Social Media Changes in 2018 and How It Will Affect Your Brand

It’s now February and with 2 months into the new year we have seen a slew of changes going on with social media algorithms and platforms including loss of demographic and more. Luckily for you I’ve been keeping my eye closely on things and here are some of the most important of the few major shifts happening and how it might effect you or how you can only imagine it will effect you and your brand.

Facebook is losing it’s younger demographic

This year alone 3 million users under the age of 25 in the UK and the US have decided to quit using Facebook altogether. This means a couple of things. First is that if you have a brand that is targeting this demographic, you want to think about focusing more time and energy into a different platform and be ready to learn and adapt. While Facebook owns Instagram and that seems to be a significant platform for that age group, Snapchat seems to be the preferred social tool among the demographic.

So what can you do about it? Get on Snapchat and start interacting with your consumer base. Snapchat has the ability for brands to be able to run ad campaigns just like any social network however with Snapchat remember its important to be visually appealing so remember to stick to an aesthetic here. If you need help in this department here is a list of a few who are doing it right on snapchat.

Facebook changed its algorithms again

  • See first on their news feed
    • Facebook is now encouraging people to follow brands by allowing them to see your brånd content first. When someone goes to like your brand page they’ll get to choose whether they want to follow and see your content first.
  • Live videos take precedent
    • Videos have always done well on Facebook but now brands who increasingly use live videos will take precedent on the news feed. This is because live videos generate the most comments, this generates discussion around a brand. As an organization or business owner if you want to gain exposure it’s really important to implement a live video schedule this year.
  • Comments
    • Facebook is taking precedent on conversation this year and it’s up to brands to create interesting content that is both in demand and creates dialogue. The more comments a brand generates the more their content will be seen by followers or even people who are friends with the people who follow your brand. Here we find it important to ask your customer base questions either about themselves or what they would like to see. Train them on how you want them to interact with you and create content you know they want to hear. I teach my clients how to do this by going to google and searching for companies like yours. Usually the first blog articles that pop up are the highest in demand that’s a good place to start. Or even talking about and discussing trending topics.
  • Demotion of “engagement-bait”
    • With engagement being high on the list of Facebook’s new algorithm, it’s even more that they want the engagement to be organic. Getting people to engage can no longer be brands requesting “Likes, Comments, or Shares” in the status. In fact if you directly put that you want people to “Like, or Comment” your post will be demoted. So it’s important that you come up with a more creative way to increase engagement on your brands posts.

Instagram has added a scheduling feature for businesses

Instagram has finally added a scheduling feature for businesses. The catch is, it’s not directly through Instagram. In the past if you had a scheduling platform, Instagram would notify you that  post needed to go out at that specific time instead of posting it for you due to the inability. Now, that has changed. Instagram has partnered with Hootsuite and other brands to make this possible. Just one more thing making your life easier as a business owner or marketer.

 

Simple Steps to Gain More Brand Exposure

The more we get into a new paradigm of marketing the more business owners have to ask themselves how will they go about gaining exposure in the digital world? Even if it’s foot traffic you’re looking for, your digital footprint matters. When your page only has a hundred likes and you’re shooting for 1000 it can feel like it’s going to take years to get there. But it doesn’t have to, here’s how to gain more exposure to your brand without the sleepless nights:

1. Pay people to care about your brand.

You might be thinking…wait, what? But you read correctly. PAY PEOPLE. With a budget of just $50 a month, you can get an influencer to talk about your brand to the right audience and get your exposure doubled without you batting an eye. Sometimes you can even offer free products for influencers to talk about you. Reach out and ask. If you absolutely don’t know what to do, you’ve got it right hire a marketer! It’s an investment, not an expense. You can even start a VIP group for your brand. Just choose some high paying customers and see if they’d be willing to talk about your brand for free products or services. If you’re a brick and mortar you really want to identify key influencers for your community, not just random online bloggers.

2. Offer Rewards for Reviews.

Sometimes we need to train people on how we want them to interact with our brand. Having reviews online undoubtedly increases your online exposure, and you guessed it! The more reviews the better. So how do you get these reviews? You can personally invite people to leave a review on Facebook and Google and throw in a coupon for them to make sure that they come back. Of course, great service generates reviews but sometimes people just forget, so it’s up to you to remind them and remember to reward them for contributing to your brand as a customer and as your biggest critic.

3. Identify Key Partnerships.

Key partnerships can be a great way to increase brand exposure for people with a minimal budget. Think about key partnerships by thinking about where else your target market likes to shop? One of my clients offers tailor services. For us, a key partnership would be wedding venues where brides go to book their reception, we can offer brides and grooms discounts for coming to us. Another key partnership might be a gym or personal trainer, clothing is an essential part of a fitness journey and tailoring is a perfect service to offer people who are losing weight. Since prom season is coming up we are going to be offering promotions to high schools in our area and even put a coupon in the high school’s newsletter. These are just some ways key partnerships can increase brand exposure.

4. Host an event.

The best thing about hosting an event is that it can be virtual! But if you’re a brick and mortar by all means host an in-house event. It can be a ribbon cutting or an anniversary event, make sure you pull out all the stops an invite the press. If you’re hosting an online event make sure it’s something that you’re educating people on, something that they want to know, or even an exclusive sneak peek at new arrivals just make sure it’s juicy!

These are some really simple ways that you can increase brand exposure and overall traffic to your online store or brick and mortar.  You have to remember time is money and there are no shortcuts to growing your business. If you have no budget, start with making some room, cutting back on expenses maybe not ordering as much product so that you have something to put towards a marketing budget. It is extremely important that you have something to work with so that you can put the time aside to not only employ these ideas but to measure and track results.

Want to Post High Engaging Content for Your Business? Here’s How.

One of the biggest problems business owners face when posting content is the lack of engagement their posts get. This may sound like a surprise but yes, even marketers face this issue sometimes. Let me first start out by defining engagement and why it’s important.

Social media engagement is the amount of likes shares or comments your posts get on social media. The concept is simple but in reality, engagement is more than just a one-way form of communication where you post and expect the crowd to go wild (UGH I KNOW RIGHT). Social media engagement has become increasingly important over the years as the rules for SEO have changed. Now, engagement rates have an indirect impact on your SEO which drives more exposure to your brand or business and more exposure equals more leads.

But how do you create content that is engaging and getting your brand exposure? Many people go for the quantity over quality rule of thumb for social media and sorry to break it to you but that’s just not how! When posting engaging content you have to be apart of or creating a conversation that your audience already wants to be a part of. If you don’t know your audience then you absolutely need to. Start by measuring your posts you already have out Facebook and Instagram have great analytics tools, and if you’re just getting started then start with your desired audience.

So once you know your audience or desired audience the next step is to figure out what your sweet spot is all about. The sweet spot is the content that you’re going to be posting. CoSchedule made a really amazing illustration of this with their chart below:

SweetSpotSo you can see why identifying your audience is so important. What do they need most? What are their likes, dislikes, fears, and most importantly how can you help them with all of it?

The best way to do this is to brainstorm how your brand or company helps people, what are the most popular questions you get from customers, and what problem you’re currently solving or can be solving.

Once you find out what your sweet spot is the next thing to do is to find out what form of medium you want the post in. The best kind of posts are the following; landing pages leading to an offer,  a video, or a blog post discussing the audience’s fear or problem and how to solve it. Next is actually creating the content and sharing it on all channels. So when those funny memes or inspirational quotes just isn’t cutting it, always go back to your sweet spot for the best possible content to get all the likes and shares and EXPOSURE your business needs.

How To Connect Your Brand to A Feel Good Message

You don’t need to be a “Purpose Driven Brand” like Tom’s to make people feel passionate about supporting you. There are many ways a brand or organization can tie their message to one about wellness. More and more consumers want to buy from a brand that is doing something positive for them as buyers or the world. So how can you do this as a small business when you don’t feel like your feel-good message is completely clear? Let’s take a look at the aspects of wellness.

The 7 aspects of wellness have been identified as social, emotional, spiritual, occupational, intellectual, physical, and lastly environmental. You can choose any one of these to hone in on for your business. What is the importance of tying your brand to one of these? Well, 47 percent of global consumers buy from a brand that supports a good cause. 72% of consumers would recommend a brand that supports a good cause over one that doesn’t and 73% of consumers would switch to a brand if that brand of similar quality supports a good cause.

This is more than enough evidence to somehow incorporate this into your brand’s message. Let’s talk about how. Say you’re a gift shop and you’re looking to drive more foot traffic to your store during the holiday season. You start thinking that you can’t do it alone and you need more exposure before Christmas. The best way to center your brand around wellness and a good cause would be to team up with a local non-profit for an event and on that day 10% of your store’s proceeds will go to that specific non-profit. You can offer hor devours and make a special event around giving and you’ll gain double the exposure by having the nonprofit promote your event to their following as well. Maybe you don’t want to partner with a nonprofit but you have some amazing products in your gift store that are Fair Trade, it is important to highlight the fact that you carry ethical products and who you’re supporting with buying specific products. Or maybe you’re carrying another product that can bring wellness to the consumer, remember wellness isn’t just about physical, maybe you have self-help books that are great for getting over a bad relationship, these can all be turned into a message about wellness.

Now let’s say you’re a metaphysical store that sells herbs and crystals, and books on moon phases and everything in between. You already have a really cool concept on your hands but your goal is to shape this around the wellness of your buyers. The first thing you can do is come up with an email campaign about the benefits of the herbs that you offer. Each day you can highlight a specific herb, what it does, and how to use it. The crystals that you carry certainly carry healing properties, this is again a way to shape your brand’s message around wellness.

Even if you think your brand is totally out of the loop on wellness just take a look at the AXE campaign. AXE has been long known for their comedic commercials and message on sex appeal, but they redirected to spiritual wellness with their “Make Love Not War” campaign. It was through that campaign AXE raised awareness around their brand and raised proceeds for peace, turning September 21st into a universal day of non-violence and ceasefires practiced by the military. So even if you think you’re brand can’t make an impact, you most certainly can.

For more one on one information on how to center a message of wellness around your brand, you can contact me here.

5 Habits You Should Start to Make 2018 Your Best Year

Meditation

There is so much going on around us on a daily basis we are always checking our cell phones, our Instagram page, sending reports via email that the best thing we can do is disconnect. A recent Harvard Business Review Article showed evidence that the key to being a successful leader is mindfulness and the best way to achieve mindfulness is in fact through meditation.

This works especially well if you’re feeling stuck while going into your new year and are looking for inspiration to get you motivated to start your new marketing campaign or to develop your social media strategy. Meditation allows you to shut out the rest of the world and tap into the creativity that drives the most innovative ideas a person can have.

You don’t need to meditate for hours to achieve the desired results all you need is a few minutes a day. If you’re wondering where to start you can look up Deepak Chopra on youtube to guide you through some beginner meditations. Make sure the meditation is number one on your list of New Year’s Resolutions. Whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed by outside pressures know that you have meditation as a tool to handle whatever comes your way this year.

Stop Caring What People Think

When your 90 years old sitting in a rocking chair or succeeding beyond your wildest dreams in a career people told you you’d never make it is not a single person’s opinion will matter. The more you understand that the easier life becomes. In 2018 make it a point to not care what other people have to say. Do what you love to do and don’t listen to other people’s projections of why they feel like you won’t make it.

If someone offers their opinion about what you’re doing, remember it’s just a projection of themselves. Don’t take it personally, let it go and if they’re people that you can cut off, do it. On your new journey, you need to be surrounded by people that support you not people filling you with doubt.

Practice Positive Affirmations

If you don’t buy yourself anything for Christmas do yourself a favor and buy the book “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. Companies make money off of the fact that we are damaged souls in search of something to make ourselves feel better. We as a society have fallen for those lies and feel that the answer for feeling whole and complete lies outside of us.

The best way to counteract this in 2018 is to begin to practice positive affirmations. Begin your healing journey and don’t look back, everyday practice positive affirmations to reprogram your brain to think and feel positive even when the going gets rough.

Invest in your mental health and spiritual health

This is the hardest for people to do hands down. Every day we spend money on our appearances on our physical world (clothes, handbags, cologne) that we forget to tend to our mental and spiritual health. When I was healing from my trauma I took the chance for myself and got a spiritual life coach. I was feeling lost and my life coach brought me back to life in the best way. I remembered who I was and got in touch with a stronger version of myself I never knew even existed.

We are so programmed to spend money outside of ourselves that we begin to lack inside. Don’t do this in the new year. If you need to set aside money each week for a new yoga class or a new spiritual mentor. It is worth every penny.

Focus on what you want not what you don’t want

Here I will give a little knowledge that my life coach gave me: What you’re for is stronger than what you’re against.” We are so insistent on what we don’t like about our lives that nothing ever goes right. Stop focusing on what is going wrong and start focusing on what you want to go right, focus on all the ways it can go right and start living in that space. Live in the space of RIGHT. Believe it, feel it, live it, align yourself with what you want and stop living for what you dislike, and make it a point to do that in 2018.

If you start to do all of these things, I promise you it will be your best year yet. For more information on life, coaching feel free to reach out to me via email.

As We Close Out The Year Here’s a Look at the Top Marketing Demands in 2017

Digital advertising

  • Digital advertising encompasses anything and everything that is paid for or sponsored. This can include web banners, sponsored posts, and other digital displays. A report done by McKinley Marketing Partners shows that at 46% this was the skill in highest demand by companies in 2017. This is because more and more paid advertising is looking less like advertising and more like an organic part of the user experience but only when done right. This new trend is called Native Advertising.
  • Native Ads are designed to look and feel like an organic post, it can be a blog post that an organization is promoting or even a contest. This content, if done right, gets 25% more views than other sponsored posts and drive more conversions than typical advertising. Most of the time this takes an experienced marketing person to craft the right message for your audience to look and feel as natural as possible.

Content Creation & Curation

  • While content creation is the process of creating online materials like social media posts, the act of curation is sorting through all the content to figure out which content is best for what audience and when. Many times the best content creation comes from a mix of best practices and fresh original ideas to tailor something to your brand that works and works well. At the beginning stages of any content plan, it can be as simple as making sure you’re posting every day.
  • Content curation comes when you have put the content out there and you’ve also been tracking ROI. By tracking and measuring content, organizations are able to see what resonates best with their audience and what isn’t working at all. Marketing practices are very results driven so it is always best to have an expert on your side when trying to build an online presence.

Content Strategy

  • This is where the creation of calendars comes in. Content strategy is taking what you learn from content creation and curation and turning it into a process. Measurement and monetization work better when there’s an actual strategy behind it.
  • Content strategy can range from identifying key target audiences to creating an editorial calendar and a social media calendar to even beginning an influencer program. Again this is where an expert really comes in handy by helping you to think outside of the box or even achieve things you as a business owner couldn’t do on your own.

Social

  • Being social is so much more than posting unique content if it wasn’t then every business could do it! In order to be social, a brand has to engage with users and influencers. There is no better way to ensure your marketing efforts than maintaining an ongoing relationship with your followers. Consistency is key to being social.

Email

  • I’ve talked to numerous business owners who either don’t use email at all or don’t have an effective strategy in place. The key to driving sales is offering customers incentives and the best way to communicate those incentives are via email. According to Hubspot 86% of consumers actually, want to receive offers from businesses once a month.
  • Another aspect you want to secure is generating interesting or educational content. When a customer invites you into their inbox it’s a very intimate experience so you want to make sure you’re not just filling up their space, time and cellular data with junk. Email content should be tested and measured to ensure you’re getting the best out of your email marketing strategy.

 

This is a wrap up of what 2017 brought us, keep this in mind when formulating your 2018 marketing budget and strategy.

5 Thoughts Holding Business Owners Back from Financial Success

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy and this is especially true for business owners looking to increase financial gain or their business’ exposure. It is always best to get a second opinion when feeling stuck. I’ve spoken to many business owners who aren’t sure what the next step should be in bringing their business more money but first, it starts with a mental state. Get out of your own head and realize that you’re not “spending money” when you look to hire a marketing person, you’re re-investing. Here is a list of mental blocks I see holding most business owners back from thriving:

  1. It’s Ok to Not Have an Online Presence

While it was ok 10, maybe even 5 years ago it is NOT ok now. We are entering an age where everything will be done online from grocery shopping to buying gifts to learning (online classes) and even research. According to Adweek – 81% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchasing decision. This holds especially true when making long-term decisions like seeking out a doctor, financial advisor, or tax specialist. Experts should be especially insistent on having an online presence so just because you don’t have an e-commerce site does not mean you shouldn’t have a strong online presence.

2. It’s Ok to Not Have a Digital Strategy

This is for my lovely business owners who have an online presence but no digital strategy. We know that it’s hard to sometimes let go control over your life’s work but I promise you that you probably don’t have the time to manage or put together all that goes into a digital marketing strategy. Most business owners are busy handling the everyday aspect of your business whether it be meeting with distributors, ordering new products, running financials or taking care of product development. So how are you sure as to what works for your online marketing strategy and when? A digital strategy will allow you to work less and increase your revenue by working smarter not harder. When you know what resonates with your audience you can keep doing it instead of playing the guessing game or just putting out content for the sake of it.

3. They’ve Always Done it This Way

Wow just wow. I hate to say it but traditional advertising is dying slowly and will eventually become obsolete. We are nearing this fate and with that being said how are you able to track what is coming in from your traditional advertising? Simple, unless you’re printing out a physical coupon for people to use you can’t. So now that we know you can’t track results, and its promising less and less return on investment why continue to do it? Don’t. Get help to transition into a new way of doing things and free yourself from this limiting belief.

4. They Don’t Have a Marketing Budget

If you have the money to keep the lights on and money to order more inventory you have a marketing budget. If you invested $200 a month in marketing and it got you $400 a month in ROI, you’d be paying for marketing plus have an extra $200 in your pocket! Sometimes a little push is what we need to get out of a limiting belief that we don’t have enough to achieve our goals.

5. They Can Do It Themselves

I did touch upon this a bit in reason number 2. If you expect to thrive you need a team, Rome wasn’t built in a day and it definitely wasn’t done by one person. Get out of thinking you can do everything yourself and hire people to help you, spend more time doing what you love and less of everything that needs to get done but you have no passion for. Hiring people to help you take care of the details will free you up sometime and allow you to focus on what truly matters to you while allowing things to get done RIGHT.

Digital Marketing Trends for The Holiday Season

This weekend is one of the biggest for holiday season sales, brands should look to upcoming trends to see how they can make the most out of their digital strategy.

Mobile Devices

Make sure that you are running mobile ads throughout this holiday season. Statistics show that more and more consumers have unfavorable attitudes towards stores being open during Thanksgiving driving mobile conversions right after 4pm on Thanksgiving thanksgiving-day-shopping-surveyday. This is consistent with the average eating hours on Thanksgiving day which means after a meal buyers are likely to research brands and products on their phones or even begin their holiday purchasing. Thus supporting mobile ads are key attributes for your brand this holiday season.

Video

According to Hubspot, 50% of buyers will look for video content of a product before visiting an online store. Incorporating video content into your holiday’s social media strategy is essential in increasing your holiday season conversion rates. Videos can range from how to videos, announcing new arrivals, showcasing specific items, or descriptive videos. Videos also work with Facebook algorithms to place your brand in front of consumers at a higher rate, increasing engagement and impressions (getting more people to see your posts on their timeline).

Social Media Strategy

Don’t give up if your one social media post hasn’t produced overwhelming sales results. Studies show that consistency is key when trying to increase conversion rates so make sure you’re planning out multiple promotions throughout Christmas and yes, even after Christmas. Make sure you are engaging with your consumers outside of sales based approaches, maybe even asking them what the would like to see go on sale and run promotions based on the responses.

Holiday Events

Facebook just launched a new app called Local which shows all local events in your area. If you have a brick and morter I would highly recommend hosting a holiday event, it can be centered around donations, meet and greets, sip and shop, whatever your heart desires, make it cheery and festive. With this new app, more consumers are able to see what is going on in their cities and participate. Plus it’s a great way to position yourself on Facebook.

Why Facebook Ads Are More Effective Than Traditional Advertising

I talk to business owners every day who continue to use traditional advertising and are not getting the same results as they did 10 years ago. Times are changing and that’s both good and bad in the eyes of a small business owner. It can be difficult keeping up with the changing trends of social media and digital marketing but every day it’s being proven more effective than traditional advertising. Here are a few reasons why Facebook ads are more effective than traditional advertising:

  1. It’s cheaper. 
    • So this is pretty self-explanatory. For small to medium-sized businesses who don’t have big box bucks, digital advertising is extremely cheap in comparison to what it costs to run a traditional ad in a newspaper, magazine or billboard. Traditional advertising could cost companies thousands to run just one ad for a short amount of time. Luckily, Pew Research studies show that over 58% of American adults are on Facebook. Some businesses don’t need another reason beyond the cost-effectiveness of Facebook Ads.
  2. You can target specific audiences.
    • I like to think of traditional advertising as shooting darts in the dark with your eyes closed, hoping to somehow reach the target. With traditional advertising, you have no idea who is going to see your ad, so how can you be sure you’re going to get a return on your investment? With Facebook advertising, you can choose your ideal client or audience avatar. Many people who have been in businesses for a couple of years at least know what the people look like that spend the most money with them, what are their behaviors, how much money do they make annually? With the power of Facebook advertising, you can put your advertisement in front of the eyes of people who really matter to your brand, not just anyone and everyone. Would you market Victoria’s Secret to 70-year-old men? If the answer is no, then stop wasting your time putting your ads for fishing gear in front vegans, get smart about your ad budget and turn your attention to digital advertising.
  3. Better measurement.
    • As a marketer ROI is the most important aspect of marketing campaigns. Ideas are great but if they aren’t measurable or not working altogether it’s time to re-evaluate. However, if something is working you’ve hit the sweet spot and you know how the old saying goes if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Digital marketing ads provide insight into what ads work best, how many people are interacting with your content, and which content they like the most. It’s even possible to stop an ad at any point if it’s not getting you the results you want and retarget. Traditional advertising can’t compete with the ROI measurement of digital advertising. Not only are you better able to track measurement but you’re also given insight into the behaviors of your consumers and that information is truly invaluable.
  4. You can have more control over what kind of action you want them to take. 
    • What is it that you want out of your Facebook or social media posts? Do you want your audience to call now, like, share, or visit your website? Well with Facebook advertising you can set your call to action based on your brand’s needs and desires. This is something that is obviously not possible with traditional advertising, and again here we find it easy to track who is doing what. With the power of Facebook Ads, the control is in the hands of the business.

With the rise of digital marketing, business owners are facing the need to give up traditional advertising altogether or allocate at least part of their ad budget to digital advertising. I’m not saying that you absolutely have to stop traditional advertising but I do recommend that you spend less than you ever did on it and at least give Facebook Advertising a try. Being consistent in with your digital advertising is the key to getting the best results!