The History of Video Marketing
Video marketing falls under the umbrella of digital marketing, along with several other niche areas of marketing (social media marketing, editorial marketing, etc). If we’re getting technical, we could say that video marketing began almost 80 years ago, thanks to a watch company by the name of Bulova.
Bulova made a big decision to run a video commercial on a New York TV station … during a Yankees game. It was a bold move that revolutionized the way video played into the marketing sphere. At the time, the company spent $4 in total to air the commercial. In today’s world, that $4 would be more like $4 million.
Fast forward 40 years and we land on MTV’s big impact when it launched “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Call it foreshadowing or trusty foresight—either way, MTV really hit the mark with this one. From there, several other companies (Apple, Fox, and Nike) jumped on the video bandwagon.
The video biz has experienced many twists and turns. Think about it. 10 years ago no one was coming up with 5-second videos for an Instagram story, right? But one thing remains the same: Video undoubtedly has made its way into the marketing industry, and by the looks of it, it’s here to stay.
Marketing, Meet Video
It’s hard to peg the exact origin of video marketing, but one moment stands out among the rest. In 2006, Google saw a potential in video marketing and made the decision to buy YouTube for $1.65 billion. Some would argue this is what bridged the intersection of video and marketing.
Everyone began to use videos as a way to document life experiences. By everyone, we mean… everyone. Tech companies sending out clips of their newest product and families documenting their baby’s first steps. Marketing professionals coming up with new, fresh video commercials and freelancers uploading their greatest work on film. Video became the quickest way to disseminate useful information in real-time.
Behind the scenes, Google capitalized on this discovery by investing more and more into YouTube—rolling out new ads and paying particular attention to brands that were thriving on the video front.
Why Video? Why Now?
Video is useful, but as you probably know, it comes at a great cost. Video takes your message and uses words, visuals, and audio to execute it. Marketing agencies are dedicated to this craft, so it’s integral to the success of your business that you’re utilizing the latest and greatest tools to hone in on your niche. In today’s world, that’s video.
In the spirit of “show, don’t tell,” we’ll lay out a few video marketing stats to back up this claim.
It’s safe to say that the numbers (and the content) back up the notion that video is a must-have for your marketing plan. It’s not enough to just send a message out to the public and call it a day. You need to actively work toward reaching a target audience, converting viewers into users, and establishing trust with your following. By putting a video out into the public, you’re making an effort to bridge this connection, and the payoff is huge.
Ways to Utilize Video for Your Marketing Strategy
So you’re ready to join the video movement. How do you do it? The good news is you have several options. Here are a few of those:
That’s a wrap! Looking ahead toward 2020, we can see all sorts of trends beginning to surface. While digital marketing trends come and go, video is one that is bound to stick around. How do you plan to incorporate video into your digital marketing strategy this year?
“A man is nothing without his tools.”
Your social media profiles may have great potential, but if you don’t use social media tools to your full advantage, you could easily slip off the grid among your competitors. A lot of people don’t even realize how many useful (and free!) social media tools are out there.
We’ve already been through the trial and error period, so we’ll cut to the chase here. Some social media tools stand out among the rest. When you’re trying to test out a social media tool, it should help you, not hurt you. It shouldn’t take more time to learn, and it shouldn’t turn into a meta-process. Although there are tons of great tools out there, some of them just aren’t necessary. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of tools that really do make your posting and scheduling life simpler.
Social Media Scheduling Tools
This is the hands-free scheduling tool that is often used for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Buffer is a great fit for marketing agencies or big companies with lots of content to be pushed out. It allows you to plan out your social calendar months in advance.
Who should use Buffer?People who benefit most from Buffer are those who have multiple accounts or a lot of content to be shared. Buffer is also best for people who like to schedule things out on their own. You’re able to set times easily and add all your posts in the queue, so if you’re hoping to do this manually, Buffer is a great option.
When should it be used?Buffer is a year-round social scheduling tool. It works best when used regularly because over time, you’ll establish a routine of scheduling posts. Pick one day out of the week to schedule out all of your posts, and then sit back and relax while Buffer handles the nitty-gritty.
Hootsuite and Buffer are fairly similar, so it’s really a personal preference. Hootsuite allows you to manage more platforms, as it also allows you to manage WordPress blogs and channels on YouTube.
Who should use Hootsuite?Digital marketers with a keen interest in learning the ins and outs of the industry will benefit from Hootsuite because of its courses and certification program.
When should it be used?Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts in advance, but the platform does a lot of the scheduling work for you. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on your preference!
Clean and simple, Sprout Social is an easy way for you to lay everything out and get a birds-eye view of your social calendar. Sprout is a results-driven platform that helps you get real value out of your social profiles.
Who should use Sprout? Sprout Social is best for people who really know what they’re doing. It’s helpful for marketing professionals and agencies that are serious about tracking their numbers and optimizing their profiles.
When should it be used?When you’re looking to optimize post times, gather insights, and visualize your social profiles on a calendar layout, Sprout is your best bet.
Later is another scheduling tool that has recently entered the running. It’s a really intuitive platform that doesn’t come with all the fancy bells and whistles that Hootsuite and Buffer have. On Later, you’re able to manage your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts.
Who should use Later?Later is typically a preferred platform for personal accounts because its capabilities aren’t as extensive as those of Hootsuite and Buffer.
When should it be used?When you’re focused on the visual component of your social media profiles (especially Instagram), Later is a good option for you. It’s optimal for Instagram use because of its highly visual scheduling calendar and dashboard.
Social Media Design Tools
Customizable, user-friendly, and bearing the drag-and-drop interface we all know and love, Canva is a go-to tool for social media managers. You don’t have to be a design stud to create beautiful designs on Canva -- and that’s why so many people love it!
Who should use Canva?Someone who is well-suited for Canva is a beginner or intermediate designer or a social media manager that doesn’t work directly with a design team. It’s best for people who aren’t formally trained in graphic design but still want to create captivating, appealing images for social media.
When should it be used?Canva has templates and sizes ready for you to use. If you want to make a Twitter banner or an Instagram post or a Facebook announcement, the dimensions are already there for you.
Some people love Adobe; others fear it. Adobe Spark is definitely a more expert version of Canva, so it can help you make amazing designs, but it requires some time to learn it. Within Adobe Spark are three different design apps: Spark Post, Spark Page, and Spark Video.
Who should use Adobe Spark?A good candidate for Adobe Spark is someone who knows design well. This is the type of app for a graphic designer or creative director at a marketing or advertising agency. If you’re up to the challenge, go for it! Just keep in mind that it does take more time to really nail down the software.
When should it be used?The best time to use Adobe Spark is when you have a gameplan for your site and/or social media profiles. It’s not something you want to use to quickly whip out a design but rather a strategic design plan for your social profiles.
Social Media Analytics Tools
Making a second appearance, Sprout Social is a powerful tool for data analytics on social media platforms. The reports are easy to read and understand, so you’re not just tracking numbers -- you’re really understanding how your social profiles are making an impact.
Who should use Sprout Social?Again, the typical Sprout user is someone who is versed in marketing and advertising and is using their social profiles to generate a lot of content.
When should it be used?Analytics can be tracked every week -- and it’s really helpful to keep up with them on a weekly basis. You can generate reports from templates or you can customize them.
TweetDeck is the divine data king for Twitter. It has a visual dashboard that allows you to manage multiple Twitter profiles at the same time.
Who should use TweetDeck?You don’t have to be a data nerd or a social media guru to use TweetDeck. It’s well-integrated with the Twitter platform, so it’s fairly straightforward for any user that wants more insights on their Twitter performance.
When should it be used?TweetDeck is only for, well… tweets! So it’s not a useful tool for someone who wants insights on a slew of different social platforms. It can be used daily or weekly to gain insights on various Twitter profiles.
There’s a whole world of social media tools waiting to be used. Some are for beginners and some are for experts, but there’s something out there for everyone. The next time you’re scrolling on one of your profiles, you might consider looking into one of these tools to make the job easier and more fun. Good luck and happy posting!
On the laundry list of marketing jargon, SEO is an under-utilized but over-used term. How many times do you see “SEO” on a site that doesn’t seem to be performing at its best? Probably a lot. While it’s always a good idea to bring an expert into the matters, there’s an aspect of SEO that you can do on your own.
So when you’re not talking to an expert agency or SEO guru who can do the whole nine yards for you, we’ve got a step-by-step tutorial that will give you the freedom to check your SEO on your own and work towards a better strategy for your site. Use this for your blog, your individual pages, and your homepage to make sure your on-site SEO is in a good spot!
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. A lot of times you’ll hear people say things like, “I optimize SEO,” or “We’ll handle your SEO optimization.” That’s a key indicator that those people actually won’t help out with your SEO, because those statements don’t make sense. SEO, by default, means your site is being optimized, so there’s no need for the extra “optimization” tacked onto the title.
In a nutshell, SEO means optimizing your content to best reach your target audience by using on-site and off-site tactics to get that great content in front of search engines. Search engines are the creepy crawlers of the web. They’re crawling through countless pages every second to index and record all of the information that is out there. There are billions of pieces of content on the web, so these crawlers (aka bots) play a huge role in helping Google answer your searches.
Think about it this way. When you search for a question like, “What is SEO?”, Google will pull up a results page. That’s called the Search Engine Results Page, otherwise known as SERP. That page isn’t based off a random collection of sites and information. It’s carefully curated from all of the crawling that the bots do. These bots are here to help. The way in which they crawl allows Google to answer your questions with more precision and accuracy, in the fastest way possible.
Instead of “SEO optimization,” what you should be looking for is SEO performance or SEO strategy. There’s a strategy behind the SEO, and that’s what you need in order to make sure that search engines are ranking your content.
Don’t get caught up in the nitty gritty details of SEO. It’s not a competition, and you shouldn’t be trying to trick the search engines. Remember, they’re on your team! Instead, you need to come up with a game plan that includes your target audience, what types of messages you want to get across, and what you want to be known for.
Once you figure that out, look at your site through a new lens. Think about who you’re trying to reach. Are you reaching them? Consider what you’re trying to say. Are you saying it?
This may seem like a simple step, but it’s often overlooked. A lot of people are reaching the wrong target audience or throwing too many messages into the picture. You have an area of expertise, and that’s what sets the stage for the foundation of your SEO. Everything SEO-related should be connected to that niche.
Decide who your target audience is. Write it down and make a commitment to it. Having a ton of followers doesn’t matter if you have the wrong followers. In the long run, the reason why you go after an audience is to convert them into your customers—whether that be clients, buyers, subscribers, etc.
Knowing your target audience means you must know what you want them to be looking for. You set up a target audience based on the services you could provide to them. For example, if you run a digital marketing agency that works predominantly with B2C clients, you’re looking for clients who want to market their business, grow their business, and advertise to potential customers. These are the types of things they’ll be typing into the search bar when they’re looking for a marketing agency. It’s your job to tap into those potential search queries by putting yourself in the mind of your client. Think about what words or phrases they might search for, and Voila! Those are your keywords.
Let’s do a quick exercise. Say you own a restaurant that serves customizable bowls and build-your-own tacos. Your client is likely someone who likes to customize their food options. What kinds of words might they be searching in order to find their ideal restaurant?
Answer: Customizable restaurants, build-your-own meals, customizable meals, restaurants with build-your-own options.
Those are just a few suggestions. Using keywords allows you to piece together your own puzzle to paint a picture of what your company offers.
Now that you know what your main message is and who it’s intended for, the next step is to audit each of your pages for SEO purposes. Write down the keywords you’re using for URL names, page titles, and headlines. It helps to have a birds-eye view. When bots crawl your site, these are some of the main things they’re looking for.
For example, if you have a page all about what your company does but the title just says “Our company,” bots won’t rank you for your services. Instead, you may want the page to be titled “Our services” or “What we do.”
As you look through each of your pages, keep your game plan and overall strategy in mind. Remember: SEO isn’t about vanity metrics. It’s about driving the right people to your page so that you can accomplish your business goals while helping the right kind of consumer.
There are some golden rules to on-site SEO that you should know. There’s a difference between tricking the bots and knowing what they’re looking for. At the end of the day, Google wants every searcher to have the best experience possible, so the bots take user experience into consideration when evaluating pages. Here are a few rules that will keep your page in good condition:
Congratulations! You made it through 4 big rules of on-site SEO. It will take some time to fully integrate this practice into your day-to-day website upkeep, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it feels endless. SEO is an ever-evolving practice—it’s never a one-and-done deal. Google is constantly changing the metrics for search results pages. So if you’re really committed to your SEO performance, you’ll want to stay in the loop with all things related to Google, search engines, and the great big Internet out there.
When we zoom out and look at social media trends in the business world, we see storytelling and selling. These are two different strategies that come from different facets of social media, but there’s overlap between them. Read on to learn about storytelling and selling on social media—and possibly how to incorporate both into your strategy!
For storytelling, we turn to the guru of social storytelling, Gary V. He’ll walk us through a few ways that the world of storytelling has evolved in recent years and how to stay fresh as a brand.
“We live in a world where there’s obnoxious amounts of information getting thrown at us and unlimited amounts of outlets to consume that information which is entirely accessible on our own time.”
True, true, and TRUE. There are copious amounts of information on the web. It feels unreachable in a way. And as consumers, we’re obsessed with accruing as much knowledge as possible. In order to differentiate yourself as a brand, you have to understand this and learn how to use it to your advantage. If you’re telling a story that everyone else is telling, ask yourself these questions:
We’ve been learning since kindergarten that stories all follow the same path: intro, rising action, climax, falling action, end. No matter what your story is, it will follow a sequence. Otherwise, it’s not a story. It could be purely informative or persuasive, but if it isn’t following a somewhat similar order, then it’s not a story.
So who cares if your story is just like everyone else’s? There are parts to your story that no one else can replicate—and this is what you want to highlight.
A classic example is the competition that comes with agency life. Every marketing and advertising agency has a similar mission. You win big clients and find cool, creative ways to tell their story and champion their brand. How do you stand out as an agency if everyone is doing the same thing?
That’s when you take the time to reflect and pull out key characters from your story. Chat with your team, think about the history of your company, look at the work you’ve done. Believe it or not, you’ll find big differentiators fairly quickly, and this will naturally weave a beautiful story for your company.
“TO TELL A GREAT STORY, THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU HAVE TO DO IS EVOKE A REACTION.”Once you’ve separated yourself from the competition, you need to cut through the noise and connect to your audience. When telling stories on social media, your metric for success is reaction.
Social media storytelling is a two-way street. You’re not only sending out a message; you’re making a connection with your audience. In order to do that, it’s important to make your story engaging and interactive. Instead of firing off information into the distance, create a story that is interactive. Keep in mind what excites you about your brand, and convey that enthusiasm to your audience.
How to execute storytelling on social platforms
It sounds more daunting than it is. You’re not trying to fit an entire novel or a captivating movie into a 6-second long video. This is a different kind of storytelling. Your goal is to get to the crux of your brand’s story—where it came from, how it started, etc.—and find a succinct, interesting way to spread the word about it.
If we think of every advertising medium as its own form of storytelling, we can see where social media plays a big role. 30 years ago, your company may have opted to invest in a few billboards. You told the story of your company in 1-3 sentences, used colors in line with your brand, and placed it in a spot that would reach the people you wanted it to reach.
This is a diluted version of a classic marketing strategy: Great copy to inform, explain or persuade; staying on brand; and reaching your target audience.
Take that example and translate it to social media. Your objective is the same, but the way in which you tell your story is different. Every social media platform is different, and it’s recommended that you use their differences to your advantage.
Rule number one: Use Facebook’s platform to your advantage. You can create links, come up with a catchy title, add a picture, and write quality copy. Make sure your image is high quality and your copy is a good length. You’ll be the judge on this--stay on brand and you should be golden.
According to a joint research study done by Adaptly, Facebook and Refinery29, sequence advertising is the way to go when it comes to storytelling on Facebook. When ads are sequenced on a personal level, overall view-throughs are increased by 87%, and subscriptions are increased by 56%. With Facebook, sequencing makes sense. It’s storytelling in a literal sense, and it usually works well.
Similar to Facebook, sequencing via tweets is a great way to tell your story on Twitter. You can use a tweet thread that creates a stream of thoughts and ideas to be read as one.
With Twitter, the fastest way to pause a scroll and inspire a click is through video. According to a Twitter analysis of 3.7 million accounts, tweets with video attracted 10X more engagement than tweets without it. That’s saying something! If you have a cool brand video, use Twitter to show it to the world.
Storytelling is in the name. Instagram stories have revolutionized the way marketers are championing brands. With more than half a billion people using Instagram stories every day, it’s safe to say this is a great way to share your brand’s story. This tool gives your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your company’s mission, employees, and daily work.
Because you can decorate your stories with geotags, stickers, and text, we encourage you to use this to your advantage. Make sure your stories are always on brand—you don’t want to be hopping around the rainbow or scaring your audience with 15 different fonts.
Instagram isn’t limited to its 24-hour lifespan stories. You should also be using highlights to paint a picture of your company. Highlights are a clever way of directing people to certain aspects of your brand. They won’t necessarily know it because they’re choosing to tap on your highlights, but you’re basically reading your story to them. CLICK HERE to keep nerding out on this topic.
Social media selling, also known as social selling, is using social media as a tool to reach out to and connect with potential sales prospects.
We can think of social storytelling as the narrative of an organization or brand. It’s there for people to read, but it’s not necessarily deliberate outreach. Social selling is more active. It means actively getting a pulse on different target audiences, seeking prospects to speak to, and connecting with people with whom you’d like to do business.
How does social selling work? It’s not like traditional sales with cold calls and elevator pitches. Studies show that 90% of top decision-makers don’t even respond to cold calls. Social selling is more strategic and interactive.LISTEN FIRST, THEN REACH OUT...Traditional sales is all about reaching out—many times, on repeat. Social sales starts with listening. Research is key, as you’ll be perusing your network for connections, and then secondary connections, and then maybe even tertiary connections. It’s a whole lot of stalking.
We do this because it’s a quick way to get a pulse on pain points and who’s got them. Then, you’re able to see who you can help with a tactic in place on how you can help them.
Much like social storytelling, social sales is about engagement. It can easily feel a bit more like a one-way street of communication, but it’s very interactive. In social selling, your aim is to personalize your messages. It’s less about quantity than it is about quality.
A lot of the time, your audience is looking for exactly what you can give them. Just like social selling is a tool for you, social buying is a tool for a lot of people. They want what your company can give them, and as a social seller, it’s your job to make sure they know how you can be of help.
So, does it work?
Jon Ferrara, founder of Nimble, says this: “Social selling expands on the age-old basics of getting to know your customers and meeting their needs.”
Social sales and traditional sales are two roads leading to the same destination. Both are about connecting with people. Both use communication to facilitate interaction and engagement. Both have an end goal of telling customers how their organization can help them with their needs. But they incorporate different strategies to get there.
It started with millenials, and now social selling is across the board. In fact, 71% of all sales professionals are incorporating social sales tools into their strategy. That number skyrockets when we look at top salespeople, where 90% utilize social selling.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell.” – Seth Godin
At the intersection of sales and storytelling lives social media. It’s art and business, listening and engaging, and showing and telling. While social storytelling and social selling are completely different facets of social media, it comes down to connecting with people and then getting the job done. From our team to yours, happy sells and happy tells!
Jay Alvarez. Kendall Jenner. Kayla Itsines. Social Media Influencers are making waves in the industry, stretching their impact from advertising to marketing and everything in between. What started as creating influence over the market has developed into a full-time job. Now halfway into 2019, we’re looking to our influencers to forecast trends, changes, and developments of modern-day social media marketing.
Defining social media marketing
The term is thrown around loosely, leaving people to question exactly what it refers to. HubSpot defines social media marketing as the action of creating content to promote your business and products on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. With this type of marketing, you’re using social media to show the world what your business has to offer. When social media platforms were beginning to popularize, top marketing professionals saw this as an opportunity to get a leg up in the industry.
In 2019, that definition has taken on a new meaning. Social media marketing doesn’t give you brownie points anymore; it’s absolutely integral to the foundation of your business. Its level of importance varies from industry to industry, but it is, nonetheless, an important step in the marketing strategy of your company.
The Involvement of Influencers
For 10+ years, social media has been a game-changer in the marketing industry. Everyone is motivated by likes and followers, trying to capture the perfect picture and a catchy caption to complement it. It takes time to build a strong following, and many experts will say curating an exceptional profile is a full-time job.
Enter influencers. It’s the job everyone vies for but few people actually make the cut. By committing to the influencer lifestyle, you’re making money by posting cool photos of the cool stuff you do in cool ways. In one word: Cool.
Easily mistaken for being all fun, this job contributes heavily to the flow of the social media market, so it’s not a trivial deal.
Why Invest in the Influencers?
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Companies have recognized that influencers have huge networks. Collaborating with these influencers is a quick way to relay their messages across vast audiences.
In order to expand your reach or encourage a following, you must first grab your audience. An influencer expedites that grab process. Influencers build relationships with their followers. Their network has trust in their opinions. If you’re a brand looking to build that trust, an influencer can be the gateway.
Think of it as word-of-mouth recommendations. If your friend happens to be a great food critic and recommends a pizza joint, you’ll be more likely to pay a trip to that spot just because you trust your friend’s opinion. On the other hand, if you just see an ad for the pizza place, you may be less inclined.
Defining Influencers’ Success
How do we define the success of an influencer? Industry experts use three metrics: relevance, resonance, and reach.
Relevance: This indicates how influential someone is in regards to a specific topic. Relevance is based on keywords.
Resonance: Measures the sheer impact of an influencer over his or her audience. Resonance looks at engagement activity.
Reach: How many people are actually being reached by the influencer. This takes into account the followers, fans, subscribers, etc.
Influencer Impact on Social Media
According to a study done by Olapic, 64% of 16-22 year-olds follow influencers on social media. This age group is a target audience for many brands, given their loyalty to the social media world. This same study also shows us that 34% of social media users have discovered a new brand because of a social media influencer. The question remains: How do they have such an impact?
Some venture to say that celebrity endorsements immediately preceded social media influencer marketing. The premise is that people (famous or not) develop a fanbase that trusts them and counts on them to create unique, original content. This becomes a relationship between the influencer and the fanbase, which grows as the influencer continues to drive engagements with his or her audience.
In another study done by Olapic, consumers universally chose “authenticity” as the main reason for trusting their influencers. Second up was personalization, with 66% of respondents saying they value an influencer with unique content that is relevant to their interests or lives.
2019 Trends - The good stuff: What’s trending?
Users are looking for that trust with their influencers. They want to know that there won’t be a gap in content for two weeks and then a spurt of posts another week. There’s a certain voice, style, color theme, and type of content that most influencers incorporate into their brands. Users find comfort in this brand, and they count on it.
Originality is important in anything you do in the creative realm, but it’s even more important now that influencers are becoming increasingly popular.
Social media influencing is all-encompassing. You’re an expert on the content, ensuring that all photos and videos are quality.
Specificity can be your friend. Anyone can be an influencer about clothing, for example, but finding a quality influencer on a specific facet of clothing (such as swimwear) gives you a leg-up against competitors.
Oversaturating your stream with sponsorships causes some fans to question your authenticity. In a world of competing influencers, you should have a voice and online persona that reflects who you are. The sponsorships will naturally find their way into your message, but it should never be overkill.
As the industry expands, so does the opportunity for collaboration. Many influencers connect with their peers and eventually create guest posts or combine their styles to create unique content.
2019 Top influencers
With 141 million followers on Instagram, Kylie Jenner continues to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the social media industry. Her portfolio contains over 6,000 posts on Instagram alone.
Her impact was so strong that a universal meme of an egg tried to combat her most-liked photo. The post was a photo of a generic brown egg with the caption, “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this 🙌” Too bad eggs can’t be our top influencers!
AdWeek called her the “queen bee of digital buzz.” Her Instagram account boasts of 112 million users. She has championed brands like Pantene, Coca Cola, and Adidas. Our well-loved Disney superstar, Selena Gomez, has become a major influencer with her Instagram account boasting of 112 million users.
Ironically enough, Gomez deleted Instagram from her phone, as of June 2019. Her reasoning? The star said she wanted to stay mentally healthy and that it was easy to get sucked into the vortex of comparisons and body shaming. She remains loyal to her fans and plans to continue to use her social media platforms to engage, but she’s more deliberate about how often she scrolls.
Previously part of the dynamic duo, Jay and Alexa, this influencer has impacted the way Instagram views travel. His lifestyle as an influencer is drastically different from his upbringing, and he consistently delivers original, real content to his fanbase.
His brand consistently showcases an adventurous lifestyle, as he travels the world—with a surfboard in one hand and his dog or suitcase in the other.
For all the companies who are apprehensive about influencers or for those who are working with a tight budget, micro-influencers may be the next best option. These influencers are less have less clout, a smaller fanbase, and minimal recognition among more superior influencing legacies.
These influencers are, nonetheless, a step above the “average joe” on social media. That goes to say that brands may trust them as a test run to see if influencer marketing is a possibility. Typically, micro-influencers have an audience between 1,000-10,000 followers. It’s less risky for companies that are new to investing in influencer marketing because these influencers will charge less for sponsorship.
As we transition well into the second half of the year, we can expect to see even more growth in the industry. Whether you’re an influencer yourself or you’re thinking of investing in this type of marketing, it’s important to know the industry trends.
At the end of the day, we live in a constantly changing world. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” Find your niche, honor your passion, and cultivate a brand that is yours.
1) VISUAL APPEAL
Eyes eat first. For most millenials and Gen Zs, social media trumps the classic menu. When looking for a restaurant, it’s convenient to pull up a page on Instagram, browse through the food selection, and make a quick decision. In the chance that your restaurant is competing with another restaurant for someone’s date night, a social media presence could make or break it. Your customers are paying for the experience from start to finish—in today’s world, that begins with researching the options.
Fun fact: In a study on restaurant menus conducted by researchers at Iowa State University, people are projected to be 70% more likely to order a particular dish if they see an appealing photo of it first. Take good care of your social platforms by showcasing your most attractive dishes.
2) CHEAP ADVERTISING
Word-of-mouth is slow, and TV advertisements can get expensive. Social media is a cost-effective way to advertise your restaurant. Aside from showcasing your food, you can use your various platforms to provide updates, advertise for events, and provide information about your restaurant.
Nearly 3 out of 4 customers have used Facebook to make decisions on restaurant or retail options. By not catering to this population of users, you’re missing golden opportunities to be factored into target customers’ decision making processes.
4) GENERATE A FOLLOWING
With social media, you’re allowed a level of creativity with how you portray your restaurant and the food you serve. This is the time for you to highlight special things about your business that outsiders wouldn’t typically know. If you have an impressive wine selection, tell the world about it on social media. Perhaps you’re proud of your well-tenured team and all of your employees get along well—post a quick interview of your team on your page!
It’s tough to get a huge following solely for your identity as a restaurant, but with patience and time, you can definitely get a large reach within your community. As your practice with social media evolves, you’ll pick up on the types of customers who enjoy your restaurant so that you can better develop a target audience.
6) INTERACTING WITH CUSTOMERS
The designated “owner” of your social media pages has the leeway to respond to as many comments as they’d like, or none at all. Interacting with people over social media platforms is a great way to engage with your customers while also expanding your target audience.
Hospitality is the backbone of a good restaurant, and having an engaging online presence gives a nice peak into the way your restaurant treats its customers. You’ll likely receive positive reviews and constructive criticism from your visitors. It’s a great opportunity for you to use this feedback as a tool to improve your business. Customers like to see that you’re using their feedback; in fact, the NM incite survey shows that 71% of customers are more likely to recommend a company that responds quickly on social media.
7) SHOW YOUR CUSTOMERS WHAT TO EXPECT
Of course you don’t want to take away every element of surprise, but some customers like to head into a restaurant or store with an idea of what to expect. You can utilize your social media platforms to key people in on the typical attire for your restaurant, just as you can give them a quick look at the atmosphere.
By highlighting the atmosphere, customer demographic, and overall vibe of your restaurant, you can answer questions your customers may have before they ask them. Many customers turn to social media to see just how fancy or casual the restaurant is, giving them a better idea of what to wear.
Having an online presence boosts your reliability among your customers. Regular customers can count on you to keep them updated on the latest news, events, or dishes. New customers will have a sense of ease knowing that your food lives up to its claims on social media. (For that reason, and many more, make sure that it does!)
Social media platforms show people that you’re established. You’ve taken the time to market your company from different angles, and you’re a restaurant that customers can count on— online and in person.
According to a study done by Cornell University, 59% of franchise restaurants utilize social media. Even more staggering, 79% of independent restaurants utilize social media. These numbers go to show that the competition is fierce. You’re up against a number of businesses that offer the same thing: food, service, and a dining experience. It’s your job to get creative with how you’ll show everyone that you’re set apart from the rest.
There’s also an opportunity to collaborate with other businesses with your social media profile. If another company in the industry sees your restaurant as a space for collaboration, they may reach out via Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
1. Post Consistently
To receive engagement, you will need to offer posts for users to interact with! Consistency is key in both frequency and quality of content.
We recommend posting 2-7 times per week per channel, depending on your brand and goals. Timing also plays a huge role in this science. It is important to know what days and times your followers are on each social channel. You can reference data like Sprout’s Best Time to Post on Social Media, but also take a closer look at your particular followers through free social insights (Instagram Insights, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, etc.) Posting during peak times will increase engagement, and likely increase your follower count.
Keeping your content quality consistent is also vital in gaining engaging followers. Use only clean, clear graphics and media, and stick to your brand’s set color or style scheme. When your posts correlate, users see your profile as cohesive and legitimate, and are more likely to trust your brand. Also, post on all channels! You can repurpose posts to display differently on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Business, Pinterest, and more. Again, additional channels increase the number of ways a potential customer may come across your brand.
3. Engage with Your Audience
Don’t forget the “social” part of social media. Interacting with your audience is a simple way to create that one-on-one experience, producing a relationship with your brand.
Effective Customer Relationship Management strategy is vital to thriving social channels. Actions range from the simple liking of a comment, to leaving a clever response, or just answering a question. Be sure to respond quickly to all messages.
Seek out customers who are already interacting with your brand. If your brand has a hashtag, encourage use and frequently search that hashtag. Any post tagged with your handle or hashtag is an opportunity to comment and even repost their photo or video. The more interaction a user can have with your brand, the better!
Hashtags are an easy way to organically grow a social channel, primarily Instagram. Learn more about hashtags and how to use them on our previous blog post, The Hype on Hashtags.
5. Incorporate Cross-Channel Promotion
Make sure to display your handles on all social media. For instance, add your Instagram handle to Facebook, your website, flyers, press releases, etc. This is a subtle way of encouraging your current fans to follow you on all channels, which increases the frequency that user will see your content.
Recently, social media platforms have been providing more accurate insights and analytics on posted content. You can see down to the seconds that someone has viewed your video on Facebook, and exactly how many people have viewed your profile after seeing your tweet. But how do these numbers interact? Which ones should you pay attention to? It’s easy to get lost in the reports and comparisons, but we’re here to help simplify the equation!
First, why is this all so important? Whether you’re an influencer looking to promote brands or a product company wanting to increase sales, social numbers are a HUGE way to leverage your business or services. Social media metrics help you understand your demographic, produce relevant content, track your progress, and target where your future efforts should focus on. After all, the point of social media, as a business, is to reach as many eyes as possible. These metrics provide insight into how well you are reaching the masses.
For example, if you are running an Instagram account for a sports store, you can compare numbers on your posts containing professional athletes wearing your gear versus local athletes. Comparing engagement rates among the two types of posts will provide insight on which type of content your audience resonates more with. If the numbers are consistently higher for professional athlete posts, consider posting more professional athlete content to boost numbers and further promote the store.
Let’s dive into the individual metrics.
Likes The total number of times user have pressed the “like” button on your post. If a user resonates with your post on any channel, they have the option to “like” it.
Comments The total number of times users have left comments attached to your post.
Share or Retweet The total number of times users have shared your posts.
Impressions The total number of times your picture, video, story, or tweet has been seen. Impressions account for every time any user has scrolled through your post, viewed a post on your profile, or seen the post through a direct message.
Reach The number of unique accounts that have seen your post. In other words, how many people have seen your post. You’ll notice that impressions are often higher than reach. The same person can view a post twice or three times which would increase impressions while reach stays the same.
Engagements The total number of likes and comments on an Instagram post. For Twitter, it is the total number of post likes, comments, and retweets. For Facebook, it is the total number of post reactions, comments, and shares.
Engagement Rate The percentage of your followers or viewers that engage (like, comment, or share) with your posts. To find this, take the number of likes and comments on a particular post and divide by your follower count, which will give you a percentage.
Which Metric Should I Pay Attention To?
Now that you can discern between the different metrics, it is time to determine your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). A KPI is the metric you select to measure the success of your content. Your KPI will depend on what your social media goals are.
Many account owners mistakenly view likes or followers as the most valuable KPI. Although increased likes and followers may indicate increased performance, these metrics can often offer a false sense of success while other metrics may offer more valuable insight. If you are a new product and simply want the public to get a glimpse of your packaging, you may track your impressions and reach. If you’re a local business looking for public opinion, tracking your comments and engagement is probably your best bet. Sometimes you may need to test out different KPIs, track their performance, and see what sticks. Find which KPI correlates with increased sales, website traffic, emails, etc.
What is Customer Relationship Management?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) by definition, is an approach to manage a company’s interaction with current and potential customers.
How Social Media Influences CRM
We all know that social media is crucial to remain competitive in many markets. But how can social CRM drive your profits? Social media can be used as a tool to maintain customer relationships and keep patrons closer to your business. Interactions through social media provides the opportunity to reach beyond the scope of your product or service, not only with frequent reminders that you exist (social posts) but also with responses to reviews, check-ins, tagged photos, etc. The engagement you have with customers through social channels, when done correctly, can give your brand more personality with humor, education, or compassion.
Why Good CRM Strategy Is Important
Any response is better than no response, and any type of response is an engagement. When you engage with your customers, social media algorithms boost your page and posts, therefore getting in front of more eyes and leading to increased follower counts, engagement rates, etc.
Notice how we said, “when done correctly” above. While a proper response can greatly improve a customer relationship, a poor response can do quite the opposite. Responses, whether they are comments or messages, must be carefully crafted with the customer’s feelings prioritized. It is important to note that not only will your response be seen by the customer who left the review or comment, but also by all of their social media followers.
As a business owner or manager who may take these critiques personally, it is often beneficial to have a third party handle these instances. As you know, the customer is always right, even when they’re wrong. You must listen to their assessment with an open mind and craft an appropriate response. If the review is more like a rant or deemed false by you, politely present your side of the story and offer a sincere apology and solution to the issue. Your response should help them understand that this was an isolated incident and the next visit would have a better outcome.
Responding to good reviews or comments
Good reviews and recommendations are extremely valuable for your business. The strongest form of advertising is word-of-mouth, and when a peer on Facebook leaves a praising recommendation, the memory is more likely to stick. Responding to good reviews can boost your customer retention, ultimately driving sales. Your engagement with the customer is an opportunity to build upon that initial interaction, adding a personal touch to an already satisfying experience. A repost or post comment from your brand’s account shows the customer that you value their opinion, appreciate their business, and look forward to seeing them again. It is always acceptable to thank your customer for their business and invite them to visit again soon.
Responding to neutral comments
This is the simplest yet most beneficial action your business can take. Oftentimes the user won’t mention the good or bad experience that they had but may check-in to your location or tag a photo featuring your brand. This user may not even be a customer yet, hence the opportunity to gain a new fan. You may respond with a simple, positive emoji or thank the user for tagging your brand, featuring your location, etc.
The Bottom Line
Knowing how to use social media to interact with your customers is a huge step. Interacting with any post or review can help solidify a good experience, mend a poor experience, and build mutual rapport, ultimately driving more transactions.
According to Yelp, users are 33% more likely to upgrade their review if you respond with a personalized message within 24 hours, therefore improving an entire experience with a simple comment or message. This can be the difference between making or breaking another sale.
Leverage bad reviews to improve your business, highlight good reviews to recognize your brand’s strengths, and reap the benefits of good CRM!
Hashtags. You love them or you hate them but there’s no denying the benefits of utilizing hashtags in your social media strategy. When used correctly, hashtags can increase engagement and the discoverability of your content, most notably on Instagram and Twitter. These are a few rules to live by to maximize your results.
Research hashtags that are relevant to your content and specific yet discoverable. Check out what your competitors are using for industry-specific hashtags. Trending tags are constantly changing, so don’t be afraid to experiment and refresh your list often. Keep an eye on the Twitter “Trends for you” page and see if you can appropriately incorporate a trending tag into your next tweet. You can then use Twitter and Instagram Insights to compare impressions and discovery to see how your post performed.
More is not always merrier. The use of too many hashtags screams spam. Copy and pasting the same hashtags for each post can also minimize your results, as Instagram algorithms may penalize you for this tactic. Stick to a solid handful of hashtags, and you can always use the “…” trick to hide your tags from your followers’ immediate feed.
Don’t Go Too Broad
Unfortunately, it’s not wise to choose hashtags solely on their popularity. It is possible for a hashtag to be TOO POPULAR, and using it is sure to get your post buried in the bunch. For example, #travel has over 284 million tags on Instagram. Because people are tagging #travel so often, your post will be submerged in a sea of posts that may not even be travel related, in a matter of seconds. Instead, try a tag like #findyourcalifornia. This hashtag has just over 5K Instagram posts, all relating to an active California lifestyle.
Search for hashtags people will want to click and learn more about. More specific tags are more likely to show up in the explore page on Instagram and the Trending tags on Twitter.
Give these quick tips a shot and see how your analytics respond. Hashtags have the power to boost your posts when used properly. Keep it quick, relevant, and specific and watch your reach grow!