Category Archives: Social Media Tips

Our Content is Flexible for Signs and Online Posts

Most of you know the flexibility that comes with using vectored artwork.  We constantly let our customers know that the content on Creative Outlet can be used in many other formats outside of tradition print-based advertising.  Our President, Jill Addy Wright, used Creative Outlet’s lawn mower graphic to create a poster promoting an upcoming fundraiser.  Remember, you have the ability to use our graphics in many ways – don’t just think of us for traditional print!  If you want to see a ton of Creative Outlet images on social media, this fundraiser used our images exclusively for their logo and on their Facebook page too.

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Millennials and Mobile – how to harness their spending power

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Millennials and Mobile are a match made in heaven.

You know it as well as we do, Millennials and Mobile, can’t have one without the other. According to the Census Bureau, there are over 83.1 million Millennials in America. That’s over a fourth of the entire population and exceeding the 75.4 million baby boomers.

So, what does this mean?

Much like the younger Americans, Generation Z, Millennials make up the most diverse populations.  Use of the mobile phone is second-nature to them and it shows.  There is over $280 billion estimated to be spent through mobile transactions. What are you doing to get their business?   Read more about the most popular shopping apps with this generation.

Here’s a brief overview from this great Forbes article:

  • 1 in every 2 Millennials has downloaded a mobile shopping app
  • Retailers have an early adopter advantage: Amazon, Etsy, and Forever 21 are some of the most popular native apps
  • Millennials download mobile shopping apps for a better user experience

 

What does this mean to you?  Well, if you haven’t got started in the mobile arena, it’s beyond time to get moving on this.  We have just introduced our first ever mobile app, LocalPrices. LocalPrices allows you as a media company to have a custom-branded app on both the iOS and Android platform. This will drive traffic to your local advertisers by using up-to-the-minute deals and coupons.  It’s extremely easy for you AND your advertisers to use and you control the offers and frequency. In addition, everything on the mobile platform can also be pushed to your website or Facebook page.  Find out how it’s working for your peers by contacting us at: sales@adbuilder.com. You can also view numerous tutorials and see success stories.

Find LocalPrices on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Why Using Media Images Can Land You in Hot Water

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Teenage girl with camera

Images and content can be found by the millions with just a quick Google search. The internet is so abundant with photos and other media content that using one may not seem like that big of a deal. However, even if you don’t see a copywrite on the photo, that photo still isn’t yours to take. Uploading the image to a Facebook or Twitter post can be one thing, but borrowing an image to use in a client’s work can be a whole other nightmare. You can find yourself in some deep trouble – and in a big lawsuit – if you are using media content that you don’t have the permission to use. Here’s how you can be safe.

Internet content isn’t yours for the taking.

If you didn’t personally take the photo or create the artwork – it isn’t yours. Plain and simple. Using other people’s content requires special permission or you could find yourself in a ton of trouble, especially when it comes to designs or promotional work for clients. You and the client can end up with a lawsuit, which can be a devastating blow to your reputation. It’s easy to believe that copyrighted content consists of imagery that is watermarked with the creator’s name, or embellished with a “©.” Although that’s true, it also includes any media content created by somebody else. That means that even if it’s not formally protected, it’s still under copyright by its owner once it is produced. The best way to ensure that it’s safe to use is to do your own research.

Be responsible.

Never assume that because Google told you it was free to use that it’s actually free to use. It’s your personal responsibility to make sure that you have the rights to reuse content commercially or even non commercially, and it can sometimes come with a price. If you don’t know the copyright status, find the owner and ask them yourself. As long as you have it in writing, you may use the image once permission is given. One helpful tool to use is TinEye – you can upload the image or simply drop in its URL and this website can help find who owns it and may even give you the licensing status.

The best way to ensure that your media decisions aren’t going to come back to bite you in the you-know-where later on is to invest in a stock image subscription. A paid subscription gives you the permission to use thousands of

So, before you snag on image online to slap onto your next article, make sure that you have the rights to reuse it. If you’re given the permission to use it, make sure that you’re giving credit where credit is due. Be smart and safe when you reuse content and remember that even though something is on the internet, it isn’t free.

Talk to us if you have any questions.

Social Media Tips to Make Your Holiday Marketing Shine

The holidays are here, are you ready? Nearly everyone is rolling out their annual holiday sales and promotions. If there aren’t any big selling plans to be had, some of the easiest ways to promote during this busy season is to take to social media. But before you start posting about deals or giveaways, consider some alternative ways to deck your Facebook walls for this special season.

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Have you been good with your holiday marketing this year?

Focus on giving back.

Tis the season to start giving back to others in need. Not only does it feel good to do, it makes your brand image look good as well! For example, Banana Republic took to Instagram last year and teamed up with the Humane Society to help animals that were up for adoption. The popular clothing company used social media to post glamour shots of dogs, even giving them a brief, yet uplifting, description of them in the photo captions to encourage shoppers to adopt. Local companies can give back by teaming up with local charities or organizations to spread some holiday cheer. Businesses can start a food drive, encouraging customers to bring in a canned good for a special discount to help feed the hungry. Clothing and toy donations are another great way to give back, and consumers love to participate!

Try a holiday countdown. 

There’s nothing like the anticipation as we near the holidays, so why not add some fun to the wait by counting down the days? Give your social media followers more to look forward to by putting a spin on the traditional countdown. Reveal a new product, photo, deal or fun tidbit about your company daily to keep customers coming back every day to see what new content you’ve revealed. Even try revealing something big at the end of the countdown as a surprise. It’s not too late to brainstorm for this! Try this for the week of New Years.

Share holiday traditions.

The whole point of social media is to be social, so get your followers talking! Encourage them to share their favorite holiday traditions and tag your business in their shares. Try getting the ball rolling by asking which holiday favorite they prefer: Gingerbread or peppermint? Pumpkin pie or pecan pie? It’s a simple question that’ll reel in big responses! Try any fun holiday topic to start conversation, it draws more attention to your page in the long run.

Deck the halls.

Get into the holiday spirit by choosing festive decoration for your social media websites. Update your profile photos and cover photos to give your page a festive theme. Have an office Christmas tree or a holiday party photo of employees donning ugly sweaters? Share your photos! It’s a subtle, yet fun way to get your and your customers in the holiday mood and, most importantly, make your business look more personable.

Make New Year’s resolutions for yourself.

Aside from executing your promotions, make sure you’re evaluating your marketing plans from this season, and from this year as a whole! Keeping tabs on how you’re doing can prepare you for the year ahead. If you see any areas that you feel need improvements, make them into a New Year’s resolution for 2016. Write them down as a reminder as we move into the new year. There’s no improving if you’re not learning from your mistakes, or paying attention to the areas you excel in!

The holiday season is the busiest season for many reasons, but don’t let that get in the way of your social media marketing. There are many great ways to give back and get in the spirit of the holidays with social media content. So, happy holidays, and happy posting!

Business Tips for Gaining More Twitter Followers

On social media, no matter what outlet, everyone is working towards a mutual goal- to gain more followers to increase their online visibility. More followers equal more engagement, better brand recognition and a greater reach for your posts if done correctly. When it comes to Twitter, it can actually help bring in new customers! In fact, 64% of users are more likely to buy from a brand that they follow on Twitter. Looking beyond the hashtag and seeking ways to find your audience on Twitter and know how to engage them is important to raising your follower count and overall customer base.

Be the problem solver.

Seek out customers who may not even know your company exists by looking for those in need of your services. Start by simply searching important keywords into the Twitter search bar. For example, a hardware store can search something like “home improvement,” and Twitter will find tweets that share those keywords. Respond to tweets with helpful tips, links to blog articles, videos or products in your shop. This prompts users to check out your Twitter feed, website or other relevant content and also shows that you’re knowledgable about the industry.

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Use keywords.

Make good use of the words you choose. After all, you only get 140 of them! As mentioned above, keywords in your tweets that are relevant to your business help draw in people who may be searching for your services. Like in blogs or other online content, keywords are an important element to written content. Try compiling a list of keywords that you would use to describe your company or business. Shoot for using a handful of these in each tweet to help with the driving force of each post. Others will see that you share similar interests and will be more inclined to follow you.

Practice better networking.

More often than not, Twitter followers are just a number on your home page. While it’s easy to practice the “let’s follow this person in hopes that they’ll follow back” game, it’s not the best networking strategy if only a handful of them follow back. Twitter networking starts with finding the right people to follow. You can start by simply referring to the “Who to follow” recommendations made by Twitter based on your content and who you’re following already. Tools like FollowerWonk helps you find which of your current followers are from your area or industry, as well as finds users who are interested or talking about your industry. See what these users are discussing and chime in to break the ice. If you have something in common, this helps build relationships with other companies or consumers and show your knowledge of the industry. Retweets are also a great way to give a shout out to the original poster, so don’t refrain from retweeting from other companies in the industry. Additionally, don’t forget to respond to anyone who sends you a tweet, thank any compliments or manage any complaints. Like Facebook, Twitter can be a great outlet to show off customer service skills. Take note of users who you have positive interactions with so that you can reference them in the future.

Keep creating content.

Even if you’ve gotten a surge of new followers and are building relationships with them, it’s important to continue to generate content. After all, that’s what your followers came here for! Studies have shown that the amount of tweets you post correlates to the amount of followers you have. Tweeters who have more than 10,000 tweets are more likely to have between 1,000 and 5,000 followers. Create more Twitter content by sharing blog posts, news, company updates, and tips to keep followers engaged. It’s important to have your target market in mind when making content so that your tweets aren’t misdirected and so that you can set the right tone. Over some time, you will be able to establish what types of tweets don’t get as much attention and what you can do to improve.

It’s difficult to get recognition on social media if you’re not a big-time celebrity. It takes a little more work and the results can take time. However, with the right combination of effort, networking and creation of engaging content, your Twitter fan base can grow.

5 Tips for Maintaining a Company Facebook Page

General upkeep of a social media outlet, or multiple outlets, is just one of the many things that businesses have to maintain for successful marketing. Sometimes, other priorities get in the way social media marketing, but it’s important that these platforms are routinely updated so that followers don’t lose interest. Keeping these tips in mind at least once a week can help improve consumer engagement and lead to a more interactive Facebook page.

1. Set some goals, try new tactics.

An important way to keep yourself on track with Facebook management is to set a few goals to meet. They can be fairly short-term, like increasing weekly engagement by 10%, or long-term, such as reaching 1,000 page likes. Coming up with new, innovative ways to get the consumer to interact with a Facebook profile can help with meeting and exceeding these goals. Print out your list of goals and check them off as they’re completed, refresh your list after each month and set new goals. Keeping them near your computer is a great way to keep yourself motivated.

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Setting goals, planning ahead and evaluating results are the recipe for a successful Facebook page!

2. Check your Facebook feed daily.

Devote at least 10 minutes of your time, whether it be in the early AM or later in the day, to checking up on what’s going on in the Facebook world. This keeps you in the loop for new trends, news about other businesses, and keeps you consistently social media active. Make a note to check up on other community businesses or competitors so that you stay informed. While browsing, liking posts, leaving comments and sharing posts that are relevant to your business draws more attention to your page. Additionally, following related pages helps build relationships and also increase your reach. In time, a strong relationship can lead to both pages promoting one another. Cool!

3. Schedule posts weekly.

Designate a minimum amount of posting that you want to do weekly so that your page stays active and your followers remain engaged. A good number to start off with is a minimum of 3. This can be something as simple as posting daily specials or happenings around the business or office, images, blog posts or promotions. Failing to update frequently, like only posting a few times a month, can lead to followers losing interest and/or unfollowing the page altogether.

Try brainstorming post ideas at the start of each month, mark a calendar if you want to stay organized. If you really want to get ahead, Facebook allows you to schedule posts ahead of time. Simply type out/upload what you want to put on your feed, and instead of hitting the “Post” button, hit the arrow next to it and click “Schedule.” There, you will be able to set a time and date so that your post can go online even when you’re not at a computer. Before choosing a time, however, make sure that you’re posting at the time that’s most appropriate. Facebook’s Insights can help with that by showing what time of day fans are the most Facebook active. Timing is everything!

4. Engage and interact with followers.

Don’t leave your followers hanging! Any posts that elicit responses should be reciprocated with a like and/or reply. Engage in discussion if necessary and never leave any questions unresolved. Be sure to address followers by their first name because it helps establish a connection between you and your follower, and a connection means a better consumer relationship. Facebook is a great platform to practice good customer service, so be sure to acknowledge compliments and manage complaints appropriately. It’s especially crucial that these responses are done in a timely fashion, especially when it comes to complaints, so be sure that you’re checking for notifications daily (see #2) and try to respond before 24 hours. 

5. Evaluate the results.

Again, Facebook’s Insights are incredibly helpful with letting you know how well your page is doing during any given week. Insights show the amount of engagement the page has gotten in reference to the rest of the week. Once every two weeks to a month, check up on how your page is doing to make sure that you are getting the most out of your social media marketing efforts. Use insights to check up on post reach, engagement, likes and more. Try to make a habit of checking these insights at the end of each week. If certain posts aren’t getting as much attention as others, perhaps try a different approach and change things up.

To keep a Facebook well maintained, it’s important to stick to these key points. Use this as a checklist so that you don’t fall short of your social media goals, and as a reference so that you don’t let daily maintenance fall through the cracks. A well-managed Facebook starts here, and ends with a well informed and engaged audience, as well as improved consumer and company relationships!

4 Tips For Better Visual Marketing

Creating a solid visual brand helps tie together all of your visual content across all marketing channels. Using imagery to draw in viewers is an incredibly effective way for brands to get noticed, and it’s a skill that should be practiced for the best results. You’ll find that following a particular visual style, maintaining consistency and creating specific content for particular marketing platforms are just a few of the ways that your visual marketing goals can be met.

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Make sure that visuals are related to the brand and also consistent with the rest of your content!

1. Tailor content on your social platforms.

If you use various social media platforms, it’s important to tailor the visual content to the audience that would be viewing on that particular platform. This means that to cease using the same visual and message across all platforms could make a big difference! Consider the audiences for websites like Tumblr, Twitter or YouTube and what would be a more engaging message for them. Keep in mind that while making small changes to your social messages can be helpful for multiple platforms, it’s important that the overall message remains the same.

2. Use consistent visual formatting.

Across these platforms, it’s important to keep the visuals consistent. It’s almost like branding, you want there to be a cohesive design or visual style so that it’s recognizable. Your first instinct may be to stick with a similar color scheme, but there are plenty of ways to be consistent visually without limiting yourself to a particular color palette. Illustrations that demonstrate a particular drawing style, web pages that follow a similar grid layout, or even using unique fonts are a few other ways that you can be visually consistent. The key to this is to keep the same style format so that it becomes more recognizable., Your visual style is what sets you apart, so stray away from changing things up too often. Once you’ve found your right style, it’s important not to make too many noticeable changes. Visual consistency is something that all brands should practice for better recognition by consumers.

3. Be detail-oriented.

Branching off of the last point, it’s important to pay attention to any small details that can make or break your visual consistency. This can be something as small as a font or font size change, or a layout with imagery where the kerning is a little off. They may seem small, but progressive, even minuscule,  changes over time can throw of the consistency of your marketing visuals. Sometimes, it’s best to keep a side-by-side grid of all of your marketing visuals to make sure that they fit well with one another.

4. Use your logo. 

Try to incorporate the company logo into your visual content, and be consistent about it, but remember not to let it overpower your message. For example, keep it in a noticeable location near the bottom of an image, or set the stage for brand recognition by placing it at the beginning of a web page or infographic. This is important for generating brand awareness and recognition. The more your logo is included in your visual content, the more readers will be able to associate your brand with the message.

If you’re producing visual content, keep in mind what it can do to help with branding; consider your consistency, your platforms and be sure to tie in the company logo. However small, these changes can help create a more well put-together brand and make it more recognizable to consumers. Set yourself apart and help build a brand with these visual marketing tips!

The Best Time to Start Your Holiday Promotions

It’s almost October, and you may have already started seeing ads for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It seems like every year the holidays begin just a little bit earlier. Like, for example, Starbucks releasing their famed holiday Pumpkin Spice Latte a few weeks early this past month. So, is there a limit to how early you should start prepping for the holidays? Big companies like Starbucks have sure gotten away with it, but it’s because their timing is on par with what their audience wants. Analyzing what factors play into your holiday selling time can be crucial to its overall effectiveness.

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Timing is everything – even if it’s early.

Just like when you’re considering the appropriate time to hang your holiday decorations, picking the appropriate time to begin holiday promotions is important- and necessary. Before you start planning for the next few months, remember that the appropriate timing depends on your business, your products/services and your target audiences. It’s all about knowing your company and your desired audiences. However, there are a few guidelines that can be considered when planning for the start of your holiday social media promotions:

Over 40% of shoppers do their holiday shopping before Halloween – Seems really early, but many consumers like to start their shopping early so that they can spread out their spending. If pre-Halloween promotions seem like the appropriate time to begin your holiday season, then you’ll be up with the rest of the early bird shoppers- and you know what they say about the early bird.

If your products are less of an impulse buy, consider starting early, too – A shopper’s purchase decisions mainly depend on affordabilityFor example, if you’re out to buy a candy bar, it doesn’t take too much time to decide on what kind you want because they don’t cost a lot of money and there isn’t much risk in buying one. Cars, on the other hand, are a more involved purchase decision because buying a car is a bigger investment. So, if you’re selling something that takes a bit more saving up for, like a car, you might want to start promoting early for the holidays so that consumers have time to save up.

Most people actually don’t mind 4 months of holiday ads – Although many will complain when September rolls around and they’re already hearing “Jingle Bells” being played over a clothing store commercial, many don’t really mind. Surprisingly, early Christmas ads aren’t a recent trend for advertisers, as there are existing Christmas newspaper ads from August 1914. So, there are plenty of people out there who don’t mind the early holiday cheer. Many of these positive responders include adults under 45, those with children and those with a lower income, who are more willing to spend over longer periods.

Remember to continue sales and promos after the holidays.

The pre-holiday season isn’t the only time of year to be concerned about. In fact, one of the top three biggest holiday selling days is the day after Christmas! Try targeting shoppers who hold out on the last of their big spending until the post-holiday season. Post-holidays are the perfect time to thank loyal customers for their business and give out rewards and freebies. The holidays are the biggest selling period of the year, so keep in mind that timing plays an important role in your advertising. As always, be sure to pay attention to responses and measure results so your holidays are even more of a success in years to come!

The Best Image Practices for Better Ad Performance

One of the best eye-grabbers for online ads and articles are the images that correspond with them. Images are essential to user engagement and can help with the overall success or click-through-rates, but it’s challenging to stand out among the rest of the content. Images are likely the first thing that the eye wanders to, so it’s important that the images used are chosen very carefully to keep the viewer’s attention. Here are some excellent pointers for picking out an image that really pops.

Find the appropriate size.

When it comes to smaller advertisements, such as a Facebook ad, it’s imperative that the images used can still be interpreted when at a smaller scale. So, stay far away from images with a ton of detail, especially ones with text. If words absolutely must be used, stick to large, readable text and be careful that the text doesn’t take up more than a fourth of the image itself. If this is an outdoor advertisement, like a flyer, bigger is usually better so that the eye is more likely to be drawn to it.

Make sure that the image is relevant to the product or service advertised. 

Seems almost too easy, right? Of course you’re not going to use a photo of cats if you’re advertising dog food, but this is still a noteworthy tip. Keep in mind that an image choice that makes sense to you may not always make sense to the viewer who knows nothing about your product, brand or services. The best way to prevent confusion this is using a photo with people enjoying the product, the product itself or images that show the result of your product or service.

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Images of happy, smiling people grab attention.

Choose happy people, positive imagery.

In addition to picking images of people using your product, it’s helpful to include people enjoying your product. Images of happy, smiling women help increase ad performance because they translate well and are more trustworthy. Pictures of people, especially well-recognized ones are great for creating a positive first impression and create an emotional connection with the brand or product. Pictures of babies, pets and often silly images generate more interest in an ad. Consider the target demographic when picking out what image is going to be used for the best results.

Pick the right color scheme.

Depending on where the image or ad is to be placed, one great way for it to stand out is to pick colors that are complimentary or differ from the rest of the page’s content. For example, since Facebook’s layout is white and blue, pick colors like red or orange for contrast. Stay away from black and white images and try to attract the eye with bright, vibrant color. Certain colors even helps evoke emotion. For example, yellow represents happiness, creativity and cheeriness. Colors like blue evokes feelings of peace and calmness. Check out Creative Outlet’s previous blog on marketing with color here.

Choose multiple image options.

In cases like Facebook advertising, you are allowed to create multiple versions of your ad. So, if you can’t choose just one image, pick out a few that best accompany your ad message. If it’s available to you, create multiple versions of poster or flyer advertisements. Creating multiple ads allows variety and also allows you to measure the results and see which ad is doing the best, and which ones just aren’t working. This helps you for future advertising success!

Since images grab attention first, it’s important that they make a great first impression, especially if it means introducing a new product or brand. Consider these practices before an ad is printed, published or uploaded for better advertising results!