Category: Social Media

04
Feb

The Social Network

Oh social media. Somedays we love you and somedays we just don’t get you. We post too much and people don’t engage, then we scale it down to every few days and customers might like our stuff, but it is not a guarantee. Social media and content driven tactics like blogging may seem unpredictable, and yes it can be, but there are a few rules of thumb that will get you back in control of your social and ready to dominate just about everything.

The Sean Parker Notion

What exactly does that mean? It means that you don’t want to jump on the social wagon down the road, get in on the action now so that your business can actually enjoy the benefits of your hard work. If you don’t already have social profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, what are you waiting for? Social is here to stay and businesses in your industry have already been using this free marketing tool to their benefit.

Never be afraid to try a new social media platform. Companies like Facebook and Twitter all started with one follower. If you are introduced to a new platform that hasn’t really grown yet, don’t be afraid to try it out because there is a good chance it could explode, and you and your business will already have had your feet in the water.

Social channels to consider signing up for:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • Youtube
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+

Avoid a Winklevoss Loss

Copying an idea isn’t exactly what you want to be doing with your social media channels. No one likes to see businesses in the same industry doing the same thing. It’s gets boring and will win you no points with your consumers.

Instead be original in your content. Utilize your brand’s style and voice in your social media posts, that way no one could ever doubt it’s your work. Standing out within your industry is the goal of every big or small business, and social media allows you to do that easily.

Tips to be original in your social media:

  • Use your own images in posts for a creative touch and opportunity to showcase what your business offers or how your brand differs from others.
  • Creative language. We cannot stress enough that every piece of content your business launches needs to have your brand’s tone and voice present. Social media is a perfect platform to show your audience your unique style through content.
  • Offer social media only promotions. Not only will this be unique to your business, it will help expand your social following, which could lead to more new customers.

Post Like A Zuckerberg Boss

Posting every day to social media is a must, but there is always the debate of how often. Once a day? Twice? Is every social media platform the same? We can tell you this, every social media platform is not the same and the amount of times per day to post depends on that platform and the content you have ready to share.

Facebook posts should be no more than twice a day. Why? Because people don’t like to see the same business posting multiple times per day. It’s an aggressive form of marketing and is why twice a day is plenty.

Twitter is slightly different. Since you are restricted on the amount of words you can have post per tweet, 2-3 times a day is a great plan for Twitter.

Instagram is kind of the more the merrier. People like looking at imagery so 1-2 times per day is awesome, but feel free to sneak in a few more if you have extra great photos for your business that day.

There is no exact science to social media, but by following a few guided rules consistently, social media can really enhance how your business connects with customers. So, if you haven’t joined already become a part of the social network and start making each post count.

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04
Jan

Sixth Gear’s 2016 Resolutions!

There is something about starting a new year in business. If last years marketing campaigns or rebranding efforts didn’t really make the cut there is always another year to step your game up, the only question is where to start?

Narrowing down your brand’s “New Years Resolutions” may seem like a resolution in itself, but we’ve got a little guide that will help you outline your 2016 strategy.

#1 Social Media Musts

This is the year to really take your social media efforts seriously. It seems to be an after thought for many small businesses when it should be at the forefront of your marketing regime. Social media has quickly become a necessity for any brand looking to have a competitive edge within their industry, and 2016 will be no different.

Every year new social media platforms are introduced to the public, and businesses in all industries hop on to make their connections with current and potential customers. Your resolution will be to actively participate and utilize your social media accounts to better your business. Posting is just the beginning, this year take an initiative to learn each platform and how to best use analytics to improve how you market your content and connect on the web.

#2 Responsive Design Do’s

Responsive web design is no longer just a trend. Having a website that is easy to navigate on mobile devices is essential to having a strong web presence in your industry. The vast majority of leads lost is due to having an out of date website that cannot be viewed correctly on devices like iPhones and tablets.

Search engines like Google have already begun taking away points to those websites that do not follow the responsive design guidelines. Search engines want the best websites to be fully viewable and accessible for individuals using their search engine, and if your website doesn’t abide then your organic search engine rankings will start to fall off. Your resolution this year if you haven’t already made the switch is to have your website transitioned into a fully responsive design.

#3 Branding Benefits

Your visual identity is often defines your brand, and it needs to be clear, aesthetically pleasing and bold. If you’ve felt that your brand hasn’t had the same response it did years ago or isn’t really catching on with your customers, 2016 might mean the year you consider a rebrand or tweak of your current elements.

Some of the biggest brands in the world have seen branding changes in the course of their history. Updating your brand doesn’t mean a complete overhaul… although sometimes that is needed. Simple changes or a focus on branding other key items in your business like print collateral, social media etc. could help you up your industry game and be the bold choice your customers are looking for. This year’s branding resolution is to take a look at your brand as a whole and decide what works, what doesn’t and what could be improved for a bigger impact.

#4 Web Design Wants

Nothing says a new year like a few web updates. Trends will come in go throughout 2016 but that doesn’t mean you should ignore all of them. A few aesthetic updates on your business’s website will be able to give you a fresh look without redesigning the entire site.

Areas like the navigation bar and home page are simple spots that could change the way your customers use your website without shaking it all up. Your web design resolution is to take a look at your current website and decide if it is organized in a way that is conducive for searching and appealing to your current and potential demographic.

#5 Content Marketing Challenges

If you thought content marketing was going to quietly go away, then we need to sit down and break the news to you… it is here to stay. Content comes in various forms whether it be a blog, post or graphic. We are living in an age where there is always new content being added online, and your business will need to be as active.

Areas of content marketing like blogging are a great way to keep up and stay sharp. If elements of your business like your website are never being updated with new content your organic search rankings could start to see a serious drop. If your competitors are consistently posting and putting out new media they will soon become the desirable option to the majority of audiences that search online for products, services or speciality businesses. This year your content marketing resolution will be to put out a blog a minimum of every two weeks, so that you can remain where you are on the industry totem pole.

Now, we aren’t saying these resolutions need to all be accomplished within the first month, but make this year the year you stick to your businesses resolutions and start to see the perks of it all.

We wish all of our past, present and future clients a happy and prosperous new year, cheers!

03
Dec

All Is Branding & Bright

It’s that time of year when the world falls in love… with branding. When you’re a big or small business the holidays = marketing mayhem. It is the main time of the year to pull out all of the stops and show your customers what you’ve got.

So, what makes a brand really shine during the holidays?

#1 Silver & Website Gold

All year long your visual identity is the driving force behind your marketing campaigns, and the holiday season is no different. This is the time of year to add a little seasonal sprucing to your entire brand. First off is your website. There is no need to revamp your entire website for the holiday season, however you can utilize your home page to showcase specials and discounts giving your brand a good name in customer satisfaction.

Before hitting the stores the majority of customers go to the web to look up local deals and specials, so you want to make sure your website reflects current campaigns. Although this is the time of year to step up your marketing it doesn’t mean you should loose sight of the branding efforts and identity you have previously been pushing, you still want your customers to recognize your brand even under all of the silver and gold.

#2 Have Yourself A Social Little Christmas

Every great brand has a personality. Whether you are super serious or calm and inviting, that identity should be clear in every marketing campaign you do, including social media. During the holidays your social media platforms will be your best friend. They are there to give direct information to your target audience and give you a chance to showcase your brand’s personality. So before you post up your next special or holiday announcement pay attention to the wording and tone you use, keep in mind that even though it is the Christmas season you still have to carry on the persona you have worked so hard to develop online.

#3 And A Print Item in a Pear Tree

If there is one branded item to really focus on during the holiday season, it is your print collateral. Whether it is customer bags, brochures or inserts they should reflect your brand. Why? Because those items will still be around after the holidays and you want your customers to recognize your brand so it stays in their thoughts.

Many businesses see a lull after the holidays come and go, but not you. By including branded print collateral you will be the impressive business on your target audience’s mind and it will be the gift that keeps on giving.

Holiday marketing is one of the best times of the year. Share with us how you showcased your brand this year and how we can help take it to the next level in 2016!

18
Nov

Seasonal Marketing Must Haves

It’s that time of year when your marketing mayhem begins. It’s the holidays, and even if you don’t have a strategy in place, there is still time to make the most out of your business’s end of year marketing budget, and get the push in sales you’ve been waiting for all year.

Graphics Galore

Graphics for social media are one of the easiest ways to up your marketing initiatives for the holiday season. Although it might not seem like an item to immediately add to your marketing checklist, it is definitely worth it. Why? Because it is a simple way to keep your brand current and active.

Many businesses utilize holiday graphics on social media by taking the cover photo space on each platform to unleash a holiday themed image letting customers know of an upcoming holiday sale or event happening. It is essentially free advertising for your business and will be a reminder to your target audience that there are things happening all year long, which could lead to many more visits.

Email Tidings

A holiday newsletter is a simple marketing tool that can be incredibly effective. How? Newsletters offer a direct link to customers. Through a newsletter you can offer a seasonal greeting or special discount which will in turn create sales opportunities and a positive image for your brand. As a customer they want to see you care about their loyalty, and by sending a holiday newsletter you are solidifying your customer/business relationship while offering them a little something extra.

Christmas Collateral

Planning a flash sale or Christmas shopping event? What better way to let customers know than by getting a few print collateral items to hand out, keep at the register or place within bags after a customer purchase. This little reminder of holiday sales is an effortless way to market your brand.

Word of mouth is always important, but for most individuals it is often “out of sight, out of mind”. Stay with your target audience by giving them a visual piece to take with them, that way after they’ve left your business they keep in mind that there are events coming up, which will lead to a return customer.

Your business’s holiday marketing plan doesn’t have to be over the top and drain your end of year budget. A few tweaks to your social graphics, e-blast with holiday greetings and seasonal print collateral can help you stay present on the shopping list of potential and returning customers.

03
Nov

This is the End… of-Year Marketing Tip

When you own a business it seems like the last two months of the year fly by. With holiday sales, events, etc., the whole end-of-year marketing strategy sometimes gets left behind. But not this year, this year is the year where you step up your game, so that when 2016 hits, you are prepared and already have great momentum.

#1 Use Your Social Media

Although social media is the popular girl in marketing, it isn’t just there to sit and look pretty it’s there to help your business grow. An endless stream of possibilities just waits for you on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. So what better way to spend a little of your end-of-year budget then on new graphics to entice new customers and post boosts. Boosting a post can open a whole range of new customer interaction and won’t drain your marketing piggy bank either.

#2 Spruce Up Your Website

One way to really utilize your end-of-year marketing budget is by being proactive before the next year starts, and your website is one of the areas that it could greatly impact. It is easy to keep pushing website updates on the back burner, because (A) your website might look okay as is, and (B) it functions, so why bother when you can get around to updates next year. But, let’s be honest, you said that in 2014.

Your website is the face of your business in many ways. Sure your logo and branding elements play a huge role in that, but your website is often the first interaction you have with new customers, so in make your first impression count. By adding a few new content & design tweaks you will be giving your brand a fresh look for the start of the New Year, and that fresh look may just be the edge you needed to stand out from your competitors’ 2013 web designs.

#3 Bright & Shiny Print Collateral

So you have done all of the website updates, you’ve spent a little on social media and you still have room for a few more marketing upgrades. New print collateral isn’t a bad way to start off the year or launch a new design. Think how great new rack cards or brochures would look at your business and show customers that you are ready to start things off in 2016 with a bang.

You don’t have to go on a huge budget spree to get the results you want. The small enhancements mentioned above are changes that can make a huge difference and be fairly simple and cost effective components of your total marketing strategy.

28
Oct

Bring Your Brand Back From the Dead…

Not every business can thrive from the start, brand growth takes time, creativity and a heartbeat. So what do you do when you feel your brand is dead? …Wake it up.

#1 Fresh Blood

When your brand’s corpse is rotting on the marketing slab, it might be time to give it some fresh blood, meaning you need to put some life back into it. If your brand is struggling to reach a target audience it may be because it’s key facets are falling flat. Your logo, vision and identity should all carry the same message and reflect the same visual aesthetics in wording and design.

A great design can really make a difference in the livelihood of your brand, so elevate your look, potentially add a more modern feel, and see if the fresh take gives your brand the jolt it’s been needing.

#2 Live Bodies

Loyal customers are the heartbeat of your brand. Without loyalty your brand will not have the backing it needs to survive. So how do you create loyalty? Implementing new marketing initiatives that involve perk programs, discounts, etc. is a great place to start. These types of programs let the bodies know that their investment in your brand matters, and that as a company you are willing to give back.

#3 Haunting Message

As a business owner you want your brand to “haunt” your customers after they leave your store or establishment. Whether it is through a catchy slogan or captivating logo design, it is important to create an emotional connection, so that regardless of where they see your copy or visuals they relate it back to your business in a positive way.

#4 Reach Beyond the Grave

Reaching beyond the grave is where your social media skills will come to life. Social media has become the marketing haven for dying brands looking to move past their fate. It allows you create connections with demographics that your brand may not have previously reached, and is why it is a necessary entity for any business looking to expand their customer base and solidify their place in the visual and social world.

Just because your brand may not seem to have a pulse, it has the chance to live again through a few marketing changes, aesthetic enhancements and defined vision. Don’t wait for the grim reaper to do his bidding, be proactive, pull your brand from the grave and live another day…

19
Oct

The Social Files

Social media is a mysterious entity. It is constantly changing and creating new patterns to link your business to the customers that follow closely. Keeping up with the latest social media trends may not be your field of expertise, however it will keep your business’s marketing on track and your brand on the forefront of successful discoveries.

Case 2312: Twitter, Website Card

Twitter, it is a platform that businesses from all over the world can thrive on. It allows you to follow relevant individuals within your area and start a conversation that will lead to an interest in your product or service. Leads come in everyday from utilizing Twitter as a marketing platform and is why they have worked to make connections between businesses and customers easy and effortless.

Website Cards are built to increase traffic to your website from Twitter in one click. The website card is equipped with a photo and brief description to draw in your individual followers and connect them to your website, and the best part is… it is free. Of course there are options to pay for better exposure, but if your budget is $0 than Twitter has you covered.

Case 6783: Facebook, Call-To-Action

Similar to Case 2312, Facebook has opened a new line of communication between individuals and brands by creating call-to-action buttons. The buttons which are located directly on your business’s Facebook page can drive social traffic to your website or email or to an app, book now or shop now option. This is a marketing tool being used by big and small businesses to allow easy access to various features that would normally be on a website. It skips over the extra step of searching through the website, and instead offers a direct line to your brand.

Case 9511: Instagram, Non-Square

Instagram is becoming the new frontier for business marketing. Since we now live in a visual era, the need for pictures to entice your customers or perspective clients is essential, however finding the perfect fit for Instagram has long since been a struggle, until now.

The latest discovery to come from Instagram is the implementation of non-square photos. Since the size of mobile phones have increased, they decided that size did matter, and now allow full landscapes and portrait photos to better help users post desired images. As a business that uses Instagram this makes all the difference. Instead of using a third party app or spending extra time cropping images, you can now easily upload and post.

The answer may not always be clear, but social media platforms roll out these enhancements to better help individuals and businesses make the most out of their channels. Be open to the change in the social media atmosphere and you will discover new abilities in your businesses marketing strategy.

21
Sep

Becoming A Triple Threat

Some businesses are just born stars, while others have to put in the hard work to get to the top of their industry. Regardless of how you claw your way to the top, there are three elements needed in order to make Mama Rosa proud. (If you aren’t familiar with Broadway’s Gypsy, than that reference will make no sense to you.)

#1 Branding Baby

As you know, brilliant branding is the foundation to every great business. From the vision to logo, every facet needs be well thought out and well executed. No one wants to be in the chorus line forever, so you have to make your first impression count. How? Start with the basics and create a mission statement using your vision as a platform. Producing a clear intent for your customers will go a long way.

Make yourself pretty. If you want to be chosen by your target audience for the role of industry forerunner than you need to look the part. A graphic designer will essentially be your stage mom. They will make sure every visual aspect of your business cohesively works with your vision and gives a clean aesthetic customers will applaud.

#2 Into the Web

Since your branding work is just waiting in the wings, it is time to put it to work and implement its’ design qualities into your website. Why? Consumers like to see consistency and a well-rounded business. If you have a great mission but a lackluster website, than you won’t really have the whole package.

The key is to be proficient in every element. Your web design should leave the same impression as the rest of your brand so that customers will know it is you regardless if it is online or in store.

#3 A Social Line

Now that you have two core pieces down, it is time to introduce your social side. It is easy to have a great looking brand, but keeping your target demographic interested in that brand is another thing entirely. Social media allows you to showcase your vision and character to potential and existing customers.

A strong social campaign utilizes the top platforms including channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. The more the merrier. Why? Because not only is it a free way to market yourself, it is a direct line to consumers, and a facet of your company that says you are professional and ready to take this show to the top.

Your business has the ability to be a triple threat. It is a combination of perseverance, a clear vision and all that jazz… or a great design. So, are you ready to hit the stage?

07
Sep

The Art of Being Cool

It’s hard sometimes… trying to hang with the cool brands. You see them, out there, with their fancy logos and multi-million dollar ad campaigns. As a small business you want to be them, but without a huge budget how can you compete with the existing “cool kids”?

The Art of Being Cool has nothing to do with the amount of money you spend per month on “cool status”, it is about the foundation that you build, the effort you put in and the opinions created by your customers, which doesn’t always mean spending $5,000 on a monthly social media campaign, capeesh? (Yea we still stay capeesh here)

Step 1: Research for Realz

What makes a brand cool? While being cool isn’t an exact science you can take note from other industry leaders. By looking at their brand you can get an idea what customers like about them. Do they have contemporary style that speaks to a demographic or does their content differentiate them from their competition? Your approach should always be original, however, it is okay to utilize what has worked in the past for similar businesses as a foundation as they have already played the game of what works and what doesn’t.

Step 2: Branding Is So Basic… Wait is basic a good thing?

Who knows if being basic is a good thing when it comes to the cool factor, but branding basics are essential to your efforts. First is the brand vision. The actual backbone of your whole branding persona comes from your vision and mission, which includes what it is you do or provide and how it will benefit your customer base. The simpler the better.

Next is the aesthetic aspect of your branding. The logo and brand guide. This is where “cool” comes into play. You can say a lot about a brand through their visuals and is why a great graphic designer will be able to create a persona you are looking to portray.

Step 3: The New Classic

Now that you have the look and can walk the walk, it’s time to see if you can talk the talk. Content & social media can be a game changer when it comes to the evolution of a cool brand. Many business get hung up on social posts and blogs for their website. The pressure of being engaging can sometimes be so much that the content comes across as flat or fake.

Our advice? Be yourself. If you talk to your customers through content as though it were a regular conversation, your posts won’t seem so robotic or generic. The more genuine and “real” you are, the more comfortable your demographic will feel and the more likely they are to see you as a “friend” and not a business that is just trying to sell them a product or service.

Being cool doesn’t happen overnight for a small business, it takes work from you and your customers. So keep their taste in mind and give them a brand to talk about.

13
Aug

Social Wars

Regardless of your trade, being a part of the “Social Media Empire” is a necessity. The invasion of social media has been a marketing haven for some businesses, while others don’t have the knowledge or time to plan their attack.

Now, we don’t want to play any Jedi mind tricks, but there is something, more like someone, who can come to your aid and change the fate of your business. They are the Supreme Chancellor if you will, they are social media managers…

Episode I: The Phantom Social Manager

One of the greater perks to hiring a social media manager is that they are the invisible employee that caters to your every will. They will know your brand inside out and be your sole line of communication throughout all of your social channels. Their job is act as an extension of your business, so that clients and customers feel as though they are experiencing an interaction with your business first hand.

Episode II: Attack of the Posts

Posting on social media is the burden most business owners can’t wait to hand off to a loyal subject. A social media manager is that loyal subject who constructs each post with your brand and vision in mind.

It can be a challenge to write for your own product or service, which is why an outside perspective that has extensive experience in writing, can gear the post towards your target audience and add elements that they will find engaging and sharable.

Episode III: Response of the Social

When running a business, setting aside time to respond to messages or re-tweets on Facebook or Twitter is just not possible. Unfortunately many messages and communication lines go overlooked and neglected, leading to missed opportunities and missed sales.

Your social media manager is there to pull you from the dark side. With their focus on customer interaction, they will be checking your social channels frequently for any questions or comments from potential or current customers. The response time is fast, which can go a long way when trying to secure new leads. They will give your business exactly what it needs to continue the same customer service standard you provide on a daily basis.

The galaxy is vast, and social media is the link to day-to-day life. The force is strong with social media managers, so take the next step and consider what they can do for your business and social marketing strategy.