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10 Tips for More Social Media Engagement

Social media is proven to be incredibly important for businesses big and small. They act as a platform to maintain a relationship with consumers and also help with increasing brand awareness. However, social media isn’t always a piece of cake. One day, a business may find that they aren’t gaining many followers, likes or interactions on their social media pages. If it seems as though social media engagement has come to a complete halt, keep these tips in mind to help improve your social media strategy.

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1. Use a call to action.

Encourage followers to share or like posts by including a call to action that gets the audience to share content. Try not to use simple phrases such as “Please RT” or “please share” because that likely won’t give the audience enough incentive to do so. Be creative so that the audience gets enthusiastic about replying to a Facebook post, RT-ing a Tweet or interacting with a business’s social media accounts in general. For example, a produce store can post recipes that include specific products from their shop and ask the audience to reply with images of what they create with that recipe. This makes the post a little fun and also prompts the audience to buy these products if they want to create the recipe in the future. Make sure that the call to action is clear, easy to see and understand so that you can generate more responses.

2. Create buzz with promotions.

Promotional posts or giveaways are a great way to get your audience excited. It gets them involved while also giving them the opportunity to receive a reward or discount. Try using call to actions like, “share this image and give one reason why you love our brand, and you can win a $25 gift card!”.  Asking the audience share promotional posts allows for the opportunity to expand your audience as well and get new consumers involved with the brand or business.

3. Post photos and videos.

Photos and video posts often get more attention online because images process quickly for viewers and are easier to understand. They stand out among text-only posts and have a better chance of being liked or shared. Depending on the business, photos may work better than video content and vice-versa. For example, a boutique would benefit more from posting photos of customers wearing their products, while a hardware store would find better use of video for recording how-to projects. Photo and video content make it possible for your audience can connect with your business emotionally. So, consider using product images, video messages, graphics or any other type of visual to grab consumer attention.

4. Do your research.

Stay current on news in the industry by designating time to research. One of the easiest ways you can do this is by checking in with other businesses in the industry. Take a look at their social media presence and see what they’re doing right or wrong. This can help you with social media marketing ideas (no stealing!) and keep you up to date with industry news and trends. Checking other websites or blogs can also help give you some extra insight.

5. Make sure that everything is current.

Nobody wants to hear about old news, especially in such a fast-paced an changing environment like the social media world. Keeping up with the times and, most importantly, being one of the first to talk about something can help increase traffic on one’s social media page. If you get word about an interesting story or bit of news in the industry, share before the word has already spread. If something note-worthy happens at the storefront, share it within the hour instead of a few days later so that it is more timely. Additionally, keeping up with daily holidays can help you come up with relevant social media content.

6. Get more personal.

Connect with followers by giving a business or brand more personality. Share photos of employee outings, birthdays or accomplishments so that the audience can see that it’s not always about business. Showing the faces behind what makes a business special creates trust between a business and their customers. Post photos of employees hard at work on a project or even choose an employee “star of the month” so that the audience can learn more about them.

7. Interact with followers.

One important thing for businesses to keep in mind is keeping in touch with their followers once they have them. If someone asks a question or posts a comment to their page, they make sure to respond promptly and appropriately. They shouldn’t leave anyone hanging when they ask a question and practice excellent customer service skills on their social media accounts to show customers and future customers that they care about them and what they have to say.

8. Keep posts consistent. 

Chances are a smaller business might not have a lot of time for social media, let alone have a designated employee to take care of posting to their accounts. However, businesses can lose followers because they are posting infrequently and inconsistently, or prevent them from getting any new followers in the first place. If someone stumbles across a business profile for the first time and notices that they haven’t posted anything in a month or only post a few times a year, chances are, they’re less likely to hit the “follow” button. Smaller businesses should designate at least one day a week to set aside some time to post to their social media account(s) and interact with their followers. They could even try scheduling future posts so that content is shared at the most appropriate time. Decide what amount of social media communication is best and make sure consistency is maintained.

9. Don’t forget about hashtags and keywords.

With the staggering amount of content posted to social media every second, it can be difficult for posts to stand out. Carefully choosing particular keywords or hashtags can help customers pick your business out among the clutter. When customers are looking for a particular product or service, they will often search a particular key word or short phrase. For instance, if a consumer is looking for a place to take their family to breakfast, they may look up something like “family breakfast restaurants” or “pancake house.” Think of a keyword or words that could be associated with your business and incorporate it in your social media bios and posts.

10. Keep audience attention with storytelling.

Everyone loves a good story, right? Social media is a great tool for storytelling, and storytelling is a great way for consumers to connect with a brand. Continue showing the personal side of the business by talking about exciting happenings at the store, share some industry tips, tell the story behind the company or brand or even share some business conflicts. You may even start a blog if you’re looking for a bigger storytelling canvas. Websites like Facebook, Google+ or mobile apps like Instagram allow for lengthy narrative, but what about Twitter? Trying to confine a good story in 140 characters can seem limiting, but it can also allow for more creativity. Innovative stories can lead to a stronger customer relationship, so don’t be afraid to get personal with the audience.

There are plenty of ways that social media can be utilized to benefit a business. It keeps the customer updated and acts as a window into the business itself, but social media can only benefit when you keep the audience engaged with the content you are posting. For the best results when social media marketing, remember to be personal, be current and, most importantly, be creative.

How to Draw the Eye With Newspaper Ads

Newspaper advertising is the oldest form of advertising as well as one of the least expensive and the most trusted. Newspapers can be beneficial to any advertising campaign, but designing an ad that catches a reader’s eye can be a challenge when the ad has to compete with the articles and the rest of the advertisements in the paper. Sometimes, newspaper ads can be very small, which to some, may mean that it limits creativity and make it even more difficult to grab attention. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t create an effective ad design, it only means you need to think bigger to create smaller.

Cut the clutter.

If your advertising space is small, keep the text to a minimum. Try to include only the essentials, like your company name, catchy headline, address and contact information. Adding too much text can clutter the advertisement and overpower any visuals that you might use. Too much text can also blend the advertisement with the rest of the publication and make it harder to read.  On that note, you want to make sure that your text size is readable. If you’re trying to make space, shrinking the text size might seem like a simple solution, but a font size under 11 points might be a little harder on the eyes.

copy light ad

No need to overpower an ad with copy when you can let your images speak for you.

Let visuals be your words.

When keeping the text at a minimum, the easiest way to get the message across is using visuals. Images of the product, people using the product or simply using stock images to help represent what the ad is trying to sell can speak much louder than copy. Images that include people that represent the target audience can make the advertisement more relatable and more likely that the target will read the rest of the ad. If you’re using a large visual that takes up the entire ad space, remember to use text that is still readable on top of the image.

Jump Back In Ad

Ads with visuals can grab attention and make it more relatable to the reader.

Ask a question.

One way to entice readers to look at your ad is to ask them a simple question that they can relate to. This can be used as a headline to draw the reader’s eye. Readers will subconsciously answer your question and become more involved with the ad, ensuring that they will continue reading the rest of the copy. The more a reader is involved with the ad, the better it sells and the better it promotes brand recognition.

Wanna Feel Like This Ad

Wanna feel like this? Of course you do! Ads that ask relatable questions lead to more attention.

Grab attention with color and copy.

Like any other ad, you don’t want to waste any time grabbing the reader’s attention, and that’s especially so if your ad size is smaller. This can be done with eye-popping color, if color printing is available. The most attention-grabbing color palette consists of warm colors like yellow, orange and red. Bold lettering is a must for headlines so that they draw the eye immediately. Most importantly, once you have their attention, you need to be able to keep it. Since the headline of the ad is likely the first thing that readers will see, make sure that your wording is catchy. Some key words that are most likely to evoke a reaction from readers are unbelievable, powerful, instantly and ultimate. Brainstorm exciting buzz words and stay away from ho-hum adjectives like good, great and nice.

pancake ad

An excellent color palette paired with eye-popping graphics and catchy copy equal a super sweet newspaper advertisement!

Keeping these tips in mind the next time you’re creating a newspaper ad can give you the upper hand when fighting for the attention of readers. Even if you’re trying to squeeze an ad in the classified section, there are still limitless possibilities to what you can design. When you’re thinking creatively, ad size doesn’t matter!

1-Minute Workshop: Rainbow

Quick Cover - BannerCreating a Rainbow in Adobe® Photoshop®

1MW _Rainbow Step 1

Step 1

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a rainbow in five simple steps in Adobe Photoshop. Begin by opening a photo in which you wish to apply the rainbow.

1MW_Rainbow Step 2

Step 2

Next, create a new layer. This will be the layer on which the rainbow will be created.

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Step 3

Select the Gradient tool from the Tool bar. In the Options bar (directly below Photoshop’s menu navigation), click on the Radial icon to select radial for the style of gradient and then click on the Gradient Editor to open the gradient options. Select either Spectrum or Rainbow from the gradient options. If neither exists, simply create your own colors for the rainbow.

1MW Rainbow Step 4

Step 4

In order to define the shape of the rainbow and keep the color bands fairly narrow, you’ll need to push the colors together tightly. Simply drag all the lower tabs (below each color) toward the right side of the window so that they are tightly packed together and the tabs are touching one another. Make sure the colors on the ends fade out gradually. When satisfied with the gradient, save it as a new gradient or click OK.

1MW Rainbow Step 5

Step 5

With the Gradient tool still selected, click toward the bottom of your image (make sure you’re on the new layer from Step 2) and drag up towards the center of your image. When you release the mouse button, you will have an instant rainbow effect. Experiment with the direction of the mouse and the distance that you drag the cursor to achieve different results in size and placement. To complete the effect, reduce the Opacity of the rainbow layer to allow the underlying image to show through.

 

5 Tips for Better Branding

Branding is incredibly important for a company’s growth and for developing a loyal following and relationship with it’s consumers. However, brand is more than just a nice logo. When you are thinking of your brand, you need to be looking beyond the visuals and consider elements like customer experience, your social media presence and even the attitude of your staff. Branding is how you want your consumers to view you. Research on your market and your target consumers can give you a great insight on what it is that they value, and what your brand can offer them. Here are a few tips to consider when developing your own unique brand.

Master barista

1. Differentiate your brand from the rest.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Of course you want your brand to stand out amongst the others. However, when thinking about branding, your mind may start to wander towards the product you are selling. No matter how unique your brand is, there is likely to be someone else out there who sells the same, or similar, products. So, think beyond the physical, and start to think about how you want your brand to make customers feel. Think about what makes you unique and what element(s) of your brand you wish to project onto your consumers. Understand what value your brand has to bring to the table and be able to translate that onto different marketing platforms. While we’re on the subject, remember that each marketing and advertising outlet should be treated differently. Tailor your message so that it stays true to the brand, but is unique to the platform.

2. Make an emotional connection. 

If you want to ensure brand loyalty, your brand should make an emotional connection with its message. Brands like Harley Davidson are known for making their customers feel a sense of belonging with their brand. Their branding strategy allows for brand loyalists to feel a connection between other Harley-loyal consumers. This sense of belonging is strengthened by Harley Davidson online communities and clubs. With that being said, the internet offers up many opportunities for brands to create that emotional connection. It serves as an outlet for consumers to talk about the brand, share and interact with it in ways that they couldn’t with traditional marketing platforms. The experience that your brand offers to the consumer should help create that emotional connection.

3. Stick with simplicity.

When creating advertising messages, you might feel obligated to cram a bunch of information about your brand. But, that could get confusing for consumers and ensure that it won’t be leaving a lasting impression. Make your message is clear and easy to understand by focusing on the core quality of your brand. Having a great brand doesn’t necessarily mean you need to highlight everything that makes you great.

4. Keep it consistent.

Great brands aren’t born overnight, so strong branding relies on your consistency. This is incredibly important because consistency leaves an impression on the consumer and ensures them that you’re a brand that they can trust. Once you have established the elements that define your brand, don’t change them. Something as small as changing your color scheme can confuse your customer base and make your brand seem less trustworthy. Existing consumers should know what to expect from you, while new customers should be able to recognize your brand down the road.

5. Remember that your brand is not static.

Brands evolve over time, and it’s important to evaluate your brand’s growth and success over time to make sure that your message remains consistent to your objectives and remains relevant to your customer base. Sometimes, the market can change, their interests can change or your brand could start going through its own evolution. So, remember to continue doing research on your market, make sure that your message is relevant and the consumer stays engaged. Remain flexible, listen to your customers and, most importantly, be open to new opportunities.

4 Reasons Print Media isn’t Going Anywhere

There’s been a ton of talk over whether or not digital media will eventually snuff out traditional medias like print and newspaper. With people spending more time with their handheld devices and computers, advertisers have begun to spend more of their money on digital and mobile ads. Although it can’t be denied that traditional media are becoming less of a focus, there are still many reasons why they are important to advertising and marketing, and many reasons why they won’t be lost completely any time soon.

Stack of Newspapers

1. Print is more engaging, and readers prefer it.

Handheld devices like tablets and smart phones have made it easier for you to bring your reading material on the go. However, print magazines and newspapers are more visually engaging for readers and makes content easier to absorb. Digital readers will spend read 20%-30% slower reading an article online than they would in a newspaper or magazine. In fact, readers are reading print magazines exclusively 85% of the time, where with digital, people are more prone to multitask and become distracted. Even digitally-native students prefer print over online text because of its easy comprehension. With print being a little easier on the eyes makes print advertisements gain more response and allows for readers to have an easier time remembering and recalling ads.

2. Our brains process print and digital advertisements differently.

Studies show that print media causes a more emotional processing in your brain than with digital. Since you are most likely holding or touching the materials you are reading with print, it causes more brain stimulation because you are activating your senses of sight and touch. This makes the material you are reading easier to process and remember. Additionally, the internal emotions related to print media shows that people are more responsive to “real” physical reading material. Being able to take advantage of the brain’s more emotional connection to print media can be key when advertising with the medium.

3. Print media leads readers online.

Many newspapers and magazines supply their stories to their online counterparts, where readers are free to discuss and converse over a particular article. Print media act as canvases of text and color, embellished with QR codes and directions to additional stories and content on their website. Print ads can work similarly, marrying the two mediums and making campaigning more fluid. Knowing that print is more likely to leave an impression on the mind, readers are more likely to take the time to peruse a brand’s website after reading about it, resulting in brand recognition and even loyalty. Some may believe that print and digital media should be separate entities, but they could (and should) work together for the best response and convenience for readers.

4. Print readers are easier targets.

Advertising digitally can mean that anyone from around the world can view your ad, which can be great if you’re aiming to reach consumers outside of your targeted area. However, print advertising allows you to hit more specific, localized areas, like with local newspapers and even direct mail. Magazines aren’t as local, but they allow you to target more niche audiences, depending on the audience for the specific publication.

Although print media isn’t the most popular media channel to use in advertising, its use in advertising and marketing can still give you a leg up compared to advertising digitally. Including print media to a campaign can add diversity and help reach audiences more effectively, while new businesses could use print to advertise more locally. People today may be more interested in the small screen, but print is far from becoming obsolete.

Emoji Marketing: How and Why it Works For Brands

Since marketers and advertisers have shifted their attention from the Millennial generation to “Generation Z,” we have seen a definite change in advertising methods in the digital world. Marketers have begun to use the target’s platforms of communication like Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. Not only that, they are even beginning to communicate like them using graphic images called emojis. Here, we’ll explore this new trending marketing tactic and how emojis can be used creatively in social media.

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Image from: mic.com

Why emojis work.

Emojis are graphic icons used as text emoticons that are programmed into most smart phones, which depict mood, animals, foods, plants and more. They’re kind of like text hieroglyphics; you can get away with carrying out a complete thought, or even a story, using emojis only. Besides, texting, for the most part, can be a dry way to communicate. Emojis give us a shorthanded attempt to portray feeling that we would otherwise be unable to say with words. In fact, studies suggest that people’s brains have been shaped by viewing emoticons, and our brains even register face emojis as human faces. This means that emojis add more personality in a message and make it feel more like a face-to-face interaction.

In addition to texting, you can use emojis across most social media channels and email. Whether you believe that emojis are lazy or revolutionary, it’s hard to deny their effect on current branding and marketing tactics. They are the next level in communication, especially when it comes to targeting the younger generations.

Emojis in marketing.

The endless information that is available on the internet means that brands need to try harder than ever to grab consumer attention. So, emojis are popping up a lot more in social media, and social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram have even made it easier for emoji communication. Last year, Twitter made it possible for emojis to translate onto your Twitter feed, while just a few months ago Instagram debut their emoji hashtags, allowing for optimum emoji usage. Thus, many brands have begun to use these tools to seamlessly speak directly to their audiences through a language they can understand.

dominos emoji

Image from: firstwefeast.com

Dominos Pizza: In an attempt to attract younger consumers, Dominos created a quicker way to order pizza using Twitter as an ordering platform. Users only need to tweet a pizza emoji to Domino’s twitter handle, an exchange that takes a mere 5 seconds, and your pizza will be on its way. Their reasoning behind this innovative ordering method was based on the fact that 50% of pizza retail orders occur online. The idea was successful enough for Domino’s to make the ordering platform permanent. Anyone hungry?

 

emoji ge

Image from: digiday.com

General Electric: This last year, GE teamed up with New York University to create an “Emoji Table of Experiments” for their Emoji Science Effort. The brand encouraged their fans to join them on Snapchat and send an emoji. In return, GE responded with a video experiment related to that emoji. In the end, the brand created an online table of elements with emojis, where you can click on each element and see the video or tutorial for the experiments. The reason for this marketing tactic was to get students more interested in science. GE wanted to show the world that there is a science in everything. Yes, even emojis.

 

miracle gro emoji

Image from: momentology.com

Miracle-Gro: To celebrate the first day of spring and get people excited about gardening, Miracle-Gro created its own virtual garden, the Springmoji garden. Miracle-Gro asked that fans of their products tweet one of the many “garden” emojis (that include tomatoes, tulips, roses and more) to their Twitter handle with the hashtag #springmoji. The emoji that the user chose was meant to represent what they were growing in their garden, and their emoji contribution was then added to the growing garden located on Miracle-Gro’s website. The marketing scheme resulted in over a million emojis in the garden.

Some takeaways for marketers.

Compared to other social media channels, Twitter is a very popular handle for using emojis. Twitter is based on text, making it easier for them to be incorporated into tweets, and many brands have been utilizing that for their social media marketing. However, that doesn’t mean that you should leave out social medias like Instagram as a viable platform for emoji marketing tactics. As previously mentioned, Instagram’s recent update allows you to hashtag emojis, leaving you with endless possibility. In fact, with over 700 emojis available across the board of smart phones, they provide you with the tools for great storytelling. With advertising getting a little more personal, being able to tell a good story will get you the most attention. Face emojis even add a little more personality to a message, making text-only messages more relatable and allowing for emotion to be easily conveyed and understood.

What seemed like a trend for the younger generations is becoming more widely used and recognized, so much that it’s become a whole new way that people are communicating. Whether or not you think that adding emojis to your social media marketing is fitting for your brand, it’s best to learn the language!