• Why You Should Up Your Paid Social Ad Spend This Year

    Google’s been announcing some major developments in the past few months. In November, they announced that the search engine would be moving toward mobile-first indexing. Then this June, Google’s Senior VP of Ads and Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, posted an announcement that the search engine had joined the Coalition for Better Ads, an organization that works to improve the online ad experience. The Coalition released a report recently detailing guidelines for creating better ads – in other words, ads that people don’t find annoying. Google pulled some of these guidelines for a post on their DoubleClick blog, which you can read here. And while we won’t go into all the details, suffice it to say that what people find least annoying are ads that blend the most seamlessly with the content they’re consuming. Maybe it’s just us, but that sounds like paid social ads, in our opinion. Now, it’s important to note that the DoubleClick post refers not to paid social ads, but to the more traditional digital ads that we all see, on content publisher sites, especially. However, the takeaway is highly relevant:  Internet users today want ads that don’t interrupt, that are relevant to their interests, and that are immersive. …

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  • What Google’s Move toward Mobile-First Indexing Means for Your Digital Marketing Strategy

    In November of 2016, Google announced that it was moving toward a “mobile-first” system of indexing, after using what could be called “desktop-first” indexing for its full history. It’s a huge shift – but it’s one that reflects the way users are searching the web today. As early as 2015, Google announced that it was getting more searches on mobile devices than on desktop devices. That trend has continued, and while the growth is hardly explosive, the numbers – and your own usage, if you pay attention – don’t lie. The stats: mobile vs. desktop web searches According to a Google blog post from May 5, 2015 , “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” The company declined to share specific numbers. It’s important to note that at this point, at least, Google was grouping tablets with desktops – so those mobile searches don’t include the number of searches coming from tablets. It’s unclear whether Google has changed its grouping since then. Either way, mobile searches are outnumbering desktop searches across the board – and especially in certain industries. As you can read about in a great article…

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  • Want Killer Marketing Videos? 5 Keys To Writing Scripts

    There’s probably nothing as sleep inducing as a boring video. Just think back on all those clunky, dry-as-dust videos you had to suffer through in school. And how about those painful orientation and training videos you had inflicted on you at your first job? Remember what a struggle it was to stay awake? That is exactly what you can’t afford to have happen with your social media marketing videos. The competition is getting much keener and the marketing video arena is getting more crowded. Out of all the B2C companies in North America that engage in content marketing, 82% use videos. So your online marketing videos have to stand out, and it all starts with the script. Content Marketing Institute Here, then, are the 5 keys for writing knock-’em-dead video scripts for online marketing – scripts that will keep viewers engaged and will rise above the competition. Know Your Audience and Address Them Directly One reason the videos we mentioned just above were so ineffective is that they weren’t produced for a specific audience. Because they were aimed at everyone, they didn’t really appeal to anyone. So the first key to writing an effective video script is to consider your…

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  • Social Media Must-Haves: Proactive and Reactive Social Strategies

    If you’re just starting out with your social media marketing, you’re probably spending a lot of time planning out your social media calendar, posting images of your products, and finding other influencers in your industry to follow and chat with. Although you may not have stopped to consider it – you’re just trying to build a social media presence, after all – this is called proactive social community management. As you might have guessed, there’s an inverse of this strategy, too: reactive social community management. And while the balance between them will differ for every brand, you do need to incorporate both tactics as you put together your social strategy. What is proactive social media strategy? Proactive social media strategy involves a lot of the elements of social media that you probably think of when you think of “social media strategy.” The daily, weekly, or monthly posts that you put up just to let your followers know what’s going on with your brand – those are proactive. via @5Gstudio In this tweet, for example, Yen Ong of the Dallas-based 5G Studios architecture firm is sharing a snapshot of a new project the firm is working on. Ong and 5G are…

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  • 5 Reasons Huge Brands are Turning to Micro-Influencers – with Massive Results

    Call it the next advance in the evolution of authenticity in marketing. Instead of automatically turning to Instagram’s biggest celebrities to promote their products, major brands are beginning to enlist users with much smaller, but more loyal, followings for their influencer marketing needs. According to some industry experts, these “micro-influencers” – social media users with fewer than 30,000 followers – are turning out to be a more effective choice for many brands looking to use the power of influencer marketing. Here’s why. Some consumers, especially in Generation Z, are growing wary of celebrity product endorsements. Influencer marketing has been around long enough now that consumers know how it works. We’re wary of the idea that Khloe Kardashian actually uses Express Smile Atlanta’s teeth whitening kit, for example. You know I love staying GLAM and @ExpressSmileAtlanta helps me keep my smile bright. If you want whiter teeth you should try it too. Tell them I sent you! 😘Use code: KhloeSentMe Follow @ExpressSmileAtlanta #ad #NoYellowTeeth #Smile #TeethWhitening #TeethWhiteningKit A post shared by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on May 9, 2017 at 11:01am PDT I mean, sure, maybe she does. But it’s a lot more likely that she just posted about it after receiving a…

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  • 9 Harsh Truths About Your Social Media Marketing – and What to Do About Them

    Social media marketing has too often been portrayed as the silver bullet for the challenges brands regularly face. Need to improve your customer retention? Post more on social media! Need to expand your customer base? Post more on social media! Want to grow your business by 5,000%? Post more on social media! You get the picture. And while social media is certainly something that you can’t afford to ignore, we’re sorry to tell you that it’s not going to instantly – or even eventually – solve all your business problems. It’s a bummer, we know. But all is not lost. When you know the truth about social media, you can figure out how to best put it to work for your brand. With that in mind, here are 9 harsh truths about your social media marketing, and what to do about them. Some “guaranteed” social media tricks just won’t work for you, no matter how much they work for other brands. You can find all kinds of information online about social media tricks that are “guaranteed” to get you more leads, to increase your reach, to get you noticed by top influencers, etc. While there’s likely at least a grain…

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  • 5 Essential Components of a Top-Notch Digital Marketing Strategy

    Crafting a digital marketing strategy is a complex, ever-evolving undertaking. There are so many different elements that you can include: paid social ads, giveaways, influencer posts, Twitter campaigns, Instagram takeovers…the list goes on. So with all these options, how do you know what you absolutely must do, and what’s just a nice addition? How do you know what parts of a digital marketing strategy are truly essential? Take a look at this list to find out. Note that this list assumes that you’ve already completed the business planning portion of your strategy: setting goals and objectives, deciding on metrics, etc.  1. Powerful, original content  In today’s digital landscape, powerful, original, and valuable content is an absolute must. There are a few reasons why. First of all, great content will vastly improve your organic search rankings in Google – in other words, how close to the top of the first page your brand will be when someone searches using relevant keywords. Second, creating original content will give you and your fans something to share on social media. You can curate content all you want – and you should curate some, certainly – but if you don’t also have some kind of content…

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  • 6 Storytelling Secrets for Forging Connections with Your Customers

    Storytelling is as integral to digital marketing as pictures to a picture book. You can have all the clever tweets, amazing hashtags, and beautifully styled Instagram photos you can come up with, but if there’s no cohesive brand story behind them, they won’t win you loyal followers. Why? Because you can’t build a connection with a series of tweets, no matter how clever they are. And in the digital age, marketing is all about building connections with your customers. If you’re lagging behind in the storytelling department, put these tips to work for your brand. To tell a great story, start with the basics: Freytag’s Pyramid. Think about every Hollywood blockbuster you’ve ever seen. They’re pretty formulaic, right? You know there will be a buildup to the climax of the movie, the hero will face a serious obstacle, then everything (or at least something) will work out and the film will come to a satisfying close. We love to bemoan formulas because they’re so predictable. And yet, if you think about your favorite books, movies, or TV shows, they’re all built on a formula, no matter how well it may be hidden. That formula is based on Freytag’s Pyramid, otherwise…

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  • 4 Critical Tips for Getting the Most Out of Paid Social Ads

    Turning out high-quality content, working with powerful influencers, and using video strategically are all huge elements of any digital marketing strategy. Although these concepts have been around for years – decades, even – the way they’re being used today is an extremely recent development. However, just because the rules of marketing have changed over the past few years, prioritizing endorsements from “regular people” over celebrities and inbound tactics over outbound ones, it doesn’t mean that the entire playbook gets thrown out. There’s one strategy that people (and companies) that have something to sell have been relying on for hundreds of years: paid advertising. 313 years, to be exact: that’s when the first American newspaper ad, an announcement that a Long Island estate was for sale in a 1704 edition of the Boston News-Letter, appeared. That’s not to say that advertising looks much like it did back in the 1700s – or even the 2000s. As both advertising platforms and consumers become more and more sophisticated, advertising is undergoing changes on a yearly, if not monthly basis. Just look at digital advertising. A few years ago, you couldn’t advertise on Instagram (they opened up the platform to advertisers in 2015). Go…

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  • Social Media Management Hacks That Will Save You Hours Each Week

    When you’re managing social media for a brand, you don’t just bang out tweets and Facebook posts with abandon – at least, we hope you don’t. Instead, you might be spending 30 minutes putting together the perfect status update. Taking an hour or two to sift through the day’s industry news to find a few great news articles to share on your Twitter feed. Crafting your brand’s social media voice is a full-time job (literally: it’s called being a Social Media Manager). And because the internet never sleeps, social media managers need all the time-saving techniques they can get. Time-saver #1: Schedule your posts. Have you ever found yourself checking the clock at 4 p.m. on a Friday and thinking “Oh no! I forgot to send out that tweet / post that update / share the link to that influencer’s site!” Then you scramble to put something together that people will actually see before they leave the office for the weekend, and hit send at 4:58, the sweat running down your fevered brow? That’s not exactly a fun place to be. So instead of doing that, try scheduling your posts throughout the week. Use a social media management tool, like…

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  • 16 Invaluable Guidelines for Managing Your Social Media Comments

    Social media. It can really bring out the worst in people, can’t it? From all-out trolls to plain old rude and offensive people, social media threads can become perilous places. That’s especially true for brands, which must tread an extremely fine line when it comes to comments. Obviously, they can’t tolerate anything overtly offensive – but they also don’t want to be seen as exercising censorship over their followers. You want your fans and followers to feel encouraged to engage with your posts. You want them to feel confident that their views will be respected. And you want them to know that personal attacks and inappropriate comments will not be allowed on your site. How do you pull this off? How do you create an open, engaging forum for the exchange of opinions without allowing it to get out of hand? The answer: A robust, clearly-defined comment management policy. These 16 guidelines will help you get there. 1. Establish a moderator. You need someone who’s committed to moderating your comments every day – not every few days, not once a week, but every day. That way, you won’t log onto your social media page one day to find that a…

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  • Marketing to Millennial Parents: 7 Surefire Tactics

    It’s a hard pill to swallow, but we Millennials are no longer the youngest generation (thanks, Generation Z). Instead of college community service programs, trendy bars, and artisanal mayonnaise, many Millennials are finding themselves spending more time thinking about baby monitors, preschools, and nontoxic toys. That’s right: Millennials are becoming parents. In fact, 80 percent of new moms today are Millennials, according to a 2015 study by BabyCenter. which means that if you’re marketing to parents at all, you’ve got to have a strong grasp on what makes Millennials tick. So how can you grab these parents’ attention in the increasingly overloaded digital landscape? Here are 7 surefire tactics for marketing to Millennials with kids. Embrace diversity. One of the most striking features of Millennial parents is their diversity – and not just their cultural and racial diversity. Take a look at these stats from AdAge, for example: 4 out of 10 Millennial moms are single parents 67 percent of Millennial moms are multicultural 61% of births to Millennial moms are to unmarried women By 2020, 50 percent of U.S. children will be non-white While marketers have done fairly well in recent years breaking out of the WASP family model –…

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