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Brand Tips

6 Questions Every Brand Must Ask to Visualize It’s Target Audience

6 QUESTIONS EVERY BRAND MUST ASK TO VISUALIZE IT’S TARGET AUDIENCE

The most important aspect of marketing online and on social media isn’t the quality of your images, the genius of your copywriting, or the uniqueness of your campaign itself. You can have the cleverest copy and most gorgeous images in the world and still witness your imarketing campaign flop if you don’t nail down your target audience’s most important demographic and psychographic factors before deploying the campaign.

To ensure you have a thorough understanding of the audience you’re trying to reach with your online advertising and social media ads, here are eight questions your brand should ask before planning your next campaign:

What Are Their Ages?

This may seem like a simple question but far too many brands assume they’re either targeting all ages of adults or they’re primarily catering to people within a decade of each other (e.g., 20-somethings or 60-somethings). To fine-tune the scope of your target audience, analyze recent impressions on your social campaigns to see which age groups were most responsive to your ads and which groups clicked on your links most frequently.

Where Do They Live?

If you’re under-utilizing the geographic audience targeting features on social media, then now is a great time to start narrowing your audience to specific locations. While this may reduce your overall impressions, your CPC rates are likely to improve because you’re now only targeting those who live in areas where your products/services are available and/or you’re targeting people who are most likely to purchase because of where they live.

How Much Money Do They Have/Spend?

It’s not enough to settle for non-monetary demographic factors like age, gender, race, and employment background. Instead, you should be examining how much discretionary income your target audience has, because this reveals whether your products/services are too pricey for your target audience or you should add more expensive items that your wealthier audience members would be more than happy to pay for.

What Social Channels Do They Use?

If you’re targeting younger demographics but spending the majority of your ad budget on Facebook and Twitter, then your brand should conduct more thorough audience analyses because research shows younger consumers are much more active on SnapChat and Instagram. The opposite applies for elderly consumers (they’re more active on Facebook but not so much on Instagram), so make the best use of your advertising budget by figuring out which social channels are most frequently used by your target audience.

Do Others Influence Their Purchasing Decisions?

Do you need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on an influencer to promote your brand? That depends on whether your target audience is receptive to recommendations from paid influencers. On the flip side, should you focus more on user-generated content to boost the appeal of your brand with everyday consumers? Analyzing your target audience to understand what drives their purchasing decisions can help you answer these questions.

What Do They Care About?

Finally: what does your target audience care about? In other words, what are their values, goals, beliefs, and lifestyle patterns? Do they value quality time with loved ones or spending money on nice things for friends and family members? Are they environmentally conscious or animal rights advocates? Do they want to pay more for an item if it means a portion of the profits are going towards a worthy cause?

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to define your target audience for online and social media marketing. There will always be outliers who you never expected as part of your target audience, but it’s still preferable to have a clear understanding of the consumers you’re targeting with your ads, rather than going in with your eyes closed and hoping for the best!

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FAQ Marketing 101

On a Budget? You Can Still Incorporate Video Into Your Marketing Mix

Did you know that 88 percent of businesses consider video a vital part of the online marketing strategy? And, with high quality 4K video being simple and cheap to produce with either a smartphone or DSLR camera, there’s no reason for you to be a part of the 12 percent! Here are three tips for DIYing engaging videos that’ll win you customers without wiping out your funds.

Take viewers behind the scenes. Success online is as much about authenticity as anything else. People want to see the real you. What better way to give them a glimpse of that than by sharing behind-the-scenes video? And it doesn’t have to be fancy. Use your smartphone to record preparations for an event or your employees volunteering for a charity. This kind of video bridges the distance between your brand and your customer by helping you connect with your audience on a personal level.

ON A BUDGET? YOU CAN STILL INCORPORATE VIDEO INTO YOUR MARKETING MIX

Make sure your audio is good. All that authenticity will be wasted if your audio is bad. People may be tired of slick marketing materials, but they want to be able to hear what’s being said. Unpolished shouldn’t equate to unintelligible. Listen for pops, hisses or echoes in your video. Project your voice and think about investing in a USB microphone. Blue Microphone’s Yeti and Snowball models are two good options that aren’t overly expensive. Audacity is a free editing software that has an easy-to-use tutorial. Making so-so audio superb doesn’t take much, but the payoff is huge.

Master your message. Always keep in mind that your video isn’t about you. It’s about your client. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what they’d like to see, hear and learn about your company. Deliver value and make it personal.

Creating great video content isn’t as simple as just hitting ‘record’. But it doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or expensive. Even on a budget, you can produce an engaging video that builds your brand and converts viewers to clients.

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Social Tips

4 Clever Ways to Encourage More Follower Engagement on Social Media

4 CLEVER WAYS TO ENCOURAGE MORE FOLLOWER ENGAGEMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA

It’s no longer enough to simply have a ton of followers on your brand’s social media channels; you need authentic and consistent engagement to get the most value out of your social media marketing campaigns.

After all, engagement rates are one of the best ways to measure the results of your marketing efforts because it’s easy to follow a brand but takes more time and effort to like/comment/share posts from a brand. If you’ve been struggling to boost engagement rates on your social media pages, here are some of the most successful strategies:

Ask Them Questions

What are your biggest obstacle when it comes to social media marketing? What is the No. 1 goal your brand is trying to achieve with its marketing strategy this year? What’s the biggest marketing mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?

Asking questions like the ones above (tailored to your unique audience, of course) is an incredibly useful strategy for encouraging more followers to engage with your brand on social media. It’s thought-provoking, it makes them pause and think about something related to both themselves and your brand/products/services, and it invites them to share their thoughts in the comment section on your post. This is also a valuable opportunity to get qualitative feedback from your followers, so don’t resign your posts to statement-only captions!

Tag a Friend in the Comments

This strategy is helpful for growing your follower and engagement rates. The “tag a friend in the comments” call-to-action is typically deployed with a fun/entertaining post, as opposed to more sales-y posts, which may get less traction on the engagement front because it looks like a brand is trying too hard to boost its own sales.

To avoid appearing desperate or overly sales-driven, mix up some of your product/service posts with light-hearted general content that relates to your industry. Great examples of this strategy include Lulus and BarkBox.

Story Polls

How often do you post new content to your Instagram, Facebook and/or SnapChat stories? If you’re not using the stories features or you’re using them sporadically, then you could be missing out on a great chance to get valuable insight from your target demographic. One of the most effective engagement-boosting strategies involves creating a poll with a question and two options for audience members to choose from.

For example, a financial company might post a poll asking if student loan debt or saving for retirement is a greater concern for individuals. The results of this hypothetical poll would be useful for determining the relative age and financial concerns/preferences of the company’s followers. You can do the same thing by incorporating polls semi-regularly into your stories (pro tip: avoid poll fatigue by posting a poll 1-2 times per week maximum).

Host a Photo Contest

Lastly, many brands get great engagement rates when they carefully plan and roll out a photo contest. This is an excellent opportunity to accumulate user-generated content, in addition to building hype for your brand among existing and potential audience members who want to win the grand prize. Many brands partner with influencers and/or other brands to rein in the costs of contest prizes, so the sky’s the limit when it comes to creative uses of photo contests for social media.

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Business Tips FAQ

Does Your Business Still Need a Blog? You Bet.

Come on, do businesses really need a blog?

It’s a lot of work, right? And there are so many other things you could be doing to bring revenue into the business. Do blogs matter? Are they worth the time that it takes to write 400 words for some unknown reader?

In this increasingly digital world, where content marketing is playing a greater role than ever before, the answer is an absolute yes. Consider for a moment the impact any given blog may have on you, even in subtle ways. The truth is, once you publish content, it can have a lasting impact on the reader and help foster positive feelings toward your brand. Especially when they’re centered around evergreen content, blogs work with both the short- and long-tail approach to content marketing.

DOES YOUR BUSINESS STILL NEED A BLOG? YOU BET.

Needless to say, blog content can have a significant impact on people’s perception of your company, and be well worth the investment of time. Here are our top three reasons why you should put your creative juices to work to create a blog for your business.

  1. Blogs establish you as a thought leader. When you share your expertise in a blog post, you are positioning yourself as an authority on a topic. Blogs build brand awareness and highlight your industry knowledge. Customers like working with people who know their stuff.
  2. Blogs increase your online searchability. When you publish a post, you get a quick boost in traffic. Over time, you reap the reward of ongoing search engine traffic because every time someone searches for a particular bit of information, your post comes up. Even better, blog posts can be repurposed into other forms of content such as ebooks and presentations.
  3. Blogs create conversation. With comments and social sharing buttons, look for opportunities to interact directly with customers, prospects and other industry professionals. You may do this directly on your website. We love to take that conversation to LinkedIn, where longer-length content is part of the professional culture. Make your comments professional but informal. And let complainers know you’ll follow up with them offline to keep things upbeat and positive.

Ready for a business blog? Or are you considering it? We’d love to hear your thoughts on business blogging. Tell us what you’re doing (or not!) and why.

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Marketing 101 Social Tips

How Healthcare Professionals Can Keep Their Social Marketing Efforts HIPAA Compliant

Social media is everywhere – its ubiquitous use now touches nearly every facet of human life. In the healthcare industry specifically, users of social media must always be aware of the fine line between proper and improper information sharing.

Being governed by strict HIPAA compliance standards, the healthcare industry must manage the rising use of social media in healthcare settings. Maintaining HIPAA compliance must always be the first priority when sharing sensitive healthcare information.

According to a recent DC Interactive Group report, 26 percent of all hospitals in the U.S. participate in social media. Another study revealed that a whopping 92 percent of marketers indicate efforts in social media have created better exposure for their business.

Healthcare marketers have huge opportunities when it comes to social media marketing, but how do organizations know what is acceptable for them or their employees to share and what is not?

How Healthcare Professionals Can Keep Their Social Marketing Efforts HIPAA Compliant

Social Media and HIPAA Compliance

There are a number of benefits to sharing information and patient success stories. Although HIPAA does provide a strict framework to operate within, there are still ways to stay social, secure and in compliance.

Although institutions and employees may use personal social media channels, discussing patient information on those channels is strictly forbidden. The following guidelines apply to healthcare businesses as well as workers:

  1. Avoid gossiping about patients.
  2. Identify a central point of contact.
  3. If you wouldn’t say it to a co-worker, don’t post it online.
  4. Be aware of the tone you are using when you post something.
  5. Do not bring professional matters into your personal life.

By using social media, healthcare marketers can both increase awareness and share positive stories. They can provide crucial information and assist with decision-making. By keeping these tips in mind, you can stay in compliance while still reaching your target audience.

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Social Tips

If You’re Not Optimizing for Mobile, You’re Missing Out

Mobile optimization is a huge part of digital strategy.

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You’ve certainly heard about this idea before, probably with some eye-catching statistics to back it up. When it comes to shopping, Google reports that consumers spend more than 15 hours per week on their smartphone doing research on goods and services they’d like to buy. More than 90 percent of people who do such research will go on to make a purchase, and generally they’ll want to move fast, as in buying the thing within an hour.

So that’s what you stand to gain by optimizing your website for mobile. Here’s how to actually do it.

The whole process of optimization is intended to make sure that users get the best possible experience from your site. It’s easy to imagine an unoptimized website because you’ve probably experienced one. Just imagine a regular webpage built for a full computer screen that’s been crammed into your mobile — it’s an awkward presentation that leaves browsers pinching and pulling to crawl over nearly unintelligible text.

That brings us to the first big principle of mobile optimization: Keep it simple. The smartphone is designed for scroll navigation that leaves no room for cluttered pages. You don’t want to throw unnecessary items in the mix that could trip up a scrolling finger and you definitely don’t want pop-ups that are nearly impossible to close on a tiny screen.

Sizing is really key for every part of the mobile experience. Big elements placed for a desktop or tablet just aren’t going to translate to the display of most smartphones. On the other side of the coin, designs that are too small or too close together are unwieldy and frustrating to navigate, such as in the pop-up example.

By optimizing for mobile devices, you’re showing respect for your audience by meeting them where they are. That, in turn, will likely lead to higher conversions.