Tag : social media

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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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Restaurant Social Media Tips

4 Tips for Restaurants and Social Media

Running a restaurant is hard work and using social media to get customers in the door is an important part of your marketing strategy. Besides posting about specials – what else should you be doing on social media if you are in the food business?

1 – People will respond to beautiful photos of food

There is a Chinese expression that says you “Eat with your eyes first”, meaning if the food looks appealing, then you are more likely to enjoy it. This means you need quality photos of plating arrangements of your menu offerings to post on social media platforms. Also, what is photographed should be an accurate depiction of what you serve to your customers everyday. NOTHING will upset a customer more than expecting the beautiful dish they saw on your Instagram feed and get a completely different plating.

2 – Remember that Social Media is a SOCIAL platform

Posting on social media is not enough – you need to engage with your customers; responding to comments, celebrate your staff, have your own #hashtag, send followers special offers and repost customer “fan” pictures! These activities will show customers that you care about them – even if they aren’t in your restaurant at that moment.

Engagement also includes responding to reviews – good or bad.It’s always important to respond professionally to negative reviews; this shows that you care about your customer base and value their input. Have a plan for how you respond to comments, messages, reviews and an assigned person to do so in a timely manner.

3 – Capitalize on what is happening in your community

Showing your customers that you are a part of their community can create a sense of loyalty – beyond having a loyalty program! Sponsoring a little league team, cross-marketing with other businesses in your area, and hosting business networking or chamber groups will demonstrate that your place of business is more than just food!

4 – Video will create excitement

Video is how more and more social media users are “consuming” their feeds. Restaurants can capitalize on video by posting content that patrons may not get to see everyday; chefs talking about the food they are prepping before opening, server team meetings tasting / talking about the specials you have planned for the night, bartenders creating something amazing – these are all examples that show the “behind the scenes” of your operation – and followers love it! Posting videos will make customers feel like they are a part of what you do, beyond just eating your food!

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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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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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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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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!

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Social Media on your Brand

Social Media Impacts Your Company’s Brand

Nowadays, it’s incredibly common for people to check out an organization’s Facebook page before buying its product or service. As we know, first impressions are crucial even on the web! The messages an organization frames on social media can receive heavy traffic so they must accurately portray it.

Branding in the Age of Social Media

Facebook has become a mecca for updating where you are and what you are doing there. You might discover a new restaurant when your friends tag themselves there for a romantic dinner. You may learn of a new place for your kids to play when a fellow mom posts pictures of her kids having fun there. Now more than ever, we have access to information on organizations.

We want to go to a company’s Facebook page to find out more about it. We can read reviews, see images, and find links to its website.There is this increased desire to share our experiences, good or bad, with each other. People can get passionate about their like or dislike for a brand. With the help of social media people can share those strong feelings. An online review and rating can make or break a person’s decision about a brand.

So does this make branding easier or harder?

The answer is not so simple. The ability to build brand awareness may be more achievable. However, it is challenging and time consuming to maintain relationships with the public. Studies done by the Pew Research Center say that 69% of Americans use social media.  These numbers continue to climb. According to a survey by Cone Communications, 93% of those people expect companies to have a social media presence. 

This doesn’t just mean Facebook. It includes all of the main social mediums, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

It’s not as simple as having a social media presence. The goal is to use each form of social media in the best ways to frame effective messages that reach consumers. There is a science behind when and what to post. It’s usually connected to an overall larger communication plan that is carefully crafted based on research. Social media also provides an opportunity to connect with the public in a personal way and respond to customer complaints.

This is why it is crucial for an organization to have a social media expert on it’s PR team to represent the brand.

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social media

Optimizing your Social Media Presence

Effective use of social media is a necessity in today’s business landscape. All forms of social media provide opportunities to get in touch with customers in a quick and relatively inexpensive way. Jayson DeMers recently wrote about optimizing social media profiles for Forbes. In this post, we’re going to share some of his tips, as well as our own, to help get your social media presence on Facebook into tip-top shape.

Visuals
The cover photo is the perfect place to get creative and to express the essence of your business. For example, restaurants might want to choose a picture that features a signature or popular dish. It is also important to consider that mobile devices account for 65 percent of all digital screen time. Therefore, be sure that your cover photo will format well on computers, 828 x 315 pixels, as well as smartphones, 640 x 360 pixels.

Information
Customers will often seek out information about a business on social media before using any other avenue. Use the ‘About’ section of Facebook to your advantage by providing as much information as possible in a clear and concise manner. Include any external website addresses as well as hours of operation and physical location. In regards to content, don’t just share products or services. Add value by sharing articles, videos and photos that relate to your business and its lifestyle.

Interaction
Creating an online presence for your business does not have to be time-consuming. Set aside a certain amount of time each day or week to respond to inquiries and schedule posts. Interact with your followers by sharing behind the scenes information and company news with them. Respond to comments and questions with an upbeat and friendly tone and re-post positive reviews from satisfied customers. In order to encourage more interaction from your followers, consider running a social media contest or creating a unique, business related hashtag.

Remember, it is worse to have an inactive social presence than none at all! Starting with these tips should put your business on the right track. Feel free to reach out to us on social media for guidance or help getting started.

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download

Geo-filtering Between the Lines

Social media has changed the way we communicate with everyone from Grandma Marie to little cousin Kaylie. From Facebook to Pinterest to Instagram, we’re on it all. But what about Snapchat? Who uses it and what’s a geo-filter? We’ll break it down for you.

Snapchat is a messaging app that’s all about posting photos and videos. It’s THE network right now. Over 70% of Millennials use Snapchat and the figure only continues to grow. One of the defining features of Snapchat are its geo-filters. “What’s a geo-filter,” you ask? It’s a special filter that provides a location (city, business or event) on top of your photo. But did you know that you can create your own filter?

Here’s how to make your own Snapchat filter, according to their website:

  1. Visit geofilters.snapchat.com to download your 1080 x 1920 Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop template. Create a design and/or logo to incorporate into your filter and drop it into the template. The design must adhere to Snapchat’s guidelines and fit into the template. Snapchat offers two types of filters – business (for businesses and brands) and personal (ex: weddings or graduations).
  2. Set dates and times for your geo-filter to go live. Filters can only be scheduled on an hourly basis (and remember to check your am’s and pm’s!). The geo-filter can be live for a max of 30 days.
  3. Draw a fence around where you’d like the geo-filter to be visible – you can cover anywhere from 20,000 square feet (minimum) to 5 million square feet (maximum). Keep in mind that the longer your geo-filter is up or the larger the area it covers, the higher the cost may be. Visit Snapchat for more information on pricing details.
  4. Check-out: verify order details and enter credit card info before submitting the order.
  5. Snap away!

Now that your geo-filter is up, you want to take a peek at the analytics. How do you do that? Visit geofilters.snapchat.com and click on your username in the upper right-hand corner, selecting, “My Orders” from the dropdown menu. The analytics (aka metrics) will appear below. The metrics are usually available about 24 hours after the geo-filter has ended. A delay with the metrics listed is possible.

This short video explains the submission process, as well.

Happy Snapping!

Sources:

Snapchat.com

http://www.firebrandgroup.com/snapchat-geofilters-definitive-guide/

http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/snapchat-statistics/

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