebook’s live video requires significant resources, time and patience to realize a return on investment. Meanwhile, the algorithms appear to be repressing the content. No surprise then that only 35% of survey participants use it, and 44% want nothing to do with it. Conversely, Stelzner notes, low utilization rates may create opportunities for those who can do it the right way.

Interest in Messenger bots is fading. Facebook launched Messenger’s chatbot feature in 2016 and by 2018, 70% of the survey pool wanted to learn more about them. This year, just 14% actually use them, 45% care to learn more, and 53% have no plans to use Messenger bots. As it turns out, the programming them is quite complicated, and marketers still question whether their audiences seek or expect meaningful engagement with bots, at least with current AI technology.

Diversification is critical.Some businesses may do well by marketing on just one or two social media platforms, but that is becoming increasingly difficult, especially on Facebook. Stelzner says the future there about privacy and groups, as exposure and reach become harder for those who don’t invest heavily. Thus, as they have since long before the dawn of social media, marketers must continue to innovate, strategize and discover the channels where they can best engage and serve their target audience.

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podcast marketing

Podcasting as a Marketing Tool

As marketing trends evolve and businesses adapt to customer demands, industry leaders are looking for new ways to reach and engage their target audience. While social media, content marketing, PPC, and B2B are all promotional strategies companies should continue to employ, it may be time to think outside the box.

If you want your business to stand out against a saturated market, consider implementing alternative marketing tools, like podcasting. Podcasting is unique way to access a captive audience, increase leads and conversions, and establish brand awareness. It’s also growing; ad spending is predicted to reach $534 million by 2020, up from $43 million in 2010. You do the math!

Not convinced? Here are six reasons podcasting may be an ideal addition to your company’s marketing strategy:

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING & AWARENESS

Marketing is nothing without relationships. While podcasts don’t allow conversation between consumer and provider, listeners are able to get to know the speaker on a more personal level. It establishes a sense of connection and trust and helps demonstrate a company’s authenticity. It’s one thing to write about why your business is a customer’s best option; it’s another to show it. By the time your show is over, listeners will feel like they know you and will want to be associated with your brand.

CONVENIENT FOR CONSUMERS

Think of all the people who commute to and from work each day. Now consider all the people who own smartphones. Audio content is a simple, hands-free form of education and entertainment. It allows small businesses to tap into a market that few others have access to. For example, if you drive to work, you may tune into the radio. If you take a train, you may see several print advertisements on the subway walls and maybe a few video commercials, but not much else. You are left with your thoughts or your headphones. Podcasts are an easy way for consumers to maximize their time without having to carry anything extra.

THEY’RE HIGHLY ENGAGING

In many cases, audio is easier to consume than text, making listeners pay closer attention and for longer periods. As of June 2019, 80% of podcast consumers listen to all or most of each episode, and tune into to an average of seven shows per week.

Additionally, when someone subscribes to a podcast, they don’t have to be targeted any further like they may with PPC advertisements. In most cases, their smartphone will automatically download or sync itself to any new episodes that are published, making it easy for marketers to reach former listeners. If you continue to produce quality content, your consumers will keep listening.

MORE CUSTOMERS AND CONVERSIONS

Targeting an untouched market allows companies to attain customers they may not have otherwise reached. While podcasting is still relatively new, there is an enormous demographic looking for new shows to tune into, and your show could be the first time they’re learning about your business.

The more awareness you build, the more conversions you will see. A clear and relevant CTA at the end of your episode will increase traffic and help customers stay in touch, or access whatever you choose to promote.

THEY’RE STILL UNIQUE

While podcasting is growing, most companies will face little competition. This marketing tool allows businesses to establish themselves as authority figures in their industry, particularly when they’re among the first to present themselves to listeners. Because it is a vocal platform, you as the provider can demonstrate why you and your company are their best option. Set yourselves apart!

THEY’RE AFFORDABLE & EASY TO PRODUCE

Podcast equipment and software are inexpensive, making this marketing method accessible to almost any budget. With a microphone and an editing program, just about anyone can create the content they need. A plus? You don’t have to have a strict script or plan; if you have a basic topic and structure to follow, you can talk with your guest and see what comes out of it. In fact, this relaxed conversational style is what many consumers prefer.

Podcasts are easily integrated into any existing digital marketing plan. Whether you are trying to sell products or services, are looking to grow your email list, or are simply focused on lead generation, this powerful marketing tool can take your business to the next level.

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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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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

Welcome Diana Rodrigues to the Social Drive Team!

Diana RodriguesDiana joined us in December of 2015 and has been a great addition to the Social Drive team.  Diana brings with her experience in the social media marketing world.  She enjoys following social media influencers, like Gary V and Carlos Gil, and integrating their thoughts and ideas into her daily routine. She is always curious to learn more about social media and be the best marketer she can be. She is a recent graduate of Suffolk University, where she studied marketing and international business. As a junior, she studied abroad in Rome, Italy at John Cabot, where her passion for travel truly blossomed. These days, you will find her tweeting, Instagramming and blogging her way through her latest and greatest adventures.

Diana is an avid live-poster and loves to share events in real-time. If you can’t attend an event, she feels you should be able to experience it through social media. Diana also loves to follow brands on social media and always says, “People are behind the brand – Make it fun, interesting,  and most of all, personable. You’re talking to another person, not a robot.”

Her interests include:

  • Event marketing and management;
  • Live-posting;
  • Brand management; and
  • Personal branding

Diana is also an active member of the local Portuguese-American community, volunteering her expertise in social media marketing toward preserving and promoting culture. She works with many organizations, including the International Portuguese Music Awards, the Boston Portuguese Festival and the Young Portuguese Americans organization, based in the Bay Area of  California.

Connect with Diana on Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat at @diana_rdrgs or about.me/diana_rdrgs. Welcome to the Social Drive Team!