Posts Tagged ‘digital marketing’

Microblogs concept. Business man writing with black marker on visual screen

Microblogging: What It Is And Why It Matters

Get the word out on your company by posting a steady stream of short-form content.

One thing is for sure, businesses like yours will always need an effective way to get their messages out. One of the best ways to do so is through microblogging. Producing short, snappy updates on your company is a great way to build connections with your audiences and promote your business goals and initiatives. Here is what you need to know.

What is Microblogging?

As the name suggests, microblogging is a form of blogging defined by short posts that seek to maximize engagement. Twitter has largely been the leader in this space since the mid-2000s, but many other options have emerged since then. Microblogging is no longer solely about posting short text-based messages. Today, it also encompasses video and photography-based blogging.

Why Should You Care About Microblogging?

But why should you care about microblogging at all? The data shows a clear correlation between blogging and tangible business benefits. According to recent data, “Companies with blogs produce an average of 67 percent more leads monthly than companies that don’t blog.”[i] What’s more, “Businesses that blog get 55 percent more website visitors than businesses that don’t.”[ii]

How to Get Started

While you can simply hop on Twitter to start microblogging, there are a variety of other options to explore. Let’s look at other tools agencies can use to tell their brand story:

  • Short-Form Videos: You have probably heard by now, but sites like TikTok have come to dominate the cultural sphere, taking up the space once occupied by Facebook. The attraction to these sites is obvious. TikTok lets you easily create compelling videos for your prospects and customers. Statistics show potential customers prefer videos over other forms of content.
  • Photo-Sharing Services: Similar to video, utilizing photos when sharing company updates leads to higher engagement levels. Therefore, leveraging a photo-centric site like Instagram for your microblog is a great way to expand its reach. And if you don’t want to limit yourself to just one, there are ample alternatives on the market just waiting for you to investigate.
  • Tried-and-true: Never discount some of the tried-and-true social media sites. For instance, LinkedIn is a great option for posting long-form, thought leadership content to grow your profile on the network and simultaneously increase your professional network.
  • Other Options: Of course, we could probably list microblogging options forever. Medium is yet another example of a low-cost site that offers a useful way to position your firm as an industry leader. And you can use it to post content featuring text, photos and videos.

Microblogging is a Key to Your Digital Strategy

Today’s business opportunities are on the internet. Including blogging in your digital strategy can grow traffic and raise brand awareness, not to mention drive leads and increase your overall profitability. 


[i] Content Marketing Infographic | Demand Metric

[ii] Study Shows Business Blogging Leads to 55% More Website Visitors (hubspot.com)

runner at the starting line of 2023

Get a Jump on Your Strategic Marketing Plan

With 2023 right around the corner, it’s time to get your marketing ducks in a row

The proverb, “Time waits for no one,” is highly applicable to the annual year-end sprint for businesses. Not only do companies need to close out the year on a high note, but they must also get a jump on next year’s strategic marketing plan. In this blog, we’ll examine how you can start putting a framework together to develop your plan and move your business forward.

A Quick Primer

Putting together a strategic marketing plan can seem overwhelming, but it is not that difficult. That’s because a strategic marketing plan can largely adhere to a simple format, which is:

  • Overview
  • Marketing Goals
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Marketing Tactics
  • Resources
  • Timelines
  • Evaluation Methods

Now, each element of your plan needs to build organically off one another. For instance, once you have your annual goals in place, the strategies you decide on need to naturally lead to achieving each goal. A similar process will occur for your marketing tactics: Think of them as a step-by-step process for bringing each strategy to fruition.

Also, remember the benefits of making your SMART. Last year, we wrote a blog on what that means, which you can read here. Let’s get a summary:

  • Specific: Don’t simply say something like: “I want to increase my customer-base.” Instead, consider the specific number and types of new customers you would like to obtain.
  • Measurable: Attach metrics to your goals. This involves benchmarking where your company currently is so you can assess whether your marketing has moved the needle.
  • Achievable: It’s important to “dream big,” but your final marketing plan should include goals you can reasonably hit.
  • Relevant:Spend time ensuring your goals are relevant to your organization’s priorities. Be honest with yourself. Will that exciting new marketing project or initiative really help you achieve your business goals? If not, perhaps it’s worth thinking about other ways to allocate your time and resources.  
  • Time-sensitive: Goals are great, but they also need a clear timetable. Without a timeframe, core aspects of your marketing plan will begin to break down.

Leverage Top Trends

For small businesses, there are plenty of new developments in the marketing world to consider implementing in your 2023 plan that can help you achieve better customer relationships and higher profitability. Here are just a few trends we’re seeing:

  • Video Content is King: According to research, more than 50 percent of viewers prefer to consume online content in a video format.[i]
  • Partnerships: Forming strategic partnerships can help you reach new markets and gain higher levels of engagement. Of course, remember to keep it compliant.
  • Interactive Content: As part of your content marketing efforts in 2023, you may want to experiment with interactive material in the form of polls, quizzes, calculators, assessments and more.
  • Conversational Marketing: Chat bots, artificial intelligence and machine learning can be lumped under the umbrella term of “conversational marketing.” They offer clear advantages over traditional methods by supporting two-way conversations. If you’d like to get a basic introduction to chat bots, check out our full blog on the subject.  
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: The way a business conducts itself socially is increasingly a top concern for customers. How big is this trend?

    • 87 percent of consumers will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about.
    • 92 percent of consumers say they have a more positive image of a company when it supports social or environmental issues.
    • 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services that come from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.[ii]

These figures paint a clear portrait and present an obvious takeaway: Being community responsive and socially responsible pays off in real dollars and cents.

Don’t Leave it to Chance

Your business is too important to leave something like how you promote it to chance. This makes your strategic marketing plan about as important as it gets. While strategic marketing can get complicated quickly, having even a strong framework in place, one marked by SMART goals and aligned with your overall business priorities, can go a long way. Pairing this with the field’s top and emerging trends can optimize your efforts further, positioning you to obtain strong customer connections and lasting profitability in the new year.

Want a deeper dive into creating a strategic marketing plan for 2023. Check out this helpful article.


[i] Content Trends: Global Preferences (hubspot.com)

[ii] How Corporate Social Responsibility Connects Us to Consumers (corporatewellnessmagazine.com)

Shrug icon deciding between organic and paid

Is it Time to Pay to Play with Social Media?

Nearly 20 years into the age of social media, is organic content still enough?

For many people, social media is old hat these days. Oh sure, the kids are still rocking out on TikTok. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook still boast userbases in the millions and billions respectively. But let’s be honest, social seems to have lost some of its luster, prompting many to ask themselves: Is it still worth it for my business? The short answer is, absolutely! An overwhelming number of people in the business community agree with this, with 80 percent of enterprises saying social media is the most important factor in digital marketing success.[i] 

The longer answer is: It’s complicated. Social media still represents an effective, low-cost way to connect with your customer base and position your brand. But the recipe for success has changed in the two decades many of these platforms have existed. In fact, research increasingly confirms that restricting your social media activity to organic posts will only get you so far.

Below, we’ll assess if this is a good option for your agency. 

What do the experts say?

Research shows that people are increasingly deploying paid social media advertising. Eighty six percent of marketers noted in a recent survey, for instance, that they now combine paid and organic tactics.[ii] One reason for this is that some platforms are seeing a dip in organic reach. Organic posts on Facebook reach only 5.5 percent of a brand’s followers on average.[iii] There are multiple reasons for this decline. “For one, the high volume of ads competes with organic content for space on users’ news feeds.”[iv] There is also a widely held impression that algorithmic changes have disincentivized the role of organic social, making its ROI far less impressive than it might have once been. 

So, has organic social’s time passed?

Even though there has been a clear decline in the reach of organic social media, that doesn’t mean that businesses can afford to not be active on these platforms. There are many reasons why companies need a strong social presence, some of which include: 

  • Increased brand recognition
  • More brand loyalty and authority
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Increased inbound traffic
  • Lower marketing costs
  • Richer customer experiences
  • Improved customer insights

Even a cursory look at U.S. social media usage should put doubts to rest about whether it is still worthwhile. As of 2020, for instance, nearly 65 percent of American adults are active social media users, while 42 percent of Twitter users visit the site daily.[v] These are facts you just can’t argue with when considering where to put your marketing time and effort.

What is the best approach today?

Instead of jettisoning organic social media, then, what should savvy business leaders and marketers do? Well, instead of choosing one or the other, marketers have increasingly paired organic and paid strategies. Perhaps one of the best things about social media is that it can serve as an enormously valuable source of data on your audience members. Unsurprisingly, these data-driven insights have come to be seen as a guide for which type of content you should boost and on which platform. 

Basically, if you have a type of organic content that consistently performs well, you should take a hard look at whether you want to expand its reach with an ad buy. People respond to the content they do for a reason. Don’t miss your opportunity to leverage that knowledge to make a well-reasoned, moderately priced ad buy and expand your presence on social.  

Final words on the organic/paid debate 

Like so much in the marketing world, nothing in social media stays the same – at least not for long. Over the course of its lifespan, social has changed dramatically, nowhere more so than in the rise of paid postings. But before you throw out organic social altogether, you should look at it as something that can be paired effectively with paid social. That’s where the magic happens.

Want to learn more about how you can harvest data from your social media feeds? Check out this helpful primer

And if you don’t yet feel confident about using paid advertising tools and running successful ad campaigns, look at this terrific introduction

[i] https://topdogsocialmedia.com/b2b-social-advertising/
[ii] Ibid 
[iii] https://crenshawcomm.com/blogs/how-paid-and-organic-social-media-work-together 
[iv] The Decline of Organic Reach in Social Media Marketing | Local View
[v] Is Social Media Marketing Worth It? 6 Reasons to Use Social – WebFX

Illustration of people in 3 promotional booths.

Event Marketing 101

Participating in events is a shrewd way to promote your business. Here’s how to fully leverage your presence.

Despite the importance of digital marketing in today’s economy, sometimes the old ways are still best. Person-to-person marketing is often the most impactful method for spreading the word about your business. Participating in events or tradeshows is a great way to deploy this type of outreach. Here are a few tips for making the most out of these opportunities – before, during and after the event!

Before the Event

While participating in events is about person-to-person marketing, digital marketing still has an important role to play. Let’s be honest, if you don’t let people know your business will be at an event, people won’t seek you out and you won’t get a chance to have the type of conversations that can drive eventual business gains.

Start promoting your attendance at an event well in advance. First, determine your goals, audience, messages, channels and budget. Then, structure these items around a realistic timeline. Next, establish some effective strategies and tactics to get your message out, such as:

  • Creating a social media campaign communicating where you’ll be located at the event site and a value proposition for why attendees should visit your booth.
  • Putting notices about the event in your newsletter.
  • Establishing an email marketing campaign.
  • Connecting with the hosting organization behind the event to inquire about joint-promotional efforts or opportunities.
  • Writing related content like a blog entry.

As with any other marketing plan, you’ll want to ensure that you also attach evaluation metrics to the campaign to gauge your efforts. It’s difficult to over-emphasize how important this step is. Without metrics, you will be unable to make real-time adjustments to your marketing efforts or fully assess your ROI.

During the Event

One of the most important things to remember is that your marketing efforts don’t end once the event begins. When you’re on-site, you will have three new marketing priorities:

  1. Continue to attract people to your booth
  2. Leverage news from the event
  3. Build prospects

Just because the event has started doesn’t mean you should stop building out and disseminating event-related content. Continue to use social media, blogs or emails to promote your participation in the event and to discuss its highlights to position yourself as a thought leader. Doing this will serve two purposes. In the short term, it will remind people to visit your booth while the event is going on. In the long term, it will enhance your firm’s standing for those who couldn’t attend but may be following via digital channels.  

Once you have people paying attention to your presence at an event, however, there are other steps to take. Ensure your business is represented in a way that is professional and unified by creating a fully branded booth with consistent colors, logos and lettering. Including an interactive element is a great way to deepen the impact of your booth and your overall presence at the event. A photo backdrop is just one example of something you could do. Event attendees will be naturally drawn to your booth to commemorate their experience and may even share their photos on social – further extending your reach.

If you pull all of this off, you can effectively grow your business’s brand awareness. Best of all, if people have a positive experience visiting your booth, they will be more inclined to engage with you and share their contact details.

After the Event

Once an event has come and gone, it can be tempting to rest on your laurels; but you can’t stop just yet. After you’ve put away your booth and left the venue, you still need to do something with the contact information you’ve gained. All the business cards you’ve collected or email addresses you’ve compiled need to be sorted and organized.

The next step is to follow up with your new prospects. But before you start emailing contacts or calling them over the phone, just think for a moment. Is that the right approach? Where do people actually spend most of their time these days? Where do they feel the most comfortable interacting with acquaintances? Social media, that’s where! Seek them out on LinkedIn first and build authentic connections before you start marketing to them more directly. People are much more inclined to buy from you if they have a strong sense of who you are and what you can do for them.

Conclusion

Events require a lot of work, even if you are merely a participant and especially if you look at them as a golden opportunity to promote your business. But by adhering to best practices and solid marketing principles, you can fully leverage the unique platform offered by the event environment.

2 men in a business suite making a video recording

Create High-Quality Video   

Video is the gold standard of modern marketing. Here’s how you can start leveraging it without breaking the bank.

Think about when you browse online or spend time on social media. You see a lot of content, don’t you? What type speaks to you the most? If you said “video,” you are not alone. 78 percent of people watch online videos every week, and 55 percent view them every day.[i] Marketers have unsurprisingly taken note of these preferences, and 86 percent of businesses now use video as a marketing tool.[ii]

Smaller agencies have a lot to gain by incorporating video into their marketing repertoire. For some, this may feel daunting; after all, isn’t video notoriously expensive to produce? The answer: not anymore! In the last few years, the hardware and software you need to create your own marketing videos have become a lot less expensive. Here’s everything you need to produce video content to increase your brand awareness and engagement.

Cameras

First thing’s first, if you want to shoot video, you need a camera. The good news is that you are probably walking around with a high-quality camera right in your pocket. Don’t believe your iPhone is up to the task? Well, what if I told you that filmmakers have already used iPhones to shoot not one, not two but well over 10 feature films? Best of all, the iPhone’s camera keeps getting better and better with each new iteration.

Equipment

The quality of marketing videos also hinges on elements adjacent to the camera, including tripods and/or stabilizers, lighting and sound, which have each become quite affordable in recent years. Let’s look at a few details of each:

  • Tripods: When looking at tripods or stabilizers, ask yourself what type of marketing video you envision making. Will it be a sedentary shoot? Do you need to move around? Will your subject be standing? Sitting? Determine this ahead of time before investing in any equipment. But rest easy in knowing there are many affordable options out there that can meet your needs.
  • Lights: One of the unsung heroes of the filmmaking process is lighting. Think about a shot from a movie that stuck with you; it’s more than likely the lighting had something to do with making that shot special. Now, before you start envisioning your offices filling up with heavy-duty lighting equipment, pause and take a deep breath. There are so many unique, manageable and innovative lighting systems out there – many of which have been built specifically to complement small-scale smartphone videography.
  • Sound: Another critical piece in the filmmaking puzzle is sound. While it’s possible to rely solely on the microphone built into your camera, it is highly recommended to up your game with an additional microphone. Aside from lighting, investing in your sound equipment may be the best thing you can do to improve the production quality of your marketing video and give it a more professional feel.

Editing  

Of course, you must also edit your video footage to remove things like dead air and bad takes. Keep in mind that the ideal length for marketing videos is very short – no longer than two minutes. Many social media platforms confirm this, with Facebook, for example, encouraging users to keep videos to 15 seconds or less.[iii]

But what should you use to edit your video? You could rely on one of the applications that come pre-loaded on different operating systems. For instance, you can make basic video edits in the “Photos” application that comes with Windows. There are other programs out there that offer more functionality for quite a reasonable price, allowing you to add transitions, titles and music much more easily.

Lights, Camera, Action! In our fast-paced, highly competitive market, the adage “give people what they want” has never been more urgent. Internet-savvy consumers want video content. While it’s normal to feel intimidated by the prospect of shooting your own video content, the combination of affordable equipment and potentially massive ROI make it


[i] 135 Video Marketing Statistics You Can’t Ignore in 2022 (invideo.io)

[ii] Ibid

[iii] How Long Should Videos Be? FB, IG, YT & More in 2020 – Animoto

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